Now that’s what I call Financial Independence! 7

Since I wrote Now That’s What I call Financial Independence! 6 back in November 2016, I’ve received hundreds of emails.

And literally none of them have pleaded with me to write Now That’s What I call Financial Independence! 7.

None of them begged for more frugality medicine washed down with a spoonful of sugar in the form of some banging tunez.

None of them cried out for The Escape Artist to accept the crown of Poet For A Lost Generation and hand down another instalment of lyrical poetry.

But why would I let that stop me?

So 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.

I Could Be The One (Avicii v Nicky Romero)

Big Up to reader Damo who nominated this Tune.

You gotta enjoy the underlying message of this song which is that life is short…too short to spend all of it in the office. I could go on but I think the video speaks for itself.

I warn you that viewers may find some of the images disturbing (e.g. the sandcastle scene at 1:38 and the printer smash at 3:50).

Big Hat, No Cattle (Eli Barsi)

These people cannot be millionaires!  They don’t look like millionaires, they don’t dress like millionaires, they don’t eat like millionaires, they don’t act like millionaires – they don’t even have millionaire names. Where are the millionaires who look like millionaires?

So starts the book The Millionaire Next Door, the classic study of how most rich people got rich.  The quote is from a salaried, middle manager in a large bank, talking about people that were financially independent.His view of millionaires is shared by most people who are not wealthy. He thinks that millionaires drive expensive cars, wear expensive clothes, watches and other status symbols. Wrong!

The reason he is Wrong is perhaps best expressed by those wise and wealthy Texans who have a phrase for consumer suckers, financial advisers and others showing off in the Prison Camp:

Big Hat, No Cattle

Parklife (Blur)

If you were brought up in Britain in 1970s and 1980s, you’ve gotta love the video to this. The lyrics are somewhat cryptic but you have to respect Blur’s messages that an expensive car does not make you any fitter or richer (It’s got nuffin’ to do wiv yer Vorsprung Durch Technik) and the importance of the right sort of nutrition and exercise.

I also enjoyed the description of living without an alarm clock, going to the park and appreciating the beauty of nature.  This reminded me of someone new to financial independence in the initial transition period adjusting to a life of freedom and self-determination:

Part of the Process (Morcheeba)

Although I received no emails begging for Now 7! I did get an email earlier this week from a reader with the question of how exactly to go about the process of quitting…and then figuring out what to do with your life:

The issue though, is that I do not know exactly what I want to do in the next stage. Might be writing, teaching, blogging. But I don’t know for sure.

So here is the question: Did you go through a similar process? Did you know exactly what you wanted to do before leaving your “standard” job or did you just quit without a clearly defined plan?

And how did you navigate the emotional challenge of the transition from having a full and stressful agenda to having all the time in the world/potentially feel under-utilised? Did the new tasks/projects come naturally to you?

This is a big question. And sometimes the answers to really big questions can’t be rushed. There is a beautiful period of decompression after quitting full time work which is all part of the process of deciding what next. Which brings us to this wonderfully calming piece by Morcheeba from their seminal 1998 trip-hop album “Big Calm”.

Victorious (Panic at the Disco!)

Most people think that stoicism is just about enduring hard times, coping with disappointment and generally putting up with shit. In other words, it’s for losers.

But wait! Stoicism is actually much more interesting and more powerful than that.  It’s an operating system for making high stakes decisions, used in action by the most successful people in the world. In other words, stoicism is for winners.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I dedicate this song to anyone that’s ever been dumped or sacked or got injured and come back better than ever.

Wherever I Go (OneRepublic)

Financial independence (FI) is not the same thing as early retirement. And you are allowed to carry on working after FI if you want.

I could bang on about this but sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

This music video from Korean-American director Joseph Kahn shows the remarkable effect that financial independence can have on your enjoyment of work.

You can see my full review here.

99 Problems (Jay Z)

Everyone has problems. Even the most outwardly self-assured person is dealing with problems in some area of their life. Financial independence just frees you up to work on higher quality problems.

I feel like Jay Z and The Escape Artist have some things in common.  Both of us had to struggle before solving our money problems. Both of us are married (not to each other). Both of us grew up on the streets (him in Brooklyn NYC, me in rural East Anglia).  Both of us learnt about the value of money the hard way. Him as a gangsta rapper, me as more of a chartered accountant.

True, its not the most politically correct song.  But Jay Z shows spirit. And you need some grit in the oyster to make the pearl of financial independence.

Dirtee Cash (Dizzee Rascal)

Dizzee makes a number of important observations about debt, consumerism and contemporary British society.  He correctly identifies that our culture worships at the altars of spending and big houses.

But the boy Dizzee seems to have some psychological issues around money that could be addressed with the help of some re-framing.  For example, referring to money as “dirty cash” is probably not helpful if you want to get to financial independence.

Dizzee is right that money talks…it confers power…but money is morally neutral, it’s just a tool. What matters is what you do with it. Money is the power to control your own life.

What you waiting for? (Gwen Stefani)

Gwen Stefani explores the problem of procrastination.

When it comes to investing, many people get stuck. Fortunately Gwen read the 3 numbers that can make you a millionaire so she understands that the sooner you start, the easier it is.

As Gwen reminds herself, the clock is ticking and, until we’ve taken action, our money can’t get to work for us and deliver the magic of compound interest.


  1. Vince Venison · · Reply

    Well I for one am pleading (well, asking nicely) for you to write NTWICFI 8, but could you find some music for we older people please? I like to be able to hum along to myself as I read your post, which just isn’t possible with Jay Z!

  2. My goal is financial independence as well. Can’t wait for that day! 🙂

  3. Rather pleasingly, I stepped back off the ledge yesterday evening and informed my current employer that as of the 6th April I wouldn’t be bothering them any more and would rather like it if they would cease bothering me on the same date or before.

    To quote Damon Albarn utterly out of context, it gave me a sense of enormous wellbeing.

    I’m not at FI quite yet, but I’m getting close.

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