Just wanted to say thanks for all the great content you have contributed to the communities in the past! I thought that podcast came under traditional media so wasn’t being targeted like the finfluencers?
April 19, 2022
My previous post on the new ASIC guidelines and the issues discussed seems to bring up a lot of emotions inside us.
There are many reasons why, but one is because we live in a democratic country where free speech is supposed to be something we’re allowed to indulge in.
Add to that, the clear power dynamics at play, ongoing issues of trust and regulation, and financial livelihoods on the line in many cases.
But I’m not here to repeat what I said last time. This post is an update on what’s happening and how I’m planning to move forward.
Firstly, I want to take a moment to share how incredibly grateful I am. The lovely comments and kind words of support I’ve received since that article has been overwhelming. Thank you!
When I wrote my article, many people reached out to suggest I was likely exaggerating. And that my interpretation of the rules was overly strict.
But since that time, ASIC has confirmed in meetings with creators that, basically, the harshest interpretation is actually the correct one.
ASIC has also explicitly stated that this applies to any historic content too. So if you have years worth of blogs, videos, or podcasts, these are supposed to be immediately updated with no grandfathering or grace period.
For this reason, don’t be surprised if you see certain people pull their content down entirely. The time it would take to tweak and adjust a library full of content is simply too much to bear.
I’m sure plenty of my content is now classed as ‘illegal’. So I’m expected to go through it all and somehow purify it. Though, to be frank, a lot of it should probably be taken down if their rules are to be followed precisely.
If you see some content disappear, that’s why. I’d suggest you save any content from sites you like, just in case this does happen. And if I don’t answer certain questions or emails, it’s most likely because I’m not allowed to!
After much discussion, thinking, and working through the options, Pat and I have decided to stop the podcast.
The episode that went out today is the last episode of FIRE & Chill. In that episode we discuss the new guidelines, have one last rant, and explain why we decided to end the show.
You can listen here:
I understand this will disappoint a few people, and for that, we’re sorry. But overall, we felt this was the right decision. Who knows… if things change we can always fire it up again in the future!
At this point, the podcast will be removed from directories and apps in the next couple of weeks. But I may leave the episodes up on this site – not sure yet.
I’m in contact with others in the finance space and we’re discussing the developments, as well as a few possible paths forward.
At the moment, here’s how I’m thinking about it.
The blog will continue, and I’ll work within the rules. This means there’ll be very limited discussion about investing or financial products.
There’ll be no recommendations or even general guidance on what to do in these areas – investments, home loans, insurance, super, anything. And I won’t be able to share anything I’m using, doing, or investing in myself either.
Due to the demotivating factors at play, I feel like I’ll probably spend a bit less time on here. So, content and therefore my newsletter might change from weekly to bi-weekly, or maybe tri-weekly (is that a word?).
As for the book, I’m still going ahead with that. But I’ll go back through the draft and consider tweaking some of it.
Most likely, the book will still be against the rules since it’s not robot-speak and there are opinions and general guidance in it. And while the recent guidelines are focused on ‘online content’, I’m sure ASIC could still come after me for a book if they wanted to.
One option that is semi-attractive is freelancing for a third-party.
It may be possible to come under another firm’s financial license after completing a low-level financial qualification. Or it could be part of traditional media which apparently seems to get a ‘free speech’ pass.
There are one or two options which have presented themselves. But the practicalities are still being fleshed out.
The idea is, I could then speak about investing, or whatever else, and people could go check that content out elsewhere. In a more diluted way than previously, given the rules, but better than nothing.
Basically, I’m trying to find a way to maximize freedom of expression while following the rules. And without having to become an international fugitive and write from a discreet location, or set up Strong Money Maldives… as fun as that might be.
There has obviously been counter-takes to my article in the last couple of weeks. Some valid, some nonsense.
I was initially planning to craft a delicious rebuttal or reply to these points of view in this article. But I honestly can’t be bothered. I’d just be repeating myself and massaging my own frustrations, which isn’t a great use of time, energy, or emotion.
But there is one thing I do want to tackle something that irks me.
One missing link seems to be the lack of accountability for our personal decisions in the modern world.
When something doesn’t go to plan, we always want to know who to blame. Where to point our fingers. It has to be someone’s fault. And it couldn’t possibly be ours.
