Early Retirement – Early Days – What I’ve Learned from the First 3 Months

I officially retired from corporate life in December 2018 and now enjoy the idyllic, stress-free existence that I had been dreaming of for so long. Conference calls are a thing of the past, as is the feeling of not being in control of my own time and being at the beck and call of of the machine.

But what has the first three months really been like and what have I learned?

Continue reading “Early Retirement – Early Days – What I’ve Learned from the First 3 Months”

The Why of FI – Sometimes You Don’t Have A Reason

People talk a lot about the “why of FI” and the importance of having an over-arching purpose that is bigger than achieving financial independence itself. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It wasn’t like that for me. Continue reading “The Why of FI – Sometimes You Don’t Have A Reason”

The “Do I Have Enough?” Toolkit

Of those who are on the path to financial independence and early retirement, there seem to be two camps. The first is that group of people who believe “that sounds about right” is more than adequate in terms of preparation. For them a rough 4% rule is all the calculation they need to pull the plug and walk away from paid employment and they will deal with whatever happens when it happens.

Continue reading “The “Do I Have Enough?” Toolkit”

Finding the Fun in FIRE

Recently I wrote about finding fulfilment in life when you haven’t found it at work. I have been thinking a lot about how to put this missing piece back in my life and what I might do to feel better about myself and my place in the world.

But I’m not forgetting that life should be fun. The things I wrote about there were areas I lean towards and would choose to do but I’m a real, flawed human being and I am mostly pursuing FIRE so that I have lots of free time just for myself.

So in the name of balance, what’s high on my list for how I want to spend my time once that day arrives where I no longer work for money? Not a bucket list of the big life experiences, but the hobbies and pastimes that will be the new normal. Continue reading “Finding the Fun in FIRE”

Finding Fulfilment in Early Retirement

Confession time: I LOVE Grey’s Anatomy. I lose a week of my life every time a new series is available, binge-watching the entire thing start to finish. More than the characters (yes they are my friends!) and the drama of the show, for me it’s about people doing good in the world.

My family roll their eyes and sigh when Grey’s season comes around, knowing exactly what I’m going to say when the credits roll.

“I don’t save any lives. I don’t help anybody. I don’t make anybody’s life better”. Continue reading “Finding Fulfilment in Early Retirement”

The “Bad Habits Be-Gone In Early Retirement” List

A quick post today to give myself some accountability in the future. I spend a lot of time thinking about what life will be like once I no longer have to work. So many of my thoughts begin, “When I’m retired…..”

Time to put my money where my mouth is. These are some of the ways that my life will change for the better once I no longer have the stresses and strains of a full-time job. Continue reading “The “Bad Habits Be-Gone In Early Retirement” List”

Trimming the Fat – Preparing a Leaner FIRE Plan

Well – here I find myself in my mid-forties contemplating a ridiculously early, albeit leaner retirement than planned. The route from fat to lean has been surprisingly easy to find. (If only this were true in other areas of life (sigh)….imagine becoming leaner rather than fatter with the passing of time…) 

Time will tell whether it is as easy to execute. Continue reading “Trimming the Fat – Preparing a Leaner FIRE Plan”

Preparing for the Return to Work (When I Really Don’t Want To)

It was only a matter of time. From a combination of lots of accrued holiday and some compassionate leave, I have been out of the office for three and a half weeks. The clock started ticking about a week ago; a little whisper of “this time next week….” getting louder and louder as the week progressed until now – Sunday – I can hardly hear myself think for the hammering of that blasted second hand, reverberating inside my skull. Continue reading “Preparing for the Return to Work (When I Really Don’t Want To)”

Saving While Spending – The View From the Cheap Seats

A bit of a mixed up post this week – one which saw us celebrate an anniversary of sorts, spend a lot of money on what’s important to us while trying to avoid the mindless spends, and also win 2:0 against British Airways. (Although they did get us there and back in one piece, on time and luggage intact – worth a point, maybe….?).

Continue reading “Saving While Spending – The View From the Cheap Seats”

The Selfishness of Seeking FIRE

We have an expression in our family – “It’s not all about you ___”.

We use it when one of us is being selfish and not thinking about the other two. Demanding something or complaining about something without considering the wider impact.

Something that bothers me sometimes about my pursuit of financial independence and my single-minded desire to retire sooner rather than later, is the effect it may have on my children. I worry that it’s “all about me” because, well – it is. Continue reading “The Selfishness of Seeking FIRE”

Taking a Time-Out from Saving Money

Three people – two of them teenagers – sharing a moderately sized hotel room for two weeks. It’s a challenge, but I’m pleased to report we are surviving admirably so far.

Just one day has been marred by the appearance of “the face”- that uniquely teenage expression of boredom and disdain that leaves even the most devoted parent wondering if you can simultaneously love your offspring whilst not liking them very much.

It’s at times like these that you become truly thankful for certain things that might normally be taken for granted. Headphones. Spotify “Chill Vibes” playlists. Balconies. Vodka (I’m on holiday after all). Continue reading “Taking a Time-Out from Saving Money”

Is Early Retirement Risky?

I have never considered myself to be a risk taker. In fact I would go so far as to say the opposite. I am naturally conservative; a trait magnified by my professional finance training.

