9 Jun 2013

Moving on...

Hi Folks, you may have noticed I haven't posted here for a while, well, Well-lived-life is on it's final legs. It will stay here as a memorial, but my writing will now be taking place at www.moneybeta.co.uk , I hope you've enjoyed our time here, please come and see my new site. It will be along the same lines, but I thought it was time to get a proper domain.

Awesome, you've been great and I'm looking forward to seeing you at moneybeta.

Have a great day.


14 Mar 2013

I'm Selfish

I'm not one to let opportunities slide by without a thought to why and how they will increase my happiness. In fact it can be a painful process working out whether the next opportunity is a goer or not.

Mostly the opportunities I come across are for new jobs. I am on the cusp of obtaining a new qualification and this has highlighted to me that maybe my current work isn't progressing as quickly as it should.

Although I will be working in the same field (finance), I am thinking of moving to something with a little more difficulty rather than the daily grind which is currently my day job, although I am very aware that this may just be that the grass seems a lot greener as I stick my head above the parapet.

So I was flicking through a  few job boards as you do, looking at jobs the next step up from what I'm doing at the moment, when I came across one that seemed quite nice. The job description seemed not a great distance from what I'm currently doing, other than I would be running the team rather than working in it. 

It seems like a nice company, a charity organisation that arranges grants for disabled kids. I'm not specifically looking to work for a charity, but this seemed like a good cause.

Then I saw the pay, twice what I'm on at the moment, this was a Neo like, woah moment for me. This sounds great. Then the bad news, it's 25 miles away. Bad times.

Bad times indeed, if you've been reading this blog for a while, you may have noticed I HATE COMMUTING

So because of this I ran the numbers, I took off the extra expense for commuting, along with a little money for my wasted time.

It's still overall pretty positive, a net increase of over £500 a month.

So, why I am telling you about all this? You don't care.

Well, even though this would be a great increase in pay for me and would definitely speed up my route to early retirement, I HATE COMMUTING too much. 

I can't live with the fact that I would be driving 3 hours a day, rather than my current 30 mins. It just doesn't sit with me. So I didn't apply for it.

Am I a fool? Yes, this is more money than what me and my partner earn combined. But it's unfortunately just not the right time.

Anyway, what do you think? Should I dust the CV off and get it sent, or is this commute just ridiculous


Image: Selfish (fish for sale...geddit?)

12 Mar 2013

Do it for her

Finding the right motivation can be pretty difficult. I tend to look back at what I've learnt in the past,  usually from cartoons!

The cartoon I've watched the most of is definitely the Simpsons. It has made me as outspoken as Bart, a dreamer like Lisa and lazy like Homer (I didn't say they were all good things!).

One episode that always stick in my mind is "and maggie makes three", as IMDB says it's about how Homer recounts Maggie's birth in an answer to why there are no photos of Maggie in the family album.

It turns out to be a heart warming story of how, before Maggie was born Homer had his life set. He was working in his dream job, the Bowlarama, earning just enough money to support his family. Then suddenly with the news of Maggies imminent arrival, he knows he must return to his old job at the power station, where he come crawling back to Mr Burns. His superiors then add insult to injury by adding a banner in front of his workplace. You can see it at the top of the page (image: deadhomersociety). 

To soften the blow Homer cover's up certain words to create, what I think was the first motivational poster I ever saw (this was when I was in school!). He does this to make the his life a little more bearable, I've copied it below.

I think we can all see the message they're trying to convey, but to my then 10 year old brain I didn't really get it (well not fully). Homer is sacrificing his happiness for that of his child's, short term pain for long term gain. It's something we all come across at some point in our lives and the less selfish amongst us are probably involved in something right now that isn't to there liking but either helps their partner, friend or child.

It also resonates through to finance. If we want to be able to retire on our own terms, we need to start putting money away now. Yes, it's difficult, not many people out there are going to help you. But if you can see past all this short term rubbish, the hedonism and hangovers, you could start living a better, easier life in a lot shorter time than you think.

So do it for her, or him or you!

And get it done. You'll love it.

11 Mar 2013

The 40 year plan

Being frugal is for life not just for easter.

