Why I write what I write

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Always 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.

15 Replies to “Why I write what I write”

  1. I really enjoy what you write. I like that your content is a little different, though your ideas are always well thought out and expressed in an easy to understand way.
    Keep doing what you are doing! Let the haters read somewhere else.

    1. The haters do interest me, I allow them to play here a bit as it makes the discussions more lively and interesting.

  2. Ah screw them. If people don’t like what they read, the door is that way. Your blog, your rules, your topics. I for one, like reading your blog just fine. Just reading about another 10 ways to something something is boring, and those are the ones I scroll through faster than you can sneeze.

    1. I had my last one removed real quick by a mod because it was “off topic” and then I figured if that was off topic then there is no way this one is on topic so I didn’t bother posting it.

      I’ll continue to post there but my next post will probably be “The making of a shuffler part 2” which may get pulled as quickly as part 1 was. At the end of the day the moderators control what content can be posted there.

      1. Not sure why it would be removed as the side bar states “Welcome to the Australian version of r/financialindependence, a place created for Australians to discuss the concepts of financial independence (FI) and retiring early (RE).”

        In my mind your posts are all essentially related to FIRE as that is the end goal you are working towards so therefore your blogs are all related to the concept of FIRE. In addition, even if the post subjects aren’t directly related to the FIRE concept, your posts still invariably trigger a discussion around that concept.

        Would MMM have his post removed if he posted a link to his recent blog “Introducing The MMM World Headquarters Building”?

        I understand Moderators have a tough job and have to make line calls at times but it seems a bit heavy handed.

        1. Yeah, I consider my website to be broadly all related to FI, but very specific articles may deviate from the narrow definition that some adhere to. It is OK, I do enjoy interacting on reddit but it isn’t the end of the world, I will post my next one on there that is more FI focused.

  3. I like your blog for the different viewpoints it conveys so keep doing your thing.

    I find my top 10 type posts do way better in terms of views so you are right in saying people just want to be given the answers.

    Sometimes I do think you can sound angry with things in your posts but I like reading when you get fired up haha.

    It would be pretty boring if we all said the same thing.

    1. Haha, is that the impression I give! Grimacing at the computer screen with fire in my eyes!

      I guess Pat The Shuffler is building quite a reputation for himself.

  4. I’ve been enjoying the ride the past 6 months… you’ll never please everyone, which isn’t a bad thing. I didn’t get much out of your superannuation article for example, but it’s interesting that you have the views on it that you do. Yours and Aussie Firebug are the only 2 Aussie blogs I’ll read, but most of his I skip because they’re updates on his bank balance. I’m shuffling away and have my own strategy, but I know there’s always room for improvement… till I’ve tweaked it to perfection I’ll keep coming back. Cheers for your contributions to my journey!

  5. It’s a pity the reddit mods saw the need to pull it down. I’m here because I was curious why you hadn’t posted for awhile.
    I enjoy your writing and find it interesting that people consider it too extreme (I would say sometimes too common sense). You remind me a lot of MMM who’s blog I binge read when I discovered it. Any distain for the way the masses act (or at ourselves for not being hard core enough) is obviously dramatized for entertainment.

    I also have no interest in dry regular bank summary posts.

    1. I am starting to wonder about the image people have of me. Something along the lines of an angry blogger, clenching his teeth with fire in his eyes while typing this stuff into the computer. Oh man so far off, most of the time I am typing it is late at night in bed while being quite tired and trying to b e really engaging and entertaining. It is a bit odd that it was pulled but as I wrote above I’ll give it a go for my next post and see how I go.

      1. If you look at your little photo next to your comments I don’t see you as ever being angry! Always with that big smile and sometimes maybe a bit cheeky or pushing the limits, but never angry. It’s funny how people can perceive things so differently