The Arrogance of Financial Independence Blogging


Today I’m going to take a break from my usual topics (investing, money, saving, being a stay-at-home dad, etc), and talk about something that’s been bothering me lately: Blogging.

Like many people, I was an avid reader of blogs before I ever decided to write a blog myself.  Over a decade before financial independence blogs became a thing, I was reading blogs about building incredible machines, investing in stocks, travel around the world, and mastering the art of frugal cooking.

These days, I’ve added more financial independence blogs into the mix.  Partly so I can learn from the personal finance community, and partly because these are people like me.  Kindred spirits if you will.

There are a ton of great FI bloggers out there — from all walks of life and all income levels.  I read lots of them.  These bloggers share their unique perspectives on achieving financial independence, investing, frugality, and personal finance.

Unfortunately, I’ve noticed a certain arrogance creeping into certain FI blogs, and it rubs me the wrong way.

What arrogance am I talking about?

 

Wealthly Arrogance

Personal finance bloggers are (of course) focused on money.  Some of them have a lot of it.  All this money just feeds the arrogance monster.

Don’t get me wrong — Many personal finance bloggers are good people.  They’re trying to pay off debt, save, and improve their lives (while blogging about it).  I’m totally fine with these guys (and gals).  What they’re striving for is admirable.

It’s the bloggers with the most money that let it go to their heads.  They appear to believe their wealth is the direct result of having greater intelligence than everyone else.  At least they write that way.

I get it though — Personal finance bloggers want to sound like authorities on the subject of wealth and investing.  According to classic psychology research, people follow authorities… and there’s nothing a blogger wants more than followers…

“I’m an authority, so buy my book and follow my blog!”

“I can teach you to be a great investor, so sign up for my investing seminar!”

“All this stuff I use is really cool, go buy some of it!”

Pretty standard guru stuff actually.  Unfortunately, these “authorities” use their blogs as platforms to tell everyone else how to invest.

“You should invest like I do to become wealthy.  All the other books on investing are wrong.” 

“Only invest in total market index funds or rental properties.  It’s the only proven way to build wealth.”

As if there was only one way to achieve financial independence!

I call this the arrogance of wealth —  Having wealth does not make you a more intelligent person or a better investor.  Your wealth may not actually have anything to do with how smart you are.

Think about it — many of the world’s most intelligent scientists and inventors are NOT multi-millionaires.

Shuji Nakamura is a perfect example.  He’s an inventor from Japan who won a nobel prize and changed the world.  He holds over 100 patents, and is the inventor of blue and white LEDs we use everywhere today.

What did Mr. Nakamura receive for this incredible invention that made hundreds of millions of dollars for his employer?  A $180 bonus.  In disgust, Nakamura left his employer and later sued them.

I’ll say it again — Intelligence and wealth are not perfectly correlated concepts.

 

Your Investment Returns Are Probably Just Luck

These days, many bloggers are reaching 1 million dollars in their mid-30’s and saying “I’m retiring from full-time work!  Woohoo!”.

That’s great, but I think it’s important to point out they’re doing this at the top of the market… after 9 years of unprecedented market gains!

Frankly, everybody is doing well right now! — 1 in 20 Americans are now millionaires.

I would also like to point-out that a big chunk of those gains have come from PE expansion.

PE expansion is what happens when the Price to Earnings ratio rises because investors are willing to bid up the price for exactly the same thing.  When stock prices rise faster than earnings, the PE ratio expands.

sp500 pe ratio
The market PE ratio has expanded steadily since 2012. This is partially responsible for the outstanding stock returns we’ve enjoyed in recent years.

In other words, this financial success is hardly the result of a special skill or unique investing ability.  Your just aong for the ride.

Most market investors are simply individuals putting down money at continuously higher prices in the hope that the market will continue to go up further.

For the last nine years or so, it has.

 

When The House Of Cards Tumbles

Think it’s not luck?  Maybe you should look at the the research  — According to studies of global equity market returns, U.S. market returns are actually an anomaly.  Markets do not forever march to infinity in a straight line.

War, disease, famine, terrorism, genocide, poor leadership, environmental destruction, xenophobia, sexism, racism — all these problems with the human condition still exist and one day they will affect our markets again.

us stock market returns
According to research, the US market has experience unusually good returns over the long term.  Compared to the world’s other equity markets, this is an anomaly.

Eventually we could see a reversion to the mean — market crashes, bankruptcies, recessions, or even decades of market stagnation.

