Faith in Eighth

Yet, another year rolls on by and my blog has just unbelievably turned eight years old!

Happy 8th birthday to Quietly Saving! 🙂

So am I still as FIRE’d up about all this after 8 years of writing and sharing my mutterings and my journey?

Yes, I guess I am.

But I’m not half as excited as I was back then.

Eight Year Slog

It does feel like a slog at times, as it continues to be an effort to stay focused.

Sometimes, I feel like I can’t be arsed updating the blog, because I feel like there’s nothing really for me to write about, just the same old, same old.

I’m just getting on with my life and the dogged path of perseverance to get to my FIRE goal is not exciting at all!

Life before I discovered FIRE did seem so much more carefree, when I was just merrily drifting aimlessly with no set goals. Life, that is, AFTER I had paid off my credit card debts – it wasn’t so merry during my dark days of being neck-deep in debt.

But if I want to get to where I’m going, I need to keep at it, need to stay focused, and carry on saving and investing as much as I am able to towards my future.

This blog has undoubtedly kept me from straying 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 and emails.

What have I been doing these past 8 years?

As mentioned earlier, it’s just been 8 years of just living my life – work, eat, gym, sleep, that’s what it all pretty much boils down to.

The spare time I have in between is taken up with reading (books and blogs), playing video games, watching tv, socialising with friends or family and gardening. Hopefully will be introducing some more travelling in there again at some point.

Aside from the breakdown of a long-term relationship (15 years), being made redundant at the end of 2016 from the company where I’d enjoyed a 21-year career, my sister and nephew moving in to live with me and then me buying a home (during a peak property period) earlier than planned, my adult life has been relatively free of ‘drama’ and mostly in my control.

I haven’t always made the best decisions in my life (who does, 100%?) but I own those decisions with no regrets.

I try to live a ‘normal’ life, which means I don’t deprive myself of anything I love, enjoy and consider important in my life. I don’t practise extreme frugality and don’t believe I have sacrificed or denied myself anything in my pursuit of FIRE.

When I was younger, I liked (and spent a lot on) shiny new things. Currently, I’m still using my 6-year old mobile phone (Blackberry, remember them?), my Kindle e-reader is 11 years old, my car will be 10 years old this year (bought new) and I have a wardrobe of good quality ‘vintage’ clothes (many from early 2000s – one reason for maintaining my size and weight is so that I can still wear them all!).

I’ve just not spent a lot of money on stuff I deem unnecessary, but have splashed out on things which I consider important to me.

I’m looking forward to foreign holidays again, I continue to use my gym membership regularly, enjoy my Amazon Prime membership (which I use for reading and watching) and love my boozy social outings with my friends. This past year, my social outings have included Manchester FIRE pubmeets which I always enjoy attending.

It’s possible that by cutting out these extra expenses, I could reach FIRE a lot quicker but that would be unsustainable, I’d be miserable and in any case, why the rush? It’s not a race, I’m not competing with anyone.

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%, managed over 50% during the pandemic but this year, prioritising my house will probably mean a savings rate of around 25%.

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

Here’s the growth of my Future Fund over the years (2022 shows the amount as at end March 2022):

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, the trend has been heading in the right direction, just looks a bit wobbly at the moment with the current terrible situation of war in Europe, rising costs of living, high inflation, etc.

My Future Fund did reach that coveted quarter of a million milestone, but market forces have conspired to make me work for it again!

Overall, my life these past 8 years has been pretty stable, allowing me to concentrate on my savings and investments.

Time will tell whether I’ve gotten my savings and investment strategy right but I tend to think there’s no real right or wrong – my strategy would likely not be a great fit for other people, just as theirs won’t be right for me. I’ve just done what I’ve been comfortable with and what I believe might work.

So Why am I not so Excited about FIRE?

In the early days, it was all new, I was learning so much, implementing new strategies, developing new habits, taking part in a growing and very helpful community. FIRE was a loooong way away and it was just so exciting to start my journey, to plan my future.

Now, 8 years later, I think I know it’s not a case of if I reach FIRE, it’s a matter of when.

So whilst I’m not on the home straight yet, perhaps there’s a sense of inevitability which has taken some of that gloss away.

