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Fuel to FIRE – April 2021

Hello! Well, shows how much I know about the stock markets. I was sure the UK markets would leap into the air on Monday 12th on the first day of non-essential shops opening in England. But no – it stayed pretty flat but did creep up as the week went on. I then thought the UK markets would rise significantly on Monday 19th after the first weekend of the shops being open. But no – it actually dipped. I know nuffinks. But I’m in, and in it for the long term, and that’s what’s important. Generally the markets went up rather agreeably during April helping me to achieve a couple of milestones. £40,858.90 @ 1st May – S&S ISA £112,100.34 @ 1st May – Pension 1, my current work pension £106,249.00 @ 1st July 2020 – Pension 2, a deferred pension from long, long ago. I only get an updated figure once a year, unless I request a transfer value £ 259.208.24   @ 1st May  – is my Future Fund +2.94%  since 1st April A couple of posts ago I grumbled rather ungratefully that my Pension Number One had
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Fuel to FIRE – March 2021

Hello! Well I’ve had my first vaccine jab and aside from a slightly tender arm, if I laid on it in bed, I experienced no adverse side-effects. I was in and out within 20 minutes so all very slick. March was car insurance renewal month por moi. My current insurer sent me a renewal quote based on the deets of last year’s. That’s nice of them... I’ve only once stayed with the same insurer for a following year and that was because they matched the cheapest quote that I’d found on a comparison site – it was only about a fiver’s difference anyway so no great pain for the insurer. Each year, I go on to a couple of comparison sites and I always find a cheaper quote than the current insurer has provided. This year’s no different – but with the added magic of an upcoming huge drop in my annual mileage once we get back to the ‘new normal’. My annual mileage will decrease from around 18,000 to just 6,000 once the 3:2 working arrangement begins – three days at home and two in ze office. My current

Fuel to FIRE – February 2021

Hello! Well, England now has a road map out of Lockdown the Third, and infection, hospitalisation and death figures are dropping sharply. The vaccination programme has so far covered over a third of adults in the UK. All positive progress. I had hoped that the news of a road map would’ve given a boost to the UK indexes but that didn’t happen. The FTSE 100 is still pretty lifeless and then something about  the jump in government bond yields and something else about interest rates  spooked markets around the world last week and Footsie dropped like a stone. The S&P 500 had a similar wobble but not as bad. The track of my FF is beginning to look like the cartoon version of the Loch Ness Monster’s hooped back, soaring high from a low at the start of the month and then plummeting back down towards the end. The overall effect is to leave my FF rather flat. On the positive side  February’s been much kinder to my wallet than January was. My additional spending in February was... £20.02 – p

Fuel to FIRE – January 2021

Hello! I hope you’re all doing ok in your respective pandemic conditions. Still a full lockdown here in England with the ‘noises’ suggesting it may not be lifted until March. This is pretty grim in so many ways for so many people – be they parents home schooling, businesses closed with no income, people furloughed or, if they’re freelancers, unable to earn a living. I’m one of the very lucky ones and have been working from home full time since last March. I’ve been able to direct my commuting costs to my Future Fund and increase my Savings Rate to 63 per cent since July last year. The irony is the pandemic has had a deleterious effect on my FF since last March. The vaccination program here appears to be running smoothly despite the best efforts of the British weather and a variety of exasperating political battles happening ‘over there, somewhere’. I took my partner to have his first jab – h e’s in the ‘underlying health conditions’ category. I t was a very slick operation.   We were i

Frugally fun – part the first

Hello! I hope you’re all well in your respective pandemic conditions. The UK’s pretty grim at the moment but there are small signs that things are going to get better. The vaccination program is well under way and should be complete by the end of this year. I thought I’d post about some of my frugal activities which are helping me on my journey to FIRE. I don’t think I do anything particularly original, innovative or special but there maybe something in what I do that inspires and dishes up food for thought. I’ve been living frugally for nearly 20 years now. But it’s important to say that I’ve not been living stingily or parsimoniously and I don’t consider myself a penny-pincher. I have a very comfortable life and I’m happy with it. I have the ‘taken-for-granted’ luxuries that most first and second worlders have come to expect. I’m also able to splash out on holidays abroad – often travelling business class on planes and first class on trains. I also think I’m pretty generous to the ki

Fuel to FIRE – December 2020

Hello and Happy New Year! I hope by the end of 2021 we’ll all be back to as normal as possible. T he UK has been plunged into another full lockdown and the coronavirus figures here are looking truly horrible. But the vaccination program has begun so while there’ll be a time lag of a few months before we see things getting better, they will. This won’t be much comfort for those who have lost loved ones to this virus though.  2020 is the year I finally started my own blog. I’d been thinking about doing one ever since discovering FIRE back in January 2016. I’d decided on the title of ‘FIRE@55’ when I first imagined having a blog – sing to the tune of  Stars on 45 ! This monthly update’s a bit late as it took me ages to discover out how much I’d invested over the past 12 months. I also struggled to work out what my average annual savings rate was. I’ll be keeping more accessible and reliable records from now on. To my Future Fund update: £36,273.72 @ 1st January – S&S ISA. £ 99,530.65

Blogs on FIRE

Hello! For my final post of this crazy year I thought I’d give an overview of the FIRE blogs that led me to be where I am today on my own progress to financial independence. On discovering FIRE in January 2016 it appeared I started at the top – at the blog of the one and only Mr Money Mustache . Boom! What the hell is this all about? Who is dis guy? ‘Shockingly simple math’? Ok. If you say so... 'The four per cent rule'. Really? I binged on MMM’s posts and the endless comments threads. He’s a funny guy and an excellent writer. I kicked myself for not finding his blog earlier. FIRE was a revelation. I bathed in its wonderously welcoming flames. From the Badassitatious offices of Mustachianism I set off a scamperin’ around the interwebs hungry for more. Actually I read a post on MMM’s blog about ERE,  Early Retirement Extreme , which predates Mustashianism. Jacob Lund Fisker’s blog is a lot drier than Paul Adeney’s but highly informative and just as inspiring.  The other America