My blogging peers better pass around the humble pie when it happens.  Some might even need to go back to work.

 

I’m No Different

You’re probably expecting me to say “Here’s how I’m different from everyone else.”

Except that I’m NOT different.  My personal belief is that the differences that separate us are actually very small.

I’m just as flawed, arrogant, and stupid as the next person.  I’m also very lucky to live in a country experiencing incredible stock market returns during my lifetime.  It’s made me wealthy to the tune of $3 million dollars.

So, I say to my fellow bloggers — Be humble.  You are not a special super intelligent snowflake.

Not only that, but being humble is an admirable human quality.  We should all strive to be more humble… no matter how much money we have or how smart we think we are.

In my opinion, blogging should be a way to share your experience — not as a pulpit to put yourself above others.  A blog can also be an incredible way to get instantaneous feedback from a community of like-minded people.

I absolutely love it when I post some of my favorite investing ideas… and get TONs of great feedback from the readers.

That’s really the best part of writing a blog — The community that comes along with it.

Do you find financial bloggers to be arrogant?  I’d love to know in the comments.

 

[Image Credit: Flickr]

86 thoughts on “The Arrogance of Financial Independence Blogging

  • April 11, 2018 at 6:17 AM
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    I appreciate this view point. Being a high net worth individual and high earner, in some ways, can also be a disadvantage in this community too! (Slightly off point).

    I agree. The market and world events could spank all of us at anytime. My only solace is that this can happen no matter how much you accumulate. So we do the best we can.

    Humility and gratitude are worn well by almost everyone!

    Reply
  • April 11, 2018 at 6:36 AM
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    Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts, Mr. Tako!

    I honestly haven’t sensed the slightest arrogance on your blog. You just sound so personable and down-to-earth. However, I have read some other FI blogs where the bloggers just sound really arrogant such such criticizing another blogger’s frugal fun activities with their family/kids and bragging about their more expensive pastime just because they can afford to do so. Such blogger so left some really mean comments on some of the blogs I follow. They can be successful and smart, but I don’t think it’s a good reason to look down on other people and make fun of their frugal way of living.

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    • April 11, 2018 at 8:46 PM
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      Yeah, making fun of people for being frugal is really awful. That’s exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about. Just terrible behavior. 🙁

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    • April 11, 2018 at 10:45 PM
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      Which blog writes about more expensive pastimes? Just about all blogs I’ve seen push frugality, and I read quite a few. I’d be interested in reading a different viewpoint from a fat FIRE blogger! As far as I know, there are only 1 or 2 bloggers who are one percenters.

      Reply
  • April 11, 2018 at 6:45 AM
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    We are fortunate to have had the market and world conditions were living through presently. At least in the West and economically speaking.

    I agree that taking credit for a rising tide is arrogant, and foolish. I suspect the same occurred in bitcoin when a lot of people online claimed to have special insights and understandings. Some of them would have of course but the majority were just lucky. It’s also good to remember in the end we’re going to exist on a normal distribution and odds are that we’re average at investing at best (that’s good enough for me, *just don’t do anything too stupid!* is one of my investing tenants).

    WF30

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  • April 11, 2018 at 7:10 AM
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    Great take… it’s easy to be an expert when you can do no wrong.

    I do think a bit of the arrogance comes from the confidence of knowing you’ve set yourself up in a good position.

    Maybe we’ll see a shake out and see where the real true believer are soon… Who knows what the future holds.

    And yes the community with honest feedback is the best part!!

    Reply
    • April 11, 2018 at 8:52 PM
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      Yep, we’ll have to see…

      I’ve met a few good investors in my time, and the mindset is very different than these so-called “experts” that can do no wrong.

      I really hope that merit shines over ego once again someday.

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  • April 11, 2018 at 7:22 AM
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    Well said. Being humble, polite, and respectful are all good personal traits. With regard to the stock market, it is true that we’ve had an unbelievable run. And at some point, there will be a correction that will put a significant dent in many portfolios. But the stock market has historically shown a strong ability to bounce back. Even some of the deepest and prolonged declines were not as bad as they appear when you factor in dividends and deflation.

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    • April 11, 2018 at 8:56 PM
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      It’s true that eventually the market does comes back. Creative destruction if you will. The weaker firms get cleaned-out, making more room for the strong.

      It’s what’s happening *right now* that rubs me the wrong way.

