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Weekend reading: Revealing thoughts

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What caught my eye this week.

I enjoyed Indeedably’s post this week about his self-imposed silence on hitting a major financial goal:

In the end, I opted not to mention my arbitrary financial milestone to anyone in real-life.

Instead, I joined my kids on the couch for a game of Super Smash Bros, while icing my busted toe with a bag of frozen peas.

The lockdown kitten leapt onto my lap and settled down for a nap.

Shallow and vain creature that he is, he had already forgotten about his fleeting stolen food victory and recent water gun defeat. Now he was content to be friends, for at least as long as I was willing to stroke his fur.

I gave another wry chuckle. We were a fine pair!

It doesn’t get much more shallow, vain, and fleeting than celebrating arbitrary round numbers contained in a spreadsheet.

As a private individual who’s nevertheless run a financial blog for over a decade, I relate.

Money’s too tight to mention

I generally prefer to live financially incognito, here and in real-life. But it does cause some issues.

My Bohemian investor habits for example eventually had some of my friends asking questions – not unkindly – as the years wore on.

Even as they upgraded their hedonic treadmills with the latest bells and whistles, I was still living like graduate student.

Where, a few prodded gently, had it all gone wrong?

De-cloaking to buy my flat mostly alleviated these concerns, albeit at the cost of more questions. I usually change the subject!

(Most of my friends are supremely disinterested about both my investing and this blog, so they won’t read this. I return the favour by not reading their books, playing their games, or listening to their music. Hah!)

Family is even trickier. You’re liable to be offered help you don’t need for one thing, which makes you feel guilty.

I eventually had to share some numbers with my mum to stop her worrying.

Family also bring the issue of whether and how you should help who. I haven’t really got a strategy for that one yet.

Something got me started

Finally, as a writer, there are you lot, the readers.

What should you know? How much context is useful, how much voyeuristic or self-indulgent? Or is it maybe misleading not be more candid?

My co-blogger The Accumulator made a splash when he came out as Financially Independent last year. Lots of congratulations went his way, which was great. And almost nothing snarky – ditto.

But best of all, it was suddenly clear how inspiring and helpful it was for many Monevator readers to see him hitting that goal.

They took it as further evidence and motivation. They could get there, too.

If you don’t know me by now

I do sometimes wonder if I should be more candid about my finances.

I thought it when TA posted about hitting his FI number.

I often think I should when I see people struggling with the slog, and doubting whether this whole saving and investing malarkey really works.

(Spoiler: it really does.)

I even found myself this week alluding to previous investing success in a draft that I’m writing about one of my biggest investing failures.

If you only read about an investor’s bad days, you might well question why you’re reading him or her at all. So maybe it isn’t entirely vanity or insecurity that makes me want to sneak in a few disclaimers? We’ll see.

What about you? How much do you share with your friends, family, and co-workers?

And why?

Let us know in the comments below, and have a great weekend.

From Monevator

As Interactive Investor targets EQi, should we fear platform consolidation? – Monevator

Best global tracker funds: how to choose – Monevator

The beginning of the end of the Covid-19 crisis – Monevator

From the archive-ator: A landlord is someone who borrows money on your behalf – Monevator


Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view you can click to read the piece without being a paid subscriber. Try privacy/incognito mode to avoid cookies. Consider subscribing if you read them a lot!1

London average house prices top £500,000 for the first time… – ONS

…while housing transactions hit a 13-year high [Search result]FT

UK retail sales suffered record fall in 2020 – ThisIsMoney

AJ Bell funds arm hits £1bn in first-ever AUM report – CityWire

New York emerges as winner as Brexit pushes swaps trading from London – Reuters

Interactive Investor swoops for rival EQi… – Sky News

…while the UK’s IG Group has acquired US platform TastyTrade – MarketWatch

Police discover a cannabis farm in London financial district – Reuters

London Metal Exchange to propose closure of historic trading Ring – Sky News

Netflix’s business model is now self-sustaining – New York Times

Some Bitcoin bits

Graph of searches for word Bitcoin between 2015 and 2020

UK has woken up to Bitcoin again [In time for Doomsday?]Google Trends

How to make millions in Bitcoin – The Belle Curve

Bitcoin is a faith-based asset – Bloomberg

What explains Bitcoin’s resurgence? – New York Magazine

Elrond and the new crypto spaces [Warning: nerdy]Marginal Revolution

Products and services

Britons buying from EU websites hit with £100 customs bills – Guardian

New lender Perenna claims it will offer 30-year fixed mortgages – ThisIsMoney

Households urged to brace for £80-a-year hike in energy bills – Guardian

Sign-up to Freetrade via my link and we can both get a free share worth between £3 and £200 – Freetrade

NS&I boss apologises for customer service amid rise in withdrawals – Guardian

How investment platforms could evolve to add more value – Alex Graham

Homes for a healthy lifestyle, in pictures – Guardian

Comment and opinion

You turned $300k into $3 million. Now what? – A Wealth of Common Sense

Inheritance tax: an overview – DIY Investor (UK)

