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                    Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)
Part of 6/18

th and worked as a delivery driver on the weekends to supplement her income as a lawyer. Once she was free of her student loan she continued these habits even as her salary grew. 
Now Sylvia is 38 years old and six years into financial independence. But she hasn’t stopped working; instead FIRE has given her the freedom to take a chance on starting her own law firm. 
Other people have used FIRE to travel do charity work or pursue their creative passions. At the end of the day what you do with your financial independence is up to you. 
But you may now be wondering how much money does this actually require? 
Let’s take a look at the math. According to the FIRE Formula you can reach financial independence by saving and investing in total twenty-five times your annual expenses. 
The Rieckenses thought they could cut their expenses down to $60 000 a year meaning that they would need to save $1.5 million in order to retire. If they invested their savings they could expect at least a five perc
                
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                    Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)
Part of 7/18

ent rate of return earning them $75 000 per year. 
And according to a study by Trinity University they could even survive market slumps and inflation by following the “4 percent rule.” By withdrawing a maximum of four percent of their $1.5 million each year – the $60 000 they had budgeted for their expenses – they could build up a buffer by saving the extra one percent of returns left over. This way in the long run their principal of $1.5 million should not dwindle. In other words they could live off of those savings for eternity! 
Now all the author had to figure out was how to cut down his family’s spending to the projected $60 000 per year. 
The key to FIRE is to save aggressively and make low-cost investments. 
As we’ve seen the math behind financial independence is simple: you just need to trim your expenses and build up enough assets to be able to live off the returns. Now it’s time to break down your finances. 
The first step is to track where every dollar of your money is c
                
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                    Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)
Part of 5/18

le. 
Financial independence affords you the flexibility of not having to work for money. 
You might now be thinking that retiring early will be boring. But in fact most people who achieve financial independence through FIRE aren’t actually “retiring” in the traditional sense of the word. 
Financial independence means having enough wealth that you no longer need to work to cover your expenses. But FIRE can make all kinds of flexible career choices possible. 
For example in 2005 Sylvia had just finished law school and landed a job at a law firm in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. In the wake of the flood Sylvia got rid of any possessions that wouldn't fit in her car and prepared to start again somewhere else. Her spending habits were already reasonable by normal standards but the experience made her aware of how quickly material possessions could disappear. 
As a result she was motivated to adopt a frugal lifestyle; she reduced her grocery expenses to $50 a mon
                
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                    Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)
Part of 3/18

sary luxuries FIRE advocates a frugal lifestyle freeing up valuable time for focusing on the important things in life. 
In 2016 the author Scott Rieckens took a job as a creative director to bolster his family’s “perfect” beachtown lifestyle in Coronado California. At the same time he and his wife Taylor felt they needed luxuries like their expensive Vitamix blender or eating out on a nightly basis. 
With a combined annual income of $142 000 after taxes the couple felt that they were doing well enough financially that they could afford these luxuries. And besides weren’t they contributing to their 401k retirement accounts all the while as well? 
However there were other major expenses looming in their future. The couple wanted to buy a house and start saving for their newborn daughter’s college fund. As the author realized how insufficient their $10 000 in annual savings really was he began to despair. Would he have to stick to his new salaried position for the rest of his career just
                
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                    Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)
Part of 4/18

to afford these necessities? This would also mean foregoing his entrepreneurial dreams. With no plan he and his wife would need a big break if they wanted to change their situation. 
Driving to work one February morning in 2017 Rieckens heard an interview with Mr. Money Mustache on his favorite podcast The Tim Ferriss Show. Mr. Money Mustache a Canadian blogger whose real name is Pete Adeney retired near Boulder Colorado when he was just thirty. Since then he has developed a cult following of people looking to make financially savvy lifestyle choices so they too could retire decades early. 
These “Mustachians” are part of a growing movement called FIRE which stands for Financial Independence Retire Early. Using a simple online retirement calculator Scott Rieckens found that if he and his wife cut their expenses in half and invested their savings they would actually be able to retire in just 10 years. 
That day he realized that he didn’t need a big break; he needed to change his lifesty
                
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                    Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)
Part of 1/18


What’s in it for me? Join the path to early retirement and living a more meaningful life. 
Like many Americans today ever since graduating from college Scott Rieckens had been overworking himself in order to afford a luxurious lifestyle he thought he needed. 
Then driving to work one day he heard a podcast interview with financial guru Mr. Money Moustache about the FIRE movement. This changed Rieckens’ life. FIRE or Financial Independence Retire Early is a community devoted to combining aggressive savings and low-cost investments to buy back their most precious resource— time. 
Within five months Rieckens had left his job cut his family’s expenses in half and set out to make a documentary about the journey. Two years later he is just nine years from retiring the documentary Playing with Fire is finished and he has written a book in the process. 
These blinks reveal hacks for making the most of your finances so you can focus on what you really care about. As we’ll see FIRE converts
                
