Friends With Money #1: The FIRE movement


The financially independent retire early movement is gaining traction in Australia as people start opting out of 9-5 work and seek greater flexibility. This week in the Friends With Money podcast, we're talking all things FIRE.

Working out what you need to retire comfortably is very personal - it depends on your lifestyle, your commitments and your goals and values.

Mr Money Mustache in the US, has calculated the magic number for retirement - and with a growing band of followers and a host of Australian-based FIRE converts momentum is growing, which shows that there set age people are aiming to retire, the incomes they want to retire on, the jobs they are currently doing and the lifestyle they are aiming to achieve.

friends with money podcast early retirement
Friends with Money - The FIRE movement

The key isn't the particular investments they make - they range from property to index funds, shares, ETFs and even Bitcoin (in one example). The key is consistently saving and the discipline this entails.

In this podcast we talk to journalist Susan Hely who has been following this community since 2018. She revisited her FIRE experts this year to see if COVID had any impact on their aims. We also talk to Dave, based in Perth, who effectively retired at 28 with his partner. He says saving is the key to an early retirement and worked hard on his budget to make the savings the couple needed to live their life of freedom.

We also talk to Serina Bird, the Joyful Frugalista, about her journey to financial freedom. Now in her late 40s, she no longer needs to work full-time but she is choosing to take on contracts when it suits her. She achieved her financial goal by living frugally and is currently continuing to save tax-effectively into her superannuation.

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Julia Newbould was editor-at-large and later managing editor of Money from November 2019 to February 2022. She was previously editor of Financial Planning and Super Review magazines; managing editor at InvestorInfo and at Morningstar Australia. Julia co-authored The Joy of Money, a book on women and personal finance. She holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney where she serves on the alumni council.

Susan has been a finance journalist for more than 30 years, beginning at the Australian Financial Review before moving to the Sydney Morning Herald. She edited a superannuation magazine, Superfunds, for the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, and writes regularly on superannuation and managed funds. She's also author of the best-selling book Women and Money.

Serina Bird is a proud frugalista who has amassed more than a million dollars through frugal living. She is the author of several books including The Joyful Frugalista and The Joyful Startup Guide. Serina blogs at The Joyful Frugalista, and her podcast is available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. She is also the founder of The Joyful Business Club. Her new book, How To Pay Your Mortgage Off in 10 Years is out now!