So why have I started writing a blog. A few main reasons, namely;
The opportunity to openly thank those other blogs from whom I’ve taken inspiration, knowledge and clarity and hopefully add my own little entry into the F.I.R.E. canon and spread the word a little further.
Also, to try and improve my own investment process as I try and move down the path to financial independence and put out there my thinking and rationale behind the decisions I make*.
Finally, to hopefully help others looking for answers to the same questions I was through posting myself and re-posting stuff I like from around the internet generally. There is a lot of good will out there and I feel the UK FIRE community is growing, and if I can help it grow in some small way, then great because the message is simple and powerful and is about taking control of your life.
Most of the above can wait for now, the most important thing is to say thankyou. The first one goes to the God-Father himself – Mr Money Mustache. I had been searching for “how much I need to retire” or “how much should I have saved by now” and found no satisfactory answers. The various calculators on line varied so much it was pointless, from saying I was saving enough (which didn't quite feel right) to saying I would need about a thousand pounds more per month (completely unrealistic) to have anything like a reasonable retirement. This meant any attempt to answer the second question was equally frustrated.
Then came MMM and clarity followed. To explain a little about myself I have some self-taught financial knowledge and I am generally interested in the stock market. I’d done a little investing, had a pension and was investing into ISA’s – ie I was on top of doing all the “right” things. I even tracked how much I spent per month, to a greater or lesser extent, but it wasn’t until I sped read my way through MMM that it all came together.
As I read and absorbed it, all the little bits that I’d learned fell into place, my head span, work productivity fell dramatically as I sprinted through the articles taking as much as possible in. It got me thinking about how to achieve what appear to me to be the different steps of FIRE; initially increased financial security leading to financial independence and then further down the track, retirement.
Subsequently I’ve focused, read and learned more and developed the saving framework that I had in place before. It still requires work and ongoing vigilance, but is hopefully simple and robust enough to only require tweaks and improvements rather than wholesale change. At the heart of it comes the principals of F.I.R.E. – earn as well as you can, don't be a consumerist sucker and invest the rest.
So if you’ve got here looking for detailed insights, please come back, hopefully there will be some coming... but in the interim, get stuck into these, which make up my roll of thanks – MMM, The Escape Artist, Monevator, UK Value Investor, The Reformed Broker, Under the Money Tree, Aleph blog.
*NB, as will become a bit of a strap line, I'm not a financial advisor, any thoughts, analysis or decisions are my own and do not constitute advice and any mistakes, omissions or losses are my own.