With all that’s going on in the world, a milestone nearly passed by without me realising – what a time to be celebrating six years of blogging!
It’s seems weird to be writing about achievements right now, but this blog documents my own experiences, accomplishments, plans and goals, and serves as a personal journal for me to look back on.
Before I ramble on about the present however, let me just revisit the past…
What have I been doing these past 6 years?
So that’s 6 years of just living and enjoying my life – a life that’s been relatively free of ‘drama’ and with a lot to enjoy. Can’t really ask for more than that.
Over the years, I’ve aimed to save/invest as much of my net salary as possible (averaging around 40%), reinvested all my investment income 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:
Steady progress from investing on a monthly basis – although 2020 (using current numbers) rocks the boat slightly, the trend is still heading in the right direction for now. However, this is one flattening of the curve I’d prefer not to see…
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 6 years has been pretty stable, allowing me to concentrate on my savings and investments.
Time will tell whether COVID-19 and its ramifications will be another such hiccup.
The End of FIRE?
Am I still aiming for FIRE?
Having trodden down this path all these years, I have the security of having my finances in order.
I haven’t practised extreme frugality – I’ve just not spent a lot of money on stuff I deem unnecessary, but splashed out on things I enjoy and which I consider important to me. I think the lifestyle I live has allowed me to adapt well to lockdown.
However, I know that if I needed to, I could further tighten the budget strings without things being too uncomfortable.
I wouldn’t say that I actively practise mindfulness or anything like that, but I think I’ve been able to flip on my ‘stoic blinkers’, allowing me to look at the positives rather than just focus on the negatives.
As I commented recently on indeedably’s blog, I’ve been keeping a passing interest in the progress against the virus whilst filtering out the noise and angst.
How Long Left?
Last year, according to my stretch target, I reckon I was about halfway to my FIRE goal.
Like everyone else (including all the ‘experts’), I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, so until I know for sure, I can’t really say if I’m any closer or further away from my goal (based on current numbers, mostly likely the latter right now).
As mentioned recently, I’m very fortunate that I have been (thus far) largely unaffected by the effects of the virus and the subsequent lockdown.
Even without this current crisis however, reaching FIRE was always going to be highly dependent on events outside of my control, including unstable stock markets, global events, sequence of returns risk and keeping a full-time job, working for a company operating in a volatile industry. There were plans for company restructure this year, though it’s anyone’s guess as to what’s happening with that now.
I’ve overcome redundancy before but things will not be so simple next time and I won’t have a big severance package to fall back on. I’ll also be older and more grizzled!
My FIRE date was always just an estimate really, based on calculations on my spreadsheets. Current events could add years to my goal but conversely, (with my optimistic head on) could make me get there quicker as I continue to invest in these depressed markets which may bouce back as markets tend to do.
Blog Stats and Numbers?
I still don’t check the 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.
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.
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.
So as always, a massive ‘Thank You’ to all fellow bloggers and non bloggers who take the time to read this little blog – I really do 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 and who continues to provide friendship and guidance – cheers TFS! 🙂
This post might seem overly optimistic and positive but that’s just me. The world that we knew before has changed and will continue to change. I hope I will be able to embrace that change.
These are very difficult times for us all – let’s all hope we make it through to the other side healthy in body and mind.
Onwards and upwards!
Oh and Happy Easter!