On the whole, my life has followed a fairly standard path. I did as I was told – finished school – went to university – found a career with prospects – knuckled down – worked hard – put in the hours – climbed the ladder.

My instinct has always been to save rather than spend, avoid debt, build up a financial buffer.

So I’m confused when I hear people comment that the FIRE lifestyle is risky.  Continue reading “Is Early Retirement Risky?”

Aspiring to be Rich – What Does that Mean?

 

Before I discovered the concept of financial independence and before I realised early retirement was achievable for someone like me, I was still interested in educating myself about all things money and gaining wealth. I knew that the way to a rich life was out there somewhere and I wanted to find it.

I think I am just one of those curious people. I didn’t want to be working into my sixties, that’s for sure but other than that it’s hard to describe what I was looking for. What did I mean by the concept of a rich life? Continue reading “Aspiring to be Rich – What Does that Mean?”

Safety in Numbers – Refining the FIRE Plan

As I get ever closer to my FIRE date and am facing the possibility of a much earlier exit from my current job than planned, the geek in me has gone into overdrive and I have been spending some time (…..ok, A LOT of time) reviewing and refining the numbers. Continue reading “Safety in Numbers – Refining the FIRE Plan”

The “Just in Case I Quit” List

I realise I have been quite negative over the last few weeks. It hasn’t been the easiest time and I have found myself struggling to cope with the ever present work related pressure and stress. So much so that I am on the verge of quitting at any time – one more unreasonable demand could be the straw that breaks this camel’s back.

But wallowing in misery for the next few months isn’t going to help. Buoyed by the messages of support and solidarity from recent comments, it’s time to get practical. Continue reading “The “Just in Case I Quit” List”

Who Have you Told About Your FIRE Plans?

Anybody else feel the same way that sometimes it feels really weird talking about either financial independence or early retirement (or both) out there in the real world? Continue reading “Who Have you Told About Your FIRE Plans?”

I’m Afraid I’m Going to Quit Before I’m Financially Independent

This is one of those weeks where I could so easily throw in the towel.

(I make no apologies – there is some ranting in this post. Sometimes I just need to get things off my chest).

I had a couple of black days on my tracker and that combined with the beautiful weather we are having means I am yearning to be free of this job millstone and get on with real living.  Continue reading “I’m Afraid I’m Going to Quit Before I’m Financially Independent”

How I Saved My FIRE Fund

I still have some way to go – but it’s fair to say I have saved a good chunk of money into my Financial Independence fund.

At the time of writing this I am 89% of the way there in terms of having enough saved to fund the second stage of my retirement (when I can draw down from my pensions) and I have 78% of the savings I need in place to fund the years until then.

If I succeed in retiring in just under 3 year’s time, I will be 49 years old. It’s not super early like some of the people I read about, but it is well ahead of standard retirement age. I have got to this point partly by having an above average salary in the last few years and partly from good habits or particular personality traits (with a few mistakes thrown into the mix).

These are the habits and traits that have helped me save my financial independence fund. Continue reading “How I Saved My FIRE Fund”

Half Year Financial Update

As a FIRE enthusiast, the end of the month is eagerly anticipated. Spreadsheets at the ready, I update my numbers, track my progress and work out how much closer I am to reaching that Financial Independence goal. Happy as a pig in s*** – is there any better way to spend a Saturday afternoon….?

June is even more special as I can look at my progress for the half year 🙂 (Maybe I need to get out more….?). Continue reading “Half Year Financial Update”

Invoking the F.U. Clause

It’s been a bad week.

Every quarter the VP of the business holds an off-site management meeting and the sixteen or so leaders from various parts of Europe meet for a few days. I attend in my capacity as Finance Business Partner and as an introvert, the whole thing is my idea of hell. Continue reading “Invoking the F.U. Clause”

Financial Resilience – Being Bullet Proof

I have been thinking about financial resilience this week.

I spend a lot of time considering ways to earn more money, or ways of saving money by reducing my spending, but is there a chance of losing what I already have?

We can take insurance against major catastrophes. And so, heaven forbid should my house burn down or I’m involved in a car accident, I would not need to be concerned about money and could focus on dealing with the fallout instead. But life is full of twists and turns and whoever really knows what is around the next corner? What about those things we don’t always insure against or don’t even think about – am I in good enough shape to withstand any shocks to my finances? Would my early retirement plans be derailed if something major were to happen? What could those shocks even be? Continue reading “Financial Resilience – Being Bullet Proof”

Tax and the 4% Rule 

How should we consider tax when using the 4% rule for early retirement calculations?

I have a plan.

A financial road map, leading me from where I am now to where I want to be. It ignores get rich quick schemes and the latest crypto craze and takes the shortest route I know that will get me there in one piece. Continue reading “Tax and the 4% Rule “

Single Parent Seeking FIRE

I spend many hours a week with my head in financial independence blogs. (Maybe that’s why I’m single 😉 ). What often jumps out at me is how the majority of writers are part of a couple. That observation is not unusual – any single person will tell you that wherever you go, the rest of the world seems to be in couples. But more of us are choosing the single life (or having it forced upon us) than ever before.

This post is about my journey – what it’s been like for me being single and working towards financial independence.

(Spoiler alert – it feels good 😊) Continue reading “Single Parent Seeking FIRE”