Tonight I consummated a long distance virtual love affair with “Playing With FIRE: The Documentary”. When Coach Carson and his wife Kari invited me to join them for this indie screening in Greenville, SC, after meeting them recently at #FinCon19, I leapt at the chance to see my new renaissance money nerd friends again and appease my burning curiosity.
After the 4 hour drive from Knoxville, TN with my thoughts and podcasts, I was moved when I walked in to a packed theater of people of remarkably diverse demographics and stories considering the millennial counter cultural messaging I expected to see. After a short intro by the screening’s hosts from the local ChooseFI Group, the lights dimmed. It quickly got uncomfortably dark and very, very real.
I found myself shifting in my seat, on a shared hedonic treadmill, and in a rat race to the bottom. As we neared the end of the movie, and before the lights came up, tears streamed freely down my face. A fellow audience member consoled me with a gentle pat on the back. Like the FIRE movement, the movie was really an interactive experience for and by the people and a shared journey on the screen and in the audience.
Scott and Taylor’s story and travels from Coronado, CA to Bend, OR may have been financially or math motivated, but it played out in gut wrenchingly physical and emotional detail with their daughter Jovi, a blissfully and fiercely independent toddler, in tow. They shed the physical and emotional baggage of a high cost of living life including a million dollar home on the beach and luxury cars.
Having seemingly lost their financial way, they return to reconnect with their frugal midwestern roots during home stays with their parents. Along the unmarked road, they meet and sought counsel from several well-known virtual rebels, mentors, and influencers in the Financial Independence tribe and space. Notably, none of The 10 Items that made up Taylor’s weekly Happy List were not tied to location, or their past life. They were conveniently all portable on their journey to meet their future selves.
In this moving movie of intentional lifestyle deflation to a reliable path in pursuit of financial independence and freedom I unsurprisingly found many details of my own family’s story. You won’t have to look hard to find pieces of your story too or certainly those of someone you know or are certain to meet. It is not a story that a voracious economy feeding on the time value of your life in cycles of unconscious overconsumption wants you to hear.
It is one, however, that must be told, seen, and experienced again and again until we finally get it. We must digest FIRE’s messages of intentionality, sustainability, and renewability in our personal financial lives until they have permeated humanity with their superpowers to change our present culture and save our future world.
We must stand up, join hands, and break the generational chains and inertia that compel us to model and, in so doing, hand down a legacy of financial illiteracy and indebted servitude to our children. Instead of sticking our overwhelmed heads in the sand and allowing our money to be our master, we must master our money as the powerful currency of asset acquisition, compound growth, wealth, and financial freedom that is meant to be. It is time to close the chronological and financial developmental age gap. We must “Playing with FIRE” again and again in order not to get burned.
Please consider joining us in the Financial Literacy Project sandbox and come to play.