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                    Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)
Part of 2/18

 have used their newfound financial independence to do many things including retiring early making flexible career choices pursuing passion projects and simplifying their lives. And best of all the FIRE lifestyle isn’t only for wealthy people and doesn’t even demand extreme devotion; it’s for anyone who wants to live a more intentional life. 
In these blinks you’ll find out 
the optimal price to pay for a car; 
why investing all your savings in the stock market isn’t as dangerous as it sounds; and 
why FIRE doesn’t have to mean cutting out your Christmas shopping. 
Scott Rieckens felt trapped by his unsustainable lifestyle until he discovered FIRE. 
Most people work until their mid-sixties. They see it as the normal thing to do because without the security of a full pension early retirement may be an inconceivable notion. But when you take a look at what people are working for something doesn’t add up. 
Whereas consumer culture demands that people overwork themselves for unneces
                
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                    Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)
Part of 0/18


Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)
 
Scott Rieckens
 
Playing with FIRE (2019) takes a look at the growing movement known as FIRE or Financial Independence Retire Early. With a detailed account of the author’s own life-changing journey and examples of diverse FIRE devotees it reveals ways in which you can change your spending and investing habits to pursue your passions and live a more meaningful life.
                
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                    The Truth about Employee Engagement
Part of 17/18

ind a meaningful job. 
If you’re job-searching it’s wise to ensure there’s potential for the role for which you’re applying to be meaningful. You can do this at the interview stage. Tell prospective employers that you’d like to know them better and that you want them to know you. Tell them you need a clear vision of what your work is doing for others and a clear way to measure success. If they don’t seem interested in answering the questions that’s a red flag. Find a company that can offer you a workplace where you’ll look forward to arriving every morning. 
Got feedback? 
We’d sure love to hear what you think about our content! Just drop an email to remember@blinkist.com with the title of this book as the subject line and share your thoughts! 
What to read next: Build It by Glenn Elliott and Debra Corey 
In these blinks you got a good general overview of the importance of having engaged employees. When you’ve mastered the basics and you’re ready to take employee engagement to the next
                
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                    The Truth about Employee Engagement
Part of 18/18

 level then Build It should be next on your list. 
A self-described “rebel playbook ” Build It is the result of a decade of thorough research. Having studied employee engagement in 2 000 companies the authors have plenty of insights to share on how top firms keep their people productive. They also let you in on the secret that links them all. Let’s just say you can put that old HR rulebook on eBay... 
 >
                
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                    The Truth about Employee Engagement
Part of 15/18

r caring as a nurse or a doctor. But don’t forget that managers are in a position to give a great deal to their employees. To do this they have to make an effort to improve the well-being of their employees – physically and mentally – to ensure they have the best possible working conditions. The great news is that everybody benefits in this situation; the employees feel valued and motivated while the manager enjoys the satisfaction of having improved the well-being of many people and their families. 
Making changes needn’t be intimidating either. There are a wealth of simple things managers can do to be of service to their staff. 
First a manager should take a look at what they’re already doing to make their employees feel good. They can do this by asking how well they really know their employees whether they are aware of their hobbies passions and home life. 
It’s also the manager’s responsibility to put measures in place that will keep each employee aware of their contribution to the
                
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                    The Truth about Employee Engagement
Part of 16/18

 company so they can keep track of the impact their work is having. 
But managers shouldn’t just trust their own feelings. They need to ask for feedback to see which areas still leave room for improvement when it comes to helping employees find meaning in their work. If there are shortcomings then the manager can make a decisive plan of action for changes. This will involve further discussions with individuals and the whole team. 
If individuals and managers alike make the effort to connect and make each other feel valued both people and business will thrive. 
Final summary 
The key message in these blinks: 
Don’t put up with a miserable job – find a way to make it meaningful. Managers and employees alike have the tools to bring joy and meaning to each other’s work. The key is to focus on your impact on other people what you contribute to the whole and have a clear way of measuring your success. The more engaged the employees the more successful the business. 
Actionable advice: 
F
                
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                    The Truth about Employee Engagement
Part of 14/18

now Michael personally. 
The other occupational hazard is that Michael loses sight of what he’s doing for others. Playing a sport can come to seem irrelevant. Even if Michael and his teammates have thousands of followers on social media or receive media praise for their playing record this is no replacement for personal feedback. That means it’s up to the coaches and managers to remind sportspeople how much they’re valued by the fans who watch their games. A win will keep the supporters happy through the whole week and keeping that in mind can make all the difference. 
Managers should serve their employees; there are simple actions any manager can take to do that. 
What do you think of when you think of service? An underpaid waiter serving a rich diner? An ordinary worker serving a more powerful manager? Actually service should go both ways and managers should aim to serve their employees. 
When you’re a manager in a corporate organization it’s easy to feel you’re not as generous o
                
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                    The Truth about Employee Engagement
Part of 12/18

to measure their contribution. It’s very important that success isn’t measured by how happy a superior is with the work. If success is evaluated subjectively like this it creates a competitive environment with people playing politics and sucking up to the boss. 
Instead employees should be able to track their progress using clear metrics. It’s no use giving individuals the general company revenue target to aim for; there should be a feedback system. This allows employees – like the hotel worker – to get direct feedback from customers. 
The hotel worker was just a quick example. Let’s look at some more examples in the next blink. 
The job of a box boy or of a star athlete can both be made more meaningful. 
You’ve already heard why a glamorous job isn’t necessarily a happy one just as a menial job isn’t always miserable. If you need convincing further here are some more examples of how to make any job more meaningful. 
What about a box boy? The boy in this example is called Josh. He
                
