FIght Club

TheFIREstarter’s comment on Monevator’s recent post about financial independence, where he alluded that the two contributors to the website (The Investor and The Accumulator) were the same person and that the Investor was the alter-ego, ie the Tyler Durden from the film ‘Fight Club‘, got me thinking that as someone striving for FI, I too am part of a ‘secret’ and ‘underground’ community, a club, a… ‘FIght Club’!

FIclub

Rules

The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club

So says the most famous quote from the movie and how apt it is in relation to FI.

Like most people striving for FI, I do not talk about it.

Firstly, people would not believe me.

Secondly, they might be jealous.

Thirdly, they’d think I was loaded or had won the lottery.

Lastly, they would just wonder what I would do with all my time as I’d be bored to tears doing nothing. Apparently.

I don’t talk to my colleagues about it – I think I mentioned Mr Money Mustache one time and nobody was interested enough to even check out the website.

I don’t talk to my family about it – I’m sure they’ll be supportive but unlikely to think I’ll succeed.

Nobody I know in real life knows I blog about aiming for FI – aside from fellow FI-wannabes I’ve met on FIRE Escape gatherings.*

My best friend has an idea of what I am trying to do but doesn’t know the full extent of it (she only sees my cutting back on buying things).

Aiming for FI can be somewhat lonely but the whole FI/PF blogging community – the FIght Club – makes it less so. We’re not on our own in this secret club!

Consumers

Another great quote from the film is:

We buy things we don’t need, to impress people we don’t like.

I used to buy a lot of stuff I didn’t need but it wasn’t to impress people I didn’t like, it was because I equated happiness with buying and owning new stuff.

Thankfully, this is no longer the case – these past couple of years, I’ve avoided going shopping unless absolutely necessary, yet my wardrobe and cupboards are still full of clothes and shoes, which I can wear without my friends being ashamed to be with me haha!

It’s my birthday next month and my friends and family are asking me what I want. I’m really struggling because there is actually nothing that I want. I do however need a new pair of trainers so that can be something to suggest.

I have two weddings to go to later in the year so I can’t get round with not getting one new outfit but it certainly won’t be anything expensive – I don’t need to impress anyone but mysef!

*EDIT – at these gatherings, it’s not really like a Fight Club, ie we don’t beat each other up!

A Little More Giving + Home Brew #7

Whilst not specifically one of my 2016 goals, I mentioned that I intend to regularly donate a little more to charity.  I have opened a CAF Charity account so will be topping this up on a monthly basis.

Of course, I could have started donating regularly without opening such an account but the CAF account allows me to donate anonymously as I dislike being contacted by charities and don’t want to feel like I’m being ‘guilt tripped’ into handing over more money after I’ve made a donation.

I don’t have a lot of time to volunteer, so donating a bit of money is all I can really do right now. I already make adhoc donations throughout the year, eg sponsor friends on charity runs, Movember sponsorships, Christmas giving tree etc. These monthly donations will be on top of my usual donations.

Tawcan’s Christmas post made me think again about how lucky I am to be in a position where I can put relatively large amounts of money aside towards FI and early retirement when there are lots of people less fortunate than myself who are not living happy lives. Other bloggers such as TheFireStarter and Huw @FFB40 (also Organised Redhead) donate regularly too so it’s about time I put my hand in my pocket more often and do my little bit. Others donate their time, some others donate blood, which is something I don’t do (although I do donate unwanted clothing and books etc).

One Charity or Many?

There are many charities I feel strongly about – close members of my family have been affected by cancer and heart conditions so I like to support those charities. Children, the homeless, the hungry, the elderly – I want to help these too but would it be better to just concentrate on a single charity or help as many as possible?

Perhaps I could just choose one charity and help that one but I’m not sure I could just stick with just the one as I wouldn’t know which one to help and would feel bad about not being able to help others.

However, what I should do perhaps is to whittle down on the number of charities I want to help so I can donate a little more to my chosen ones – I can always select other charities next time but in the main, I want to try to help smaller and more local charities.

Warm Fuzzy Feeling

Whilst it makes me feel good (and a little less selfish) to donate, the amount I’m donating is really quite pitiful in the scheme of things – I am still in my wealth accumulation phase, only really at the start of my saving/investing journey so I’m very much thinking of me and my own priorities first.

My donation by  itself is unlikely to change anything but I’d like to think that it just goes towards some ‘greater good’ and hopefully not squandered like certain charities.

I’d like to think that when I do get to FI and no longer have to work full-time, I will be able to donate some of my time and energies towards charitable causes.

Anyway, until then, this is the small way in which I’ll try to help out.

Winter/Spring Brew

I wasn’t organised enough last October to put a ‘Christmas brew’ on so I didn’t do this festive kit until January – named after Santa’s favourite reindeer, ‘Dasher the Flasher‘! 🙂

The brew was just about ready for me to take a few bottles to the recent FIRE Escape gathering in Wales, but some bottles still aren’t quite ready so this brew has taken a while to condition.

FireEscapelabel1

Customised beer labels, no less!

The kit produced 44 bottles (just over 21 litres/37 pints). As the kit cost me £23, this works out as £0.52 per bottle or £0.62 a pint.

The beer is very clear and pours a good head (yay!). Not very bitter at all, with some sweet tones, a bit like liquorice (according to Lou).

dasher

Alcohol strength just over 4% so very drinkable over a weekend!

I think I prefer this brew to the last one I made and certainly, I would try to put this one on again in the winter (the kits are only available then).

I’ve now done 6 beer kits and one cider kit. I was planning to brew (and document) 4 more beer kits before I revert to my favourites and just brew those.

