Now that’s what I call financial independence! 8


Reader’s voice:

What’s that sound I hear? Is someone scraping the bottom of a barrel again? 

No…its Now That’s What I call Financial Independence! 8

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’m On A Boat (The Lonely Island)

It’s a common advertising tactic to show images of success that appeal to our desire to Have It All!  This is used to sell houses, cars, boats, food, drinks…and even lifestyles.

I like Tim Ferriss’ book The 4 Hour Work Week (and his podcast).  But I know some people don’t. Ferriss’ marketing played on the seductive idea that you can Live The Dream! and Have It All! and run your multi millionaire dollar business empire whilst lazing in a hammock in Hawaii or downing tequila shots on your boat with a bevvy of busty mermaids in skimpy bikinis.

But Tim was only doing a version of what people do on Facebook etc.  People post pictures of their beach holiday… but when their boat / car gets repossessed?…not so much.  We see the successes but the failures are hidden.

Fuck You (Ceelo Green)

We often blame others for our own shortcomings, as Ceelo Green artfully demonstrates in this comedy classic. The song starts with Ceelo getting dumped by his girlfriend.  Life seems very unfair and he’s angry with her.

But whoever said that life was fair? Not everything revolves around Ceelo…he’s overlooking the fact that his girlfriend was a living, breathing, independent human being with her own hopes, dreams and aspirations. You never own another person.

Ceelo tells himself and anyone who will listen that the issue was his lack of money and that his ex is a gold digger…but he has no evidence for this. And, as impartial observers, we see how Ceelo’s own values have become tainted with consumerism.

If I was richer
I’d still be with ya
Yeah I’m sorry, I can’t afford a Ferrari…
I guess he’s an X-box, and I’m more Atari
But the way you play your game ain’t fair

When Ceelo compares himself to an Atari, we see the real problem.  Ceelo has low self-esteem and weak Inner Game.  Ceelo gives this away when, like a little toddler, he tells his Mum…and then gives a resounding cry of Waaaaaaahhhhhhhh!…Whyyyy??

We’ve all been there. And I feel sorry for Ceelo…I really do….but one day he will look back on this and realise The Inestimable Advantages of Hardening the Fuck Up.

Focus (Ariana Grande)

Getting to financial independence takes focus.  The world is full of distractions like advertising, peer pressure and the news.

For anyone wavering, Ariana Grande belts out some advice on how to stay focused:

I know what I came to do
And that ain’t gonna change
So go ahead and talk ya talk
Cause I won’t take the bait

Ariana reminds us that its going to take hard work to get to a life where work is voluntary. Sure, other people may criticise us. The Man will try to hold us down.  That’s life and no, it’s not fair.

All you can do is focus on what you can control…and that means you…your thoughts and your actions.

There’s a guy works down the chip shop swears he’s Elvis (Kirsty MacColl)

I don’t entirely blame my angry commenter for showing a little scepticism.  He was probably only expressing a thought that many readers of FI blogs have.

One of the funny things about writing a blog about financial independence and then sharing the “secrets” of how its done is that you know that a lot of people won’t believe you.

That’s OK. A bit of caution is in order when you stumble across someone on the internet promising the secrets to riches.  I still remember finding MMM and forensically searching through it for anything inconsistent or incorrect…before concluding that it was actually true.

In this classic from 1981, Kirsty MacColl reminds us that not everyone follows The Escape Artist’s policy on honesty.

Dance wiv me (Dizzee Rascal)

Back in March I wrote about How to Get Paid To Be on TV and said:

I don’t know whether the TV show will be any good. I haven’t seen the results yet. Maybe during the editing process they’ll decide that The Escape Artist has the perfect face for radio and cut me out. Which would probably be a relief for all concerned.

Well, the future always arrives and How To Retire at 40 is scheduled for 8 30pm on Monday 10 July on Channel 4.  This is a bit scary…although I’m told my bit is mercifully brief.

As I’ve said before, there is a huge element of luck involved in achieving financial independence or in just about any aspect of life. As I pointed out in Now 4 and Now 5, The Escape Artist was lucky in many ways: being born in Britain, good health, upbringing etc.

But there are some things you can do to get lucky more.  One thing you can do to is to put yourself out there and take some intelligent risks. When blogging or pursuing financial independence, starting does not guarantee you will succeed. But not starting guarantees lack of success.

For me, the trick to getting paid to be on TV was to start blogging, put useful stuff out there and see what happened. You can’t predict what will come from this. But you can make it easier for other people (clients, collaborators, TV producers) to find you. When you do this, good things tend to happen.

One of the things I often help my my coaching clients with is that to build an industry reputation or freelance career or side hustle, you need a shop window where people can see your work and find you.  This could be as little as a LinkedIn profile or it could be your own website with your business / portfolio / service / CV showcased on it.

In the words of Dizzee Rascal:

put yer skillz on show.

