Showing posts with label musings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label musings. Show all posts

Friday, 10 December 2021

Transitioning – musings on 2021

2021 has been my third year since I took that initial leap into the FIRE unknown and for me it’s been my biggest year ever for change.  Some good and some not so good.  So with the sun fast setting on 2021 I thought it was time to take stock and write some of this down.  Warning: If you don’t like blog posts that jump around this one may not be for you but if you want to know what FIRE can truly do to a person then I hope you find it helpful.

COVID-19

One of the 2021 elephants in the (influencing my life) room has of course been COVID-19.  What I’ve found interesting is that it’s not the virus itself giving me mortality concerns.  After all I’m a late 40’s healthy person who drinks very little, eats nutritious food, now has little to no stress, exercises regularly and doesn’t smoke or party hard so that part of life will probably turn out ok if it happens.

What I have however started to become concerned about is watching what a mix of a virus + power + politics + money + mainstream media selling fear + no real debate let alone scientific debate can turn the world into.  

For example here in Australia I watched many Victorians being coerced into vaccination not because they thought it was the right thing to do for their and their fellow citizens health but because without it they’d lose their jobs and ability to feed their families.  Coercion is never right in my books. 

Another example is that I am truly shocked at what seems to be going on in Austria where very soon if you are an honest law-abiding citizen who just wants to live in peace you will soon find yourself having committed a crime punishable by large fines or imprisonment.  It really does feel like we’ve regressed as a society significantly.

My COVID-19 coping mechanism is to minimise my contact with those selling fear, notably the ‘news’, which has resulted in a significant improvement in my wellbeing.

Housing

Housing has been a big topic for us this year.  Firstly, let’s cover our current living arrangements.  We are still renting in a beautiful part of the world close to the ocean (including visible sea life and plenty of water sports) and forests (including up close wildlife like kangaroos and plenty of trails) which we are absolutely loving.  We’ve invested in some new bicycles and are really racking the miles up.  So far so good.

Friday, 8 May 2020

Obfuscation

I’m not sure if it’s the COVID-19 lockdown affecting me, or whether this is really a thing, but over the past month or so I’ve started to really notice companies stretching their take on integrity.  Maybe I was just in a bubble before but for me if you don’t have integrity I don’t want to be anywhere near you.  Let’s look at a few examples that I’ve personally come across.

BT this week published their 4th quarter and year end results.  Within that were these pearls of wisdom - "In order to deal with the potential consequences of Covid-19, allow us to invest in FTTP and 5G, and to fund the major 5-year modernisation programme, we have also taken the difficult decision to suspend the dividend until 2022 and re-base thereafter.”

Now I know that lots of businesses are currently doing it tough but I just cannot see how BT can be worse off because of COVID-19 given we are currently in a world where the majority of communication can only be done via telephone or electronic data transfer.  My view, without having any knowledge of BT, is that the COVID-19 situation is just obfuscation from the fact that the board can’t figure out how to set pricing and manage their cost base to enable investment to stay competitive and give some cash back to the owners of the business.

I also take issue with term “re-base”.  It’s cut or reduce.  I’ve never heard anybody say I’m going to “re-base” my grocery bill.

Fortunately, other than in my FTSE100 tracker, I don’t own BT.

RateSetter is another.  When I first started investing with them they had products called 3 Year, 1 Year and Monthly.  Since then they’ve moved away from that model and amongst a few new products introduced a product called “Access”.

Given the current climate it’s no secret that P2P lenders are doing it tough.  I can accept that it’s so tough that lenders like me might start taking capital losses or even lose the majority of it.  After all with peer-to-peer it’s always stated that “capital is at risk”.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Rebalancing vs taxes vs expenses vs life

With us now being only a single working week away from the new UK financial year and the investment world still feeling the impacts of the COVID-19 situation I thought it might be worthwhile sharing a little about how my portfolio and life is changing given where we currently find ourselves.

