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{ in·deed·a·bly }

adverb: to competently express interest, surprise, disbelief, or contempt

FIRE extinguisher

School was cancelled due to a problem with the water supply. Coincidentally the school was scheduled to receive it’s Ofsted inspection next week. Suspiciously, a similar spontaneous cancellation had occurred just before the previous inspection.

Correlation or causation? Who can say!

After searching my son’s school bag for unexplained plumbing tools (just checking!), we set out to enjoy an unexpected adventure together on a beautiful brisk London winter’s morning.

Sometime later we munched on apples as we strolled down a path in Kensington Gardens behind the Albert Monument.

Squawking noisily in the trees above us were roughly a dozen of strikingly green Indian Ringneck Parakeets. Several of them eyed us, or more precisely our apples, intently.

Stepping off the path, I wandered towards a tree that lower branches that its neighbours. I extended my arm and held out the half eaten apple.

After carefully sizing me up for a couple of minutes, curiosity tempted one of the more adventurous parrots to walk down the nearest branch towards me.

The bird shrieked to its companions, before fluttering onto my outstretched hand.

Glancing at me and shrieking again, it got stuck into the apple.

The parakeet’s companions watched raucously, waiting to see if their trail-blazing friend would be meet an untimely end.

Mere seconds later, several other green parakeets landed on my arm and shoulder. Just like my children, they inevitably started to squabble and fight over the tasty treat being offered!

My son glanced up from his phone and gawped in fascination at the parrots eating out of my hand. When one of the parakeets landed on my head and proceeded to nibble my ear, the boy nearly pissed himself laughing!

He raised the hood on his coat, popped on his gloves, and cautiously held out his own apple. Several of the birds immediately flew over and landed on his hand, arm, shoulder and head. Laughing with delight, the game on his phone was temporarily forgotten.

Indian Ringneck Parakeet. Image credit: rvo_photography.

Indian Ringneck Parakeet. Image credit: rvo_photography.

Nothing lasts for ever

Our journey home took us through a neighbourhood park near the local hospital. We observed more of the green parakeets noisily galavanting through the trees there, so my son donned his gloves and held out the last remaining apple.

A parrot cautiously watched from the safety of a tree, but wasn’t tempted to venture closer. After a couple of minutes we gave up. My son set the apple on the ground, and we ambled away across the playing field.

The green parakeet fluttered from its perch towards the apple, squawking victoriously.

Out of the corner of my eye, I sensed a rapidly moving grey shape streaking down from the sky.

My eyes tracked the path of the shape. A couple of loose green feathers marked the spot where the parakeet had been approaching our apple just moments before.

Continuing along the movement arc, I spied the local Peregrine Falcon clutching the now lifeless body of the parakeet in its talons. It flew up towards its eyrie high atop the nearby hospital tower block.

My son’s eyes teared up. He guiltily retrieved the apple and a long green tail feather from the wet grass. I feebly tried to explain that hunting was in the falcon’s nature, and it was just doing what it did to survive.

Understandably he didn’t want to hear it. The wonder of our morning had been abruptly shattered.

Nothing lasts forever.

Peregrine Falcon. Image credit: skeeze.

Peregrine Falcon. Image credit: skeeze.

Disillusionment with FIRE

In my recent wanderings around the Personal Finance blogosphere, I have observed a malaise and sense of disillusionment with some elements of the FIRE “movement”.

I found this intriguing, as my own perception was that not much had changed. What was behind this FIRE extinguisher feeling?

Anyone who invests any time digging into the Financial Independence, Retire Early niche quickly discovers that beneath a handful of self-evident truths, there really isn’t much substance.

Those guiding principles of pursuing Financial Independence are definitely worth learning and understanding. They result in good financial discipline, and consequently a smoother ride through life’s inevitable ups and downs:

  1. Spend less than you earn.
  2. Invest the difference (in low-cost diversified asset classes).
  3. Wait.

The Early Retirement part is similarly straightforward:

  1. Understand yourself (your unique approach, preferences, priorities, and risk tolerance).
  2. Determine your retirement “number” and preferred funding model.
  3. Work until you achieve it (then enjoy the luxury of choice).