Bills (LunchMoney Lewis)

People often struggle to join the dots between their own life choices and the fact that they are not as rich, healthy and happy as they could be. Here LunchMoney Lewis gives a demonstration of the perils of poor life choices.

Large, detached houses are expensive and come with higher maintenance costs than an apartment or townhouse. Sprawling suburbs are an environmental disaster and a personal finance disaster. They encourage reliance on cars.  And cars are Money Incineration Units….the bigger they are, the more money they burn.  But its not just cars, this way of living encourages all aspects of over-consumption…including food.

We all have blind spots. LunchMoney can’t see any scope to cut his spending. But could there be a clue right there in his name?

Back to Life (Patawawa ft Roman Pouder)

If you find yourself unhappy with your life and are leaving angry comments on the internet, its probably a sign that something is out of balance. That’s OK…you can fix that over time.

How? Scott Adams has an interesting take on this in How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big

Normally when you feel unhappy, you blame your mood on whatever your environment is serving up to you. It’s easy to blame your environment because you can interpret everything as bad news or potentially bad news. Just add pessimism or cynicism to any observation and you can manufacture bad news out of thin air…I’m here to tell you that the primary culprit in your bad moods is a deficit in one of the big five: flexible schedule, imagination, sleep, diet and exercise

No one wants to believe that the formula for happiness is as simple as daydreaming, controlling your schedule, napping, eating right, and being active every day. You’d feel like an idiot for suffering so many unhappy days while not knowing the cure was so accessible.

So maybe we all just need to live a more natural life?

Sadly, you don’t make big money from telling people to get some more sleep and go for a walk. Which is a shame because exercise…and, in particular, exercising outdoors in nature (e.g. mountain biking, swimming, rock climbing, running, walking) is a more effective health intervention than any anti-depressant drug.  This is ironic when you think how many billions of £ / $ / € are being spent on anti-depressants.

Drop Out (Jack LNDN)

The Escape Artist has previously been accused of “turning into a hippy”.  And I can see why the whole financial independence thing could be seen that way: loving nature, rejecting conformity, stopping (compulsory) work and generally sticking it to The Man.

Financial independence is definitely about turning on and tuning in to what’s really important.…removing the noise and figuring out how the system works.  Once you’ve done that you can pursue freedom and optimise for happiness.

But I don’t see financial independence as dropping out of life.  You don’t have to retire once you reach financial independence. I still work…its just that work is now no longer compulsory.

The Greatest (Sia)

If the point of financial independence is not to drop out, then what is?

Maybe it’s to be the best version of you that you can?

Other than in sport and business, its generally a waste of energy to compete with other people. There’s always someone richer / taller / smarter than you.  But competing with yourself is one of the most productive things you can ever do.

As Sia puts it, she’s free to be the greatest she can be.

Further reading:


  1. Now That’s What I call Financial Independence! 7
  2. Financial Coaching



  1. Have you done Placebo ‘Slave to the Wage’ yet? Seems pretty apt.

  2. SuffolkShandy · · Reply

    Great selection as always – one for NTWICFI9 for you……

    Iron Maiden – El Dorado, track 2 from The Final Frontier album from 2010

    Bruce seems to be harping on about fees and nasty greedy financial ‘advisers’ here, among other post 2007-8 crash type stuff. Particularly like the line ‘I’m a clever banker’s face, with just one letter out of place’. Something different for you, a little metal.

  3. TheLuckyOne · · Reply

    ooh eck I’m going on my first cruise (The SS Ridiculous Consumption) in Sept and I know I’ll be singing “Look at me, I’m on a boat mf” bit of an earworm that one.
    Recently followed your advice about getting paid to be on TV after being contacted by a production company. Guess what? They only wanted people who work for free …. so I’m out of that. On a different front I’ve signed up to some paid extras work on a local soap. See where that one gets me, I’ll let you know my screen timings.
    Doing an hours market research interrogation tonight, getting paid £40, that’s more like it ! I think there’s tea and biscuits too.
    You’ve nailed it with daydreaming, napping, exercise & food all so much easier to do when you control your own schedule.

  4. Polar Bear · · Reply

    Good luck on your spot in “How to retire at 40”. Seems to have spun off a couple of articles in the Daily Mail and the Independent

    Not sure using the main focus on a couple earning a combined wage of £90k will endear early retirement to the masses … maybe that’s the underlying theme – Channel 4 would have as much as most to lose from lost advertising revenue if people started taking this seriously!

    1. Thank you…I think you’re right…the comments section of that Daily Mail online article is not a happy place 😉

  5. Polar Bear · · Reply

    Ho ho … judging by the comments in the Independent article there’s a lot of people in denial. Strange that this article doesn’t mention the young family managing to save on a part-time teacher and a postman’s wage!

  6. Andy K · · Reply

    Just came across ‘A Lady of a Certain Age’ by the Divine Comedy ( Hope to see it on NTWICFI9!

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