Wow, this one will definitely rattle the Howler Monkey’s into action. Here are the 3 things that annoy me most about the FI movement. Now granted, I’ll claim that this is experience talking. But I’m sure it’ll come across as ‘get off my lawn’ or I’m too conservative or plain ole, well, Old.
I’m all for shopping around to get a good deal or save some money. Compare retailers, look online, consider used or buying in bulk. There are no shortage of options. However, sometimes going the least expensive route can be very costly. I frequently read and hear of those in the FI community touting how they shopped insurance and found the least expensive deal. Those are heralded as FI wins. But be careful. Not having appropriate coverage can be painful. I’ve always had USAA for our home and vehicles. I’ve never shopped for cheaper coverage. As a matter of fact, I’ve never considered it. Primarily because I was too lazy. But also because a of few fender benders and USAA has always done well by us.
This past year certainly sealed the deal. Our area was hit by a hail storm and 6 months later I noticed several homes having their roofs replaced. I didn’t see any damage to ours, but the roof was 15 years old and I thought there was no harm in calling to have it checked. One 15 minute conversation on the phone with USAA had an adjuster headed my way. A week later I had a check in hand to replace the roof to the tune of $17,000.
What makes this so compelling is what happened to several of my neighbors. Like many, we have a community Facebook group. The topic of roof replacements due to the hail was a popular subject, as folks were looking for recommendations on roofers, etc. Within this thread, it also became apparent that one major insurer denied all claims. Same storm, same roof age, all denied. This isn’t some small outfit. This insurer is one that you see advertised every weekend during sports events.
As you can see, having the right coverage has certainly paid for itself. I have a brand new roof and many of my neighbors are out thousands of dollars. Who’s more FI?
#2 Cheap cell phone plans that depend on WiFi
I’ll agree, cell phone plans are expensive. I wish I could significantly reduce our collection of cell bills. However, coverage and usage just seem to keep us stuck in place. Again, within the FI clan, folks shop around and find less expensive plans. Usually these involve a heavy reliance on utilizing public WiFi.
This is where I have heartburn. In all the write ups or podcasts, I’ve yet to hear anyone caution about the use of public WiFi. Any online search about keeping your data and personal information secure will clearly reveal the danger of such activities. Most smartphone users these days have a lot of their personal information on their device. Hooking up to public WiFi potentially exposes this information to unscrupulous people looking to exploit your data. Me? No thanks, I’ll stick to the expensive plan.
#3 Inclusive… as long a you agree
I really debated including this one. I can envision the swirl of negativity folks will spin up. In the end, I figured some things need to be said.
This last one is more symptomatic of a larger social challenge we currently live in. I’ll keep it to FI. But the simplistic thought is that FI introduces itself as non-dogmatic and open to individual choices. To a large degree it delivers. But, when you say you have a truck or cable tv, the Howler Monkeys start to twitch.
It gets much worse when you have to apologize if you grew up having some perceived advantage. Like an online self flogging is necessary to level set your position in this community.
Even worse than that? Not speaking favorably for some social good that is assumed to be accepted universally. We’ve worked very hard for what we have and frankly, don’t take kindly to the dimisive notion that simply taxing those who are where we are at financially to pay for _____ (fill in the blank). I read a comment recently that if someone had $10M, they would gladly accept some ridiculous tax rate. My thought? They would think differently if they busted their ass to earn that money.
People would be a lot better off if they looked at all of the FI choices available as a buffet. Take what you, leave what you don’t and don’t comment if someone doesn’t make the same choices. Stop looking for reasons to be offended or get triggered. Now get off my lawn.
Have at it Howlers.