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July 2022 Update – Financial Bear Market Update, Holiday fun and the Large Unexpected Outgoings category (Sad Pet story) 

Hey all, I hope everyone is keeping well. It’s that time again where a blog post update is due! 

Financial Bear Market Update

Financial Update – Early July 2022

The below figures are taken from the 9th of July.

  • Monthly investment (Mar 22 to Jun 22) – £1500 each month 
  • Savings rate (Mar 22 – Jun 22)– 55% average each month
  • Investment portfolio – £225,836.18
  • Cash is king fund – £1500
  • Crypto Punt – £0 (classing this as £0 despite being around £400)
  • Emergency fund – £100
  • Big expenses / holiday fund – £500

Total Liquid Funds = £228,436.18 

As you can see from the graph above, my portfolio has taken its biggest dive since the Covid pandemic. As similar to then though, as much as I of course don’t like seeing it go down – I am not too bothered as I know so many other people are genuinely suffering from energy prices rises, fuel increases and general inflation across the board. Peoples pensions that are stock market invested (the majority) are also suffering so there is a sense of collective suffering and not that it’s just me, that makes it far more bearable. If this gets far worse and it continues to create anything similar to 2008 then my ability to retire early might be pushed back a few years. That is not exactly a genuine sob story I can tell to anyone is it?

I have marked my crypto investment as £0 more as a psychological weight lifting mechanism as during the recent crash, I decided that I had pretty much lost my punt investment and anything that was still there or if it ever bounced back would purely be a bonus. You can also see my cash is king and big expenses fund are both much lower than before and that’s because of a large unexpected outgoing I will talk about in detail later on.

I must admit that every time it comes round to investing monthly now, I really do feel like I am getting cheap prices so to speak. I feel like DCA (dollar cost averaging) is working it’s charm. I won’t need it to reach the same high to make the money back in the future. I am essentially buying the dip and lowering my average cost which is a very crypto/Wall street bets type of saying but when it applies to investing in the world economy as a whole, I am very confident it will indeed  rise again (if it doesn’t, we are all buggered!). If I chose to invest in certain sectors only, individual stocks or things such as crypto then I feel I have no guarantee at all it will bounce back and even worse, I could be feeling pain when something crashes but it would have no impact on the majority of people – If Dogecoin crashed for example and I had my life savings in it, most would be unaffected but my life would be turned upside down…I think that my investing approach has again been justified and validated for myself personally similar to like it did the last time when Covid caused a crash.

How is rising prices affecting me? My fuel bills are rising and this is noticeable due to having to now be in the office three days a week instead of two. It would be even more painful if they changed this to five but for now it will remain at three thankfully. My energy plan has recently changed to the new price cap as I was on a year fixed package. This has caused my unit rate has to more than double for both gas and electric but due to it being the summer, I haven’t noticed this much yet but the winter will be interesting. A lot of the food and drink I buy seems to be mostly the same price when deals are on but I have noticed a few things rise, I can certainly cope with it for now but I am sure it will get worse over the year. My other household bills have certainly risen but nothing too bad at the moment either. I am still finding my general outgoings are kept within budget but part of that is due to my food and fuel allowances still being higher than I have used over the last couple of years, the buffer is being eaten into but at the moment I am still in the green every month.

Holiday fun (Amsterdam trip)

It’s been postponed 4 times since I booked it in 2019 but I finally managed to have my holiday to Amsterdam in late May. It was superb! I think the long wait made it even better and the fact that there was no masks anywhere really – not in the airport, on the plane or anywhere in Amsterdam itself made it better as it was the first 100% normal holiday I have been on since 2019.

We went to the Ann frank museum, had a day out in Rotterdam where we also went to the zoo, went on a night time canal cruise, saw a medieval dungeon live show and spent loads of time being very very chilled out so to speak :D. It was really what we both needed. The weather was very mixed but that really didn’t bother us, we aren’t sun worshippers by any stretch of the imagination and usually prefer city type breaks full of activities rather than just tanning ourselves on a beach somewhere hot.