So this is partly why regulators and rules exist. To protect us from our own decisions. Many times, that’s a good thing. But sometimes it goes too far (like now) and it starts getting silly.
Say you follow a blog about nutrition and health.
It has lots of tips on how to get in better shape, there’s recipes and exercise guidelines to follow. There’s a community that chimes in with what they’re doing and how it’s working for them.
Not everyone agrees, but everyone is better off for the discussion. They can compare approaches and listen to the merits of each. After learning about the options and what others are doing, they can decide which route they want to take to reach their personal goals.
Could this be dangerous? Sure. If it’s garbage information to start with, or the reader takes certain tips to an extreme level, or they simply screw up the process with their own poor behaviour in implementing the plans.
And yes, it’s possible they stumble and make a few mistakes along the way. Just as we all do when learning a new subject and trying things out, like nutrition and exercise. We might not feel good and we could even injure ourselves.
But over time we figure out the best approach for us. So do we really need to protect people from the content? Or should they be free to learn from open discussion and then do as they please?
This seems to be the main point of contention. Protect people at all costs, or leave people free to make their own decisions.
Obviously, highly questionable or blatantly dangerous information is different and should be weeded out and shut down. I don’t think anyone actually disagrees with that. But the vast majority of content should, under any common sense scenario, be deemed perfectly fine to share.
Having the ability and channels to complain about or have an advisor sued is hardly ensuring people get good results now, is it?
It’s not preventing the industry as a whole from having to focus on profits more than people. And it’s not stopping them selling complexity when simplicity is all that’s required.
Going by the feedback from advisors (and ex-advisors), that’s partly by choice and partly by being smothered in red tape and costs.
Now I know there would be plenty of truly great licensed advisors we don’t hear from who do amazing work and quietly go about helping clients achieve their goals.
But the current system is not working for everyone. Nor can it due to the high costs involved. So, more regulation is only going to result in less usable information for everyday people.
Yes, we might be ‘protecting’ people in one sense. But overall, we’re certainly not helping them.
The truth is, there are unethical and questionable operators on both sides – unlicensed and licensed. That will remain the same after these changes.
Everyday people don’t need more generic information and fact sheets. They need that information to be translated into actionable takeaways they can actually use.
As I mentioned in my newsletter, if you’d like to express your disappointment and frustration of these new guidelines, you can do so by reaching out to the Minister for Financial Services.
Some of you have already reached out, which is great. It’s far more powerful if any protest comes from the consumers of the content rather than the creators. Otherwise, it just comes off as predictable pushback from a self-interested party and is relatively meaningless.
I’ve already gone against my word and repeated some points in this post, so apologies for that!
There are countless other points we could get into on this topic, but I’d rather just leave it there. The last thing I want is to turn this blog into an anti-establishment whinge-fest.
Overall, this quickly turns into a circular conversation because people on either side won’t agree on what should/shouldn’t be allowed and what benefits/drawbacks are mort important. And while I might technically have time to do it, I don’t have the emotional energy or inclination to argue incessantly. It’s just not my style.
After this post, I’ll keep you updated if there are any important changes. But as it stands, this post should give you a better idea on how I’m planning to move forward.
I hope to keep finding ways to bring you helpful content into the future. And since freedom is more appealing than jail, I’ll (mostly) try to follow the rules 😉
As always, I appreciate your support, and thanks for reading!
Just wanted to say thanks for all the great content you have contributed to the communities in the past! I thought that podcast came under traditional media so wasn’t being targeted like the finfluencers?
I have really enjoyed your blog & the podcasts with Pat as one of the very few reliable Aussie based FIRE based sites of information. I’m sad this has effected you guys in this way but like always, a few people ruin it for the many. Thank you for your no-nosebleed information (better not write the word “advice” 😉
Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts about your life and financial journey . Your honest and humble approach to finance is something that really resonated with me amongst a sea of bullshit.
Finding the podcast at it’s inception led me back to your blog and the work of others around the concept of fire.
Deciding to adopt a lot of these principles I have gone from living week to week and in debt. To changing careers to a job that pays me properly for my skills, getting out of debt, creating an emergency fund and having a 5 figure investment portfolio.
