Reading Matter

I have been trying to de-stress and I have been doing that by reading. I have been reading the following two books and trying to follow some of their advice. FIRE still burns inside me. I am on the journey and researching and checking that I am on the right route.

Your Money or Your Life – Vicki Robin

I have been reading the updated version. I have been using the calculations to determine where I am on the path. I have also tried to encourage by partner to read it. He’s a spender and although he is changing his ways he still has habits. Ones that only he can personally change so hopefully this book will open his eyes too.

Early Retirement Extreme – Jacob Fisker

A classic FIRE book. Who else can provide you with examples on achieving the goal.  I am not young and trying to reach FIRE by 30. I am in my 50s and just want to give up work and span the years between now and my state pension age when I can collect my state and company pensions. I have plenty to be grateful for and I wish I could be more DIY like Jacob. I have worked hard and now want to look at doing things that are non-money earning but bring me happiness.

Skills :

I would like to learn more skills to self-serve. I am chuffed as I managed to change an electrical socket and a broken light switch the other week. Electrics was something my old partner was good at. That is the only thing I miss about him, his skills at sorting out electrical issues – LOL !

Plumbing and general skills to help with saving costs on house maintenance would be great for me. I can paint, tile, lay carpets, make curtains, put shelves up but things like electrics and plumbing are a “black art”. Plus the government are making it harder for people to do DIY by creating rules over what must have certificates and proof of tradesman installation or servicing. etc… etc…

Trying to find a good tradesman to come and do these types of jobs is getting harder too as they know they can pick and chose their work. It is easier for me to find someone to build a new house extension that fix a broken tap!

The madness of life and today’s society?

What books are you reading?

Are there ones you could suggest I read?

Let me know in your comments….


December 2018

Wow, another year nearly over.

Where has the time gone?

I look at my investment accounts and I am lucky if they break even based on their net value at the beginning of the year. This uncertainty in the markets has hammered my investments. It’s depressing, I have been adding money monthly into my account and yet the overall net value is equal to the beginning of the year.

Its things like this that make the FI path a challenge. Trying to stay motivated and not allow these setbacks from getting me down.  I so want to give up my current job and escape the rat race. The bullying, toxic workplace continues to grind and everyone I speak to is not happy in their work. I have a new boss who is trying to bring change but he seen just the same barriers as I do. He is wondering if he has been sold an ‘pup’ too. The company talks but doesn’t act and follow through on its ‘plans’.

A positive to end the year, I have just received a nice tax rebate, only to use 1/3 of it to pay my tax owed in January. They give and take back in almost equal measure…lol….

I will be glad of a break and rest at Christmas. I have had an awful virus(flu) that has knocked me for six and I have struggled to work and tried to keep going. It’s a struggle to get out of bed but I try hard to keep moving. It’s lasted 3 weeks so far and I still haven’t shaken this yet. There has to be an end to this soon.

A happy Christmas to those who read my blog posts. They have been intermittent this year as my focus has been waning and I need to regain my mojo and focus on reaching that elusive FI goal.

Some New Year goals to set and keep in 2019!



How long?

Wow, I have just seen that I haven’t posted anything since September. Shows how I have gone off-grid and just existed over the past few months.

It’s not that I have dropped my mojo for FI, it’s there and kicking. I have just reviewed my year and my net worth has increased by 6%. Not as good as some who managed to get a double-digit growth rate but I am pleased with my progress.

This year, I have re-balanced my portfolio and moved them into lower fee funds and tried to consolidate my finances and up the amount I save into my pension(s). It’s nice to see the graph plotting their growth upwards. I am trying to make my savings work harder for me.

I have scheduled the payment of my tax due, my HMRC SA form was submitted ages ago so my normal ‘xmas gift’ from the tax man was my statement letter landing on my doormat on the 20th December reminding me how much I need to pay by the end of Jan. It’s higher this year due to the changes in BTL rules and the taxation changes on savings.

I need to sort out my spreadsheets and publish my monthly results. This month my expenses have gone up (xmas gifts/spending) but I have still managed to save too. So I can feel pleased I have ended the month on a positive note and ended the year in a better financial state that I started it.

I am trying to remain in good spirits, ‘the Man’ I work for just gets worse by the day so I just hang in there and just laugh to take the pressure off and stop me going completely mad. I have started doing some yoga in the evenings to release the pressure value and feel better for this.

