Comparisons

Before embracing it, I very nearly dismissed the whole FIRE (Financial Independence/Retire Early) concept.

The idea had piqued my interest immediately but at first glance, it seemed as if I did not fit into ‘the same mould’ as everyone pursuing FI (or having reached FI).

I looked on in dismay as I compared myself with the entrepreneurs, consultants, engineers, bankers, IT specialists and other high earners who were able to tuck away not just the equivalent of my entire salary year on year, but in some cases, multiples of my salary, for their financial freedom and early retirement. My initial thought was, ‘Crap, I can’t do this, I don’t earn enough and I’m in the wrong sort of job!’

Then I compared ages and everyone seemed so young – people in their 20s and 30s aiming (and on track) to be FI and to ‘retire early’ by 40 or by their early 40s. I was already in my mid-40s by the time I came across MMM – crap, was it all too late for an ‘old girl’ like me? (although it’s a good job I don’t look or act old 🙂 )

Another thing was that it appeared that you needed to make huge sacrifices to become FI. I mean I am and was able to cut back on my spending but I couldn’t see myself taking the extreme route and being a frugal recluse, living a cheap but not very cheerful (in my opinion) life or living like a student again.

More importantly, I didn’t want to be seen as tight-fisted by friends and family. Yeah, I know I shouldn’t care what anyone thinks.  While I don’t mind being a bit different, I do care about what the people I care about think, especially if it may affect my relationships.

So, it would have been no surprise if I had gone about my merry way, thinking FIRE was a nice idea but not for me.

Except that I continued to read about it with an open mind. Why? Because despite my initial misgivings, the whole concept really fascinated me and I couldn’t stop thinking about it!

I ran some basic numbers (on the proverbial back of a fag packet) and it dawned on me that I didn’t need to earn megabucks (no, I don’t need £1 million!) or do exactly what someone else was doing or did – I could just take certain (good) ideas and apply them to my own situation.  Yep, personal finance being what it says on the tin!

FIRE  comparisons are like comparing these two

More Comparisons

However, despite embarking on my FIRE journey, I couldn’t help but continue to compare myself to others.

People whose net worths were waaay bigger than mine after a shorter space of time, people achieving astronomically high savings rates, effortless side hustles and blogs earning income to die for. Some had already reached FI, or they were only X years away and they were only in their 30s etc.

Such comparisons were at times a little disheartening until I eventually realised that it was just  pointless comparing myself to others.  The only comparison worth taking note of is that of comparing my own progress over time.

These days, I can now look at other people’s very high net worths and mega savings rates and admire them and applaud them, without feeling bad about my own attempts and performance.

To say that I never feel any envy would be to lie, but hey, I’m only human – I just don’t dwell on the envy or allow it to become negative, I just focus on what I’m doing myself. Everyone’s situation and circumstances are different, whether it’s their background, age, stage in their lives, different countries, different jobs etc.

Numbers

Not everyone likes to share their actual numbers but I made the decision to do so when I started this blog – I just know that some readers like to see real figures (to compare with their own, I suppose, haha!).

Until around nine years ago, my net worth was a negative number due to my numerous credit card debts. I eventually paid these debts off and by the time I started my FI journey in 2014, my net worth was £74,596.

As at the end of August, it stood at £205,509.

STOP! Try not to compare my net worth with your own – we are different! 🙂

I didn’t even notice that I’d passed the £200k milestone because by itself, it doesn’t actually mean anything, it’s just a number since I’m not using it in any of my calculations. However, it’s good to compare how far I’ve come since those negative days!

[EDIT – I see from some of the comments that I need to make a clarification – my £200k race with John K is with my Future Fund, not my Net Worth. My Future Fund currently stands at £125,946]

Do you compare yourself or your savings/investments progress and how does it make you feel?

3 Years!

This month marks THREE years since I started blogging about my journey to financial independence/Retiring Early!

Happy 3rd birthday to Quietly Saving! 🙂

Back Then

Although my first post on this blog was in April 2014, I had made a note of my finances in March – my starting or pre-FI plan numbers!

Here’s the comparison between my starting numbers and my most recent update:

  • March 2014 – Future Fund: £30,075
    March 2017 – Future Fund: £100,442
  • March 2014 – Net Worth: £74,595
    March 2017 – Net Worth: £171,208

The increases are largely due to new capital being chucked in every month, although I have also been lucky with investment gains from the favourable stock markets these past three years. My property has also seen a surprising 26% increase in value (I know…outside London!), which has helped bump up my net worth.

I’ve aimed to save/invest as much of my net salary as possible (averaging around 40-45%), and also put away income generated from extra curricular activities, such as cashback, gambling winnings, matched betting and other online activities.

As I’m currently unemployed, the income from these extra curricular activities or side hustles will play a vital part in keeping the investment ‘snowball‘ rolling as it were. I’ll also continue to reinvest any dividends/interest I receive.

Courtesy of http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes

Thank You

A big thanks to all who take the time to read this humble little blog – it’s a great incentive to me to know that people have a passing interest in what I have to say about my little journey and I love to read your comments and private emails. Thank you very much for helping me remain accountable, giving me encouragement and ideas, and helping me stick to my plan and aim for my goals!

Next Chapter

The last three years documented what I was able to achieve on an average salary, working for a company I’d been with for over 20 years. Anything I write now will be part of the next chapter of my life, including how I’ll get on whilst not employed and what happens with my next job.

I can say that my plan for FIRE is still very much on, just suffering from a slight hiccup but certainly not dead and buried!  🙂

And on that note, I hope you all have a great Easter!

February 2017 Savings, plus other Updates

Time for another update!

Again, my ‘income’ this month has been derived from my pay-in-lieu-of-notice (PILON) from my last job.

So, how have I done in February?

Well, I achieved my highest ever savings rate –  79.8%! Woo hoo! 🙂

Rather incredible but most certainly a one-off, largely due to the work bonus which I used to purchase my Dogs of the FTSE portfolio earlier in the month.

This pushes my average savings rate so far to 66.7% but as mentioned before, if I’m still jobless in April, my savings rate is going to be at or around 0%….

February’s savings was boosted by £50 from rent received, £229.75 Jobseekers Allowance (ahem, gotta make the most of ALL my income while I can), £63.10 affiliate income from OddsMonkey* and I had a £10 lotto win which I’ve chucked into the pot too.

Future Fund 

The big extra capital injection and the stock markets still being favourable to my portfolios despite political shenanigans means that my Future Fund is now up to £98,642, which is getting rather close to that big milestone!

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month (which will be reinvested): Continue reading

January 2017 Savings, plus other Updates

Ok, the first savings/investment update of the year and things don’t look too different from much of last year.

My ‘income’ this month has been derived from my pay-in-lieu-of-notice (PILON) from my last job.

Previously, my savings rate calculation was based on my net income from my main salaried job, ie net of tax, NI and company pension contribution.  The PILON is net of tax and NI.

So, how have I done in January?

My savings rate was 53.6%, a great start to the year!

That said, if I’m still jobless in April, my savings rate is going to be at or around 0%….

However, next month’s number should get a very big boost as it’ll include my bonus. My highest ever savings rate so far is 70.4%, achieved in March 2015. It’s possible I could better this…watch this space!

January’s savings was boosted by £70.84 from TopCashback* and £50 from rent received.

Future Fund 

With the crippled £ sterling doing a creditable impression of a bottom-feeder, my Future Fund continues to ignore other political shenanigans and is now up to £92.321.

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month (which will be reinvested): Continue reading