The personal update series provides an update on where we are with our financial (and other life) goals, what we’ve learned and what’s next.
Money can’t buy you happiness
This month has been pretty tough. My FIRE plan literally caught fire and went up in smoke when I split from the mother of my children (see my bio if you want more details).
Finances have always played a significant role in my life, but it pales into insignificance compared with seeing your children, working out how to share access and the process of separating a long term relationship.
Financial planning means nothing if you have nothing to save for. Financial Independence is an enabler to get to a better place in life but I’ve realised how important it is to be in the ‘here and now’. They say “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”. The important lesson for me is to stay focused on the life part and not sacrifice today.
FI involves a degree of sacrifice, but this is usually material goods and not health or mental wellbeing. For a time I was focused like a laser on my finances. I pulled other people into my world who really didn’t care and tried to push my passion onto others without thinking enough about what they wanted and needed.
I was trying to set people on FIRE!
FI didn’t ruin my relationship. In fact, I think it helped bring things to a head. Things that have been bubbling under the surface for a while. Why did FI help? Well, I think I proficient at budgeting in my early 20’s and I built a savings habit long before that. What I have really learnt from FI is not the money side of things but instead I understood who I was and what I wanted.
I got the most value from articles that focused on personal development. I read blogs about what the goal of FI is. Once I had accumulated the capital to support my life then there must be something more, I needed to learn my purpose. Money is the ultimate enabler but living a fulfilling life is the goal. I had been focusing on stashing away cash and making investments that I forgot my real purpose. What was it that I wanted out of life? Did I want to be remembered as someone who saved a lot of money? No. Would my kids be proud of me if I had lots of cash? Nope. Kids just need love.
It’s been tough this month, I’ve had the inevitable lows that come with trying to work through a separation. This blog has helped me keep busy and focused on other things. I have also joined a dad’s group to share experiences and potentially make some new friends. I have been focusing on learning new things and spending more time on health and fitness. I want my mind to be sharp and a healthier body along with some personal development should help with that.
From a financial point of view, I’m going through the difficult process of dividing 10 years of financial spaghetti to get to somewhere that we both can agree is fair. My spreadsheets are in ruins and they will remain that way for the next few months until we can agree a way forward.
I have re-mortgaged the house and plan to write a sexy blog on how I slashed some serious costs, I will write that up in a separate post next month once the transaction has completed.
Expenses wise, the children are now at school full time so there will be significantly less childcare costs. This has been one of the biggest items on my expenses list. I can totally see why for a lot of families it is simply not worth having two parents who work full time.
I plan to start budgeting for 2019 and start setting some goals. I need to review my old FIRE plan and start from fresh. One thing I know for sure, it’s going to be much harder on a single income. I want to consider some ways to earn more money and I’m ready to take action.
“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” John Lennon
You may also like our previous post this month about my most important financial hack.
If you are just learning about Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) then check out our comprehensive beginners guide.