Image of gold safety deposit boxes.

Just Call Us Bank Robbers

There is something to being a bit mischievous. Walking a line the majority of people don’t understand. Doing something that at times seems crazy but deep down in your heart you know is right. The adrenaline flows when you have that aha moment in figuring out new ways to hit your goals. And you can’t help but smile at those who think they have it figured out but are truly stuck on a hamster wheel.

For some odd reason, striving for a life of financial independence is against the grain. Hopefully one day it will be the mainstay of the common retirement path. For now, though, each successful financial independence story provides additional fuel to the FIRE of those just starting out. The scarcity creates a thrilling lure to this lifestyle.

Bank Robbers and Financial Independence

Complex heists create similar excitement. A good heist is very intriguing. Especially when the plan is elaborate and well executed. Of course, there are blunders and hurdles along the way, sometimes even after the robbery is complete and freedom is in sight.

Could our path to financial freedom, with a side of early retirement, match up any better to the life of a bank robber? I’m not talking the smash and grab kind of robbers, I’m talking the ones like on Inside Man. There is exhilaration in the initial decision to go for it. The planning and refocusing as the environment changes. The poor decisions along the way that cause delays. Oh, and don’t forget about thinking you’re in the clear as soon as the retire early trigger is pulled and the market takes a nose dive.

Just as an exciting heist, when all hope seems lost, the critical planning helps evade the capture and return to the mundane. Sure, you probably were not expecting the worst December since the Great Depression right before you retired early or seeing the cop on your way out of the bank after spending days hidden inside, but the flexibility built into your plan will allow you to make the most of it and have a little fun on the way.

A Thought Comparison

Let’s look at a few similar thoughts people on the outside have of bank robbers and the financially independent, as well as similar thoughts of people of on the inside, the bank robbers and the financially independent, at various stages of their path.

Before the heist and just starting out on the financial independence path

Those on the outside looking in think:

  • You have a screw loose
  • What you are doing is extremely risky
  • What you are doing looks way too complicated to pull off
  • You should stick to your day job
  • The end result is not worth the effort

Those on the inside think:

  • I must be crazy
  • This is going to take a long time, but I’ll get there, mmm probably
  • There really is a lot to navigate
  • What haven’t I thought of
  • I just want it to be done
  • Who can I talk to about this
  • I can only plan so much
  • I wonder if my co-workers will figure out what I’m trying to do

After pulling off the heist and just after reaching financial independence

Those on the outside looking in think:

  • You will spend the rest of your days sitting on white sandy beaches sipping pina coladas
  • You must have done something illegal
  • They don’t have what it takes to do the same thing
  • You are still a little nuts
  • You have been really lucky
  • Your money won’t last

Those on the inside think:

  • I want to tell the world, but I’m not sure how that will pan out
  • That wasn’t that bad
  • I can’t believe I pulled it off
  • I wonder if it is too late to tell my old boss what he can do with those expense reports
  • Am I really going to get away with this
  • I have way more money then I’ll ever need
  • Now the hard work really starts

Maybe all these similarities are why those striving for FI are so jacked up about it. There is a hint of crazy in it. Our culture makes reaching financial independence and retiring early seem wrong, which gives it a level of badassity. There is a sense of gaming the system. Looking for legal loop holes to reach a lifestyle that fits our ideal as quick as possible.

Who are the crazy ones though? Striving for financial independence is just common sense. It gives you freedom by opening up your mind and time to explore other opportunities. Otherwise, there is always the other route you can go.

Maybe the millionaire next door actually robbed a bank?

What’s your retirement plan?

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