Oh look, something just happened...
Updated: Feb 12
It's fair to say there's been a lot going on in the household of H recently and I myself in particular have had an interesting past month:
I tripped and sprained my ankle at the end of December putting me on crutches and limiting me to hobbling around for 2 weeks
My mother in the UK had a heart attack in the height of the Coronavirus second wave there, she's 79. I couldn't travel due to coronavirus. Thankfully, she's fine.
We had my step-son out to SA for Christmas and he almost got stranded here as the second wave of coronavirus hit SA so there was a 5 hour queue in the hot sun for Mrs H to get him tested so he could get home again.
We went back into lockdown in SA due to a a new variant of coronavirus
Mrs H had a pre-christmas drinks party with some of her friends and then one of the attendees tested positive for Covid-19. We had to self isolate for the 10 days before Christmas
I popped to the doctor for a quick repeat prescription and discovered my blood pressure was off the scale and I may have a problem with my kidneys
The doctor changed my medication and I got super sick and ended up in the A&E with suspected Covid-19 with breathing difficulty. I tested negative but apparently the test is only 75% accurate so I don't actually know if it was Covid, medication, kidneys or blood pressure that knocked me out.
We had a burst pipe which flooded our bathroom and after 3 days of waiting for a plumber to be sent by the insurance company I smashed the wall in and fixed it myself.
The R320,000 / $21,000 / £16,500 solar system we had fitted less than a year ago packed up so we're forking out R4,000 / $275 / £350 monthly for electricity we shouldn't need to buy, it's now 8 weeks since I reported it to the solar company.
Both our Christmas Day and New Years Eve plans were cancelled because of Covid-19 scares and self-isolating.
South Africa went back into load shedding, which means we're on rolling 2.5 hour electricity blackouts that normally don't affect us because of the aforementioned solar system. We live in the area where one of our daily slots is either 18:00 - 20:30 or 20:00 - 22:30, the worst.
Some total Doofus decided to hack my facebook account and now it's disabled so I can't video call my mother who is in heart attack recovery. If I ever find that specky little geek I'll burst him/her.
There's an Afrikaans word I learned whilst I was working in SA and it is Gatvol. Gatvol translates as "I've had it up to here" or as we would say in Yorkshire; "I've had a gut-full lad" (Gut-Full / Gatvol - Weirdly similar).
There are people much worse off than me right now so this is definitely not a poor little me post, in fact it's just the opposite.
Whilst all of that stinking pile of you know what was going on, a wonderful thing was happening, a major milestone in our FIRE journey. Mrs H, Winston the Wonder Dog and I became dollar millionaires for the first time in our lives.
I have achieved a childhood dream.
Now I should counter that as we're at the back end of Janu-Worry I feel about as much like a millionaire as Donald Trump feels like the US president right now. I'm desperately trying to keep us in budget by the end of the 39 days of January and we are down to the unidentified slightly freezer burned meat at the back of the freezer. I actually found a bowl of something in the freezer the other day and had to defrost it to find out of we could actually eat it for dinner. As it happened it turned out be an Indonesian Chicken Laksa Curry I had made a few months back and decided it was so good to freeze the leftovers. One of the best meals we've had all month!
The main reason we surprisingly got our millionaire badge was because of a quick rally on the stock market last week which shot my magnificent 7 ETFs into a new level at the same time that the South African Rand dropped back below 15 to the dollar. The alinging of those two planets, just pushed us over the line this morning, the 21st January 2021 at around 8:49am
You won't be reading this until a few days later because of the hacked facebook account and because I've already put out like 4 posts this week (I had a lot of downtime whilst we had no water after the leak). So there is a distinct possibility that the South African government will have screwed something up, the Rand will have gone south and I'll be back in the cheap seats where I feel most comfortable.
I didn't really have much of a point to this post other than that for a 44 year old lad from a working class home in Yorkshire who left school with no education to speak of and never took any help from anyone and can proudly say that every penny of that money was earned by me and Mrs H (Who is significantly more clever than me but also worked for everything she has), it's pretty big deal for us and an achievement I'm proud of.
More importantly, I wanted to share this milestone with the Tribal Fi community because I know some of my readers are just starting out in their careers or are ambitious and are considering beginning a FIRE journey of their own and I am living (just) proof that it can be done with no special help, ability or skill set, it just needs the right mindset.
You can do it but you need to start now and go at it hard.
There's no such thing as a get-rich-quick scheme but if you work hard and save harder when you're young, success is inevitable. I've read hundreds of FIRE blogs and some will tell you that you don't have to sacrifice to achieve FIRE but I'm afraid that is just sugar coating it. If you really want to get off the hamster wheel and own you freedom, you're going to have to commit to some hardships in the short term to get to your long-term goals. If I knew then what I know now, I would have been retired at 30, honestly. The cars, the holidays, the clothes the ultra-thin laptop and the flagship phone in the oversized house could have all waited. None of it truly brought me happiness, it just inflated my ego and my impression of myself being "Successful". My definition of successful could not be further from that man today.
There is no question money doesn't buy you happiness but my goodness, you can be a whole lot less happy without it. Money equals time for me. Because I've saved my money I own my time, that's it. I simply get to do things that are more interesting and fulfilling than working now, even if that is doing nothing. I get to choose and I don't need to set an alarm.
A million dollars is not a lot of money these days and it's certainly not going to provide a porsche driven yacht floating, champagne clinking lifestyle for us but it's a milestone of progress and financial independence. The way I see it now is if it generates a 10% return (plus inflation) every year from now until I'm 100, we have a $100,000 salary without the actual work.
So where to now? Easy, Pound millionaire. I've already set my goal of a 25% growth on our net worth this year. Co-incidentally, that should be right around £1,000,000.
But surely the point of being retired is that you don't have to spend so much time growing your wealth?
True, but we have two "anchors" at the moment that mean I have time to incorporate wealth building into my post-fi lifestyle:
Mrs H is still not ready to leave her job, in fact she's just taken on more accountability. She will get there in time but whilst I wait for her, I am somewhat tethered to her job. Trekking to Machu Picchu or having a pizza next to the Trevi fountain on your own is not such good fun.
I refuse to die of Covid-19, I've worked too hard to get taken out by a virus. We are not getting a vaccine in South Africa anytime soon and even when we do there are people that need it much more than we do so 2021 and probably the first half of 2022 is going to be locked down waiting for the vaccine to kill off this virus. Another reason why sitting behind this computer making money is a reasonably good use of my time.
I'll be 45 years young one month from now and I'd like to start living our new life in earnest by the time I turn 46 which is February 2022 or at least have started consolidating our "Things" and "Stuff" by then so we can start our adventures.
So pound millionaire while I'm 45 feels like a useful objective to fill the time not dying of a virus.
So what does it feel like to be a millionaire? Exactly the same as not being one, except nobody is ever going to ask you that question if you're not one!
This post has turned out be a slightly pointless ramble now but if you are reading this and you want to have financial freedom and don't already have a plan in execution, I hope it gives you some inspiration to get on with making it happen. It's actually just maths; live as cheaply as you can, decide how much money you need each month to get your freedom and a life that you want and then save save 300 times that amount.
Do that as quickly as you can, being retired when your young is awesome.
Until next time, keep living