FAQs

1. This is all a ruse!

Not really a question, but almost the first thing people say is that I’m making it up. I can assure you I’m not.

2. So you won the lottery then?

Nope. No scratchcard wins. No gambling (more on that in a future post).

3. Aha! So your parents were rich?

Again no. My widowed mum was a hairdresser, my dad was an accountant. He sadly passed away in his early 50s when I was 16. I inherited a small six-figure sum.

4. I knew it! You can’t do this without help!

The money I inherited would have just about covered student loans in the US and a deposit on a small apartment in London where I live. It’s not enough to live on. Through saving, working hard and investing wisely that money is now multiple times bigger. But I’d give it all up to have my dad back.

5. OK, but I bet you also earned a good salary?

I worked in the City in London and by the time I quit the job I was earning a high five-figure salary. But you don’t need to work in London or in finance to make good money. Anybody in a profession (doctors, builders, train drivers, engineers, surveyors, policemen) can and will make an above average salary if they put in the hard work up front.

6. So you needed to earn big bucks to retire?

You don’t need to earn loadsa money to retire early. In fact, it can hold you back: with bigger salaries often comes more frivolous spending. If you can save 50% of your income, you can retire in less than 20 years. That is regardless of whether you earn £10k, £100k or £1 million a year. The combination of working hard, saving hard and investing wisely you can turbo charge to retirement. I call this The Three Levers.

7. But don’t you have to live like a miser?

This is one of the biggest misconceptions about Financial Independence. You don’t have to live a hard-up life to save big money. Mrs YFG and I shop at Ocado, enjoy decadent foods, have a beautiful home and by any definition live a great life.

8. What does Mrs YFG do?

My better half is a lawyer. She’s not yet Financially Independent. We split all our bills equally and share expenses. But my money is my money, her money is her money. But we share the same outlook in life: we want to do more of what we want to do and less of what other people (especially horrible bosses) want us to do.

8. That all sounds too good to be true, what’s the catch?

The catch is, we don’t spend money on things that we don’t really value. For example, we don’t have a car because we hate driving around the busy South East of England – we use public transport and minicabs. We don’t go on many holidays as we both don’t enjoy travelling – we visit our family or go on short breaks. We don’t spend money on expensive clothes – we don’t care what people think of the rags we parade in. We had a cheap wedding, and we try to fix things ourselves.

9. But I need a [car/holiday/Prada handbag]!

Do you really need it? Do you even want it? Most of the time we buy things not because we want them, but because of some underlying reason. We get a car because we want to save time making journeys. We go on holidays because we want to be more relaxed. We buy expensive items to make us feel more beautiful or powerful. But none of those purchases actually solve the underlying problem. Even with a car, you’ll find yourself perpetually out of time. Even with a holiday, you’ll go back to being stressed. And even with your Rolex, you’ll still feel insecure. I think it’s better to find the things that truly bring you joy and spend money on those – most people find that spending money just doesn’t equate to happiness.

10. So why have you set up this website?

Because so many of my friends and ex-coworkers are broke, unhappy with their work and complain about how hard their middle-class life is. But at the same time, they are doing outrageous things – like buying a brand-new Range Rover – then wondering why they have no money! We (including me) get so wrapped up in a society that is constantly trying to steal money from us and bamboozle us with jargon that we become blind to what we really want. I hope to share my experiences and thoughts so that you can achieve what you want to achieve and do what you want to do.

I also think that the financial services industry has done a great job of making saving and investing for retirement very scary for people and confusing and difficult. My aim is to try and write some easy to follow explainers for people wanting to take control of their finances but don’t know where to start.

 

All the best,

Young FI Guy

[last updated: 19/09/2018]

14 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. ‘Because so many of my friends and ex-coworkers are broke, unhappy with their work and complain about how hard their middle-class life is/I hope to share my experiences and secrets so that you can live achieve what you want to achieve and do what you want to do’

    I think, effectively what you’re saying is that you want to set people free from the prison bars that they see but don’t know are only in their heads; the limiting beliefs that society as a whole instills in us mainly so we are easier to control and therefore exploit.

