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10 Best Songs to Get You Fired Up About FIRE!


10 Best Songs to Get You Fired Up About FIRE!Ahhh… The long days of summer are here. I love this time of the year in the Pacific Northwest. The day starts to get brighter at 5 am and the sun sets around 9 pm. The weather is perfect with a 76 degree Fahrenheit high today. There are a ton of fun activities to do around town and the pool is open for those few hot days. Fresh fruits and vegetables taste great and are way cheaper than in the winter. Life doesn’t get better than this when you’re retired.

I hope I didn’t bring you down if you’re stuck inside working. Summers were particularly tough for me when I was a computer engineer. There were so many fun things to do, why did I have to be stuck in a cubicle? Today, I’ll share some music that helped me get through those rough days. It’s smart to be logical and plan smartly for FI, but sometimes you need a little emotional boost too.

Grab your headphone and check them out! Don’t forget to share the favorite songs that keep you going in the comment section.

*Tip of the day – Retire in the spring or summer. There are a ton of activities to keep you occupied. The transition would be much tougher when you’re stuck inside without a lot to do in the winter.

1. Wicked – Defying Gravity

Elphaba sticks it to the man and goes it alone. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut no matter what anyone else says. I’m not a huge fan of musicals, but Wicked was a great show. This scene was so awesome live. You’ve got to see this show if you haven’t seen it before.

2. Van Halen – Right Now

If you don’t like your life, then start turning it around right now. Don’t wait until tomorrow. I listened to this song constantly to help me stay motivated during my last year of working full time. It was the perfect song to blast on the radio as I left the office for the last time.

3. Office Space – Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangster

Anyone dreaming about quitting their crappy corporate job needs to watch this 1999 cult classic. I didn’t think I’d become Peter, but life happens. Now, back to your TPS report!

4. Bowie – Space Oddity

I just watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and this is a great scene. This song is about being brave and doing something out of the ordinary. I enjoyed this movie. RIP David Bowie.

5. Eminem – Lose Yourself

This is about taking the opportunity to seize everything you’ve ever wanted.

6. Rocky Theme – Gonna Fly Now

This is another classic underdog song to help you persevere though the journey to FIRE. Keep fighting even when it’s tough.

7. Iggy Pop – Lust for life

The Trainspotting soundtrack is so good! Here is a quote from the opening scene. Sounds familiar?

Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suit on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life…

8. Pharrell – Freedom!

What does freedom mean to you?

9. Sara Bareilles – Brave 

Nice song! I never heard of Sara Barielles before and she is really good. I’m very glad I found her through my search for inspiring songs.

10. Kelly Clarkson – Stronger

Here is another song for the ladies. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, including a job…

What’s your FIRE soundtrack?

I had a great time searching for fun songs for this list and spent a ton of time listening to music over the last few days. I hope you had a fun time with these music too.

What songs do you listen to help to stay motivated? I need more inspirational music to help Mrs. RB40 push through to 2020. Have a great long weekend and enjoy the fireworks!

For a more serious look at how to stay motivated see this one – How to Stay The Course to Financial Independence.

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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{ 46 comments… add one }
  • Mr. Tako June 29, 2017, 12:48 am

    Lots of great songs Joe!

    I would have to add one for my FIRE soundtrack — Imagine Dragons “On Top Of the World”


    • retirebyforty June 29, 2017, 7:27 am

      I’m not familiar with that song. Nice one for when you’re walking out. 🙂

  • Pennypincher June 29, 2017, 3:28 am

    Fun post, Joe!
    One song for Mrs. RB40- “Hold On” (for one more day) by Wilson Phillips. Perfect lyrics.

    Two songs for you- “Summer Madness” by Kool and the Gang. Perfect instrumental. And
    “Hot Fun in the Summertime” by Sly & the Family Stone. Classic, classic! Best lyrics. Old school, baby! : )

    • retirebyforty June 29, 2017, 7:30 am

      Summer Madness is pretty good. That’s new to me. Thanks!

  • Lazy Man and Money June 29, 2017, 3:37 am

    I can’t argue with any of those songs. However, the first some that came to my mind when I read the title was “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits.

    • retirebyforty June 29, 2017, 7:30 am

      I’ve been listening to Sultan of Swings a lot lately. Money for Nothing is pretty good too.

  • Troy June 29, 2017, 3:43 am

    My song is Kid Rock’s “Roll On” it is very interesting to listen to this song with my FIRE journey and future in mind, the lyrics sync up so well.


  • [email protected] June 29, 2017, 4:01 am

    Love this post, Joe! And I HATED working inside during the summer as a school administrator. In upstate NY, beautiful weather (for me anyway) is at a premium and sitting at my desk looking at it was the worst. I always loved that Van Halen song! But these days, I’m thinking more about island time! One of my favorites – a Zac Brown Band song featuring Jimmy Buffett… Knee Deep. “The only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair” (the video is awesome too!)

