Budgeting, Investing, FIRE aren’t sexy. Sex, drugs, Rock’n’Roll are.

Since I’m not an anonymous blogger anymore, I have wondered if I may get recognized in public spaces. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need and not asking for recognition, but I figured, if I get recognized in public, that would mean the Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) movement is getting more popular in Canada. That is a good thing!

Last week I was travelling in the US for business. This meant I was getting up super early (3 AM one day, 4:30 AM the other day), and hopping in and out of different US cities. While waiting for my flight in Denver International, I noticed someone was looking at me constantly. At first, I thought I had something in my face but shortly later, the person walked up to me and said hi.

“Hey, you’re Bob from tawcan.com right? I recognized you from your pic. You look exactly like the picture on the blog.” This person said.

“Yes I am, I’m surprised to run into someone who knows my blog.” At the back of my mind, I was like “I sure hope I look exactly like my picture, isn’t that the whole point of a picture?”

“Yea I came across your story on Money Sense and checked out your blog. Very interesting story you got.”

“Thank you.”

We chatted for a few minutes, what came next took me by storm and completely surprised me.

“Don’t you think budgeting, investing and FIRE are boring? I get bored reading about them. Sex, drugs, and Rock’n’Roll are way sexier.”

Since it was super early in the morning, I wasn’t sure how to reply to this question. Before I had more time to think and answer, my flight to Salt Lake was boarding and I had to say goodbye to this person.

While on my flight to Salt Lake, this person’s question kept popping up in my head.

SEX… yes, that’s a way sexier and an activity more fun than budgeting. Who doesn’t like sex?

Drugs… some people say drugs are fun to do.

Rock’n’Roll… talk to any rock musicians and you’ll get the feedback that rock and roll are awesome and can lead to the two other things mentioned above.

 

Are budgeting, investing, and FIRE really that boring?

Do people fall asleep thinking and reading about these three money-related topics? Do I put people to sleep when I talk and write about these things?

Well J$ certainly doesn’t think so. After all, he has a website called Budgets Are Sexy. But I don’t see anyone’s website called Investing Is Sexy, or FIRE is Sexy. Hmm, perhaps I should consider buying these domains?

The reality is, maybe budgeting, investing, and FIRE aren’t the sexiest things to talk and write about, but they sure are an important part of our lives. Isn’t it far better to have financial security than having to worry about whether you have money to put food on your table the next day? And if you have no money, how are you going to continue buying drugs and keep your rock and roll lifestyle? You might have to borrow money, steal, and do worse things to maintain that lifestyle.

Having financial security puts your mind in a better place. You are less worried about life in general. You are less worried about having the money to pay for things, how to deal with emergencies, and you feel more content and at peace with your own life.

I’m not saying there won’t be any struggles. Heck, I have had my own personal struggles, even though we are doing well financially. Despite these personal struggles, at end of the day, I know we will have food on the table, we have a roof over our head, we can go out and enjoy the finer things of life, and we will be OK financially for a while if all of a sudden I am no longer employed.

Budgeting and knowing how much you make and spend is step number one. You need to learn to how to spend less than you earn. Without this, you will never get ahead. The key is to grow the gap between incomes and expenses. Some people called this savings rate.

Next step is learning how to invest, so your money is working hard for you, so you don’t have to. Without investing your savings, your net worth is not going to grow significantly. Can you imagine hiding all your money under your mattress then finding out 30 years later that you have significantly less purchasing power? Or finding that majority the money has been eaten by bugs (certainly a possibility with US paper-based bills, maybe not so much with Canadian bills, as many of them are plastic now). Putting money in the bank and have it grow at 2 or 3% is great but that is not a long-term solution. It is far better to invest your money in equities and have an average annual return of about 10%. Depending on your age and risk level, you will want to have a certain percentage of your portfolio allocated to bonds. Bonds, as you may know, are safer than equities during volatile times.

Financial independence may sound like a fantasy to some people, but what we need to realize is that if you spend less than you earn and have your money work hard for you, you will reach financial independence eventually. It’s simply a matter of time. Whether you retire early or not is entirely up to you. And the term early retirement is so loosely defined. Say the “typical” retirement age is 65, if you retire at 64 years old and 364 days, technically you have retired early!