Higher inflation is coming and it will hit bondholders [Search result]FT

Can money buy happiness? – Rock Wealth

Pitfalls of the inflation narrative – Klement on Investing

Why we go wrong managing money – Humble Dollar

Seven years of financial independence – Getting Minted

Reducing a portfolio to one ETF – Fire V London

More adjusting of an investment strategy – Quietly Saving

Stocks for the long run? Maybe not [Research]SSRN

Active corner

Investing lessons from Nomad’s Nick Sleep – The Undercover Fund Manager

Bubble trouble mini-special

Investing in a bubble – Verdad

Happy new year! Bubble yet? – The Brooklyn Investor

This is nuts, where are the profits [Search result]FT

How we know we’re in a risk-on environment – All-star Charts

Pockets of the market are in a bubble. It’s okay just to say it – Late

Are retail investors now bullying Wall Street? – The Irrelevant Investor

When investors forget fundamentals, the market is broken [Paywall]WSJ

The stock and crypto market are the ultimate platform and game – Howard Lindzon

Bursting bubbles – Bennallack

Why bubbles are good for innovation – A Wealth of Common Sense

The pandemic and politics

Lockdown could continue in England until summer – Guardian

Early hints new UK variant may be 30% more deadly – BBC

UK’s R number drops to between 0.8 and 1 – Sky News

Why won’t vaccinating the vulnerable end lockdown? – BBC

At best, travel bans to stop infectious diseases merely delay the inevitable – Slate

South African virus variant may resist antibody drugs; Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine seems to work vs UK variant – Reuters

The rise of the coronavirus cranks – Quillette

Joe Biden has a shot at being a boring president. Let’s hope so – The Atlantic

‘No plan, no Q, nothing’: QAnon followers reel as Biden inaugurated – Reuters

Kindle book bargains

Don’t have a Kindle? Buy one.

Remote: Office not required by David Hansson- £0.99 on Kindle

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown – £0.99 on Kindle

The Organised Time Technique: How to Get Your Life Running Like Clockwork by Gemma Bray – £0.99 on Kindle

The Wealthy Retirement Plan by Vicki Wusche – £0.99 on Kindle

Off our beat

Clean the tiles, not the floor – Raptitude

Why the cost of shipping goods from China is soaring [Podcast]OddLots

Empty office buildings are still devouring energy. How come? – Fast Company

And finally…

“Rather than seeking superior portfolio performance by chasing high-risk stocks (‘return-free risk’), investors should seek out ‘boring’ companies which have predictable returns, and superior fundamental financial performance, and take advantage of their persistent undervaluation relative to those returns to buy and hold them.”
– Terry Smith, Investing for Growth

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  1. Note some articles can only be accessed through the search results if you’re using PC/desktop view (from mobile/tablet view they bring up the firewall/subscription page). To circumvent, switch your mobile browser to use the desktop view. On Chrome for Android: press the menu button followed by “Request Desktop Site”. []
{ 54 comments… add one }
  • 1 Stillsloggingon January 23, 2021, 8:11 am

    Our parents know we are putting everything we have into our pensions because we “need to catch up as we are so far behind” – true in the beginning, probably a bit less true now but this is our new mindset to help us keep going.

    My Mum thinks I’m misguided….. life is short, don’t wait till you’re old, enjoy life now, you may drop down dead before you get to pension age (she retired at 60 so doesn’t get it). Although in part I agree & have taken time out to travel these last few years and re COVID I’m very glad I did now.

    Only myself and my partner discuss ‘figures’ weekly, it’s our only hope for freedom, security, and less stress. Most people we know earn way more than us, we are basic rate tax payers, we don’t share with others out of fear they will have so much more and we will lose hope & feel down about what we have achieved. I applied for the tax credit re wfh, my boss scoffed at me as the rebate is a few quid.

    We have been so inspired by articles like the sort found on Monevator, I only wish I could turn back time and have learnt about fi and investing years ago, I would have been retired by now.

    Regardless thanks so much, your articles and other blogs like it have literally transformed my life. It would be great if you could share more I am not yet at the half way mark….I won’t stop …..but a cheerleader when you’re running a marathon is always a much needed boost!

  • 2 JimJim January 23, 2021, 8:18 am

    How to share.
    Wife – everything. Never make a decision that effects both your lives without consent and a reasoned explanation.
    Kids – A little at a time, start with the mechanics of money, more about wealth with age because my lifestyle comparative to others is not going to tell them that, even more when they leave home, everything by the time you might be losing it (the marbles).
    Related family, need to know basis – some heart to hearts with my sisters reveal a totally different attitude towards money, we all end up dead, how we travel the path in between is choice, luck and opportunity. I may think I am right but I know I could be very wrong about my money habits, die tomorrow and have missed out on life – The likelihood is that I will not, it is still down to luck!
    Work colleagues – They know I invest. They know I know my way around the pension scheme. Most of them could not do what I do. They all drive better cars. I have bigger holidays (both our choices) none know my number, a few know my target retirement range.
    The rest of the world do not need to know, and would not guess it by my lifestyle. I like it that way, people seem less intimidating. I would never consider living in a gated community. the rest of the world is too interesting.

  • 3 Warren Bogle January 23, 2021, 8:58 am

    Higher inflation is coming and it will hit bondholders FT

    This is an interesting article, equities may be the least worst option even at current prices relative to bonds.

  • 4 Gentleman's+Family+Finances January 23, 2021, 9:26 am

    As someone who recently passed a major milestone – a key lifetime financial goal no less – I’ve got some recent experience to share.
    First of all, once you reach any target, it suddenly seems to be unimportant, the buzz wears off. You can even share your wisdom and say that a jedi craves not these things.
    And don’t expect anyone to celebrate, even those close to you, especially those close to you.
    So you can celebrate but keep it quiet but know that as indeedably says, it’s arbitrary – just numbers in a spreadsheet.

