Learning about Financial independence is about so much more than what fund to choose.
It’s gonna require a mix of skills and mental models. These bangin’ tunez and dancefloor stompers illustrate attitudes that are hard to capture with words alone.
Yes, 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.
And, in a new development, I’ve started with a song that is just SO WRONG that it almost defies words.
I Don’t Want It At All (Kim Petras)
[Editors note: TEA’s review removed on the grounds of Political Incorrectness]
Money (Pink Floyd)
A classic reminder of the dangers of lifestyle inflation. Pink Floyd kick things off with some excellent back to basics financial advice to get a good job that pays well and make a stash. Sadly, after a promising start, they let their spending get out of control:
New car, caviar, four star daydream
Think I’ll buy me a football team
A schoolboy error. You can’t just earn your way to financial independence. It’s all about your % savings rate.
Hustlers Ambition (50 cent)
The theme tune from the film Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (I’d have called it Get Rich and FI Tryin’).
If you want to get to financial independence, you need ambition. You are gonna need to start trying. And, as I’ve said before, most people aren’t. This inconvenient truth explains most ridiculous spending. It explains why 60% of people never shop around for utilities. It explains why about a third of food in the UK is thrown away uneaten. As a society, we’re just not trying that hard.
Life in One Day (Howard Jones)
But a few dedicated FI seekers go to the other extreme and try to get to financial independence very quickly. If you can combine a middle class job with Early Retirement Extreme style frugality (and no kids), then 75% saving rates become possible at which point it only takes ~7 years to go from broke to financially independent.
But is has to be sustainable. In this 80s classic, Howard Jones provides a cautionary tale, warning FI seekers against extreme frugality that they are not capable of sustaining without burning out. Getting to financial independence is a marathon not a sprint. So don’t try and get there in one year…let alone in a day.
You Gotta Be (Desree)
If you think the advice in the songs above sounds a little bit contradictory in places, then you’re not alone. One minute we are advised to try harder…the next not to go to extremes. Should we just ignore it all?
No, all good advice is contextual. The right thing to do depends on the situation. To get to financial independence we have to balance different character traits…combining offense (earning more) with defence (spending less).
Listen to this song and think about it. Desree is a wise woman and the lyrics are gold.
Reach (S Club 7)
Achieving financial independence may seem like a stretch target that’s out of reach. But its also clear that if you don’t have a goal, you’re unlikely to raise your game and discover what you’re capable of.
Remember the 2 types of reality. Personal finance depends on our motivations: it is a subjective reality because the outcomes depend partly on our attitude.
The real question is not whether everyone can achieve financial independence early in life. The better question is whether it’s possible for everyone to spend less, earn and save more and get better?
If you put it like that, the answer is obvious.
Let’s Get Down To Business (Eminem)
Before I started writing this blog, I had no idea that procrastination was such a problem for people in their personal finances.
You don’t hear much about this but I can tell you there’s an epidemic of procrastination going on out there right now.
Ludacris ft. The Notorious B.I.G – Yeah vs. Mo Money Mo Problems (Matoma Remix)
When British people read American finance blogs they are often thrown off by the references to 401ks, Roth IRAs, VTSAX etc etc…
But, as recently discussed on The Choose FI podcast, the differences in terminology are easy to translate. You can see my translation of financial independence terms from American to British here.
Mama Do The Hump (Rizzle Kicks)
Have you noticed how people take their cars to the garage for regular servicing and yet put no time or money into the care and maintenance of their own bodies? This is all wrong. You should treat yourself better than your car.
We become what we repeatedly do. So if we spend our lives slumped on sofas and hunched over smartphones, our posture, strength and flexibility will decay. When you see old people with hunched shoulders shuffling down the street, that’s mostly avoidable with exercise and a mobility practice.
What do I mean by a mobility practice? A regular activity that gets you moving e.g. walking, dancing, yoga or Body Combat (this song is from Body Combat 74).
Use it or lose it.