      Reply
  • April 11, 2018 at 7:25 AM
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    Love the humility talk, yes almost every one that is invested made good returns in the last few years. Still, that does not make you a good investor. If you beat the market over the last 10+ years, in that case you might be. But, considering the bet that Mr Buffet made, there are very few of those folks around.
    Very curious to see what happens to those that “lose” a big fortune during the next large correction (if you ain’t selling, you’re not lose it!), my guess is that it will become a lot “quieter” 😉 You see this already with the crypto side of things.

    Reply
    • April 11, 2018 at 8:57 PM
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      Crypto does seem to have quieted down lately. The noise was getting deafening anyway! 😉

      Reply
  • April 11, 2018 at 8:01 AM
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    I think the perspective depends a lot on the audience. I FIRE’d on less than mega-bucks (still around the 1/2 million mark, despite the run up.) I find if I share my story outside the blogging sphere, I end up getting called a douche. The standard reward for trying to be helpful. On my own comments section, I get lots of kudos and appreciative fan mail in my inbox. But outside the circle that is already looking for what I have to say, no one wants to hear it.

    Also, I am human or cephalopod and have checked the appropriate box.
    Financial Velociraptor recently posted…Sell Puts Venator Materials (VNTR)

    Reply
    • April 11, 2018 at 8:59 PM
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      Sorry to hear it FV. I for one appreciate what you’re doing. It’s different and that has a lot of value in my book.

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  • April 11, 2018 at 8:25 AM
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    Being humble and having humility will always win the day. There’s a fine line between giving advice from a successful position and preaching. I think some bloggers do cross that line but I don’t think it’s intentional, I think it comes out of the enthusiasm of wanting to help others do the same.

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    • April 11, 2018 at 9:00 PM
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      Maybe. There’s definitely some bloggers that need a refresher course in humility. Having more money than others is no excuse for being hurtful.

      Reply
  • April 11, 2018 at 8:29 AM
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    You’re not going to name names? 🙂
    Who are these arrogant FI bloggers?
    I’m not sure if it’s real arrogance or just an image they are trying to project. Like MMM for example. He built a character that’s appealing to the masses. Maybe the blogs you’re thinking about are doing that to appeal to their followers too.
    Yeap, the FI movement is going to have a shake out whenever we see a big stock market crash. It’s not going to be pretty.

    Reply
    • April 11, 2018 at 9:02 PM
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      I wasn’t planning on naming names, but just take a look at who bothered to comment on this post.

      It’s probably NOT that group.

      You for one always come across as respectful and humble Joe. I really appreciate that.

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      • April 12, 2018 at 7:52 AM
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        I’m commenting. I’m commenting. I’m here.

        I really hope I’m not one of those you consider arrogant. I certainly have my opinions (some of them are strong). Still, I always try to see the alternative point of view.

        For example, in my “new cars are expensive” post, I pointed out that if you are on track for your goals, have the means and a new car is important to you, it’s okay to go for it. To each his own right?

        I do think that most PF bloggers are coming at the world with a high income or net worth. Therefore, as a collective group, I can see how we come off as arrogant. It’s much harder (maybe impossible) for somebody making $30K per year to have a 50% rate than it is for somebody making $130K.
        [email protected] recently posted…I Love Credit Cards and So Should You

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    • April 11, 2018 at 10:50 PM
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      I’m looking for names too, haha. I’d be interested in following a fat FIRE blogger for their perspective, almost all FIRE bloggers are frugal ones! I can’t think of any arrogant ones, and I follow a lot.

      Reply
  • April 11, 2018 at 8:58 AM
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    I commented on another FI blog that had a similar message, but there are currently 1609 FI blogs that are listed on Rockstar Finance. I guarantee you if this were 2000 or 2009 conditions, there wouldn’t be this many “experts” offering their opinions through an FI blog. Our family is also close to FI, but I have no delusions that it’s due to a rising tide lifting all boats when it comes to equity investments and not my big brain.

    Reply
    • April 11, 2018 at 9:15 PM
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      Good for you keeping a level head M&KT. As the saying goes… when the tide goes out we’ll get to see who’s swimming naked. 🙂

      Cheers!

      Reply
  • April 11, 2018 at 9:04 AM
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    I would agree with many of the points you mentioned; however, I would still say that there is some intelligence required to be investing in the first place, and even more so when it comes to picking stocks and managing risks in a portfolio.

