Ten is the Magic Number

Well, the wheel of time grinds onwards and last month, my blog turned an epic TEN YEARS OLD!

Happy 10th birthday to Quietly Saving! 🙂

Long time or what! Except it hasn’t really felt that way.

My blog is positively ancient compared to some other FIRE blogs (not that there are that many these days), considering how many have fallen by the wayside and dropped into the abyss of the blog graveyard over the years. In the words of good old Elton, “I’m still standing!” 🙂

Last Woman Standing

Even after 10 years, I still enjoy writing (most of the time) – the blog is a means to help me focus, to document my journey, to help motivate me, a place to empty some of the thoughts rattling around my head or to articulate ideas. The blog was never about making me money, else I would have given up after year 1!

Some might describe my progress over the years as ‘plodding’ but the truth is, I’ve gone as fast I’ve wanted to; I see it as steadily and purposefully moving forwards, step by step.

The last couple of years did feel like a bit of a slog – there was barely any progress with my Future Fund due the stock markets creeping along sideways, it was all quite disheartening and demotivating but I doggedly kept at it.

At no point in the last ten years have I ever thought about quitting my goal and I don’t feel burned out from my FIRE journey, probably as I’ve just gone along at a pace I’ve been comfortable with.

That said, neither am I all bright-eyed and excited as I was at the beginning of my journey – what has crept in recently is a little trepidation as I am now on the last leg of my journey. I feel that a slight mindset change is required but I’m not quite there yet – my mind seems to be a little hesitant about taking that next step.

I need to start thinking seriously of ‘what happens next’, look into more detail on how I am going to fund my life post work, look into what my life will look like. The word ‘decumulation’ keeps popping up at the back of my mind and I’m currently just batting it away, like an annoying fly. Don’t worry, I will get my head round this.

Humdrum

Gosh, so I’ve been posting my numbers monthly (with some glimpses of my life) for a whole decade!

It’s all been pretty mundane stuff – I reckon I live a relatively ‘ordinary’ life, one which is filled with a lot of routine, same-old-same-old stuff, with good things far outweighing the bad.  My life is not action-packed, there’s very little drama and no cliff-hangers!

I am mostly an optimistic person, this governs how I live my life and also I think how I invest (whether that’s good or bad, haha!).

I think I’ve gotten the right balance with my life vs aiming for FIRE because as far as my nearest and dearest are concerned, I’m just living a normal/mundane/modest/boring (delete as applicable) life on a middle income, except that I have a fanciful idea of retiring early.

What have I been doing these past 10 years?

July 2023 interim update

Just an update on the month with no numbers as decided to get this out while I could and there’s obviously one more working day for my portfolio numbers to change, dividends to be paid etc.

A blur of a month, felt like a lot was going on at home and at work.

Tennis

Another year of being lucky with Wimbledon tickets, this time, I got to see a couple of cracking quarter-final matches. The weather was great and even the trains ran on time, so it was a great day out.

NHS

The news continues to be full of doom and gloom about the NHS but for me recently, the NHS continues to chug along, doing its thing in the background.

As well as getting invited for routine cervical screening, I’m now of an age where I also get invited for routine breast cancer and bowel cancer screening.

None of these screenings are particularly pleasant (although at least with the latter, I can do the test at home) but when I get these invitations, I will always attend/accept because it’s the only time it feels like ‘someone’ (other than myself) is looking out for me.

I got my results when they said I would get them (no issues) and that’s that for now, until the next screenings.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to look after myself and my health so as to try to avoid relying on the NHS unnecessarily – sadly, it seems like all’s fine when you don’t really need them but perhaps a different story if/when you do.

Life

I considered yet another ‘try before I retire’ activity, by attending a life drawing session for the first time.

The last formal ‘art lesson’ I had was when I was 13 before I chose my options at school (I ended up doing Physics instead of Art).  I’ve only ever really done doodles and cartoons so I wasn’t sure how to use charcoal or pastels.

Anyway, it was a challenging yet enjoyable experience, which I found ‘mind-opening’! There was no teaching or guidance, it was just a free-for-all, with attendees’ skills ranging from enthusiastic beginners to more experienced artists. My friends thought my drawings were good but all I could see were the imperfections.

