It has been over 6 months now since I started my FI/RE blog, Life Long Shuffle. It is here that I endeavour to challenge societal norms, unveil the frugal habits which were ingrained during my childhood, share how I’ve saved money and highlight my view on topics such as superannuation, franking credits and real estate . Sharing my early retirement journey with others has been bloody awesome. I’ve also gained inspiration from others that have already successfully reached their goal.
It turns out however, that I have been causing some confusion and copping a bit of flack lately for my choice of content. This falls primarily into categories:
- Those who think an FI (Financial Independence) blog should focus on how much money I have saved and invested, compared to my targets. Writing about anything else would be writing about something other than FI. My topics are too left-field and too off the subject to be considered FI related.
- Those who simply want to read about the specific money saving hacks or tricks. They want to see things such as “10 ways to save money shopping for groceries” or “Where and how to invest your money“. A lot of my topics aren’t addressing the key process or procedure of achieving the goal of FI.
- My writing is rude, patronising, putting down….
There is a bit of an overlap but I will try and respond separately to each of these.
This is what FI is and isn’t
It seems that some have a very specific and narrow idea of what they consider relevant to FI. Essentially they believe that only writing about ones progress to FI in a financial sense is relevant.
There are numerous bloggers out there that will only write a monthly update post of how their savings are tracking against their targets. That is not me. To be honest I find it a bit boring and repetitive to add yet another FI blogger doing the exact same thing.
I have added a quick update table and notes to succinctly summarise my progress for those that are interested. I have made this purposefully brief so I can spend most of my time curating content that I personally find interesting or useful.
For me, consumerism, frugality, investing and unleashing your inner alpha are all interweaving topics that relate to financial independence. You may disagree, this probably won’t change my opinion..but you can try 😉
I don’t care about all that other stuff, just tell me where to cut
I heard something on a podcast recently*, and it is along the lines of:
“Just show me how to do brain surgery, give me the cliff notes. Do you just cut right here above the frontal lobe…”
You can’t be told where to cut a brain and think you can perform brain surgery. In the same way, I feel that the sort of financial independence I strive for can’t be summarised into a few quick tricks.
Getting the tips and tricks to save and invest may work for some. However I like to delve further to address the deeply ingrained societal thoughts on spending.
For true success I prefer to talk about habits, psychology and perceptions of the world around us. The topics I write about may appear to only have a passing link to financial independence. However in my mind the link is strong, which is why I include it as a post on this website.
If you would prefer to find an article such as “The X steps to reduce your spending in xxxxx category” I will post these from time to time where I see it relevant. Otherwise I am sure you can find something in buzzfeed or a similarly click bait-focused publication to satiate your need.
Attacking behaviours vs attacking people
I try to attack behaviours and ideas. If an attack on a behaviour is taken as though it is an attack on an individual, that can lead to offense. It is important to note that I will also call myself things like crazy, irrational and stupid sometimes. The truth is we are all crazy, irrational and stupid sometimes. It is also true that we are all as individuals over 99% ignorant of all the knowledge that humans have accumulated up until now. This being highlighted should not be surprising or offensive to anyone.
I come from a frame of mind that all ideas should be open to scrutiny. Whenever I feel something needs to be scrutinised, I will liberally do so. Ideas are so often shielded from being challenged, when someone claims to be offended by it. Whether intentional or not, this has the effect of shaming someone into silence. ‘Offense’ turns out to be an effective mechanism for limiting free speech.
I will remind you all that there was a time when suggesting the world was round was extremely offensive to the the entire population of several countries (the whole world?). It was not only offensive, but it literally dismantled their entire world view about God, heaven being above & hell being below and it was illegal to say such things, causing scientists to be banished from cities. Yet from our privileged position of people from the future, we can see that this extremely offensive idea turned out to be completely true. This little bit of history reminds us of why even the offensive crazy speech is important.
Some of course are ploughing through the internet, looking for some sort of ‘Get rich quick‘ scheme. You certainly won’t find that here. Early retirement is a goal that takes dedication and perseverance.
For all those that are left, welcome to my lair of shuffling.
Pat the Shuffler
*I don’t remember the person who said it to quote them, if you know comment below and I will add the name and a link.