The journey begins …

 

Mt Urgull, San Sebastian

Am I a grown up yet?

At the beginning of 2018, my new year’s resolution was to sort out my finance. Simple, right? But I had no idea what was involved or where to start.

Somehow I always considered finance to be something grown ups do and that I was not grown up enough to deal with it. It was sobering then to think that maybe, just maybe, turning 47 this year would now be considered ‘grown up’.

Um … did someone mention ‘investing’?

I felt I had two pressing issues to deal with; I had finally paid off my mortgage some months ago and thought vaguely that I ought to think about what to do with the extra cash instead of just leaving it in my savings account ie I should … invest … in something.

Retirement … the dreaded word

The second issue was the dreaded word ‘retirement’ – it kept cropping up around me – in conversations with friends, in newspaper articles … and it was driving me crazy. Turning 47 seemed to bring out the anxiety of whether I would have enough to live on in retirement, something that I certainly had not thought about in any depth.

The Pineapple Project

Stumbling upon The Pineapple Project podcast on the ABC hosted by Claire Hooper was fortuitous – Claire Hooper’s delivery was entertaining and funny, not at all boring like I assumed all finance discussions must be.

Episodes included The Psychology of Money, Demolish Your Debt, You Need an Emergency Fund and more. While my circumstances were different, the stories of all the women resonated with me. I felt that I could start to tackle my finances.

The Barefoot Investor

Not long after listening to all the podcasts, I was gifted a book – The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape. I read it in one afternoon. I loved the simple way he explained personal finance – once again, like The Pineapple Project, finance was explained in language that I understood and was not boring. The steps he outlined seemed achievable.

Why didn’t I know this earlier?? Why did it take so long for me to be interested?

FIRE

It was while doing further research on the internet that I discovered a whole new (to me!) world of blogs and podcasts devoted to FIRE ie Financially Independent Retire Early concept. The stories were so inspiring and unbelievable at the same time. People in their 20s and 30s were achieving financial independence and some have actually retired. They were living their dream lives NOW and not working until their 60s.

This was my ‘light bulb moment’ as they like to call it in the FIRE community – I was panicking about retiring in the traditional sense in my 60s and yet, the idea of FIRE, strangely, really appealed to me.

But let’s face it, I am already in my late 40s …. what are my chances, realistically, of achieving FIRE?

Zero, was my first thought.

But my next thought was ‘what have you got to lose by trying?’ I may be able to retire earlier than 65 or 60 or work part time before fully retiring. It won’t be the classic FIRE achievement but it was still worth giving it a good shot.