At their core, budgeting and investing are simple concepts. Keep things simple and don’t make them complicated. I suppose because they are simple concepts to understand, maybe that’s why this person I talked to believe they are boring?

Just like starting a fire, Financial independence retire early is also a simple concept.

How do you start a fire? Well, you need fuel like paper and branches, and you need heat. Once you get enough heat and the fuel catches sparks, you have a fire. You then need to keep adding branches or logs to maintain the fire. Similarly, to reach FIRE you need to save money and grow your appreciating assets, so one day your passive income exceeds your expenses. You can say that having a budget and invest money is like the initial step of starting a fire. Once a fire is lit, you need to maintain the fire by investing more money and growing your appreciating assets.

However, unlike a traditional fire where eventually the fire will die out if there’s not enough fuel, with FIRE, once you have enough appreciating assets, your passive income should last for your entire lifetime.

If I had the chance to talk to this person face to face again, I will tell this person that budgeting, investing, and FIRE are indeed sexy. It’s simply a different kind of sexiness than sex, drugs, and Rock’n’Roll.

I mean, some people find fishing super fun but I have never enjoyed fishing.

It all comes down your personal perspective, right?

I’ll end this post with another funny encounter I had on this business trip…

https://twitter.com/Tawcan/status/1068239034613473280

Dear readers, do you think budgeting, investing, and FIRE are boring? Would you rather take sex, drugs, and rock and roll over financial security?

 

PS. Don’t get me wrong, I am not ripping this person at all. I just thought it was a very interesting question. And if you do ever spot me in public, certainly come by to say hi! 🙂

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22 Comments

  • Reply
    Joe
    December 3, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Of course Sex, drugs, and rock and rolls are a lot more fun in the present. However, FIRE is much better in the long term. You have to find a balance between the two. If you have too much fun in the present, your future will probably be bleak. The opposite is true as well. Of course, when I’m 75, I’ll go all in for the sex, drugs, and rock and rolls. I’ll probably need a lot of drugs to do the other 2 things. 😀

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      December 3, 2018 at 10:00 am

      Haha yup they are a lot more fun in the present but FIRE is way better in the long run. 🙂

      That’s why I keep talking about finding that right personal balance. 😉

  • Reply
    Dr. MB
    December 3, 2018 at 8:52 am

    Hi Bob,

    I saw you and your beautiful family while at the Vancouver MEC a number of months ago. But I had the good sense to NOT intrude upon your personal space.

    And if one was to intrude on your space, perhaps it would be wise to be more careful with one’s speech. Just saying…

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      December 3, 2018 at 10:01 am

      Hi Dr. MB,

      That’s cool, you maybe should have come by and just said hi. Nothing wrong with intruding my space, I just found it funny that this person mentioned that budgeting, investing and FIRE aren’t sexy. You’d think otherwise when someone is reading and learning about personal finance.

  • Reply
    freddy smidlap
    December 3, 2018 at 10:26 am

    we do both…except the drugs. we’ve led a rock’n’roll life and still do at age 50. we just invest enough to continue funding that. you’re a rock star, bob…with a futuristic robot maid.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      December 3, 2018 at 2:42 pm

      Haha I wish we actually have a futuristic robot maid at home. 🙂

  • Reply
    Mr. Tako
    December 3, 2018 at 11:54 am

    Wow, your famous now Bob! You get recognized in public places! Such an internet rockstar! 🙂

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      December 3, 2018 at 2:42 pm

      I wouldn’t say I’m famous at all. I don’t need to be famous and want to be. Far from that. 🙂

  • Reply
    DivvyDad
    December 4, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    I agree with Mr. Tako, you’ve reached the big leagues when you’re getting recognized out in public!

    I’m one that thinks the finance topics are sexy (as are the other things) but I would say that we are still in the minority in that regard. I mean, most of my leisure reading includes books that have something to do with personal finances in some fashion while I am not sure that I could pay my wife enough money to read a finance book.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      December 5, 2018 at 8:33 am

      Haha we’ll see if I get recognized more in public. Hopefully not too much lol.

