It’s deeply uncomfortable for a lot of us, white Americans especially, to talk about race. But if we care about helping people with their finances, or about not upholding systemic racism built into our system, we have no choice but to talk about it. Here is the tough but necessary work we must do.
We’re supposed to save 2 times our salary by age 35, or is it 25 times our expenses to retire early? We’re supposed to ignore Social Security, but also claim it at 62 to hedge against market risk. We should try to get out of debt as quickly as possible, but also paying off a mortgage early is missing out on potential market gains. There is so much “truth” out there, so many “right” answers, and many of them conflict. How to make sense of them and decide which are actually true? Start by tossing out the whole notion that financial truth exists in the first place.
The FIRE movement has recently faced one of its biggest bits of criticism ever, from one of the country’s most famous financial experts (yes, that’d be Suze Orman), and the responses have been interesting. While plenty of folks have already responded to her critiques point by point, this is a good moment to remind ourselves why it’s so important not to write off any naysayers immediately, and instead to really listen to what they have to say.
Something that I think takes a lot of early retirees by surprise is that the things you always dreamed of doing when you were slogging through those saving years don’t automatically happen just because you subtract a job from your life. The minutes, hours and days still slip away mysteriously if we aren’t intentional about how we spend our time, and for those things that mean most to us, we truly have to make that time, which happens to be harder than ever in our distraction-filled world? This is one example of an area where we’ve made up our minds to make more time for something important, and an interview with John Zeratsky, co-author of the new book Make Time that’s all about this challenge. (Plus a book giveaway!)
It happened again recently: another high-profile media piece described the financial independence/retire early (FIRE) movement as one made up primarily of 30-something men in tech. This is a story some people love to tell, but it’s just that: a story. Let’s examine the myth, talk about why it’s harmful and kill it once and for all.
If you’re interested in blogging anonymously and making sure you don’t get found out — or if you’re just curious how it’s done! — today’s post is a full compendium of the technical and content directives you’ve want to follow, from someone who successfully stayed anonymous for years en route to early retirement.
I love our financial independence/early retirement blog community like crazy, but there are some things we can all be doing to serve readers better. Some of them are simple, and some aren’t. But we owe it to our readers to be more transparent and to be more in touch with what our readers are up against.
We’re just back from FinCon17, and here’s a full report on how it all went. (Spoiler: We loved every second.) And, for those who aren’t bloggers or just aren’t interested in FinCon, let’s talk all about how we can create community outside of big, formal events — because I think it’s actually easy to do!
So many of us, upon learning about early retirement, dive in headfirst, and discover this community full of people working toward the same goal. And along the way, we adjust our baseline based on the people we meet here, and we might even forget that we are the outliers, not the normal ones. Recently, we were reminded just how not normal this goal is, and that’s made us all the more grateful.
An interesting thing happens with a lot of financial independence bloggers. As your audience grows, you suddenly have this incredibly opportunity not only to reach more readers, but to earn more from the blog. Which is wonderful! Except when it means you’re only telling part of the story. Here’s why this matters, and what we should all keep in mind as we read FI blogs.