Pretty simple really. The collective wisdom of the FIRE movement could easily be printed on a t-shirt, with enough free space remaining for a cute (or ironic) picture of your choice!

None of this is new. It has ever been thus.

Once you comprehend those basics, the FIRE blogosphere becomes a question of style and repetition. Which voice appeals? Who is a little further down a similar journey that a reader can follow?

  • Maybe you like your FIRE served with a dash of feminism?
  • Or a half portion of own brand frugality?
  • Accompanied by some Instagram worthy travel photos and recipes?
  • How about wrapped up in some tough love?
  • Perhaps a heartfelt personal journal is more to your liking?
  • Whatever your personal preferences, there are likely to be a host of FIRE blogs that speak to you.

So if the content is the same, and you can pick ‘n mix the voices in your own personal bubble, then what is behind the malaise?

Popularity

Not long ago the FIRE “movement” was seen as an underground cult, its members brainwashed until they bought into an improbable dream of income without working and retirement before old age.

Tinkering with spreadsheets and participating in a virtual online community of (mostly) welcoming like-minded folks was a guilty pleasure that most people wouldn’t understand.

After all, members of polite society aren’t supposed to talk about sex, money, or religion!

A decade ago there were few (if any) Financial Independence related websites around. People interested in the concepts of passive income or early retirement had to seek out information from a vast range of disparate fields, then collate together all those various thoughts and ideas for themselves.

Now there are thousands of blogs writing directly or indirectly about FIRE. A few of them are actually quite good!

The veracity and value of the content produced in the niche is much as it ever was, though the sheer volume of it has certainly increased.

Every week it seems there are more stories being written in the media about FIRE.

Generally the journalistic tone is understandably a combination of genuine curiosity and slightly mocking disbelief; like that reserved for reporting on curious subcultures such as cryptocurrency anarchists, trainspotters, or people who marry their cousins.

Another interesting development is the growing collection of former Financial Planners and Wealth Managers who are throwing their weight behind the principles and financial discipline associated with the pursuit of Financial Independence (though not so much the early retirement part!).

Disillusionment with the out of touch, commission seeking, culture of steering punters into high fee products and encouraging churn appears to be growing.

Increasing awareness and popularity has inevitably caused some changes in the FIRE “movement”.

Much of that former guilty pleasure thrill is gone, replaced by regular meetups and readily accessible forums.

That isn’t a good thing or a bad thing necessarily, more a sign of the movement maturing.

Cult of personality

The most visible voices of the FIRE movement are no longer nerdy spreadsheet jockeys arguing about the best way to unitise a portfolio or perform Monte Carlo simulations.

Those keyboard warriors still lurk in the dark corners of the FIRE blogosphere, such as chat forums like Reddit. However they are no longer the stars of the show.

Replacing them are a host of savvy media trained professionals with strong personal brands.

This commercially focused breed of professional bloggers seek to sell into those pursuing FIRE. It is certainly an attractive target market segment: high savings rates, low outgoings, and positive accessible net worths combine to create a cohort of punters with money to burn.

Content is now a product, used to generate authority and credibility. To build that brand.

Professionally hosted podcasts. Keynote speeches. Writing (traditionally published) books. Providing rent-a-quote services to mainstream media. Selling life coaching. Hosting residential retreats. Organising conferences and conventions.

All these endeavours seek to inform and provide value to the audience.

All are also designed to attract a following, build a presence, enhance a reputation.

The greater the visibility and popularity, the larger and more frequent the opportunities that present themselves. Success builds on success.

The strong personal brand aspects have changed FIRE blogging to some degree.

  • Each activity is planned.
  • Each interaction is scripted.
  • Each orchestrated action is a stepping stone along a defined path.

The image portrayed is carefully cultivated. More news anchor, less university professor. Effectively delivering carefully crafted pithy and quotable sound bites, rather than long rambling manifestos.

Gone are the days of the slovenly badly dressed old guy holding court, or the overweight helmet-haired lady stumbling through endless amateurish powerpoint slides.

