The Misconception About Financial Independence

I’ve made mistakes in the past talking about the concept of financial independence to people who weren’t ready to accept them.
It’s incredibly frustrating talking to these group of people who seem to surround it with not only negative connotation that they are not accepting but also refuse to listen to views that other people have.
Since then, I’ve not openly brought up talking on this subject to anyone I’ve hardly known unless there’s some indication that they are open to listening about different viewpoints.
In the past weeks, I’ve gone for interviews and met up with people who’ve questioned my motives when they did a background check and found my articles online preaching and advocating about financial independence and the article that highlights my goal to “retire” at the age of 35.
As much as I can explain to them the whole idea and intention within a short timespan that I have, they simply dismissed the notion and questioned on my long term commitment. After all, most companies would like to have employees that are loyal and remain with the company for as long as the company requires them to be. 
You see, there’s nothing wrong being sceptical about this whole thing. There is also nothing wrong with companies wanting their prospective employees to remain and commit with them for a longer term.
What I think needs clarifications is how some people tends to perceive them, perhaps unconsciously or maybe there’s misconception about certain things that they heard on the streets that they didn’t like. In this article, I hope I could address and explain some of these misconceptions.
You Are Being Lazy
This is the most misconception that people have for those who doesn’t understand.
Everyone knows that to reach the state of financial independence, you need a crazy amount of hard work, grit and perseverance before being able to reach the ultimate state that you desire.
The misconception about being lazy is the wrong portray that people have in their minds about sitting by the couch or beach all day doing nothing once you have achieved all your financial goals in life.
And we know that this is hardly true (we’ll, technically you can if you choose to do that but hardly anyone I’ve met has done that).
Most people who’ve actually achieved the real thing actually goes on to do greater things in life such as spending their time building things and giving back to society and that determination and ambition and the traits of hard work and perseverance continue to play a big role in the activities that they do.
You Are Being Monetary-Focused
The only thing financial bloggers care about is things that are monetary related and focused.
In fact, the opposite is true.
Sure, most of us talk about numbers in our blogs – how we derive certain percentage of compounding interests or how much emergency savings should we hold – things that generally borings and frightens the people but that is not all that we are offering.
This whole thing is larger than monetary benefits alone.
What we are trying to achieve is a sense of optimization of how we should live our lives to the fullest it can be, starting from planning the basic foundation of our needs right, protecting our loved ones with sufficient health coverage, ensuring we have the right investments that can fight off against inflation, finding jobs that we think are aligned with our goal and ambition, doing things that we are good at and many more.
You Are Being Impossible
I can understand why most people are sceptical about this whole idea because I did the same too when I first started.
Most people don’t believe that it is actually possible for them to achieve some sort of financial independence at some stage in their working lives even in an expensive first world nation like Singapore where we have one of the highest cost of living in the world.
The social retirement and healthcare security has actually been designed to meet the rising needs against healthcare and lifestyle inflation that we have to cope in our aging days so it is something that has been well taken care of by the government.
To do one step better, there is a need to spend some time understanding the relationship between higher savings and higher returns rate and the number of years you have on compounding. Even if you are not able to match your peers who are earning or saving higher rate than you are at the moment, it is always good to give it your best shot and results will always show that you are glad taking this rather than not.

Thanks for reading.

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35 thoughts on “The Misconception About Financial Independence

    1. Joce

      I can see how this may be true for some people, but personally I don't agree that this is a given outcome for people who have reached FI. One can achieve FI yet still want to give their best at their current job. The key word here is "want" because the more important question to ask here is how the decision to coast in one's job speaks to the person's personal character, not their level of financial independence. Just my two cents' worth 🙂

    2. Verseun

      I dont think you would need to coast when you have achieved FI. Aside from the article's point that you have other priorities to take care of , and it is ok to coast to earn money while setting aside attention and time for the other priorities.

      Achieving FI lets you choose the work you want to do and the people you want to work with, with lesser emphasis on the need for compensation. So if its your own choice, I feel you would work even harder on these passion projects.

    3. B

      Depending on one's intention, coasting and financial Independence are indeed two separate incident. One could be extremely financially disastrous and still coasting in their lives. The reverse can also be true.



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  1. Anonymous

    I think those companies need to get real. In this day & age, even if someone needs to work until drop dead, it's unlikely he'll stay in a company for long unless he rises to senior & top mgmt. And if someone is really good, chances are that he'll leave in a couple years unless the company is prepared to give him thousands dollars increments & promotions.

    1. B

      Yeah my point is the company could not guarantee anyone staying and commit for the longer term, there are so many variables at play from both sides that could determine that. But I totally get where they are coming from their viewpoints.