Let's start with what my investing strategy, something I first shared way back in 2009 but wasn’t really finalised until 2012, tells me to do.  For this post there are three important pillars:
  • If any of my assets, diversified by country and by asset class, gets more than 25% away from the plan then I will either sell or buy as appropriate to move that asset class back to plan
  • Minimise taxes meaning I keep more of my wealth for myself
  • Minimise investment expenses also meaning I keep more of my wealth for myself

It’s also worth sharing some other information that helped inform my recent decisions:
  • My gold had become 25% overweight
  • My bonds while not 25% overweight were well overweight
  • The UK 2019/20 capital gains tax annual exempt amount is £12,000.  It’s also worth adding that I believe if you sell assets worth more than £48,000 or have gains before taking off losses of £12,000 then you will also have to complete the tax return capital gains summary pages.  Not a financial negative but a time waste worth avoiding if it sensibly can be.
  • Once this COVID-19 problem passes it’s looking more and more likely that we’ll be Asian bound for the next part of our FIRE journey.  We’ve still not finalised plans, as we’ve learnt we have no need to rush these types of decisions, but we’re confident enough to start (continue?) shifting our asset allocation over the coming 6 to 12 months.  That involves moving our equity investment bias (may be controversial for some but it’s always been part of my strategy so I’m not changing it) from the UK (HYP, VUKE, VMID) to Asia mainly in the form of the Vanguard FTSE Developed Asia Pacific ex Japan UCITS ETF (VAPX).
  • VAPX only went ex dividend/distribution on Thursday with all my Vanguard equity dividends/distributions being paid on the 08 April 2020.
  • Within my portfolio I have pensions (all SIPP’s), an ISA, NS&I Index Linked Savings Certificates (ILSCs) and plenty of non-tax efficient investments. 

Saturday, 23 November 2019

1 year and 10 year FIRE anniversaries

November 2019 marks a couple of significant anniversaries for me.  The first anniversary is that it’s now 10 years since I started this blog with this first very amateurish post.  As far as the FIRE movement goes, particularly when we compare it with the number of FIRE blogs today, these were very quiet days.  Notably Early Retirement Extreme wasn’t quite 2 years old while Mr Money Mustache was still more than a year away from making his first appearance.

The second anniversary is that it’s now 1 year since I pulled the FIRE’ing pin and for me at least I think that term is a good analogy.  It really was like a hand grenade going off in my world.

Looking back over those 10 years I’ve learnt quite a few things and I thought it might be useful to jot a few of them down in no particular order of importance:

1. FIRE is both solving a quantitative and a qualitative problem.  I also now believe in the early days of a FIRE journey it’s mostly quantitative problem solving but with time the problems become more qualitative in nature.   For example if you want to FIRE you need to quickly learn how to earn more, spend less (which when combined is save hard) and invest wisely, then choose which of those options you’re going to go for.  In parallel to this you’re probably tracking progress.  These are all quantitative problems to solve.  Looking back I was guilty of focusing on these topics for almost the first 9 years of my blogging which in hindsight was a mistake.  What I should have been doing is in parallel being qualitative which is why most of my learnings today are qualitative in nature.  Also where I sit today I know my FIRE problems left to solve are 100% qualitative.  Are you focusing on both the quantitative and qualitative weighted appropriately depending on where you are in your FIRE journey?

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Merry Christmas

The organisation I up until recently worked for closes its year at the end of December.  With shutdowns between Christmas and New Year it meant that the run in to the Christmas bank holidays were always absolutely manic.  It meant long hours and little time to soak up the Christmas spirit until the physical bank holidays were upon us.

Christmas 2018 is my first FIRE Christmas and things have changed somewhat.  We’re already reasonably settled in the Med with our rental home for the next 6-12 months.  All our possessions have now arrived so there was only one thing for it.  We put up the Christmas tree and spent a couple of hours decorating it.  Then I felt inspired...

In years gone past we’ve always bought a Christmas Cake and / or Christmas Pudding from the supermarket.  Not so this year.  I attempted to make a Christmas fruit cake from scratch.