      I think we are definitely the minority thinking finance topics are sexy. I’m glad that Mrs. T is generally interested in the finance topics.

  • Reply
    Passivecanadianincome
    December 5, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    haha nice Bob.

    That would be pretty cool getting recognized… Doesnt sound like he was a fan boy though. haha.

    Thats the one thing i think about when posting my pics, cool if people are a fan or want to learn or talk finances. but would be weird if someone saw you that has the wrong mindset or intentions.

    Next time your in Toronto let me know. Ill bring a bunch of stuff for you to sign and then sell it on Ebay!

    haha keep it up superstar.
    cheers

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      December 6, 2018 at 10:43 am

      It’s kinda interesting to get recognized we’ll see if that happens again in the future. 🙂

      Don’t get me wrong, it was great talking to this person, the person just had a very interesting question that made me ponder for a while.

      ROFL on getting my autograph.

  • Reply
    Trippe
    December 5, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    Real nice blog and nice style of writing! My first visit here. I have only been blogging myself since July at age 67 (yes that is not a typo). So maybe I am a bit out of place here among these young people. Although I have no hope of matching anything like this site, I do enjoy blogging!

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      December 6, 2018 at 10:43 am

      Thanks Trippe.

  • Reply
    Steps To Early Retirement
    December 6, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Hi Bob,

    That’s great people recognize you!!! Hopefully next time I’m in Vancouver I bump into you (just to say hi).

    To be honest I think budgeting is a little tedious but I think investing is sexy :). I know when I talk investments with my friends their eyes glaze over. Guess not a lot of people except people in the FIRE community find this sexy.

    My wife used to ask me what I wanted for my birthday/Christmas so she would have some ideas. I used to always name a dividend stock. She thought I was crazy!! She doesn’t think I’m crazy now 🙂

    Ernest

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      December 10, 2018 at 10:34 am

      Please say hi if you ever bump into me. 🙂

      Yea I guess not many ppl find budgeting, investing, and FIRE sexy. I guess we are the minority. 🙂

  • Reply
    Steph
    December 8, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    People recognize us every once in awhile – it’s pretty fun, because they get really excited!

    I don’t find budgeting or investing to be very exciting topics, because we mostly automate those types of things, so there’s really not a lot to say – “Yep, we shoveled some more money into index funds today, and our spending is approximately the same as it was at this time last year”. Financial independence, on the other hand, is really interesting because it involves having the freedom to do anything you want.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      December 10, 2018 at 10:35 am

      That’s cool that ppl recognize you guys once in a while. 🙂

      Automating budgeting and investing is a great idea. Something we definitely do in our household.

  • Reply
    Get Rich Brothers
    December 9, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    Hey Bob,

    Congrats on the recognition in your travels; you’re in the big leagues of celebrity notoriety, now!
    That said, I think “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll” are an odd thing to use in a comparison with budgeting. All three of those give you an immediate hit when you engage in them while budgeting, investing, takes time to manifest. The first three are short term hits while the latter are long term engagements. It’s just an apples to cucumbers comparison.
    That said, I think most of us in this community actually do get excited to build our portfolios and work toward a better future. It’s just that it requires planning rather than stimulation “in-the-act”.

    Take care,
    Ryan

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      December 10, 2018 at 10:36 am

      Haha I wouldn’t say I’m in the big leagues just yet. 🙂

      I guess it’s not a fair comparison but I thought it was an odd comparison. Definitely a good conversational starter.

  • Reply
    Mr. Groovy
    December 10, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    When I was a young man, girls, beer, and sports got me going. Now, putting change in my coin jar, going to Dairy Queen, and gazing at the rafter ties in my great room get me going. So, yes, it’s all about perspective–and hormones, I suppose. But I will say this, the only reason I find coin jars, Dairy Queen blizzards, and rafter ties super hot is because I also came to see budgeting, investing, and FIRE super hot as well. Great post, my friend.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      December 11, 2018 at 10:12 am

      Haha Mr. Groovy, I think most of us are like that when we were younger. 🙂

      Dairy Queen blizzards are great but probably shouldn’t eat them all the time.

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