Anti-FI/RE Movement Becoming Annoying or Is It Me?

30 Jan 2019 20:28

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The FI/RE movement has garnered so much attention the last couple years that it has spawned a new Anti-FI/RE Movement among financial professionals. Over the last two months I see at least one article per week condemning those attempting to achieve financial independence.


At first it was amusing how bi-polar the financial media has become. It was not that long ago when the financial media machine was telling the world (and still does to this day) that people are not saving enough and everyone’s retirement is in danger. Then along comes a group of people who do exactly what they were preaching by busting their backsides, saving/investing like mad and creating a big pile of money or passive income flow. Once they have a pile of money they decide hey I think I can try this financial independence thing and then financial professionals jump all over them that what they are doing is wrong. Which is it? Save money and retire or don’t?

Personally I neither support nor condemn folks that embrace the FI/RE movement. If you desire to sacrifice, work your tail off, save money and try financial independence then good for you. If it doesn’t work out they’ll just have to pull themselves back up, learn from their mistakes and work hard to get back on track. One trait I see among everyone in the FI/RE movement is that they are not lazy! These folks hustle like mad and I’m sure they would pour that same energy into fixing any planning mistakes they made. As for me, my plan since I was 18 was to retire at 60 (I’m 50 now). I have no clue if that makes me part of the FI/RE movement and it doesn’t matter. Regardless of my status there was one recent article I found mildly offensive on the topic:

9 REASONS WHY YOU’RE BETTER OFF RETIRING LATE by financial columnist Brett Arends

Being that the source is a financial expert I thought the article was incredibly irresponsible to readers and does more harm than good.

The gist of the article is a milder passive aggressive version of Suze Orman’s attack on the FI/RE topic. Granted this article was labeled as an “Opinion” piece but since the author has a significant financial background I hold him to a higher standard. I am sure he wrote the article with good intentions but his emotions seemed to get the better of him. The message in the article is that you should delay retirement as long as possible or better yet never stop working to avoid financial, mental and social catastrophes and this is where it gets dangerous. A reader might construe this as being if you try to retire you will fail so your best option is to not focus on saving or retirement but focus on working because its better for you! Yipes! I'm sure this is not what the author intended.

If this author was genuinely concerned for his readers then it should have been more like “Make a financial plan to retire early but plan on working as long as possible”. This could then be served up to address how people have to enter into an unexpected early retirement for a multitude of unplanned events such as; physical inability to work, forced retirement, or to take care of a family member and to be financially prepared if one of these unfortunate events happens. But no, he had a passion to dismiss FI/RE and couldn't focus the article into something useful.

I usually dismiss these types of articles and not sure why this article rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe I’m just having a bad hair day and should cut cut him some slack, on second thought…NAH!

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