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.
Next time you see an advert and want the shiny toy…or see someone’s photos on Facebook and feel envy…pause, remember this song and smile. 😉
Fuck You (Ceelo Green)
I was recently invited to do an “Ask Me Anything” Q&A session on Reddit to answer people’s questions about financial independence. 99% of the people asking questions were lovely & genuine.
But…I got my first hater! The moderator quickly deleted their comments but it was something angry and shouty along the lines of
Why should we listen to YOU…what makes you THINK you are qualified to lecture us all about finances??? etc etc
Maybe the only surprise is that it took me so long to get my first hater? I’ve been blogging for 3 years now and I’ve long been amused and baffled by the angry comments that I see on other websites.
It makes me wonder…what is the back story of those commenters? As the Americans might put it: Why all the FI hate bro?
Trolls lash out from weakness not strength. They’re in pain. If your life is going well, why would you go around leaving angry comments on other people’s websites like a yappy little lapdog, furiously barking and leaving turds on other peoples lawn?
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. Ceelo needs to respect the power of female choice to avoid ending up as a bitter woman-hater with a restraining order.
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. But if you can find meaning and purpose then work feels a lot easier…and we can get to a place where The Man is no longer holding us down.
To get richer, you need to focus on what you can control…and that means on you. I don’t mean being selfish….I mean doing some work on yourself.
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 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 coaching clients with is the idea that if you want 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 design portfolio showcased on it.
In the words of Dizzee Rascal:
put yer skillz on show.
Bills (LunchMoney Lewis)
As I’ve said before here, 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 Mr “LunchMoney” Lewis gives a demonstration of how not to manage your personal finances.
Sprawling suburbs of low density, single storey housing waste thousands of acres of land that could otherwise be used to grow food or left as a nature reserve. This is not just an environmental disaster, it’s a personal finance disaster for those on low incomes.
Large, detached houses are expensive and come with higher maintenance costs than an apartment or townhouse. These sprawling suburbs 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 sometimes…its just that work is now voluntary.
The Greatest (Sia)
If the point of financial independence is not to drop out, then what is?
Maybe it’s to try to live a good life and be the best version of you that you can?
Other than in sport, 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.