Are you ready to cozy up by the warm glow of the FIRE movement? The acronym stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early, and it’s a topic we love covering here at HerMoney. Over the years we’ve broken it down with some incredible guests including Jamila Souffrant, Grant Sabatier, Jonathan Mendonsa, Brad Barrett, and Vicki Robin.
This week, we sit down for some one-on-one time with Scott Rieckens, author of Playing With Fire, and producer of the recent documentary by the same name. Scott walks us through his journey into the FIRE movement, and how he learned to prioritize his spending and saving goals. As an Emmy-nominated film and television producer and entrepreneur, Scott was inspired to explore the FIRE movement on the big screen when he discovered there was a lack of educational videos on the topic.
Retiring early was a goal for Scott (as it is for many of us) but the FIRE movement goes well beyond that — it’s about taking control of your finances once and for all, and reducing the stress that can arise when we feel like we aren’t in control of our money.
The concepts around FIRE are simple, Scott tells Jean — and you don’t have to be an investing expert (or even the biggest fan of the FIRE movement) to get something out of the basic lessons. “Whether it’s the absolute best way to go or not isn’t really the point,” he says. “To me, it was just a matter of, ‘Okay, now I have the framework on how to get started.’” Scott cites Mr. Money Mustache, and Vicki Robin as major influences on his journey, along with the book, The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins.
Scott tells Jean that he was led to explore the FIRE movement when he began to feel like he was squandering the money he was earning. “We were working so hard for our money, but we weren’t letting our money work hard for us,” he says. “We have a responsibility to our money, and I didn’t feel like I was doing my part with my daily Starbucks, or buying the latest ‘new shiny object.’ I knew these things weren’t the path to happiness, but I didn’t know any other way.”
When they first joined the FIRE movement, Scott says he and his wife were out to see how far they could push their savings rate. Then, they decided to see what was “uncomfortable,” and that took them to the next level. “All of a sudden we realized we could live off one income, we could invest, and we had an emergency fund saved,” he says.
In Mailbag, Jean advises a woman on credit card usage and selection, and answers a question about taking a job you’re overqualified for in order to get your foot in the door at a good company. Jean also advises a woman who’s between jobs on health insurance options, including COBRA and short-term health plans that can be purchased from the marketplace. Lastly, in Thrive, Jean dishes on why people aren’t checking their credit score as often as they were in years past, and why that could be a big mistake.