    I consider myself a decently intelligent individual, not by any means an expert in market or investing, but someone who likes to read and can learn from experiences. I don’t let my success get to my head, at least I try not to. But I do feel I’ve earned my successes even if there was some luck involved. It still takes some intelligence, discipline, and determination to be successful in anything worth pursuing.

    Yeah, there are FI blogs that rub me the wrong way too. I just don’t go to them anymore. Why bother reading stuff that bothers you? Just ignore and move on.

    The problem I see with some FI bloggers is they try too hard to establish authority or followers and doing so they sometimes over sell themselves. It turns me off when I see too much self-promotion.

    I only have limited time, so I like to spend it reading things that add value in my life and not aggravate me.

    Take care

    Reply
    • April 11, 2018 at 9:18 PM
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      Agreed. There’s A LOT of self promotion and “over selling”. I’ve definitely stopped reading a few blogs because of it.

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  • April 11, 2018 at 9:15 AM
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    I do notice a bit of braggadociousness in some FI blogs. Perhaps the wealth has generated confidence which comes off as arrogance. I don’t know. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt.

    I do get irked, however, when people present advice as the only right way to do things. There are many paths to financial independence, and everyone has different priorities and goals.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • April 11, 2018 at 9:22 PM
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      I’m the same. Trying to tell me it’s “My way or you’re wrong!” just never goes over well.

      When I’ve encountered it, this kind of behavior doesn’t *feel* like confidence. Arrogance definitely feels like a better fit.

      Reply
  • April 11, 2018 at 10:32 AM
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    We need names Mr. Tako. We need names!

    Kidding! I completely agree with you, we as bloggers need to be humble, be transparent, and be authentic. It is totally OK to show some vulnerability. It will definitely be interesting to see what happens to the FIRE movement when the next bear market hits.

    For me, there are some blogs I really enjoy reading. Then there are some I just don’t. I guess we each have our preferences.

    Reply
    • April 11, 2018 at 9:23 PM
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      I think you have a pretty good idea of whom I’m talking about. 😉

      Reply
  • April 11, 2018 at 10:37 AM
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    That’s an interesting perspective, Mr. Tako. I don’t really notice a lot of that in the FI community – especially yours!

    Hopefully, I’m not one of those blogs that your referring to.. yikes! But, I do agree that a lot of us, me included, are just trying to figure out our paths and don’t have all the answers.

    “Your Investment Returns Are Probably Just Luck”… yup. 😉 I might go down the path to say maybe some of the fix is to provide more transparency in what you know or don’t know?

    — Jim
    Jim @ Route To Retire recently posted…Guest Appearance on the Retire Hoppy Podcast

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    • April 11, 2018 at 9:25 PM
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      Thanks Jim, you’re too kind to this old octopus!

      And, you definitely don’t fit my description of arrogant bastard. You’ll just have to work harder at it! 😉

      Reply
  • April 11, 2018 at 11:18 AM
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    I wholeheartedly agree with this analysis. Another part of this, beyond straight wealth, is the believe that you’re “working harder” because you make a high income – there are at ton of people who bust their butts and don’t come close to even the six figure range, let alone more.

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    • April 11, 2018 at 9:28 PM
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      Yes! This!

      Some of the lowest paid people work the hardest IMHO!

      I was one of those people that didn’t earn six figures for most of my career (only at the end)! It’s definitely harder, but it *can* be done. I don’t thing that gets appreciated enough by our “community leaders” so much.

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  • April 11, 2018 at 11:22 AM
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    Thanks for this post.

    I identify and hope I’m not on the “list”.

    My journal question yesterday was how does arrogance get in the way of our learning.

    If I think I’m so smart and I’ve gotten where I have from brilliance, I will never learn from others.

    Instead, I’d rather be humble and put it 90% luck and recognize I know nothing. By doing so, I can guarantee that I will learn every day for the rest of my life.

    Stay humble.

    Keep learning.

    Reply
    • April 11, 2018 at 9:31 PM
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      Nope, I don’t think your on my shit list Financial Stoic. 🙂

      I’ll definitely keep learning and trying to stay humble. Maybe one day I’ll even learn something. 🙂

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  • April 11, 2018 at 11:24 AM
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    Hi Mr Tako, I read about research that found that richer people are less kind. They are more likely to view themselves as “more intelligent” as opposed to the “less intelligent” poorer people. So the phenomenon you describe is not limited to FI bloggers. It does not excuse the FI bloggers of course, but it gives some insight into the psychological powers at play.
    That said, I think on the whole the FI community has lots of nice people in it 🙂
    Mrs Smelling Freedom recently posted…Day 46 – almost half way through phase 1 of my plan to achieve Financial Freedom!

