You don’t need any more financial advice

39 thoughts on “You don’t need any more financial advice”

  1. Yep…it’s about as simple as that! All that matters is wanting financial independence above all else. Usually the people that want it bad enough are those that hate being controlled by anything.

  2. Good point Max brings up. The older I get, the less tolerance I have for a boss I don’t like wanting to run me around and tell me what to do all day. Or some nonsense company policy controlling me 5 days a week. Over a year ago I was unceremoniously was laid off after 19 years but with this stock market rally I’m now pretty much FI. I still have a side hustle I do, but I’m not sure if I could ever go back to the corporate grind and time commitment. Its part of my motivation to keep making the right financial decisions so I dont ever have to go back.

    1. Amen to that, Arrgo. I could never go back, either. Heck, sometimes I think that I’d rather work some labor-type job than sit behind a desk all damn day.

  3. Ayuuup. I do think that the “don’t buy more car than you can afford” advice still rings true for many people who aren’t already in the FIRE community, though. I remember being flabbergasted and awestruck by Mr. Money Mustache’s assertions that debt wasn’t normal and that I was an idiot for having a $450/mo car payment. So, sure, that advice has a place. But, like you say, at the end of the day it’s about actually putting this information into practice in your life.

    1. True that! I made that mistake as well – as well as the mortgage thing. I felt like homeownership was “the next step” in life, but it definitely doesn’t need to be.

  4. Doctors notoriously think that managing their own personal finances is more complicated than it actually is. If anyone asks me, I tell them that you can learn all you need to know in a few weeks of reading in your spare time. My theory is that many doctors, professionals, or those with expertise in their given field must imagine that they need similar expertise in finance to manage their own money. It’s simply not true!

    As for the “financial advice” you speak of, I agree that, deep down, nearly everyone knows it; however, many choose to simply ignore it.

    1. I think you might be right, Doc. Doctors think that their training makes everything more complicated than it truly is. Or, because they make more money than the norm, that it takes additional wisdom to get it right. But in truth, the same principle applies.

  5. My wife (lawyer by training, high school history teacher by choice) and I have a saying: “It is not about knowledge, it is about execution.” We use it mostly in terms of getting off our butts and moving more, eating right, or getting more rest. But the concept is equally applicable to finances. You are right, we know what we need to do. Most will still not do it, but some do listen, and it is a joy to behold when they do.

  6. The reason I read blogs on FI is not because I feel like I need to necessarily learn more – the basics don’t change. I read blogs to feel a sense of encouragement and to feel a community with other people who have chosen to work towards FI. For most of us in our everyday lives were are anomalies so being able to open a browser and see we aren’t alone is pretty comforting! There is value in getting a boost by watching others and while I do learn things from time-to-time it isn’t the reason I blog or read blogs/visit forums.

    1. Excellent point, Tucker. That sense of encouragement is a very, very real thing. That’s one of the things I like to focus on as much as possible. Not the How Tos, but the stories.

    1. It’s true – early retirement is simple. It may not be QUICK, though. But, it’s not complicated. It doesn’t take stock market wizardry or selling a business for millions of dollars.

  7. It’s weird, in some ways I agree in others I don’t. I always feel like I’m learning new tricks and financial tips from reading about finance. These help…. But the basics really are so simple: spend less then you earn, focus on income increases, and invest in index funds. Once you have the three 99 percent of the challenge is keeping at it. Those tops are the 1 percent, but you need the 99 percent and can live without the 1 if desired.

    1. Thanks Amy. I think that with enough motivation, we don’t even really need to “know” how to do things. We figure them out on our own. It just…happens, because we make it happen. Thanks for the comment!

  8. Great post Steve. It really is as simple as spend less than you earn and put the difference in a target-date mutual fund. As you said, we cannot compare ourselves or our circumstances to others. There are even so many different variables for those who are in similar age and income groups. I read many different blogs. I just use what applies to my own situation.

  9. I do think you are right in that we don’t need more advice on retirement or retiring early. Even with that we keep writing those articles. And I think part of it is the need for the message to be continually pounded, pounded, and pounded. Unfortunately, after a while the message might be just an echo chamber as we subscribe to each other’s blogs and social media accounts. That is why we need to continue to write that message so that people who are out of this network can hear it, understand it and hopefully live it.

  10. With persistence and determination, you can pretty much achieve anything your heart desires… no doubt. We should also remember, that only a small portion of the population is truly educated on any of the basics of financial advice (budgeting, investing, maxing out retirement accounts). There are still TONS of people that have not been taught these basic principles, or that even understand how their future could be different if they applied them. I think that’s what motivates us all to keep writing… to just keep winning people over a handful at a time 😉

    1. There is a lot that our schools could be teaching our generations of kids. Instead of AP Calculus, how about teaching the basics of the economy, stock market and how investments work. You know, stuff that might actually make a difference.

  11. Steve, I just wanted to back you up on this post. It’s crazy how people view us as aliens with super powers just because we managed to build some wealth and retire before the herd. It reminds me of the vibe I get when people find out I speak Spanish and Portuguese. (“Wow, you must be SO smart! I could never do that.” Ha, if they only knew how bad I butcher those languages!)

    Here’s my take on the things that FIRE do not require:
    Expert-level knowledge of the stock market * None here, we use VTSAX and keep enough cash to fund the party. We also used Target Retirement funds in the past. I can think of nothing more boring than following individual stocks or watching CNBC.
    Living a picture-perfect lifestyle * Nope, we’ve made tons of mistakes over the years. Too much eating out, never funded an IRA until ages 38 & 35, bought too much house, and spent too much filling home with things that we eventually gave away. These days we have a frugal low-cost lifestyle that ensures maximum happiness and minimum expense.
    Being a “smart cookie” * Anytime my head swells with thoughts of being a genius, I just pull out my undergraduate transcript and I come back down to earth. We both have multiple graduate degrees, but that is due to diligence more than genius. Long ago I decided to never let my inabilities stop me from achieving success. You don’t have to be smart to save and invest money. The same goes for cultivating a frugal lifestyle.
    A high paying job * Here’s where I have to say that our fat-cat teaching jobs were our unfair advantage. Ever since 2004 we have made a combined 6-figures on our two teaching salaries. Sorry all, but life just isn’t fair. One year we made an astounding $132,000 between us! Please don’t kill the messenger just because society has deemed that teachers are worthy of such high pay.
    Any form of magic * Okay, I’m going to reveal our BIG SECRET: Every January we marched over the human resource office and set our 403b contributions to the MAXIMUM contribution limit. (In 2010 we began maxing out our 457 plans too.) Many a month we had paychecks well under $1. By zeroing out our paychecks we were able to hammer our savings and squash our taxable income– double win!

    Awesome post Steve. Ed

    1. Thanks Ed! I was definitely a victom of the eating out thing, too. I still love to eat out, but of course, we don’t do it very often. But, that does mean that each time we DO eat out, it’s that much more special. Appreciate your epic comment!

  12. I actually think you’re under playing this. We’re talking about a radical paradigmatic shift in thinking. From 10% saving in your 401k is fine by society, to saving 50% upwards. That is a huge mental leap for people. But when they understand the ramifications the light bulb goes off. But it will take a move in societal norms on saving rates, and spending rates to move people in this direction.

    1. Very true – it’s a big shift. It’s not a complicated one, though. It just takes enough motivation and desire to make it happen. I agree, though – it’ll take a LOT to make this way of living more mainstream.

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