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A Hollywood producer spent over a year figuring out why millennials all want to retire early, and the reason should worry the rest of us

Early retirement is picking up steam because younger people are panicking about the future, according to a Hollywood producer who recently filmed a documentary on early retirement. The idea of having control over your life is becoming more attractive.

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Retiring early may evoke dreams of whiling away the days on the beach, but that's not the biggest reason it has become so appealing.

Instead, early retirement is picking up steam because younger people are experiencing a general panic about the future — at least, according to Emmy-nominated Hollywood producer Travis Shakespeare, who recently directed the documentary Playing with FIRE.

The film follows a 30-something couple navigating the financial independence and early retirement (FIRE) community, and explores the trend through conversations with more than a dozen early retirees.

"Because of the Internet, and we're constantly bombarded with all these information all day every day, there's a sense of insecurity about the future — I think greater than we probably have ever had as a society," Shakespeare said in a recent podcast with Brandon of The Mad Fientist, who retired early at age 34.

He added that the "social safety nets" of social security and healthcare are evolving and, possibly, "in jeopardy."

He continued: "Also, the financial services community — I was about to get conspiratorial — they have forced the individual into a position of responsibility with their own financial future. And we are woefully unprepared to face that because we don't teach financial literacy to anybody."

Instead, he said, American culture has taught society to be consumers under the belief that you make money in order to spend it. "And that's a lie," Shakespeare said.

"So, there's a sense that all of these is just crumbling I think," he said. "And so the idea of being able to have some control and some knowledge and some agency over one's own life I think is very attractive."

This notion isn't far from the various reasons that early retirees have previously listed to Business Insider about why they retired early — none of which have anything to do with money.

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