    Reply
  • April 11, 2018 at 11:48 AM
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    Don’t feel too sorry for Shuji Nakamura. His Nobel prize was worth one million dollars and his lawsuit with his company was settled for nine million dollars. His other awards and earnings were pretty hefty too. While the idea was probably worth billions he came out ahead of most other corporate inventors who usually get zero benefit from their company owned inventions.

    But your point is well said and well taken. I have attained some wealth from saving and investing aggressively but it was way easier for me as a high earner than it was or will be for most people who are closer to median income. That actually points out that I’m pretty inept compared to those who have achieved FI with less advantages.

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    • April 11, 2018 at 9:38 PM
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      Hi Steveark — I’d like to point out that Nakamurua received ZERO recognition for his achievement until he left the company and sued it.

      The guy became something of a national hero in Japan because he’s the little guy that actually WON against big business.

      Hell, I think the press generated by the lawsuit was one of reasons why the Nobel committee took notice. If he hadn’t made a huge stink in court, I’m willing to bet he would have continued to toil in obscurity at Nichia.

      Also, it’s worth noting that much of his Nobel winnings were donated to charities.

      Reply
  • April 11, 2018 at 12:18 PM
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    Interest take as always, Mr. Tako. Your quote about index funds is what I notice the most in our community. I consider myself an index fund investor, but IMO there’s a fine line between recommending most people invest in index funds, and ridiculing those who don’t. There’s a lot of wealthy people out there, and not all of them did it via index funds.

    Money’s just a game, and half the fun is finding creative ways to earn it and invest it.
    My Money Wizard recently posted…How this Astrophysicist Retired After Working for Just 5 Years [Financial Freedom Spotlight]

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    • April 11, 2018 at 9:40 PM
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      Well said Money Wiz! You have an open mind, and I appreciate that! 🙂

      Can’t said that about everyone though!

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    • April 11, 2018 at 10:58 PM
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      In fact, the wealthiest people definitely don’t invest in index funds. Big wealth is created by concentrated holdings, index funds are more for diversification and protection of what you’ve already made.

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  • April 11, 2018 at 12:45 PM
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    I don’t sense any arrogance from your blog – that’s why I follow your blog though haha. If a big blip does go down, it will be interesting to see what happens. FI does have mostly nice people though. I’ve only hit a few arrogant once and I avoid them easily by not following on their posts. Can’t do much, everyone has a thing. Some people can tell I’m annoying from 5 miles away! xD

    Reply
    • April 11, 2018 at 9:47 PM
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      Thanks Lily. At times I wonder if my posts get a little too preachy or arrogant. It’s always a worry for me.

      I’ve always believed that people are actually pretty smart. You can’t fool them for long, and they’ll see through the facade.

      I just want to be a good example for my kids, behaving in a way that I think is respect full. Hopefully other people will come around to this way of thinking too. 🙂

      Reply
  • April 11, 2018 at 1:13 PM
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    Amen, Mr. Tako! Assuming that it’s the result of clever intelligence or a “keen eye” in this kind of market is what some do to kid themselves into believing that they are smart. Like you said, we’re all making money in this market. So long as we’re actually invested, most of us are seeing gains.

    Gotta enjoy it while it lasts.

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  • April 11, 2018 at 1:58 PM
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    I agree whole-heartedly. A little humility goes a long way and few people are mentally prepared to admit to themselves that luck has played in any successes they have enjoyed.

    As for the “arrogant” bloggers, some might do it for show I think. A little edge and a little controversy drives visitors. Some might be truly arrogant which is a shame.

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    • April 11, 2018 at 9:49 PM
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      It’s true Jon. I haven’t met most of them in person, so it’s always hard to tell what a person is really like.

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  • April 11, 2018 at 5:06 PM
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    Good article. I’ve been preparing myself for the next market crash. It’s bound to happen.
    I doubt you’re talking about my blog as I get no traffic and no comments

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  • April 11, 2018 at 5:11 PM
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    You raise some valid points Mr Tako.

    I’m not sure the arrogance/condescending thing is new however.

    When I started reading PF blogs a couple of years ago there were definitely some pompous asses telling their audience how they should live/invest/spend.