Before finding fire and chill I never would have done this , coming from a very financially conservative family stocks were seen as gambling and without first hearing about long term investing from someone who has done it , I never would have taken that step towards financial freedom.
Sorry for the long post, but your content has literally changed the trajectory of my life. I’m so grateful that I was able to find it when I did, and gutted that the opportunity has been taken away from others.
Thankyou for everything, I look forward to whatever form you can continue to express yourself in, if you wish to do so.
Hey mate just listened to the last ep of the podcast. Thanks so much for the education that you (and the others like you) have provided. It’s got me started through my first few years investing and into a really positive space securing my family’s future. While the government is keeping us safe from common sense, practical, free financial
information from people who are actually financially independent… At least we are free to get slammed with gambling advertising every ad break of every televised sporting event in this country. Pretty logical.
Thanks for your (past!) work!
I think there are people on social media that ASIC should have legitimately targeted and provided much tighter guidance. Someone trying to sell investment courses but then providing disclaimers about not being financial advice comes to mind. And yet here we have you guys providing quality general discussion & guidance for free and have been swept up in the same bucket. Regardless of the legalities, its just morally wrong.
In your shoes I’d also go into hibernation. I agree its a low risk of ASIC targeting you but the consequences of them doing so would be extremely high. Not worth the risk.
There’s an AFR article today on how the median cost to consumers for financial advice has now risen to $3529 and a reasonable amount of this is due to overburden of compliance when most people probably just need some general principles and then to consider how it applies to their own circumstances. Most people would be unwilling (or unable) to pay such a crazy price, it simply isn’t worth it to many.
Hi Dave, thank you so much for all the content over the past few years. It truly has made a huge difference in my life.
I truly hope ASIC cool their jets a little so content creators like yourself can continue to provide financial education. Otherwise we’ll just continue to get bombarded with BTC and TSLA to the moon-type junk.
I’m sorry to hear what’s happened with your blog. I’ve been a long-term lurker and have really enjoyed reading your well thought-out, well researched and, most of all, clear, understandable content.
I don’t know about others, but you’ve really helped me stay motivated to keep my life simple and decide on a good financial plan while keeping that crucial work-life balance. I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to read as much from you in the future but I completely understand your position! Thanks for the help thus far and I wish you all the best!
I’m genuinely gutted Dave. I really enjoyed reading your content and found your approach so refreshing and relatable (as a fellow NoR Perth boy).
You’ve been massively helpful (Pearler is autoinvesting away monthly…).
I’d best get copy/pasting before your content disappears
For what it’s worth, I think your comment about writing for a third party is a fantastic idea. I have always enjoyed your writing style and honestly. You are actually one of my favourite bloggers so I hope we get to see much more of your content moving forward. All the best with whatever you decide.
There used to be a t-shirt for sale on The Onion website or something, that said: “Why can’t the government do something about how stupid I am?” Life imitates art, yet again.
We’ll miss you Dave, and thanks for everything you’ve done for me and everyone else these past few years! Would not be FI and working a 5-day fortnight without your help.
Thank you so much for all the inspiration you provide. You’ve opened up a huge world of possiblities for me at 56 and for my kids at 21 and 19. We’re downloading and cutting and pasting too.
I agree with the T-shirt Chris mentioned – my take is you can’t legislate against stupidity.
Hope all goes well in the new place and you continue to enjoy retirement – looking forward to hearing your wise words in thr future.
Hi Dave – such a shame, I love hearing you on the podcast and your writing every week. Why don’t you move to Bali? 🙂
I cannot understand why you cannot share your personal portfolio. Perhaps you don’t have to give the stock codes but still the direction\numbers. I think showing that someone can live cheap and retire young is the most powerful part of your blog and you demonstrating how it is possible with hard facts (numbers) is undeniable and inspirational!
I think the work hard, mindfully spend less than you earn, invest the balance and live how you see fit off the proceeds mantra that you and most FIRE devotees communicate is a simple powerful message.
Were it to be deemed advice I think it would be the most practical and appropriate advice for the vast majority of if not all the poeple who will consume it (and probably a lot who don’t)
I work in financial services in an unlicensed capacity and I invest small slivers of capital into Venture Capital and agriculture because these are personal interests of mine but I havent seen anything that matches the power of long term dollar cost averaging into broad index ETFs for market exposure.