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  3. Gerald

    Hi Brian,

    It is unfortunate that your short stint in the start up didn't work out and you are looking for job again.

    I guess most employers are concerned that you would not be committed to the role since you have achieved financial independent. I don't think you should frame this article from the perspective that they hold negative views of those who achieved financial freedom. These are two different angles and it is not right to lump them together. Just my view.


    1. B

      Hi Gerald

      Yeah I agree with you.

      They are just different viewpoints and obviously both parties sit on the opposite end of the fences.

  4. Anonymous


    you write all these got use meh?

    in the end you still suck thumb get back a job like your last one as a financial controller in a brick and mortar 9to5 job to feed your family

    your 2 children still young and their university education would probably bankrupt you

    keep your blog and career separate lah

    financial independence is delusional

    all those wealth seminar they make the money from the course fee they charge preaching the drug called financial independence fueled by greed and fear

    if i knew the path to financial independence i would tell no one

    for if everyone knew the path, being rich would become poor

    the true wealth is your health not money

    unless you know for sure what is going to happen in the future, your wealth today cannot guarantee a retirement tomorrow

    the government will delay the cpf withdrawal age as more people starts withdrawal and less young people work due to low birthrate

    with negative interest rate the government would eventually cut the interest rate for cpf special account to zero

    even taiwan is cutting back on pension or it would go bankrupt in 2030

    insurance companies would probably go bankrupt when all its policy holders are now old and claiming more money than the premium they pay

    most insurance companies would go bankrupt by 2030

    welcome back to the singapore rat race, work until you die and feel rich looking at your cpf statement


  5. Gerald

    Hi Brian,

    Since you have such sizeable warchest, why dont you become a full time trader?

    In my opinion, hard for you to re-enter the rat race. You have been published in the newspaper and the whole of Singapore know you have gained financial freedom. Inadvertently,they would wonder if you would just resign as and whrn you like.


  6. The Dreamzola Traveller

    I encountered some of the worse form of perceptions from people who think FI is nothing but something to get rich, or face criticism from people who felt that for someone who is not working in the social order is not contributing to the society.

    Sometime, I wonder why their mind can be so close-minded.

  7. Hello World

    I see a lot of bloggers talking about financial independence and publishing their expenses/spending. Since they provide details down to the very last dollar and cent, what is noteworthy is that regular giving to charity is absent from their spending/expenses. So if those local bloggers are typical of the "FIRE" movement, then I understand why readers may have the impression that these bloggers are 'monetary focused'.

  8. Jwo

    Hi B,

    Thank you for your blog.

    I have been learning much from it and it helps a lot in my path to financial freedom.

    Please keep up the good work.

    Thank you.


  9. Retireby35.SgStyle

    Hi Brian, all good points there, and a valiant attempt at persuasion.

    But you are confusing misconceived people with the facts though, most have already made their decision on how to think about F.I – just let them be 🙂

    Obviously what some people think about F.I might matter to your overall well being (employers, loved ones), but if they choose to take a closed mindset towards F.I, perhaps that might mean it wasn't quite the right fit to begin with?

    Putting aside the contentious point on anonymity vs being known when pursuing F.I/R.E, since you've already chosen the latter path, why not capitalize on this and start something different? Just some food for thought.

    Wishing you all the best in 2020.

  10. Anonymous

    Hi Brian,

    Credit goes to you on delivering the knowledge on how the masses could achieve financial independence. However, as an investment analyst, I believe that most are unwilling to go the extra mile of making time and effort, and are seeking a convenient answer to defend their stand against the practicality of achieving financially independence.

    Continue the good work!


  11. TT

    Hi Brian,

    Please do not let any of those doubters and naysayers, including the ones in this comment section, stop you from blogging.

    Its refreshing to see someone step up and put up everything visibly, rather than keeping the topic of Finance such a unpleasant topic.

    You're definitely way ahead of many people and I always enjoy reading about your updates, knowing there's at least one more fellow consciously thinking of how to optimize his life financially as you said, instead of a whole bunch of friends around who seem rather oblivious to the topic and just content drowning in the rat race.

    Thank you and keep going buddy! ^^

  12. Nicole

    Hi Brian,

    Thanks for sharing your articles on financial freedom! I always enjoy reading your articles about FI. When I started my first job, I picked up Rich Dad and Poor Dad. Then I shared the idea of FI with my parents, siblings and friends – they thought I was crazy because they did not think passive income works.

    Fast forward 4 years now, I am on track to FI and will keep working hard and people still do not understand. Please do keep up with your blog and I am sure many readers are pursuing this path as life is all about freedom and choices after all.

    We have the option to keep our job or to pursue greater things such as contributing to the society as you said!

    Keep going and support you!


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