    Over time some of the bloggers I used to enjoy have joined their ranks, as their own journeys evolved. Fortunately there is a virtually infinite number of new voices out there, so I just vote with my feet when I no longer enjoy what I’m reading.

    Recently there does seem to be a lot of noise about how bloggers should write, and what they “owe” their readers.

    This troubles me, as the whole point of blogging is to provide an author with a platform to espouse their own world view (for good or ill). If that strikes a chord with an audience then great, if not then the author will just hear crickets.

    The author of a free blog doesn’t “owe” their audience anything. Write when they want, about what they want, as factually/fictionally as they choose, and stop when they lose interest.

    Conversely the audience owes no loyalty to a blogger. The power to choose what they consume, believe, and act upon is entirely theirs.

    If a blogger evolves into an evangelical zealot, a gloating dickhead, or a shameless sales funnel then much of their audience will realise and leave. Darwinism at work, as it should be.

    Reply
    • April 11, 2018 at 6:54 PM
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      This is what my comment would have said, maybe a bit nicer.

      Vote with the mouse and click another blog if the arrogance bothers.

      Also, maybe all ships rise in a tide but there are plenty out there (many doctors I work with) without a ship in the water who will miss this bull market becuase they just don’t get it. It’s easy for us FI bloggers to forget that we once knew nothing.

      Reply
    • April 11, 2018 at 9:50 PM
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      There’s some deep stuff contained here Slow Dad. I’m going to have to think about your comment a lot more! 🙂

      Reply
  • April 11, 2018 at 6:21 PM
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    You know it’s a fine line. Some times the arrogance and bravado are too much. No, there is not one way to success.

    But in some ways your first point still holds true. The number one key to motivating others to be successful is to hold up an example and make them believe they can replicate it. I believe therefore I am so to speak. I like to hope /think the more brash amongst us (no names though I gather some names pop on most people’s lists) are coming from that angle. Who knows though?

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    • April 11, 2018 at 9:53 PM
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      Absolutely, there’s nothing wrong with living an admirable life and allowing the world to see how you live it. They’re not stupid — if they see something they respect and want to change in themselves they’ll do it.

      It’s NOT about standing up on a podium and telling others how awesome you are.

      There’s too much of this already in the world.

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  • April 11, 2018 at 8:18 PM
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    This post really spoke to me and I agree whole heartedly that bloggers (and people in general) need to be more grateful and humble.

    It sorta reminds me of this podcast by NPR that I heard not to long ago called “Rags to Riches. busted: America’s poverty myth. It was about Ben Franklin own autobiographical narrative as a self made man from rags to riches. According to the podcast, he rarely credited other people for his success and credits mainly himself for picking himself up from the boot straps.

    I think successful people could do a better job of crediting those who had helped them along the way and “luck” and “good fortune” too.

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    • April 11, 2018 at 9:55 PM
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      Ben Franklin probably stood on the shoulders of giants too. It’s a shame he didn’t share credit for it.

      I’d never heard that story about Ben Franklin before. Thanks for sharing it! 🙂

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  • April 11, 2018 at 8:28 PM
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    I think the perceived arrogance is oft the result of a writer needing to be an authority or the latest superlative (I’m waiting for a teenage retiree to surface sometime soon…). The blogs I prefer the most are balanced and focus more on storytelling – like this one here 🙂 Writing like a normal person who has valuable experience to share, rather than some persona who has found one the ONE TRUE PATH, tends to make for a very relatable and non-arrogant tone.
    Paul recently posted…2018 Stock Picking Contest: 1Q Results

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  • April 11, 2018 at 8:29 PM
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    Another comment eaten by the spam guardian – I think that’s two this week! I’m starting to think it’s me 🙂

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    • April 11, 2018 at 9:56 PM
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      Sorry Paul! It’s not me! I’ll go walk down to the dungeon and supply a little “discipline” on said guardian.

      As always, I really appreciate your comments!

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  • April 11, 2018 at 8:59 PM
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    Even multimillionaires in the PF Community are looking for ways to hustle and reflect on how to improve themselves in their content. That takes humility.

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    • April 11, 2018 at 9:58 PM
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      I hope you’re right Financial Orchid! I really do! 🙂

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  • April 11, 2018 at 9:04 PM
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    It’s fine line sometimes between “this is how I did it” and “this is how you should do it”. Also a lot of bloggers are building a brand. To be fair we are all doing that, but some are doing it to generate large income. And a level of arrogance is required rightly or wrongly to do that.