But why bother? You can't take it with you! It won't make you happy!

I know its odd for someone who works with and blogs about money, but I completely agree.

Money is for spending. I just prefer to spend less so that I don't have to work as much. Maybe I'm just lazy.

This means whereas some people think they need millions to retire, I'm a little more streamlined. A bit more efficient perhaps.

My number is more like £400k - at 4% return this would give me 16k a year. Great! I should have paid my mortgage off by then, so I would comfortably be able to live on this amount.

So next question? Where the hell am I going to get 400k from? Well, I've heard compound interest is pretty cool! So according to mr Monevator I need to sock away £375 a month. Well I'm certainly not doing that at the moment.

So what can I do to help, I could increase the time frame? Nope! I want to retire early!! Not later! 

I can increase the amount I put away, hmm a toughie this, is there anything else I can give up? Or maybe I need to earn some more. A possibility.

Another way could be to increase my return. Now I don't know much about investing, what I do know is that it's best to maximise tax free investments, e.g. pensions and ISAs. As for anything else, like fund / stock picking I pretty much suck at, because I've never done it, other than a couple of cash ISAs.

But at least I have a plan! It's a lot more that a lot of people.

Please don't be like these people, start saving now, live frugally and you can make it. You don't need as much as you think.

What's your number? 
Why do you need that much? 
Is there a different way I haven't thought of??

23 Feb 2013

Living Differently

Brand New Bespoke Narrowboat

My wife to be and son are napping at the moment so I thought I would take the time to type something up that I've been thinking about over the last two or three days. 

It all started with Maria's post over at the Money Principle, a great article that made me look differently at the Marxist theory. I then stumbled upon the art of non-conformity, another great article about how people don't understand, from flicking through Maria's "Money blogs" links.

I still love the fact that Maria is flustered by my milk and caviar comment from one of her old posts. I still can't understand how she thinks £120k is "enough". That's where the second article came in. Maybe she just doesn't understand the route a lot of people are now taking. 

People aren't just looking to make small changes anymore, a lot of people really want a wholesale upending of everything they do. Maybe because they're bored of their work, or where they live or they are just sick of the day to day of broken Britain. 

So maybe it's time to take the advice of the non-conformists. Maybe looking at life from a different angle is required.

A zero based budgeting approach comes to mind, whereby we scrap the budgeting tools we've used before and start with a blank page. What do we really NEED in our lives.

Humans usually need a few basics, water, food, shelter. Everything else are things we add for comfort or at the extreme greed. 

So maybe we shouldn't start looking to reduce our mortgage rate, or look to save on our car insurance, we should probably look at cheaper places to live other than houses and maybe start thinking about getting rid of the car altogether.

These are the kinds of changes that can turn an ordinary person into an early retiree or at least someone that is not forced to go to work to fund a lifestyle beyond their own means.

That is the kind of person that for me has really got life sorted in their own head, they’ve no need for superfluous items and their comforts come from within.

This kind of lifestyle leans itself to one where families spend more time with each other and learn how to do things for themselves rather than outsourcing at higher costs. Where skills are nurtured from an early age and progress with each passing project, without being put aside because we’re “late for Corrie”!

I looked at my own budget took out mortgage, car, and media costs and immediately my spending went from 80% of my wages down to 42%. This budget still leaves room for luxuries. With a savings rate like that I could retire in 11 years, which seems like a long time, but I am earning a sixth of that £120k and supporting 3 people!

Sounds pretty awesome to me, just imagine if I could double my salary… it drops to 6 years! As Paul Whitehouse once said… BRILLIANT!!

Of course this is unfortunately a pipe dream until I can convince the other half to move to a narrow boat and cycle everywhere ;)

19 Feb 2013

Gaining some reflectionment

Look around you, it's not just a wacky TV show with Peter Serafinowicz, it's a way to reflect on what you do and have.

I don't know about you but I like to do this at times of change in my life and at specific intervals, usually my Birthday and New year (it helps that my Birthday is half way through the year).

So I've just had quite a major change in my life, I've become a Dad.

