The pros and cons of FI

I read Jim’s guest post with interest (click here) on early retirement guy after seeing comments on it on other sites. It did make quite amusing reading and I can relate to quite a few of them.

Spreadsheets and ‘Enough’ have been the thoughts on my mind on the run up to and the post jump to freedom. As mentioned by a number of FIREs, when do you jump, have you considered all the possible risks, could you survive a big down turn in the stock markets, what if the government change their policies… the list goes on.

Eventually you just have to say …GO…you can always try and get a job later. Jim has noted that when you look at it most of those who are free, they are actually working (income from their website(s), side-line hustles (writing/coaching), seasonal work).

The loneliness is definitely something I can relate to at the moment. Having quit my job and spending the last 3 months not working, I have found that when you are out and about, it is full of older retirees or shift workers or young mums! I don’t go to coffee shops as I am frugal and budgets don’t cover a daily coffee visit 🙂

I have been contacted about going to social events with ex-work colleagues but don’t want to listen to their work conversations which will mean nothing to me, I’m not in that inner-circle any more. Some will use it as an opportunity to have a go at me, saying I am a loser for dropping out of the workplace – having been made redundant twice and walking out of a job – makes me sound like I am incompetent. The work sphere I was in was quite cut-throat and competitive, working for FTSE100 companies most of the time. Everyone is always watching their back as the hatchet periodically comes out to remove people from the office.

Plus as I meander through my day I don’t have lots of interesting things to talk about with them. They are not interested in my foraging, cooking and volunteering escapades. They would expect me to be on a constant holiday, travelling and basically treating this freedom as time to travel and visit the world – again – I don’t have the money to do this. My FI income covers my expenses based on my working life phase – which didn’t include holidaying every week and travel to different countries every month.

Health – this is one area of my life that has improved from being free. My blood-pressure has gone down and that constant stress headache has gone. I am now cycling twice a week over a 16 mile circuit and walking to food shop. After listening to a Radio 4 program on strokes the other day (click here) – I can now see how being less office bound is a benefit! I can be grateful for that.

I listen to Radio 4 quite a lot while pottering around the house and have been listening to the series called ‘The New Workplace‘ . They have been looking at changes in the workplace and how the old style permanent workforce is being replaced by flexible and disposable workers. I work(ed) in IT and that has been moving to contracted workers for quite some time now. It was one thing having temporary contractors for 3 or 6 months but now employers are moving to fixed-term contracts, removing the true permanent employee. The worker is treated as a employee and paid the same as a permanent employee (may be even a % premium above a permanent role would command) – but has a fixed term. They are seen as cheaper than contractors and more flexible than true permanent employees as the employer has the ability to let them go at the end of the contract or renew them based on business needs.

I am not jaded by FIREs yet….maybe that is something that comes with time. I have more time to read them and formulate plans for either making money work harder for me or improve my frugality.

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