Despite me going to Amsterdam around 8 times now, this was only the second time with my partner as the other times were lad holidays. We did lots of new things we hadn’t done before including window shopping in all the malls we had never seen before, exploring random canals and roads we had not been down and also had one night drinking instead of chilling…it was very expensive to get drunk so I was glad we only did that the one night. We found cheap local supermarkets that the locals tend to use that were a bit further out in the sticks and had the best chips I have ever tasted with a sweet curry sauce that was simply to die for…Amsterdam 9 here we come!

Large Unexpected Outgoings category (Sad Pet Situation)

So after having a wonderful holiday away in Amsterdam. I came back to a sad situation with my pet cat which is at the time of writing still on-going. I had asked my next door neighbour to feed him whilst we were away. He has a chip on his collar which lets him in and out of the cat flap so he is free to go outside. When I got back home, I noticed a letter on my kitchen table which said that unfortunately whilst I was away he had lost his collar and had been outside for 3 days, my neighbour had fed him but he wouldn’t let her near him to put his collar back on. I wish she would have told me as I could have just said to take the batteries out the cat flap and it would then fail open so he could go in and out without the chip. This of course was only slightly annoying as he had eaten as she put food out the back garden and a cat can certainly survive being outside for three days so that didn’t bother me too much.

The next day when I woke up, I noticed that he was circling a fair bit before he sat down, more than normal. When I was downstairs and saw him more clearly I could see he was going round in circles most the time and his one eye didn’t look right. I called the vets immediately and was told to take him straight away. They did a physical examination and could not find anything wrong physically but suspected a neurological problem and gave him some steroids and a neurological pain medicine. They then referred him to another vet that had specialists in neurology. 

Prior to going to the new specialist vets, I was informed that if I wanted to have a full investigation into his issue which would include a physical examination and an MRI scan that this would cost around £3500. I couldn’t believe how expensive this was but after research it seemed like it was the going rate. He was getting worse and we didn’t really have a diagnosis for him so I felt I had to pay for the scan to find out what we were dealing with to at least give him a fighting chance at recovery and to simply find out why he was becoming so poorly as I needed to know. He is 14 years old by the way. I was frustrated with how expensive it was but I knew I would pay the money as he means so much to me. I’ve had him as a companion for almost half my conscious life.

The diagnosis was that there was a brain stem lesion that is more likely to be an abscess caused by infection than a tumour although a tumour is also a possibility that has not been ruled out. With the amount of inflammation, a defined outer edge to the lesion, how quickly symptoms showed up and the fact he was outside for three days, the diagnosis of an abscess was given with the information available to us. He has since as a result been given high strength antibiotics. His walking has somewhat improved but he has since been unable to eat properly and can only lick food so I have been giving him gourmet paste cat food mixed with water which he loves. It can take months for the antibiotics to penetrate the brain stem fully so I currently don’t know how things will turn out, there is certainly a chance that this could still be a tumour as well but there is at least some small hope he could recover as even if this is not a tumour, a brain abscess is fairly deadly on its own. Surgery was ruled out because it would damage the brain stem in the process and was far more risky to do, not to mention that this would cost northward of £8000.

To bring this back to finances a little more, I don’t have a £3500 unexpected outgoings fund. I only give myself £1000 a year for unexpected large bills. This kind of unexpected cost has never occurred up until now and it just shows that such large outgoings do happen from time to time. It could happen again in terms of a huge car bill, house repair or other such expense. Now I was fortunate because I had a Cash is King fund where I had £5000. I have had to raid this but this has saved me from selling any investments during a period where that’s the last thing I want to be doing, it has also saved me from investing less each month in order to cover the costs. I am certainly grateful for that fund and it makes me want to keep it going forward. 

I looked into how much I might have been better off if I had pet insurance for him from a kitten. It turned out that with all the premiums and having to co-pay 20% due to him being over 10 years old. I would have paid around £3300 anyway even if I had insurance which made me feel a bit better about not having it. When the neurologist vet originally asked me about my pet insurance and I said I didn’t have any, they said – ‘oh dear’.