Or maybe it’s just me getting older and wiser and not so excitable!

Not to say that I won’t be happy when I get there, because I absolutely will be! 🙂

How Long until I FIRE?

I don’t believe I’m really any closer than I was a year ago, so I think I am still around 4 years away from achieving FIRE.

My current plans haven’t accounted for rapidly rising inflation or high cost of living so I will need to make some adjustments.

My FIRE date was always just an estimate, based on predictions and modellings on spreadsheets.  It’s not really possible 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. It’s probably more a range of numbers I have now and even this range varies from time to time.

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.

That said, you could probably say that I’m loosely aiming to live a Moderate Lifestyle according to the Retirement Living Standards.

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 until I’m ready to stop working.

It’s unlikely that there will be a change in my living situation in the near future, so that’s one less thing to worry about but there are still plans for a company restructure at the place where I work (previously shelved due to the pandemic) so I will have to wait to see if my job is affected in any way.

I have a feeling that when the time is right, I will make a fairly quick decision on whether to pull the FIRE plug or not.

Thank You Again

Readers have come and gone over the years and I’m eternally grateful to the ones who have stuck around 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, with the odd share tip 😉 (hope this shoutout prompts you to do an update, TFS 🙂 )

And on that note, I’m off to the gym for a tough workout so I can munch guilt-free on my Easter eggs!

Happy Easter all – have a great weekend!

 

36 thoughts on “Faith in Eighth

  1. Congratulations Weenie. 🙂 The slog is real, just go to keep pushing through.

    You’re an influencer as well as a blogger — I was just seeing today that FireVLondon is using your ‘Weenie Chart’ to display his dividend income progress! 🙂

  2. Happy 8th Birthday. The slog is definitely real, made easier by enjoyable blogs like yours.

    Thanks for all the enjoyment you provide. I’m sure I’m one of many cheering you on to that FIRE goal.

    All the best.

  3. Happy 8th Birthday!

    Your updates are always really enjoyable and come from a very relatable place which is what I enjoy most!

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Thank you, Weenie.

    Writing this blog might feel like “same old, same old” to you but I find it fascinating: the everyday stuff makes it relatable. But what really speaks to me is that are doing this from a more modest salary (like me) – the blogs written by high earners barely seem relevant at times – whereas your typically saving/investing £500-£1200 per month is my world. This makes it feel, in some ways, like a shared journey.

    Anyhow, I look forward to another year of your blog.

  5. Happy Eighth Birthday Weenie!

    Its not a slog, its an enjoyable game.

    Don’t focus on the end, just the next step, your goals will probably change over time anyway 🙂

    I came back from having absolutely nothing back at Christmas 2004 – tin of beans & sausages for a lonely Christmas Lunch – to enjoying my retirement now.

    I’ve never earned a high salary since 2004 but the work I did since then by reading blogs & making every £ work really hard has now paid off and is second nature.

    Your blog is relatable because you seem to be just an ordinary person, living a good life and trying to get on, not some high flyer who earned huge bonuses in the City and can now afford to write blogs from the safety of a huge cash safety net, using terms & strategies that I will never understand 🙂

    Last time I looked I had earned over £2000 in my Santander account, mainly by stoozing, sadly those days are gone but there are always new opportunities for free cash & better investments to whet the appetite – I do surveys as recommended by you, tried Matched Betting as recommended by you (doesn’t suit me unfortunately), read lots of other blogs from your recommendations, honed my investment skills by watching you, and I get re-energised every time your email appears in my inbox!

    Keep up the good work!

  6. Congrats, Weenie! This is a BIG milestone.

    Somehow I think only someone who can get to FIRE can also run a blog for 8 years. It takes perseverance, even when you’re not in the mood to write or connect with others.

    We started blogging around the same time and somehow I feel this sense of pride of how far you’ve come. I really valued your support and comments in the beginning, and they have shaped both my blogging and FI journey. Thank you very much for that.

    With regars to FIRE being boring: I think that’s exactly how it should be. You have your plan, you’re excercising it, and all the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place. It’s no drama, but slow and steady progress. And when I say “slow”, I don’t mean slow but FAST. You’re going to make it to FIRE in 12 years! Wow!

