A round up of interesting or cool stuff I’ve read.
Image from the Disney+ Twitter account.
Those aren’t purposes. That’s just regular old living.
Soul, the latest Pixar film on Disney+, is well worth watching. It’s a fantastic film which gives plenty to think about, especially for those on the “path” to FIRE.
**Mild spoilers ahead**
There’s a parable towards the end of the film. Joe Gardner has just achieved his lifelong dream to play at a local jazz club, after a career as a middle-school teacher. He psyches himself up before the big event:
“Get ready, your life is about to start”
Bear in mind he’s 46 years old! After the set finishes, he’s stood outside with the singer, looking somewhat perplexed:
“I’ve been waiting on this day for my entire life. I thought I’d feel different.”
“I heard this story about a fish.
He swims up to this older fish and says, “I’m trying to find this thing they call the ocean.”
“The ocean?” says the older fish. “That’s what you’re in right now”
“This?” says the young fish. “This is water. What I want is the ocean.””
Joe spends his entire life so focussed on his goal, that he becomes oblivious to the wonders he experiences day-to-day, and the impact he has on those around him.
How many of us are guilty of doing the same thing?
We go to university, get a decent job, and start putting money away for retirement. We then hear about the “FIRE” movement. We think that, if I work hard now, put off any luxurious purchases, save 25x my annual expenses, then I can retire from this job I hate and really start living!
But what kind of life is that, where you put off fun until retirement?
Achievements = Happiness… ?
One of the biggest achievements of my life so far was successfully finishing my PhD.
I was elated! Ecstatic! On top of the world!
And then I woke up the next day, went to work, continuing as if nothing had happened…
For me, some of the best moments are those that are easy to take for granted. Going for a walk with Ms FIRE. Playing a videogame with my brothers.
The big things come and go. If you’re only happy when you’ve achieved something, presumably that means you’ll be unhappy the other 99% of the time!
Appreciate the moment
A bit of a tangent now, but it’s all related:
I remember a moment whilst I was living and working in China. I was on a bus, returning home after another day at work. It was an unremarkable day, much the same as the previous week.
But, looking out of the window at the surroundings, I took a moment to just appreciate where I was and take it all in.
I was in China! Me! Of all the people. Of all the places. On the other side of the world, a completely different language, a completely different way of life.
For the most part, the unique had become humdrum. But in that moment, I really appreciated just how fortunate I was to be in this place.
It was easy to take it all for granted. I’d return to the UK for a short holiday, catching up with friends and family eager to hear about my adventures. But to me, it had quickly become normal.
How ridiculous is that?
It’s only now that I’m back in the UK that I can truly appreciate everything that I got out of that experience.
One of the biggest things I learned was that, wherever you go in the world or whatever you achieve, you are still the same person (More To That did an excellent post which really captured that feeling).
Life is for living
I’ll finish up with following quote (often attributed to John Lennon, in the song Beautiful Boy, but apparently originally coined by Allen Saunders):
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making plans”
Of course it’s important to set big goals, and to celebrate those milestones and achievements.
But don’t forget to enjoy all those moments in between.
Interesting links that caught my eye this week:
- FIRE Dave – Clara (Charity worker) Interview
“I do not want to wait for retirement to enjoy life, and so, I make time to responsibly enjoy it now in a balanced way.”
- Meaningful Money – Next-Level Diversification.
“It’s important to strike a balance between healthy diversification and unnecessary complexity. You could add all kinds of things into your investment mix, but my contention is that diversification isn’t really the main reason to do this.”
- The Belle Curve – How to Make Millions with Bitcoin.
“Perhaps the secret to long-term investing success is not to lose your password, but to entrust it to a neutral third-party who doesn’t allow you to pay attention to the short-term fluctuations in value.”
- Wealth and Risk – The story of your life has many chapters.
“Investment decisions can be simple, but idiosyncratic to each household. We all have different circumstances, needs, objectives, experiences, values, priorities, challenges, opportunities, and things that keep us up at night. Advice needs to be tailored to all of these factors.”
- Chasing FIRE Down Under – Your Money or Your life?
“Consider your spending in terms of life energy, instead of dollars. Is that takeout you bought during your lunch break actually worth an hour of your life?”
- FIRE V London – Whither London?
“So, while I accept that London is feeling ‘neutered’ by the current lockdown, and Brexit will leave a bruise and probably put some fur on the arteries, I am confident London will remain the pre-eminent city in democratic, liberal Europe.Those network effects aren’t going away. Nor is London’s pre-eminence. Don’t bet against the place.
- Along the Camel Ride – To Time or Not To Time the Market.
A consideration of investing from the perspective of a nervous beginner.
- DIY Investor – Inheritance Tax: A Brief Overview
The title says it all. A very useful overview.
- IT Investor – Passing it on.
The IT Investor has a good financial checklist that everyone should consider. Reminds me that I should think about setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney. It’s the sort of thing that you really want sorted before something bad happens!
- Total Balance – New lessons learned (analyzing my returns from 2007-2020)
Nick finds that his returns have been less than desired, due to a more conservative pension portfolio. (Also a reminder to myself that, on starting a new job, you should check your pension and make sure it is invested in line with your risk appetite!)
- FI Scribbles – Charizard vs. The Stock Market
A blast from the past. I always like reading things that take two of my, seemingly unrelated, interests and combine them to make something great.
- Quietly Saving – Adjustments to My Investment Strategy
Weenie shares her asset allocation and the reasons behind it. Not too dissimilar to my own approach. I mostly stick to global index trackers, and occasionally allow myself some fun with picking a stock here or there!
- How Covid-19 Rebooted Retirement – Financial Times.
- Got sick of applying for 1000s of jobs, so I made this instead. Found on reddit. Very funny!
- Sign up to Trading212 via this link and we both receive a free share.
- Sovereign Quest – A new personal finance curation site launched by Indeedably. It’s already off to a great start. Definitely worth checking out.
- Money Saving Expert – Working from home due to coronavirus, even for a day? Claim a year’s worth of tax relief. I’ve mentioned this before. It only takes 2 minutes and could net you £62/year or £124/year for basic/higher rate tax payers, respectively.
Thanks for reading. Hope you all have a great week!