Now That’s What I Call Financial Independence! 16

In the movie Groundhog Day, Bill Murray plays a weatherman who is sent reluctantly to cover a story about a weather forecasting groundhog.

On waking up the following day, he discovers that it’s Groundhog Day again and again and again. He realises he’s doomed to spend the rest of eternity in the same place, seeing the same people do the same thing EVERY day.

Imagine how unbearably repetitive that would be.

But even that would probably not be as repetitive as The Escape Artist’s long-running Now That’s What I call Financial Independence! series.

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.

I Want It All (Queen)

Here we have the problem….wanting it all and wanting it NOW.

You can have almost anything but you can’t have everything. And you certainly can’t have it now. It takes ~10 years to build a career in just about any field.  It takes ~17 years to get to financial independence at a 50% savings rate.

Financial independence is all about choices and trade-offs.  You can only spend a £/$/€ once and then its gone. So choose wisely.  You can use your money to buy stuff or you can use it to buy freedom.

Whatever you want (Status Quo)

Paula from Afford Anything makes the point that, in the affluent West, we can afford pretty much anything we want.  Just not everything we want.

If you really want a Ferrari or Lamborghini you can get an old clapped out model for a few thousand quid.  It will break down a lot and it’s probably not a sensible purchase but it illustrates the point. You can afford anything…if you’re prepared to do the work and pay the price.

Life is all about trade-offs. We have to choose what’s most important.

Work Bitch (Britney Spears)

Nothing is free in Consumer World.

If you want the latest smartphone and mojitos in Ibiza, you are going to have to work for that. In this banging tune, Britney lays out the cost of consumerism very clearly.

You can read my full review here.

Large Amounts (Ludacris)

In this life, one thing counts…in the bank: large amounts.

A lot of people will have an instinctive (negative) emotional reaction to this strapline: money is not everything, its not the most important thing, people should come before money etc.

Well, actually yes…I agree. Money is not everything and this song is not saying it’s the only thing that counts.  But money is super-important.  Money gives you power….power is the ability to control your own life.

Life is a Rollercoaster (Ronan Keating)

The long term investor has more to fear from inflation than from volatility.  The real value of your cash in that “safe” bank account is being eaten away by inflation…its disappearing like an ice sculpture at a party.

Price volatility is not risk.  Volatility is just numbers on a screen going up and down.

The stock market gives you a rollercoaster ride and rollercoaster rides are very safe as long as you don’t panic and jump out half way through the ride.

National Express (Divine Comedy)

One of the rites of passage for a British student is (or used to be) travelling to / from college at the start / end of term on a National Express coach. There is a certain charm (and comedy value) to this highly frugal way of travelling and the lyrics of this song reflect that.

I love how this song was taken as the theme tune for Danny’s MacAskill’s masterclass in mountain biking. I used this video in The Secrets of Peak Performance to illustrate how what looks effortless on the surface is in fact the result of years of deliberate practice and hard knocks.

I’m pretty sure there’s a lesson in there somewhere.

I’m Alive (Shinedown)

I think we know the truth when we see and hear it…even if some aspects are difficult for us to process. 

Finding the world of financial independence can feel like a wake up call…or even a slap in the face. Political correctness is a distraction from the inconvenient truth that we humans are prone to self-sabotage. We have met the enemy and it is us.

Luck plays a part but your bank balance and your health are both (mostly) reflections of the life choices that you make. Start by taking responsibility for your own situation.  You are the only person that can save you.

First World Problems (Ian Brown)

People love grumbling and complaining. Like all vices, this can feel fun in moderation but there’s a hidden cost to be paid. Complaining is like spraying yourself with money repellent.

By complaining but not taking action, we give energy and attention to the thing that we think is wrong. We exaggerate it and make ourselves miserable. And, because people naturally tend to hang around other people like them, if you’re a complainer you’ll find yourself surrounded by other complainers. Welcome to The Internet.

All I’m saying is get some perspective. And maybe practice some gratitude…

Hello (Notorious Big, Matoma remix) 

This song is about gratitude.  Or, to be more precise, ingratitude.

I’m grateful to The Investor at Monevator for his investing content (and for featuring The Escape Artist in the early days) and to Mr Money Mustache for his life-changing blog.

Talking of Monevator, I recently read The Investor saying that he’d shied away from writing certain articles for fear of the reaction of his trolls audience. Er, hello?? This is all wrong…the monkeys should not be dictating to the The Organ Grinder what tunes he can and can’t play.

This is why The Escape Artist blocks trolls, outrage seekers and other saboteurs.


  1. Made me laugh and it also made me reevaluate the wisdom of Ronan Keating – unlike many celebs he hasn’t gone bankrupt!

  2. Chloe · · Reply

    Britney’s magnum opus may have had a bigger impact than you realise:

    As a professional analyst, I know correlation is totally causation and those numbers don’t lie (that’s my job)

    1. 🤣🤣🤣🤣 I am SO going to steal that!

  3. Hello Mr. DJ, may I make a request or two?

    “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic – “Make that money / watch it burn”
    “Maybe Tomorrow” by Stereophonics – “I wanna swim in the ocean / wanna take my time for me”

      1. Oops! How embarrassing to have missed that.

        Here’s a backup option: “Renegades” by X Ambassadors – “Long live the pioneers / Rebels and mutineers / Go forth and have no fear / Come close the end is near”

  4. Probably due to my age I got so much more satisfaction from watching work bitch with the volume turned off.

  5. Thanks for the shoutout @TEA, and congratulations as ever on carving out your own niche since those early days.

    Regarding the trolls, I can’t remember specifically what I was referring to (probably commenting on my active investing?) but as a committed believer in the Pareto Principle you will appreciate that there’s also the factor where the easier path is often the more rewarding one if you’re living a busy life with too much to do! 😉

    1. Your blog, your rules.

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