This is increasingly reflected in the composition of discussion panels, interview subjects, and so on.

SEO optimised clickbait headlines and low-value listicles are increasingly drowning out quality posts that add value to the debate. They keep being written because they work, attracting eyeballs of readers seeking easy answers.

Those good quality posts do still get written, but are ever harder to find amidst all the noise and clamouring for the audience’s attention.

Again this isn’t necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, more a sign that this growing market segment is attracting an ever more polished group of salespeople and entrepreneurs seeking to profit from it.

40 years ago Kensington Gardens was full of dull grey pigeons. Today those pigeons share the park with intelligent strikingly beautiful coloured parrots, unwelcome invaders who quickly established themselves and have taken over.

Which species do you think receives more attention, appears in more photos, and has more tourists trying to feed them?

Carefully crafted images and strong personal brands. Image credit: Auberge.

Carefully crafted images and strong personal brands. Image credit: Auberge.

Censorship

Along with the increasing number of professional bloggers (and the vast numbers of wannabes who dream of becoming one), has come a change in approach to audience interaction.

In the old days the majority of bloggers used to accept reader comments, encouraging discussion and debate. Indeed the comments thread were often the best part of a post, where wisdom and approach were traded and critiqued for the benefit of all readers.

Today an increasing number of blogs no longer accept comments at all. The discussion forum making way for the megaphone.

There are several reasons for this. A key one being that the operators of a platform are increasingly being targeted (with varying degrees of success) for the actions of the platform’s users.

  • ISPs when users illegally distribute copyrighted movies.
  • Image and video sharing sites when stolen or illegal content gets posted.
  • Social media organisations facilitating hate speech and fake news.

When it comes to these kinds of issues, the only difference between a personal WordPress blog and a Facebook or a Youtube is scale.

Of those blogs that do still accept user comments, a growing number publish only positive comments and sycophantic praise; while suppressing anything that may be considered “off message”, dissenting or contrary.

In much the same way you never see a negative testimonial review on a website, the comments on a blog have become part of the carefully polished package.

Blogger’s site, blogger’s rules. If you don’t like it… you can always vote with your feet.

The motley collection of pigeons in the park tend to look dirty and unkempt. Many are missing toes or whole feet due to misadventures with predators and human trash. By comparison the parrots dazzle the senses with colour and song, distracting the audience from noticing that up close they too are dirty and carry the same parasites as the pigeons.

The internet is forever

One major pitfall of the blog comment model is that the blogger has all the power.

Once a commenter has hit submit, they lose all control over what happens next.

The blogger can choose to publish a comment, or not.

The original content that a commenter responded to may be modified after the fact. This might be something innocent like correcting a typo or transposed figure. Or it may be more nefarious, making the commenter look incompetent or insane.

Some shady bloggers even materially modify the comment itself, for example rewriting a criticism and posting praise in its place.

In all these cases the commenter can’t do anything about it.

So what is the problem with the comment model?

When a commenter leaves a comment it establishes a permanent link between the blogger’s content and the commenter’s profile/website. That serves as a form of endorsement, lending the commenter’s credibility to the blogger and their content.

This is one of the many reasons that professional bloggers don’t leave comments anywhere outside their own site or via social media (where they can subsequently modify or delete it if necessary).

Doing so potentially damages or dilutes the strength of their personal brand. Why take the risk?

With a little effort Indian Ringneck Parakeets can be trained to mimic and imitate sounds. This is a one-way process, a parrot won’t unlearn something no matter how much the teacher may later regret teaching it.

What if the parrot frequenting your back garden heard you insulting your spouse, then proceeded to follow suit at great volume and repetition… for the whole of it’s ~50-year life span?!

Is it worth the risk?

The internet is forever, why take the risk? Image credit: plonk66.

The internet is forever, why take the risk? Image credit: plonk66.

Generational change

When people first “discover” the concept of FIRE they tend to dive deeply down the rabbit hole, absorbing knowledge and wisdom like a sponge. The siren song of escaping the rat race before the excuses become reasons is tempting indeed!