  • 5 Gentleman's+Family+Finances January 23, 2021, 9:30 am

    Just to add, my wife doesn’t care at all about our financial numbers and a good way to get her to leave the room is to discuss our withdrawal rate, average spending, savings rate and the tax benefits of salary sacrifice pension payments.

  • 6 FIRE v London January 23, 2021, 9:37 am

    Like you I too loved indeedably’s article, which touched on a topic I have pondered about quite a bit. And like you I remain incognito online and yet still shy away from discussing real numbers – which is double incognito. Why the double incognito, I ask myself? I don’t have a good answer.

    In real life, my friends/family mostly know that I enjoy investing and would class it as a hobby. I have a couple of likeminded friends who I get into quite a bit of detail with – no tho not revealing ‘the number’ with anybody. I have leant in to teach the kids about it, but only if they respond in kind – which only one of them has done.

    Some of the most intimate financial conversations I have had are with a couple of widows I know – but I know more about their circumstances than they know about mine. I know enough to know that they are fine, and aware of the expensive decisions they have made, but not more than that.

    My other half indulges my hobby to a remarkable extent, but certainly doesn’t share it. She doesn’t really know ‘the number’ either though I would tell her if she asked. She knows we are comfortably enough off for her not to have to care, and also knows enough about my investment philosophy that she would be a quick study if I popped my clogs.

    I have also leant in at work to help co-workers to build financial confidence and awareness. There is a definite appetite for this in London’s millennial generation – who are smart and well educated on most matters but feel very under-informed about personal finances / investing / pensions/ etc.

  • 7 Brady January 23, 2021, 9:45 am

    I share very little, mainly because like you my friends would be extremely disinterested.
    I occasionally try and explain why I’m sacrificing loads of my salary to my wife but as soon as I mention the word pension her eyes glaze over, she’s a live for today as you might not see tomorrow person.
    Every year I have a conversation with my new line manager (they change a lot) in which they are clearly puzzled as to why I’m waiving most of my bonus and instead opting for it to be paid into my pension.

  • 8 Brod January 23, 2021, 10:36 am

    I’ve mentioned to a couple of people that I want to retire soon but generally don’t mention it. I think it would be boasting and also I think people would think I have more money than I do. So I keep it as a wish, rather than a plan.

    Anyway, I’ve agreed with my better 3/4 that we’ll both pull the plug in two years. ¡Vamos a ver!

  • 9 The Borderer January 23, 2021, 11:37 am

    Loved the video of the young American couple making a fortune by investing on the stockmarket. We’ve been doing it wrong all this time!

    Just buy shares that are going up and sell them when they start going down – genius.

  • 10 Whettam January 23, 2021, 11:52 am

    Another that enjoyed the line about secret enjoyment of round numbers.

    I remember when I first started work there were these two old (as it seemed to me at the time, the younger was probably about same age as me now) “chaps” (that’s definitely the best word to describe them). Dick and John, worked but not too hard, talked lots about France, french food, french wine and their pensions. I did not pay much attention at the time, but with hindsight the pension bit must have stuck.

    Thirty odd years later, I don’t share as much with colleagues (because you just don’t do you), but I’m an employee representative on our pension committee and because of that known to be a bit of a pension “nerd”. It does come up occasionally and I have confessed I want to retire early, but not confessed my actual target, in fact I have said a date 3-4 years after I hope to be gone.

    Marketing produced a “lead” a while ago from a very small limited company, which a companies house search told me they are under the £650k limit for not having to file full accounts. I sarcastically (a fault of mine) commented that the turnover was less than my pension and immediately wished I had not said it.

    A while ago a young (about 22) girl in my team, asked me about how to start “investing”. I said that before starting to think about that she should get an emergency fund of 3-6 months money. She smiled and said she had already done this (apparently I’d already mentioned that and she thought it was a good idea).

    So maybe we do need to talk about it a bit to keep the circle going …

  • 11 JDW January 23, 2021, 12:08 pm

    I flit between being completely open to being absolutely private. But as I am still relatively early into my financial plans/independence and playing catch up in many ways, I generally don’t mind telling people an approximation, usually online to people who don’t know me, that I have mid-to-high five figures of assets. I think the longer it goes on, the more private I will be about it. No-one really knows, apart from me (and to a degree my partner) what my/our saving rate/goal is. Although I keep forwarding Moneyvater pieces and trying to get my partner to understand things fully a bit more, but she can be quite stubborn but is in a relatively good position herself without any real interest in ‘the boring things’. A source of frustration! It was quite telling the other day when she said ‘how are you skint the whole time?’. Well, I’m not, just putting a lot away and not spending – here’s my spreadsheet (again). This shouldn’t have been news to her, so perhaps I am more private than I thought.

    A friend asked in a Whatsapp group the other day about financial planning and was surprised when I pointed him to this website and said something along the lines of ‘I thought you were tight, not into investing’.

    I am very private, quite introverted, don’t need much to live on, so hoping, when the day comes, it will involve us quietly jacking in our jobs, and carrying on quietly having more time to enjoy our range of hobbies and interests and a relatively frugal lifestyle. If people ask questions, that is their problem, not mine. Real friends (and I don’t think mine do or would) shouldn’t care about the number of 0’s you have, and nor do I really.

