Month end: October 2020

Another month has come and gone and it’s notable for three things:

  1. We’ve finally reached a net worth of £1 million
  2. The stock market wobble has meant that we are now below that
  3. For the first time in almost 15 years I’ve had a full month without any paid work.

Fun times!

I like to read other blogs and a lot of people like to say how the first £100,000 is the most difficult, after that things get much easier.

It’s a bit like driving a car. Getting above 10 miles an hour is a real challenge on a hill start, a fully loaded car, handbrake on and you can’t see out of the windscreen. Once you get rid of get, bad spending habits, manage your spending, earn a bit more and start saving/investing, things get a lot easier.

Now, I’m in a different position. I reckon that my career earnings have topped out and future work is not looking very likely. And with this, I have mixed feelings. My charge towards financial independence was based on a deep rooted fear that “there’s no such thing as a job for life”, that nobody has any duty to provide for your future and that the state pension is not to be relied upon for retirement. So, to end up without work and a million in the bank (or across a myriad of investments/assets) means I don’t really have to worry.

On the other hand, the feeling of dejection is hard to ignore. I am unable to sell my labour for money. It’s not just that I’m unemployed – I’m unemployable! If we define ourselves primarily by our careers and your career has gone down a cul-de-sac then what do you do? It could easily make you depressed, lethargic and give up.

3 Choices

I see that I sort of have three choices with work and my career:

  1. Relax and enjoy early retirement
  2. Try to get a job in my current industry/line of work
  3. Retrain/Reskill/Reinvent

There’s no right or wrong answer on what to do. The first and the second options are the same thing but you feel better about not working with 1. I will probably be able to pick up some work with my current contract for a project that is kicking off soon – but there’s a short term risk that nothing turns up and it becomes a long term risk that either nothing comes up or the surplus of people looking for work drives down rates. Option 3 sounds good but it’s a real risk that I end up exerting a lot of effort for little pay off. I also like being around the kids (taking them to/from nursery) and all that – so rushing into a commitment is something I’d need to consider carefully.

Anyway, nothing will be decided by me typing away like this.

Monthly Highlights

Family income is down due to my inability to get paid but the Lady is getting steady pay. My side hustle brought in about £2,000 for the month which is great and combined it means that our income matched spending. The Lady is finding her job a bit chaotic and short sighted – her department is a so badly organised and it’s painful for her to work there. She’s looking for a new job and has a second round interview for one that would be amazing for her to get (fingers crossed!)

On spending, we got 4 new radiators installed in the house, replacing old single panel ones. We also got new floors installed and they look great! I do have about 15m2 of spare floorboards that I’ve put on eBay to sell. Not so bad as I get some money back and I was able to negotiate a reduction on the installation cost.

Our net worth crossed £1m at the end of September but was down £10,000 in October. That’s a large fall and I don’t follow the markets but I imagine there’s some nonsense about covid. When you don’t earn much and have a lot invested then a few points in the FTSE/S&P/Dow Jones can mean huge gyrations in your net worth. I can live with the volatility – but obviously I’d prefer upward volatility.


The kids had a great month but the lack of things to do is a bit sad. We are moving into Level 42 of the lockdown – so there are even fewer things open and less to do. It’s a bit sad that the kids are not able to go to most museums, cinemas and attractions. We did go to Blair Drummond Safari Park for our third visit since August (thanks to an annual pass) – that was great but the weather in Scotland makes it less than perfect most of the time and most of the year.

We did get 2 bags of wooden logs for the fire delivered this week. It took a lot for me to take it all indoors – but good exercise – and we’ll now be warm even if the boiler dies.