Before long most roads lead to Mr Money Moustache’s “Shockingly Simple Math” post.

At that point the quest for knowledge bottoms out, there just isn’t any more to it.

Now readers start exploring horizontally. They seek out imaginary internet friends, who speak with relatable voices, whom they can vicariously follow and learn from.

Sooner or later those who actually practice what they preach will reach their goal, their journey towards FIRE ends.

At this point the thrill of the chase dissipates.

The audience is generally happy for the blogger’s achievement, yet saddened that the blogger’s voice is now much less relatable. They are no longer pursuing FIRE, they have attained it.

In the last few months several crowd favourites including EarlyRetirementNow, OurNextLife, RetirementInvestingToday and RetirementManifesto have all reached that finishing line.

Understandably they now post less often, and have broadened the topics they write about.

Their blogs, their rules. They don’t owe their audiences anything, so if a change in approach makes them happy then good for them.

You might have had a particular favourite parrot in the park, one that had an endearing song or a cheeky personality. When that bird flies away, or gets eaten by a falcon, you will no doubt miss it despite there being hundreds of very similar birds in the surrounding trees.

What is causing the FIRE extinguisher?

For what it is worth, I don’t think the FIRE blogosphere has materially changed.

In many cases what has changed is the level of knowledge possessed by the reader.

Consider the scenario where you wish to open a new bank account.

You do a bit of internet research, perhaps skim through a shopping comparison engine, or product reviews on a consumer affairs website.

Then you select one, open it, and get on with your life.

How long do you continue to lurk in forums, endlessly debating the merits of homogenous banking products or negligible differences interest rates?

For most people the answer would be never.

So how about the scenario where you learn about FIRE?

You do a bit of internet research, learn the basic principles above, implement (or not) systems to apply those principles, and then wait.

How long do you keep following the blogger’s who have already taught you everything of substance they know? How many variants of the same basic advice do you read before you exceed your level of interest, or surpass your boredom threshold?

Once again, the common answer is probably never.

Even for many of those who actively participate in the FIRE blogging community, there will inevitably come a time when they pass their saturation point for reading the same handful of ideas endlessly rehashed.

People are encouraged to learn, evolve and grow.

A natural byproduct of that activity is outgrowing the knowledge and competency levels of many of the person’s early teachers.

Before long the “Beginner” level content isn’t advanced enough.

For some the “Advanced” level content is eventually beneath them.

The student becomes the master.

If they are to continue growing and developing, they need to move on or risk stagnating.

I suspect it is this stagnation that is contributing to the malaise.

That feeling is magnified by the increasingly slick commercialised package product, the steady decline of intelligent discourse, and the regular examples of blogger shady behaviour (e.g. undisclosed sponsored posts, product placement advertorials, affiliate sales funnels masquerading as posts, and so on).

The disillusionment is certainly real, but I challenge the premise:

has the FIRE niche really changed, or have you simply outgrown it?

Nothing lasts for ever.

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16 Comments

  1. DT 19 December 2018

    I’ve been reading FIRE blogs for around 6 years, when I first stumbled on ERE. I still enjoy reading a few quite regularly. I’m not sure how typical that is, but that’s much longer than I ever “researched” anything else.

    The golden thread for me amongst those which I have stuck with is that subjective sense of ‘authenticity’. Authenticity is most easily defined by its lack – which often coincides with the characteristics you mention in your post. I imagine you’re familiar with the “Escape Artist” website for example. This is exactly the sort of self-promoting, MMM-impersonating content that grinds my gears. At the other end of the spectrum, I hugely rate Simple Living in Suffolk/Somerset, even after spending countless hours reading over the years.

    Anyway, minor ramble there, but I guess the TL;DR is: what you said resonates.

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 19 December 2018

      Thanks for reading DT.

      I think everyone will have their favourites, and those they are less fond of. That is at is should be. Providing a blogger isn’t hurting anyone, or breaking the law, I wish them every success.

      The great thing is that today there are a huge variety of voices to choose from, for as long as the subject matter holds your interest.

