FIRE, hit for Six?

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!

Happy 6th birthday to Quietly Saving! 🙂

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:

My Future Fund is my (largely investment) portfolio which will provide me with income when I retire. It is not my net worth.

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?

Yes.

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.

Thank You

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!

 

51 thoughts on “FIRE, hit for Six?

  1. Congratulations on reaching six years. It’s a huge achievement to keep things up that long. I ran out of steam after about a year and I’m not sure I’ll find it again. You would have thought this crisis would have given me the time to focus on blogging but it’s just making me want to sit around watching telly.

    • Thanks FF. I hope you will rediscover your mojo and continue with your blogging – you left us with teasers about your job and the whole relocation to Spain thing. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to find out what happens next!
      Hope you are keeping well – anything good on the telly?

  2. Happy Easter weenie and congratulations on your 6 years of blogging! A lot seem to run out of steam after six months so it’s to your credit that you can keep it going for so long.

    Stay positive…onwards and upwards… maybe another 5 years to early retirement with a following wind!!

    • Thanks DIY and thanks to you too for your long-standing blog which has provided me with insight and guidance. Onwards and upwards indeed – sometimes hard to imagine right now but I do remain mostly positive!

  3. Congratulations Weenie. Six years is an amazing effort, I admire your stick-to-it-ness and have enjoyed vicariously following your journey.

    Yours was one of the first UK Financial Independence blogs I discovered, from memory via an appearance on one of Monevator’s weekly roundups.

  4. Congratulations Weenie on your 6 year anniversary. 6 years is amazing for a blog. I have been reading your blog for around a year and I really enjoy your content. I think your blog is personal, honest and passionate. I often think about starting a blog but i worry about the content. At the end of the day, you must realise that you are in a much better financial position than many people could ever imagine. Stay safe and healthy and keep investing. I’m positive you will reach your goal.

    • Thanks Liam and thanks for the kind wishes.

      Yes, pursuing FIRE has meant that I am in a better financial position than many. I’d say that the blog has played a major part in keeping my focus, encouraging me to track and be in control of my finances and investments. As I’m not blogging predominantly to generate clicks or income, I’m probably less concerned about content. My blog is a personal journal in the main and I’m humbled that people enjoy reading my writings! All the best to you and hope all goes well with your journey!

  5. Well done Weenie, six years is an amazing achievement. I’m so grateful for all your wisdom over the years. It’s been such fun watching your progress!

  6. Congratulations on the 6 year mark Weenie – a huge milestone! Keep up the good work, hopefully the blip that is this year so far will just help propel you faster to the FI so that you buy more now whilst its cheap 🙂
    Cheers

    • Hey FiL

      Thanks and yes, I do consider this to be a blip, which will pass in time. All the best to you and yes, trying to buy cheap except that the prices keep going up! 🙂

  7. Happy Easter Weenie, and well done on your 6 years. I stumbled across your blog a couple of years ago and have checked in reasonably often since. You do make a lot of sense, and you’re a great example to follow. I really appreciate your honest and straightforward take on things. Keep it going, and you’ll get there sooner than you think. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  8. Hi Weenie,
    Well done!

    Firstly on sticking with your financial goals, this situation will pass in time and the progression you make is inspiring.

    Secondly, with the blog. It’s tough to maintain that momentum of putting new content up, I’ve always enjoyed your posts and yours was one of the sites I’d read when I was first considering retiring early.

    • Thanks Baldrick and yes, I agree, this situation will pass.

      I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of stopping by to check out your ‘cunning plan’ to retire early, so will wander over to your blog at some point!

  9. Hey Weenie, let me add another big congratulations! It’s an impressive feat to keep your FI blog going for 6 years! Something to celebrate. Hope you find your own little way. 🙂

    Yeah, it’s way too early to know the various consequences of current events and what kind of economic depression would result. I hope we all keep our jobs. I am planning to invest a bit more (using a bit of my originally planned BTL property deposit; putting that on hold for a bit), but I am not discounting in the back of my mind there could be a round of redundancies. A lot of it depends on how long lockdown will last for, I guess.

