Seven-Year Itch

[From Wikipedia] “The seven-year itch is a popular belief, sometimes quoted as having psychological backing, that happiness in a marriage or long-term romantic relationship declines after around seven years.”

I’m not married, nor currently in a long-term romantic relationship so the itch in my case must refer to my relationship with my blog, which last month unbelievably turned seven years old!

Happy 7th birthday to Quietly Saving! 🙂

So has my happiness (and enthusiasm) declined after 7 years of writing and sharing mutterings about my FIRE journey?

I would say no, not yet anyway!

Seven Year Slog

Let me just start by saying that whilst it hasn’t been particularly difficult, it hasn’t been a breeze aiming for FIRE all these years because it still takes me effort to stay focused, to stay on this path I have chosen.

There are occasions when I feel like I can’t be bothered any more, although perhaps lockdown/the pandemic has probably put these thoughts in my head – my life seemed so much easier when I was just merrily drifting aimlessly with no set goals. But that way points to regret and I would rather not have any regrets.

Whilst I’m no longer the younger me who used to just spend money like there was no tomorrow, if I don’t maintain focus, laziness and apathy will make a reappearance in my life and costs will spiral until I’m no longer saving and investing as much as I am able to towards my future.

Anyway, aiming for FIRE is a long-term slog and the only thing that really keeps me from straying off the path is this blog and the words of support from the readers who take the time to stop by and who inadvertently make me accountable for my actions with their comments and emails.

What have I been doing these past 7 years? Continue reading

Changes and The Psychology of Money

Back in August 2019, my blissful bachelorette living situation was turned upside down when my sister and nephew moved in with me following their relocation back to the UK.

I’d been happily living on my own for around 12 years so it was a big change to my life and lifestyle.

Actually, it was a big change for everyone, since the last time us siblings had lived under the same roof, we had been squabbling teenagers.

Anyway, all will be quiet again for me as by the beginning of next month, they will have moved out as my sis has bought a house and I will be all on my own again.

I have mixed feelings about this.

All Change Again

It’s all very well me thinking that I would have been alright during lockdown had I been on my own but the reality is that I’ve been extremely grateful that I had some family around me during the worst of the pandemic, particularly as I’ve been unable to travel to see other members of the family (I last saw my parents and my Gran in summer 2018…).

I believe the COVID situation was made a lot more bearable having others in the house – a couple of my friends who are on their own have really struggled with coping with isolation and are a lot more desperate for things to return to normal.

Anyway, in the same way that I had to prepare myself mentally to live with other people again back in 2019, I will need to prepare myself for living on my own again.

Yes, of course I will miss them and their company, but in a way, I’m also looking forward to being back on my own again, with my own quiet space, doing my own thing.

My sister’s new home is less than 15 mins away in the car so not so far that I can’t just pop round to see them (or vice versa).

I’m really glad that I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with, to get to know and to see my nephew mutate from a little boy into a gruff-voiced (though still very chatty) teenager.

I’ll miss my sister’s cooking (I’ll be going round to theirs for the odd Sunday roast!) but also relish going back to cooking for myself again – I have a few more recipes in my personal cookbook now compared to before!

I think the first few nights after they have moved out will feel rather weird.

The Psychology of Money

On an unrelated topic to the above (I’m squashing two draft posts into one), one of my goals this year is to read four non-fiction books – easy for some but not for me as I far prefer to spend my spare time getting lost in fiction.

Anyway, 1 book down, 3 more to go, as I recently read ‘The Psychology of Money‘ by Morgan Hounsel (it was on my Christmas wishlist and a member of my family kindly obliged!).

I thought this book was easy to read and digest, full of interesting stories, anecdotes, wisdom and great advice.

It’s not often that I enjoy reading educational/informative books but I did enjoy this one.

Not all of the stuff was new to me but it was nice to be reminded of it and to re-learn.

I won’t give any spoilers as I’d recommend that people pick it up to read but the chapters intriguingly include:

  • Luck & Risk: nothing is as good or as bad as it seems
  • Never Enough: when rich people do crazy things
  • Confounding Compounding: $81.5 billion of Warren Buffett’s $84.5 billion net worth came after his 65th birthday

The book reminded me that all this FIRE stuff goes far beyond just numbers on my spreadsheets, because us humans are such complex creatures with complicated relationships with money.

