The FIRE movement with Dr Di Johnson – Economics Explained ep. 24

My latest Economics Explained episode on the FIRE movement, in which I interview Griffith Business School lecturer Dr Di Johnson, is now available. FIRE stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early. By early, proponents typically mean retiring in your 30s or 40s. Popular FIRE blogs include  Mr Money Mustache and the Financial Samurai.

In addition to teaching and researching at Griffith, Di is a regular commentator on financial issues on ABC radio and TV. She is also a member of ASIC’s Financial Capability Research Network.

Use these timestamps to jump right to the highlights:

  • 1:40 – Dr Di provides an overview of the FIRE movement (also check out this Forbes article The 9 FIRE blogs you should read)
  • 3:45 – is the FIRE movement a millennial idea?
  • 7:35 – doing the math, you can see some big risks with the FIRE concept (Di mentions some information on average spending by singles and couples that was once on ASIC’s MoneySmart website: Weekly spend by life stage)
  • 11.20 – challenge of forecasting future living costs in decades to come – e.g. think about trying to forecast current Sydney cost of housing back in the 1970s
  • 16:40 – Di says some positives of the FIRE movement are it encourages people to save when they’re young and it promotes conscious consumerism
  • 23:05 – what is Barista FIRE?
  • 25:35 – discussion of digital nomads and vagabonding
  • 30:05 – Di notes it may be preferable just to find ways to make your current work more enjoyable – e.g. the slow work movement, taking longer holidays, etc.

The episode was recorded via Zoom video conferencing on the 25th of February 2020.

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