I am a mum of two, in my 30s and married. We have a dog, a house I love which is in a town I hate and I work full time in a local authority housing team. I am not doing the job I qualified in, but my current job pays significantly more than my ‘dream job’ does so I am not at a stage where I feel it is reasonable for me to take a pay cut. We are paying off the mortgage and trying to make headway to pay it off as early as possible.
If I was able to have a wish list, I would be working in the job I had planned on when I was making my way through Uni, and we would be living near the sea. I used to live by the coast and it is the place I feel the happiest. I am now stuck in a landlocked, albeit very green and very beautiful, county and am desperate to head South again. My boys are 10 and 1 and growing very fast and I feel as though the Mr. and I spend all of our time either at work, or recovering from harsh weeks and getting ready for the week ahead. Any spare time at the weekend goes on either catching up with housework I have neglected during the week or prepping PE kits, lunches, homework, change bags and uniforms ready to make the coming week a little smoother.
The Mr. and I get a maximum of an hour, once the boys are in bed, to hang out together in the evenings before one or other of us is giving up and going to bed as we’re so exhausted we cant make it to the end of another episode of whatever we are trying to binge watch. There isn’t much time for hobbies and rather than enjoying holidays and days out, I stockpile my annual leave in case either of the boys is ill and I need to stay home from work to look after them.
Don’t get me wrong; we are lucky in many ways and I don’t want this to sound like a massive middle class moan. Its just that I have started to feel a little frustrated that we have worked hard to get some great things in our life, but are having to continue to work so hard to fund them that we don’t actually enjoy it. And I am petrified of making any drastic changes in case I pull the rug out from under the relatively comfy life we have.
I could, for example, just pack in my job and start looking for a job in my preferred area. But what will we do without the money? What if the boiler explodes? What if the cars break down – both of them – at the same time? What if I quit my job and then the Mr. gets ill or laid off? What if we cant afford the mortgage, have to sell the house and end up living in my mothers spare bedroom, taking the bus to the jobcentre and trying to explain to the staff there why I gave up a well paid job and a big house just because I was feeling a bit ‘unfulfilled’?
All of this is a smidge overdramatic but there is an element of this thinking keeping me safely in my job. Added to this paranoia that disaster will befall us the moment I take the risk of stepping off the treadmill is the teensy complication that I am, technically speaking, disabled. I have a degenerative back problem which means my mobility is often restricted and, as I get older, will decrease steadily. This means I am aware I have, nasty as it sounds, a ‘shelf-life’ at work. There is only so long I will be able to manage the physical effort that being on the go 5 days a week requires before I will likely not be able to sustain it anymore and have to stop. If I am honest, I would really like to be as in control of that decision as possible and make my own choice when its time to stop. I don’t really want to be in a situation where my body is telling me it cant cope anymore but I feel I have to keep going, regardless of how painful it is, as we cant afford for me to stop work.
This is, oddly, the reason why I felt it was time to get a plan. If we were going to make some changes to make my dream of coastal living a reality for us then I needed to do it whilst I was still able to work. We’d need to get as much equity out of the house as possible to give us the best chance of getting the right property when we moved and of reducing the amount of borrowing we would need to make the jump. I want to go before the boys are old enough to not want to hang out with me anymore, and whilst I am still able to get out and enjoy the outdoors with them, and I wanted to do it whilst the Mr. and I still have enough of our working lives ahead of us to start making plans based on the lifestyle we want and not the bills we need to pay.
If I were able to have financial freedom, I’d take a step several notches down the pay scale and get a part time role, and enjoy being able to take on work because I enjoy it, regardless of wages.
So, here I am. The plan, really, is my own take on the FIRE movement. I have been reading about financial independence and the freedom that comes with it. I am not looking at retiring in full, as I do have professional ambitions, but I want the freedom to take work on only if I will find it interesting. I want to stock up my lifeboat and plan my own escape and rescue – not wait around and hope that my state pension will save us and provide the life I am after.
In order to achieve The Dream, I plan to both cut expenses and increase income and this blog will be my record of my efforts to do both. My current job involves lots of work around peoples budgets and financial situation, so I will be trying to use as much of my experience as possible to make sure I cover a variety of different angles. I am sure not everything will work, but that is where I hope the blog will help me record and make sense of any mistakes I make, and help me pick up and keep going if things go off track at any stage.
I am an avid follower of a number of other financial freedom blogs/vlogs so I will also be giving a shout out to anyone who I have found particularly helpful, and absolutely welcome any feedback, hints or tips that anyone wants to leave in the comments. I am always keen to learn and am happy to have any input you want to offer!
Wish me luck and feel free to follow along with my progress!