July ’18 – Net Worth and monthly update #2

Since my June update I have failed miserably in getting any posts or updates out. This is down to a number of factors.

I think I had my first writer’s block, as many of the topics I was thinking about writing a post on appeared in my inbox as new posts by other bloggers, as if they were reading my mind…! or the topic had already been covered before in a far better way than I thought I could express it, anyway. Continue reading

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School Holidays and the Fear of Missing Out

Yesterday was the first full day of the school holidays for us. Little FUs #5 and #6 are home educated but the other Little FUs broke up from school on Friday.

I dread the start of the holidays.

There’s always a hellish few days while they all get used to each other’s company again. That might sound weird as they spend weekends and evenings together anyway but it seems they can tolerate their siblings (and their respective annoying habits) for up to a couple of days but anything more and the house descends into squabbles and chaos. Every single school holidays to date I’ve lamented not purchasing a pair of ear plugs just to get me through those first days. When it’s all calmed down we can enjoy a reasonably harmonious time together but it’s often a really wobbly start.

Little FU#4 and a new friend

One thing I refuse to do to remedy that initial fractious few days is cram our time with an endless amount of expensive activities and days out. I suspect many parents who throw themselves into such a situation do so after a couple of days of hell at the beginning of the holidays (or maybe, having experienced the hell of the holidays beginning before, they feel compelled to keep their little darlings occupied from day one). By spending.

Not me.

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Cheaper by the (half) dozen

Regular readers of our blog may be aware that we are a large family… with six kids!

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Secret Hobbies and the Big Match

a celebration-football-on-a-england-flag_1048-449Have you a secret hobby?

Something you’ve not mentioned to any friends or family because it would mean too much explanation (and even then they might put you on their People-I’m-Worried-About List?)

Mr FU and I have.

We’ve all the necessary apps on our phones, an inboxful of related emails and tons of SMS messages.  But no-one else can see them!  It’s all very cloak-and-dagger.

The other day I had to snap my laptop shut sharpish when my dad came round, for fear he’d see the list of most-visited sites on my Google homepage!  Oh my…it was close.  He has eagle eyes and is so genuinely curious that he’ll open a notebook if it’s lying on the kitchen counter to see what’s in it so I was very lucky to get away with it.

So do you want some clues? Our secret hobby involves money. (Naturally!)

And a lot of excitement when it’s an important sporting event like today – when England play Sweden in the Quarter Finals of the World Cup.

Fire up the bookies’ websites, Mr FU!

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Which Index Funds do you invest in?

Throughout the FI community the default advice on investing and building wealth seems to be  “…invest in low-cost index funds…”.

So when deciding to invest, whether in a pension, Isa, or other investment vehicle, just buy your low-cost index fund and forget about it.

That’s it.

End of post?

This investing lark is easy, isn’t it? Continue reading

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Beware of Freebies – a Warning to Parents

If your child is a console/PC owner you’ll know only too well that games for them can prove extremely expensive, with the newest releases commanding prices of £40 up.   I saw a special edition one for the bargain price of £80 yesterday!

So when my children asked to download a free game called Fortnite onto their Xbox I didn’t hesitate to say yes.  Free?  Wow.  What a bonus!

That was the start of our Fortnite-Mare.

That, my friends, was the last time I saw my four youngest children properly.  Ha ha!

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June ’18 – Net Worth and monthly updates #1

I’ve fallen behind on posting recently and have been put under pressure as Mrs FU seems to be taking over my blog lately.

She has generally been on my case about my laziness and procrastination, and has been mocking me by keep playing this Jocko Willink clip. (Jocko makes me feel so inadequate!)

There has been a bit of informal competition on who is getting the most post views, not that we get many, so I thought I better get my ass into gear and write an update, and take advantage of the fact Mrs FU has gone to the Trafford Centre (hell on earth) with our daughter, FU#2. (By the way the wine tastes good, Mrs FU!)

I have decided to start doing monthly and weekly updates, including net worth updates (partly inspired by cashflow cop’s numbers post here) as I haven’t put my figures out there yet.

So here goes.

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Financial Education in Schools… or the Lack of.

Mr Fu and I are both in our late forties and seriously lament our late discovery of financial independence.  What hope did we have, though, considering our non-existent education in all things financial?

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£1m Pension Pot – How to climb the mountain and when to stop saving.

In the UK news this week it has been reported that, for a comfortable retirement,  people need to save a ‘pension mountain’  of £260,000.

Cue the doom-mongers and naysayers. ‘Who could ever hope to save this amount of money?’

Using the 4% rule this would give an annual income of £10,400. Doesn’t sound very comfortable to me.

So, how do we climb this ‘Mountain’?
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An Apprenticeship in FIRE-Starting

I was listening to Jonathan and Brad on their ChooseFI podcast all about coding this week and found it really interesting.    They were interviewing Ryan Carson from Treehouse, an online coding tuition course website, who considers coding to be a trade rather than a professional qualification achieved at college/University.   TreeHouse originated from a desire to make coding education available and financially accessible to more people, and students can try it for free before committing to a course.   One point made during the podcast was that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted that there will be 1.4 million new jobs in tech in the US by 2020, and only 400,000 will be filled by college graduates, so presumably the positions will be taken by those who’ve either studied elsewhere or topped up their qualifications somewhere other than college.

Fingers crossed Little Fu#1 will benefit from a similar scenario in the UK after he found college and University wasn’t for him right now.

He attended our local grammar school and was planning to continue in the Sixth Form there to do A-levels.  At the time he’d no idea of a career goal, or the path to it, so he chose subjects he’d enjoyed at GCSE.  Things started well, but by Christmas, the sheer workload of A-levels started to take its toll, and, at the suggestion of school (who were very supportive) he dropped one of his four chosen A-levels.

For us as parents, though, this made us think deeply about whether he was doing the right thing at all.  Continue reading

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