Enjoying life

After perusing the UK personal finance Reddit thread, I came across a post asking people to name their biggest financial regret. Amongst the many depressing and amusing suggestions, there were several people who claimed that they had “no regrets” and that the others admitting regrets should just “enjoy life”.

 

At first, I thought that was a rather strange answer to the question as surely, being honest with yourself, there must be something that you regret purchasing.

 

Despite that thought, I came later to reflect on what enjoying life means.

 

Certainly, it means something vastly different to each and every one of us; however, in the context of a financial regret, what does it mean to enjoy life?

 

Did they mean they don’t regret anything, or that they are not bothered by those regrets? Or did they mean spend recklessly and not worrying about the consequences even if that means ending in £20k of credit card debt?

 

Presumably enjoying life in the context of financial regrets could mean anything, I propose, that includes partying, buying expensive cars, boozing, going on expensive holidays, having an expensive hobby, and eating at the finest restaurants.

 

All of these things: 1. Cost lots of money, 2. (Admittedly) Can be fun and 3. Are part of massive lifestyle creep over time. As someone seeking FI, 1 & 3 are things that will only hinder my journey to FI.

 

Often it is said that you regret the things you did not do more than those you did. That is something I have kept in mind when making decisions (not just financial ones) throughout my life- but will I regret not doing these expensive things because I have chosen to become financially independent?

 

Deep down, having done many of these thing in the past, I think the opposite is true. I think of all the times I went out on a ‘bender’ spending lots of money on food and drink only to feel hungover the next day. The times I went on holiday and spent my way around a city without a care. The times I spent money to make myself feel better or to impress people I didn’t like. Yes I had fun (mostly), made friends and whatnot, but looking back, I could have been less foolish and saved more with little loss socially or otherwise. That money would now be growing in an ISA or where ever and I would be closer to my goal of FI because once I have FI the options to enjoy life become far greater without the little problem of working 5 days a week!

 

So, the saying rings true, you regret the things you didn’t do more than those you did. I don’t regret having a good time in my youth, but I do regret not taking control of my finances over a decade ago and putting away as much as I could. If I had, I would be wealthier, happier and closer to being financially independent.

However, I am not going to wallow in regret and despair over that, and nor should you. As the Chinese proverb says the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.  Now, where’s my spade?

Payslip calculator

While wondering what to do about my pension a couple of weeks back, and starting a new job, I decided that I had no clue what my new take-home pay would be. I spent some time (a lot of time) making this handy payslip calculator.

Pay-Slip-Calculator-v1

It will calculate the tax, NI, student loan, and pension deductions from your PAYE salary and give an idea of what your take-home would look like.

It is useful for playing around with pension percentages to see what impact it will have on your income without having to ask payroll.

Its very simple to use; just enter your salary, pension % and select the relevant student loan settings and it will calculate all for you.

If your salary is over £150,000, you are very lucky, and this calc won’t work for the 45% rate.

November update

Time flies when you are having fun as the saying goes. October was a big month for me but it went by very quickly indeed.

I finally finished a job I was hating where I had to wait out my three month notice period. I had a week off at home chilling, resetting and getting my life in order before starting at my new job. I am very happy with the move so far. I’m working on some great projects and my colleagues seem super nice so far. Plus I’m paid more which will accelerate my journey to FIRE.

The figures

My net worth has grown slightly to £313,063, a growth of 0.4% month on month. I believe this is due to my cessation of debt paydown (’cause it gon’) and some weird things happening on my pension accounts.  Savings rate wise – I don’t know! I need to start seriously working this out. My budget says I should be saving 65%, but I am not sure what I have actually achieved. I have not been tracking as haven’t actually been saving per sey as I was paying down debts. The goal for next month is to actually nail this down and report properly as I have seen other FIRE people doing.

Financially this month has been ‘bad’ because I took a week of unpaid leave between jobs. Although bad financially, it was good for my mental health and worth the drop in pay. Although oddly, my take-home did not seem to be affected much due to the increase in salary at my new job.

The week off also made me reflect on where my FIRE journey may end up. Although I enjoyed doing nothing for a week, I was beginning to get antsy by Friday. I wondered how I would cope with actually being retired and having nothing to do. I think I realised that I wouldn’t cope that well.

It has made me re-assess my goals to the point where I still want to achieve FIRE, but I may not want to give up working (so long as I enjoy my job!). I think it is important to be doing something fulfilling with one’s time on planet Earth and doing nothing is not going to help one bit.

So, from now on I shall be pursuing FIRE with that in mind.