#5 Advice required

I’ve done a lot of reading on the subject of FIRE and consider myself literate enough to write this blog and be aware of how to maximise my savings, invest, be frugal (to a point) etc.

I’m having real issues with my wife.

Not generally, but in a financial way. She is very much on-board with saving money as a concept and is (generally) good at limiting spend on things like groceries, and frivolous consumerism overspend. Notable exception, quarterly haircuts, 140 GBP!

The issue lies in the fact that she is completely risk-averse. She is a savings in the bank type person who doesn’t understand pensions, investing, or anything remotely financial that requires some thought. She refuses to put her money into investments in any way as they are risky, and I have had to lie to her (in all honesty) when I’ve been putting our money away into my Stocks and Shares ISA, not to mention our Rainy Day fund in Ratesetter. She would have a fit!

She sees that I read books on this and I reference them in conversation when trying to educate her on small things, like her pension and trying to get her to understand how taking control of them and grouping them into a SIPP is important. Her eyes glaze over and she gets stressed and freaks out. We never really get passed this and this is the major reason, if you look back a few posts to #3, we do not have her side of the equation in terms of pensions etc in order to be able to fully understand our net worth and how close we are to financial freedom. Admittedly, still a long way away, but there will be a point where this is necessary to organise.

I’m assuming that you all read a lot and so I’m pleading with you for some help. What is the very best, most basic book, that you would recommend I get her to read. I’ve seen some books written by women for women on the subject, but I fear that would be seen as sexist! Any recommendations you may have on the most basic layman’s terms books for total beginners, would be most gratefully received.


#4 RateSetter as my Rainy Day Fund

All of the books I’ve read on the subject matter of FIRE have mentioned the importance of having a Rainy Day Fund to cover life’s ups and downs, and to be honest, that completely depleted to zero with the purchase of our new house as we put pretty much everything we had in to reduce the mortgage repayments. I’m regretting this now for many reasons but it was a decision I made before being financially aware! In fact, it makes me feel worse now that I am. (nb. i’ll be covering the mental impact of being financially aware in a future post – FYI). We’re already running into some issues on our house that are requiring unexpected expenditure and of course my wife and I both work in sales which is perhaps always a little risky in terms of job security.

Therefore, over the past few months, whilst having to split additional earnings into a house improvement savings fund (high priority as we need to sort out bedroom 3 by August (ie. nursery before bubba #2) and investments (as I’m desperate to continue this as much as possible of course), I have also been putting a little bit away each month into a Savings account called the Rainy Day fund. This is sitting in a classic Savings account with Natwest with 1.5% interest as long as I add 50 quid or more each month. My target is 3 months living costs to start with, so lets say 15,000 GBP for arguments sake.

Now… I am wise enough to know that this, over time, is devaluing with inflation being 2.5-3% year on year, and so it pains me to “lose” money in this way, but the options for Easy Access withdrawals are limited at much higher than 1.5% since to get a good interest rate you need to lock it up for a period of time which sort of makes the fund meaningless. With Ratesetter, whilst not immediate, the funds can be made available and withdrawn, typically in 24 hours which seems a pretty good deal when you’re looking at ~3% on the Rolling rate (with no withdrawal penalty) option. If you want to invest for longer, then 1 year is ~4% and 5 year at ~5% at the time of writing. Great if you want to save for something short/medium term in my eyes, and/or diversifying your investment portfolio beyond property, stocks and shares, etc without the volatility of the market. OK, so this is not risk-free – please read around for some honest assessments on the risk!

I’ve been wanting to dabble with the Ratesetter product for some time now as it seems to be the choice of many a FIRE blogger and the rates, whilst not the biggest amongst this sort of Alternative P2P lenders, seems to have a solid base with which to feel more confident about longevity and risk. I’m not here to bore you with the details of how it works – I’ll let you do your own due diligence, but I like the cut of its jib.

If you are interested in investing in this, please follow this link. For transparency, its a referral link and so we both set to gain as a result…


This is the offer on the table if you invest 1000 GBP. 10% guaranteed interest on that after 1 year seems like a pretty good deal to me, right!?

I’ve invested 1500 GBP so far (10% of the way to my first goal) and I’ll be reviewing this in more detail over time and showing you the results on a monthly basis if you want to see it in action before investing.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this as a plan for Rainy Day funds as I’ve not seen this talked about on other forums, although, to be fair, I’ve not looked in great detail :). If you think its clever, yay for me, if you think its dumb, I would love to hear why, not because I want an argument, but I genuinely might need your help! 🙂


#2 Who Am I? Where Am I?

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….

#1 Blog 2.0


^^^^^^^This was my first attempt at blogging on this subject, starting at the very beginning of my journey to Financial Independence in August last year (2018). My writing came to a natural close as I ran out of ideas for content. After a paltry 9 posts…useless I know. But I have a new idea, I have a fresh impetus (ie. a desperate need for a hobby and improvement in mental health) and I’ve paid for the Blogger package on WordPress so as a newly aware financial guru, I need to make sure its not a wasted £2.25 a month.

I want this blog to be an honest assessment of where I am, what I do, how I think about money, my constant battles with self-doubt and how much I hate my job, and ways I plan to change it.

My goal is financial independence and retiring early. I think…

Maybe this is driven by my dislike for my job, maybe I’m lazy, maybe retirement is not going to be all that great. Either way, it cannot hurt to be financially aware and not waste money like I used to.

A warning: this blog is going to be completely self-indulgent, but I hope entertaining, and will be a kind-of journal through my life and thinking around all things finance. I’m by no means an expert (as you will work out for yourselves) but I have learnt a few things along the way that everyone can benefit from. I’m also writing for my own sanity. You will have to read a lot about my personal struggles over the coming months and the ups and downs that come with my newfound passion for saving/investing/retiring early.

Another warning: this is not just going to be a cathartic experience, but a “side-hustle” project too. An expression you will have heard many times if you even have a modicum of experience within the FIRE movement. I will be unashamedly promoting products/services and attempt to monetise this website. However, I will only plug the things that I use personally that I genuinely believe will benefit you. If it can benefit me too, why the hell not?


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