One dodgy looking fruit cake
Click to enlarge, One dodgy looking fruit cake

Saturday, 25 August 2018

One-way flights booked to Aphrodite’s birthplace

Even if you’re not into your Greek mythology then you’ve probably heard of Aphrodite, the Ancient Greek Goddess of love and beauty.  The legend goes that she was born from the sea foam here:

Happy snap of Petra tou Romiou, Aphrodite Birthplace, Paphos, Cyprus
Click to enlarge, Happy snap of Petra tou Romiou

Aphrodite apparently rose from the waves and was escorted on a shell to this beach.  That beach and those rock formations are in the Paphos district of Cyprus – our soon to be new home.  In the end our choice of new homes came down to Spain vs Cyprus and specifically the Costa del Sol vs Paphos.  Now not for a second am I saying that we couldn’t have found somewhere more suitable in Spain or Cyprus or elsewhere for that matter but what I am saying is that eventually it gets to the point where you have to make a decision with the data you have and strap yourself in for the ride.  We did that this week as we made our first irreversible commitment – we’ve booked our one-way flights.

So how did we arrive at Paphos (Pafos), Cyprus?  The process was:
  • We firstly scoured the internet, which included numerous forums, to shortlist possible locations.  
  • With that information we tried to build a ‘head’ matrix where we scored many topics including ease of visiting friends/family, ease of travel, cost of living, financials including taxes, economic stability, language, demographics, desired lifestyle compatibility, crime, security, noise, weather and healthcare (short term and long term) to name a few.
  • If that showed promise we then visited the location and if we liked it we tried to visit again in the opposite season.  During our visit we then tuned up the ‘head matrix’ for comparison against other locations.  For a location to qualify we had to have visited it at least once for more than a holiday.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

The secondary benefits of minimalism

During the week I was asked by a family member how much we’re paying for our contents insurance annually.  I replied that we don’t have contents insurance to which I was asked but what would you do if you were robbed or the house burnt down.  I replied with as you know we don’t have much stuff so I’d just buy replacements.  I was looked at like I had two heads and the topic of conversation was moved on.

Afterwards though I thought about this a little more.  As a family we don’t live out of suitcases but at the same time of all the people I know I’d say we have the least amount of possessions.  This hasn’t really been planned but is more the output of our intentional focus on quality of life which has led us more to a life based on security (one of the drivers behind FIRE), experiences and relationships.  So in our case the primary benefit of not coveting stuff is that it has accelerated our quality of life journey.

The insurance question did however make me think of a number of secondary benefits.  Firstly, to the insurance question itself.  As a collective group those that take out insurance have to lose out financially when compared to those that don’t.  This is because insurance companies need to pay wages, other operating costs and satisfy shareholders meaning what is paid out in claims must be less than what is taken in via premiums.  As an individual though you could win or lose.  Don’t take out home insurance for 40 years and never make a claim and you’re ahead.  Have your home burn down in year 2 under the same scenario and you’re definitely a loser which might include ending up under a railway arch in a worst case scenario.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Resignation in

Recently I’ve been having doubts about taking early retirement.  What I’ve found particularly interesting is that since becoming financially independent back in July 2016 I just haven’t had the same level of hunger for it.  In the past few weeks I’ve been really trying to figure out why.  I definitely knew there was an element of institutionalisation in there but it was more than that.  There was also fear and plenty of it.

Fear of leaving a career that has plenty of negatives but also plenty of positives.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of losing purpose.  Fear we’re making a mistake.  Fear of not having enough.  Fear of our move to the Mediterranean being a mistake and us returning with our tail between our legs.  Fear of...

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Another pension partial transfer and the elephant in the room

By now it’s no secret that I dislike investment expenses and continually work to minimise them in the most cost effective manner.  I’ve also written previously about how my work defined contribution (DC) pension scheme gives no special benefits but does extract at least 0.6% in annual expenses.  I’ve also previously written about how I take advantage of the pension partial transfer rules by transferring to either of my SIPP providers when they have some sort of special offer and I have a sensible amount of funds in my work DC pension.