    Oh and that video! So simple! Lots of robinhood/day trader investors are going to have a nasty surprise at some point down the line. (Although to be fair, I was naive at one point also)

    Thanks again for your ongoing work with the blog.

  • 12 xxd09 January 23, 2021, 12:24 pm

    Further down the road at 74-some experiences/lessons learnt that might be useful
    Finances-I bored everybody with pension chat early on in life-it was all about houses then-however wife and kids all seemed to absorb the Kool -Aid -all now well pensioned and we still live in a small cottage -just right for 2
    My wife does the spending etc but leaves money to me-worrying to me as you get older
    I run Quicken 2004 as a parallel and check to the bank
    All purchases entered once a week-constant reconciliation- the Quicken Homepage shows my wife every time what we are spending -the size of our ISAs,SIPPs etc-she has a good feel of our financial state updated every week
    Re children-I informed them at a early age after educating them-all now in good jobs-that if one of them fell on hard times and needed help they would get it-its Mum and Dads money and we would spend as we saw fit ie “unfairly”
    One child-a teacher was not so well paid-got some thousands for a house deposit -other kids informed
    No other demands so far!
    I am sure other “old” posters have more examples

  • 13 Kraggash January 23, 2021, 12:33 pm

    As someone who retired early, is FI, but is now approaching normal retirement age, I have started to wonder.
    No obvious signs of wealth, looking after savings, celebrating financial milestone privately etc – we used to call this sort of person a miser. Surely, the description would fit Scrooge?

    I appreciate there are degrees of dedication to the cause, but i sometimes wonder if I went too far, and when (if ever) I should start spending more frivolously.

    Looking back, I could have, and (financially should have) bought a much bigger house, with a hefty mortgage, than we had for most of the time. And a few flights could have done with a bit more legroom, and a few more expensive holidays would not have had an appreciable effect on finances, etc……

  • 14 NwIan January 23, 2021, 12:54 pm

    My name is NwIan and I’ve been a fiaholic since 2004. Around 4 years ago I hit my FI number – in my case it wasn’t arbitary but was defined by the tax curve on a Section 32 pension. A decision point had been reached that turned spreadsheet numbers into bank account balances and conversion to a SIPP. All this was shared with my wife and we agreed an outline plan. Looking back, I think that’s the point when the quest for FI ended and a new chapter began as custodians of our rather grandly titled family wealth fund.
    Have we shared this with the kids? Not in great detail as they have always been encouraged to save for their own futures.

  • 15 Bill G January 23, 2021, 12:55 pm

    As a rule of thumb I am happy to share my thoughts on money and saving with anyone but, excluding my immediate family, I tend to avoid numbers.
    Friends and colleagues would occasionally ask about mortgages and pension schemes and pre-COVID that was the limit. Now though, the MMM style savings that they balked at (and a younger version of myself evangelised about) are irrelevant when working from home and I have enjoyed some really good chats about topping up a pension vs ISA etc.

  • 16 ermine January 23, 2021, 12:56 pm

    > I run Quicken 2004 as a parallel and check to the bank

    Another fan of Quicken 2004 here. You do need some sort fo control panel to add it all up, once things get more complicated, particularly where you have ISA as well as SIPP/pension assets. Some people may be sharp enough to keep that in Excel, but it gets messy and huge after a decade or so.

    There are enough cloud solutions that are far prettier and a lot less work. Tell the cloud your financial details or give third parties access to your bank accounts – what on earth could go wrong 😉

  • 17 ZXSpectrum48k January 23, 2021, 12:59 pm

    Wife knows the numbers but hasn’t emotionally accepted them. Extended family, thankfully, doesn’t have a clue other than we seem “comfortable”. Kids think we are very poor compared to their friends. I told my wife the NY resolution has to be to stop looking like we are slumming it and buy some status goods. The impression we’re giving out might have a negative impact on our family’s ability to network. You may not want to keep up with the Joneses but you still need to fake that you are trying to!

    Colleagues/ex-colleagues have a pretty good idea of the ballpark number for my net wealth. Career compensation is the worst kept secret in the finance industry. It’s only personal investment returns that are opaque but even that is hard to keep secret. Last week someone leaked the returns of the hedge fund I’m at (and significantly invested in). I got 30 texts in the next hour saying “when you buying the yacht” etc.

  • 18 G January 23, 2021, 1:39 pm

    Missus knows we are FI, but doesn’t quite believe it and has been a sceptic for much of the journey. As a member of the involuntarily unemployed and someone who needs extrinsic structure, she struggles with the idea I’d voluntarily give up a job. Growing up poor myself, I get that – so am on a slow gradual phase out. She has been smart enough to keep her mouth shut after a couple of early mistakes ie telling friends we bought our home for cash rather than with a mortgage.

    Dad also knows. He’s impressed given my start in life.

    A couple of colleagues know – including notably one of my bosses. Those that know are like-minded fellow travellers or rather closer to conventional retirement dates.

    A couple of friends/acquaintances also know – and through them one or two others. I usually wait for others to come through – a 20 something saving a 50% deposit on a home was the most recent confidant.

    My view is I won’t broadcast it, but will honestly answer questions.

  • 19 hal January 23, 2021, 2:07 pm

    I’d find it really helpful if posters on here would disclose their magic number. What is the magic number – in general?

