I was on a business trip up north today. I took the train. A fellow got on somewhat north of London and, clocking something about me, was obviously up for a chat. I told him what I did, keeping details as vague as possible, and definitely not mentioning anything FIRE-related, and then asked him what he did. He said he was a masters student in Chemistry at an ex-polytechnic somewhat north of the Watford gap. What did he want to do next? Well, he wasn’t sure, but ideally he wouldn’t work for anybody but would have his money work for him instead.
I couldn’t quite believe my ears. With the tiny audience I get for my blog and the resolute disinterest paid by my well-educated affluent friends to anything remotely approaching financial independence, I feel that FI/RE is an extremely niche activity. Practised by hundreds of Brits at most. And yet here was a stranger on a train, in his 20s and not having started his career yet, telling me in his opening gambit that he wants his money to work for him so he doesn’t have to work.
Not quite sure this wasn’t a wind-up, I asked him if he read any blogs. Not really. But he is reading Rich Dad Poor Dad (which has had more impact on me than practically any other), wants to read Buffett’s letters to shareholders and was aware of a couple of others. This kid was for real.
The UK is changing for the better when you can find yourself talking about FI/RE on a train in full earshot of the train carriage. I don’t talk about this at all with most people I know, though some people who know me well know I invest knowledgeably and a few will know that investing is quite a hobby of mine (and/or that I can drone on about it!). How long before the BBC does a show about it?