Despite these lessons however, I’ll probably continue to make some mistakes with my money – the key is just to not so many mistakes!

A book to keep and re-read.

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? Continue reading

School Reunion!

Recently, I attended a high school reunion.

Background

I grew up in a small working-class town.

The parents of the kids I rubbed shoulders with served in local shops, did shifts in factories, ran their own small businesses (mostly manual labour) or were long-term unemployed. A couple worked as teachers.

I didn’t come across folk whose parents were doctors, lawyers or accountants until when I went to university.

There were two high schools in the town – the Catholic school (good reputation) and the state comprehensive (not so good reputation). I’m sure you can guess which one I went to! clue: it wasn’t the first one.

As you can imagine, there was intense rivalry between the two, although if there had been school league tables back then, no doubt they would have been near the top and we would have been near the bottom!

Although my early to mid teenaged years were rather awkward, I’d say I enjoyed a lot of my time at school because I loved to learn, I loved and was able to take part in a lot of sport and I had my friends. Of course, they weren’t all happy days but I couldn’t say that I ever hated school.

I knew that I wasn’t going to stay in the town forever – the city lights (and night life) of Manchester beckoned and the family relocated there while I was at uni. However, despite not having lived in ‘Smallville’ since I was 19, I’ve been visiting the town at least once a year ever since, to catch up with a friend I’ve continued to keep in touch with.

Class of ’85 Reunion

This wasn’t the first school reunion I’d ever attended.

The first one was 15 years ago, organised pre-Facebook days via Friends Reunited (remember them?) and my now-ex ended up in a punch-up…yes, really!

Anyway, no such shenanigans were expected this time round, not with us all older and wiser!

I was one of the early arrivals and for a moment, it was as if no one else was going to turn up and I had the fleeting thought that it was all going to be a disaster.

But then, people started drifting in. It was all a bit awkward at first – I mean how do you greet people, most of whom were still in school uniform when you last saw them? In the end, I think around 30 people turned up, some with their partners.

Some faces were familiar, while others had changed almost beyond recognition. I remembered many names, although the name badges did help to jog the memory for ones I didn’t remember.

Names which used to roll off my 15-year-old self’s tongue because I heard them being called out every day when the teacher was doing the class register now felt strange being uttered again after so long.

However very soon, things relaxed, probably helped by the incredibly cheap alcohol (I’ve been too used to paying premium and had to keep double-checking the prices), it was great to roll back the years, to find out what people had been up to, how their lives were the same or different from my own (mostly different).

Many still lived and worked locally and it was good to see that some friendships from school still endured enough that they (mostly women) still went on holidays together. A few attendees travelled up from London and also from as far as Scotland.

It was all quite weird but in a good way – I was greeted warmly by people who, as boys and girls, I had virtually nothing to do with at school because we weren’t in the same friend circles or took different classes.

It’s not a brag when I say that everyone remembered me.

It certainly wasn’t because I was one of the popular kids (I most definitely was not) – it was because I was the only non-white person in my school year.

It didn’t make a difference to me back then and it still doesn’t.

These were the peers I’d learned with, the ones I grew up with, people with (mostly) similar backgrounds. As I looked around, who was more successful? The ones who were grandparents? The ones with top-earning careers? The ones who looked healthy and had their own teeth/hair/slim waistlines (delete as applicable)?

In our own ways, we were all successful. We had made it to the reunion 34 years after leaving school, to (re)connect, to reminisce, to be sociable. And there was no fighting!

A Blast

All the favourite 80s tunes from our youth were played and I danced the night away, getting blisters on my feet in the process!

A few of us then took the party back to my friend’s house. No, we weren’t on the shots, we were being sensible grown-up and having nice cups of tea and coffee, but I still didn’t get back to my hotel til 3.30am!

The whole event turned out to be a real blast and I’m so glad I went. I rekindled some friendships which I thought I’d lost, did a bit of networking, found that some people who I didn’t have much time for back when we were kids have turned out to be the kind of people I’d like to get to know more.

I didn’t mention FIRE but with one or two I chatted to, I mentioned my desire to retire early and they understood completely and said that was something they would want to do.

If I continue to be in close touch with them, perhaps FIRE could end up being a topic of conversation!

Anyone else attended school reunions or is it something you would avoid at all costs?