For the first time in years, I haven’t been able to invest my monthly amount of money before I get paid if I wanted to. I have had to actually make sure I have enough money in the bank. I haven’t been able to borrow from myself so to speak or use my own interest free overdraft as I have been far closer to £0 after all my bills and disposable income have gone out. This has felt very strange to say the least as for the first time in 8 years – when I get paid actually really matters. I am more conscious of my pay day. I am now gradually trying to build up my cash again by saving a bit more each month by not spending as much on going out and buying stuff. I need to slowly get back a healthy buffer even if it won’t be as big as before. I need to shield myself as much as possible from failing my Project 2235 and this will only fail if I don’t continue invest £1500 each month or if I have to sell any of my investments.

I think it’s important to say that I have no regrets in the slightest over spending this £3500. Even though it did annoy me, I didn’t question it. Paying the £8000 to have surgery may have gave me pause for thought depending on the likelihood of success but thankfully that decision was already made for me. 

Thanks for reading my post if you got this far, I appreciate it as always. Would love to hear your thoughts and how you’ve all been getting on. 

TFJ

March 2022 Update – European War + Financial Update, COVID Positive, Gangster monk in action & More

Hey all, I hope everyone is doing well. It’s time for an update and what a time it is right now in the world for one… Just when it looked like we were beginning to break free from Covid into a new normal especially here in the UK with all restrictions being removed, we now are all witnessing what most would of thought was a thing of the past, a European war – yes a war from a Russian invasion! Not a special military operation Mr Putin. I will touch on that as part of my financial review update, I will also talk how Covid finally got me followed by talking about how Gangster Monk as mentioned in my last post has been in action delivering on my goal to almost have my cake and eat it when it comes to my journey towards Financial Independence. I will finish on a more personal update with a goal to be held accountable to in front of you all!

Finance Review during a European War 

Financial Update – Mid March 2022

The below figures are taken from the 14th of March.

  • Monthly investment (Aug 21 to Feb 22) – £1500 each month 
  • Savings rate (Aug 21 – Feb 22)– 55% average each month
  • Investment portfolio – £225,836.18
  • Cash is king fund – £1500
  • Crypto Punt – £1002
  • Emergency fund – £144
  • Big expenses / holiday fund – £4160

Total Liquid Funds = £232,642.18 

As you can see from the graph above, my portfolio has taken the biggest hit since the Covid pandemic started in early 2020. This however is of course trivial compared to the horrific ordeal so many people are going through now in this war, and that goes for both sides when it comes to the human tragedy and sufferings that come along with war. I may have lost a lot of money and this might even stop me hitting my £250,000 Project 2235 target by the end of the year but the circumstances make the psychological hit of that easy to take if so.

Some of you may notice that my Big expenses fund has grown and my Cash is king fund has reduced. This is due to me transferring £5000 for use during this calendar year to enable Gangster Monk to live his dream. Unfortunately this was needed as my matched betting profits have now been exhausted so I had to fund my Big expenses fund from my other cash funds as I still need to contribute and invest £1500 for the rest of the year so I can hopefully still achieve my Project 2235 target.

My unexpected outgoings fund has taken a battering and is now fairly low at £144. This was due to a huge bill to fix issues with my car, such a relief though having that fund as it shielded me from that cost. The £5000 cash injection to my Big expenses fund can and will be used for unexpected outgoings until I build this back up over the next few months – I will get an extra payment from my side hustle in a month or so which will put that back above £500 and will get some more top up from a no council tax bill month too. As for the Crypto fund – Well, I’d rather not talk about the crypto fund, that’s a source of occasional thought pain mixed with embarrassment but then I just end up laughing at myself and move on… I will not sell! I just keep telling myself this is like an extreme emerging markets part of my portfolio and to be fair it is a small percentage anyway so it’s no real issue. It doesn’t stop me from feeling stupid though! I tried to ride the wave of FOMO others would have but it came crashing down on me, but I certainly knew the risks!

Russian Invades Ukraine (A European War in 2022)

When Russia was building up its forces along the border with Ukraine and in the Crimea, I really did think that it was all a bluff personally, a show of force and nothing more to achieve whatever his aims were. I was incredibly wrong on that front. I did not expect an invasion to occur and have been mortified to see the last couple of weeks unfold. It really is just plain awful and it seems the scenes and devastation will get far far worse in the weeks to come.