    I wish you all the best and good luck for the coming years,
    Cheers,
    NMW

  7. Nothing much to add to the comments you already have, but +1 on the congratulations for keeping up an enjoyable blog for so long. I wrote a blog myself about FIRE for maybe 1 year and then couldn’t be bothered to continue, so I know I couldn’t have done what you’ve done. Well done, and I hope you’ll still be writing for the next 8 years – there is no other example I can think of that is:

    1) UK based
    2) Doesn’t involve unusually high earnings
    3) Hasn’t significantly moved goalposts since the beginning
    4) Has been going for quite a number of years

    So I’m sure lots of us get unique value from reading about your journey

  8. It’s a funny old business for sure and hats off to you for following Churchill’s advice to ‘keep buggering on’, T.S. Eliot once wrote a poem about financial independence,
    “We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.”

  9. Congrats 8 years is a fair time.
    It took me 18 years from realising I could retire early to actually retiring !
    I do believe if you intend doing anything sport or hobby in retirement it is a good idea to start doing the activity before retirement.

    A year into retirement i have borrowed your idea of yearly goals:
    overseas travel 12 weeks
    local theatre 20 visits
    music/concerts 20 visits
    Globe Theatre 6 visits
    Big Theatre/ Opera 8 visits
    Theatre at Vue 6 visits
    Cinema 10 visits
    Art/Museum exhibitions 20
    Archery 3 X week

    Gary

  10. Wow, how quickly did those eight years slip by?!!

    I guess it’s understandable to be feeling that ‘same old, same old’ after such a lengthy run but there will be lots of new investors reading your thoughts for the first time and probably feeling just as excited as you did when you first learned about financial independence.

    Thanks for the update and keep up the good work.

  11. Congratulations,

    Remember you have a readership who enjoy your updates.

    Similar to you Weenie, about 4 years then I too can retire if I so wish (moderately).

    Keep up the good work,

    Lee.

  12. There are only four fundamental rules.

    (i) Don’t get into debt except for a mortgage loan on owner-occupied property.

    (ii) Diversify your financial assets.

    (iii) Avoid tax.

    (iv) Avoid waste.

    So any sensible writer is bound to be repetitive; it’s in the nature of things.

    Carry on, Weenie!

  13. Hi Weenie, your investments are sensible and you’re putting in new money every month. There’s nothing more to do! Share prices rarely move dramatically. There’s not much to say monthly. Perhaps make your blog entries quarterly?

  14. Congratulations on 8 years of blogging, and the remarkable progress you have made.

    You have inspired generations of bloggers, and the personal finance community is richer for your constant comments and support.

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us all, I look forward to following along for several years yet to come until you declare victory and cross the finishing line.

  15. Reminds me of that old saying…..”it’s always better to travel well than to arrive”.
    A number of FIRE bloggers have been and gone over the years, but since i encountered the FIRE acronym, your site and just a handful of others have remained consistent, providing guidance and reassurance that the path we’re on is the right one.
    I’m sure many other readers have been using the ‘Ween-dex’ as one of their benchmarks of portfolio performance over the years, i know i have. I was down 3% over Q12022, so your breakeven performance there was good.
    Hopefully all of the nice messages that you’ve received on your lucky 8th birthday will re-invigorate you and keep you blogging for many years to come (including post-FIRE). Sounds like you just need a few new ‘projects’ to get your teeth into, but on the other hand, why change a winning formula?!
    Happy Easter.

  16. I always read and enjoy your blog Winnie. I still think of going back to mine – which you inspired! – but I’m retired now and, at 58, it’s not really “early”! I’d agree with you that the exciting thing about FIRE was the novel approach it took to finance and lifestyle, and it made me look at my life and career differently. I also became a bit disillusioned with many of the “popular” (and mostly American) bloggers who seemed to want to turn FIRE into a career choice. I came to much prefer the thoughts of the more “normal” people trying hard to apply the principles to their own life here in the UK, and you are one of the foremost exponents of that. Hope you keep it going and congrats on coming this far.

  17. Just wanted to say keep on keeping on Weenie!!

    The slog reminds me of an Accumulator’s old post: “It feels like I’m rowing solo across the Atlantic. The planning is done, the course is set and all I gotta do is row.”

