The legions of delusional FI followers thinking of about FI as if it doesn't unlock early retirement really began to weigh heavy on my conscious (but of course how could it when your crippled journey to FI is as close to FIRE you'll actually get?). So many people were getting it wrong. What if I took it upon myself to be the contrary opinion and voice my concerns? Surely chaos would follow?
I had to weigh the risks too. I'm not a huge name in the community, was it worth to risk my existing audience? What if they leave? What about in-real life friendships I've made through my podcast or facebook, would they ever message me back? What about the podcast, would it feel a negative effect because of my potentially foolish position on FIRE? I share the podcast with two others who don't share my view, is it really fair for me to attack members of our collective audience?
I was definitely nervous clicking 'post' and sent an advance warning to my podcast co-hosts that I had something risky coming out. I even put warnings on my promotional ads where I know a few of my readers come from explaining the content within is not as all-inclusive as the "FI Movement" appears to be. The results of course didn't shock me. Within 72 hours I had received backlash from a few facebooker's, had multiple arguments around the web and my twitter followers decreased but most painfully of all, my podcast co-hosts remained silent. Ouch, I could take strangers crying tears of rage into the keyboard but my colleagues ignoring me? That stung.
After a brief moment of realising I am on of the least popular people in the FIRE movement, I fancied the thought of deleting the articles... but decided I'm bigger than that. If they don't like it, then fuck those guys. In fact, fuck everyone! I didn't say anything I regret or thought untrue. Perhaps I should've been nicer in my approach, ditching the "You're a bunch of Wealthy Barber morons going along with mainstream marketing of the FIRE movement" in exchange for something more bland like "Make sure you're saving enough.. watch out for lifestyle creep but you can do it!" However, that would've just made me like everybody else and that's not what Canadian FIRE is about.
After licking my wounds with "screw the haters" mentality, I woke up the next day to a brand new existence to the set of articles. It turns out, people did care! They either needed a few days to find and collect the pieces of their shattered FIRE dreams or (and much more likely) they just hadn't read the articles yet.
With that in mind, my good friend and co-host Chrissy tweeted my article (I think a first for her) and left a giant comment on my article saying why she had little taste for my line of thinking. I was hurt before thinking she had read the article and gave me the silent treatment but no, it was not as bad as I thought. She just thought it sucked. You have no idea how much that meant to me Chrissy! LOL!
Moving along.. after Chrissy's tweet, Mark Seed (@MyOwnAdvisor) included my edgy articles in his mailer list. I'm not on his mailing list myself (I'm a huge snob when it comes to adding my email to anything) but I was very humbled to see somebody who is very active and respected to be linking to my content.
And then it happened. My stats sky rocketed up 500% for the pair of articles. The articles are now easily in my top 5 most read articles (only behind my article on Public Mobile and Translating VTSAX). Twitter followers also jumped a modest 18%, not bad considering I only use it to shamelessly advertise the blog and podcast!
I started getting positive messages left, right and centre. People were actually agreeing with me! I received A LOT of private messages from past guests and connections from EFIC and others I've made through facebook that people secretly agreed with me. I was saying what a lot of people were thinking it turns out.
So that leads us to now. You have read the articles and either agreed to disagree (whom I shall call the Chrissy's) or you've signed up for more - "I like it! What else ya got!?" I have more, not for the sake of starting a fight anymore but because it seems like there is a secret society of FIREwalkers who are disenfranchised with the established mainstream message of bunnies and rainbows and weak-ass saving rates. It's time the FIRE movement got back on the tracks that was moving it in the mainstream direction in the first place.
I start off every episode of EFIC (the ones I edit anyways) stating that FIRE is the future of personal finance in Canada. I really do believe this, there isn't a single personal finance blogger or personality in Canada that hasn't had to comment on the FIRE movement. We're a growing force but we're only going to get stronger and taken seriously if we stick to the truths about what our actual message is. It should NOT be dictated by the bloggers I just mentioned nor the mainstream media.
For those of us inside, let us decide the future of the FIRE movement. To me that's the most important mission first and foremost - to separate fact from fiction and address the lack of Canadian content in the FIRE space. To shutter the relentless cloud of bullshit and uncover the actual steps and other useful or relevant information we can actually use, all in a Canadian context.
With that, I'd like to ensure all my readers that I'll continue to speak my truth but at the same time I will respect the Chrissy's out there that their message is important too. I have mine and you have yours. Perhaps there's a happy middle ground to settle on but for now, put up your dukes. There are many rounds left and I won't settle for anything less than the best for Canadian FIREwalkers.
You can email me here: email@example.com
You can listen to me here: www.exploreficanada.ca
Regular CanadianFIRE.ca readers will see my articles being duplicated on the podcast website in the coming weeks. That's because EFIC has reached 10k downloads as of a few weeks ago and I'd like the opportunity to reach the listening audience who never bothered to click over to this site. So EFIC will be playing host to the popular articles I mentioned before. Just thought you'd be interested to know!