Now That’s What I call Financial Independence! 11

NME_COVERAccording to geologists, the Jurassic Period spanned 56 million years from the end of the Triassic Period 201 million years ago to the beginning of the Cretaceous Period 145 million years ago.

People that lived through the Jurassic period said it sometimes felt like it would never end…and yet it still seemed mercifully brief compared to the Now That’s What I Call Financial Independence! Series.

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.

Free your mind  (En Vogue)

To achieve Financial Independence, we have to reject Groupthink.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that spending = happiness, more stuff is always better, stock market investing is risky, you can’t be too careful etc etc.  This conditioning forms a prison for your mind.

This song urges us to free our minds and reject the Groupthink of identity politics where people are put in pigeon-holes (gender, race, age etc etc) and assigned a victimhood score.  En Vogue suggest we treat people as individuals rather than members of a racial group.

Free your mind and the rest will follow
Be colour blind, don’t be so shallow

To me this is a song about being open-minded.  Yes, En Vogue apply the benefits of being a free-thinker to improving race relations (an excellent goal), but its equally applicable to financial independence.  For example, En Vogue instinctively understand the dangers of debt and the trap of Big Hat, No Cattle spending.

So I’m a sistah
Buy things with cash
That really doesn’t mean that all my credit’s bad

Money’s Too Tight To Mention (Simply Red)

This song illustrates how NOT to get rich….and the problem of being a complainypants.

The song dates from the early 1980s when Reagan and Thatcher were lazily portrayed as the root of all evil by student activists (and others that should have known better).  The video plays on 1930s imagery (cloth caps, back street alleys and pool halls) to evoke folk memories of the Great Depression. There was real economic suffering during the recession of the early 1980s but the victim mentality modelled in this song only compounded the problem.

As befits student politics, the video glamourises drinking, smoking and gambling.  The Escape Artist doesn’t have any moral problem with these. But, let’s be honest, they’re not great for your finances.

This song may not have toppled Thatcher and Reagan but that’s not to say it didn’t achieve its primary objective, which was probably to get Mick Hucknall laid.  Geoffrey Miller provides an explanation based on evolutionary psychology in his paper Political Peacocks.

Everybody wants to rule the world (Tears for Fears)

One of the fundamental principles of The Escape Artist is:

Get your own shit together before criticising The World

Comically, this principle is regularly violated by a large chunk of the population… including (but not limited to) pop stars, Social Justice Warriors, Nigel Farage, other loud drunk blokes in pubs, millennial snowflakes, (some) bloggers, most journalists, champagne socialists, Hampstead Guardianistas, outraged Daily Mail readers, Big Company CEOs, Hollywood actors / actresses, professional politicians and Jeremy Corbyn.

Did I miss anyone out??

These clowns talk as if everything would be fucking marvellous…if only they were put In Charge Of Everything.

The Escape Artist says: doubtful…very doubtful.

Fight The Power (Public Enemy)

That’s not to say that everything is perfect in the world. The world is a big place and there are plenty of problems…most of which I don’t need to remind you of.

And I can see why people sometimes wonder if there’s a conspiracy to protect The System and keep everyone struggling.  It often feels like The Man is holding us down.

The Escape Artist is here to help you play the hand you’re dealt and to get as much freedom as you can in your life.  In a very real sense, money is power in modern society. So why not hang on to more of your own power?

The FI movement is all about what you can do to help yourself, the environment and other people. Whatever your situation, there’s always something you can do to improve it.

This is the best way that you can Fight The Power.

Lola’s Theme (The Shapeshifters)

There’s much more to financial independence than money.  The journey to Financial Independence changes you (see I’m better than me).

Lola’s Theme can be interpreted in one of 2 ways.

The Disney interpretation is that a lost soul is saved by meeting their romantic soulmate. This “Wait For Your Prince / Princess” approach is…how shall I put it?…sub-optimal, relying as it does upon the benign intervention of a cold and indifferent universe. Let me know how that works out for you.

The Escape Artist’s interpretation is that this an anthem of self-improvement.  Rather than waiting for the cavalry to come and rescue you, why not invest in yourself?  The discovery and pursuit of FI provides the spark that many people need to turn their world around.

It’s a long way to the top (AC/DC)

One criticism of FI I see is that its easier for higher earners to get to financial independence. This is obviously true but it misses a key point: earning more is not cheating.