  • 20 In my shed January 23, 2021, 2:34 pm

    My wife doesn’t want to understand the details of FI, she just wants to know if we will be OK. She has her own pension savings but doesn’t want to retire for quite some time as she loves her job.

    I have tried to educate my kids about saving long term, with mixed success, not sure they are emotionally ready! My nephews are more receptive and one already has a S&S ISA using index funds, I am hoping that next Christmas I can buy him he Monevator book, one can hope, can’t one?.

    Prior to my recent retirement, I did discuss FI with some colleagues, one or two became interested. I never discuss private numbers, just principles. Whenever I do talk to anyone who shows an interest, a plug for this website is top of the agenda.

    Enjoying the retirement, just wish I could go out for a decent cuppa!!

  • 21 EcoMiser January 23, 2021, 2:50 pm

    @Kraggash (13) I think the big difference between the FI community and Scrooge is that Scrooge & Marley were into ruining people for profit, whereas FI is about optimising ones lifestyle over ones whole life, spending less when the money’s pouring in so that one can spend more when it’s not.

    No-one knows how much I’ve got, though my brother and nephew know I’ve plenty as I’ve lent them money for their business. Friends know I’m ‘good with money’ to the extent that I’m treasurer of several small organisations, but my wealth could just be a couple of pensions (in payment) and an emergency float.
    I’ve way less than many bloggers and commentators on investments, and way more than most of the population. Perhaps I’m in the Goldilocks zone.

  • 22 Boltt January 23, 2021, 2:56 pm

    I believe the “magic” number is not static – investment return outlook change, base rates change, inflation changes etc

    My plan was ~£5k pcm passive, this was easier in 2016 than currently..

    Good luck

  • 23 Fire And Wide January 23, 2021, 2:58 pm

    Ha yeah, Indeedably’s post was yet another winner. Always get something interesting from him.

    For myself, I’ve been retired for a couple of years now, having pulled the trigger at 43. Whilst we were on the journey we were always open with immediate family and I shared my plans with a few close friends & work colleagues. Since retiring obviously everybody is aware and often curious. It’s also why I unusually started blogging after I retired, to help others see it is possible and it is absolutely worth it. In my admittedly now biased opinion 😉

    Personally I think it’s good to share the good & the bad – basically the reality. It can help people see there are real alternatives to the traditional path that it can at times seem compulsory to follow, no questions asked.

    Hope helps.

  • 24 MartinC January 23, 2021, 3:23 pm

    Haha – it’s good to hear that I’m not the ONLY one whose wife doesn’t really internally believe that we hit FI last year.
    I am well-known to a group of former colleagues (still working) as a source of occasional information and constant ‘nagging’ to stay on top of their pensions.

  • 25 159F January 23, 2021, 3:32 pm

    I think the extroverts should keep entertaining the introverts. Win – win.

  • 26 The Weasel January 23, 2021, 3:37 pm

    Sharing numbers?
    With the wife: she couldn’t care less. I’m the sole breadwinner and I have to plan for both of us. I like it this way.

    Friends: Never specific numbers. Though some have shared theirs with us. They just know about my general aim of not working to the grave.

    Relatives: only if they ask. I’ve never felt pressured to help any of them, perhaps because they do live comfortably anyway.

    On Bitcoin. Didn’t someone say it’s the gold of the millenials? I think that’s spot on. Just like gold, Bitcoin is scarce, mostly useless on the day to day lives of the rank and file. We humans are good at creating these mental constructs about the “value” of things. So I see no difference between the 2 assets. Their value is all in hour heads.

  • 27 Peanut January 23, 2021, 3:51 pm

    I agree with Hal – given the anonymity anyway it would be helpful if people would be able to share their “number” on here…. And so in that spirit :

    I am now around the point that I had aimed for in order to quit my city job and take some extended time out and maybe FIRE, which is £850k in investments/pension (mostly unsheltered unfortunately!). However given the market increases recently and the continued low-rate environment I wonder if this target is lower than others and/or I should be lowering my SWR assumption

  • 28 xxd09 January 23, 2021, 4:26 pm

    Further thoughts from an oldie-74
    I have told my kids where “everything “- is these last few years because the 3 kids are the executors of the wills
    This year I added our actual figures -not much reaction
    The poorest one thought I had done well and wanted/got/ and has opened a Stocks and Shares ISA
    The other two are very well off-not a ripple from them
    One of the husbands in law is a Banker so will be able to handle the financial nitty gritty
    What possibly could go wrong!

  • 29 Kraggash January 23, 2021, 4:37 pm

    Scrooge was in (effectively) buy-to-let, which a lot of FIRE folk, including the Indeedably chap, also use to finance their plans. (A lot or renters think they are being treated in the same way he treated his tenants!). He was also ‘optimising his life style’.

  • 30 Nearlyrich January 23, 2021, 4:38 pm

    Reasons not to share with others:
    1. It’s too hard – to get the spouse or the (grown-up) offspring interested. See above comments re eyes glazing and walking out of room. Also, spouse looks at you with a bemused fascination when you finally succeed in adapting, after several hours, the Monevator money-weighted return spreadsheet to your own portfolio. (Great job Accumulator, very useful, thank you!). I must do a better job on educating the family….. I’ll do it tomorrow! Where’s that game controller?
    2. It’s too hard – to listen to your active investor mate who has been in Scottish Mortgage and it’s constituents for the past 10 years. Anybody else doing the dance to summon the Regression-to-the-Mean Genie?
    3. It’s too hard – to broaden the outlook of your average property obsessed Brit who understands house prices and BTL (they hope).

