I think this is the third year in a row the summer had been uncomfortably hot. And I am not enjoying it at all…
I have to say, I am not functioning well in such heat. Not only I feel drained, and sluggish, but also tired almost all the time. Yes, of course I have been drinking a lot of water, and try to keep myself hydrated as much as I can, but still the heat has affected me a lot, and I can’t get myself into a productive mode.
My brain has refused to cooperate with me while I am typing this, and I have been staring into this blinking typing thing for a couple of minutes without actually get something typed. And then make a several pathetic attempts to type something just to delete it frantically because whatever I typed wasn’t make sense.
I don’t understand how people can say that this is a good weather. I mean, people who go out there, semi naked, exposing their skin to the UV rays. I have nothing against people going out streak naked, but getting a full-body sunburn doesn’t sound like a good idea at all. But, what do I know… like I said, my brain is not working at this very moment.
My husband used to wonder why someone who lived in a tropical country cannot handle such heat. I think he is not alone in his amazement, because… of course someone who was born in a hot country suddenly develop a superpower of being heatproof. Right?
Anyway, I am sorry… I don’t need to be cranky. It’s the heat again…
But, just in case you are curious of how we survived the hot weather in Indonesia… we have this technology called Air Conditioning System. It is a wonderful invention which can create a localised winter in a room. Good stuff.
I wonder if we can afford an AC in the UK. With the global warming going rampant, I am pretty sure we will need that a lot in the UK.
Anyway… I think I better shut up. Fuzzy brain and internet is not a good combo… maybe I should have my third cold shower for the day?
How come I have never heard about this movement before? If I found it way earlier, my sabbatical would have had a proper purpose, and I would have done something way earlier. I would have done things — LOTS of things differently.
But anyway, for people who hasn’t heard about FIRE, it is an acronym from Financial Independence, Retire Early. What a concept, right? A very intriguing concept indeed.
So I did some digging, and I learned a bit about the concept. I am sure I haven’t even scratched the surface yet, but I think I get the big picture. In a nutshell, you work, save every single penny, and invest the money you saved so that you can make the money work for you, until you finally have enough to pay for at least a couple of decades (assuming until you die).
But of course, it is more than that. There are a couple of points which has become the recurring talk amongst those who decided to do it, or considered it but then went against it.
A Lot of People Stuck In The Job They Don’t Love
For a lot of people a job is a job, and it a means to make money. They will save, buy a house, pay for the family… and one day when the retirement age comes they will retire. And that’s just a fact of life. These people just can’t wait the day they can finally drop everything, and retire, and start doing things they actually love.
Some of those people just can’t wait any longer, and did something about it. These are the people who went for the FIRE movement.
However, there are people who actually love their job. Like a certain someone who decided to go back to work even though she has decided to go on a sabbatical, for example. These people are not necessarily want to leave their job for good. Of course the idea of not having to wake up early in the morning and drag themselves to work is appealing, but that’s because… who wants to have to wake up early in the morning to go to work anyway?
For people who love their job, and not actually rushing to get retired, FIRE’s appeal only go as far as “giving them the option to work less”.
The government keeps updating the pension age from 64 years old to 65 years old in 2010, and rise to 66 years old by the end of this year. They’ve already planned to rise it to 67 between 2026 and 2028, and then 68 years old by 2039. There hasn’t been any plan whether they going to change it up again but currently my pension age would be 68 years old in 2053.
“Don’t worry,” they said. “70 is the new 40,” they say. No… not really.
With higher and higher retirement age, the less time for us to actually enjoy our hard earned money. You are probably not as active as when you were younger. You might have to pay more for travel insurance.
Now I am not saying that all old people are weak and inactive. My grandmother who’s almost 90 did the Holy Land pilgrimage when she was in her 80’s. Of course there’s no reason why you can’t do things like that when you are older. I am aware that there are old people who are still very active, and very much able to do what young people are doing. But even if you are still active when you are older, imagine how much better you can enjoy it if you are doing it when you are younger…
Another argument about this pension age is about the life expectancy vs. your productive years. Say you started working after graduating from university, so… about 20? If you are working until your pension age (67) means you have to work for 47 years. UK current life expectancy is 82 years old. Basically you are working for 47 years, to enjoy 15 years retirement years?
Anyway… It would have been nice if I know this when I was way younger. It must be awesome if instead of a sabbatical, I can afford to retire at 35!! Sell everything and move to the quiet calm little village, and being a farmer… That would be nice… But that only leads to the next discussion point.