  18. 8 years is a real achievement – congratulations, Weenie!

    I know from my own experience that, after the initial couple of years when it’s all still an exciting novelty, digging away in the FIRE salt mines can feel a bit of a slog and pretty lacking in sparkle.

    But, just look at that graph. You’ve come a long way, baby! 🙂 Just keep the faith, and you will get there pretty soon. Take it from me – it will be worth it! I’ve been retired for years now, but there is still not a day goes by when I don’t feel grateful for the money choices I made.

    And, when the end is in sight, it all starts to get really exciting again as you race towards the finish line! Hold that thought…

  19. Congratulations on 8 years.

    I guess the worst thing about this is just how quickly time does fly past. Yes working towards FIRE can feel like a slog but you are not alone! In many ways I am not even that bothered about the RE bit so much anymore, instead, this journey has shown me how to value what I spend my money and time on. Add in the pandemic and I realise that quality time does not equate to expensive spending although there is nothing wrong with splashing out either occasionally. And I am grateful that during this cost of living crisis, I am insulated because of my FIRE choices.

  20. Happy Blog Birthday Weenie!! 8 years…wow….how time both flies by and yet can seem forever at the same time…

    Huge congrats on keeping going. I remember that part well for sure when still slogging away. Funnily enough, it was at about 5 years out we sat down and re-worked the numbers to make them more concrete. That really helped when each month/year we celebrated being a little closer.

    Even if it hadn’t ended up working out, just having a more fixed date in mind helped keep us going than continuing to say ‘about 5 more years’. Weird, really – but hey, whatever works for each of us, right?!

    I know I found you later than most but I’m now always keeping an eye out for an update, love hearing you are still going. Like others have said – you are a proper inspiration. Cheers!! Now go celebrate with something chilled and sparkling….

  21. @All

    Am overwhelmed by all the words of support, thank you all so much!

    @The Investor – Thanks TI and thanks for flagging the ‘Weenie Chart’ – I had a good laugh about that as I see FireVLondon at one end of the FIRE spectrum and me at the ‘budget-end’ of the spectrum!

    @Gentleman’s Family Finances – The bad side of this simple advice was that I never threw anything out ‘that didn’t fit me’ so my wardrobes were over-brimming until my Konmari cull last year!

    @EMS – Thanks and I’m glad you enjoy the blog.

    @ Colm Copeland – thanks!

    @NewInvestor – I’m glad you see it as a shared journey – makes me feel less lonely in that respect! I very nearly didn’t start my blog because the big numbers and salaries mentioned in some of the other (US) blogs almost made me feel that FIRE wasn’t for me.

    @Ken – I do need to just focus on the next step, just that the end goal is ever looming. Thanks for sharing, your own journey is such a great achievement, it’s an inspiration for us all! I’m glad to hear that some of my ideas have helped you!

    @No More Waffles – thanks for your kind words and continued support. Yes, once the initial bits are in place, FIRE is boring; it just doesn’t make exciting reading but it looks like that’s what people are wanting to see!

    @Northern Lad – cheers and thanks for reading and for your continued support.

    @The Rhino – you’re right, I have kept ‘buggering on’!

    @Gary Cooper – Thanks and yes, hear what you’re saying regarding starting to do the sport or hobby before retirement. I think that’s one reason I added something ‘arty’ in my goals, ie to try now to see if it’s something I still enjoy. But that’s a great list of goals you have there and something I would look to adopt for outings and events etc.

    @diy investor (UK) – thanks, I know, 8 years has just whizzed by!

    @Lee Briggs – Thanks and good luck to you on your journey too!

    @dearieme – 4 sound rules! Cheers!

    @Chris Perry – a couple of year back, I did consider scaling back to doing quarterly updates but I was afraid that I would get into the habit of not updating and end up not doing any updates at all! It will stay monthly for now.

    @David – Thanks and yes, I think it’s a great guide to consider for future planning.

    @indeedably – Thanks indeedably for your continued support.

    @Kid Cocoa – the ‘Ween-dex’ haha – I’m glad that my simple graphs and charts are useful! There are more projects I want to get my teeth into, rather, it’s more analysis on my investments – I just need to find the time (and motivation) to work on them.

