Financial Independence Meet Up

This week I attended a meet up of the Financial Independence London group which exists on Facebook.

In a very sunny St. James Park we got through a lot of topics related to FI and there was a good mix of people with different ages and careers. Similar themes came up and I plan to investigate each of these further in this blog:

  • Who does FI?
    We talked about our careers and a lot of people who are chasing FI seem to work in IT or finance. Why is this? I guess that numeracy and analytical skills help but there seems to be more to it than this. Somewhat ironically, anecdotal evidence suggests that many people who work in finance have a ‘lastminute.com’ attitude to money and barely scrape by in time for pay day!
  • Spending patterns
    There was a lot of discussion of the way people spent money. While we all agreed that cooking and buying food cheaply help towards FI, I noticed that living in the West Country means that I do not often go into cities and past shops – this alone saves me a great deal of money by removing the temptation.
  • Holidays
    Despite the agreement about saving, there was a similar agreement that holidays are a luxury worth paying for. Sitting at home looking at spreadsheets can get pretty boring!
  • Starting a portfolio
    There was a lot of variation in how we invest our money. While people tended towards a diversified portfolio, some did not know where to start and some had rather risky ideas of investing in a very small number of individual company shares.
  • How much?
    We chatted about how much is enough – I think everyone agreed that £1m and having a mortgage paid off would be more than enough, even in London. But we could all probably live on a lot less than that…
  • Tracking
    How closely to people track their spending? Do you account for every coffee or just wait until the end of the month and work out what is left?
  • Property
    I have some friends who have already reached FI via property, but at the meet up people were generally wary of investing although some had done well from their own homes, especially in London. I plan on inviting some guest posts from those who have reached FI and to explain my own approach.

     

Yachtbuilding – Early Retirement and Financial Independence

Part of this blog will be my efforts to become financially independent before the statutory retirement age. How quickly this happens will depend on a number of factors but moving here was about getting more life out of the work/life balance and working less is a big part of that.

For me, the priorities are:

  1. Build up a substantial pension pot
    To generate income for day to day living and to use the 25% tax free lump sum to pay off outstanding debt
  2. Reduce outgoings
    Living here has already helped reduce our outgoings but the house needs a lot of work so in the short term our outgoings will be high
  3. Build up passive income sources
    At present this means our buy to let property but we also intend to invest and use the income to pay some bills

I reckon ten years ought to be enough but there’s a lot that can happen in the meantime. Interest rates, investment returns and other unexpected events may get in the way or help.

Part of the reason for this blog is to report on progress. I’m not alone and there are a lot of people out there doing the same thing, like Monevator, Retirement Investing Today, Afford Anything, Early Retirement Extreme as well as the sites linked on the left.

The title is a reference to financial institutions and their customers which will be the subject of another post.

What this blog is about

This blog will cover a number of areas related to life, work, money and probably a bit of gardening and DIY too. Hopefully over time these areas will start to coalesce into something approaching a focus…

Country living – living down here is different to living in London, but not always in the ways you think. We think it’s better otherwise we wouldn’t have moved and we’ll be looking at exactly how those differences affect our day to day lives.

Working from home – this is what made our move possible. We’re very dependent on somewhat shonky broadband at the moment but there are ways to start working from home and ultimately to become ‘untethered’.

Financial independence – although it may seem as if we’ve taken on a lot of risk by letting out our London house this risk is balanced by various strategies and options available to us. Obviously financial dependence depends on both reducing your costs and investigating your earnings and we’ll be doing both.

DIY – our house needs a lot of work and I need to get a bit more handy, both to save money and to become more resilient. We’ll also be looking at growing more food in the garden and we’d like to plant an orchard.

Investment planning – a big one and there are plenty of financial blogs out there. I’d like to ‘retire early’ in that I choose when and where I work, although I’m not there yet. I’d like to discuss some ideas and concepts and no doubt Vanguard trackers and B2L property will feature heavily.

That’s about it for now. If anyone has any suggestions or questions please use the comments section below.

Why we did it

When we lived in our house in London we used to enjoy going on weekends to Devon and Cornwall. We liked being near the sea, we liked the countryside and we liked the people we met. We both worked from home quite often and on one of our trips we said ‘Why don’t we just live here?’ and neither of us could think of a good reason why not.

We’ve done it!

Branscombe Beach

After a false start earlier in the year, we moved to Devon last month. We found some tenants on a long lease for our London house and we’re getting settled into a great little village. The major challenge now is to plan all the various work that needs doing on the house and garden, along with getting to know our neighbours and exploring the local area.