    • retirebyforty June 29, 2017, 7:36 am

      School is out! Are you retired now? Enjoy the summer. I’ve been to Buffalo once for a conference and it was pretty nice. I’d love to spend more time in that area when the weather is nice.
      Thanks for sharing Knee Deep. A bit too Island time for me. 🙂

      • [email protected] June 29, 2017, 10:20 am

        YES! School is out and I’m officially 4 days into retirement. Sanding floors today to prep our house for sale. I can see why flooring folks make good money!

  • Lily He-Prudhomme June 29, 2017, 4:24 am

    Hey fellow PNWer! Some of the songs are way before my time but #5 is everything. Sing for the Moment by Eninem is great too 😉

    • retirebyforty June 29, 2017, 7:38 am

      Some of these are before my time too. 🙂

  • Dave in Sunny FL June 29, 2017, 4:32 am

    “Life’s Been Good” from Joe Walsh.

    • Dave in Sunny FL June 29, 2017, 4:42 am

      And the Kenny Loggins song “I’m Alright” from Caddyshack. Check out those lyrics you could never understand!

    • retirebyforty June 29, 2017, 7:38 am

      I can’t complain, but sometime I still do. 🙂

  • Ms. Frugal Asian Finance June 29, 2017, 4:58 am

    Wow I don’t know most of the song on the list. I know Lose Yourself and Stronger. I never thought there were songs for FIRE. I only have songs that motivated me to lose weight lol. I was listening to Beautiful by Mariah Carey on my way to work this morning. 😀

  • Ali June 29, 2017, 5:05 am

    I love Mike Love’s Permanent Holiday song. I used to listen to it when I was working as a corporate accountant and needed some hope for the future 🙂

    • retirebyforty June 29, 2017, 7:43 am

      Nice message, but the beat doesn’t speak to me. Maybe my taste in music is too conventional.
      Thanks! 🙂

  • Mr. and Mrs. Money Sloths June 29, 2017, 5:14 am

    Not a music video, but we do love this video for motivation and inspiration:


    • retirebyforty June 29, 2017, 7:47 am

      Nice video, but you have to pay attention. The music can be played in the background on repeat. 🙂

  • Matt @ Optimize Your Life June 29, 2017, 5:49 am

    “*Tip of the day – Retire in the spring or summer. There are a ton of activities to keep you occupied. The transition would be much tougher when you’re stuck inside without a lot to do in the winter.”

    I hadn’t thought of this, but it makes so much sense. It does seem like it would make for a much easier transition.

    And I think of that Office Space scene often. 🙂

    • retirebyforty June 29, 2017, 7:48 am

      We’ll have to watch Office Space again. It’s been a long time for me. 🙂
      They should do a remake with a female protagonist.

  • Vivianne June 29, 2017, 5:57 am

    I like World Cup Songs, they are generally have great message “Go go Go, ale ale ale!!” Or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRpeEdMmmQ0 wak waka by Shakira (This time for Africa), once you reach FIRE, you can travel Africa Safari… LOL 🙂

  • Sara June 29, 2017, 6:00 am

    A lot of good songs on this list, and I have a few more to add…

    Counting Stars – One Republic (“No more counting dollars, we’ll be counting stars” Seriously, this sing is THE anthem of FIRE. So many relevant lines.)

    Miss Independent – Ne-Yo (For all the fellow hard-working ladies out there!)

    Better Life – Paper Route (This one will be on the border for some, but it is one of my favorite songs. For those who prefer more melancholic undertones.)

    Could Have Been Me – The Struts (I listened to this one on repeat after I passed my comprehensive exam for my master’s degree. A great song that will definitely pump you up. Total FIRE anthem.)

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher June 29, 2017, 6:04 am

    I just… I love that Wicked is at the top of this list. 🙂 When I need to get pumped, I like listening to Daft Punk!

  • Mrs. Groovy June 29, 2017, 6:08 am

    So much fun Joe! We posted a list of contenders in a contest for our retirement theme song. We whittled them down to 4 for a Twitter poll. “Born to Run” won. I don’t know how we missed “Gonna Fly Now”!

    Others in our list include: It’s My Life (The Animals), Already Gone (Eagles), Born to Be Alive (Patrick Hernandez), It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere (Jackson/Buffet), How Do You Like Me Now (Toby Keith), You Can Take This Job and Shove It (Johnny Paycheck), Bang The Drum All Day (Todd Rundgren), Goodbye To You (Scandal), and I’m Free (The Who)


  • Helen June 29, 2017, 6:13 am

    A relaxing post, Joe.
    What about Alan Jackson’s “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere”?

  • [email protected] June 29, 2017, 6:48 am

    Great choices. Lose Yourself and Gonna Fly Now (as well as much of the Rocky soundtrack) are my favorites. Oh and I really loved Wicked…my favorite Broadway musical. Great music too.

  • freebird June 29, 2017, 7:23 am

    As far as I know Blue Bayou (Linda Ronstadt) is the only song that shares the secret formula–

  • Budget on a Stick June 29, 2017, 7:28 am

    Even on this dreary day I definitely need this!

    I was on leave for 4 weeks to spend time with my new born and being back at work sucks!!!!

