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?

Well, there were 6 years of just living and enjoying my life and then there was 2020 which just passed by and I endured it along with everyone else. My life has been relatively free of ‘drama’, with a lot to enjoy and I can’t really ask for more than that.

I continue to try to live a ‘normal’ life. By normal, I mean one where I don’t deprive myself of anything I love, enjoy and consider important in my life. I haven’t practised extreme frugality and don’t believe I have sacrificed or denied myself anything in my pursuit of FIRE – I’ve just not spent a lot of money on stuff I deem unnecessary, but splashed out on things which I consider important to me.

So yes, I still go on foreign holidays (can’t wait until we are allowed to fly again), have a gym membership (which will be put to use again), enjoy my Amazon Prime membership (which I use for reading and watching) and look forward to having a good boozy social life again.  I also spend a fair amount of my free time doing leisurely, unproductive but very enjoyable things, such as read fiction, binge-watch boxed sets, read blogs and play video games.

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%, although I managed over 50% during the 2020.

All my investment income is reinvested and I also put away any adhoc income generated from cashback, the odd bit of gambling, affiliate links, premium bond/lotto wins and profits from matched betting. Any bonuses I’ve received from work have largely been invested too.

Here’s the growth of my Future Fund over the years (2021 shows the amount as at end March 2021):

My Future Fund is my (largely investment) portfolio which will provide me with income when I retire. It is not my net worth.

Steady progress from investing on a monthly basis, with the trend continuing to head in the right direction.

Apart from the hiccup of being made redundant in 2016 from the company where I’d enjoyed a 21-year career, my life these past 7 years has been pretty stable, allowing me to concentrate on my savings and investments.

Time will tell whether my investments will be affected in the future by the after effects of the pandemic, including the ongoing saga of Brexit and other global events/disasters.

How Long until I FIRE?

I think I am 4 or 5 years away from achieving FIRE. Maybe a little before then, perhaps a little after.

How is it that I don’t actually know, even with all my planning and my spreadsheets?

My FIRE date was always just an estimate really, based on calculations on said spreadsheets.  I realised a few years ago that it was quite impossible 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.

I did have a FIRE number in mind but this keeps changing, depending on how I tweak my spreadsheets and consider the kind of retirement I’m likely to have/would like to have. 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.

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.

Plans for a company restructure at the place where I work have been shelved due to the pandemic but will likely resurface at some point in the future. Changes to my living situation will also have a big impact on the timing etc.

Blog Stats and Numbers?

I won’t mention how many visitors I’ve had over the years, page views, how many posts I’ve written, number of followers, subscribers etc because I don’t keep track of these numbers.

Although my blog is monetised, it’s never been my intention to make any real money out of it so I’ve never felt the need to work at driving a load of traffic here. The bit of income that I do get from Google Ads barely covers the upkeep of my site and all affiliate income I receive is detailed in my monthly updates and gets chucked into my ISA.

My only goal blog-wise is to post on a semi-regular basis, so if I run out of things to write about, there’s always going to be my usual monthly savings update at the very least.

Thank You Again

Readers have come and gone over the years and I’m eternally grateful to the ones who have stayed 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, and who is looooong overdue updating his own blog since he pulled the plug on the 9-5! 🙂

With the gradual lifting of lockdown, things are looking more positive and whilst I’m not sure that everything will be ‘fine’ by the end of the year, 2021 is going to be a much better one.

Onwards and upwards!

 

48 thoughts on “Seven-Year Itch

  1. A lovely, heart-warming, post Weenie.

    It’s inspiring to see how your fund has grown over 7 years, you’re the epitome of ‘Keep Calm and Carry On.’ I can’t believe you’ve been blogging for 7 years. But then again, I just realised next month will be my 36th saving report…3 years has gone quickly, too quickly. I’m catching up!

    Keep doing what you’re doing, I can’t wait for the day you retire 🙂

    • Hey SN
      Thanks for the kind comment and for your continued support.
      I know, it seems mad that I’ve dedicated 7 years of my life to this but it’s for the future, hence I’m keeping calm and carrying on!
      Wow, 3 years for you already!

  2. Congratulations, Weenie.

    After devouring a lot of FIRE-related content over the years, your blog is one of the few I still follow. It could be the great content; it could also be that our numbers are very similar, and I like the imaginary race we have. As it stands, you’re ahead – but I’m closing in! 🙂

    Keep up the good work.
    EMS

  3. Happy birthday and well done on the growth of your future fund – some inspiring numbers!

    Always good catch up with you on your blog and face to face ! Even if via zoom – here’s to another 7 years of blogging !

  4. Congratulations! Seven years is an excellent achievement in the blogging world. Looking forward to seeing what the next seven years have in store for you!

  5. Happy blog anniversary weenie! Your progress achieved out of persivierence is inspiring indeed.

    I sometimes think that if you were to stop, 50% of the UK FIRE community would vanish with you.

    Your efforts for raising financial awareness to others (meetings, reading and supporting others) say a lot about! 😀

    Looking forward to following your journey until the end.

