As someone who blogs in the financial independence space and sometimes gets involved in social media posting and what not, it's inevitable that I'll encounter the countless others who are pretty much doing the same. After all, this space is highly saturated with people who are trying to build a following by sharing information on how their audience can make more money.
Some of that information is sensible and good, some of it... not so much. But hey, maybe it's been working for them?
The problem with the latter is that it has been developed off the back of a strong bull market. We may have had a quick crash back in 2020 thanks to Covid-19, but besides that there haven't been any real tests - especially ones that are prolonged - for those of us who keep preaching about how "easy" it is to make riches over the long run.
Most online personalities have only really been investing for a few short years and this is highlighted by the size of their portfolios.
Don't get me wrong, having something like £20,000 in index funds is not a bad spot to be in. They'd certainly be doing better than many others out there. But they've still got a long way to go before they can confidently preach to others about how they've got it all figured out.
The same can be said for myself.
My own portfolio easily surpasses the above number by more than tenfold but let's be honest, even I've got a ways to go.
So why then do I think a fall in the markets is good, if it's going to hurt me so much more than the fledgling personalities out there?
It's because I think a dose of reality is needed to flush out all the bulls**t that's been building up.
I know I'll personally be fine even if the markets continue to downtrend for the next couple of years, but my bet is that some of these 20-something year old internet personalities will struggle to survive.
Getting rid of bad practices
"Cut down on all discretionary spending and make unreasonable sacrifices to your quality of life just so you can squeeze out an extra percent or two on your savings rate. It'll be worth it based on an average of 7% growth in your investments over the long run."
First off, I'll hold my hand up as someone who's guilty of sharing this "knowledge". But it's easy to believe this is worth it when the markets do nothing but go up year after year.
Those sacrifices where you skipped out on life's joys can be translated into some sort of financial return, and when that return is in the green it's easy to swallow.
But what if the return is red?
You'd probably have wished you got that coffee with friends, or taken the weekend away, or tried that something new and gained a new experience instead.
I'm all for achieving a strong savings rate that'll give you a great life in retirement, it's what has gotten me to where I am today after all.
But if you're compromising on your general happiness in life in your 20s and 30s with the hopes of "retiring" at 49 instead of 50, it might be worth reconsidering your approach.
Don't listen to that 20-something year old who's telling you that you need to live in a shoebox apartment in order to invest as much of your money as possible. It isn't sustainable and they've not been doing it long enough to understand the longer term effects from such an approach towards life.
Getting obsessed with your savings rate is in fact a bad practice.
Focus on good practices
There's more to life than money.
Yes, you need income in order to sustain a lifestyle but if you've already discovered the term 'financial independence' you'll likely know (or will soon know) some of the core principles such as making a clear budget, getting rid of bad debts, minimising bad spending habits, and getting the ball rolling on compounding returns.
There'll always be ways to fine-tune your balance on the above and it's definitely worth reviewing every now and again, but don't let it take over your life.
Instead, have confidence that your finances are being handled well and start to focus on other parts of your life that enrich it.
Develop a great work-life balance.
Take care of your health both mentally and physically.
Find hobbies and pursue them.
Find people you love to spend time with.
Understand what brings you fulfilment and happiness in life, and dedicate yourself towards building those up.
All while your financial situation slowly but surely improves over time.
The person that worries about financial independence is someone who likely feels trapped by the life they're currently living. There's something they're not satisfied about and they've put it down to not having the money to escape.
Maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong.
But making life miserable through excessive frugality certainly isn't going to help in the long run.
It might be a necessary move to start things off and establish some sort of control, but sooner or later that person will need to shift their priorities towards living a better life in the present.
If they don't shift, they'll find themselves stuck in the same position as before and their attempt of escaping will be unsuccessful.
Someone who starts to live a better life in the present will have less concerns about "escaping".
Life's pretty good after all, and while they may still need to spend some time working in order to make an income, the work-life balance they've established means there's no thoughts of being exploited by the boss.
Don't forget, they've also built good habits with the budget and savings prior to getting to this point, so they're almost certainly moving towards financial independence.
It's just that this isn't something that dominates the forefront of their minds.
And someone who isn't overly concerned about reaching financial independence as quickly as possible is someone who isn't going to be worried about markets falling in the near term.
And this, is why you and I want markets to fall.
Less bulls**t, and more focus on the right ways to build a better life.