Your blog comparing LICs was the first FIRE content I came across and I have read religiously since and listened to every episode of the pod. Apart from my personal disappointment that I won’t get your messages reinforced regularly I am sorry for swathes of people looking for simplicity and easy to follow direction that you have provided over the last few years.
All the best for whatever the future holds. It is our loss
What.A.Terrible.Shame! I have (just in case) downloaded all 50 + 1 episodes of FIRE & Chill for future safekeeping – You have put myself and my family in a far better place financially
I intend to one day listen again with my children to spark (I HOPE) their interest in creating a better financial life for themselves. Once again, thank you and Pat for sharing your experiences and hopefully you continue with this work in any way you possibly can.
Very sad to hear your excellent podcast is to finish, I’ve enjoyed listening to you both, every week, especially during the long dark days of lockdowns over the past 2 years here in Melbourne.
Late last year, at the relatively young age of 43, I had to semi-retire due to a crippling injury, I thank you both for reinforcing things like living simply, minimal, and within your means.
Having these concepts reinforced have helped me keep my house, my small shares portfolio and my case a year of living expenses emergency money intact, For me FIRE (well the RE bit anyway) will never happen due to my injury, but on the flip-side semi-retirement (FIsRE) at 43 ain’t half bad!
Thanks again to you both, I am sure you will be missed by many.
Thanks so much Dave. You and Pat had a fantastic collaboration going there for a number of years. I discovered Fire and Chill at the start of covid and listening to your podcast has helped me remain focused on my financial goals and motivated. More importantly, you guys have such a refreshingly simple and honest approach that instills the confidence that we can all get to FI eventually. All the best with your future endeavours.
Thanks so much for the link to Jane, I have just sent an email to add my voice to the discussion! Hopefully common sense prevails. I look forward to continuing to read anything you write, even the mundane and boring that you feel you might produce is entertaining, well written, thoughtful and inspirational so please continue!!
Dave, Thank you for everything you have done.
I first heard about you back in the day on the Aussie Firebug podcast. I enjoyed your information as you were one of the only people, (I know) writing about the transition from property to LICs and ETFs. This information was really useful as I was in a similar boat with my properties, I choose a different path but it was great to hear about your journey.
Also, I want to thank Pat too. I used his LIC NAT spreadsheet and the episode that you did on investment bonds was a massive help. I got a relative to list to it and he was able to get another financial advisors advice. The first was just junk advice.
I really wish you and Pat all the best but feel sad that this has happened.
I am so glad I was able to help at least 1 person consider the overwhelming disadvantages of investment bonds!
Thanks Dave for all your informative, well planned out and entertaining episodes with Pat. Hopefully the Minister can help translate financial education into common sense and they can turnaround these draconian initiatives that look to be brought about by invested interests in high fees and complexity. Hopefully we will see you guys pop up under the banner of a great third party and not be forced to be shut down.
Finally the AU community got some home grown intelligent financial offerings and they do this. Rant over.
Very sad new Dave.
Thank you very much for all the effort you’ve put in to the blog. It was a very positive space with lots of educational info.
I whole wholeheartedly agree with you about the lack of people taking accountability of their own decisions.
This is an actual epidemic in today’s society and you can see that pretty much in every space, from the personal (resorting to victimhood instead of taking responsibility) to the public(political corruption).
Take care of yourself and hope that you will still share your thoughts with us moving forward.
Just wanted to say thanks for you work and hopefully not to give up. Lets take it as a call to arms.
The thing here is that this stuff is going to need to be applied equally and fairly. As a government department they are going to need to be accountable for this overreach.
Based on what you have said journalists reporting on any listed company will now be required to be or work under someone with a financial license.
If you write a biography on somebody like Rupert Murdoch etc you will need to have a license as that could potentially affect somebody’s financial choices.
Online chat groups and facebook could potentially be targeted also.
So how do we address or fight this:
1. It is possible that those involved in this have a vested interest in minimizing the amount of advice that can be obtained without paying exorbitant amounts. Those responsible for and supportive of the legislative changes should be called out. Lodge a FOI request for all information and those involved in the crafting of this legislation including what has been submitted by them. If they are happy to crush free speech they should have no problem with being identified for their stand which happens to be in their own financial interest.