Well Hargreaves Lansdown currently have a cash back offer running:

Click to enlarge, Cash back of between £20 and £500 available

I also had a little over £10,000 in my work DC pension so again the used Hargreaves Lansdown electronic transfer service.  It was another good experience with the online form being completed during last week’s bank holiday, Hargreaves Lansdown acknowledging my instructions on the Tuesday and the transfer being complete by the Friday.  The end result:
  • Partial transfer completed in 4 days;
  • Expenses reduced from 0.6% to between 0.07% and 0.19%.  I bought Vanguard ETF’s and that is their annual expenses.  On the Hargreaves Lansdown side, other than purchase costs, there are no extra expenses because I only buy shares/ETF’s in this SIPP and already have more than £44,444 which means my expenses are capped at £200;
  • £20 will soon appear in my SIPP. 

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Too old or a fool and his money are soon parted

At age 45 I’m beginning to think I might just be falling behind all the cool kids.  Let’s use grocery shopping as an example.  Throughout the week as we use up (or get within about a week of using up) items we write that item down on what is usually the back of a piece of junk mail.  As the week progresses that starts to form into a grocery shopping list.  Then before we go on our weekly grocery shop we write a weekly meal plan which may require some additions or subtractions to that list.  Once in the supermarket we know which products we normally buy as we’ve already done the lowest price grocery shop but of course we also quickly scan the shelves to see if there is anything on special that week or whether any prices have changed that might alter our buying habits.  This results in minimal waste and hopefully pretty close to the lowest priced weekly shop for our tastes.

We’ve done this for many years so imagine my surprise when I discover something called a Dash Button which can do my shopping for me.  I don’t have one but as I understand it for £4.99 you get a Wi-Fi connected button (with many varieties available covering Household & Office, Food & Beverages, Health & Personal Care, Beauty, etc), which via your phone you pair with a product that you select from a particular brand tied to the Dash Button.  You then stick the button near to the place of use in your home.  So if for example you’re buying soap you might stick it near to your bathroom soap dispenser.  Then when you’re getting low or have run out just push the dash button and voila a new item magically turns up in your letter box the next day.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

It’s starting to get Interesting (Part 2)

A lot of very thoughtful comment last week so I thought it might bring some value to the collective if I expand on my musings a little more.  Wandering Star I think hit the nail on the head – for me this FI (Financial Independence) moving to FIRE (Financially Independent Retired Early) lark is no longer about finances but now about psychology and so that’s where I’ll focus today.

I think The Accumulator also makes a good point with “I admire your willingness to play out your doubts in public. It is helpful on a personal level, while at the same time we, your audience, can't help but cheer, hiss, wince and cover our eyes from the galleries.”  I don’t believe I’ve ever claimed to know what I’m doing but what I have tried to always do is learn, experience and then share both the outcome and the journey.  I hope my tossing and turning proves helpful – the other option is to do that behind the scenes and then just communicate surety but I that doesn’t seem as useful from where I sit.  I guess it goes without saying that not for a second did I ever expect to find myself where I am today.  I honestly thought I’d reach FI, soon after convert that into FIRE and then ride off into the Mediterranean sunset.  So just what is going on...

It might be helpful to start with putting some backstory on the table.  I apologise to those who’ve read my book  as you’ll already know some/most of this.  I genuinely come from pretty humble beginnings which means that if I get this wrong I have nowhere to run.  This also means no top up inheritance to come should it all get a bit lean later in FIRE.  Thinking this through and for me it’s more than just a risk to manage.  I’d go so far to say it’s actually a fear.  I have seen and been part of poverty.  It’s not fun.  This is definitely having an impact despite me knowing I have enough.  Shucks, when I look at my wealth today my withdrawal rate if I went today would be less than 2.5% and that comes with knowing that additionally 47% of my spending could become discretionary if/when we see a very bad bear market.  One of the benefits of a quality of life for me costing very little.

Friday, 30 March 2018

It’s starting to get Interesting

Time since my One More Year call has passed by incredibly quickly.  In fact so quickly that if I’m to stick strictly to it resignation day is now just a few a short weeks away.  At the time of my last post this was looking to be an incredibly 100% easy call with Brexit being just over a year away as well as an employer who had apparently decided I was now Mr Average.