      The bar to entry for blogging is low, as is the average lifespan of a blog.

      It can be a lonely pursuit, so I would encourage readers to let their favourites know their efforts are appreciated.

      Where a reader is less enamoured with a blogger, I would suggest quietly voting with their feet may be a wiser course of action than chancing a libel lawsuit. In some cases there is real money attached to those strong personal brands, making them worth assertively defending.

  2. [HCF] 20 December 2018

    Cannot agree more. For a while I was thinking there is something wrong with me. Name ten of the biggest names in the PF blogosphere and there is a chance that I don’t follow them or maybe do not even know them. I tried to follow big names but somehow it just did not stick. Most of their content is clearly clickbaity, pure vanilla and/or stinks from marketing back intent. I am always searching for authentic content and real human beings behind the blogs. Also rereading the basics wrapped in different coating is boring and time consuming so I stopped doing that. There were many bloggers whom I lost interest over time. Not intentionally but I distilled a test. If I try to content someone over email and he/she does not even take the effort to reply even with a one-liner he/she is dead to me. Most of the blogs I like to read have no ads and offer no services (however personal skills offered through side hustles and some affiliate links are acceptable IMO). I blogging for fun and will quit if it will stop being fun anymore, thus I don’t user ads or censorship on my blog. The best things what you can earn in this community is friendship and knowledge I think. At least for me these are the most precious. I got into connection with lovely like-minded folks whom I would never have discussions otherwise. This is pure gold which I would not trade for any fat pay check from an affiliate company. No I go and renew my membership of the Gray Pigeon Club 😉

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 20 December 2018

      You raise some interesting points HCF.

      I think a disconnect exists in the Personal Finance blogosphere, with two groups uncomfortably co-existing under the same banner:

      1. There are those who are in the business of blogging, for whom (when done right) audience attention translates into revenue.
      2. Then there are those for whom Personal Finance is a hobby, they seek interaction with a community of like minded folks.

      The line blurs a little when it comes to the needy attention seeking amateur bloggers who beg for twitter followers, or organise like/follow/upvote trading arrangements. Many of these will never make any money, and while happy to take from the community they don’t contribute anything back to it.

      This last group seldom realise that they (the new blogger) are actually the customer group often being sold into: premium blog plugins they don’t need, email harvesting tools they will never derive a financial benefit from, side hustle coaching/mastermind/mentoring and so on.

      I have mixed feelings on the responsiveness of bloggers. We all have a finite amount of scarce precious time, and must make our own prioritisation decisions about how best to invest it. A blog that receives just a couple of comments/emails per week is a very different proposition to one that receives hundreds per day. I can see how popularity could become a curse in terms of being able to respond to everyone.

      For example, I am already finding myself ignoring rather than declining many of the approaches for guest posts or marketing opportunities. I suspect the majority of those are spam, but there will inevitably be some legitimate requesters whom I am being rude to by ignoring them.

      Is that better or worse than employing offshore Virtual Assistants who pretend to be the blogger in comments and social media? Is that really any different from hiring ghost writers or content farms to produce posts for a blog? Both approaches are pretty common when scale becomes a problem.

      • [HCF] 20 December 2018

        Agree with the categories. Only I would also cut the first group into two subgroups by intention. There are bloggers who are obviously generate content with the “for profit” aspect at the first place. Then there are some who still aren’t in just for the money. They have revenue from the blog, maybe even they are professional bloggers but the intention of helping others / giving back drives their actions. At least I want to believe that there are such folks 🙂

        I also don’t like the “gold rush” style newbies but as I see they bleed out or lose credibility pretty fast. It took me a couple of months to figure out these “types” and to realize in which group do I want to join and which one do I want to avoid.

        Accept your point of view about email but I meant the ones when a reader tries to connect you personally or have a question about what you have shared, not guest post or marketing opportunities. I agree that it could be tiring on a higher level but I have some good experience even with higher level names. OK, this categorization is also pretty subjective but still 🙂

        It think when VAs come into the picture that is clearly a business category but in that case you should already know what to expect I guess. I know about such sources and solutions but that seems a different game to me. You know, there is love and there is prostitution… 🙂

  3. youngfiguy 20 December 2018

    I’m very glad you shared this post Indeedably. As ever, with an amusing vignette.

