OK, lets get some stats out the way. This is a journal, so I’ll share my financial situation with you. I’m 40 in 1 month, I’m married, have 1 child aged nearly 2, and 1 due in August. We recently moved into a house paying 695k, with a mortgage of 335k over 25 years. My aim is to retire (or at least be financially independent) by the time I’m 55. My wife wants to quit work in 5 years time.
My income: 65k basic / ~15-25k commission = ~80-90k
My wife’s income: 29.5k basic / 20-30k commission = ~50-60k (4 days a week)
I’ve recently started a new job working for an American company (which is why I don’t use the pound symbol – ie. my keyboard doesn’t have it as standard, and I can’t be arsed to insert symbols). I do not work in an office, I am one of 3 employees in the UK, of which the other two are coincidentally located in Norwich. I work from home 5 days a week.
My wife still works at the place I left about 15 months ago. She has an office in London, but works from home 7 days out of 8. This is an important detail to note and something I’ll cover in future posts.
I started late with pensions. I was poor until my early 30’s, primarily due to a terrible property investment made in my early 20’s. I was one of the few people that lost money on a UK property in the noughties. My ex and I owned a 2 bed flat, on a buy to let mortgage, and intended to rent it out to cover the mortgage when we moved to London. We couldn’t rent it out initially, we had to pay London rent and our mortgage for with no income. After paying them off each month, we had nothing left over so lived off credit cards during that time. I ended up in 20k debt. We split up and tried to sell it, couldn’t, ended up making a 19k loss. It took me 7-8 years to pay it all off, and only really did it with a consolidated loan from my sister who charged me Bank of England interest.
In my 30’s I changed jobs, moved into Sales which was completely out of my comfort zone, but somehow was ok at it. From 34, I was earning 70k and so now find myself in a pretty good place income-wise. Hooray I hear you cry. Well…yes of course, but it has come at a cost. My line of work is all-encompassing, I regularly work 60-70 hour weeks and sometimes weekends. I left my previous job because 80-90 hours a week was not unusual.
I know many people would think that my position is a good one, but now I have a child and another on the way, I need to find a better balance.
Sadly, I cannot see a quick way out of my situation. Where I live, there are not jobs readily available in my field of work, and so I feel trapped by the high wage, the big mortgage, the family. I could quit, find a job that might be ok for a lot less money, but I would be working until I’m 68 (at least), would likely have to start again in a new profession (remembering I’m 40), and would need to move house to keep up with the outgoings.
Let’s go back a step.
Before last August I really was financially unaware. I paid into a pension, had no idea what it was worth, I started a Hargreaves Lansdown Fund and Share account because by dad said I should do something with my excess money, but I invested in random shares because my dad gave me tips.
Last August I read a book by Ann Wilson, the Wealth Chef. Fucking TERRIBLE book with the awful cooking theme and analogies throughout, but the message was good. Maybe I should be more aware?
I bought lots of books on the subject as I had money to fritter. How to Own the World by Andrew Craig. This is more like it. Still too complicated in parts but the penny is dropping. Then RESET by David Sawyer. Clink.
All of a sudden, a glimmer of hope, a new hobby, learning about money and being less wasteful. Can Financial Independence be the saviour from another 30 years of this shit?
Why yes, I believe it can….