I suppose I’d better give you a little more information about my life, my motivations, and my goals.
I’m 39 years old, married with a young son, aged 15 months. I have a good job, working in business development in market research, which enables me to work from home 100% of the time. My wife also works in the same industry, and also works from home!
My gross income is c.80-90k (dependent on commission), my wife is around the 50-55k mark. We’ve recently moved out of London after owning a 2 bed flat in SE4 for 5 years. We bought well just before a major upturn in prices in that area. We bought for 355k in 2013, and sold for 551k in February this year, netting 321k after paying off the mortgage.
This is not meant to be boastful as I am about to reveal to you a decision that is currently haunting me, and counterproductive to all the advice I’ve been reading over the last 3 weeks (ie. when I began my obsession with early retirement).
We are buying a house for 695k over a 25 year period (fixed for the first 5). It will mean using up all our savings of 390k and just leaving my investments in my Hargreaves Lansdown account of around 31k and 10k to spend on the house for fixtures and fittings. We thought we were being clever to use up as much savings as possible to keep the mortgage payments down to a minimum.
Our original plan was inadvertently the best one for my early retirement and had I become obsessed with it just 2 months earlier we would still be gunning for that, or continuing to rent. We had wanted to buy somewhere with a very low or no mortgage and do it up over time. The issue – my wife just didn’t like any of the properties. It felt like a massive backward step, and I have to say that I didn’t want to settle for a sub-par property either.
Had somebody told me that we were in effect about halfway to retirement and could be generating 20-30k a year in passive income by investing in sensible fund/shares, we would have perhaps re-evaluated.
Alas, we are too far down the line now – we have a month until we complete. The chain is short and all that stands in our way are some questionable answers to some of our questions to the vendors re. some old work that was done to the property. My wife is with me on my newfound resourcefulness and cost-saving exercises (more on those later) but doesn’t really know my feelings about the above. Am I a scaredy-cat? Should I be strong and suggest we pull out? No chance. Have you met my wife? And its a f**king nice gaff…
The point is, that I’m now focused on getting there another way. Starting again, almost, but learning how I can accelerate that as much as possible.
I’m not just motivated by money as you might think. I’m motivated by my young son and my (and my wife’s) happiness. It’s fair to say that until we left London, we had been in quite a dark place. My job was all-consuming for 6 years solid (and I mean on average 70 hours a week solid), my wife was losing patience with me and accusing me of having changed and lost myself (ie. I was always so tired, I couldn’t be assed to socialise). We had been trying for a baby for 3 years unsuccessfully, including two failed NHS IVF treatments, for unexplainable reasons (as in, they had no clue why). My wife became a bit depressed about it as you might expect.
Then suddenly, a flicker of light. We decided to have a final attempt at IVF through a private clinic. It cost us a significant chunk of money but we were fortunate to have the funds in our savings (at least one positive from my work nightmare) and after quite a grueling period of injections and blood tests (not me obviously) my wife became pregnant. Hallelujah, life is good again. Maybe this is what we needed?
The light went out. When I say the first 6 months of my son’s life were hell on earth, I’m not exaggerating. He just didn’t sleep…..like, ever. I mean I loved him dearly but there were many times we sat there wondering what the f**k had we done to deserve this. My wife became depressed, I started having to do the night shifts to try to alleviate the depression and arguments. I probably had 2 hours sleep a night for 3 months, all whilst doing my 70 hour weeks. Something had to give.
I handed my notice in at work. I’d been wanting to do it for a long time, but the birth of your child does help you re-evaluate what’s important. I also was worried about my wife and wanted to spend some time at home to help out. We forged a plan to sell up and move back to my hometown and buy a cheap house and downgrade our jobs to 20-30k a year each and live a simple life.
Obviously, that idea dissipated after a few months with no money coming in (and my wife’s maternity pay stopping). I was also very fortunate to have lined up a job with one of my old suppliers with the promise of being able to work from home (they are a US company with no UK employees) and for the same pay as I was on before but with nowhere near the level of work.
This shouldn’t have meant we deviated from the plan, but we just got a bit greedy on the house, and so here we are…
My goal – retire by 55, ideally by 50. I need to consume a lot of knowledge to get there. I’ll share what resources I have been using in the very near future.