    Three thoughts:

    • I like what HCF says above: “The best things what you can earn in this community is friendship and knowledge I think.” blogging is a good way to socialise with and learn from people you might not otherwise get a chance to meet otherwise.
    • It’s important to think about what the purpose of yours’ (and others’) blogs are. Or what they were to begin with. There’s a reason why everyone starts writing. These can sometimes involve consciously or unconsciously. When you reach your ‘FI goal’ what happens then? A lot of blogs pivot into writing books, hosting podcasts. The purpose dramatically changes.
    • I think it’s like a lot of ‘fads’. Like craft beer. It starts with hobbyists. Eventually it gets a bit of sex appeal, becomes more popular. Professionals weigh in (or hobbyists become professionals). Eventually people get a bit bored and the cycle returns. Not sure if we are at peak ‘FIRE’ yet. But it does feel different to many moons ago when it was just Early Retirement Extreme typing stuff onto the internet.

    The comments thing is a very important point people should be aware of. Bloggers can (and do) edit your comments (though they should be very transparent about it). I’m sure you don’t edit or add anything to comments on this site.

    Finally, Indeedably you are so smart and the handsomest Australian ever even better than the Hemsworths.

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 20 December 2018

      Thanks for the sage observations Mr YFG, I can’t find a single thing to disagree with in your comment!

      Your point about interacting with a community from outside your normal social circle is a good one. Making some imaginary internet friends is not a bad thing, especially if they can teach you something.

      I view podcasts or vlogs as being a functional equivalent of blogging. Somebody with something to say finds a means of expressing themselves. As long as the producer is deriving value from their endeavours, and not hurting anyone, then I wish them every success. Time is scarce, so a pivot towards a medium that potentially requires less of it to be invested (or yields a higher return on that investment) when producing content would make a lot of sense for many bloggers I suspect.

  4. Nick @ TotalBalance.blog 22 December 2018

    Yet another set of striking observations on your part 😉
    I always enjoy reading your posts – although I must admit, I usually skip the “introduction/backstory/conversational” part and scroll directly to the “good stuff” (sorry 😛 ).
    To me there’s two parts to “being a part” of the FIRE blogging community:
    The contributing part and the passive part.

    The passive part for me (reading other peoples blogs) basically boils down to one thing: Entertainment. With an added bonus of course. Unlike watching your favorite TV show on Netflix/HBO/HULU/etc, you might actually learn something valuable, from reading other peoples thoughts on a subject that you both enjoy.
    Much like your favorite TV show, peoples FIRE journey also eventually comes to an end. That’s just the nature of entertainment – it must end eventually (like life) for us to truly appreciate it 😉

    The contributing part is (for me obviously) the most important part. I decided to start my own blog on the subject, not because I believe I have something truly unique to contribute to the community (like you said: once you grasp the formula, you’re sort of done), but because I felt that I could benefit from documenting my journey (like a sort of diary). If other people can get inspired by my writings to pursue their own journey, then that’s fine (awesome actually), but it’s not the main intention of my blog. I write first and foremost for myself, and I of course hope that other people might find it entertaining, and chose to spend 5-10mins on my blog every now and then, instead of watching a TV show (you can even read it WHILE you watch your tv show, if you prefer that…).

    I see a lot of FIRE bloggers state that by “putting it out there” (their goals) it becomes more tangible and real, and you kind of feel like you’ve now made a commitment to “The Internet”, so now you have to follow through! I can relate to that 😉

    I sense that a lot of the non-contributing readers mainly drop by to see the monthly updates. Not everyone does them, but for me the monthly “net worth updates” are really the tangible proofs that the formula works. That’s really what people want to see. How you reach your ultimate goal is really less relevant – it’s whether you’re actually able to stick to your plan, and follow through! Only time will tell, if I will be able to follow through, and much like reality TV (which has become stupidly popular these days), watching other people fail also attracts readers/viewers 😛

    I think the highly monetized blogs/business blogs are slowly going to fade away, as the audience for such blogs are limited (in my opinion). Then again, only two things are infinite – and you know the quote, so I’m not going to repeat it 😛

    Thanks again for your contribution to the community 😉 It’s much appreciated 😀

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 22 December 2018

      Thanks Nick, for the (back-handed?) complements and your insightful thoughts! 😉

      I find the financial voyeurism aspect of the FIRE community intriguing.

