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  1. #1

    Noedig's Journal

    A journal seems like the right way to kick this off. Here are some facts about the situation, and then I will try to articulate why I am here. First the basic facts:

    49 [feeling old!]
    Married with 2 teen daughters: very much a Family Guy.
    Live in London, with a modest terraced house, central enough to cycle everywhere
    Work as a contract Business Analyst in finance, since college. Good money, long hours.
    Wife works part time in community mental health - lots of responsibility but not much money

    I am here as I have realized I want to quit working. That won't happen just by wishing, absent a visit from the Lottery Fairy, so some kind of plan is in order. I am here to learn from you all what has worked for you, what hasn't worked, and the kind of mindset for approaching the many decisions along the route.

    As to why: It feels like I have spent all my life working - at school, before college, during college, ever since. Any chance I had to defer some gratification and do some work, I took that choice. Very likely in part because I felt a bit poor when growing up. As a result the financial situation is now good, but I have not spent enough time with the kids or doing fun stuff. I could get all emo and say I want now to 'develop as a person' but actually recreation is what truly comes to mind when I think about this - getting on my bike, travel, seeing more friends and family, just spending some more time with my daughters before they leave home... it's a long list.

    The essential point about deferred gratification, I have come to feel, is that it is no good if you defer it forever or to the point when by the time you get it, the party is over, or to paraphrase Warren Buffet, to find you have waited until you are ninety for all the sex. I feel I have done enough deferring.

    That's part of the reason why ERE appeals. Also because I am not a materialist, whatever that means when, ahem, I am to most practical effects a full member of the consumer society: I suppose I mean that though I have most of the trappings (house/car/iMAC etc), I am also the geeky guy that likes to cycle everywhere and spends hours fixing stuff (even when I should just buy a replacement), cooks home bakes and makes meals from leftovers. Also I honour the Thoreau-like minimal engagement mindset and a lot of what has come from that. So, I will claim to belong: challenge me if care to debate the point.

    But, sigh, I can't retire just yet. The kids are in private school (which costs an absolute bomb - I can't believe how much.). My savings are in tax wrappers which means I can't get hold of them until I am 55 anyway. Also, I can add up all I have saved, and that seems like a lot. But then I take away all I must pay for (kids education, pay off house, likely some startup money for them after college, and to get married) and what's left is not enough to quit. So I must work for a few more years.

    But I do have a target: pay off the house and have savings of enough to retire on at a much lower income level than now, but enough. I have a good start and can reach this goal in about five years, I figure.

    My concern is to keep focused and to be smart about it, avoid mistakes, minimise my other costs in the meantime, and spend as much time not working as possible: otherwise I will have retired at the exact point when the kids are no longer around to have fun with. All these things to some extent trade off against each other, and I'm figuring it all out.

    My interests are investing, cooking, biking, fixing stuff, musical theatre (plentiful hereabouts) and science fiction.

    There we go... that wasn't so hard. Hello to you - whatever your situation - and if you have something to share, I'd be pleased to know.

  2. #2
    Hello and welcome from a fellow Brit

    I don't envy you trying to pay off a home in London these days, even a modest one. I assume you've lived there for a while? I spent 2 very happy years in London, would have stayed longer if I wasn't working in a field that paid naff all.

    If you've any scope to re-mortgage there are some cracking deals available at the moment, including a 1.89%? 2 year fix (I think it was offered by N&P).

  3. #3
    Ydobon - thanks for the comment, also for still being a fellow Brit after last week. I am glad we are still countrymen.

    My mortgage is at 0.08% above base. So I won't be changing! Bought just before the crunch. Was looking dodgy for a while but has worked out better than OK since.

    London house prices are indeed bonkers, owing to several well-identified trends reinforcing each other: councils not building; London property becoming an asset class for the world's 1%, and the fact that half of the world seems to want to live here. I've done not brilliantly but OK, having lived here thirty years though renting for most of that. I was always risk averse, so missed out on the bulk of the boom, and just have a niceish 1910 house in a quiet street. I've no problem with that but I worry for my kids...and for the fact that I will have to work an extra year or two to give them a leg up onto the property ladder if they want to live in the same city.

    I have fond memories of Scotland, as do most I imagine who have arrived overnight on the sleeper from London into Waverley station in Edinburgh. Also of hearing a strange fragmented chorus of singing drunks in Glasgow.

  4. #4
    Are you sure you want to pay for your children getting married? By the time that you've paid for their entire education, shouldn't they be able to pay for their wedding by themselves?

    My parents paid for my education, and I'm very grateful to them for that. They did NOT pay to set me up in my first apartment, I did that. They also didn't pay for my siblings' weddings... My siblings did that, themselves, and I decided to not get married anyway. We could fund our own life post-education precisely because they helped us pay for that education and we got the jobs that come with that kind of education. I'm not sure what is, or what should be, more valuable to your children: that you're around when they're teenagers, or that you pay for their wedding?

    In all cases, I hope you will look at your life and really look at alternatives. You may have more options than you think you have. Good luck!!

  5. #5
    Hi, glad to see somebody of my age, and as it seems, a similar situation that after working hard for many years, you have reached a ceiling in work, and like to focus on what makes life more interesting. The only differences seem to be that I have no kids and no (expensive) house in London. May be it is our generation, our parents worked hard to get us to University, and told us (and society), get a good paid job, house, car and partner, and build up a career, only to hit mid-life with a feeling that there must be more in life, lol. I am now busy for a year to change this, and I will quit work mid-2015 and start exploring other routes in life (and it could still include some type of work, but that is not yet clear). If you like to exchange some more ideas how to make the change, feel free to add questions over here, or send a personal message. I am happy to support! One way or the other, have a great journey in transforming your life.
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