Start here

financial independence
Listen up soldiers

I am The Escape Artist and I am here to help you.

If you are in debt or working a job you don’t like, then you are a prisoner. But I can help you escape from the financial Prison Camp that so many of us have been trapped in…often without even knowing it.

Beyond the barbed wire, watchtowers and guard dogs lie our goals: the treeline of freedom and the rail station of happiness.

Freedom and happiness are a lot easier to achieve if you are financially independent.

Financial independence (FI) means you have enough money to never have to work again. You are allowed to keep on working if you want…but you can then either politely decline your boss’ less reasonable requests or, even better, be your own boss.

If you think that getting rich is only possible for pop stars, rappers, CEOs and hedge fund managers, then think again. Amazing things are possible over time. And whatever your current situation, you can always improve it.

Getting rich may seem like a daunting task at first…but a journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single footstep. I will show you how to start with baby steps.

Over time, small gains in your everyday life add up to big money.  I call this The Aggregation of Marginal Gains.

Image credit: James Clear in Atomic Habits

About me

Why might I be able to help you?

Well, I spent many years in the Prison Camp and I know how the system works. I wanted freedom, so I hatched a plan and began to dig.  I paid off my mortgage when I was 32, built up my investment portfolio and then quit my job in 2014 at the age of 43 when I’d made enough not to have to work any more.

I did this whilst married and supporting a family with 3 kids. I also did this without winning the lottery, inheriting money or dealing drugs. Those are my stripes.

I have a degree in economics, I’m a qualified chartered accountant and I had a 20 year career in corporate finance (reaching Partner / MD level). I know more about finance than any normal financial adviser. But I make complex ideas simple in my financial coaching with clients.

Although escaping aged 43 isn’t bad, I could have done much better. If only, aged 21, I’d had access to the wisdom of an experienced officer with a plan, well versed in earning, saving, investing and self-development, then I could have reached financial independence years earlier.

You, lucky reader, have that commanding officer and here is the plan.

The Four Pillars of Financial Independence

Within the Prison Camp, think of being in debt like being in the solitary confinement hut with no food and only rats for company.  We have to get out…but how?

Well, the 4 keys to Financial Independence are:

  1. Earn more
  2. Spend less
  3. Invest wisely
  4. Know how much is enough

If you want to achieve financial independence, you need to get your % savings rate up.

If you can save 50% of your after-tax earnings (no, that is not a typo) then it should take you about 17 years to go from broke to the point where you are financially independent and don’t need to work again (an invested net worth of 25x your annual base level spending will probably be enough).

That sort of savings rate may sound crazy to you right now but stay with me…it’s amazing what you can achieve over time.

If you want to achieve financial independence, you need to start putting money into a compounding machine. Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe. At 10% per year, your freedom fund doubles every 7 years.

This can seem quite boring for the first few years. After that, as the snowball gathers size, it stops being boring and becomes pretty fucking interesting.

Apply own oxygen mask before helping others

I’m a believer in the principle that you should first put your own oxygen mask on before then helping others. That way you are more capable yourself and better able to help those that need it.

I got to financial independence and quit my corporate finance job in 2014.

Since then I have been writing regularly about financial independence, health and wealth with the aim of helping other people take control of their own money, learn about investing, get healthier and generally run their own life like a boss. In 2015 I started helping people via face to face financial coaching.

A holistic approach

In my financial coaching practice I am in the business of helping people solve their individual problems.

No two clients are the same. Different clients want different things from me. Some want a sanity check on their Financial Independence spreadsheet, some want a sounding board for their financial plan, some want to learn about investing, some want career mentoring and help handling a stretch promotion.

I have a holistic, sustainable and long term approach to wealth. I am interested in health, wellness and the science of high performance. I’m particularly interested in helping people who want to perform well at a high / higher level…people who want to achieve their full potential.

Get in contact

You can follow me on Twitter or Instaglam but the best way to get new content is to sign up for my email list below.

If you have a question for me, the best way to get in touch is to reply to one of my emails or email me direct on

Now start digging! 🙂

Barney Whiter

I write a new article each week that goes out by email (most won’t appear here on the blog) so the best way to get new content is to sign up to my email list:

Success! You're on the list.


  1. Excellent blog. I’m looking to expedite my escape from BigLaw, which is indeed a prison camp in which I am wasting away (and getting fat at the same time, ironically). As a late-comer (currently age 51) to the excavation, I need some super-sized shovels. So thanks. Ella

  2. Great intro. I have just started my journey to financial freedom so it is great that I stumbled upon this blog. I’ll be hoping to pick up little bits of wisdom as I go through your posts.

  3. thegolfpunk · · Reply

    Hey Commander,
    I’ve stopped the bleeding and started digging, problem is in my country, i don’t have access to a Swiss train( great investment vehicles) and the only bank that sells mutual funds here charge 5% for opening fees(yikes). please help. We dont even have a stock market here. ps. i’m from SE Asia.

  4. Fantastic introduction, curious to read more on you blog.
    We don’t completely agree on the mortgage portion, but that is primarily due to the very low interest rates at the moment (and the ability to leverage our money with a mortgage). And one’s personal tolerance to risk.

  5. Really excellent blog – I’m really enjoying reading it. It’s great to have a brilliant UK based blog too. Lots of the US ones, however interesting to read, aren’t always that relatable so I’m glad I’ve found you!

  6. Victoria · · Reply

    Hello TEA,
    I am a business woman aged 40 and I started this journey 5 years ago.
    I almost cry when I got into your blog 🙂 As I believe sometimes that I am alone in this journey to freedom and nobody understands why I do not want to be a slave forever.

    In Spain is very difficult to find people with this mindset.