Budget constraints mean I probably won’t attend many of these sessions but I will certainly see what kind of free online resources I can find so that I can improve my drawing skills. And now I’ve found another thing which I enjoy doing, which I can do in retirement.

Placement

Having just completed sitting his GCSE exams, my nephew did a week’s work experience at our company. It was weird seeing him in the office and I resisted being a ‘helicopter aunt’, largely avoiding him so he could just be himself.

A product of independent schooling, colleagues commented positively on his confidence and ease at dealing with adults in a new/strange environment.  In his words, he ‘learned a bit and had a right laugh’ (he was with the Marketing team). I’ve also gone up a point in the ‘cool aunt’ stakes as he reckons I work for a good company! 🙂

Lawn

I used my birthday money to buy a lawnmower (a small Flymo). Thus far, I’d been mowing the lawn with a strimmer, a bit time consuming but quite successfully, I might add.

The strimmer however is an antique, a 40 year old Black & Decker model, and while it still functions, it’s on its last legs so should probably just be used for edging and borders.

Since the new lawnmower has massively reduced mowing time, it has meant that I’ve been able to squeeze in ‘fast cuts’ during brief sunny periods before downpours – yay!

And finally, Friends Fired

I was surprised (but also not so surprised) to learn recently that a couple of my uni friends (we were course mates) have retired at the age of 55.

I wasn’t surprised because they were always the poster couple who I thought would ‘make it big in life’. Met at uni, they were the first of our bunch of friends to get a mortgage (so grown up!), theirs was the first wedding I attended without my parents, they had 3 children in quick succession, in between both juggling what appeared to be hugely successful careers.

However, I was surprised they would retire early due to the ever increasing size of their house (the last one I was aware of was a 6-bed mansion) and his penchant for tinkering with classic cars. Success has come to them through ambition and hard work (as far as I can tell) but it looks like once all their offspring had finished uni/schooling, they evidently realised they had ‘enough’, and decided enough was enough.

They’ve never mentioned FIRE before (but who does?), yet in true FIRE-fashion, they first trialled and then bought a motorhome and will be making some road trips in that! It’s been a while since I caught up with them properly so I hope to find out more when I see them next.

A recent message to me was “Retirement is fab, do it as soon as you can!” Believe me, I’m trying! 😀

Anyway, need to finish my packing for my hols – will sort out a numbers update when I get back.

Hope you all had a great July!

Nine Lives

Well, the wheel of time grinds onwards and last month, my blog turned nine years old!

Happy 9th birthday to Quietly Saving! 🙂

Yes, I’m still (mostly) enjoying the act of blogging about my journey to FIRE. I know blogs are pretty old school these days, but then, I have to admit, so am I! 🙂

I’ve been posting my numbers monthly with some glimpses of my life for nine years come rain or shine – not exactly riveting stuff, but hey ho, I think I live a relatively ‘ordinary’ life – it’s quite mundane, same-old-same-old but I’m quite content with it not being action-packed, with no drama and no cliff-hangers!

Nine Year Slog

It does feel like a slog at times, as after all this time, it continues to be an effort to stay focused on this FIRE malarkey. After so long, you’d think that I do things automatically and that it’s all very easy but I sometimes feel that if I don’t work at keeping my focus, I’ll just fall off the rails and mess up my plans.

Recently, I’ve been feeling mentally fatigued and felt that I had to get away from looking at my spreadsheets and wishing that they didn’t govern my life so much.

I gave myself a little break but it wasn’t long before I was logging on again, and seeing my numbers (up or down), seeing where I’m at and where I’m going made me feel somewhat comforted, in some control of what I’m doing, in some control of my future. I think I just needed a break from work, which I got over Easter.

Inflation spiralling upwards has made me focus more on costs than I probably have had over recent years. It’s getting to be a harder juggling act.

Anyway, this blog has without a doubt kept me going 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, suggestions and emails.

What have I been doing these past 9 years? Continue reading

Au Revoir, Twitter?

The other day, I got this:

What rules did I break?

Say what???!

I wouldn’t know how to even begin to do any sort of ‘evading’ if someone was paying me to do so!

All I do on my account is post when I publish my monthly blog and read some of the tweets of the accounts I follow. I’ve received no notifications of any impending suspension, just this.

Anyway, I’ve submitted an appeal, for what it’s worth.

If nothing comes from it, well it’ll be a shame but I can live without Twitter.