    @Jim McG – Cheers Jim and 58 is early, it’s still years before you’re due to receive state pension! Hear what you’re saying about those who have turned FIRE into a career choice, selling it as a lifestyle. I’ve provided some of my spreadsheets for free to people who have asked, it has never crossed my mind to charge for them so it saddens me that certain parts of the community want to make money from others on their FIRE journey.

    @Andrew – Cheers!

    @Jane in London – Thanks and yes, I have come a long way! I am keeping my faith although it waivers occasionally, which is when I start obsessing over my numbers and spreadsheets. I hadn’t thought of it getting all exciting again as I make my way to the finish line – something to look forward to!

    @SYBN – Thanks and yes, during the pandemic, I too felt that I was insulated in some way due to my FIRE choices and that I was able to cope with lockdown and the restrictions better than some. .

    @Al Cam – Thanks and thanks for your continued support.

    @Michelle – Thanks and thanks for reminding me that I do need to re-work my numbers to make them more concrete. I’ve avoided doing this (because it’s stressful) but it’s something I do need to do, to figure out a proper decumulation plan and how I will actually implement it.

  22. Congratulations on 8 years of blogging. I nearly gave up after a year 🙂 You were certainly one of the first FIRE blogs we found when we started and a great inspiration and resource so know your efforts are appreciated!

    What a journey and hopefully the end is in sight!

    WTMTF#1 and #2

    • Thanks WTMTF#1 & #2!

      Yes, blogging is easy but also not easy, as I’m sure you found out yourself! Great to hear that you’ve gotten some inspiration from mine – yes, hopefully the end will be in sight!

  23. I’m a bit late, but like you say, what’s the rush.

    As ever, our (financial) lives continue to be identical. My “moderate” lifestyle is now 4 years away too.

    We’re getting there 🙂

  24. Congrats on your 8th blog birthday.
    I live in NZ and as far as I can tell there are no FIRE blogs from here. Me and the missus have just returned from a 3 week holiday in the South Island.
    I am now retired, comfortably but not early, in no small part because of blogs like yours. I came across FIRE after reading a 1 paragraph article in a newspaper about MMM and then went in search of this ‘secret society’ and yours was one of the first non american, non extreme blogs I found.
    I enjoy reading your blog each month because it very relateable. You still get on with what appears to be a ‘normal’ life and enjoy yourself!
    ps. I notice you’ve not been brewing beer lately

    Keep up the good work, and thank you

    • Thanks Peter, great to hear that you are retired comfortably and got a little help from MMM and my blog! Incredibly inspiring as this assures me that what I’m doing is the right thing.

      Ah, yes, it’s been a good while since I last brewed beer, although when I moved house recently, all my home brewing kit was packed up and went with me, so I still have it all. I have hope of picking it up again at some point although space might be an issue – I will make it work! Perhaps a project later in the summer for me!

      Also, if you look here, there might be some NZ blogs among these personal finance blogs, which weren’t around when you were looking for them: https://sovereignquest.com/category/personal-finance-new-zealand

  25. A belated happy blogiversary, Weenie! 8 years of consistent blogging is an incredible achievement. Looking forward to continuing to follow your progress as you reach that target.

  26. Congratulations weenie on the website being 8 years old now. That’s incredible, won’t be long before it’s a teenager . Your blog was one of the few UK ones that really made me want to be part of the community and make my own so I would like to thank you for that too! I feel privileged for being part of it all as well.

    I think it’s great that it has helped keep you on the straight and narrow so to speak. It has been a brilliant 8 years for you in terms of growing your freedom fund, that graph looks amazing even despite taking some of the funds at the end as these were taken a for great reason. We have been fortunate to be on such a long bull run no doubt but still, a huge congrats on how you have done over the 8 years as without your efforts, that graph would not look like it does. I look forward to reading your posts for another 8 years at least! and seeing how the blog acts during its teenage years hehe.

    TFJ

    • Cheers TFJ – great to hear that my blog steered you towards the community – I created this blog for me really and am humbled that it has helped so many.

      Yes, lucky most of the 8 years has been a bull run but what will the next 8 years bring? Let’s hope my graph continues to head in the right direction.

      When my blog reaches its teens, I should be retired so perhaps could be blogging about post-FIRE!

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