Can You Afford It?
A lot of people who are aiming for FIRE, admitted that they have sacrificed a lot in their life. They have sacrificed some social gatherings (even weddings), because they wanted to save the money. They also admitted that they have inadvertently alienated their friends and family because they’re no longer “having fun”. Being extremely frugal means you are not spoiling yourself with eating out, or netflix subscription. You utilise your house for work out, instead of paying for the gym fee. Basically, to retire early, there is a price to pay.
This actually has reminded me of the conversation I had with my friends when I started my sabbatical a couple of months ago. What are the things you are willing to sacrifice, is the price of your financial freedom.
I love the concept of financial freedom, and this is the thing that I think a lot… hence my disappointment for missing the FIRE train. My husband, on the other hand is more normal, he likes his pace of life, and he is content with what he has. The likes being able to splurge, and he likes spending extra for coffee while going out (while I would insist on tap water, or even bringing my own bottled water from home, for example).
But even with being frugal, not everyone can afford to retire early. Life circumstances played a big role in this. If you have kids, for example… Or when you suddenly fall ill (although in the UK, the NHS will take care of you). Or… I don’t know… you lost your money on the stock market. Whatever circumstances that set you back.
However… I am very interested in this. My sabbatical days have given me the sneak peek of how an early retirement would look like. And I like it, and I want it…
I just need to know how…
What do you think about FIRE? Are you planning, or already doing it?
Self-Upgrade is the best investment you can make for yourself.
Have I told you that my father is one of the wisest men I have in my life? No… not perfect, as he is just a mere immortal, but his wisdom has helped me a lot, even when he is far away and cannot hold my hand all the time. Aah… *nostalgic*
Right where was I?
I’ve been thinking of upgrading myself for a very long time. Originally of course I wanted it to be done much sooner, as in… as soon as I had my sabbatical started. Now I am no longer in a full sabbatical mode, but I am still thinking about getting some upgrade for myself. Of what kind?
I’ve already started with the physical side, by starting my weight loss journey. It is a very early start, but I am optimistic about this because I have done this successfully before. Not a problem. I have started taking care of myself on skincare routine too… I am one hundred percent aware that I am not young anymore, and skin care become more expensive later on if I don’t take care of it today.
But the software though…
Borrowing the terminology for PC building… Upgrading all your gadgets (physical look) like the PC monitor, or mouse, or even the tower is awesome. It helps the whole experience, and it does look good. BUT it means nothing if your software is not upgraded as well.
What I need for myself is to get internal upgrade. A brain upgrade. I want to go back to school… to put it simply.
But simple it is not. Not only that I don’t have the time to do it, going back to school can be very costly. And before anyone is offering this idea, yes I have looked into Open University too, and man… that’s still a bit costly.
I never thought about the cost of my education when I was younger because my parents always took care of it. I am not saying that my parents are rich, I am just saying that they were just being the responsible parents, trying to give the best they could afford for me. However, trying to pay my own education… seeeesh.
I did not understand why a lot of people were angry when the education subsidy was reduced — resulted in higher university entrance fee. I always thought it was just parents responsibility to make sure that their children can get the best education possible. And the fact that people in the UK can get student loan, people in this country can get a real push for a start.
Now… I can understand. A little bit. But that’s probably because I don’t have kids to take care of, and I am thinking of paying for my education myself.
BUT… back to upgrading.
My dad, the wise man of the family told me once that the best thing he could give me for life is not money, but preparing me for life. At that time, in his mind he wanted me to get the best education so that I can survive the working world. But now he probably realised that he has give me much more than that.
He gave me the social skills, the ability to understand human behaviour, and the knowledge to get ahead in life. He taught me the importance of networking, and how to use it. He taught me the importance of investing, saving, and all other basic financial knowledge for life. And the most important thing is that he taught me the importance of upgrading myself every time I have the chance to do it.
To get better. To expand. To push the comfort zone and achieve better.
So… Do I have enough money to get another degree right now? Probably not. But will I give up the idea of upgrading myself? Definitely not.
I realised that Open University also have this free learning resources called Open Learn. Man… you British people are so lucky to have an access to this. I wouldn’t even imagine something like this in Indonesia.
What am I going to learn? Heheh… not sure anymore as there are too many options. But will come back with that soon 🙂