    My motivation song is Diddy – Coming home

  • SMM June 29, 2017, 9:10 am

    Office space for me, man that movie was so funny! Especially the boss who always wanted them to work more 🙂

  • Mike Drak June 29, 2017, 9:43 am

    I like two songs:

    it’s a beautiful day by U2 for when you finally get there and

    it’s my life by Bon Jovi

  • The Grounded Engineer June 29, 2017, 12:39 pm

    A very diverse set of songs, Joe! I like the list.

    My favorite on your list is #9!!

  • Duncan's Dividends June 29, 2017, 1:06 pm

    Awesome post, love the songs. Damn it’s good to be a Gangsta is an awesome choice.

  • Dave in Sunny FL June 29, 2017, 4:16 pm

    “All I Wanna Do” by Cheryl Crow.

    “We are drinkin’ beer at noon on Tuesday
    In a bar that faces a giant car wash
    The good people of the world they’re washin’ their cars
    On their lunch break
    Hosin’ and scrubbin’ as best they can in skirts and suits”

  • LazySod June 29, 2017, 7:53 pm

    A Walk – Bad Religion

  • Joe June 29, 2017, 8:47 pm

    I can’t believe no one mentioned lil Dicky- save dat money! Haha! For all you frugal people out there. This guy is hilarious. The song ismy life! 😛

  • Amy @ LifeZemplified June 30, 2017, 3:56 pm

    I want to retire every Spring. Nice list of music. I enjoy #5. Eminem – Lose Yourself, but lately, I can’t stop singing “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper…or my song I made up to it “Debt’s Out” 🙂

  • Dividend Diplomats July 1, 2017, 11:48 am

    I wish I would have appreciated David Bowie more when he was alive. My wife loves his music and I didn’t start listening with her until he died. It is crazy how many great songs he produced or was involved with.

    Your post wasn’t about Bowie, but I felt obligated to add that. I love listening to music and it can be an underrated source of motivation. Especially in the context you have mentioned. When you connect with a song or the message of a so, you are going to see an instant improvement in your attitude or motivation. Whenever I am at work and just need to calm down or up my mood, I turn to music. If I need a jolt, I turn on 90s rock (greenday, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Weezer, etc.). When I need to relax, Led Zeppelin (Since I’ve been loving you is my all time favorite song! There is one lyric “I’ve been working from seven to eleven every night, it kind of makes my life a drag” that seems to resonate me during the long busy season hours), Rush, Queen or Jimi Hendrix usually do the trick. Something about the long guitar solos and rhythm always calms me down!

    I do believe in the power of music. One other thing to note. Isn’t it funny how we all find ourselves slowly sliding into Peter at some point when we are working for a company? It is not an obvious transition, that’s for sure.

    Thanks for the great read today!


    • retirebyforty July 3, 2017, 8:29 am

      Thanks for your comment. I think music is a great source of motivation too. Sometime you need help getting through the rough spots. Bowie was a great musician.

  • Project2035 July 1, 2017, 1:24 pm

    Lately found this Good cop bad cop song that is super for running. The beat is excellent. Of course there is some inappropriate language and strong words, but if you want just a running beat this one I find the best for now 🙂


  • Troy @ Bear Market July 1, 2017, 6:10 pm

    Danger zone. That song goes with anything

    • retirebyforty July 3, 2017, 8:32 am

      Top Gun was an awesome movie. 🙂

  • Adam and Jane July 7, 2017, 8:04 pm

    Interesting post and it made me think which songs I listen to that reflects the before and after being Financially Independent (FI). I used to listen to a lot music from 60’s and New Wave from the 80’s but not so much in the last 8 years. From 2009 to 2017, we were aggressively saving money in preparation for lay offs. 1/3 of our IT staff were let go. That is over 1,000 people. The following “Money” song reflects how obssessively I invested our life’s savings and most earnings to buy Municpal Bonds to generate 84K tax free passive income to reach FI in 2014. I heard the New Wave version remake from “The Flying LIzzards” first.

    Barrett Strong 1959 “Money (That’s What I Want)”

    the remake from
    The Flying Lizzards 1979 “Money (That’s What I Want)”

    Life after FI is reflected from this song “Break the Rules” from Charli XCX. This fast beat song is about not going to school and not giving a fudge. Being FI to me it, represents breaking the rules of needing to work until 65 to retire. We also broke the rules by spending less money and increasing our savings rate to 85% instead of the recommened 10-15% by financial experts. With having FU money now, I just don’t give a fudge at work. I don’t volunteer for new work, new projects or to even learn new technologies. It is tough to get through the rest of the journey. It is quite depressing at work after the laid offs. When people try to dump their work on me, I say “NO”! Being FI is empowering! I am just “burning time” at work to reach 55 in 2.2 years to double my pension and to get 8K for medical coverage before I am made redundant when my obsolete systems are rewritten and outsourced externally in two years. Since I am the only one that supports my systems it is OK if the company lets me go before 55. If this happens then I would turn my phones off and laugh my butt off because there are system problems. Just don’t call me. 🙂

    Charli XCX 2014 “Break The Rules”

    I don’t wanna go to school
    I just wanna break the rules

    Now, all I want to do is to have fun and to be child like again by collecting toys. The best song that reflects my new phase in life is by Sheryl Crow

    “All I Wanna Do”


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