Enter 2 events that have shifted that to 20% work on a bit longer to 80% FIRE to the Med in 2018.

The first is the draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement which was published on the 19 March 2018.  As somebody moving to the Med keeping my EU rights is a very important consideration.  With that in mind, if I’m reading the Agreement correctly, I now gain no advantage by being in the Med by Brexit day, the 29 March 2019, when compared with setting up my new home during the Transition Period, which is now agreed by both the UK and EU as ending on the 31 December 2020.  Brexit pressure off.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

When the Stars Align

It’s not always sunny on The Med
The past few months have seen me pass through my annual work performance review, my annual salary review and a new HR initiative which seems to have been designed to suppress salaries (read suppress the salaries of the highest performers).  The results of all that for me were that despite my strong work ethic (first into the office, last out of the office and 60-70 hour work weeks) and strong results (but which fell short of very ambitious/impossible? objectives) I managed to receive the worst performance review since I entered the world of work which nicely dove tailed into an annual salary increase well below inflation.

This most definitely doesn’t fit into my Saving Hard by Earning More strategy, which in the past has resulted in healthy earnings increases.  I’m not sure what objective the company were trying to achieve but my interpretation is that it’s now time to move on.  Normally, that would have been a new job in a new company for more reward but this time around that’s not necessary as I now have another option – FIRE.  The stars really are aligning nicely.

RIT earnings improvement since saving hard by earning more
Click to enlarge, RIT earnings improvement since saving hard by earning more

On the topic of FIRE my One More Year, after a slow and frustrating start that now seems to be passing quickly and without a worry in the world.  Financial plans between now and a summer FIRE are also synchronising nicely:
  • collect one more bonus;
  • maximise my pension contributions to just below the tapered annual allowance for 2018/19;
  • which if my annualised returns continue as they have since starting on this journey should see me nicely just on the underside of the Pension Lifetime Allowance (LTA) by age 55; and
  • then use that bonus (plus some salary) to fill my and Mrs RIT’s 2018/19 ISA allowances of £20,000.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Snakes and Ladders

Well it looks like asset prices don’t always go up.  Of course I’m not surprised by this revelation but the mainstream media did seem surprised with headlines such as “Dow loses 7 million points in the session” and “Worst market performance since dinosaurs roamed the earth” but then of course they need sensationalism as they’re attention seeking.  The market action even meant that it made the first news item on the radio for a couple of days.  It could almost be 2008 again.  It would be enough to scare people off investing if they did nothing more than listen to news sound bites.

What has really happened thus far?  I say thus far because the market can of course continue to fall...  Or it might flat line...  Or it might go up again...  By my calculations this week the S&P500 has fallen 5.2%, last week it fell 3.9% and the week before that it actually gained 2.2%.  In contrast the FTSE100 this week fell 4.7%, last week fell 3.9% and the week before that fell 0.8%.

This is what has happened to a couple of single indices and makes for great news items but how has this impacted a long term investor who buys, holds and rebalances a variety of global asset classes.  I like to think I’m one of those so let’s use my real world portfolio as a comparator.  This week my wealth has decreased by 2.3%, last week it decreased by 1.5% and the week before that it decreased by 0.4%.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Lasts

Ibiza
FIRE to a Spanish Island?
Just where has 2017 gone?  It seems like only yesterday I was eating One More Year (OMY) humble pie and I now find myself nearly half way through the most difficult part of my FIRE journey to date.  The closeness to FIRE is now really starting to hit home making me wonder whether we previously weren’t quite ready and used events like Brexit as an excuse.

In recent weeks it’s become particularly real as I’ve started to tick off things that I’m doing for the last time.  On the work front it’s been about setting 2018 plans and objectives.  It’s been quite a surreal feeling knowing that I’m signing up for something that somebody else will ultimately be responsible for delivering.  What I’ve found interesting is that I’ve actually found myself fighting harder for reasonableness than ever before.  I think this is for two reasons.  Firstly, I have nothing to lose given my current FU Money position.  Secondly, I don’t to be remembered as “the b*stard that sold us out before riding off into the sunset”.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Post Brexit phase 1 - a move to the Med is go!

