Now That’s what I call financial independence! 30

Everything in investing seems crazy right now.

Valuations seem scary. The rate of change is scary. New technology is scary.

You don’t live in the world you were born into.

Like it or not, we now live in an exponential age.

How to make sense of all the madness?

What better way than with some banging tunez and metaphors stretched further than a Trump limousine?

Yes, that’s right…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 earnest prose, psycho-babble and increasingly tenuous metaphors.

Step By Step (Whitney Houston)

One of the themes that I often come back to in financial coaching is the idea of crossing your bridges as you come to them.

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. After you just need to keep moving forward…one step at a time.

What is the thing that you should be doing right now? Do the thing that needs doing. Fill out the form, make the call, write the email.

Life is not always a straight line forward. Often it will be two steps forward, one step backwards. Just keep moving forward and try to make a little progress every day.

Me Siento Bien (Deorro & Kura –feat. Alex Rose)

This video nicely illustrates the point that most people don’t actually want to be millionaires.

No, what they want is to spend a million dollars flexing and LARPing.

I regret to inform you that this is literally the opposite of being a millionaire.

Money (Riton)

One strategy to get your costs down and make your £/$/€ go further is geographic arbitrage.

Geographic arbitrage seeks to take advantage of the lowest cost of living possible, thereby allowing high % savings rates and making financial independence possible much earlier than would otherwise be the case. Where moving from the city to the suburbs can let you upgrade from a one-bedroom apartment to a house, moving from London or New York to Portugal or Puerto Rico can change the game.

This strategy was not for me (3 children etc) but maybe it’s an option for you?

Who’s Zooming Who? (Aretha Franklin)

In 2007 Tim Ferris wrote The 4 Hour Work Week which explained how office workers could escape the office & commute by negotiating the ability to work from home. This involved elaborate ruses and persuasion tactics.

In 2014, employees in the UK were given the legal right to make a flexible working request that could include reducing their hours, working flexitime, doing their hours over fewer days or work remotely from home or elsewhere all or part of the time

Then came Covid. And what had seemed almost impossible suddenly happened. The office went remote and working from home became the norm (for office workers at least).

Some people will have ditched the daily commute, saved a bunch of time and hassle and their job will have become far more pleasant.  Maybe those people working flexibly from home already have many of the benefits of financial independence…without needing to get to the magic 25x?

Back That Ass Up (Juvenile ft Lil Wayne)

A key trait of a good investor is the ability to change your mind.

All the best investors acknowledge that they’re often wrong. The best stock-pickers only get about 60% of their calls right. And great macro investors like Soros, Druckenmiller etc are able to turn on a dime and change their position in a flash when they realise they’re wrong.

I’m no Soros but in the last few years I’ve changed my mind about CAPE, tilting to value, high yield shares, US tech and I had to back up and do a 180 degree U-turn on crypto.

You don’t live in the world you were born into. As the world changes, we have to adapt and respond.

On the Wings of Love (Jeffrey Osborne)

Trading is a bit like falling in love…it feelz good when you’re on a high but it usually ends in tears.

Here Jeffrey Osborne gives us an introduction to technical analysis. I’m not a trader nor an advocate of charting but we have to accept that many market participants use this framework.

A breakout to the upside is when prices pass through and stay through an area of support or resistance. Oftentimes, a stock or commodity will bounce between the areas of support and resistance and when it breaks through either one of these barriers you can consider the direction that it’s heading in a trend. Often the resistance level the price breaks through becomes a new support level, and vice versa.

Never Gonna Give You Up (Rick Astley)

Whether it’s index funds or crypto, you need to understand what you own and have real conviction in it.

In this 1987 classic, written a full 21 years before the Bitcoin white paper was published in 2008, Rick Astley lays out what became known as the HODL approach.

Some critics say that Astley comes off like a used-car salesman (“you wouldn’t get this deal from any other guy” etc etc). But I think we can all learn something here from the conviction of the Bitcoin OGs. Would you have held Bitcoin all the way from $1 to $60,000?

Anything You Want (Roy Orbison)

One of the most under-rated factors in financial success is being aligned with your partner. This involves communication, discussion and yes sometimes the occasional argument.

In the classic book Manhood Steve Biddulph observes that too many western men come home exhausted from the office, too tired to stand up to their wife / girlfriend and get rolled over.

If you don’t have boundaries in life and in love, you are cruising for a bruising.

Primadonna (Marina and the diamonds)

What happens when Roy and Marina get together?

It generally doesn’t end well.

Pick a Part That’s New (Stereophonics)

I’m convinced that working 40hr/wk, 50 weeks per year, for 30-40 straight years, is against our nature.

In Burnout, Variety and Crop Rotation I suggested that the problem is not hard work…it’s the monotony, lack of true meaning and the power dynamics of The Office-Industrial Complex (aka The Prison Camp).

We’re not robots. So we have to strike a balance between good habits and variety. Free range living should be for humans as well as chickens.

Getting to financial independence is a long game that requires good health for 10-20 years. That means the journey has to be sustainable. A change is as good as a rest, so more variety helps.

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