Deferred Gratification: the key to achieving long term financial independence

saving money for something special
Petunia saved her quarters so she would one day have enough money to buy something special

I was recently watching an episode of Baby Looney Tunes with my son and was delighted that the storyline centred around money – working for it, spending it and saving for something special. The episode was called “Petunia the Piggy Bank” which was cute, given the fact that Petunia is a pretty little piggy. Continue reading “Deferred Gratification: the key to achieving long term financial independence”

Till Death Do Us Part: Merging finances with your other half

combining finances when married or living together
Combining finances after marriage or when living together can be tricky.

My husband and I have been married for 16 years and we have had a fight or two (dozen) about money. Most of us go into marriage, or cohabitation, without much of a strategy other than an “I love you and I want to make it work” so it is not long before the money issue rears its ugly head.

Now that you have both become a half of one whole, how will you manage your finances? Continue reading “Till Death Do Us Part: Merging finances with your other half”

The Right Work/Life Balance in Retirement

cognitive function, brain, dementia, retirement
How many hours of work stimulation does the brain need to stay sharp? Do you lose it if you do not use it?

Research conducted by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research has shed new light on the impact of work-related stress on the cognitive abilities of adults over the age of 40. (It must be said that the study did not assess people under the age of 40, so it could very well be that these findings do not apply only to middle-aged and older people, but also to younger workers)

It has long been known that using the brain is essential to stay sharp, a concept that has been dubbed the “use it or lose it” phenomenon. This has often been used as an important argument by those who advocate that the retirement age is raised, since working is seen as effective way of warding off dementia. Continue reading “The Right Work/Life Balance in Retirement”

Financial Independence: Am I there yet?

Financial independence – a lofty goal that most likely means different things to different people. If you are working and earn an income that covers your costs and you do not need anyone to support you (mummy? daddy? a spouse?) then you are somewhat justified to claim that you are financially independent, as in, not dependent on anyone for financial support. For many years that is what the term meant to me, and if anyone had asked me “Are you financially independent?” I would have answered emphatically that of course I was!

As I got older and wiser, however, I realised that financial independence was more complicated than I had initially thought. When I ran my business, for example, I was earning money and could easily cover my bills. However was I ever really financially independent? Continue reading “Financial Independence: Am I there yet?”

Debt: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Debt is a tool. If used wisely it can turbo-boost your finances while if used badly it can torpedo your financial future.
Debt is a tool. If used wisely it can turbo-boost your finances while if used badly it can torpedo your financial future.

A lot has been said about good debt and bad debt but in many cases the arguments used have been extremely simplistic. The most common line taken is that if debt is used to finance an asset that will appreciate in value or will increase your income-making potential it is automatically good, while if the debt will be used to acquire a depreciating asset then it is bad. This theory does not factor in the terms of the loan, the risk inherent in taking out any form of loan, the stage of life and earning potential of the person taking out the loan, etc.

 

Unfortunately many people have swallowed the concept of “good debt” hook, line and sinker, which has led them to make spectacularly bad financial decisions. Continue reading “Debt: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”

Entrepreneurial Burnout

entrepreneurial burnout, burnt out
Take good care of yourself, or the fire that drives you will slowly die out.

As I explain on the page introducing this blog, 18 years of owning and running my own business took a toll on me. By the end of it, I was totally burnt out. The inner spark that had given me the energy and motivation to build a thriving company was well and truly extinguished and at the time it felt like there was no way of getting it back.

I used to go to work in the morning hoping to feel at least a semblance of the excitement and passion that I used to feel a few years before. I spent hours reading online newspapers or browsing Facebook, instead of getting anything useful done. I found it difficult to concentrate. Everything, anything, was more interesting than what was happening at work. Continue reading “Entrepreneurial Burnout”

Financial Independence: Is your income futureproof?

time impacts income streams
Have you thought about how your income streams could be impacted by outside forces over time?

A lot has been said and written about the amount of money people need to squirrel away in order to be financially independent. At the end of the day what it boils down to is this: do you have enough to pay your bills if you were to suddenly be unable, or unwilling, to continue working to make a living? Would you be able to support a satisfactory (a highly subjective measure) standard of living? Continue reading “Financial Independence: Is your income futureproof?”

The Importance of a Can-Do Attitude

positivity, success, goals, achievement
If you have a dream or a goal in life there is no point procrastinating. Every journey starts with the first step, so get up and get walking!

A good friend of mine is married to a man who hates his job. He has been working in the same place for almost 20 years and has not been promoted or received a raise for years on end. Every time we meet he sounds like a broken record – “I hate my job” or “I was passed over again for a promotion” or “My boss does not like me”. It is an endless litany of complaints and misery.

One day I could not take it any more. I stopped him in his tracks and asked him why on earth he did not resign and get another job. His reaction was priceless. He genuinely looked like the thought had never occurred to him. After a few minutes all he could come up with was “Better the devil you know”. Continue reading “The Importance of a Can-Do Attitude”

The Lonely Life of an Entrepreneur

When I started my business I was 23. I built a team of like-minded individuals who I came to consider as my friends; until one of them jumped ship and joined the competition. I remember feeling shocked and betrayed. Call me naïve but I did not see it coming.

As the years went by and I faced different HR situations it became clear that my employees were people I trusted professionally and respected, but they could not be my friends. A certain distance was required to enable me to manage the team in a professional manner. Continue reading “The Lonely Life of an Entrepreneur”

Are Europeans interested in Early Retirement?

Do Europeans think about early retirement?
Do Europeans think about early retirement?

A quick tour of the blogosphere indicates that the most vocal proponents of financial independence and early retirement are American. So it was quite a find when I finally stumbled on The Mustachian Post, whose author has taken the trouble to put together a list of European FIRE bloggers. I am looking forward to slowly working my way through it and getting to know fellow financial independence and early retirement enthusiasts on the continent.

When we read the news we are constantly told that there is a pensions emergency. Governments all over Europe want us to work longer and longer, in order to alleviate the “pensions crisis”, as an increasing proportion of Europeans age and put the public coffers under stress. Our countries are going through a demographic tectonic shift, which will result in decreasing numbers of young people working and paying taxes (apparently we are not making enough babies) which fund an increasing number of old people who are retiring and withdrawing a pension. The numbers simply do not add up.

Continue reading “Are Europeans interested in Early Retirement?”