Paphos Forest, Cyprus
Paphos Forest, Cyprus
In the immediate aftermath of the Brexit referendum result my immediate thoughts were has the door to our dream been slammed shut.  An initial review suggested that it was still ok, albeit with some potential speed humps, but even though the data said we were still golden some trepidation was still there.  In particular I had three main concerns.

The first concern was being able to register and live legally in our new chosen country.  Both the EU and the UK government were always verbally saying current residents would be ok but they never spoke about new entrants since the referendum or since the trigger of Article 50.  Even as recently as September 2017 the UK would only commit to the negotiations being applicable from a date between the date of Article 50 trigger and date of exit.  The joint report published on Friday finally clears that up with the paragraph:
“The overall objective of the Withdrawal Agreement with respect to citizens' rights is to provide reciprocal protection for Union and UK citizens, to enable the effective exercise of rights derived from Union law and based on past life choices, where those citizens have exercised free movement rights by the specified date.”

A subsequent paragraph then defines the specified date as:
“The specified date should be the time of the UK's withdrawal.”

So provided we’re residing in an EU27 Member State by 29 March 2019 we’re within scope of the agreement.  Tick.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Frustration

To set the scene it’s now been 14 months since I achieved Financial Freedom and it’s been 3 months since we decided to put a year between ourselves and FIRE.  Usually this blog is about the quantitative hard numbers around saving, investing and early retirement but on this occasion I’m going to go a little emotional on you because the scene we are in is definitely interesting from a psychological perspective.

On the work front I’m still putting in the long hours that I always have but I’m now starting to feel more tired at both work and when I get home.  I think this is because I used to always be so in the fight working to succeed at what I needed to achieve that I never had time for anything else.  Now I feel like I’m more watching the fight and no longer have so much skin in the gain.  I’d even say some boredom is starting to creep in which is starting to make the days and weeks drag on.

I’ve also noticed that my stress bucket has become massive and the tap that drains it is also now more like a fire hose.  Some events that I’m currently looking after that once would have been giving me sleepless nights are now having little to no effect on me.  I’ve also noticed that my bullshit bucket has become tiny and I’d go as far as saying that it’s now overflowing, flooding all over the floor and I’m slipping in it regularly.  The organisation I work for can be a pretty political beast that sets some very unrealistic expectations.  Once I would have been accepting of the situation and would have had my head down going like an idiot but now I’m speaking far more freely and it’s having both a bad and good impact.  For example recently I was asked to accept a draft plan that was set by others with more authority but less domain knowledge than me and which was completely unrealistic.  I pushed back and told them that they were being ridiculous and why they were being ridiculous.  This resulted in a number of closed door discussions about me as a person and my attitude but when it was seen that the discussion was having no effect on me and was not going to result in my acceptance it all stopped.  I’m yet to find out if the plan is staying or whether it’s being revised but either way it won’t really affect me greatly as the plan runs well past my FIRE date of summer 2018.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Making a difference

As each week of Financial Independence (FI) passes, particularly the last few weeks, I can feel quite a bit of change occurring within myself.  The stresses of work just seem to continue to melt away and excitingly that energy is then able to be channelled elsewhere.  One area that I’ve been thinking about is what’s important to me spiritually and how I define myself.  Interestingly, what keeps coming to mind is that in life I’d really like to make a difference to the world.  That might be a little arrogant but do bear with me...

With this in mind I’ve then been asking myself have I already made a difference and the answer I came up with is a resounding yes.  I’ve definitely made a big difference to my family but let me stay away from that to protect the innocent and talk about a few other examples.