I can’t pretend to know what Putins intentions truly are, how much of what he says is lies versus actually what he really does believe himself too. As some commentators have pointed out, he really seems to have personalised this conflict and is now almost in a corner. Even if he takes the country militarily which will be very difficult, he has no hopes of holding it. I think what terrifies me more is what he will do whilst in this metaphorical corner he is now in and if and how he we will bite, as this cornered angry animal so to speak has nukes for teeth. He will need to keep face and come away with a win and I am just not sure how he will end up doing that at the moment. It certainly does worry me. I can’t believe this has happened in modern times on the European continent. I thought such things were things of the past, this will create a new normal now internationally as a result and I feel like that’s such a tremendous shame – The fact we are in essence going backwards – it’s quite depressing.

I will finish by saying I feel sorry for all of the suffering in this war, and that includes young Russian soldiers who are losing their lives having to fight for this cause. I have seen countless videos of events and I take no pleasure seeing dead Russians being taunted or prisoners of war being humiliated as I have occasionally saw. It all saddens me if I am honest. I can only hope this all ends as quickly as possible – I just can’t see that happening anytime soon with current events.

Covid Positive – It finally got me…

So I finally succumb to getting Covid, it was almost inevitable of course. I did manage to miss it for 2 years and was very lucky to get it after having 3 Covid jabs and to also get the more mild omicron variant instead of the earlier ones. Part of that was no doubt just plain luck of course combined with some preventative efforts. The irony however is that after going away on many weekend trips, nights out, going to Dublin and basically partying a lot in essence when we of course legally could, I ended up catching it at work of all places. My boss had the pleasure of unknowingly being almost certainly the one who gave it me whilst I was on the rota to be in the office one day, he didn’t know he had it of course so no blame is possible but he tested positive when he got home that day I was with him. Our office room pretty much has zero ventilation and I was with him for several hours so it was bound to happen.

The extra downside to getting Covid was the timing as I was going to Liverpool for the weekend. I even joked with my boss after he messaged me saying he was positive that if you ruin my Liverpool weekend that was coming up in a few days that I will kill you! Low and behold, on the Saturday whilst in Liverpool I woke up on the morning feeling incredibly hot, fatigued with a persistent cough. I pretty much stayed in the hotel that day and tested negative but I was confident it probably was Covid. On the Sunday I tested positive as expected and I ended up driving us back home early, it was also unfortunately the day where we had the bad storms with very heavy winds so the drive back was pretty awful and of course was made even worse by feeling so poorly. 

I spent the next couple of days pretty much in bed taking regular top ups of paracetamol and ibuprofen which helped keep me going. I had awful headaches and my cough was incredibly annoying. It was like a flu to me but a flu is bad enough, it was certainly not at the cold level. My immune system it seemed had in effect carpet bombed my body to try and deal with the Covid virus and I certainly felt the full impact of that as a result.

I ended up being positive for a full 12 days although I was much better after around 4 days but the more gutting thing was that I passed it on to my partner and my dad who was in Liverpool with me on the Friday (which was a good night by the way 😂). They have both got through it now though so that’s all that matters. I still don’t feel quite 100% and I have a lingering infrequent cough and also find I need need to clear my throat at times. It also affected my right ear by blocking it for a full 3 days which was one of the worse symptoms for me, apparently the omicron variant can cause that which was news to me. Even though it ruined our Liverpool trip and we lost the next 2 weeks to self imposed quarantine, I am just grateful that we all got though it, many others were not so fortunate.

Gangster Monk in action


As a reminder, in my last post I talked about how my ideal strategy going forward Post 2235 would be to act more like a gangster monk than a monk or gangster, I wanted the best compromise between living life well now even if it would move out financial independence by a few years in the process. It was all about a hedge in effect as to the risks of moving towards it at full speed when that might have resulted in depriving myself a little too much and also the greater risk of it all being for nothing due to unforeseen future circumstances.

