A happily retired couple relaxing at home without any financial worries.
A happily retired couple relaxing at home without any financial worries.

The money movement changing people’s lives

FIRE - Financial Independence Retire Early. It's a thing. A bit cultish, in fact.

The whole premise is you don't need to be rich to put away your work boots early.

It relies on you being frugal, optimising your finances, not being sucked into buying crap you don't need and, in turn, quitting work far earlier than retirement age. Then you can live happily ever after. You do this by investing your money wisely and not being up to the eyeballs in debt.

I trotted off to view the documentary Playing with FIRE, at a screening in Melbourne recently, to find out what all the fuss was about.

It followed the path of former creative director Scott Rieckens and his wife Taylor, both in their 30s, with their two-year-old, Jovie, in tow.

The pair leave their day job in order to pursue a lifestyle where they could spend more time with their daughter and retire early.

Their journey comes with many tears. They give up their comfortable life renting a home in southern California, going on frequent holidays and living a lavish lifestyle, including having a BMW parked in the driveway.

Within five months they have halved their expenses and moved to a more affordable part of the US with their daughter.

silhouette of couple on the beach, dream vacations
silhouette of couple on the beach, dream vacations


While the couple bring forward their projected retirement age by being smarter with money, the film reveals many other FIRE success stories of those who have retired in their 20s and 30s.

Some of these people are saving up to 70 per cent of their income.


The film is a wake-up call for many of us. It highlights the fact we don't need to buy crap with money we don't have to impress people we really don't care about.

It throws upside down the fact so many of us take on debt and then spend our lives working to pay it back.

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While retiring early isn't for everyone - some of us love our jobs - the idea of not having to work would be a wonderful feeling.

It never ceases to amaze me how much rubbish we get sucked into buying.

Many of us want the latest and fanciest gadgets, we buy things that really make little or no difference to our lives and, sadly, many people live pay cheque to pay cheque.

And, let's face it, saving money isn't sexy.

It doesn't look good on

your Instagram or Facebook account if you are not out and about with friends at the coolest places in town.

While I think the FIRE mentality isn't a reality for many of us who are just struggling with everyday costs, it certainly brings home that we are guilty of wasting money far too easily.