2. There will be innocuous breaches of something so broad. For example if you are required to get rid of your blog then libraries will need to get rid of say biographies of Alan Bond in order to remain consistent in approach unless the authors have a financial license. People will say stuff on facebook etc. Lets flood ASIC with all of these breaches and have them respond to every bloody one. If you have to remove your content retrospectively so does everyone else. Does Amazon have a financial license to sell finance books from authors without a license?
3. There has got to be a lawyer in the forums somewhere. It’s not likely but it would be good if someone could look at this from a constitutional aspect.
4. Domicile the Information Overseas. Have a look at whether or not the information, if posted in an overseas forum still becomes subject to Australian law.
5. Look at getting a bunch of podcasters together and have one of you get the license as a big FU to ASIC. Lets face it – it’s not as though the not for profits are giving out bad advice.
Lets not just roll over here. Protecting Australians from unscrupulous operators s one thing. Muzzling public discussion and creating a closed financial industry is quite another.
Good luck and keep up the fight.
Hello Dave ,
How’s this for an idea …. instead of writing a letter to an MP , which let’s face it will do diddly squat ….you head off to Sydney or Melbourne, get in touch with the producers of the project on channel 10 and get your views on tv . Let’s see how the Australian public will react to this nonsense . Stay true to you Dave .
Just in case you do vanish off the interweb, thanks heaps for the content to date. I’ve found it really motivating to be able to read about a typical aussie who has managed to save and actually done it: retire early. Love the podcast with Pat, too.
I wonder if you could post similar content to a thread on Reddit’s r/fiaustralia or something under an anonymous alias? Obviously not ideal, but surely they can’t stifle conversion on reddit!
Just a note that if the blog is taken down, the Internet never really forgets. E.g. see https://web.archive.org/web/*/strongmoneyaustralia.com.
Have to say it’s a major loss seeing Fire & Chill go! I can honestly say that if it weren’t for you guys I wouldn’t be on the journey that I am today… if that’s “influence” then it was only good. You’ll be sorely missed by many I’m sure.
The only thing I could possibly think of- and I have no idea how much this would cost- is there any scope for getting any independent advice to get some idea of how the laws might apply (that doesn’t come from ASIC)? Only reason is that if this is just an information sheet and the laws haven’t changed as such, it may be worth getting an outside opinion on what one’s position is.
Long time lurker.
The content of both Pat and yours, has literally changed the trajectory of my financial thoughts and future outlook.
I’m 47 and we were just very comfortable and drifting….
We are now intentional, focused and very secure.
I’m sorry for school leavers, Uni students etc. like my girls, who won’t have the same opportunity as I did (late as it was!), to stumble upon an Australian based, general, sensible, relatable, unbiased and well intentioned financial info.
Thank you so very much – and so sorry the heavy handedness of regulation has mucked everything up. It’s almost like they intentionally want to keep Gen Zs ill-informed 🙁
This is truly a sad day and so very un-Australian. Your simple, no-BS content and thoroughly relatable style made finance interesting and I can honestly say that you have changed the entire trajectory of my life. For this I am so very grateful. I have also referred so many friends and colleagues to your site and I feel that it is the potential FIREES of the future that really miss out in all of this. Thank you to you and Pat and I hope that common sense prevails and the bureaucrats see that they are throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Just wanted to thank you all the information you provided on your blog over the years. Your articles and post gave me the confidence to start my investing journey back in 2019. Its sad to see your post go but i will be wishing you well on your next endeavour.
Hope your blog and podcasts return in the near future.
Appreciate your writing style, keep it up, in whatever capacity you choose to for the future.
I’ve emailed the Senator you suggested, but feel we need to work around the system, otherwise all this goes to waste.
Perhaps a new Reddit Subreddit? r/strongmoneyaustralia?
What pees me off is ASIC has seemingly applied provisions of section s766B of the Corporations Act (which applies to companies) and not to a private citizen. Jesus if I invest on a private basis I’m obviously influencing myself without the appropriate license.
It’s utter, total crap.