Despite this being a future decision, this was in effect the life I had already been living at least for the last couple of years anyway. I was certainly more ascetic monk like in the years previous to that which I now think was a slight mistake but it’s got me to where I am now though, so no regrets. This lifestyle of the past 2 years had been possible due to the presence of past matched betting cash funds but these as mentioned earlier have now run out. I made the decision to create the money that I would have post Project 2235 as a result of investing less now by liquidating some of my Cash is King reserves. I could therefore be a Gangster Monk in advance right now.

For fun, I just wanted to show some real world examples of what this has looked like in the past couple of months when it comes to purchases and activities. 

*So there is a funny end to Air Max 95 story so to speak. I tried them on and they fit nicely and looked great. I went to pay for them and had to queue for around 10 minutes. The man started to bag them up but when I showed him my blue light card, he said that discount was only available online, he checked and they had none in stock online. It seems that I was over powered by the inner monk and could not bring myself to pay full price. I said no thanks and walked away…Part of me is glad but I must admit I really did like them trainers and I can’t find them anywhere online now 😅.

Personal Goal – Fatness be gone! 

So it’s time to get personal! I am not sure if I mentioned on here before but when I was younger I used to be quiet large. I ended up losing all that weight around university time (around a 4 stone loss) and have since pretty much been a stable weight – not thin by any means but not fat either. I have gone up and down by around 5 pounds on average I’d say at different times but otherwise it’s been remarkably stable to be fair.

I have though over the past 6 months started to put more weight on and I am now around a stone heavier than my normal weight. I therefore hereby commit to losing that stone prior to my trip to Amsterdam in May. I will still keep Friday as a cheat day where I get to drink and indulge a little bit as if I get too strict, it will end up back firing on me as I need to have some room for treats too, life’s for living too!

My goal and aim is to lose 2 pounds a week on average over the next 8 weeks. I will be doing this by mainly lowering my main meal portions, cutting out some snacks that have started to sneak in and to do some minimum level of fitness in between (this is more for all the other benefits that come with doing this than for the weight loss alone). I will likely no doubt end up coming back from Amsterdam 1 stone heavier, but that’s an issue for another blog post to worry about 🤣. Wish me luck! 

Thanks for reading my post if you got this far, I appreciate it as always. Would love to hear your thoughts and how you’ve all been getting on. 

TFJ

What Financial Independence really means to me…

I have done a post previously on what financial independence means to me but I wanted to now write it from a slightly different and more interesting angle fitting more of where I am now along the journey. I thought it would a good idea to construct a few different scenarios and paths towards FI. This is also good timing for me as I will be coming towards the end of Project 2235 next year and will likely commit towards one of these such paths. An important reason for this possible change is due to the income from my second side hustle coming to an end after three years (£500 less per month). Also, as a reminder, Project 2235 is essentially a big target of mine to reach a portfolio of £250,000 (Base bare bones FI) at the end of 2022 when I will just about by a whisker still be 35 years old. 

After detailing these different paths, I will then focus on some different attributes and circumstances where financial independence and finances influence in ways that matter to me, specifically when it comes to that all important lifelong happiness. I will then score and rate how my different paths help in achieving these whilst also adding in a few others that might not matter so much to me personally but might to others just to make it more interesting and fun. From these scorings, I should then be able to choose the path with the most points overall. I will weight the attributes in scores according to their importance to me.

Once I have done this, I will then look at reviewing which path I would choose if I were to start again from scratch with different circumstances. I will update the paths timeframe to FI and the scores accordingly.

General Paths to take

Below shows different paths I could take towards FI given my current circumstances. I chose the amusing two opposite ends of the spectrum of being a Monk where almost no money is spent other than bare bones outgoings and that of a gangster where nothing was saved/invested and everything was spent, I then included some more middle ground strategies. I know though that there are many variations of these one could take and I could also look to improve salary, get another job etc to change this even more but these are the base level paths for myself as it stands with my projected portfolio as of next December (End of Project 2235).

Age 35 (Mortgage free, £250,000 PortfolioMain job with a side hustle)


It’s worth clarifying that I am currently more or less in the same position as Gangster monk when it comes to weekly disposable albeit slightly less and have about three quarters of the yearly big expenses fund due to my 2nd side hustle which as previously mentioned is unfortunately coming to an end after 3 years and I will then be £500 a month down on my current income.  This is a big reason for looking at a possible strategy change as I am currently happy with things as they are at my current income and I don’t wish to get another side hustle unless it involves almost zero effort to replace the £500!

