Yet, another year rolls on by and my blog has just unbelievably turned eight years old!
Happy 8th birthday to Quietly Saving! 🙂
So am I still as FIRE’d up about all this after 8 years of writing and sharing my mutterings and my journey?
Yes, I guess I am.
But I’m not half as excited as I was back then.
Eight Year Slog
It does feel like a slog at times, as it continues to be an effort to stay focused.
Sometimes, I feel like I can’t be arsed updating the blog, because I feel like there’s nothing really for me to write about, just the same old, same old.
I’m just getting on with my life and the dogged path of perseverance to get to my FIRE goal is not exciting at all!
Life before I discovered FIRE did seem so much more carefree, when I was just merrily drifting aimlessly with no set goals. Life, that is, AFTER I had paid off my credit card debts – it wasn’t so merry during my dark days of being neck-deep in debt.
But if I want to get to where I’m going, I need to keep at it, need to stay focused, and carry on saving and investing as much as I am able to towards my future.
This blog has undoubtedly kept me from straying and I thank all the readers who take the time to stop by with their words of support, who make me accountable for my actions with their comments and emails.
What have I been doing these past 8 years?
As mentioned earlier, it’s just been 8 years of just living my life – work, eat, gym, sleep, that’s what it all pretty much boils down to.
The spare time I have in between is taken up with reading (books and blogs), playing video games, watching tv, socialising with friends or family and gardening. Hopefully will be introducing some more travelling in there again at some point.
Aside from the breakdown of a long-term relationship (15 years), being made redundant at the end of 2016 from the company where I’d enjoyed a 21-year career, my sister and nephew moving in to live with me and then me buying a home (during a peak property period) earlier than planned, my adult life has been relatively free of ‘drama’ and mostly in my control.
I haven’t always made the best decisions in my life (who does, 100%?) but I own those decisions with no regrets.
I try to live a ‘normal’ life, which means I don’t deprive myself of anything I love, enjoy and consider important in my life. I don’t practise extreme frugality and don’t believe I have sacrificed or denied myself anything in my pursuit of FIRE.
When I was younger, I liked (and spent a lot on) shiny new things. Currently, I’m still using my 6-year old mobile phone (Blackberry, remember them?), my Kindle e-reader is 11 years old, my car will be 10 years old this year (bought new) and I have a wardrobe of good quality ‘vintage’ clothes (many from early 2000s – one reason for maintaining my size and weight is so that I can still wear them all!).
I’ve just not spent a lot of money on stuff I deem unnecessary, but have splashed out on things which I consider important to me.
I’m looking forward to foreign holidays again, I continue to use my gym membership regularly, enjoy my Amazon Prime membership (which I use for reading and watching) and love my boozy social outings with my friends. This past year, my social outings have included Manchester FIRE pubmeets which I always enjoy attending.
It’s possible that by cutting out these extra expenses, I could reach FIRE a lot quicker but that would be unsustainable, I’d be miserable and in any case, why the rush? It’s not a race, I’m not competing with anyone.
Over the years, I’ve aimed to save/invest as much of my net salary as possible – I generally have an average savings rate of around 40%, managed over 50% during the pandemic but this year, prioritising my house will probably mean a savings rate of around 25%.
Any investment income I get is reinvested and I also put away any adhoc income generated from cashback, the odd bit of gambling, affiliate links, premium bond/lotto wins, money from surveys and profits from matched betting. Apart from this year, any bonuses I’ve received from work have largely been invested too.
Here’s the growth of my Future Fund over the years (2022 shows the amount as at end March 2022):
Steady progress from investing on a monthly basis, the trend has been heading in the right direction, just looks a bit wobbly at the moment with the current terrible situation of war in Europe, rising costs of living, high inflation, etc.
My Future Fund did reach that coveted quarter of a million milestone, but market forces have conspired to make me work for it again!
Overall, my life these past 8 years has been pretty stable, allowing me to concentrate on my savings and investments.
Time will tell whether I’ve gotten my savings and investment strategy right but I tend to think there’s no real right or wrong – my strategy would likely not be a great fit for other people, just as theirs won’t be right for me. I’ve just done what I’ve been comfortable with and what I believe might work.
So Why am I not so Excited about FIRE?
In the early days, it was all new, I was learning so much, implementing new strategies, developing new habits, taking part in a growing and very helpful community. FIRE was a loooong way away and it was just so exciting to start my journey, to plan my future.
Now, 8 years later, I think I know it’s not a case of if I reach FIRE, it’s a matter of when.
So whilst I’m not on the home straight yet, perhaps there’s a sense of inevitability which has taken some of that gloss away.
Or maybe it’s just me getting older and wiser and not so excitable!
Not to say that I won’t be happy when I get there, because I absolutely will be! 🙂
How Long until I FIRE?
I don’t believe I’m really any closer than I was a year ago, so I think I am still around 4 years away from achieving FIRE.
My current plans haven’t accounted for rapidly rising inflation or high cost of living so I will need to make some adjustments.
My FIRE date was always just an estimate, based on predictions and modellings on spreadsheets. It’s not really possible to have a goal set in stone because I have no real idea what’s going to happen in the future, so until I know for sure, I don’t have an actual date, nor indeed an actual number any more. It’s probably more a range of numbers I have now and even this range varies from time to time.
My thoughts on decumulation make it even harder to pin down an exact number. More global travel when I’m retired = FIRE number goes up etc.
That said, you could probably say that I’m loosely aiming to live a Moderate Lifestyle according to the Retirement Living Standards.
Reaching FIRE is always going to be highly dependent on events outside of my control, including unstable stock markets caused by aforementioned global events, sequence of returns risk and keeping a full-time job until I’m ready to stop working.
It’s unlikely that there will be a change in my living situation in the near future, so that’s one less thing to worry about but there are still plans for a company restructure at the place where I work (previously shelved due to the pandemic) so I will have to wait to see if my job is affected in any way.
I have a feeling that when the time is right, I will make a fairly quick decision on whether to pull the FIRE plug or not.
Thank You Again
Readers have come and gone over the years and I’m eternally grateful to the ones who have stuck around 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, with the odd share tip 😉 (hope this shoutout prompts you to do an update, TFS 🙂 )
And on that note, I’m off to the gym for a tough workout so I can munch guilt-free on my Easter eggs!
Happy Easter all – have a great weekend!