Wednesday Reads

December Reads: Three Down, Three To Go

A round up of interesting or cool stuff I’ve read.

Image by Angeles Balaguer from Pixabay

Long time no see

Hello friends.

It’s been a minute, so I thought it was high time for a return before Christmas.

Work update

Unbelievably, it’s been five months since my contract finished and I left the world of work. Previous readers might remember that I had been debating a complete career change:

In short, I had decided to take some time off in order to attempt the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning. The logic was that this would demonstrate a commitment to the career change to potential employers, and that it wasn’t just a fleeting fancy.

Consisting of six modules (R01 through to R06), the diploma is the minimum standard to give retail investment advice.

I had passed R05, arguably the smallest module, last year, and was slowly making my way through R01 this year alongside my day job.

After taking a month off to decompress, I dusted off my R01 text book and got down to work. I’d been studying the module on and off for the last six months of my contract, so a last bout of focused studying was enough to see that one off.

Moving on to R02, it took me longer than I anticipated, but I passed the exam last week. This marks the halfway point – three down, three to go!

(We won’t talk about how the remaining three exams have a reputation of being much harder than the first three…)

Following on from R02, the R03 textbook arrived yesterday. For a module that’s only 10 credits (rather than the 20 credits each of R01 and R02), I’m not liking the size of this textbook!

R03 covers personal taxation and, from what I’ve read online, is very tough. I intend to thumb through the book over the next few days, but realistically, won’t be starting any serious work on it until after Christmas.

As an aside, I have to recommend the BTS Study Buddy app, which functions as a bank of exam-style questions. The app is a great way to check your knowledge, but also to practise your exam technique.


Money update

On the run up to finishing my last job, I had set aside enough money to cover our expenses for a year. I wasn’t looking forward to slowly draining a significant portion of my net worth, but was prepared to make the sacrifice to change careers.

And then Ms FIRE got a new job that essentially replaced my income. Problem solved then!

Whilst the roles are now essentially reversed – originally she had no income whilst I supported the two of us, and now vice versa – I think we’re in a slightly better position as I still have that emergency fund. This means that, whilst she is now the main breadwinner and covers most of the essentials, I can still contribute.

I can’t stress enough just how helpful  it is that we still have an income, and that I don’t have to worry about rushing to find another job.

(I’m gonna go ahead and claim I’m Spouse-FI for the next few months, hah!)


Covid update

Just as we all thought we were getting back to normal….

I had my two shots over the summer.

I’m scheduled to get a booster later this week.

Hopefully that’s enough for now, and our plans to visit my parents over Christmas aren’t scuppered at the last minute!

(Crossing all my fingers that any UK lockdown is held off until January, if at all!)


Interesting links that caught my eye:

A pre-emptive obituary, perhaps, for Sovereign Quest? When it debuted a year or so ago, it was a fantastic source of new blogs from outside my echo chamber. Admittedly, these days I’ve fallen behind with my blog reading, but at the very least the Champions of the Day are always high quality and worth a read.

The FirehoseWealth and Risk
Interesting to read how Sonny always has 100s of articles and books on his to-read list. I can see the benefits, but I’m currently too much of a completionist. It can feel a bit too overwhelming if I have too much on any given to-do list!

The Fragility of HabitsThe Rational Walk
I could strongly relate to this when I read it a few months ago, and pretty much sums up why I stopped writing Wednesday Reads every week. It was just starting to feel a little too much like work, and then after a few weeks I was out of the habit.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?I Retired Young
David demonstrates that it’s useful to apply this common interview question to your personal life. I think I need to carry out a similar exercise. Otherwise it’s easy for time to pass without achieving any of the goals or changes you have in mind.

Why Working From Home Is Making Me Reconsider Early RetirementThe Money Marketer Blog

Fleshing Out My Crypto Investment StrategyBanker on FIRE
I’m not in a position to join the crypto-train, but it’s still interesting reading about it from the sidelines.

Reflections on Three Years of Early RetirementFates on FIRE
“it is the activity of dreaming big that is the key to much of success in life. More a way of being than a thing achieved”

Your Income is Your Biggest AssetMeaningful Money

Zopa is done with p2pMonevator
I read the latest Monevator weekend reading with interest – it doesn’t feel that long ago that p2p was all the rage across the blogosphere (especially European blogs) and, in the UK, Ratesetter looked like the next big thing. Personally, I had just enough saved with Ratesetter to get their sign-up bonus, and was lucky enough to get it all back just before covid hit. Beyond that, the returns didn’t look worth the risk and hassle.

I hustled like mad in my 20s. Here’s what it cost meThe Woke Salaryman

Meet the people who changed course in midlifeEmine Saner, The Guardian
Being mid-career change, it’s always reassuring to read about others who’ve successfully made the jump.

A letter from my 80 year old selfAccidentally Retired

Lessons I’ve Learnt From My First Year Writing A Personal Finance BlogFI Scribbles

Is Index Investing Still Relevant In 2022? – Banker on FIRE
A good reminder that, unless you think you know better than the market, keep it simple!


Thanks for reading. Hope you all have a great Christmas and a strong start to the New Year!

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