Friday, November 13, 2020

Why everyone will need Financial Independence...eventually (A lazy revisit)

So since I'm waaaaayyy tooooo daaaammn fricking exhausted because this house renovation is kicking my sorry old ass I thought I'd approach the next few blog posts a different (erm, lazy) way. 

I recently trawled my gmail reading some of the old Dividend Nomad posts I wrote over the past couple of years which are now deleted on the world wide web, with the idea of trying to figure out either exactly what type of black tar heroin I was on or if after the passage of time do I still agree with what I was originally spouting at this now later, more experienced juncture? 

I know, lazy bone idle, poor excuse for journalism. I just don't have the energy right now to produce. It's replacing rotten joists here, filling in walls there, bit of brick re-pointing. I'll get into that more at a later date.

Since these posts no longer exist technically I thought it also nice to reintroduce them under the new Google Blogger format since it no longer costs me a dime to host...(aaahh the sweet life post-Bluehost)

Yep, still a cheapo..

So here is one from back in September 2018. 2018, what an awesome year! We never had it so damn good. No Covid, no masks (unless you were in Chiang Mai and it was burning season)


Since I don't read online news anymore my better half Mrs DN pointed me to an article in the Daily Mail about Financial Independence, hinting that I may not like what I read in the comments section and how the responses were very negative with about 95% highlighting that this is not the lifestyle for them.

The only response I can really give to anyone who sincerely doesn't believe they ever see themselves needing to sock away money to secure the future for themselves and that of their family is, well one of extreme happiness. Happiness tinged with maybe a little skepticism, but happiness nonetheless. The reason for my happiness is obvious, to spend your days at a job you love isn't working. It's just like having a hobby someone pays you for, it's a wonderful existence experienced very rarely.

The reason for my hint of skepticism though, without the slightest hint of condescension is that of the past 24 years of my working life I have spent 13 of them cycling in and out of what was a heavily burnt-out state. This burnt-out state was as a direct result of continuous 60-70 hour weeks that were seemingly never going to end anytime soon, at least until I was the person to make the choice to end the madness.

My background growing up, as well as that of most of my old friends and colleagues had always been that when there's money on the table then you grab it with both hands, the same if someone offers you a job, you take it because you don't know what tomorrow will bring. Indeed grab I did for those decades and for some parts of that time period I did actually enjoy designing aircraft and motor vehicles for a living. In some of those time periods my viewpoint might have even echoed the exact same mantra as those responding in the comments field of the aforementioned article. I'm designing aircraft, having the time of my life, why on earth would I dream of wanting to stop and retire when I'm doing such important work that means so much to me and my employer? It makes zero sense. 

This is where I was actually partly correct, I was enjoying the work and it did mean a lot to me. My error was assuming that the work I was doing meant anything to my employer. This is not a victim mentality statement just a fact, in the eyes of the vast majority of corporations you don't actually exist in the human sense of the word, you are a commodity. I actually have no problem with this understanding, I can't say I felt the same the day decades ago when it actually started to hit home but over the years I came to terms extremely well with it I think.

The point is, Financial Independence is not for everyone at a certain given time of their lives. It needs to be arrived at by a series of obvious events and if those events never materialize then there might be a good chance you will never even give it a second thought. Like I say if this is you then I'm very happy for you, long may your joy continue.

All I can say though is rest assured the corporate burnout culture is alive and well and is going nowhere anytime soon. The reason? Well from a corporate perspective it makes the uttermost sense to get as much performance from your employees as is humanly possible in order to assure yourself maximum profits when it comes to quarterly reporting. The best way it has been found to achieve this is through introducing a competitive, fear-based culture. Fear of losing your job and subsequently all your material possessions creates competition between yourself and your peers who also live in fear of losing their job too. 

Therefore when it comes to deciding who stays and who goes then it is on you to show your company loyalty and that is done by working longer and harder than your peers. This means working weekends, holidays, whatever it takes to hit the deadlines that the corporation decides are their critical milestones that pay bonuses at Director up to Vice-President level, usually coinciding with quarterly earnings reporting and subsequent share price. Your Directors and VP's have a financial dog in the hunt when it comes to your performance, your success is their success and if your immediate Manager is failing achieve the results expected by their superiors then they need to explain your performance. Did you work the overtime that was expected of you? Did you turn up over thanksgiving? Christmas? The stress of knowing this is the expectation is what leads to the overwork and subsequent burnout. 

Burnout comes and goes quite a few cycles in your working career before it begins to truly stick with you on a longer term basis. You can feel stressed at peak times and then it subsides for a while and you can go back to enjoying your job and life again but it inevitably returns because corporate culture dictates it so. It is when it returns as a more longer, sustained version with no letup that you begin to truly begin to see the real problem. This longer, sustained version does take a while to materialize though which gives you some grace period before you feel it's worst effects.

So in conclusion, I agree that at any given time you can find a large percentage of the population disagreeing, even quite aggressively in some cases with the notion of Financial Independence or FIRE. But rest assured that at some point the mood wherever they are will change, it may not be tomorrow, maybe not next month nor year but at some point corporate culture wherever you are will shift. You can probably predict it the moment your more higher level employees switch to the aforementioned milestone performance-pay related business model. This process usually occurs when the small, happy successful organization that you love to work for get's swallowed up by a corporate giant.

Once this occurs the need to constantly innovate, to increase revenue, to increase earnings by reducing overheads will never go away now, especially when you've gone too far and proved you can do more with less headcount. Going back to any lesser performance will never be a U-turn that any corporation can sell to Wall Street investors.

Here's to hoping the naysayers receive enough wake up calls to figure all this out before it's too late for them. The only remedy to modern corporate culture is Financial Independence, or FU money.

Thanks for reading,



Holy moly! That's not stale. Still agree with every word.

Even more so in the Covid world but never to get complacent again post-Covid vaccine. Even though the FIRE community to me seems to have run out of steam/ideas nowadays, I still am a big believer in the underlying premise. 

To anyone listening (or even not listening) I'd still spout the same. i.e. don't get slapped down/burnt out long term by the corporate world even if you do now appreciate simply being employed in a pandemic world, the gratitude will most likely fade post-vaccine and it's likely you'll ultimately gravitate back to not being too plussed with overworked, slave labor which is sadly ingrained in corporate culture longer term. 

Trust....and save the pennies to get back on track to the longer term FIRE goal. If I was still on the hamster wheel that is exactly where my thoughts would still be..

Love to all,


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