Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)

How Far Would You Go for Financial Freedom?
Narrated by: Scott Rieckens
Length: 4 hrs and 37 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (466 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

What if a happier life was only a few simple choices away?

A successful entrepreneur living in Southern California, Scott Rieckens had built a “dream life”: a happy marriage, a two-year-old daughter, a membership to a boat club, and a BMW in the driveway. But underneath the surface, Scott was creatively stifled, depressed, and overworked trying to help pay for his family’s beach-town lifestyle. Then one day, Scott listened to a podcast interview that changed everything. Five months later, he had quit his job, convinced his family to leave their home, and cut their expenses in half. Follow Scott and his family as they devote everything to FIRE (financial independence retire early), a subculture obsessed with maximizing wealth and happiness. Filled with inspiring case studies and powerful advice, Playing with FIRE is one family’s journey to acquire the one thing that money can’t buy: a simpler - and happier - life.

Based on the documentary

©2019 Scott Rieckens (P)2019 Scott Rieckens

What listeners say about Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)

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Unrelatable and nauseatingly privileged

Do you make 120k after taxes, have a $300 boat club membership every month, never had any debt, drive two leased new cars and have family that let's you crash at their place rent free for months at a time? Me neither. The book is about a couple, rather impulsively jumping into fire without stopping to ask why or whether it would work for them (they do on a surface level, but they don't seem to derive conviction from these questions). After jumping headlong into decreasing exorbitant expenses such as spending hundreds of dollars having drinks with friends in a single night, or leasing sports cars that "were a great deal", they falter and crumble anytime a friend or family member questions their decision. In fact, after they've moved into her parent's basement (can it get more privileged millennial?) they have an existential crisis about whether they've ruined their lives (at this point they have several hundred thousand dollars in net worth if I remember correctly). And it goes on, and on. This book teaches almost nothing about what FIRE is. Go read MrMoneyMustache or Early Retirement Extreme (Especially the book), Walden, Your Money or Your Life, or A Simple Path to Wealth. All of these dive into the how, why, and what of FIRE. Skip this book if you want to learn how to apply FIRE principles to your life. I'm actually looking forward to the documentary because I desperately want to relate to anything about these people. I hope that the people they interview give a much stronger message of the principles of FIRE and the why of the movement than the author did.

47 people found this helpful

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Covers the basics

Overall a great intro to FIRE. If people are just starting out this is a good place as it talks about some of the mental struggles of living a frugal life to attain financial independence and the basic steps involved. It IS a story of their journey thus far. It is NOT a guide for how to implement FIRE in one's life. I'm looking forward to the movie.

6 people found this helpful

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Missed the point completely

I was interested to be inspired by a family embracing the fire movement. I think the author missed the point completely. Furthermore there is little relatable information. You are sucked in by the struggles of the family and so hopefully to learn about effective strategies and relatable hardships but in the end there is about a paragraph of relatable information. I wish there had been a better story about a more relatable family who lives and are an example of the fire movement.

11 people found this helpful

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  • 04-10-19

Great personal story on path to Financial Independence

I highly recommend this story of a family who awakes from Consumerism and realizes they can retire 20 years earlier if they live differently.

3 people found this helpful

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Great book to read even just for the knowledge

if you'd young and have had any type of financial curiosity.... have watched or listened to Dave Ramsey and felt that you understood him but just didn't feel that excited or it came eye to eye with your goals ... I highly recommend this book! very diverse and great! I highly recommend if your motivated about financial growth and freedom

1 person found this helpful

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Great story with relatable content and info

I loved the writing style. he was talking to me as if I was a friend and he was telling me about his journey, the good and the bad. It opened my eyes that my concerns are normal and getting my husband on board might take some extra steps, but finding out what matters most is a key driver!

1 person found this helpful

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Fantastic Blue Print

This book gives such a fantastic account of what is possible with budgeting and frugality. Retirement can happen at “any” age. I’m going to listen to this at least two more times to keep me motivated. I loved the store and the added interviews at the end. I also loved learning more about this Money Moustache guy.

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Not what I thought it'd be

I was expecting a practical guide and intro into the actual details fire. Instead get a long winded personal diatribe that reads like a narcissists bad blog. if the authors' story of quitting a wealthy lifestyle in southern California for a life of wine, chocolate, beer, and daydreaming of helicopter parenting over their poor kid for the rest of his youth resonates with you, great. It fell flat with me. If you actually want to learn about fire, I recommend skipping this book and going directly mr money moustaches site.

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Great book!

Down to earth and real. Love the simple steps given at the end. Thx u!

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this book was my starting point into my fire life

this book was my starting point into my ne fire lifestyle. it has convinced me that it is possible and in the mean time with other resources i have figured it out.

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  • Mads Jensen
  • 04-27-19

Hot air

This is a book about one man's (and his wife's) worries about what other people think of him. The most telling point is when the main couple's frugal friends don't fall over backwards with admiration for the main couple's enthusiasm for FIRE. The frugal friends ask how exactly you become independent by being dependent on living rent free with your parents. Rather than address this legitimate question, the author and his wife agree that maybe they should just hang out with people who are like them. Classic millenial preferring the echo chamber to real discussion. My favorite FIRE book by far is still The Simple Path to Wealth.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Shazamili
  • 09-14-19

The rich waking up

This book is about a rich couple realising they don’t have to spend $12000 in a month to live a life so they can invest their savings and over the years they can retire early. What is your advice to those they do not make 12 grand in a month but only 2 for example andhave to feed a number of children?

2 people found this helpful

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  • slipperychimp
  • 05-01-19

Good intro to FIRE

I heard about FIRE on a random Podcast and thought I would check it out. It was a great introduction, although I laughed when I just saw the other review, because yes, it is a book about how Scott and his wife worry about what other people think of them. However, it's highlighting situations that you may also encounter on your 'fire journey'. I got a lot from it since it was the first book I'd listened to on the subject, I especially liked the practical formulas, so you know how much as a percentage of your earnings you should be targeting to save or invest. You know how much you need before you can 'retire'. You know what this translates to in terms of years left working your b*llshit job.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Valentina R
  • 06-10-20

Interesting story

I found the story interesting, especially the struggles with fighting lifestyle inflation and finding a balance.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-07-20

Really helpful

I found this book a great help on my own fire journey. Ignore bad reviews

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  • Nick Shepherd
  • 04-02-20

Whinging millenials

I think the ideas behind this are really interesting....but the author and his partner undermine this with their self-obsessed hand wringing and entitled whinging. This is their story. Yawn.

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  • JimPew
  • 03-10-20

Great fire book

Great information on fire. It's a story about how a young American couple adopted fire and broke through to the other side. Well done guys well done!

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  • Ms Lucy Ascham
  • 09-09-19

Powerful truths for living an intentional life

I loved this story of a successful couple with a young child and how they started to change their perspective about their consumer lifestyle. Seeing the difference between wants and needs. It's a personal and honest walk through the decisions, lifestyle changes, losses and many gains they made along the way. I found it very inspiring. I'm already on the path to FI and this helps me recommit and keep going. It's a marathon.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-18-20

Very enjoyable

I love this book and the documentary, easy to listed, good story. Great book if you need some inspiration on your path to FIRE

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-11-20

simply written

loved this book because it literally relates to most people, Scott tells his story really well also. He should become a narrator

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  • matthias
  • 02-29-20

Absolutely Awesome.

I really enjoyed this book. Awesome read. It makes you Rethink what we're taught about money and shows you how to escape the Rat Race.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-19-19

No substance

I want a refund. No substance just waffling on about his own life story. change the title to something more appropriate.