Never let it be said that The Escape Artist is running out of original material.
No, fear not…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 it’s not just me.
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. So imagine my surprise when it was brought to my attention that the BBC has been adopting a news reporting format that looks
suspiciously strikingly similar to that pioneered by The Escape Artist.
You can see for yourself here whether this is flattery or not. Let’s just hope its a one-off and not as repetitive as the long-running Now That’s What I call Financial Independence! series.
I Want To Break Free (Queen)
Here Freddie Mercury puts voice to that feeling that so many of us suppress.
That vague feeling that there must be more to life than working a full time job to fund a mortgage, car payments and keeping up with The Joneses.
Some say that this song is not about financial independence but instead refers to a romantic relationship. But that’s clearly just psycho-babble nonsense with no empirical evidence to support it whatsoever.
Something Got Me Started (Simply Red)
Its normal to be frustrated with modern life but we usually need a push or a trigger to make real change. At first it may feel like you’re giving up something now (spending) to get more freedom in your life.
Human beings are naturally creatures of comfort, habit and routine. So if life is ticking along OK, we tend to work on auto-pilot, doing a mixture of what we’ve done before and copying what those around us are doing.
Complacency is the enemy. It takes motivation to dig a well before you are thirsty.
What will get you started on The Path?
Got To Be Certain (Kylie)
There is an emotional hurdle to be overcome to get started investing in the stockmarket. Here’s how Ed Latimore puts it:
If you grew up middle class, you have been fed security your entire life. This will keep you from ending up in the gutter, but you’ll always be risk averse.
Most ways to freedom of time or money involve taking calculated risks that are beyond the comfort zone of most people. I don’t mean things that are inherently dangerous or scary, but things with no guarantee of a secure outcome.
This anxiety often shows itself as procrastination. But if you sit in cash your money is slowly being eaten away by tax and inflation and low interest rates like an ice sculpture at a party.
If you’re struggling to start investing, you can keep it simple with a single global equities tracker fund. Remember, there is no single right answer in investing. So don’t sweat the small stuff obsessing about micro differences between different Vanguard products.
You need to take intelligent risks and at some point you just need to dive in and get started. Kylie may be cautious in love but the pint-sized pop princess is realistic when it comes to investing in shares or property:
I don’t expect to get a guarantee
Staying Alive (Bee Gees)
After you’ve got started investing, your next job is to stay in the game for the long haul.
The goal is not just to maximise your returns. If you have a “shit or bust” mentality you’ll probably end up in the shit and bust. This is why you should probably avoid bitcoin, options trading, FX trading, spread-betting and other forms of short term trading favoured by Frankie Fuckwit.
No, the most important thing is to continue to earn the superior returns of the stockmarket over the long term. That means staying in the game. Never be a forced seller of risk assets in a crash.
Easy to say…but how? Well, you stay alive by following the principles laid out in The Art of Wealth Preservation.
Warning: younger viewers may find some of the images of chest medallions and white flared trousers in this video distressing.
Self control (Laura Branigan)
What do shopaholics, debt junkies, the obese, smokers and alcoholics have in common?
They struggle with self control.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that everyone can develop more self-control. It just needs work and reps to build better habits.Self control allows you to defer instant gratification for bigger rewards later. Self control stops you from giving your future self the shaft.
Remember that willpower is easily exhausted. Better to control your environment to remove temptation. I know my weaknesses which is why I don’t store chocolate or alcohol where I can see them. This also explains why no one should hang around in shopping centres.
Everything She Wants (Wham)
George Michael understood the dynamics of The Prison Camp, as evidenced by his frequent inclusion in the Now FI! series. George got that some people do their job for the challenge, some for the enjoyment. But the reality is that many grind it out to support a family.
Some people work for a living
Some people work for fun
Girl, I just work for you
They told me marriage was a give and take
Well, you’ve shown me you can take, you’ve got some giving to do
For someone that was single, gay and rich, George had remarkable empathy for the pressure that Walking Wallets find themselves under. The pressure to be the (main) breadwinner and fund a pointless attempt at keeping up with The Joneses. The pressure to fund children and the stresses that puts on a relationship.
Maybe all this insight had something to do with the fact that George Michael got fed up with carrying Andrew Ridgely?
You have to negotiate an arrangement with your partner that works for you as well as for them.
She Works Hard For The Money (Donna Summer)
Lets be honest…we all have a choice who we shack up with. You should discuss your escape plan with your significant other…preferably before you get married or move in together.
Who / whether you marry has a huge impact on your chances of achieving FI. For example, having 2 spouses earning can make a huge difference (both before and after the nappy years).
Things change during the course of a marriage. I used to be a wage slave while my wife looked after the kids for several years. Now she chooses to do a (flexible) part time job and I’m proud of her for that…even if we’d be fine without her income.
La Isla Bonita (Madonna)
When you’re toiling away in The Prison Camp it’s tempting to imagine that all your problems will be solved by quitting work and retiring to the beach forever.
Look, I’m all for sticking it to The Man but that’s a blue pill fantasy. You’ll still need something to provide you with challenge, meaning and purpose. If you’re unhappy at work, what will you do when you have nothing to distract you? Wherever you go, there you are.
This song illustrates the romanticism of retiring to a beach island to live the simple life. Fine…but what do you then do for the next 40+ years?
At first we see Madonna in her decompression period, in her plain grey dress and sparsely furnished apartment, working through her emotional issues.
Eventually though (and despite mixing extensively with the locals) Madonna gets bored and flounces off to the airport in her red party dress to catch a flight back to New York City.
Free (Ultra Nate)
Is it cheating to still do some form of work after financial independence?
Some of the fundamentalists say that you’re not allowed into FI Club if you still do some paid work.
How hard is it to understand that the point of financial independence is to be free to do what you want to do? If that includes some form of work or money making ventures after quitting your office job (and I would suggest it probably should) then it’s all good.