Now that’s what I call Financial Independence! 5

Reader’s voice:

What’s that sound that I hear? 

Is someone scraping the bottom of a barrel?

No…its Now That’s What I call Financial Independence! 5

Yes, that’s right. The Escape Artist is back once again in the guise of a music critic from the NME…armed with earnest prose, tortuous metaphors and psycho-babble to review more classic songs about financial independence.

Thrift shop (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis)

There are many things in the consumer economy that you don’t need to buy.  But we all need clothes.  So the question is how much to spend? and on what clothes?

The answer partly depends on where you work. If you work on the 60th floor at Megabank or Big Law LLP, don’t scrimp on work clothing. To help you get promoted, dress a level above your paygrade.  For guys, I suggest plain dark blue or grey suit, classic, high quality black leather shoes (shined) and decent shirts (ironed, plain white always works).

Out of work, I advise you to minimise spend on clothing, keep it casual and consider some vintage / classic clothes from a charity shop.  Why not find a couple of high quality signature items that are quirky and say something about you?

Changing (Sigma featuring Paloma Faith)

Paloma articulates the pain and frustration that many office workers feel with corporate life. 

On one hand, the repetition and routine can become stultifying: like the scheduled meetings that continue long after people have forgotten the reason they were ever held in the first place.

On the other hand, there’s the unsettling continual change of re-organisations. Each restructuring promises a transition to the sunlit uplands…until the next one six months later where the employees are once again urged to work harder, be more loyal, more flexible and don’t ask too many awkward questions.

Between you and me, Paloma is starting to show some early signs of burnout.  So I’ve emailed Paloma and told her not to worry…I reckon she’s safe to go ahead and quit her job. She should have enough with 25x her spending. And after she quits she’ll be able to earn some income singing at wedding receptions, corporate events, bar mitvahs etc etc.

Paloma hasn’t emailed me back yet. She’s probably busy.

Welcome to the Jungle (Guns ‘n Roses)

Using the metaphor of a jungle, Guys ‘n Roses deliver their classic essay on capitalism.  A jungle is a rich and productive ecosystem of organisms engaged in a mix of competition and co-operation.  In nature, as in capitalism, we see a range of predatory, symbiotic and parasitic strategies.

This song reminds us that companies are not your friends. If you live in a jungle (hint: you do) then you need to think for yourself. 

Capitalism is not inherently moral or immoral.  Capitalism’s faults are our faults. Capitalism, for better or worse, gives us what we are prepared to work and pay for. Capitalism just happens to be the most productive system that humans have come up with to produce abundance.

You get what you give (The New Radicals)

As you’ll see from the video, The New Radicals are somewhat prone to student union gesture politics, exhibiting as they do an unfortunate attitude to people wearing suits.  But, bless them, I think they’re good kids who mean well.  They just need some education on the benefits of capitalism and some firm boundaries.

And You Get What You Give is, for me, a good song. Its an uplifting ditty and a reminder that no matter how unfair life often seems, life goes on.  If you have meaning in your life and a reason to live, you can bear almost anything regardless of money. This is why soldiers can demonstrate incredible bravery on near minimum wage whilst investment bankers (who deep down suspect their work might not be socially useful) often feel hard done by with their $$$$ bonuses.

We should be optimistic and focus on what we control. And if you hang on in there long enough, you should eventually get rewarded for the hard work that you put in upfront.

Upside Down (Jack Johnson)

Blogging is a bit like Show and Tell. Its about sharing what you’ve learned with the rest of the class.

Whilst in primary school the audience still have open minds, that’s not always so true as life goes on and people get older and set in their ways. So if you write a financial independence blog, get ready for people telling you its impossible / unrealistic etc.

With this song, Jack Johnson provides encouragement to others who have recently quit and are enjoying the post work “decompression” phase and learning new stuff.  As Jack puts it:

Who’s to say
What’s impossible…
I found the things they say just can’t be found…
And with each new day
I can feel a change in everything…
And as my mind begins to spread it’s wings
There’s no stopping curiosity

Good for you, Jack! Keep sharing and don’t let the cynics get you down.

Lucky Man (The Verve)

In this classic from 2009, The Verve reflect on the role that luck plays in life and the effect of freedom on your happiness after financial independence:

Happiness, more or less
It’s just a change in me
Something in my liberty…
Well, I’m a lucky man
With FIRE in my hands

The Verve were talented. They probably also benefited from some good luck. They made it in a notoriously difficult business, having originated from a village near Wigan in the north of England which was not previously known for creating a lot of millionaires.