What do I actually want out of life? Why Pursue FI?

I could probably write a ten part series on this topic but I certainly won’t be doing that right now :). So… If I was to focus in on just a few key areas of importance to me in the grand living of life that would cross over with financial circumstances then I would highlight the following.

Increased Peace of Mind & Freedom (Remove negatives)

When it comes to finances impacting your life, it is often due to the lack thereof no doubt. As much as there can be different  unique problems with being a multi-millionaire, it’s pretty much the not having of money available that cause many of life’s worries and problems. One of the biggest benefits for me out of working towards Financial Independence has been the bonuses picked up a long the way, some of which are unlocked fairly early on.

Being able to lower or completely eliminate having bad debt and having a financial buffer are two hugely impacting benefits that can be obtained well in advance of even getting a third of the way toward achieving FI. The removing of a lot of the worries and others negative emotions that can exist when having debts hanging over you, and in not having money available for unexpected outgoings is awesome.

The next level of increased peace of mind comes from having such a big financial buffer that this buffer turns into FU Money. This helps in giving you the warm fuzzy feeling of not having to stand an awful job for the fear of not being able to cope financially in the interim, it allows you to speak your mind a little more freely as living month to month is now so far back in your rear view window. It allows you take take more risk, possibly to even start your own business or perhaps to consider a different career. Doing these such things from the position of FU is far easier and options available become far greater. The possessions of a large financial buffer also means there is much less immediate impact from a job loss triggered from redundancy or ill health.

Scoring attributes
Financial Buffer, Low or no debt, Less Job-loss impact, FU Money

Increased Abundance

When it comes to the impact of healthy finances and in particular a good flow of money being available to spend – The increased level of abundance that can be obtained is a huge benefit. Life can already provide much abundance of course and often times much of this can be free and relatively cheap no doubt. It however is also true that there is increased options and choice available when there is more money at hand. This can help add more food and drink to the buffet table of life so to speak. This can be in the form of increased travel and holidays, expensive purchases that can then provide on-going experiential happiness going forward such as buying an iPad, ps5, new guitar etc. There can be more disposable income which can allow you not to sweat over frequently gifting things to people, eating out, going on weekends away etc. This all helps to lubricate life in a positive way.

Scoring attributes
Holidays abroad, Multiple weekends away, Good disposable income (multiple activities), Everything designer Label, Big ad-hoc expensive purchases, Frequent Gifting, Frequent big expensive purchases, Amsterdam every month

Early retirement possibility

Now we get to discuss one of the major elements and goals of Financial Independence for most people involved in the pursuit – the ability of course to retire early. As readers will be aware, there are many different attitudes and goals within the FI scene and some people will simply aim to retire as early as possible whilst others may be pursuing just the ability to retire if so desired. I certainly now fall into the latter camp although originally I was firmly entrenched in the first.

For me, the huge benefit when it comes to early retirement goals is the ability to be in a sense early retirement ready. Work in older age can become completely voluntary and along the journey, there can be a sense of progressing along a scale of working also becoming more voluntary the closer and closer you get to being able to retire early. This feeling and situation certainly makes work stress feel less of an issue in my experience. The other main benefit of course relating to pulling the trigger on early retirement is the increased freedom of time. You can then choose to free up time by stopping working early but still have the option to carry on if you feel the time spent at work is still valuable and enjoyed.

Scoring attributes
Voluntary work in old age, Early retirement, More freedom of time

Risks

When it comes to working towards financial independence. There can sometimes be risks of having the pursuit rise above all else. It can be possible to pursue it from the perspective of fully admitting that you are delaying happiness now and depriving yourself to an extent for future predicted happiness. This can be done by investing every last penny and forgoing things in the here and now. The risks with doing this could be that you will never actually see your idilic version of early retirement or that when you get there, your health may not allow you to enjoy it as fully as you had hoped. There is also of course the opposite risk of not being able to retire early and due to this, you may need to work in a job you dislike for a long time and perhaps even during some period of chronic Ill health where working could make your illness even worse – work becomes pretty much forced.