    It must be hard seeing your numbers go down despite saving so much. On the positive side, you’ve been living your life anyway and haven’t suffered for your saving and investing. Your blog is a real achievement too! I hope there will be a rebound soon enough after I’ve invested a bit more! Also, more than anything, I hope you and your family stay well through all this.

  10. Happy birthday to your blog weenie. Times flies doesn’t it… completely agree about things being outside of your control when it comes to the exact date etc. I think that’s why I’ve long abandoned a specific date etc as there is too much that could change and not just with the markets themselves. I do feel for the people however who were about to trigger FI in the coming months, that must be a wounder for sure as the longevity of any 3 or 4% rule might be worried over with such a bad start right when you pull the trigger.

    Chris

    • Hi Chris

      Yes, time does fly, it doesn’t feel like 6 years! I’ve still got a date in mind to pull the FIRE plug as it’s something to aim for; I’m just being realistic to acknowledge that the date will likely change. Yes, for those who have just retired or about to, this is the dreaded sequence of returns risk at play. Let’s hope they have large cash buffers!

    • Hey SN
      I know – the time between 5 and 6 went really quickly!
      I don’t want to wish my time away but yes, I am positive that I will be at my goal before I know it!

  11. Happy sixth blog anniversary weenie. When I first saw the post I could not believe it!

    It seems like if it was yesterday to me when I congratulated your fifth anniversary, the time has literally flown by since then, unbelievable.

    I truly admire the progress you’ve archived during all this time, same as I value the inspiration that it gives to me.

    Thanks, and hope you stick around for many more years 🙂

    • Hey Tony

      I know, as I said to the Ninja, the year has flown by!

      Thanks for the kind words and for your continued support.

      I will be sticking around to hopefully complete my journey and also to help support you on yours too!

  12. Congratulations on six years of blogging from across the pond! I have come to enjoy your blog so much you are on my regular rotation of reading.

  13. 6 years is really impressive! It was my new years resolution to start writing this year, and content is hard! Even the stuff that you know lots about and just want to write, it’s still hard. Glad to hear you are half way, I’m not sure where I am- it’s so difficult to predict the future, I am just doing the best I can with what I have.

    • Hi SouthWalesFI
      Thanks and well done on keeping at your NY resolution. Keep up with your writing, I for one have been enjoying reading it. And no, it isn’t easy to write – for my regular updates, I use a standard template but when writing from scratch about a new topic, like you say, even if it’s something I know about, those take me many hours to finish!
      Keep up the great work and all the best for your journey.

  14. Ah after 6 years I still get a mention, I’m honoured! 🙂

    I’m really glad we’re both still blogging and have remained good (mainly online haha) friends over this time. Your writing and support has always been inspirational, I hope it all continues long after we are both FIRE’d.

    All the best as usual.

    When we both hit “10” surely there has to be some kind of party in order?! 🙂

    • Hey TFS
      If not for you, there wouldn’t have been these 6 years of blogging!

      Your own journey continues to inspire me and I too am glad that we’re both still blogging – keeping up the old guard, haha!

      Yes, there’s got to be some sort of party when we hit the big TEN! 🙂

  15. Big congrats Weenie, nicely done!

    Like a few others have said above, yours was one of the first FIRE blogs I’ve come across. I really enjoyed following your journey and find your consistency and savings rate very inspiring.

    Here’s to six more years 🙂

  16. Congratulations on the sixth year of blogging Weenie! I bet that time has flown by? It must be so nice to look back at all of the data you’ve tracked over the years and see that graph grow year on year? (2018 to 2019 – what a killer year!)

    • Thanks Jase and yes, that time has just whizzed by. I think we could all do with a few more YoY growths like 2018-2019, now more than ever! All the best to you.

    • Thanks Getting Minted and you’re absolutely right, the monthly update has no doubt helped me with sustaining my savings rate. I know for a fact that if I didn’t track it regularly, I would go off the rails a bit!

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