This month brought a tragic reminder of why we embarked on this FIRE journey in the first place; why we wanted to make time for the things we want to do, rather than the things we have to do to earn money, while we are still healthy enough to enjoy them.
Our neighbour’s son died of an aggressive cancer, only weeks after his 50th birthday. Time really is the best thing money can buy, and it is easy to lose sight of that in the bluster of everyday challenges and the general ‘noise’ of life. Reminders like this really bring perspective.
For me, July was more or less a 50/50 balance of working and not working. That was the the first time since I embarked on semi-retirement that there has been an even balance, but it felt incredibly busy with so much to do on the van project. Progress hasn’t been as fast as we had hoped. I think we’re too perfectionist in our approach, but that is starting to change in favour of ‘good enough’. I doubt you have ever tried shutting yourself in a dark coloured van in 32 degree heat to fit carpet to the inside of a sliding door, but it wasn’t pleasant. We did take a day off to hire electric bikes and cycle 23 miles round a nature reserve and it was marvellous to be able to make a spontaneous decision to do that on a weekday when it was very quiet, but the weather was glorious.
I am now nearly three weeks into a block of four weeks ‘on duty’ and it is starting to feel a bit like hard work! It is also the reason why this update is somewhat later than I had planned. It’s amazing how quickly you adapt to a new routine. It’s only been three months, but it’s already hard to imagine I ever had time to work full time.
July was a steady month for the freedom fund with it finishing the month at a similar level to June.
Freedom Fund Value: £1,123,913
Hypothetical monthly income @4% SWR: £3,746
Actual monthly expenses: £2,258*
Expenses this month included our very un-frugal quarterly case of wine, which pushed up the grocery spend, but we have been saving a lot on vegetables with the garden yielding new potatoes, courgettes, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and far more french beans than we can keep up with at the moment. July also saw a spend of around £350 in materials for the van conversion. I suspect next month will be even higher as we push on to get the van finished (well, finished enough) in time to actually use it this year. I suspect once we start to use it, there will be all sorts of modifications we will want to make.
Whilst I am working more than usual, most take time for a break from work at this time of year, so I hope you enjoy a well earned rest with your family if you have one planned.
If you didn’t see it, the BBC Newsreel film – Playing with FIRE :The millennial movement to quit work gives a good summary of what appealed to me about the FIRE movement in the first place. Not sure it’s just for millennials though…………..
*Includes £600 per month personal allowances (£300 each), which may not be spent in the month, but which is not tracked. Some of it may show up in the freedom fund in the future, if savings build up and are invested.