Scoring attributes
Depriving yourself, Early death/illness risk, Working mandatory during Ill health/old age, Longterm work stress

Strategy Review Scoring (Age 35 – Mortgage free, £250,000 Portfolio – Main job with a side hustle)

Now that I have detailed some of the most important themes and attributes of why financial circumstances and seeking financial independence matter to me, I will now look at reviewing the strategies against these.

Points awarded are out of 5, with 5 being the best and 0 the worst

(N) This equals the weight of the score so if this is two then the points will be doubled


FI strategy at 35 Post Project 2235 – And the winner is…

Gangster Monk

Using the scoring adjusted for weighting based on importance to me, I can see that the middle path of the gangster monk gives me the biggest bang for buck on life happiness. This strategy would result in me taking around 3 years longer to reach FI however when balancing for risks and considering in turn focussing on happiness both in the now and later, it should result in more happiness when spread over the 12 years it would take to actually achieve financial independence. This really does confirm my gut feeling choice which would have been somewhere between FIRE Monk and Gangster Monk. I already have so many of the benefits at this stage of my journey towards FI that delaying my actual fully FI ready date by just over 4 years would not actually matter to me as I know I’d likely be happier along the way. 

What if I was starting from fresh?

As described in the introduction, I thought it would be interesting to see whether my choice of path was influenced more by my current position of being mortgage free and having a large portfolio to begin with and if I would choose the same path if starting again. I have chosen age 30 as this might be a typical age to start after getting to a decent salary and perhaps paying off some debt etc. I could of easily have been in this situation myself if it wasn’t for fortunate circumstances and the discovery of FI. I have adjusted the investments and weekly disposable figures slightly due to having £700 less income due to now having to pay for a mortgage. These however still reflect the broad ratio of my first scenario figures.

Age 30 (Mortgage monthly £700 payment, £0 Portfolio at start)
Main job with a side hustle (same income as now)


Strategy Review Scoring – Age 30 (Starting from fresh)

Points awarded are out of 5, with 5 being the best and 0 the worst

(N) This equals the weight of the score so if this is two then the points will be doubled


FI strategy at 30 (£0 Portfolio with a Mortgage) – And the winner is…

Gangster Monk

This result is very interesting to me as if I were in this position and I was starting from scratch, I would value more of the benefits along the way it would seem than actually being able to retire very early. All of these options barring the Pro Gangster and Pro Monk approach would likely have to involve a bridging period in order to be able to retire decently early. This would mean my eventual post FI income figure may need to rely and come more from my pension income than is with my current actual position. In that option I am planning to use my state and private pensions more as contingency and safety nets in the worse case scenario where my FI Pot was depleted. These would provide more of a basic income. This has always given extra peace of mind and is done for similar reasons when preferring to own my home outright mortgage free.

I do know that this option will also include the fact that during the latter years of this strategy, I may no longer be paying the mortgage and also that there would of course be room for possible job promotions etc but for simplicity and due to this matching with my current circumstances barring the highlighted differences, I have no intentions right now of working for higher management roles or changing my job for higher pay. I like to imagine that in this imagined scenario, I am also doing the same exact job where I am happy in my role and company.

Conclusion


Well… it really does seem as though I am going to be leaning more towards the gangster monk strategy going forward. This will mean that my investments each month will be close to halved and I will be in effect delaying being Early retirement ready by 3 years. I feel though that this is completely worth it due to the benefits in happiness along the journey itself and also to mitigate some of the risks of depriving yourself and of possibly not being able to see this proposed better future life, especially when you have deprived yourself along the way to reach it.

When looking at the strategy if I were to hypothetically start this again without some good fortune that I had along the way, I am further more made to feel very grateful to my current circumstance. I would though in this imagined scenario still strive fully towards financial independence. I would in turn pick up some of the benefits very quickly towards the start of the journey and would still live life well now, I would live for both now and tomorrow. The longer length to achieve FI might indeed mean I would have to create a bridge between my FI Pot and pension money to retire in my early 50s however the fact early retirement would still be an option would still be incredible. I would still be a gangster monk. 😅

As always, Love to hear your thoughts, TFJ.