I should have been at work today but couldn’t get there due to the snow/weather. I am so glad I didn’t attempt to otherwise I would have sat on the A14 watching the snow and everyone else sitting there going nowhere for 5+ hours. I called my boss to tell him I wasn’t going to be in, he just said he wasn’t even attempting to go in and was working from home.

I can access my work email from home so found out that only 1 person for our department managed to get into work and that’s because his commute is a 10 minute walk! At least there isn’t a big expectation – well if there is – the company culture doesn’t seem to rub with the employees. I don’t think there were many in work and most of the senior boss are all on holiday this week anyway so whose there to complain!?

I don’t have any holiday left to use for this so I will just have to take it as unpaid leave. That’s fine, I can cope with that – my savings rates are doing well and at some point I will just pull the plug. There are plenty of days where I feel like saying “stuff the job, I’m off” because I have an FI buffer.

The day I step off the treadmill will be a great one – one to celebrate big time!







May – Monthly Update

Wow – the year seems to be flying by and I have a bank holiday weekend ahead of me.

I have just been doing my monthly summary and can see that this month has been a bit heavy on expenses, mainly paying for my summer holiday which is only a few weeks away now and some seasonal spending.

At last, my SIPP is showing a profit! the funds have been slowly rising over the past month and they have now started to offset the original investment buy/costs. I have also received the tax reclaim this month  – I didnt realise it would take so long to get the tax reclaim into the account. My pensions are quick at claiming and investing the tax reclaim – but not this SIPP company. It makes me wonder if there is a ‘slight delay’ to enable them to accrue some interest during transit?

Anyhow, with the sun out and the warm weather, it has lightened my mood which is gratefully received and required. I am counting down to my holiday and time away from my workplace. ‘The Man’ is tiresome and so full of office politics at the moment it might as well be them participating in the general election. Things are now accumulating on the project I am working on and the findings are not good. It may mean that the project is canned, if so, they have no need for me long-term so my time there could come to an end quicker than I thought. Which is fine, that’s the reason for the FI fund – to not be worried about the need to work. Its about having choices and the ability to live without being tied to ‘The Man’. Some independence and self-sufficiency.

My FI fund is looking good at the end of this month and is almost back to the level it was at when I took my ‘FI break’. Pension funds are looking good, making good gains and the SIPP is now looking healthier.

I have increased my ISA monthly savings amount to take advantage of the new allowances. Being able to put upto £20k into an ISA will really help me as I can move money that is idling in savings accounts into the ISA an earn some better income.

I also want to sell some of my non-tax sheltered shares and move the money into pension, SIPP and ISA accounts and the new allowances give me the freedom to do this.

Happy May bank holiday everyone, I am off to enjoy the sun.

January 2017

I begin the new year in a better position that in previous years. I have a job which is now celebrating its 1 year anniversary. I know that’s not a long time for some but for me its a milestone.

My last job only lasted 6 months. I pulled the plug because it wasn’t working and I rue the advice from my old boss who said I shouldn’t have taken the job as they are ‘as mad as a box of frogs’ and also – don’t jump into the first job offered just because its there.

Well, I felt it was the only job available – it was the only offer I had –  and I needed some income. Everyone else was finding work and I just wasn’t finding anything at all,… so had to just take it… and see how it panned out.

I realise now what a mistake it was but it made me learn a lesson; also made me think about what FI means to me. It means I can have choices and not be in the position of ‘having to’ rather than ‘wanting to’.

My new job is OK, its not a great place but its a job, it does not tick all the boxes but it ticks the ones that my ‘6 months one’ didn’t! I don’t see this as a long term position and I am not sure where this job will go but I will stick it out and take the cash. Its another company pension scheme accruing money for me for the long-term.

What does seem to be changing is that the role I perform is becoming more of a ‘gig’ job now. The alternative jobs out there are all being offered on short or 1 yr fixed term contracts. It appears that employers just want my role as a short term gig. You get hired to do a specific project because of your experience, then leave and let the ‘support’ bods manage the day 2 day tick  over.

At the place I left, they haven’t recruited a full-timer to replace me, they have advertised the role as a 6 month to 1 year max fixed term contract to cover the task in hand.

I can see that when I leave this job, my next role is likely to be under a fixed term contract. The ‘gig’ economy model strikes.