There’s a lot of competition for high salaries…a big part of which is: who’s prepared to work the hardest? People sometimes seem to assume that all jobs have the same hours and the same level of stress. But I don’t see it that way. I’m pretty sure being Prime Minister is harder than being a local government clerk.

Most people have no idea what it takes to climb all the way up the ladder in a competitive world.  AC/DC get it though.  Its a long way to the top.

Freefall VIP (Metrik)

To escape The Prison Camp you need to unplug from “The Matrix”.

The Prison Camp broadcasts messages at us all day long via The News and adverts. These messages multiply our wants, whilst making us less effective. They can drown out our inner voice. With repeated exposure, adverts form part of your Money Blueprint.  The Prison Camp eventually comes to form the “frame” through which we see the world. The assumptions of the frame are all the more powerful for being implicit and unchallenged.

This is why you need to unplug from advertising and The News.

This anthemic ode to freedom and self-determination was brought to my attention in the latest release of Body Combat. In the words of Metrik:

Listen to yourself…set yourself free

Whatta Man (Salt ‘N” Pepa featuring En Vogue)

The book No More Mr Nice Guy was published back in 2003. It sold well and, although it had its critics, it was never a great source of controversy. It’s pretty tame stuff.

Fast forward to 2018.  If you’d seen my inbox after Don’t Be a Nice Guy, Be A Good Guy, you’d have seen an avalanche of outrage. Methinks they doth protest too much.

The timing was probably relevant, following a wave of lurid media coverage of #metoo gender wars etc etc.  Nice Guys and angry feminists lined up together, competing to show who could be most aggressively in favour of a new politically correct paradigm.

The Escape Artist is pro-women and pro-men. In this game, you’re allowed to support both teams.  But, to me, the theory of The Patriarchy is a steaming crock of horseshit, veiling an attack on equality of opportunity.

This song isn’t that old…its from 1994…but some of the lyrics seem like they’re from another world. Maybe we need a reminder from Salt N Pepa of the value of positive masculinity?

Walking on Sunshine (Katrina & The Waves)

To me this song represents life force, exuberance and optimism.

The FI community includes lots of introverted analytical types (e.g. engineers, accountants, actuaries, lawyers) and sometimes we disappear into our own heads too much.  This song reminds us to enjoy HOW AMAZING THE WORLD IS.

In the course of researching this article, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Katrina and The Waves were based not in California but in Cambridgeshire…where The Escape Artist was born and brought up.

Gloom and pessimism comes naturally to us Brits. I think its something to do with the weather…that and the hangovers.   But every now and again we manage to surprise ourselves by winning a World War or inventing penicillin or the internet or some shit like that. Maybe we’ll even survive Brexit?

Meet-up reminder! London FI meet up this Friday 15 June from 6pm onwards in the garden at the Rose and Crown pub, 47 Columbo Street, SE1 8DP (short walk from Blackfriars tube or Waterloo stations). All welcome. Even Nice Guys. Hope to see you there 🙂

Further reading:


  1. Now That’s What I Call Financial Independence 10!
  2. Financial coaching



  1. Everybody Wants to Rule the Word is one of my favorite songs from the 80’s. Period. Holds up well and it didn’t fall victim to the super-over-produced crappy 80’s production like so much of the era did.

  2. ladyaurora · · Reply

    “The FI community incudes introverted analytical types”
    Not me… I’m an artiste ( singer and hairdresser) I’ve now arrived at FI and it feels gooooood!
    Have I done without?? Not really.
    I’ve always bought what I wanted but my wants are in balance.
    I agree Brits are pessimistic and it is probably to do with the weather.
    Drinking booze is a no no ,so easy to get alcohol dependant then it’s becomes costly to health and finances.

  3. Urban F. I · · Reply

    Great article , makes total sense. Respect !

  4. Hi TEA,
    SPOT on with the AC/DC side of things – as you say not all jobs are equal. I have friends who are jealous of what they think my pay packet is (they don’t know the actual) but do nothing to improve their lot – they only work max 37.5 hrs a week (same as my contract, but I usually do close to double that). Its a long way, its hard work, but it IS worth it!
    Cheers, see you hopefully in August at the next FI Meet up!

  5. This made me giggle- thanks for that! And thank you for all your excellent advice over the years- I was able to quit my job a few months ago and we’re now exploring Europe by Motorhome. We would never have heard of FI without bloggers like yourself sharing their knowledge- so thank you.

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