Wood, glorious wood

Final Thoughts & Schadenfreude

Looking at LinkedIn, there are a lot of people that I know who are out of work. Those are the ones who are saying that they are out of work – I know that many more are keeping quiet. I don’t have any sympathy for people who are now saying that they are desperate for work and have bills to pay when they looked down on me in years gone by. When I didn’t drive a fancy car and took the bus to work, when I lived in a cheap tenement flat instead of an executive town house, when I wore a 5 year old Craghoppers jacket instead of this year’s Jack Wolfskin. But that’s others and others can do as they wish. All you can do is influence your own world through your thoughts and actions. I’m ok with less work right now and I don’t feel any imminent need to start working again. If working is for the money then I don’t need to work right now. For my own intellectual challenge and sense of accomplishment… that’s another story along the lines of live to work / work to live. At the moment, I’m just going to live.

Thanks, GFF


  1. It is hard times with quite a bit to run, this is exactly why we skip some “luxuries” to have flexibility. 2k from a side hustle is a big help!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If you’re going to have time on your hands you could make an effort to get physically fit. (Apologies if you already are.) I don’t mean marathon fit, but fit enough for swimming, hill-walking, and such’ without pechin’.

    I once knew a chap with what’s now called a portfolio of jobs. He did a bit of university lecturing, ran a premium plumbing business for the many acres of not-to-be-buggered-up Georgian housing in Edinburgh, and owned a bit of land in Fife where he raised Xmas trees. He seemed very happy with it.


    • I am a bit out of shape in terms of fattiness but fit otherwise.
      I could probably make use of a gym but there’s a lot else to juggle in life tight now.
      Maybe getting out on the bike in the morning after leaving the kids at nursery is an idea.
      As I may have said in earlier posts, using a 4% swr I am more likely to die in the next 30 years than run out of money.
      Health is wealth


  3. Buy the right kit and you can take your children to nursery (and then school) by bike. It’s routine down here (Cambridge area).

    And then you can enjoy the rite of passage when your possum graduates from being a passenger on your bike to being self-propelled on his/her own, with proud Daddy cycling along behind.


    • The Master has been pedal biking since 3 1/2 on a great bike and since he was on a balance bike before then he never used stabilisers.
      At the moment he cycles very well to nursery.
      The Little Lady has been on a balance bike for a few months now and can easily glide. She cycled the 800m to nursery this week whilst we walked and she kept up the pace!

      I now have grand delusions of a 5 day highland cycle in a few years.


  4. Sounds like we are in similar situations. I breached the £1.5 million mark a few weeks ago but I suspect that the latest Covid / lock down announcements have pushed me back below that now. I’ve just returned to work after 14 days leave to cover half term. Most activities we did were pretty cheap and involved bike riding, visiting parks and flying kites. We’ve just been informed that swimming lessons, tennis lessons and football training have now been cancelled for my 6 year old have been cancelled for at least the next 4 weeks.

    I had “mentally” put a quit work date of the end of the year. If I make it through the next 4 weeks I have enough leave to book most of December and leave. I’ve been in my current job for 2 years and it’s always been chaotic but getting worse and the best people have been leaving. I work in cloud IT so it would be easy enough to get another job if I really had to keep working. However, my latest financial review ( 2 weeks ago ) indicated I could go now if I wanted to. I’m glad I have choices and I’m aware many people don’t have those.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for posting David.

      I suppose the freedom you have with 1.5m means that you can easily decide that the office chaos isn’t worth it and that you are worth more so you can leave them instead of being a wage slave.
      My wife is going through a tough bit at work where she is not enjoying the new company after 2 1/2 months in the role. She’s looking for something else but she doesn’t see our cash pile as a right to quit work for good- especially with my work situation not looking too promising.

      However, having the money makes everything less stressful


      • Having a “decent” amount does allow you to have choices. It does make me think that there are better things to do with my time but the current economic climate sometimes makes me think that having a job is a better idea than not having a job.

        My current savings rate is stupidly high, using salary sacrifice with the employer contributing half the saved employer NI means I’m effectively saving around 90% of my salary which is probably a little extreme.

        I suspect I should spend a bit more and then I’d see why I am bothering to work. However, once you’ve got the core needs of housing, food, warmth covered then how much stuff do you actually really need. My 15 year old car runs fine as I have learned how to maintain it, holidays are presently on pause and we eat pretty well by cooking at home.

        Liked by 1 person

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