I have to say it's great so far*. I could never have thought I would love anyone this much. It has also made me feel a lot closer to my partner (maybe it's because it feels like it's me and her going through it all together).

It also brings with it financial pressures and this requires some refocusing.

Gaining some refocusment.

I've reassessed some of our goals and think some new ones are in order along with rejiggling my priorities.

As you may have noticed this blog has taken a bit of a back seat since January. I'd like to focus more on it, but I simply haven't had the time. I think my original goal of posting once fortnightly is acceptable. I have a growing list of posts I want to write and want to get these started and done asap.

As for publicising this blog, it seems to be going ok. I had a bit of trouble setting up a Facebook page. So that's definitely somewhere I could improve. As you can see to the right, the tweeting seems to be going ok. 

The only other thing I'm not doing is learning any html / programming. I have been looking into courses in coding and hope to give it a go soon.

My new hopes.
Firstly I hope to encourage the health, education and happiness of my child and family. It cannot be understated how much this is paramount for me.

Next the pursuance of a higher income, whether that is through my day job, blog income, or another side hustle. This is mostly to counter the reduction in income from moving to a one income family, although with our spending habits aligned and refocused I am happy that we can live on our current income. It’s just that it doesn’t leave much room for fun, or investing in our future. So an extra bit of cash would definitely help to push this forward.

I’m looking forward to and already enjoying the longer days we’re having. Although damn you British weather if you’re not inconsistent! Snow last Monday! Then looking outside today it’s incredibly sunny, yet step outside and you immediately need some kind of fleecy wrapping to ensure all the warmth isn’t stripped from your t-shirt wearing body.
And Finally…

There’s a lot things I’ve been doing right for a long time now, I don’t have any out of control costs to kill my savings. This is a massive change from where I was 6/7 years ago. It’s nice to look back and see a change for the positive.

It’s also nice to have a lot to look forward to. So let’s go get em and hit them where it hurts.

* Apart from the sleep deprivation, that is one thing I don’t think I will ever get used to.

20 Jan 2013

In the long run, you're going to be ok

I've noticed a bit of a theme on a couple of blogs, house buying and it's associated costs. I agree with them both, buying a house is one of the biggest decisions you'll make in your life. That's why you should take your time over it. Don't be put off if someone swoops in and buys the one you had your eyes on from under you. 

It's not the end of the world. Also, although it is relevant to have a sizeable deposit and cash available for fees. This isn't the most important thing.

So what is? You have to make sure your buying a HOME, put aside the money for a few minutes (it won't make you happy anyway), this building you're buying is going to be the place you spend most of your life in from now on. Yes a lot of it you'll be asleep for but nonetheless it needs to be right.


So your buying a place with your new husband/wife, maybe your going to want an extra room or two? What's that I hear the distant patter of footsteps? 

Got a love for cars / building insane stuff make sure you have access to a garage. Or even better some space to build one!

Training to become an Olympic swimmer? Maybe an indoor pool would be of use. 

The point

Anyway the point is don’t get too wrapped up in the price you pay for a home. Yes, ideally you get it at market rate, but paying a few extra thousand isn't going to break the bank, as long as you are happy to stay there for a long time.

This is the kicker. If you are forced to sell the house due to having / wanting to move in a short space of time you open yourself up to a whole host of bad things.

Like the market moving in the wrong direction, or having to lower the price to bring a quick sale.

Moving again will also add on the transaction costs. Mortgage fees, removal vans, solicitors, it all adds up. It can really be a drain on your short term finances and stop you getting where you want to be.

Holding on to the property for a bit longer can help you increase your net worth as well. Paying down your mortgage will reduce your liability whilst the general increase in the value of property over the long term will increase the value of your asset.

At the end of the day, your probably quite intelligent and you know this all ready, so it’s really down to me to say, don’t take the first quote given for anything, always shop around and remortgage to a lower rate whenever it is viable to do so.

These methods will help you to reduce your mortgage expense as quickly as possible. Then when your mortgage free, the fun begins! 

Well that's the plan anyway :D

Do you have any other tips I've missed?

If you got stuck having to sell at a loss what would you do?

Picture by: The truth about