Disturbing FIRE trends

Too many people
Making too many problems
And not much love to go round
Cant you see
This is a land of confusion. – Genesis

I have never been one to tell you that your baby is ugly, but If your baby looks like Winston Churchill, I am not going to fawn over how cute he is.

There are a lot of new FIRE adherents out there. That is great. There are lots of new FIRE blogs out there and that is mostly good.

I am not even a FIRE OG, more of a FIRE guy you have seen around at the grocery store for a couple of years, but I need to vent a little about the proliferation of new blogs.

All Shall Love Me and Despair!

If you are reading the caption, I would gladly settle for Like Me and Give a Listen!

Here are some hard truths about current FIRE trends.

I think of our blogs as being one of three types. This is not all encompassing, but it makes sense to me;

  1. The PF Clearing House

People discover FIRE everyday. Some are way behind on the knowledge curve as far as the world of personal finance goes. They need all the help they can get. They might even need to start from Square One. This type of site speaks directly to them. Useful and broad in scope, but not for the person who is up to snuff on the usual stuff and looking for that next level info.

2. The Deep Dive

These blogs are useful because they take a topic and go all the way down. Spelling out in great detail the process and the minutia. The work these bloggers put in is always appreciated by the readers. When you see that topic, you click because you are expecting a certain caliber of info.

3. Personal Connections

We all become hard pressed for topics at some point. This blogger tries to relate a little bit of themselves in the post. As we follow them over the years we get to know them. Little windows into someone life who we relate to helps build this community up and makes articles about credit cards more interesting.

I know there are probably more categories that deserve to be mentioned but I am going to pivot now to vent and be mean about FIRE trends that bother me.

The websites that are there for new people to find so that they can learn about Basic Personal Finance are well established. You are not likely to bust into this market.

Stop thinking you are going to get rich off of your blog, you are not. You are spending a lot of time for some return yes, but you are mostly recycling content. These sites feel a little generic. The remora swimming with the big sharks serve a purpose, but only to a point.

Yea, you’re not him, alright son, so watch what you do

Too many listicles and we will drive people away before they ever have time to acclimate and discover our valid pursuit.

The moment I realized that I had released a ‘shitpost‘, I felt bad and called it out for what is was. I reworked it a bit and keep it on my site now as a reminder of  FIRE trends even I fall prey to.

So, if you can’t be Number #1 (The PF Clearing House) and you are not willing to be like #2 (The Deep Dive), at least try to be like #3(Personal Connection) and add a personal anecdote or a real world example to your content. It makes the all the difference.

We are starting to see some shade being through around our community on social media. This did not happen when they was not enough FIRE bloggers to fill a swimming pool.

My hope is that people who might be here because FIRE is trending and they think they can monetize for a quick buck will give up after awhile. I am certainly willing to wait out the storm. But the credibility and quality of our little corner of the internet universe suffers in the meantime.

Every time you try to sell me ED pills while I am trying to read about the top tens slang words for money, a PF angel loses her wings 🙁

Ask yourself are you contributing to the overall health and improvement of our community? Why are you here?

Now let’s get back to having some Pie and trying to change the world.

P.S. I think a good analogy for what I am trying to say about FIRE trends is happening right now on the Internet News Front. Some Click Bait title makes me scroll through page after page of near meaningless fluff. I end up quitting before I ever even get to the part of the story that made me click in the first place. This is by design, great design for ‘hits’, poor design for content. What was their purpose? To tell me something, or to get more views?

P.S.S. I had the perfect pic in mind for that last paragraph. But alas, nobody has created a screen shot of Jacob Reynolds playing a young George Kellogg in The Road to Wellville as he demands ‘Meat and Potatoes‘ at the table. Oh well, can’t win em’all I suppose.





16 thoughts on “Disturbing FIRE trends

  1. i try out a new one every now and then but usually go back to the 20 or so blogs i read regularly. the personal part is key for me too. or i will go in for anything like: here’s an idea i have or my way of thinking about a subject. even if i don’t agree i might get a different view. i’m way past the instruction manual part. i want to hear more about misadventures in boating.

  2. I keep wanting to know what section of the grocery store I am seeing you around in.

    Is it nostalgic, like an empty nester in the sugary cereal section?

    Or special snowflake, like you only consume oat yogurt with unsalted sunflower seeds?

    Is it awesome, like a pint of Ben n Jerry’s with three varieties of Magic Shell?

    Or just a little tragic – only microwave dinners. Always microwave dinners.

    And do you bring your own grocery bags?

  3. Some new blogs could break through and become big. Physician on FIRE for example. It’s huge now and they’re relatively new. 3-4 years? I imagine it would be very difficult to start a personal finance blog from nothing now. There are a ton of material already.

  4. Good points. I have realized all of the information you need is already out there, so I’ve resulted to put a personal spin on almost all of my content and possibly be the only FIRE blogger out there who makes their living selling things on eBay. The FIRE niche may be crowded, but you can still make your own little corner inside this niche.

  5. Love your post. 🙂

    I do use lists since it helps me focus my thoughts better, but the whole point of my blog is to share my story. I’m not educating since it’s already been done, but I can say how it’s worked for me and how it affects my life.

    Thanks for writing.

  6. I think some of the blogs are unqiue in style and content within the DGI group,Those are the one we see moving up in the internet world.Other than that every other blog is journey sometimes we have lot of posts and sometimes it goes dormant.

  7. I would like to think, and hope, that my fledgling blog falls under category 3.

    I agree that there are only so many ways to skin a cat and only so many variations possible about financial independence and retiring early.

    Permutations of Earn, Save, and Invest are essentially finite.

    I for one have nothing new to add in this realm whatsoever as there are far smarter people than I who have done some deep analysis, etc.

    I can’t stand those clickbait posts which gives you one slide and you have to click next and either get an add or the next picture. Whenever I see that type of format I just x out of the whole thing.

  8. Great post. It is incredibly hard to stand out. The echo chamber is growing and content within it is regurgitated regularly. I’ve heard many bloggers say it’s OK to continue saying the same thing over and over. Your voice will reach a different subset of people. I’m not sure about that.

    As a Boomer blogger and financial advisor, I’m certainly a minority. I’m in no way a FIRE blogger nor do I intend to be. I have, however, found myself distracted responding to some of the ridiculous things some FIRE bloggers put out there. The recent market downturn freaked a lot of them out. And that was mild compared to previous downturns. Many speak as if they are market experts, That’s pretty easy in a bull market where 90% of their assets are in US stocks.

    There is an arrogance bubbling up in the community that concerns me. There isn’t much room in this space for views outside of their own. Many people can’t relate to what many bloggers say they should do. In fact, the vast majority don’t.

    Blogging is hard. Most people don’t make money at it. Write what you’re passionate about. Chart your own path. And, in most cases, Don’t quit the day job.

    • Can I just say that I appreciate a financial advisor who continues to pipe up and be present in our little FIRE world. I know it is not easy to hear all these people disparage your professional all the time. I agree we have a lot of ‘experts’ here. Different views with different perspectives helps us not get myopic tunnel vision. Please keep up your good works.

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