    So that’s why we need this little on-line community of like-minded individuals and why we really hope the Monevator Lads aren’t going to hang up their boots.

  • 31 Nivex January 23, 2021, 5:35 pm

    I love this site! The financial origin story post and comments was one of the things I enjoyed reading most anywhere last year.

    It can be lonely. I rationally know that people with high status spending can’t also be investing but part of me would like to know about their investments for the reassurance that missing out on that stuff is worth it (which of course I know it is).

    I share all details with my partner who is interested and of the same mindset, and luckily I have a friend some years ahead on the same career path and with more or less the same attitude to money, so we can share freely. The friend has hit my number (which isn’t their number) which gives me hope (but I have to survive the career jungle those extra years and hope for a benign market…)

  • 32 EcoMiser January 23, 2021, 6:11 pm

    My recollection is that Scrooge was into financing businesses, and maybe general moneylending.
    There was another Dickens character who owned lots of houses, but let his rent collector do the enforcing and take the flack, while appearing a respectable gentleman himself. But this is getting off topic.

  • 33 SecretMillionaire January 23, 2021, 6:15 pm

    So my dirty little secret is that I became FI quite accidentally, via the unexpected inheritance of a seven figure sum (from my spouse’s family). Life changing? Yes, and no. Before the windfall, I had a very conservative, but quite clear, plan to retire at 60, or a little before, built mainly on a good DB pension plan. We were a normal comfortable middle class family, probably on the modest/cautious side with regard to conspicuous consumption.

    Things that changed: a house move which benefited us all and probably changed the course of one of my children’s futures; more expensive holidays; I eventually ‘retired’ from my career, nearly a decade before I probably would have (but I am still working, in a ‘hobby job’); we don’t worry about funding our children’s university education or house deposits; and I learnt a lot, quite quickly, about investing (thank you Monevator!)

    Things that didn’t change: our basic spending habits; our friends; our school choices for the children; my spouse’s career (no sign of retirement! I think the ‘emotional acceptance’ is harder for inherited rather than earned wealth); our cars; our experience of the difficulties of life, both small and large (money doesn’t stop your parents ageing and dying). From the outside we look much the same, although a curious and savvy observer might deduce evidence of external funding.

    Who knows the secret? Not many people. I have told two or three trusted friends, without numbers, and they haven’t asked beyond what I’ve disclosed. No one in my (very small) extended family (obviously spouse’s family all in the same boat, but we rarely discuss it). Children, yes.

    People know I am good with personal finance (not a new thing) and occasionally (very occasionally!) will ask me about something. But I find very few people are comfortable with money as an everyday topic (a few of my friends are comfortable discussing money and how they manage it, but it is only a few). I mean in general we never talk about monthly spending, or savings rates, or even how people keep track of money. I am sure more openness would help raise everyone’s capability. At least these days there is the internet!

    I confess I feel a bit of a fraud on FI sites, although I know that even for those earning/having earned their stash, there’s a lot of variation in how much sacrifice is involved. And I know I can’t be the only one who has benefitted from windfalls and inheritances, although it is almost never discussed.

  • 34 weenie January 23, 2021, 6:28 pm

    I don’t share any numbers with anyone I know, just random strangers on the internet! 🙂

    Some years ago, I told my friends that I planned to retire early. They asked if I was going to win the lottery (in between eyes glazing at the mention of pensions). They’ll occasionally ask if I’m still on track (I reply ‘yes’) but none of them are interested enough to ask me what I’m actually doing to enable this plan. I suspect they might only want to know once I announce to them that I’m quitting my job.

    I told my family that I plan to retire early – they’ll believe it when they see it.

    I told my boss that I’ll probably only work for another 4-5 years – I don’t think she believes me.

    I once overheard a colleague (in his mid-20s) saying that it was pointless paying into the company pension because the estimated pension payable of a few grand was ‘nothing’. I piped up that if he divided that ‘nothing’ by 12, what monthly bills would it cover and he said ‘oh, I never saw it that way!’

    Perhaps it is worth talking about finances occasionally but at the risk of being seen as the ‘bore’ in most social situations.

  • 35 KeepOnKeepingOn January 24, 2021, 9:31 am

    Wife knows the details and started sharing more with kids in early twenties/late teens. They take the Michael about my book, blog & podcast consumption!! Early signs that kids get it – all three underway with Vanguard accounts!
    Friends – close group of 4-5 know our timeline – but no numbers.
    Work – nobody has a Scoobie-Doo of my intentions, but some I nag to engage with their plan (numerous over 50s remain clueless) – so I guess some know I get it.
    Blogs – only recently started posting comments – as actually believe we will get there in four years – just gotta KeepOnKeepingOn!

  • 36 KeepOnKeepingOn January 24, 2021, 11:05 am

    Forgot to mention….Simply Red didn’t go unnoticed!

  • 37 Passive Pete January 24, 2021, 11:29 am

    I’m fortunate in my choice of career (I was a chartered accountant) meant that friends, family and work colleagues expected me to know all the tax and investing answers. I was also a pension fund trustee. Therefore I’ve had many conversations on finances, pensions, tax etc over the years with all who have sought to engage.
    I part owned my employing company that was bought out and reported in the press. No numbers, but sufficient to explain to anyone who knows me the source of the holiday home, new cars and why I haven’t worked since.