During my work life and particularly in more recent years I have made a lot of money for the companies I’ve worked for which has then been distributed to a lot of people – both private and public owners.  That however means absolutely nothing to me as they are just rentiers living off my back.  Something I’ll be doing in FIRE so some hypocrisy here but let’s keep going.  What does mean something to me is that to make all that money I’ve had to rebuild, grow and develop teams into very high performing teams.  They are now efficient and very competent which has secured their foreseeable future in a very competitive industry not frightened to send jobs to low cost countries.  One of the reasons I started on my FIRE plan in the first place.  This means I’ve then helped secure a little bit of their families financial future.  That’s hundreds of families I’ve made a difference to and that is motivating for me.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Cyprus healthcare is changing for the better

Cyprus Ministry of Health
I’ve written previously that one of the reasons I’ve decided to do one more year is because we’d like to let the dust settle a little more on Brexit and in particular how reciprocal healthcare, via say the S1, will be handled in our dotage.  In recent weeks some good news seems to be coming out of Cyprus, independent of any Brexit nonsense, that might just mean Brexit negotiations will become unimportant.  Let me explain.

For our situation there seem to be 2 ways to get into the Cyprus public healthcare system.  The first is to pay Cyprus Social insurance for a minimum of 3 years and then meet a number of other criteria.  Unfortunately, unlike countries like Malta and Spain, it doesn’t seem possible to pay these voluntarily.  You have to be either working or self employed.  This is out as I want work to be 100% optional when we move.  That’s always been my definition of Early Retirement.  The second is to reach State Pension age and apply for an S1.  This is what I’m concerned about losing as part of Brexit.

So that leaves us with the Cyprus private healthcare system.  Getting basic care seems affordable and efficient.  I was able to walk into a private clinic in Cyprus where there was absolutely no queue and have a prescription renewed for EUR10.00.  I then went to the pharmacy where said prescription cost me EUR3.47.  A visit to a GP seems to be around EUR30.00 and treatment almost seems immediate.  In contrast in my neck of the woods here in the UK I could literally die while just trying to make an appointment to see a GP let alone waiting to see one.

So far so good.  The problem for me is if it’s something more serious.  For that we’re going to want Cyprus private health insurance.  From contacts in a few of the forums I frequent we’ve been able to remotely apply to a company who apparently pay up efficiently when you’ve sought treatment.  Good news is that they’ll cover us but it comes with one exception for a pre-existing condition.  This is the problem for us.  It’s not this pre-existing condition as it’s manageable but as we age what if we pick up a few more and then at some point the insurance company says you’re now too high risk.  They then can either stop insuring or push premiums up so far that it forces us to go elsewhere.  Then where do we go particularly given all the companies I’ve found so far won’t cover you at all above a certain age unless you’re already with them.  Even if we could find someone they then won’t cover you for the reasons the first company didn’t like you which sort of defeats the purpose of having insurance in the first place.  What then?

Saturday, 1 July 2017

One more year’ish

So when are you taking early retirement I hear you ask?  Before answering let me first provide some musings of how the world of somebody who has been financially independent for just shy of one year is playing out.

In short life is good, no I mean life is great and I mean really great.  We were fortunate enough to be able to spend some more time back in Cyprus and this time around it really did feel like home to the point we were quite saddened to return to Blighty.  We also think we have found the town we will first settle.  Of course we’ll first rent for 6 to 12 months just to make sure but it felt really good.  I think now there is really only one thing that will stop us from migrating to Cyprus which I’ll explain a little later.

my walking/running route from a possible Cyprus home
Click to enlarge, my walking/running route from a possible Cyprus home

my cycling route from a possible Cyprus home
Click to enlarge, my cycling route from a possible Cyprus home

The stress from my work is also now an order of magnitude less making it tolerable.  This is predominantly because there is no longer a sword of Damocles hanging over me.  If I’m fired, as opposed to FIRE’d, I’ll just take my payoff and sail off into the sunset with a smile on my face.  Stress has also been reduced because I now speak very freely as again there are no repercussions of saying something that maybe others don’t want to hear.

Mrs RIT has early retired in a Mr Money Mustache kind of way.  For some time now she’s been pursuing a passion of hers which has been absorbing more and more time because of the enjoyment factor associated with it.  What’s actually a bonus is it’s also actually starting to earn beer money and importantly can be done from just about anywhere in the world.  The original plan was that we were going to FIRE together but after some RIT family discussion we decided that was a nonsense piece of planning and so she has now stepped away from the corporate world for good and now just does fun stuff.  One down and one to go...