Why Saving for FI shouldn’t be your only priority

There is a lot of stuff out on the internet around the FIRE community about frugality and saving hard for your retirement and being able to kill the day job and have all the time in the world to do what you want. Sounds idyllic – it’s something I dream of being able to do, and my journey is taking a lot longer than most of the people you read out there striving for (or having achieved) FI. You can see people who hit FI in their 30’s – a seriously major achievement. For me however, FI is not the be all and end all utopia.

Whilst I am definitely not one of the You Only Live Once (YOLO) crowd, I do believe it’s as much the journey as the destination that counts.  I have been very fortunate over the years and traveled a huge amount, something that I have loved doing and would want to continue to do when I finally pull the trigger. The downside is that this costs money and so that drives up the final cost of the retirement pot, if I wish to choose to do it.

I can look back and I know that what I have done in the past, some of these I would struggle to do now, let alone when I am in my 60s. There are also some experiences that you will never be able to get again, and as times change it won’t matter, you will not be able to repeat them – one reason I like to travel to more remote places.

I can’t ski for as long as I did 10 years ago, nor can I do moguls as well as I used to – if I had waited until I was FI I would never have experienced this, nor had views like below for eating my lunch.

Lunchtime_View

The other month we also went to see Nigel Kennedy in concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Whilst there is no doubt about his genius for music and interpretation (and ignoring the disregard for the audience with his timekeeping!) that made for a superb evening, it was not that cheap. The difference is I haven’t seen him play for many years, and, at the age of 60 (him, not me!), who knows how much longer he will be able to keep this up. On the plus side, his clear enjoyment at doing what he was, and his level of energy he has makes me wonder if he will ever stop! I could have put the money into investments and watched it grow over the next X years and see it to be generating £Y a year, but I couldn’t buy the experience.

For this reason, whilst FI is the end goal, it’s the steps to get there, and the potential missing of opportunities that stands out for me. I could have hit FI I guess a couple of years ago, but I look at what I wouldn’t have seen and done, and I would regret it.

Having said that, everyone is different. If you hate flying / cruises / circuses / foreign food etc. then actually you may be happy to not do those things, and live an equally fulfilling life somewhere in the UK (thinking along the lines of Last of the Summer Wine!). I have no problem with that at all, nor am I judging, after all if we all wanted to do the same thing and liked the same thing it would be dull. The challenge is figuring out what is right for you.

Just make sure that you don’t spend your life chasing FI at the cost of your time and health on this planet. Having known a few people who died early (30’s and 40’s), you need to strike the right balance. Spend some time enjoying the here and now, but just make sure you do it in an informed way of the impact, not blow it all on Cristal Champagne in clubs on a credit card!

What are some of your guilty pleasures that are delaying your FI?

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Author: fireinlondon

Fighting the high cost of living in London

7 thoughts on “Why Saving for FI shouldn’t be your only priority”

  1. I definitely fit into this camp. Even more so since I got divorced 3 years ago. You think you have your life all mapped out and then the person you’re with suddenly decides they don’t want to be on the journey with you. Like they say ‘life is what happens when you’re making other plans!’ The good thing about being frugal is I was able to keep the house. there was no one else involved no children and no arguments over money ‘ and was able to basically spend most of the 12 months after throwing myself Into anything new I fancied which helped me mentally no end. Yes I’ve set myself back a year or two but I’ve had alot of fun along the way. Having known many people for whom a similar situation ends with them losing everything I consider myself very fortunate. My point is by all means plan but no that things can come along and derail it anyway!

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    1. Hi FBA,
      Thanks for stopping by! Sorry to hear about the divorce, never an easy thing to go through at any stage, but sounds like you have managed to put it behind you and embraced the opportunity (if that doesn’t sound too bad?!) to throw yourself into life afresh!
      As you say, you can plan but unforeseen things will change things. Enjoy life as you go along!
      Cheers,
      FiL

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  2. I’m a bit like you, FiL, determined to enjoy the journey towards our respective end goals! If being frugal is going to make me miserable, then I’m not going to do it, even if it means it’ll take longer to get to my goal.

    I think like you, I pay in towards a ‘holiday fund’, which is for what it says on the tin! There are months where if I didn’t pay towards it, I would hit 50% savings rate easily but getting to that number isn’t half as important to me as being able to afford to go away and enjoy myself on holiday.

    I can imagine that Nigel Kennedy in concert was amazing! I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve pretty much seen all my favourite bands/artists in concert over the years and it hasn’t been cheap. Some I may see again but others are no longer alive so I just cherish the experience. I continue to go to festivals (again not cheap) because I know at some point, I’ll probably stop enjoying them (when I really get too old!) so I may as well experience them while I like them!

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    1. Hi Weenie,

      Absolutely spot on – you have to enjoy what little time we have on this planet, so no point making yourself miserable!

      Yes – for me holidays are important and not that difficult if you budget for it – so drip feed away and know you have something to enjoy with family and friends while they are still here (sorry, slightly depressing comment!).

      Glad you are still able to enjoy the concerts and festivals, no point stopping something you enjoy – it is all about value for money of the £ you do spend – as the saying goes along the lines of getting as much bang for your buck!
      Cheers,
      FiL

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  3. @FiL Hear, hear! Well said. For me frugality is the fast way to FIRE but not the best way. Especially those of us in London. It is a joy and privilege to live in London, especially if you make use of it (I was at a concert at the O2 myself last weekend for instance). But it isn’t the frugal choice.

    For me FIRE is about saving, but not to extremes, investing wisely, and reducing expenses, fees and taxes –
    all within reason. Coupled with a sensible approach to spending and some thoughtful longterm planning. Nigel Kennedy sounds like a very sensible way to spend money!

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    1. Hi FvL,
      Thanks for stopping by! Always good to hear other people who are not just all about saving every last penny and not living at all in the present. Sounds like a great use of time over in the O2- its a very good venue compared to the original version of it, they did a lot of work!
      As you say – reduce expenses, fees and taxes, invest wisely, and enjoy! And yes, Nigel Kennedy was a very good way to spend money! 🙂
      Cheers,
      FiL

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