  • 38 Kraggash January 24, 2021, 11:30 am

    Did not/have not told anyone where we are financially, apart from wife. I have conundrum of what to do about the children: let them make their own way (apart from help with house deposit) or more cash handover?They have good (if not highly paid) careers and families, and i dont want to devalue their own efforts by dropping money in them. But i also see that an occaisonal cash-injection could be of help.

  • 39 The Investor January 24, 2021, 12:18 pm

    @all — On the bubble mini-special front, they are selling fund manager merchandise now: https://twitter.com/Monevator/status/1353300608955113472

    @KeepOnKeepOn — Hah, I can rely on you it seems! 🙂

  • 40 hosimpson January 24, 2021, 12:24 pm

    On the subject of sharing information about my finances with others I stand with the LAFI dude.

    He’s even got a quiz to help you decide how much you should tell; shame it’s a bit broken (talk about IT people not fixing their website IT issues!), but you can get a sense of it nonetheless ;).

  • 41 Fatbritabroad January 24, 2021, 1:23 pm

    I’ve taken the decision to pay it forward and am open that in keen on this stuff. Most don’t care or possibly see it as bragging. Genuinely not my intention and a few have asked me questions mostly around company share save schemes etc as they know I understand this stuff .
    I’m open with my father as he’s got more interested since transferring his dB pension (he lives abroad so used qrops). I’ve been open with my boss that I want to retire by 50 (currently 40). I’m not sure he really believes it. I’ve helped some friends set up investments with heavy caveats that I’m not an ifa and actually making them understand what they’re investing in
    My number has always been around a million plus a mostly paid off housecurrently 430k in pensions and Isas and another 230k in house equity. I hope I may get there in about 5 years

  • 42 Jim McG January 24, 2021, 2:25 pm

    I have been asked in the past about investing by both family and friends when I’ve been involved in conversations about retirement and pensions. Usually I will have mentioned that I’ve returned a fairly stable 8% on my money since I started investing in 1999 (according to what Fidelity has calculated on my main funds). I’m always amazed that the vast majority are sitting with their savings in the bank, but nobody – myself included – ever admits as to how much their nest egg is. I wish my wife and son were more interested, and I do let them know what our financial situation is from time to time. This usually elicits a comment like, “Really? Do you know what time The Masked Singer is on at?” When other people ask me for advice, I tend to tell them that the majority of my cash is in a Vanguard Lifestrategy 80/20 Fund and that’s what I’d recommend they do, providing they’ve first got a 3 month salary equivalent emergency fund available in the bank. Keep it simple – I send them a link to the fund, and to Monevator, and they can take it from there. I often wonder how they’ve faired, but at least two or three have followed the advice as far as I know. I’m still not sure I’m comfortable with that, but they did ask!

  • 43 Fatbritabroad January 24, 2021, 2:35 pm

    The bit I find interesting is the perception on btl vs stock market investing. Lots of comments during the pandemic about how tenants need protecting from ‘greedy millionaire landlords’. No doubt there’s some of course but alot are 1 or 2 property owners and accidental landlords with mortgages to pay.
    You could own 4 standard houses round here and if they’re all 75% ltv you’ll be making maybe 1000 a month clear profit (accepting you’ll have 200k or so in equity). The thing I like about my pension is no one can see it 🙂

  • 44 Richard January 24, 2021, 3:20 pm

    I think the majority assess you by your house. If you don’t own one you must be struggling (even if you have £1m in the bank). If you have one then its value is easy to look up /estimate. Most people likely then assume that, like them, your house equals about 90% of your net worth up until your late 50s. Cars are a proxy to a house to a certain extent and again fairly easy to estimate value. And why wouldn’t you maximise your house / car from your disposable income? Everyone else does. So most people can make a judgement call and then I doubt they would bother even asking. Why would anyone assume you are any different to everyone else?

    Me, I don’t mind discussing investing but don’t share numbers.

  • 45 Grumpy Tortoise January 24, 2021, 6:08 pm

    I’ve got a modest amount in my Vanguard 60/40. We’re going to move home in a number of years, although our current property has no mortgage. My largest ‘pot’ must be my NHS pension which according to the latest statement has a ‘hypothetical annuity cost’ of around £1.2m if that is to be believed in any way.

  • 46 The Accumulator January 24, 2021, 7:35 pm

    @ TI – Stock tickers on T-shirts – gotta be a sell signal. The modern day equivalent of stock tips from the shoe shine boy.

  • 47 Stillsloggingon January 24, 2021, 8:02 pm

    @ Richard – that’s a really interesting view – I’ve never thought of it like that. Guess people think everyone is like them!……apart from Monevator readers 🙂

  • 48 G January 25, 2021, 5:33 am

    Numberswise, I like to think of it as a continuum. In the early days, you can consider it as how many days/weeks/months/years(!) can you survive/thrive without a job. Then, does the passive income ie dividends/interest cover a bill, more than one, all of them? Are you willing to live frugally if necessary.