As an example of how stupid is the concept, suppose a family member places something on Facebook or other media source about investment products and I started a discussion on the merits or otherwise of the proposal, I would be in breach of the legislation according to ASIC as I may be influencing others of my family group.
Hi Dave, sorry to hear about the ruling, but I’m looking forward to hearing more about life as an early retiree. I am in exposure to literally thousands of people nationally through my job and I don’t even know a single early retiree among any of them! Not a single one! Nobody under the age of 55. Shows how rare it is and there is still plenty to write about in that space.
As for financial advice, nobody should be taking advice from anybody unknown to them especially when the party giving advice is unaware of the personal circumstances of the party seeking advice. I never saw your financial posts as advice, but just a peek under the bonnet, of your own personal circumstances. If people are legit taking that as advice – that’s on them.
Very sorry to see this content is stopping as I have only just come across it. There’s been some excellent insights on here judging by what I’ve trawled through so far. It’s ironic that clickbait-dross newspapers get to publish “housing will crash” or “housing will never be affordable again” and yet I bet they don’t get treated as “influencing”. Sorry to see you’re taking the tough decision to stop churning out valuable content. All the best.
I’m so glad to have stumbled across your content last year when I first learnt of the FIRE movement. I’ve been raving about it to everybody. To me your content’s been the most thoughtful and honest I’ve come across out there. I have much apreciation for what you (and Pat) have done thus far, fingers crossed you find a way through this. Cheers
Thankyou for all the work you have put into the blog and podcast over the years, I appreciate the effort and am closer to my goals because of it. All the best with whatever future you choose to craft
Looks like we will have to stand Up for what we believe in…
I just wrote to Senator Jane Hume.
Here is what I wrote:
Dear Senator Jane,
I hope you had a good Anzac day!
I am writing to you in the hope you may be able to do something about ASICs new guidelines of “Discussing financial products and services online”.
For me it has been important to inform myself about all the financial “products” out there when I want, at the time I want and without paying a hefty financial advisers fee.
This enables me to make informed decisions about any financial choices I make and as a father to give my children a basic financial education.
Now I understand that there are a few “bad apples” out there, but there must be a way to balance the persecution of these corrupt culprits to my ability to inform myself.
We do not need even more of a “Nanny State”.
Thank you both for the ideas and discussion of methods proven by your own experiences for ordinary Australians to reach FI.
It’s always been a dream of mine, but the how was not really clear and I’ve had a few goes in the past which didn’t pan out.
Who’d’ve known the way could be so simple.
I first came across your website from Google searching “high paying jobs without a degree”. Back in 2020-1. Then I discovered the podcast. And a few months later bought my first share.
Many years ago I fell into the get rich quick schemes. I’ve never been great with money. But thanks to you Dave and Pat, I’m equiped with the knowledge and mindset to not worry about money so i can focus on my passion: music.
These reader comments are a testament to your generosity.
Hi Dave and Pat!
I have been following your content since 2018 when I started out with googling ways to improve my financial literacy and understand a bit about shares and investing. I have since been following both your blogs and have listened to every ep of fire and chill & recommended your content to others! I just want to say thank you so much for all you have done for me – the knowledge you have imparted to me has been invaluable and nothing short of life changing, all through your generosity and kindness! Coming from real people and real Aussies has made it so much more real & relatable.
The new legislation from ASIC is totally outrageous. People can speak about other topics completely unqualified (health is a great example – just look at all the covid ‘treatments’). Now, more than ever, with this “new legislation” reducing online content, I feel it is important for me to ‘pay it forward’ and have open conversations with others about investing wherever possible to share knowledge and reduce taboo. Have downloaded all your eps ready to share.
I also want to thank you so much Dave (and Pat!) for the best Aussie finance content I’ve ever known. I have been into the finance blogs for the past 15 years (from JD Roth) and you guys are world class. So informed and funny! Such skilled communicators! You guys are the epitome of Australian awesomeness.
I have saved most of the FIre and Chill series to pass on to every young person I come across and will continue to do this.
Thanks for your generosity and honour, for your skill and for all your time and effort.
I can hear the frustration annd incredulity in your post. Perhaps setting up some kind of Discord server is a way around it. Location independent and you’re able to keep the conversation flowing in a more anonymous way.