I may have slipped up at work last week. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. Before I knew it, I was blabbing away.
It all started a few weeks ago. As part of employee personal development this year, my employer is stressing financial literacy. I work in the financial services industry so this falls in line with the company’s mission. To facilitate the personal finance discussions, my team’s leadership sent an email soliciting topics of interest and the initial topic chosen was saving for retirement.
Sweet, right up my alley.
To help guide the discussion, they created a shared file where individuals could submit anonymous questions. Since I’d been out of office a couple weeks on reserve duty, I hadn’t seen any of the questions… until last Wednesday.
As I read through the list, I was dumbfounded. These people were completely clueless about investments and what they needed to do to retire. Remember, I work for a financial services firm (granted in a staff position) and most of these people are in their 40s, highly educated, and have been with the company for 15+ years.
I couldn’t deal with the bullshit any longer and started getting excited and all riled up. Before I knew it, I was typing away in a mad frenzy. The end result is the email below I sent out to our team of 30 professionals, including multiple directors and an assistant vice president. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.
I went on a mini rant in the file Mike linked below and decided to continue it here. This is a great topic and something I’m fairly passionate about. Unfortunately, the mainstream advice is practically worthless. Retirement doesn’t need to be something that happens when you’re 60 or 65. There is a growing online community of regular people like you and me who are achieving financial independence in their mid-30s and low-40s. For anyone who makes an above average salary, which would be all of us in this email, this is very doable and can be done in a much shorter time than you think.
The typical American consumerist lifestyle is overflowing with wastefulness. Most people waste thousands upon thousands of dollars every year without even realizing it. If you haven’t done so already, start by examining all your purchases and expenses. I bet you can cut 25% without even noticing it. These savings can then be invested, creating passive income streams. Your money should always be working for you and everyone should have multiple income sources.
There are dozens of amazing personal finance blogs. I am friends with many of these bloggers and write under a pen name myself. I’m especially drawn to those specializing in FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early). The most basic place to start out is here. This site is where many in the FIRE community, including myself, first realized it was possible to ditch the rat race decades before their peers.
I can’t imagine that anyone wants to spend the majority of their short time on this earth sitting in a cubicle. We all have passions and things we’d rather be learning and exploring. Take control of your finances so you can live life on your terms and find true happiness!
If you’re interested in financial independence and want to learn more, feel free to reach out. This isn’t a joke. Like I said, there are amazing blogs out there. I’m always down to talk personal finance and investments over a beer.
I wasn’t sure how my message would be received since my company is extremely conservative and I’m fairly reserved at work, generally keeping to myself. An outspoken email like this would be very unexpected. Later that day, several people responded and thanked me for sending the email. My favorite response was, “Preach!”
I’d mentioned to my coworkers previously that I wasn’t looking for a new job after we move in August and maybe now they’ll put two and two together. Regardless, I hope my comments sparked a fire (pun intended) and at least one of them will take a hard look at their finances and make the necessary changes to reach their goals.
So what do you guys think? Hopefully this will be the start of some interesting conversations in my office.