    All-in-all, I think there are swathes of the general population for whom FI/RE in today’s world is close to impossible now, meaning that unless they get a crazy piece of good luck, the system has no way for it to happen. These are the poor, those who allow themselves to be limited by a working-class mentality, the stupid and the seriously unlucky, who get hit by one life-changing event so cataclysmic they can never get up again. It is nearly a guarantee though for the 1% who’re already born FI/RE and have to really screw up to lose that amassed wall of advantage/privilege, while as you say, it’s still achievable with effort for a swathe of the middle classes if they’re a strong-enough combination of smart/hardworking/lucky/able to delay gratification/resist social pressure.

    An ugly truth is that most people are either sheep or cats by character, the former will follow others all their lives even if they realise that that path can only end up in an abattoir, while the latter will do it their way even if they realise the social price is very painful.

    So I reckon there actually is quite a high price to reaching FI, that the majority, who are sheep will not pay, even if that discomfort vastly improved their quality of life and that price is social ostracism (in the form of disapproval for not blindly following social norms) especially from their own loved ones.

  2. Ha! An even more impressive FI journey here.. before 30…!

    Keep up the good work. I think many people think you have to live like a monk to achieve FIRE. But that’s not the case – I believe it’s a state of mind. Spend less than you earn, avoid lifestyle inflation and invest the surplus.

    I’ll keep an eye Young FIer and since you’re in London, I hope I meet you in one of the FIRE meetups.

  3. “I don’t have facebook” = I have seen through the FB guff long before the recent revelations of their cavalier attitude to personal data! Great posts – I am over twice your age but am enjoying all of what you say – apart from the “having our own accounts” thing. My wife and I have joint accounts. But because we have very similar attitudes to spending – she buys clothes and stuff for herself – I don’t and I don’t mind if she does we get along very well indeed! It has saved us all of this spreadsheet stuff you and your wife have to do each week/month etc.

    1. Hi Taxonomix. Thanks for kind words. It’s great that you’re enjoying the site. I’m also glad to hear that I’m not alone on Facebook. We need to look out for one another. We are endangered species!

      On the joint account – I understand my view doesn’t work for everyone. You have to bear in mind I’m an excel addict. Mrs YFG puts up with it – it could be worse, I could be addicted to coke and hookers. I think it’s very valuable to track your expenses however. Although you don’t need spreadsheets to do that – there are lots of great apps these days.

  4. Hey, I hate everything that facebook stands for too, I have a close relative who thought I was paranoid until she was in a situation for about a year where fraudsters tried to take over her life. It was extremely distressing, especially since she has their own business, at home, so it threatened everything and the worst part was never knowing what would happen next and if it was finally over. Now understanding that most of the fuel for the fire was freely gifted personal knowledge thoughtlessly surrendered info, into the public domain, she then unplugged from all social media. Real experience with pain is always more effective than the theoretical variety.

  5. FIRE before 30, that’s a huge accomplishment! No one asked what you invested in to become financially free? I’d love to know more about the strategy you use. Please share 🙂

    1. Hi FinanciallyFree, thanks for dropping by.

      Way back (around 8-9 years ago) I used to buy individual equities. I made quite a bit of return. Off the top of my head I was invested in: Apple, Vodafone, United Utilities, F&C Asset Management, BP, Shell, International Power and quite a few others. In around 2012/2013 I turned pretty much fully passive. I’ve been recording my investment returns since mid-2013. My money-weighted return/IRR is c.14% pa. My time-weighted return is c.12% pa.

      1. I suppose you prefer dividend investing? Are you investing in individual stocks only or do you have other investments as well?

        1. Well back then I was value investing, specifically looking at ‘special situations’. Now I only hold tracker ETFs. The largest holding is VWRL (vanguard all world). I think its possible to beat the market, but it is difficult and involves a lot of effort for only marginal gains. I’m sticking to index trackers for the foreseeable future.

  6. Hello YoungFIGuy

    I have just come across your website and I find it most interesting…just a thought do you have any views for the older folk (ie me, 57) for investing. I have some money to invest and was thinking of the Vanguard all world tracker. Keep up the great work; thank you for your time

    1. Hi Richard, thank you for dropping by. What’s right for you will depend on the risk you want to take and how long you want to have your money tied up for. If you are happy to put your money away for the long-term (5+ years) then a simple cheap global equities tracker fund is a good place to start. I can’t recommend a specific investment (because of the regulations). But you can have a look at the fund I invest in on this page: https://youngfiguy.com/how-i-invest-my-money/

      It’s also worth checking out the excellent Monevator website, particularly this page: http://monevator.com/how-to-chooose-total-world-equity-trackers/

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