Some people on the internet say that The Escape Artist is running out of fresh material.
If I was running out of fresh material, then how could I be coming up with original gems such as Now That’s What I Call Financial Independence! 19??
Answer me that.
Yes, The Escape Artist is back to review more classic songs about financial independence in the guise of a music critic from the NME…armed with increasingly tenuous metaphors, earnest prose and psycho-babble.
If I could turn back time (Cher)
Do you remember the story of Kate who becomes a millionaire by getting a job aged 18, saving £167 per month for a total of £15,000 and then saving nothing more after the age of 25. Compound interest is a beautiful thing.
Sadly though, Cher did not start saving when she was 18. As a result, Cher is so poor these days that she can’t afford clothes, having to make-do with with a Borat-style mankini she got from a jumble sale.
The best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago. The second best time is now.
Got Your Money (Ol’ Dirty Bastard)
They say that possession is 9/10 of the law. Well…it certainly seems like the business model of most wealth managers is based on inertia. They got your money.
Customers of wealth management firms are often paying 2.0% – 2.5% per year. The problem is that fees are deducted silently, invisibly and stealthily. This will cost you hundreds of thousands of pounds over your lifetime. Maybe millions. Don’t believe me? Check the maths and calculate your own investing costs.
How many clients know how much they are paying in total (including adviser fees, fund management fees and trading commissions)?
If you don’t know upfront how much financial advice is costing you, then you’re probably being screwed.
Ice Ice Baby (Vanilla Ice)
Why didn’t Cher invest in the stockmarket when she was younger?
Sensible savers are often terrified of the ups and downs of the stockmarket so they get stuck in cash.
But here’s the problem. Your cash is like an ice sculpture at a party. You can’t see it melting away…but it is. Inflation guarantees that your cash will lose its real value over the long term.
Let’s Get It Started (Black Eye Peas)
It would be wonderful if everyone reading this could learn from Cher’s mistake, take action and get their compounding machine working.
But sadly, people continue to procrastinate and find reasons (usually based on scary stories in The News) why now is not the right time to start investing.
When investing, there will never be a situation in which the geopolitical outlook is clear and you have all the facts to feel comfortable with your decision. Guess what…you still have to get started.
Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough (Michael Jackson)
Do you have to wait until you get to 25x your spending before quitting a job you don’t like? I say no…but people are often reluctant to quit until they’re SURE they have enough. This even has a name: One More Year Syndrome.
When it comes to debating the Safe Withdrawal Rate, Michael is a STICKLER. Not for Michael the breezy assurances that you can trust the 4% rule of thumb and everything will probably be fine. Michael advises a 2.75% withdrawal rate (note the 2 decimal places) and, whatever you say, he can be more
But, for my money, Micheal seems a little dogmatic and prone to binary thinking. The Safe Withdrawal Rate is a concept not a number.
I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me (Nik Kershaw)
One of the sneaky tricks of The Prison Camp is to encourage you to let yourself go (both physically and mentally) as you get older. Many people seem to give up physically at about age 30 and just accept that its a long slow inevitable decline from there.
The Escape Artist says: fuck that. Much of what we think is ageing is just the result of bad diet and sedentary lifestyles.
Sure, I know that soon we will all be dead but I’ll be staying as strong as I can for as long as I can.
Break from the old routine (Oui 3)
If you stay too long in a job, it will change you. We become what we repeatedly do.
Take the example of a local authority health and safety inspector. If you spend too long doing that job you risk becoming obsessed with checklists, covering your butt and seeking the illusion of 100% safety. Or if you’re a private sector litigation lawyer you may become argumentative, obsessed with point-scoring and billable hours.
We all need variety. It’s only machines and robots that don’t need a break from the old routine.
When The Going Gets Tough (Billy Ocean)
No one said it was gonna be easy. On your Path towards financial freedom, it will often feel like 2 steps forward, one step back. But the journey will improve you.
As well as wealthier, you will end up more confident and more resourceful. These are The Inestimable Advantages of Hardening The Fuck Up.
A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (Fergie)
So yes, there will be times when it feels tough…but pursuing financial independence does not have to be all sacrifice, deprivation and extreme frugality (whatever the media say). To get rich you have to enjoy the journey not just the destination. I suggest having fun along the way.
It’s easy to
get drunk socialise and party for next to nothing. The trick is to recapture that vibe you had at college or the Friends vibe in your 20s. Adulting doesn’t have to be expensive (or boring). Who needs fancy dinner parties or restaurants? Some cheap booze from the supermarket, some friends and some banging tunez (free) are all you need for a party. House parties, picnics, barbeques…it’s all good.
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