Can you retire in your 30s? (The FIRE movement)

Lesson plan overview

With this engaging intermediate ESL lesson students will learn a lot of useful expressions to talk about retirement, discuss various aspects of the pension system and watch a video about the FIRE movement (financial independence, retire early). You can combine this lesson with the following lessons: “Start and grow your side hustle” and “The gig economy
The lesson begins with a few conversation questions about retirement which can be discussed in pairs or with the whole class.
Collocations: Students learn useful expressions when talking about retirement (retirement age, life expectancy, set aside money for retirement). Students are given the definitions and they need to complete the collocation with the correct word. As a practice activity, students complete a few statements with the correct word and then discuss the statements in pairs or small groups.
Video: Students watch a video “What is the fire movement” and complete 2 tasks. First they answer 4 questions in their own words and then they complete a gap-fill exercise.
Speaking: Next, students are given quotes from the video and questions to answer for each one.
Vocabulary review: as a review activity, students are asked to match the synonyms and the expressions with opposite meanings from this lesson and then to choose the correct option in 5 sentences.
Debate: The lesson concludes with a debate about the FIRE movement.
The conversation cards provide an additional opportunity to practise and revise the target vocabulary from this lesson.

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Teacher’s lesson plan

Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

Conversation cards PDF

Pre-class activities

To send the pre-class activities to your students, copy the link below.

Vocabulary matching


The first time you watch the video, pay special attention to the correct pronunciation of the following words:

The amount of saving the average individual has will only last them 5-6 years through retirement.
In Denmark, they’ve raised the retirement age so that it would move up as life expectancy increases.
If life expectancy increases by 5 years, the retirement age increases by 5 years and therefore the pension funds will still have to pay out the roughly expected 14 years.

Comprehension questions

In-class activities

Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Conversation cards PDF

Student’s interactive PDF

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