It also means that I will be recruited based on my past experience and ‘skills’ which will be applied to that job then be asked to move on. The only variety in this for me is doing the same activity for different companies. That’s not a great variety gig for me, I like to do different things and being ‘SME’ed into doing the same role on the same subject but for a different company really doesn’t feel like a challenge or varied enough for me.

Instead of the ‘do X today, do Y next week, do Z next month’ it becomes ‘do X today for A, do X next month for B, do X next year for C’….. no, that does not float my boat.

A change of direction is needed and that’s where FI needs to kick in. So this year, I need to get some real focus on my FI funds. There is a requirement to diversify my funds as they are too limited and I am not making the progress that other FI seekers are with regard to fund growth.

I need to read investing books and blogs and really get my act together. I have been considering transferring two old company DC pensions into a SIPP and topping up with regular payments from my monthly pay; I have pushed all I can into ISAs and buying shares outside any tax shelters is only increasing the amount of taxed dividends I receive.

My FI fund is down compared to last month but up compared to this month last year. Although I started working again last Jan so getting a salary was a great improvement, I need to set myself some goals and I think the first is consolidating my old pension DC schemes into a SIPP and pushing any spare cash in there.

I am not into betting sites so apart from my rental property which is becoming less attractive due to the landlord rule changes my only other diversification options are P2P lending schemes.

And finding better homes for my cash savings as they earn hardly any interest now.

December 2016

I am very late posting but I have had a nice relaxing Christmas away from work. A whole week + a few days off work has been fabulous!

For some this is the normal, for me it is a luxury as my past employment meant that Christmas was peak trade so expected and have worked Boxing days and Christmas Eves quiet regularly.

Now I work in a sector that isn’t affected by that peak and it is so great to be able to have a whole week and a bit of time off and say – “have a great holiday, see you in the new year.”

I have neglected by FI updates too as the time has been spend doing other things and avoiding looking at the poor state of my FI funds. The Brixit rumbling continue and my funds just rise and fall with each and every day of debate and counter-debate.

I update my FI figures the other day and I ended the year up by 3%. not bad considering that ‘free time’ I had last year and that dent that made on my funds which i have slowly replaced this year. In comparison to the previous year I am up as I only made a 2% uplift for 2015. At least it is an overall rise, it could have been a negative figure compared to my previous year.

My dividends are down as my shareholdings reduce their pay outs and start to wonder what Brexit really means to them.

Only time will tell.



June 2016 – Update

I started this month on Holiday!!!  I needed to get away and have a break from the working world. This time last year I wasn’t working and taking having a freedom break.

I had two weeks away in Scotland this year, where the weather was warmer and drier than England. I had a great time, yes, I may have spent some money but as I mentioned in my last post, you need to have some fun on the journey to FI freedom.

I had some great walks and a stopover in a bothy and some fab cycling, including sitting by a loch watching ospreys hunting/fishing. Such a great relaxing holiday a real shame to come back home and back to work.

I have checked my finances and since the Brexit shock, my investments have taken a real pounding. The shares I am interested in buying have gone through the roof as everyone piles in there as they have global exposure. Any UK based companies I hold have pretty much sank without trace. I have been ignoring the news as the media whip up a frenzy to help them sell ‘stories’.

For me, it is hard to tell at the moment what the impact will be. I work for a subsidiary of a global company (it was a UK company and was bought up by a global company 2 years ago). The global company have only just started sending people over to really start looking into the books and operation and the Brexit vote could make them take a different view. They wanted a stepping stone into the European market(we think – the parent is based in the Far East)  and this vote could see them sell or break up the company. The goods that are designed in the UK are manufactured in the far east & India. These goods are then sold across the world. The more I find out about the UK company, the more troubled I become over its possible future viability. It has no clear direction and it lacks investment and the parent company don’t seem to want to invest any money and are blocking or capping the spending.

In the meantime, I will concentrate on saving hard and keeping an eye on good investment opportunities that will enable me to grow my money..not that many options exist now with this uncertain market. I managed to keep my FI savings rate high (over 60%) for the month and have tried hard to not be frivolous when on holiday.

It was my birthday this month too, so I have some cash to spend on a few treats for myself. I do need to have some fun and enjoyment and with the sales on I should be able to find some good value consumer purchases that will last me a while. A £50 win on the premium bonds has also helped to lift my spirits – a boost to my holiday fund.

I wonder what my finances will look like at the end of next month?