I’ve always had a vague interest in numbers and a desire to be “rich” but without necessarily knowing what exactly that would require. In my 20’s I worked hard and played hard (i.e. I worked a lot of long hours, setup a couple of my own companies, and spent any spare money “letting my hair down”).
In my 30’s I woke up a little and started saving, knowing that I needed to do something to retire with as my companies hadn’t made me the millions I had dreamed of. So starting a number of years ago I knew I needed to put money into a pension, so the company I joined, I signed up to their pension scheme, defaulting 10% of my income into it, plus whatever matches they made, and then also setup a £100 direct debit into a couple of funds into an ISA via an IFA (not my current one).
I kept ticking that along, building up a bit of a pot to see me in my old age. About 4 or 5 years ago I increased the amount that went into my ISA and started managing this myself to build up a helpful nest egg outside of my pension, and started tracking how I was doing.
Then about 18 months ago, I found the FIRE community online (to this day I have no idea how I came across it) and since then it has given me a real vigour to keep track of my finances and see where I can keep things sensible. I’ve never really budgeted in my life – I still don’t even now. I do however track all my spending to the last penny. Since tracking my spend, I have noticed a major shift as I start to think about my spending, and so my savings rate has increased, with a target net rate of 40% (my definition will follow). Whilst this doesn’t sound that high compared to most of the FIRE community out there, I do have a lot of other “fixed” costs that I need to take care of which is our choice for where and how we live – but I am happy with that, even if it adds on a few years to retiring, for my own personal reasons.
I should at this point be open – I do use a Financial Advisor / Wealth Manager / Shark / Bottom Dwelling &$%! (delete as applicable). Doesn’t this go against the whole ethos of FIRE, do it yourself etc? Yes for most, but for me it works. I track his and my performance (including all fees), but so far its working well – he keeps me on the straight and narrow with a view across all assets, helps on the tax planning, manages multiple portfolios in a single wrapper, provides a buffer between myself and my other half when it comes to joint savings etc. so for now it is worth it but it is something I will continue to keep an eye on – the question will be what happens in a major downturn I guess!