Been seeing a few blog posts recently talking about how boring aiming for FIRE is, especially when things are on autopilot.
Spend less than you earn, invest the rest in index trackers, rinse and repeat until you reach your goal. Blah blah blah, yawn.
Well, this month marks FIVE years since I started blogging about my journey to FIRE and I can’t say that I’m bored….yet.
Happy 5th birthday to Quietly Saving! 🙂
Neither am I bored with tracking my own progress – I started this blog as a personal journal just so that I know how I’m doing versus my goals.
Perhaps one reason for not being bored is because not everything is on autopilot for me – my expenses can vary each month, depending on time of year, my holidays and my social life. I do consciously have to think about my spending, otherwise it could easily go out of control. By ‘out of control’, I don’t mean going into debt (I don’t want to go there again!) but by not saving/investing as much as I can and should. Writing about my investing ‘experiments’ (eg Dogs of the FTSE) also keeps me interested in my investments, when the majority of it is in ‘boring’ passive index trackers.
Another reason is that I still mostly enjoy updating my blog. I don’t think blogging has gotten any easier over the years but I’m still able to make time for it so it’s a hobby I enjoy doing.
What have I been doing all this time?
So that’s 5 years of just living and enjoying my life – not that my life compared to some others has been full of ‘excitement’ but it’s been relatively free of ‘drama’ and there’s been a lot to enjoy. Can’t really ask for more than that.
In the meantime, I’ve aimed to save/invest as much of my net salary as possible (averaging around 40%), and also put away any income generated from cashback, the odd bit of gambling, affiliate links, premium bond/lotto wins and profits from matched betting. Any bonuses I’ve received from work have largely been invested too.
Here’s the growth of my Future Fund over the years (using current 2019 numbers):
Nothing radical, just steady progress from investing on a monthly basis.
I don’t practise extreme frugality – I just don’t spend a lot of money on stuff I deem unnecessary, but splash out on things I enjoy and which I consider important to me.
Apart from the hiccup of being made redundant in 2016 from the company where I’d enjoyed a 21-year career, my life these past 5 years has been pretty stable, allowing me to concentrate on my savings and investments.
Of course, I’ve already mentioned that my life as I know it will be changing later this year, but I don’t believe that I will be worse off financially. Maintaining focus, however, might be an issue and also, how to remain a secret blogger (my friends and family don’t know I blog!)
So, readers have come and gone over the years and I’m eternally grateful to the ones who have stayed and who continue to support my quest for FIRE.
FIRE/PF blogs have also come and gone – many of those which I was following 5 years ago are no longer updated and have fallen by the wayside. I wonder what those bloggers are up to, if they have given up on FIRE, or if they have actually reached their goals and are just too busy enjoying their post FI(RE) lives.
New FIRE blogs have sprung up in the past year and I’ve enjoyed reading about people starting their own journeys. How many will still be around in a year’s time though, never mind 5?
How Long Left?
According to my stretch target, I think I’m about halfway to my FIRE goal.
I can see this in one of two ways:
“Wow, 5 years already, only 5 more to go!”
“OMG, can I really keep on doing this for another 5 years!?”
Part of me is terrified that I end up thinking the latter and I fall off the rails before I reach the finish line.
Of course, this is just an estimate really, based on calculations on my spreadsheets. Who’s to say what will occur in the future? Events might take place which could add years to my goal.
Bar falling off the rails, Brexit (when that finally happens), unstable stock markets, global events – all might affect my portfolios in a negative way, and with my job and the company and industry I work in, there’s always the threat of redundancy so that could represent another big roadblock.
Yes, I’ve overcome redundancy before but things might not be so simple next time and I won’t have a big severance package to fall back on.
If it happens in the next few years, would I be tempted to try for ‘Extra Lean FIRE’ and not bother looking for another job? Who knows how I’ll feel then? I’ll just deal with it if it happens (again).
Blog Stats and Numbers?
This is where I could probably post some numbers to show how many visitors I’ve had over the years, page views, how many posts I’ve written, number of followers, subscribers etc.
Sorry but I can’t even be bothered to check!
Apart from the first few giddy months of me starting this blog, I’ve never been interested in such stats. Although my blog is monetised, it’s never been my intention to make any real money out of it so I’ve never felt the need to work at driving a load of traffic here. The bit of income that I do get from Google Ads barely covers the upkeep of my site and all affiliate income I receive is detailed in my monthly updates and gets chucked into my ISA.
My only goal blog-wise has been to post on a semi-regular basis, so if I run out of things to write about, there’s always going to be my usual monthly savings update at the very least. One blog stat I do know is that these savings updates are my most popular and tend to attract the most readers and comments.
As always, a massive ‘Thank You’ to all fellow bloggers and non bloggers who take the time to read this little blog – I do really appreciate your comments and emails.
Thank you very much for helping me keep my focus, keeping me motivated, giving me ideas and helping me stick to my plan!
As ever, a big shout out to theFIREstarter for inspiring me to start this blog, continues to provide guidance and support and who has posted the most comments over the years – cheers TFS! 🙂
So, I shall end this post by apologising now to those who will be sticking around – sorry, I’m afraid it’s going to be more of the same for the next 5 years!
Onwards and upwards!