    I’m very wary that my audience is mainly my friends and ex-colleagues to keep them informed of what we are doing, but clearly in so doing it is easy it infer an approximate net worth. And in our culture announcing salaries and net worths is the ultimate taboo. And I’m very concerned that that can come across as gauche.

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    • April 11, 2018 at 10:00 PM
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      You comments hit home Steve. For the individuals I’m referring to, profit seems to matter more than community… and that’s pretty sad.

      You’d never find them commenting here for example. 🙁

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  • April 11, 2018 at 9:27 PM
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    Heh, like it. I am lucky in that most of the regulars at RetireJapan know more than I do, and the site is not so much a blog as a place (the only place?) to share information in English about PF in Japan.

    Maybe when I’ve actually got some money it will start to go to my head 😉

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    • April 11, 2018 at 10:01 PM
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      It happens faster than you think Sendai Ben! One day your head will swell up so large, you’ll have trouble fitting through some of those Japanese sized doors. 😉

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  • April 11, 2018 at 9:40 PM
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    I try to not read too much in the tone and language used as it can be miss-leading. I spend a lot of time with email at work and emails can be interpreted very differently based on some words used and the feelings you may have at the moment you read.

    With that said, there are tones and style that do not appeal to me and I tend to stay away.

    I am new to your site and like your style 🙂

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    • April 11, 2018 at 10:03 PM
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      Thanks Dividend Earner! Welcome to the site! 🙂

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  • April 11, 2018 at 10:21 PM
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    I did notice this on a few blog. But overall, I think the personal finance community is pretty great.

    I would say though that a lot of them are overconfident because of the current stock market. Many of them are estimating future returns based on the results on the last 8-9 years. I think that a lot of blogs are going to be less enthusiastic when the next crash occurs.
    The Poor Swiss recently posted…The three pillars of Retirement in Switzerland – 1. The first pillar

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  • April 11, 2018 at 10:33 PM
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    I tend to not see this much (at least anymore) because I have become super selective on who I choose to follow and read. There are too many great voices out there that if someone becomes too arrogant, too spammy or just down right preachy, I simply stop reading their posts and move on to someone else who I get value out of reading. Darn, now that makes me sound like an arrogant person. Everyone has a right to their own voice, but I have to choice to listen to them (or not).

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  • April 12, 2018 at 3:34 AM
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    Love your post Mr. Tako.
    While I am still a new blogger and wouldn’t even make it on your list, I still worry that I may come across as arrogant with some of my posts. Sometimes in trying to explain to others how you manage to do something right (after many fails), you can easily come across as arrogant.
    As far as other bloggers, between self promotion, constant pop-ups and arrogance, there are a few blogs I don’t read anymore:)

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    • April 14, 2018 at 10:00 AM
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      Caroline, you are nowhere near arrogant at all! At least I don’t think so! This is a generalization, but I don’t think Canadians have it in them to be arrogant at all. Except for Kevin O’ Leary, but I like him 🙂

      This is a great post. There is a major blog author that I find arrogant but I still go and read the blog anyway! I think it’s part of marketing, perhaps to stir up controversy?

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  • April 12, 2018 at 3:42 AM
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    There is certainly an element of arrogance in some corners of bloggers but like anything on the net, you just have to learn to wead out the rubbish. Generally I find FI bloggers quite nice grounded people.

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  • April 12, 2018 at 6:03 AM
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    I’ve never read a blog and felt that I was being talked down to…yet. I have to say though, I’ve mostly been reading blogs of people who are still striving toward FI and are far from millionaires. I find that I relate to them a bit better.

    The more I read about FI, the better I think my goal of retiring when my husband is 50 is. I think that is still young enough to really get into some trouble but not so far away from retirement that we would be really stretching our funds or have to worry too much about a stock market issue.

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  • April 12, 2018 at 11:07 AM
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    i find it a little absurd to see people asking advice on where to put their money in blog comments. sure, you can probably rely on certain nuts and bolts stuff like the nature of different accounts, but to want to replicate exactly what a particular author does seems irresponsible. i think the blogs are a good place to start for ideas and discussion, but who’s vetting these people anyhow? i like to say: this is what we did but it may not be your style or fit your needs.

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  • April 12, 2018 at 11:37 PM
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    Maybe I haven’t read enough PF blogs yet, as I haven’t come across any (or even any comments) that struck me as arrogant, judgmental, or mean. With the exception of the comments I read on the NPR site after the Frugalwoods episode, but those comments were from people who were not in the PF community.

