Discovering the concepts of financial independence and early retirement can be life changing. You hear the heavenly host, the clouds part and you are bathed in the light. One moment you are an ordinary Jane, doomed to drudgery for decades on end, the next you are a devout FIREee, and well on your way to becoming an early retiree.
As a new FIREee you can barely contain your enthusiasm. Sliced bread has nothing on FIRE! You want to sing it from the rooftops, you want to preach it, you want to teach it. You want to leap upon your soapbox and spread the word. You want to go tell it on the mountain. You have built a temple for the Great God Compounding and as His high priest it is your bounden duty to deliver lost souls unto Him.
Stop. Right. Now.
There are very few things on this green Earth as annoying as a fresh convert. So before you run off to round up unsuspecting virgins for the sacrifice, may I suggest you read the rest of this post and consider your options?
Would You Enjoy Being as Popular as the Plague?
If you become the person who, at the drop of a hat, drones on about expense ratios, compounding, index funds and the Trinity Study, folks are going to start holding onto their hats around you like their lives depend on it.
Don’t become That Person. You know, the one who monopolizes the conversation and goes on and on about something that nobody else gives a flying fuck about. If you notice peoples’ eyes starting to glaze over or people starting to sidle away from you, it might be worth your while to pause, take a deep breath and STFU for just a little bit.
Your Crusade Will Cost You
There are outcomes worse than being labeled a bore.
Preaching the gospel of FIRE could make your audience feel defensive. They may lash out at you and that is not going to be much fun. Folks might be jealous of your Stash. The green-eyed monster isn’t fun to grapple with.
Folks with fewer scruples than money may not hesitate to ask for a handout.
Any which way you slice it, you only stand to lose.
You Can Lead A Horse To Water
Akin to the proverbial horse with a stubborn streak a mile wide, you can lead a person to index funds but you can’t make them invest.
While I often find myself wishing that I had started saving and investing earlier in my life, the truth is, I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to take an interest in my finances. I even had a friend give me a simple book on investing to read, and all it did was gather dust on my bookshelf for years. I came around when I was good and ready, and until that time any lessons that came my way fell upon deaf ears.
If your audience isn’t ready to hear your message you aren’t going to have much success attempting to force feed it to them.
You Need An Outlet
You are excited beyond belief. I get it. I was there. You need some way to blow off some FIRE steam. Luckily, there are some options that don’t involve making a pest of yourself.
I dealt with it by talking the ear off the one person who has sworn to love and honor me even if I bore him nearly to tears.
I also started this blog, and now I have this little piece of internet of which I am the benevolent dictator and I can drone on about FIRE for as long as I like.
Another great option are forums like reddit.com/r/financialindependence, or the Rockstar Finance forums, or the Mr. Money Mustache forums: all gathering places for folks who can’t wait to talk about FIRE all day long.
If your spouse threatens to hit you over the head with a rolling pin or your virtual friends don’t quite scratch your FIRE itch, don’t despair. There are meetups galore where you can hobnob with FIRE-minded strangers and hope that they don’t turn out to be hatchet wielding serial killers. Local meetups are organized on the Money Mustache forums, there are the more formally organized Camp Mustache events, and the positively fancy Chautauquas.
I recently attended one such real life event: Fincon ‘17 in Dallas. I stayed up way past my bedtime every day, drank until my liver screamed uncle, and revelled in talking about all things FIRE for four glorious days. I got to hang out with bloggers who have supported me since the start of my blogging journey (like Miss Mazuma, Vicki from Make Smarter Decisions, Mr. SSC and Mr. PIE) – these are the folks who left me some of my earliest comments and convinced me that I was not in fact shouting into the void. I got to meet with some of the stars of FIRE blogging firmament. I stole slices of pizza from the ever gracious J$ at 2 in the morning when food was scarce and morals were shaky.
It was four surreal days where my virtual life and real life swapped places, and ever so briefly the definition of what was normal and ordinary changed. For example, I messaged Mr. BITA in a tizzy of excitement after I first got to talk to Carl from 1500 days.
Me: “Blah, blah blah…..and then he took a picture of my conference badge flanked by his dinosaurs”.
Mr. BITA (who reads no FIRE blogs but mine, understandably worried that I am stroking out): “His…..dinosaurs?”
Fincon ‘17 acted as a fine pressure valve. Real life has resumed, but I can sail through my days in no danger of making a perfect pest of myself.