There’s a lot of things going on in the personal finance blogosphere. I know I can’t follow it all, so I’m guessing you (unless you are a blogger) probably can’t either.
For one, I’m not sure if there is much of a personal finance blogosphere anymore or if it is just the same as the FIRE (Financial Independent/Retire Early) blogosphere. I suppose you could say that FIRE is a subset of personal finance. However, there are blogs that I think consider them FIRE who deal with getting out debt, investing, taxes, insurance and just about personal finance topic you can think of. However, not all personal finance is about FIRE, but it certainly looks like that because who wouldn’t want to be financially independent and be able to choose the work they love?
It’s kind of like how all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. Except in this case, all four sides are extremely close to equivalent in size.
That was an unexpected tangent.
That was also the point of this kind of article. This is a junk drawer article of personal finance thoughts. I used to do more of these, but with social media they’ve become somewhat less necessary.
Great List of Early Retirement Blogs
Building on that opening, Joe from Retire By 40 has a great list of early retirement blogs. I knew of most of the blogs, but there were a few new ones that I added to my list to follow. Now following it all got even more difficult.
Life’s Not Always Puppies and Rainbows
My favorite article over the last week or two has been Tawcan’s The End. He’s not ending the blog, but he’s working through some personal struggles. It seems like few people ever talk about this stuff personally, but in groups of surveyed data, it seems to be all over the place. I’ve felt some of the same struggles and wonder if it’s related to parenting a couple of very young kids.
Life always has its frustrations I guess, but there was some good thinking if you find yourself in the same place. Yes, it’s a little light on the personal finance aspect of the articles that I usually like to highlight. However, you should definitely watch the Happiness film there as it covers a lot of personal finance.
Bad Personal Finance Celebrity, Bad
A personal finance celebrity/self-described-expert went on a podcast with the awesome Paula Pant and had a bit of a rampage against the FIRE community. We’ll call her S.O. to avoid giving her publicity for what many people thought was a media stunt to launch her new book.
S.O. viewed personal finance and FIRE very differently, loving the first and hating the second. Her rant went on for awhile covering a lot of different unlikely scenarios that could lead to personal harm. They were things like a truck with pipes on the highway having an accident and being behind it. (That can happen despite how much money you have in the bank.) Another example was her own mother who I think she said she spent 3 million in care near the end of her life. I might be misquoting, but it was literally hundreds of millions of dollars.
There was another extreme example of when artificial intelligence takes over the world and there are no jobs left. In that scenario, the thinking was that taxes would go through the roof to support all the things like Medicare and Social Security.
The doomsday scenarios lead Mr. Tako to write a humor satire where Justin of Root of Good Falls to His Death Off a Boat. It was a great price of writing noting that “Life is a Risk” either way. The real risk is getting to age 65, 70, or 75 and missed out.
This continued on for awhile until finally S.O. realized that the “Retire Early” part of FIRE community doesn’t usually mean eating Bon-Bons at the beach at the time. It often means moving to another type of meaningful work. Somehow that alleviates all the problems of a pipes falling off trucks and artificial intelligence.
S.O. was actually correct that a lot of these could occur, and in aggregate might occur to some degree. However, it is the people who have thought about these things and actually planned for them who are most likely to be best prepared for them.
Closing the Drawer
There are a few things that I didn’t get to which I wanted to, so maybe I’ll have to do this again sometime soon. If you could drop a line and leave a comment on this very different style of writing from what I usually do (or see others do), I would appreciate it.
There is a big difference in the FI and FIRE communities. I was FI for a long time before I retired early because work was so much fun. I was doing the thing I enjoyed and the pay was kind of a bonus. I don’t think I’m the only person like that in the blogosphere but probably a minority group.
Lazy Man says
I know a few people who are like that, but I don’t think it is huge difference that it needs to be blogged about that differently. The important part is the FI and the rest is what you want to do. Some people are already doing it and others retire from what get them to FI and do another thing. I’ve seen FIRE as FI/RE which I presume means FI alone as well.
In the end, I think a lot of it is just slightly different dialects of the same language.
Thanks for the mention! I can’t follow all the blogs either. There are just too many good blogs now. It’s pretty crazy how much it grew.