    I’ve always been a believer in the idea that it is OK to “take what works and leave the rest” because different things work for different people. Your post is a good reminder of this – there isn’t just one right way to build wealth, there are many.

    I enjoy reading PF blogs because I find them inspiring and they motivate me to try new things to master my money. As a blogger, I hope I can do the same for my readers without sounding preachy.

    Slow Dad makes an important point, too. I’m writing to express myself. I hope what I have to say resonates with others, is useful to others, or sparks a conversation . . . but I don’t expect anything more than for people to take what works for them and leave the rest. No obligation either way. Does that make sense?

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  • April 13, 2018 at 3:06 AM
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    I’ve noticed this trend, too. It seems like the most arrogance comes when people are giving investing advice (not yours though, ha!). I struggle sometimes with writing “advice” articles because I think, “I’m not any kind of expert” but I think I’ve figured out that writing from personal experience and making sure to share mistakes makes me feel more authentic. Because in the end, I think people are really curious about your hits and your misses. Thanks also for the reminder about stock market returns. It’s always good to have some perspective thrown my way!

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  • April 13, 2018 at 5:56 AM
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    Pride comes before downfall and before honour is humility.

    I resonate with you when I read some FI blogs. Which is why I stopped visiting some of those arrogant websites.

    Thank you also for a dose of humility.

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  • April 13, 2018 at 11:26 AM
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    Interesting! For me, I’ve actually noticed the opposite. The people I’ve met in the FIRE community/personal finance blogging community have been more humble and self deprecating than people I’ve met in real life in Engineering (though it is a STEM field, so probably an arrogance bias there). The benefits of blogging is that you get to learn as you blog, since your readers actually teach you lots thing you didn’t know and as you write you research and clarify things you thought you knew. So that’s a
    huge benefit of blogging. Without it, it’s easy to stay ignorant.

    That being said, as your net worth grows, it gets easier to fall prey to the “I’m a genius and invincible” line of thinking (read “What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars” book to see what I mean) because you start to attribute the growth to skills rather than luck. So getting a reality check every now and then definitely helps. Humility is a skill that the market inevitably teaches you over time 🙂 Everyone will learn the lesson, whether they like it or not, and regardless of how big their portfolio is.

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  • April 13, 2018 at 7:20 PM
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    As a person who reads finance blogs but does not have one… there is A LOT of arrogance and self congratulating. Many people claim frugality while spending more than a normal person earns. They don’t or won’t admit the advantages they have as high earners. But I still read them so what does that say about me?

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  • April 16, 2018 at 11:32 PM
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    Interesting post. Well I am one of those people who just saved a lot of their income and we actually forgot to invest in the stock market the past 8 years. We bought a house that accidentally went up a lot. No brains there either. It is okay to get lucky but just recognize that’s that what happened.

    The whole point is you can get very far by simply saving.

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  • April 18, 2018 at 5:37 AM
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    This post resonated with me. I don’t have a blog but have read a dozen or so FI blogs. From the list of commenters here, I’m amazed at how many more are out there.

    My take – MMM got me started thinking about this journey to FIRE. I enjoyed his blog (and still do). There is an arrogance there, but I think that works for the site and in listening to him on podcasts from time to time, seems to fit his personality. The downside to MMM? Other FI sites have popped up ripping off his “brand”. And why not, his site probably generates most FI traffic. And those blogs that rip his brand off just don’t do it very well, IMO. It comes off wrong. And you can kind of see through to the goal of that site – generate substantial revenue from the blog. Which to me, throws into question whether the person has the RE in FIRE or did the blogger simply trade their career in for a new one – blogging for revenue? And there is nothing worse than reading someone brag about taking advantage of a government program intended for the poor to subsidize FIRE.

    Side note: I found your blog through a reddit forum and I find a lot of value in your posts.

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  • April 19, 2018 at 9:08 AM
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    Pretty much everyone in this arena is a winner in the “Overian Lottery” as Warren Buffet would say.
    http://www.businessinsider.com/warren-buffett-on-the-ovarian-lottery-2013-12
    People completely downplay luck in their life. You can shape the hand you are dealt, but in the end your starting position (DOB, location, genetics, schools) is a major, if not the most decisive, shaping factor vs your inherent intelligence (which is also luck from the way the genes played out).

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