But having broken through to rockstar status, they fell out with each other and split up.  Which I’m not sure was totally down to bad luck.  I can’t help thinking this could be avoided if people in bands took less drugs and learned to control their egos better.

The Life of Riley (Lightning Seeds)

In The Life of Riley The Lightning Seeds carry on the study of luck and randomness where The Verve left off.

The video is worth a watch if only for the comedy value of the football clips. Life is more like football (soccer) than rugby.  In rugby, the stronger side almost always wins.  In Football luck plays a much bigger role. This either make it more frustrating or more exciting, depending on your point of view).

If you think that life is always fair, you may not have been paying attention. But The Lightning Seeds remind us not to get downhearted by luck nor to spend our entire life in the office…and that we need to find the time for…wait for it…the life of Riley.

Did you see what I did there?

Another day in paradise (Phil Collins)

Whenever I am suffering from first world problems, I slap myself in the face (metaphorically speaking) and remind myself not to be a whiney little bitch toddler.  After all, everything is marvellous these days and the least I can do is show a bit of gratitude.

Gratitude crowds out fear, anxiety and negativity. So I try to cultivate it each day.

Gratitude triggers are things you see or hear that immediately give you perspective and make you thankful for what you have. For me, this song is an instant reminder of how lucky we are. My other gratitude triggers include: this article, watching The Walking Dead, walking around a military cemetery, visiting the D Day beaches in Normandy or seeing guide dogs for the blind.

The best things in life are free (Janet Jackson and Luther Vandross)

Uh-oh…cliche alert!

But it’s true. For me, there is nothing more calming than walking in woodland, nothing more rewarding than cooking for my children. And sometimes they even eat what I’ve made. How about waking up without an alarm clock? Or achieving goals you have wanted to achieve for many years?

I’d also nominate:

  • Nature
  • Love
  • Exercise
  • Sex
  • Music
  • Sunshine


  1. suffolkshandy · · Reply

    After negotiating the jump in june, with Mrs shandy jumping next March, following guidance from you, monevator, etc, am finally canning the blood sucking IFA and active funds to go to low cost platform and Vanguard. Shockingly this will save over £5,000 in costs PER YEAR!

    Great track picks again, thank you for posting, very inspiring, will try and update once all our money is safely tucked up with the very honest and amazing jack bogle, 87 years young, recommend watching his you tube interviews.

    1. Great to hear…pay it forward!

  2. Never really noticed the FIRE in ‘Lucky Man’ – great spot and great shout about luck playing a huge part in life, careers, etc.

    ‘Always Look on the Bright Side’ can also be applied to things other than FI, eg Brexit, England’s World Cup and Euro performances!

    And as for football randomness, this weekend Liverpool had over 80% possession and still managed to lose 2-0 to Burnley!

    1. Yes, and I still remember when Liverpool were invincible in Europe and Burnley weren’t even in the first division(!)

      1. SuffolkShandy · · Reply

        I recall Dalglish, Rush, Souness, Smith, Hansen, Neal and even Jimmy Case (big softie) in Europe in the late 70’s and early 80’s for the reds winning 4 European Cups (the proper knockout one…). For balance I also remember where I was when i heard about/saw Heysel and Hillsborough in 85 and 89. The Premier League and tv deals have gone bananas more and more lately, extremely volatile (dumped Sky last year), however….with a nice tracker from Vanguard we can all spread the load in a low cost way.

  3. Matt @ Optimize Your Life · · Reply

    Such an eclectic playlist. Thanks for the laugh and the morning tunes.

  4. Ooh…took me back to the good old days of Britpop.
    Nice one indeed.

    “Country House” by Blur has some fine lyrics that the Escape Artist may enjoy and are in line with this post.

    Was about to donate a couple hundred CDs to our local library but now I am heading off to listen to a few tunes. The library will have to wait a little longer…

    1. Well, if I had just taken the time to read episode 4, I would not have bothered with the above comment. Oh well, great minds and all that…..

  5. Fergie’s Glamorous didn’t make the cut? I think she makes a good point about the importance of curbing lifestyle inflation.

    1. Thanks! I’m not familiar with Fergie’s work but will check it out…could this be the start of Now Thats What I Call FI 6?!?

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