First post – Meet me!

Who am I?

Hey there! My name is Chris. Firstly as always thanks for taking the time to view my blog, it’s great to have you here. Welcome to my first real blog post, or technically the second one if you count my short introduction to the website :). 

This first blog post has been 4 years or more in the making in some ways. I have often times been tempted to make a website about Financial Independence and life in general but never quite found the time or extra motivation to do so. I was also held back by conflicting thoughts about whether I should or shouldn’t which I will talk about in a future post.

So who am I? As mentioned earlier, my name is Chris. I’m in my early 30s and work in IT as an engineer. I am an ordinary guy and in many ways I don’t differ in what I do to many of my friends and colleagues at work and in personal life. I like a few drinks now and then, play far cry, wolfenstein on my PS4, watch the walking dead and enjoy the odd trip to Amsterdam (no not to do that, before you think…).

In other ways however, I am living a separate kind of life and journey that only a couple of my close friends know about. I choose to keep it this way as from my own personal experience talking about never having to work again or having large sums of money as a result just feels like you are bragging or often makes people relate to you differently in a negative way. This of course doesn’t extend to everyone but I would rather keep it to myself and only discuss the generalities with others if they are curious. This is one of the major reasons why I wanted to create this site as it allows me to connect with others on a similar path in a more anonymous way. So… this journey is of course as most of you already know is the journey towards and through Financial Independence.

Pre FI Enlightenment

It really interests me that I remember pre FI knowledge how I looked at the future. I never even considered it a possibility to really retire early at 50 which to me was the definition of early. I thought it would take a lottery win or some huge luck to even accomplish that. I was focussed on living more in the present with retirement in the far foggy future. I thought investing was just really gambling and too complex and out of reach for me, you could literally lose all your money and it was a no go area for sure. 

Fast forward to Age 27

I came into a little bit of money during this year through bad circumstances, it wasn’t life changing money at all but was a fair amount to consider what to do with it and at the time was more than I had ever had sight of. I wanted to invest this somehow to best grow the money for the future. I began researching what investments were wise and what the likes of Martin Lewis at Moneysavingexpert thought. I eventually discovered passive index investing at the website Monevator. This website introduced me to the new world of Financial Independence. I went on to read Mr Money Moustache , Early Retirement Extreme, theFIREstarter and many other sites discussing FI. I was infatuated, besotted by it all one could say. I couldn’t get enough of it – I was addicted to checking my spreadsheets, working out my FIRE date, going through simulations, and reading more and more content on the general topic of FI.

Over the next few years, I fine tuned my budget, cut expenses where I could, increased my savings rate, created a Cash is King fund, Emergency fund and tracked my money to the penny, yes the penny! I originally had a FIRE date 23 years in the future, this changed with extra money, New bare bones FIRE goals, and more fine tuning to 18 years, 15, 12 and finally ended up at 8 years. I wanted to pull the trigger on full FIRE. I really disliked my job, hated my boss and couldn’t wait to escape the rat race.

Fast forward to now

I have since those early days continued to be fully committed to FI as a broad goal, I have however changed in some key ways in my approach and what I consider to be the end game. My trouble was for myself this is, was I was far too strict in the early days and I really was aiming for bare bones FI and treated FI as the end goal in its entirety rather than more of an enabler and something that gives you more options in the future.

I have since moved jobs and now I really enjoy what I do, I have an awesome boss and no longer hate work. That doesn’t mean I don’t like the weekends or live to work but I no longer feel like FIRE is the definite end target. I think FIRO (Financial Independence Retirement Optional) is more of a fit for me or switching to part time work maybe. I have loosened up on a target solid date for FI although I still check compound interest calculators and have a rough idea in years when I should reach some semblance of Base FI. This is currently 5 years away. 

I have also stopped for the most part feeling guilty spending money on things I value and enjoy. I love saving money on goods, I love bargains and buying in bulk things that I use and eat still but if I want a certain brand name food I love, I won’t hesitate picking it up whereas before I think I was more aware of the price. I like to think I am more balanced now in my approach and in turn I feel more comfortable, my quest for FI has almost become an auto pilot function in many respects.

This website & closing remarks

Well that’s enough about me, if you have read all of this I applaud you that’s for sure. I really hope with this website I can join in with the community and in turn perhaps write a few posts that people find interesting. At the very least, I hope it allows me to keep on the straight and narrow path by sharing my thoughts and feeling along the way.

Thanks

Chris @ The FI Journey

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weenie
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Hey Chris

Yesssss – another TWD fan here! 🙂 What do you think of the current series?

Interesting to read your story so far and how you’ve dialled down on the frugality. I realised quite quickly that I wasn’t going to go down the same road as MMM and ERE and needed to spend money on things I valued and enjoyed. Lose the car and get a bike? No chance! But I could save money elsewhere and it all adds up.

It’s great to see another UK blog and I wish you all the best!

theFIREstarter
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Hi Chris, Great intro post. What’s most interesting is how your views have changed over the years match almost exactly how mine did by the sounds of it. Basically that saving a bit of cash gives you the confidence to try out a new job or new working schedule in my case. It doesn’t have to be anywhere near FI amounts of money to give you that confidence! It saddens me to think there are people slaving for 8-10 years in a job they basically hate spending peanuts just so they can quit and never have to work again. I… Read more »