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My FatFIRE journey so far

How a frugal, low income, immigrant upbringing would ultimately lead me on a FatFIRE journey and a path to high income financial independence

“My Parents saved every penny they earned and grew it”

I was already on a FatFIRE journey, but I didn’t know it for 32 years

Similar to a lot of bloggers in this space my FIRE or FatFIRE journey started quite early on in my life and a lot of was heavily influenced by my parents.

Look, I wasn’t living in poverty (it didn’t feel like it to me at least, at the time). But we would have been classed as a Low Income immigrant family. But despite these setbacks, my parents were able to save enough money to buy their own house and eventually invest in a rental property and even some stocks. How did they do it?

Frugality, Save and Invest was our way of life

We lived very frugally! They saved every penny they earned. My mum would watch out for the best deals in shops, buy stuff on sale and make sure that we didn’t waste anything. I never wore anything branded (and when I mean branded I mean Nike, not Louis Vuitton) until I was in 6th Form (16-18 years old). My friends at school lived in similar income families and in some cases much lower. They had the latest Nike trainers (sneakers), had all the latest video games, bought all the movies on VHS. The only time my parents spent money on me were when they bought necessities (clothes) and education: Books, Stationary, Sending me to extra curricular classes, more Books and a PC! That computer was very cheap (well it cost a small fortune for my parents at the time: £1000) and very flaky. I spent my childhood trying to fix it and ended up as a Computer Scientist 😀 – practically owe my entire career on the bad build quality of that PC.

My dad was super handy with DIY never paid a penny to a tradesman, could fix anything himself (Houses, Cars, Bikes, Aeroplanes! – he was so good that relatives would call and he would be off with a toolbox to troubleshoot complex plumbing problems that would normally cost £1000’s from a plumber).

This hard work, frugality and DIY attitude allowed them to save a tonne of money. They saved enough money, early on, to buy a house, another rental property. And eventually (20 years later), they had enough passive income coming in from their investments that my dad could retire. He was offered an early retirement package in his mid-50’s, and he took it. If only he had documented this journey, he could have been a Mr Money Moustache in the late 90s.

Focus on studies and a transition to professional occupations

My parents were keen for me to have a formal eduction and get a professional job (the immigrant dream). I went to a good school and then a good University to study Computer Science. I joined a Management Consulting firm in the city (and eventually started my own consultancy business) and spent 10 years travelling up and down the country and abroad. It was pretty exciting at first: travel, air miles, expenses, drinks, dinners… but it soon got tedious and soul destroying.

Side hustles before I knew what side hustles were

As a side hustle, I became a co-founder on two startups. The first, during the Social Media boom, failed in the first hurdle (startup social media platform – precursor to Facebook); the second (Sales and marketing business) ran for 10+ years and was wound down as it was taking more of our time relative to profit (and we couldn’t scale it).

“I was still living my parents virtues of Frugality, Saving and Investment.”

I was still living my parents virtues of Frugality, Saving and Investment. Which meant that I ended up with a very high savings rate (70%) and was putting absolutely all of it into Stocks and Shares ISAs (a slightly better UK version of RothIRAs) and Cash ISAs. I hadn’t discovered Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) but was already on the path.

Lifestyle creep

But then I had kids, had medical issues, upgraded my lifestyle to a bigger house, 2 cars, school fees, luxury family holidays, gadgets, gizmos and eating out at nice places!

My savings rate nose dived and my journey stalled! In order to keep up with the finances, I started sacrificing the time I spent with my wife and kids to work on my side hustles.

Invest in myself

And that’s when I discovered business and finance books. I started reading everything I could find to see if there was a better way. Rich Dad Poor Dad (Robert Kiyosaki), 4-Hour Work Week (Tim Ferris), Money Master the Game (Tony Robbins) and Property Magic (Simon Zutshi).

Goals

I realised that I had unknowingly started on the path to financial independence but had missed a few things. Working through those books I came up with 3 goals:

  • Have a passive income coming in that would cover our current and future expenses without impacting our quality of life;
  • Spend more time with my family doing enriching activities such as travel;
  • Be able to self fund and work on a startup without worrying about money. I didn’t want to Retire Early (nearer FatFIOR – Financial Independence Optional Retirement)

My FatFIRE Journey begins

Then in 2015 I discovered FatFIRE and Mr Money Moustache. I took the lessons I had already learned from my parents, the path I was already on, the books I had read and mixed it into FatFIRE to create a set of tools and strategies to put me on the a journey to FatFIRE without impacting the quality of life for my family.

“This blog is a record of my FatFIRE journey for my kids. So they can learn from me, as I did from my parents, and work their way to Financial Independence.”

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1 comment on “My FatFIRE journey so far

  1. Pingback: fatFIRE | Why fatFIRE and not leanFIRE?

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