    Happy to meet you!
    Hope we can share our approach and thoughts

  7. […] had to face myself. It was quite eye-opening and I was putting to much milk in. I have an amazing finance coach who has helped me every step of the way and he has been patient and honest with me through the […]

  8. […] find it easier to calculate it The Escape Artist’s way – to achieve financial independence you need 25 times your annual expenditures. So if […]

  9. Sue Mason · · Reply

    Pls cd i have any new posts …excellent info thank you

  10. Islander · · Reply

    Hello TEA,

    Although I’ve been following FI scene for a while, somehow your blog went below radar so just wanted to say how happy I am to have finally found it!

    I am on my way to escape the Prison Camp and so far have solved 3 out of 4 FI problems with last one standing in front of me (How much is enough).

    Your posts are very inspiring and love your book list.Thank you for sharing it!

  11. […] Remember this – money is not for showing off or spending on consumer shit, it is for making you more money to buy freedom and happiness. – The Escape Artist […]

  12. I can understand the feeling of embarking the journey from escaping the Prison Camp alone. It takes time and perseverance to continue the journey despite all the obstacles along the way. The going gets tougher, the tough gets going.

  13. Im very much at the start of my journey. I inadvertently started to be more financially aware a few years ago and thought about investing, which I did, but blogs like these are a huge inspiration to learn simple tricks to help accelerate the move to financial freedom. I’ll never be a frugal 75% saver, but I’m striving for 40-50% which compared to my historical 0-10% is a massive change. I will not skimp on things that are enjoyable, but our grocery bill has cut by nearly half, and I take great pleasure in that since we’re also eating better and producing hardly any waste.

  14. Michael Hunter · · Reply

    I just heard your podcast on Choose FI.
    It was one of the best yet after bingeing on their podcast.
    Since I already gave one testicle to the man, I’m not sure if I could find the balls to forward this to my family in the UK.

  15. Deborah Kirk · · Reply

    We paid off our mortgage on our 4 bedroom Greater London house when I was 39 and my husband was 37. It was perfect, because when I fell pregnant aged 42 I was able to give up my job as a teacher and I haven’t gone back since. My husband still works as a shop assistant, but without the pressure of knowing that he has to work to pay off a mortgage. I have always been frugal when it comes to everyday items, but to me that is just common sense. I have always enjoyed luxuries such as rock concerts and new cars, but I don’t buy anything unnecessary that will cause clutter. We cashed in an underperforming endowment and had our wages paid into an offset mortgage and we have never looked back.

  16. […] Barney is from the UK and he calls himself The Escape Artist. […]

  17. Oo I like the analog to money as blood!

  18. Jason Birkett · · Reply

    Great blog

  19. PaddyIrish · · Reply

    Great introduction. I’m just finding Financial Independence for the first time. It is daunting to try and bring the family along.

  20. I just listened to the podcast you did with the Meaningful Money Podcast MMP330. I find that it was very insightful in many ways as I am currently on my financial independent Journey. I will now continue to check out your website for more insight. Thank you for your time and information.

  21. […] Barney ist aus dem Vereinigten Königreich und nennt sich selbst The Escape Artist. […]

  22. […] Barney is from the United Kingdom and calls himself The Escape Artist . […]

  23. MagniFIMoney · · Reply

    Just found you today. Love the concept behind the blog and the blog name! I love what you are doing and can’t wait to dive into more of your content!

    Especially the part about your money being blood lolz. I’ve heard the water/bucket analogy a million times, but the blood thing, that’s pure gold!

  24. Paulious · · Reply

    Fantastic. Some great reads here. Look fwd to learning more with you.

  25. […] fuel from the magic of Mr Money Mustache. In the UK, the movement’s flames are being fanned by The Escape Artist. There’s also a smoking feature-length […]

  26. […] course, because home ownership is optional, you’re allowed to partake too. In fact, the UK’s foremost FIRE protagonist did just that. But he also sees houses for what they really are, didn’t do buy-to-let and focused […]

  27. Michael · · Reply

    Great blog & love the straight talking no PC BS. Been frugal myself for years & almost debt free. Next step once the mortgage is cleared is investing the hardest part. Some great advice on here & Barney explains fire is not all about money which I think the mainstream media misses.

  28. […] too) shifting paradigms about debt, investing, work, goals and approaches to living purposefully is The Escape Artist. The big hitting realisation for me was that I was in a cyclic prison of work/eat/sleep/repeat/die. […]

  29. […] at 43 gives you all the inspiration you need to make you think again. This site is a great place to begin your journey from financial captivity to independent […]

  30. Tom Glenn · · Reply

    Hi Escape artist.

    The “I will show my workings” link in this article is no longer working. I always found that link particularly useful! It’s great to see the various scenarios you put forward.


  31. […] Looking at the longer view, our net worth was up 18% year on year which is as good as it’s been for a couple of years now. Looking even longer term, I never had a negative annual increase in net worth since I started working 15 years ago. But, 2020 came close! Things are now on the up and it’s not through getting lucky on a crpyto gamble of speculation on tech stocks, rather through boring earn, save, invest as spelled out by others like RIT and the Escape Artist. […]

  32. […] realise you even opted into.  But once you have seen the light – you can’t unsee it.  This article made me realise there is a completely different path you can take which doesn’t involve you […]

  33. I’ve just discovered your web page and excited to see someone in the uk talking about FI -). I’m very close to FI and been following Pete adeney and others. It would be great to chat and meet other like minded people. Do you have a forum for chat ? Derek

  34. […] dove into the world of personal finance and FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early). I read and read and figured out the basics of investing in funds, but it still took me a few months to pull the […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: