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.
There will be those that say they preferred the earlier stuff…
….there will be those that say The Escape Artist’s later work is too commercial and derivative.
But, then again, there’s always someone wrong on the internet.
The Man (The Killers)
Some say this video was loosely modelled on Jacob, author of the trail-blazing Early Retirement Extreme blog.
We see a young man living a minimalist lifestyle in a trailer in the USA. He combines a low cost lifestyle with a high income working in a casino (obviously a metaphor for the financial services industry) thereby achieving an incredible 75% savings rate. At this rate, he’ll go from broke to financially independent in just 7 years.
Living on a Prayer (Bon Jovi)
In this classic from 1986, Bon Jovi remind us what life can be like for low earners. Tommy used to work on the docks and the union has been on strike. Without an emergency fund, Tommy pawns his guitar to borrow money.
Borrowing at high interest rates is a disaster. Its like being in a cab stuck in traffic; the meter is running whilst you go nowhere. Fortunately, Gina has read Dig A Well Before You Are Thirsty and she’s better with money than Tommy. She works a minimum wage job, lives frugally and holds on to what they’ve got.
Living paycheck to paycheck is stressful and leaves those at the bottom of society prone to disaster. They, more than anyone, need the techniques of financial independence to build a safety net and real options to improve their life.
Maybe Tomorrow (The Stereophonics)
The lyrics of this song are hauntingly beautiful and will resonate for anyone who has stopped to wonder why they are busting a gut at work or on business travel to pay half their salary to the government and the rest to banks / the mortgage company / builders / kitchen companies etc. when instead they could be on the beach, living free.
Private Dancer (Tina Turner)
This song highlights the uncomfortable situation of having to do a well-paid job for the money. Tina reminds us that financial independence gives you the option to say no thanks and do only ethical work. Or unpaid work…like bringing up a family.
Don’t get me wrong, there is no shame in working for money. Hard work is (mostly) a good thing. It build skills, resilience and character. But if you don’t love your job, you owe it to yourself to have something to show for it after 10 or 20 years. Something other than XL trousers, lower back problems and visits to the rubbish tip to dispose of the retail therapy.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger (Kelly Clarkson)
Here we have a pop pleaser dedicated to stoicism.
Patience (Take That)
With financial independence, we have a process that can often feel a bit like watching grass grow.
This is what puts a lot of people off saving / investing. At 12% per year, your money doubles in 6 years. But when the amounts involved are small at first, those 6 years seem long and boring. After that, as the snowball gets bigger, it stops being boring and becomes really very interesting.
But here’s the thing. Those years are gonna pass and the future always arrives…so why not invest the money on automatic pilot and get on with something useful?
Summertime (Will Smith)
I have to report to you dear reader that my overall impression of my day spent at ground zero for so-called toffs, wealth and privilege is that what it most reminded me of was a nice pub garden of the type you might find in any English village. There was no magic fairydust. The grass on the lawn really was no greener.
And, as this video reminds us, the simple pleasures of life in summertime are available to everyone, mostly for free.
Boulevard of Broken Dreams (Green Day)
One question that always seems to come up in articles about FI in the mainstream media is whether its possible for normal people. That raises some interesting questions: what is normal? And is normal something to aspire to?
All I’d say is to focus a little less on what’s normal and a little more on what’s possible.
It’s good to talk and the journey is definitely easier with the support of other like minded people. But there will be times when that’s not available. At those points in life, you need to be able to walk alone.
This funny video shows a downtrodden office worker stumbling across the concept of financial independence.
As his mojo returns, hilarity ensues. And the movement spreads…
Image credit (and apologies to): http://www.nowmusic.com
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