    • Ha, thanks for the kind words and your continued support, Tony – the UK FIRE community would continue fine wthout me, not that I will be leaving any time soon!

  6. you are one of my favourite FIRE bloggers! keep on keeping it real!
    i wish i could start a blog, but i dont know where to start ! 😀

  7. Well done, Weenie!

    I really like your posts like this one. Just honest and Down to Earth “this is how it is”.

    Congrats on sticking with it! Looking forward to reading that “Well, I did it”-post in about 4-5 years time (+/-).

    From the comment its very clear that you (and your content) is Well-liked. It’s Well-deserved and I look forward to continue to follow your journey 🙂

    Best of luck on your quest! We all want to get there – sooner rather than later 😉

    I’m curious if you have really started seeing the effects of compounding in your portfolio by now? Surrely the last 5 years will see heavy growth, compared to the first 5 😉

    • Thanks Nick – writing and updating the blog has been more fun because of my readers and I appreciate all who take the time to read and post comments.

      Regarding compounding, yes the growth over the past few years is a lot more significant. Once I’d hit the first £100k, it took me a shorter amount of time to hit £200k and I assume the same again for £300k.

      It would have been better if I had started my journey at a younger age for the compounding to have an even greater effect but even so late in my life (starting in my mid-40s) I can see the positive effect.

  8. Congratulations on the 7 year mark!

    And yours was one of the first blogs I started regularly anonymously reading long before I started my own 🙂

    To quote the awesome show/ film The History Boys:

    “Pass the parcel. That’s sometimes all you can do. Take it, feel it, and pass it on. Not for me, not for you, but for someone, somewhere, one day.”

  9. Well done Weenie, a great achievement, I really enjoy reading your blog and I truly admire what you are doing.

  10. Hi Weenie. Very impressive. I’ve been following your blog for about a year and hadn’t realised you’d been writing this long. Your post prompted me to go back and scan through your archives. I could only do a scan through though its quite the journey and very well documented. You should write a book! Keep recording the journey…..

    • Thanks Hopeful Firer – yes, I’ve been round the block a bit! Not sure I’ve scanned through my archives myself so well done you for doing that! If I did, I’d hope to see that my writing has improved over the years!

  11. Awesome achievement Weenie! I look forward to reading the next seven years worth of instalments as you close in on, and then successfully achieve, your lifestyle goals.

    You are an inspiration to us all, thanks for continuing to share your journey.

  12. I have been reading your blog for more than 3 years now and always look forward to monthly updates. Reading finance blogs is like catching up on common interests. The great thing about your investment journey is discipline.
    I hope you do not get bored of blogging, I would like to cheer for you on the day you are FI.

  13. Great achievement.
    As they saying goes – time flies when you are having fun!
    I forecast your next major milestone will be behind you sooner than you think.

  14. Happy 7th Birthday to your blog weenie. I have really enjoyed reading your posts and always look forward to reading the next one when I see you’ve posted. It feels great to be apart of the community and that we can all help each other along, it certainly helps me as well feeling part of something and having others along for the journey to FI.

    Looking at the growth of your fund as Ninja says it just incredible. What a great time for you to start doing this with the massive bull run we are all on as welll. I was also fortunate to ride that wave.

    Here’s to another 7 years ☺️

    TFJ

    • Cheers Chris/TFJ

      Yes, it’s good to be part of this community, which is encouraging and motivating. However, I do sometimes have to check myself as we’re very much a bubble, as in FIRE bubble – when I speak to my friends, I realise how they are definitely not in the bubble and also in the minority – most people don’t think like us and I have to bite my tongue sometimes in case I come across as being too weird!

      Yes, a great time to be investing although it would have been even greater had I started earlier – I had money to invest 3-4 years before I actually started but I hadn’t come across FIRE then.

      In 7 years, it should be a different kind of post, one where I’m retired 🙂

  15. Happy 7 years Weenie!

    You’ve officially been blogging longer than me now because as you mentioned I’ve had a year off of it. 🙂

    If there’s one thing that strikes me about your life over all those years it’s that it is extremely balanced, something we should all strive for.

    I do plan to post and update (and hope to get back into writing semi regularly) soon but even if I never do yours is one I will always follow and read to the very end.

    All the best to you and for the next 5 or so years till the end goal is in sight!

  16. Cheers TFS!

    Well your blog isn’t dead and buried and I’m sure you will be updating at some point so technically, you’ve still been at it longer than I have! We’re all eagerly waiting to read about what you’ve been up to during your year away from the 9-5 and the blogging! 🙂

  17. You are a true voice in the FIRE community Weenie! I, for one, have made it more of a business lately, it used to be about documenting my journey which is still ongoing btw.

    Everyone has the right to feel demotivated from time to time (see Living a FI!) but you keep rocking on despite the “volatility” 🙂 Good luck!

    • Thanks very much, Foxy! Not sure about being the ‘true voice’, just one of the many voices in the community and I hope my sticking around helps people to stick to their plans!

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