My S&S ISA account has been open for almost one year – since the beginning of 2019, I have ramped by savings up to over 50% month and month and I’m making good gains towards continuing to save hard to live a more relax, financially free life later down the line. I’m proud of myself for seeing my savings rate climb and so to my savings and investments. There’s definitely some kind of psychological cushion knowing that if your job / income went tits up, you would have some kind of safety barrier for your family.

Anyway, I digress as I think about; “What would I be doing if I didn’t know about FIRE?”

Put simply, I would be spending most of my money each month. It’s difficult to determine exactly what I would be spending money on – most likely ‘stuff’ for the house, but given that we moved into the forever home back in Feb 2018 the house in general has needed / required some maintenance, furniture and the usual expenses of moving from one house to another. I would also be spending out on meals, seeing friends and most likely excessively on cars as well.

Holidays was another big thing, going on 2 cruises a year wasn’t out of the ordinary. Since we began our FIRE journey we now aim to go on a cruising holiday once every 2 years and use the caravan for ‘stop gap’ holidays in between. By cutting down as well means that we are so very much looking forward to the next cruise holiday, whilst previously, we would’ve just booked it and that was that! Again, another psychological positive impact that it’s had on me in-particular in ensuring treats like going on a cruise doesn’t become so regular it becomes boring.

For me, FIRE is so psychologically and positively impactful on determining that money isn’t the source for happiness. Sure, money allows you to be more flexible I have found when needing to pay the odd unexpected bill that lands at the door, but in general, I value spare time as the scale of ‘richness’. Of course, I imagine everyone’s definition of being ‘rich’ to be wildly different – My job very much sculpts the reasoning to why I seek spare time. Money allowed us to purchase our dream home, but would I be as happy in another home? Most probably yes!

FIRE Thought

The average UK household unsecured debt now at over £15,400 and this figure has grown significantly since 2013. Many of my friends who are based in London can’t afford to purchase homes and are struggling to put any savings away. Is it just me or does this also make you concerned over the welfare of the country in general knowing that many many people in the UK are in a similar boat?

Take one of my friends – This is exactly the description of a close friend. (We’ll call him Jeff let’s say). Jeff rents 1 room in a houseshare for £650 p/m. Jeff earns just under £30,000 p/a and has regularly outgoings such as the usual bills like transport to and from work. Jeff doesn’t have any savings nor can afford to save each month, doesn’t know how to drive a car and is soon rapidly approaching 30. Jeff likes to keep up with the busyiness of London – going out for drinks, eating out most nights, socialising regularly.

Jeff has been guided and recommended by many of his friends to start to take grasp of their finances by looking to get onto the housing ladder, begin to save, cook meals from home etc. Jeff knows that he should be doing this, but Jeff refuses as the ‘London’ pull / draw keeps them living in an area where they clearly can’t afford, a job that is stressful and costs which aren’t sustainable.

Knowing that you cared about Jeff and wanted the very best for Jeff, how would you approach Jeff in letting him know that he should look to start to make amends to secure their financial future?

Disclaimer: It’s difficult to not sound like some sort of ‘controlling’ / activist of FIRE in regards to the thought about Jeff. I’m very much a believer of freedom that if someone wants to live their life in a certain manner / way, then let them be (in the confines of being legal / within the law of course…).  

Would like to hear peoples thoughts and opinions on this!

Cheers,