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                    The Truth about Employee Engagement
Part of 13/18

works at the supermarket packing customers’ bags and carrying them to the car. Josh may be at the bottom of the hierarchy but the boss would be unwise to treat him anonymously. The boss might start a conversation find something the two have in common and by doing so increase Josh’s interest in and loyalty to the store. Josh could also make the work more interesting for himself by giving the customers extra benefits such as a weather report or an inspiring quote while he’s doing his job. 
Now let’s look at the other end of the hierarchy and consider the job of a star athlete. In this case he’s called Michael and he plays American football. Michael’s lucky enough to earn several million dollars each year but he’s not necessarily a happy man. Major athletes like Michael are treated like commodities – traded anonymously by clubs and agents for huge fees. Moving to a new city working with a new coach the star athlete risks feeling very lonely unless the new coach makes an effort to get to k
                
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                    The Truth about Employee Engagement
Part of 10/18

r staff. This includes their dreams what motivates them and important events in their home life. Sadly managers often neglect to do this but taking a genuine interest in colleagues and checking in with them regularly is one of the most effective ways to raise employee engagement. 
“To manage another human being effectively requires some degree of empathy and curiosity about why that person gets out of bed in the morning. ” 
Employees need to know exactly what they are contributing and have a reliable way of measuring this. 
“Great job!” That’s the sort of thing you might hear from a manager trying to keep you motivated. It’s nice but it’s not enough. Employers need to be a lot more specific in their praise. Why? Because employees need to know exactly what their contribution is to feel their work is worthwhile. 
This often involves playing on the human element of any job. Take a worker at an airport hotel. It may be their job to deliver breakfast trays to guests’ rooms. If they
                
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                    The Truth about Employee Engagement
Part of 11/18

 only see their job as delivering food they won’t find much satisfaction in the task. But if they understand that the guests receiving the breakfast have likely been traveling for hours are very tired and that having breakfast outside their door will make a huge difference to their day the job suddenly becomes much more meaningful. 
Accounting might not seem like the most caring of professions but an accountant may have just as great an impact on other humans. Say a sick person has lost the receipt from a doctor’s appointment but needs to be reimbursed as soon as possible. If the accountant helps find that receipt she’s not only finding a piece of paper; she’s also giving the patient peace of mind. That lets the patient take a break from worrying about their finances and spend their time on something enjoyable. 
It should be part of the employer’s job to remind employees who they’re helping. 
As well as having a clear idea of who benefits from their hard work employees need to be able
                
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                    The Truth about Employee Engagement
Part of 8/18

t can be awkward for an employer to ask questions that require an emotional response particularly questions about how an employee is feeling or whether they’re enjoying their work. Luckily this is a skill that can be developed if managers work a little harder every day to make sure their employees stay engaged. 
Employers need to get to know their employees and show what employees are contributing. 
What do you have in common with megastars like Madonna? More than you’d think. In spite of wealth and success many actors and movie stars find themselves dissatisfied – under constant pressure to reinvent themselves because of a deep fear of becoming irrelevant. This fear affects office workers just as much as Grammy Award winners. 
Employers can do a lot to help their employees feel needed. Firstly by making sure each employee knows what their contribution is. For example employers might encourage their employees to ask “Who am I helping?” In the hospitality industry the answer is stra
                
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                    The Truth about Employee Engagement
Part of 9/18

ightforward: the customer. But even though it’s clear who they’re helping it’s important to remind employees that their work is having an impact by making sure to relay customer feedback to them. 
It’s not quite as easy to motivate employees who aren’t working directly with customers such as secretaries and office assistants. Their work largely benefits just one person directly – the boss. In this situation it’s a good idea for the boss to motivate employees by acknowledging how their hard work makes her life easier. 
As well as making the effort to give praise employers need to get to know their employees. Employees whose bosses take an interest in them will feel more satisfied in their roles. So what’s the best way to make an employee feel listened to? Easy – just take time to sit down and talk. 
It may be hard to overcome workplace formality at first. When recruiting managers are trained not to ask candidates personal questions in interviews. However managers should get to know thei
                
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                    The Truth about Employee Engagement
Part of 7/18

 
The less obvious – but equally important – benefit is that engaged employees will stay loyal to their company. They will even recommend it to other good employees. In the long term this will save the company time and money on training and recruitment. 
It’s also worth bearing in mind in these highly competitive times that having a reputation for fostering a positive workplace can boost a company’s profile. This is easily done by looking after your employees and making sure they’re motivated. 
Doesn’t this all sound like common sense? Well sadly there are many obstacles to overcome to achieve such employee engagement. 
As the employee you might focus solely on salary and promotion prospects when choosing a role. While these are important it’s even more crucial to find out if the company will be a good cultural fit for you. Does it support employees’ development? Does it nurture their existing talents? 
On the other hand the main obstacle for employers is an inability to communicate. I