Another month has come and gone and it’s notable for three things:
- We’ve finally reached a net worth of £1 million
- The stock market wobble has meant that we are now below that
- For the first time in almost 15 years I’ve had a full month without any paid work.
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.
I see that I sort of have three choices with work and my career:
- Relax and enjoy early retirement
- Try to get a job in my current industry/line of work
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.
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.
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.