However, with finances a little tighter this month, I’m going to brew a kit that I’ve done previously (Woodford’s Wherry), only because I have one spare.

A bit more pressure this time round as it won’t just be colleagues and friends sampling this one, it’ll be the first time my family will be able to try the fruits of my labours….eek!

Next proper home brew update in that case will probably be late summer.

In the meantime…CHEERS! 🙂

2016 Goals/New Year Resolutions

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Happy New Year everyone – I hope the hangovers weren’t too bad (unlike mine – I never learn… but at least I wasn’t doing shots!)

newyear16i

In the past, I’ve pretty much always set myself new year resolutions and probably kept to most of them. Setting goals and resolutions on my blog however makes me more accountable and more likely to try to keep to them and work hard to achieve them.

Although I found them all interesting, I think I set myself too many goals last year (11), allowing myself to get distracted and on occasion, a little stressed out that I couldn’t concentrate on certain goals.

So I’m taking a leaf out of Mr Z’s book and am going to simplify things a little this time:

2016 Financial Goals

  • Average 50% savings rate – I’ve failed twice now to achieve this…third time lucky?! Saving 50% of my salary is probably my most important goal – saving the most I can towards my Future Fund, keeping my living expenses down so that I can save that amount and knowing what I can live on comfortably in the future when I no longer want to work.
  • £720 total dividend income – Last year, my total dividend income was £356.36. I’d like to try to get an average £60 per month so I’m pretty much doubling what I achieved last year. £60 would cover my mobile phone bill, the TV licence, my water bill and my car maintenance plan! My main investment strategy continues to be investing in index trackers so I need to balance this right to maintain this.
  • £1k personal emergency funds – Not a huge amount I know but I’ve got to start somewhere. How have I managed to get away with not having an emergency fund? I’ve used 0% credit cards in the past. Yes, I know, I know…

2016 Non-Financial Goals

  • Borrow and read 20 library books – Borrowing from the library means that I spend less on books but also means that I am supporting my local library services. I’m going to try to read 35 books this year (5 less than last year as I’m going to reread the ‘Game of Thrones’ books and some of them are over 1000 pages!) of which 20 must be borrowed from the library.

Continue reading

Thinking and Growing Rich

The second ‘financial’ related book I’ve read this year has been described as “one of the most important financial books ever written“.  I can’t really comment on this, since I haven’t read many financial books but I can see why it would have made such a powerful impact when it was first published.
Think and Grow Rich‘ by Napoleon Hill was written especially for those who lost pretty much everything in the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
There is an updated version which covers the likes of more modern successful businessmen such as Bill Gates but the version I read was the 1937 version, so the successful people described in the books were the likes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.  Hill apparently researched more than forty millionaires to find out what made them successful.
The book is basically a self help/personal development book that – if you understand all the principles and its messages and follow them – can help you become successful and (if you want to be) rich.
As it was written in 1937, the book was obviously very dated, referring constantly to the Wall Street Crash and the US Depression in the 1930s, and of course, references to technology and information available was limited to what was around at the time, ie no computers or internet! Also, as expected, it was occasionally somewhat politically incorrect.

 

One particular observation made me laugh: “If a woman permits her husband to lose interest in her, and become more interested in other women, it is usually because of her ignorance, or indifference toward the subjects of sex, love, and romance“.  Hmmm…yes, well haha!

However, there was still quite a lot of relevant stuff – how you sell yourself back in the 1930s is not very different from how you sell yourself today!

Struggle
I’m not a great non-fiction reader (being a fiction-lover) so I found this book pretty hard-going.
Some chapters were very interesting but even these had a lot of ‘waffle’. A few chapters I ended up skipping, in particular where Hill vouches for clairvoyance and extra-sensory perception (ESP) or when the American history detail just got a bit too much for me!
 
Stuff that stuck in my Mind
I’m glad I read the book as there is stuff I can take away, I found some of it pretty motivational and there are tips and suggestions that I intend to  put into practice. Certainly there are some chapters that I will return to again.
For example, the book determines that there are various steps to success/riches – I won’t list them all but they include Desire, Organised Planning, Decision and Persistence. These I readily identified with as they are steps towards FI and retiring early!
I’ll finish off with some quotes/verses which stuck in my mind:

 

“Our only limitations are those we set up in our own minds”
If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don’t
If you like to win, but you think you can’t
It is almost certain you won’t.
(by Walter D Wintle)
“A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.”
Procrastination is one of the most common causes of failure.”

Stop worrying and conquer the fears which can stop you from being successful in what you do.

Stop using alibis/excuses that are used by people who are not successful, eg

…if only I had money…
…if only I had a good education…
…if only I had time….
…if I now had a chance…
…if only I could save some money…
…if I only knew how…
(there are lots more in the book)

Hill states that you will only be successful if you follow all the principles laid out in his book.
I only intend to follow some of them, but if it means I achieve my goals, that’s all the success I need – I’m not aiming to be a millionaire/billionaire!
Incidentally, I’ve highlighted the procrastination tip as this was mentioned recently by Huw in his YouTube video, and it’s something that I suffer from (at times) quite badly, but more so at home, rather than at work.
After reading the book (and then being prompted by Huw), I set about doing a task that I’ve been putting off (and putting off) for the best part of a year – that of transferring my stakeholder pension into one of my SIPPs.
I’ll do a post on this at some point to let you know how I get on but the deed is done!
Weenie 1 Procrastination 0!

 

Of course, there’s other stuff that I’ve been putting off that needs doing, but one step at a time, eh!