Yesterday I published An Interactive Guide to Early Retirement and Financial Independence. This post took a long time to write – 6 weeks all told. In this post, I’ll dive into why I went this route for this guide.
Who is it For?
Unless you’re already interested in finance and investing, writing a guide about it isn’t going to reach a large audience. The goal of this guide was to introduce new people to the topic. The total addressable market for people out there who WANT to be FI/RE but doesn’t know about it is vastly larger than that of existing people who are on the FI/RE path.
With this in mind, I tried to write this guide to someone who has never heard about FI, RE, Investing, Savings Rate, Withdrawal Rate or Minimalism. We’re all beginners at some point, and writing with them in mind helps bring more people into our cult fold.
Why Make it Interactive?
When I think about the times I read something that had the largest impact on me there was usually an interactive element. Maybe it was a presentation with an animated speaker or an educational tool where I needed to do something in order to fully bake in the solution. I’m a firm believer in “learn by doing” – that if you go through the motions of something you’ll learn more. I’m personally a very slow learner. I didn’t do well in school (C+ average), but when I kept at something I’d eventually get it. This is the audience I try to create for.
Why Include Interviews?
Social proof is important, especially when you’re going against common wisdom. The “popular” view on finance is to work until you’re 65 (ish) then retire with social security. The idea of FIRE gives people a completely different life path. If it was just me presenting this path, that would be far less effective than hearing from me and 15 others all supporting the idea. Not everyone wants to blaze a new trail, but no one wants to be left behind.
A Starting Point
Introducing people to the idea of FIRE and getting them interested is one thing, but it’s difficult to have it feel achievable. I’m not certain I’ve succeeded at this, but we’ll see. If someone enters their numbers and gets a retirement date 100 years from now, there’s no easy way to tell someone they’re not going to be able to retire early on their current path – that’s just facts. My hope with this post is to give people enough fuel to make a positive change in their life with this new information.
One of the ideas that came out of this was to transition people from this post to building readers up as investors. This prompted me to create the Minimal Investor Course, providing readers with a way to grow their knowledge in investing – even if they’re starting from scratch. This is the kind of investing education I would have wanted when starting, and I can’t wait to see what people think of it.
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