      Is it really the making of a commitment to a bunch of faceless voiceless strangers on the internet that increases the likelihood of the blogger following through? Or is it simply the act of articulating and recording those hopes and dreams, so they are not immediately lost to the arrival of the next shiny distraction?

      Do your blog stats support your theory that your monthly scorecards are materially more popular than your other posts?

      For what it is worth, mine don’t… but then I don’t include a running narrative of my monthly toils and triumphs as this would only add further evidence to the rumour that I am in fact the world’s most boring man!

      • Nick @ TotalBalance.blog 22 December 2018

        My compliments were sincere (although I’m glad you caught the ambiguity 😛 ).

        I think I could manage a FIRE journey without the blogging, but it feels like it does give me an extra inventive to save more, when I can “happily” announce it to the Internet later on 😛 And the fact that I’ll be able to go back and look at my thoughts at the beginning of my journey, I think is going to be worth my while. Also, it seems that my ideas keep evolving, because I work more intensively with them, when I have to present them to others.

        I currently average about 15 visitors per day, most of which only land on the front page, and never move past that, so my stats doesn’t really tell me a whole lot, yet 😛 But the people who do stick around tend to only read the new(est) posts, so no – you’re right on that one. But I think I would attract the same amount of (not so impressive) readers, if I ONLY did monthly updates (which a few I follow only does, with the odd inbetween post every now and then).

        I also enjoy following the endeavors of the FIRE people who have FIRED. – It gives me hope that I will once reach my goal too! 🙂

  5. Mike 25 December 2018

    Thanks for an interesting article!

    I enjoy the authenticity of Simple Living in Suffolk…except when he makes money from promoting other people’s coaching services (see link)

    Have you got any plans to monetise your blog Indeedably?

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 25 December 2018

      Thanks Mike.

      Ermine manages to take the grumpy old man routine to a level of artistry that is rarely seen, it is inspiring!

      Monetising? I don’t have a philosophical issue with the idea, but have no plans to pursue it at this stage.

      My approach to blogging is to have a random thought, explore it over a couple of thousand words, then hit publish. The result is an erratically published selection of arbitrary ideas, that are of interest to me, but perhaps less so to a cashed up audience!

  6. OthalaFehu 29 December 2018

    Came for the article, stayed for the comments. Indeeably you always get such engagement in your comment sections…
    I think a lot of the newish FIRE bloggers looking to become the next big thing will die off soon. It is hard work unless you are in it for different/better reasons. I just find it a shame that some new person looking to learn might find them first and get turned off by the disingenuousness of it all.

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 29 December 2018

      Thanks for reading and contributing your thoughts OthalaFehu.

      I agree there is a steady turnover of short lived blogs.

      However the industry of promoting side hustles and “passive” income e-businesses ensures there is a steady supply of even newer bloggers to replace them. All those “I earned USD$100k a month while [insert your favourite designer lifestyle activity here]” affiliate funnel sites/posts depend upon it.

      I think it would take a major market downturn (not a flash crash, more a proper recession) to empty out the FIRE funnel.

  7. weenie 5 January 2019

    “Do your blog stats support your theory that your monthly scorecards are materially more popular than your other posts?”

    Mine do – my monthly updates are the most-read (and most commented upon) posts hands down on my blog. Although, one post about my redundancy was also very popular because I guess readers wanted to see if I would throw in the towel on my FIRE plans?

    I’m coming up to the 5th anniversary of my blog – if not for my monthly updates, I’d probably start running out of stuff to write about!

What say you?

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