    For me, my first FI number in around 2015 (when unemployment looked like a possibility) was having enough to draw down £8K/year between then and early retirement, and then from early retirement to state age retirement. It sounds low – but bear in mind, most of our utility bills were covered by income from solar panels, we had a free source of wood for heating and house was paid off/don’t have a car. I felt sure we’d be able to make extra cash/barter if necessary – and growing up poor, I know how to make money stretch.

    Since then it has a case of adding a bit more fat to the frugal fire. It now looks like £20+K/year without state pension. That gives us a very comfortable life and more than matches current spending.

  • 49 Naveed January 25, 2021, 12:30 pm

    I am not as far along as some people on here but I know my way around the financial landscape without getting lost. I am regularly adding to my portfolio, saving, decided my asset allocation and have a grasp of my net worth. I do share some snippets when I get to talking about money with people. But I have the self-awareness not to bore them with it. I find there are two camps people fall into. Make it clearer vs Make me a quadrillionaire.

    Make it clearer: I share a few things about what I am doing such as paying into a pension or how much money I have set aside. Sometimes they see me examining the financial pages on the internet or looking at the Hargreaves Landsdown app on my phone. If they do ask me questions its usually small snippets (yes pay into a pension, and I have 6 months emergency fund in savings) and an even smaller follow through because they prefer the status quo. When it comes to investing I may as well be showing them a pet tarantula and the reaction is usually the same: confusion (why even bother) fear (I don’t want to touch it with a barge poll). Sometimes they come back and ask follow up questions but usually they don’t. Reminds me of the quote by Lao Tzu ‘When the student is ready the teacher will appear”.

    Make me a quadrillionaire: We get on the subject about the stock market. Their interest is peaked and they quiz me about my strategy, how long I have done it and what I think about a certain company/region/sector. I detect some disappointment when I say I would rather read science books and watch movies than research the minutiae in my spare time. I tell them keep my style passive and automated so the only real decision I have to make is once a month when I add to my portfolio and usually its business as usual (unless I have to rebalance). They tell me about their exciting tip or ‘insight’ they have about usually one of 4 things: Tesla, Bitcoin, Gold or Property. They wax lyrical about the advantages of investing in it, to the point of evangelicalism. I try and counter in a reasonable and objective way about the importance of diversifying, the past returns do not equal the future returns, herd thinking or I don’t have the knowledge to tie myself to the mast and go down with that ship. Ironically, they become even more entrenched as if they are trying to convince themselves and need that external validation. There is a quote that has been attributed to multiple sources ‘I have already made up my mind, don’t confuse me with facts.’ Tellingly when I ask how much ‘skin in the game’ they have is very little to none. Excuses range from ‘I have got some debts to pay first’, ‘I am waiting for the market/stock to dip’ or even more gallingly ‘I don’t really know how to do it (as in invest their hard earned money)’. They make shake their heads and look at me with pity thinking ‘poor guy he is going to be left behind’. I am content with them being the hare and me the tortoise (my average returns of 7.78%).

  • 50 Neverland January 25, 2021, 1:52 pm

    I think the readership of this blog is just old.
    Here is an example of the next generation of UK FIRE bloggers.
    Monetizing themselves on YouTube as their early retirement plan.

    “”In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes” Andy Warhol, 1968

  • 51 The Investor January 25, 2021, 2:14 pm

    @Neverland — Unlike you I expect, I mean no disrespect to Tom, but he’s got a long way to go if monetizing via YouTube really is his plan. (I’m sure it’s not and you oversimplify). With 5,188 views in total, at even a generous CPM of £10, he’d have only made a few notes. But anyway you need to have racked up over 4,000 hours of viewing to start monetizing so it’s clearly early days.

    Good luck to him I say. 🙂

  • 52 LALILULELO January 25, 2021, 3:02 pm

    @G Thanks for sharing, I often see people aiming for £1M+ and I start to think I’ve made a mistake in my calculations so its good to see someone else with a lower target.

    My number started at £500k/£20k per year (based on not having a mortgage to pay) and has since risen to £600k/£24k per year to provide a bit more buffer. Based on the expenses spreadsheet, this should comfortably cover all household expenses as well as a couple of holidays per year. We have middle of the road jobs, in a quite nice house/area (small mortgage due to inheritance) and are just under halfway there. With a relatively conservative but fair wind we could hit it within 7 years, but I’m not counting my chickens just yet.

    I share everything with my wife, she doesn’t really understand it all but has a desperate fear of not having any money so is even more frugal than I am. Kids are too young to understand but I am trying to educate them a little bit. Other than general pension and stock market related chats at work I haven’t shared anything with anyone. Same with most of my friends. When that wonderful day comes when an arbitrary number is hit I plan to do absolutely nothing for 6 months then quietly retire.

  • 53 G January 26, 2021, 9:41 am

    @ LALILULELO Some people will have higher expenses than others. Others have more dependents. Some have not yet bought a house. Some want to leave an inheritance. Lastly, we will all have different times to the date we can access our private pensions so need different amounts to bridge the gap between now and then. A million or so isn’t a bad number to aim for – but I found it wasn’t necessary for us.

  • 54 Koppschuettler March 14, 2022, 7:08 pm

    On the matter of >1M, I factor inflation into it. The pot I would need today to FIRE is sub-million. But looking at my projected savings/investment growth, by the time I’ll actually be ready, inflation will have pushed the pot past 1M.

    … and I personally don’t feel comfortable with a 4% SWR, so even at 24k annual spend it’d come out at a higher FI number. 🙁

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