I have been reading various financial articles and blogs and it appears some people just don’t get it! Or could it be something else?
The latest article I read was from a well known business publication doing a Q & A session with a so called financial expert.
This expert labeled the FIRE movement:
“… an engagement in fantasy and avoidance.”
And what about the people pursuing FIRE:
“… should probably talk to a therapist, because behind that is probably an uncertainty about what they want to do with their life, or they don’t like their job.”
When I see statements like this, it always gets me thinking about things. It reinforces our decision to pursue a better life through financial independence and avoid industry norms. Then I think about how profoundly arrogant a person must be to make such an uniformed and flat out insulting assessment.
What purpose does it serve to make such a pathetic statement about people looking to enrich their lives through responsible saving and spending habits? Why is a movement based in financial responsibility so frowned upon by some in the financial world? Should we all be like the stock brokers who drive fancy Italian imports but can’t afford the gas?
In my opinion, the real reason why some in the financial industry don’t like the FIRE movement is because it goes against their business model. Like everything else, it’s strictly business and the movement is a threat.
We used to have a financial advisor in the past. She was good at selling us insurance tools and giving us questionable financial advice. Ultimately I didn’t value her opinion or trust her judgment. I felt she was working for her commission and not in our best interests, so we fired her and moved our money elsewhere.
Side note; my opinion of this advisor was later confirmed when the market tanked in 2008. A family member who stayed with her was given the worst advice ever. Sell out and take the loss as a tax write-off. Take a look at a stock market chart since 2008 and see if the realized loss was worth a stupid tax write-off.
To some in the financial industry, the FIRE movement is the equivalent of being fired. People taking control of their financial lives, and for the most part, managing it themselves, is detrimental to their business model. After all, if people are in control of their own financial future and debt free, what will these financial predators do? How can they make money when their services are no longer valued? It must be hard to fathom the possibility that their high and mighty advice and overpriced services may no longer be needed by a growing percentage of the population.
In many ways this article and the general attitude of some in the financial world towards this movement is validation enough. And while we can debate their business practices and the methods they preach to give people the pleasure of retiring in their late 60’s or 70’s, we should understand that these are not stupid people. They have set up the equivalent of a side hustle in the form of high commissions and/or trails on stock trading and insurance policies. People becoming self sufficient will eventually have a negative impact to their profit margins and they just might be starting to realize that.
The fact that the financial world is acknowledging the movement, and in some cases doing their best to discredit it, shows a growing level of concern on their part. Who would have thought a couple of books and a few bloggers could spawn an entire movement and help reshape the thinking towards what it really takes to live a financially independent life. Hint: it’s not having $5 million in the bank in your 70’s as one talking head likes to say.
So let me lay it out there to the financial geniuses. Yes, we hate working for someone else. Yes, we hate being told where we need to be, when we need to be there and for how long. If someone willingly continues to do something that they do not enjoy and makes them unhappy, that’s when a therapist is needed. We know exactly what we want to do with our lives and how we are going to get there. And the only things we are avoiding are bad financial advice, high fees and pretentious attitudes.
If this means we are living in a fantasy land, then it will be one where we are retired and financially independent at an age where we can still enjoy what life has to offer.
If other people choose to follow the herd and play by the financial industry’s rules, that’s their choice. However, I will offer them a small amount of advice. Don’t think for a second that any of these so called financial advisors have your best interest at heart, because they don’t. You are a number and a recurring revenue stream, that’s it.
What people in this industry fail to understand over and over again is that there is a growing group of people that value life over things. Some people realized this early and have already achieved their goals. Others, like us, realized this later and are working on slimming down and cutting off bad habits. They don’t see that it is possible to live a great life on a modest passive income and cut ties with being required to work everyday at someone else’s demand. Their old thought process is that people can’t change, can’t adjust, and therefore must work and save until they are near death or pushed out of the workforce. And hopefully by that time, you have millions in the bank that you are way too old to enjoy.
No thank you! I choose FIRE!!
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.