Are you trying to achieve Financial Independence?

A lovely, kind reader has sent me some scanned copies of some actual issues of the Tightwad Gazette. I am really excited to read them – thanks so much, Gill! In one of them there is an absolutely fabulous article about financial independence (FI). This is a concept I only recently became aware of when I read a book Your Money or Your Life, by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez, recommended by Ilona from Life After Money. I whizzed through  it, but have yet to work through all of the exercises in it. This article has inspired me to have another go.

Frugality goes only so far

I am very frugal and strive to save as much as I can, but I don’t earn enough to save the kind of money that will enable me to retire very early. I am simply hoping to save a decent contingency fund and buy a camper van. Yet I am sure following the programme towards financial independence  in Your Money or Your Life would enable me to achieve this more quickly.

In the book there are many stories of people striving to save a large amount of their income (sometimes as much as 50-75%!) and aiming to retire in their 30’s and 40’s, quitting the rat race to pursue activities that make them happy and fulfilled. They do this by reducing their outgoings, living frugally and seeking to increase their incomes through various means and investments.

Step into the Frugal Woods

The internet is awash with people attempting to do the same today. There are blogs and Twitter accounts aplenty inviting you to follow their journeys to FI and offering to show you the way.
One that was recently recommended to me by a reader is Frugalwoods.com, which I am enjoying immensely. It is well written and inspiring and, once again, leaves me wishing I had come across the idea of frugality many years ago. Take a look!

I have signed up to the Amazon affiliates scheme so if you choose to click through and buy books on my recommendation I will earn a small commission

13 thoughts on “Are you trying to achieve Financial Independence?

  1. gill

    Gill here, the lucky owner of the original Tightwad Gazette newsletters (an Amy autographed issue of the book too!)
    The Complete Tightwad Gazette book covers all the issues to issue 72, that’s when Amy sent them to be published. She carried on with the newsletter for a further 6 months and finished off with a final bumper issue of inspiring readers stories.

    I’d be happy to send the 7 scanned issues to anyone that would like to read them, email me at geemee@btinternet.com

  2. Margaret Powling

    While I agree it’s Good To Save Money, what I can’t understand is this: children at school/college/uni train for years for a ‘career’ (or take an apprenticeship.) At enormous expense to themselves and the country they become qualified in something-or-other, and then, only what to me are a few years later, they’re considering ‘retiring early’ in their 40s and 50s. They should be at the peak of their careers in their 40s and 50s, and well able in this day and age to work until at least 60 and still have, on average about 25 years of retirement ahead of them. What is the point of being qualified in certain careers if only a couple of decades later they are thinking of retiring? My husband was an engineer (electrical components industry) and loved his work. He retired early at 63 (that was early to him!) and then did contract work for his company until his State pension kicked in at 65 (I understand this date has now been raised to 67?) That was 19 years ago. What are all these people, wishing to retire early, going to do? Set up another business or what? To me it seems somewhat counter-productive to train long and hard only to retire so very early. However, I appreciate that not everyone enjoys their work as much as my husband did and I guess I’m the only voce here marching out of step.

    1. shoestringjane@outlook.com Post author

      I think it gives them more choices – most people don’t have a vocation and work just to pay the bills. Most of us also spend the best of our energy and creativity doing these jobs. They might work for less money doing something they really love or volunteer or go part time. I would love to have more options

      1. Margaret Powling

        Yes, very valid points. Most people work to pay bills, and perhaps relatively few have jobs they truly enjoy. Husband loved his work but was happy to retire at 63, but then he’d worked for his company for 35 years. I think if you were a long distance lorry driver, on the road for long hours, or worked in catering and were on your feet all day (or in the NHS right now) you might give anything to give up and retire, regardless of age. I only ever worked part time and enjoyed my work as a secretary in what was then called a Teachers’ Centre (I don’t think they have these any more.)

    2. Sam

      There is also a difference in working for someone else, having all the direction, the vision, the ideas not be your own. I doubt few people that strive to and succeed in retiring early do so and then sit and do nothing; that just wouldn’t be their temperament. They may do volunteer work, of which their education may play a big part. Yes, many might start their own business, and work as hard if not harder, but their on their own terms. Some may just live-garden, travel, do art, whatever inspires them. However, I also totally see your point. We have a couple friends who retired in early 50’s from jobs they loved, but jobs that were stressful and dangerous. They have plenty of money, but are both so bored. Planning how retirement will be spent is as important as getting there, or as you say, what is the point.

  3. Kirrie

    My whole aim just now is financial freedom!.
    I work in the NHS and have done so for 34 years I plan to retire in 3 years at 55.
    I have worked full time the whole time.
    My job is unrecognisable from what it was.
    Expectations are unrealistic from managers, patients and relatives.
    Had enough!.
    I loathe shift work now working nights and weekends, miss all social events, night shift over Christmas etc.
    No I don,t want to retire to watch Jeremy Kyle, but travel, take up art and pottery classes, gardening,
    So I save over half my salary and lodgers rent, have paid in to NHS pension so will take it at 55. No I,m not lucky I have paid for it!.
    I have the option to go back part time after retirement , never say never but i have had enough of constant stress, pressure, abuse verbal and physical on a daily basis.

    1. shoestringjane@outlook.com Post author

      Kirrie, I absolutely don’t blame you. I had to spend a bit of time in A&E recently and it certainly did seem a very high pressure environment. The staff were all great though. Good luck, I hope you really enjoy your retirement when you get there

    2. Gillian

      sounds a good plan to me! after all, what is the point of life if you are spending most of your time in a stressful environment – it won’t serve you well in the long term.

  4. Elizabeth

    You have just posted all of my favorite books and Frugalwoods which I am indebted to you for finding as I too enjoy it. I have been disabled all my life and thus belong to a minority in which about seventy-five percent must fight to be hired or retained even when trained. Despite my uni training, when I was young, I often found myself working lower wage jobs just to have work and pay bills. I lived on my own and still do and the bills were my sole responsibility. As I got older, it was easier to do seasonal and other freelance work in which I had control of my hours and time. That also meant learning to save and live so that the bills were always paid. At fifty-two, further problems meant that I could no longer walk without the danger of falling and I now use a wheelchair. I have had no help to adapt my flat and have had to watch every penny. Additionally, the US has Medicare, but that does not cover everything, so the early lessons from the Tightwad Gazette, Vicky Robin and others have served me well and I continue to learn. Today, I find myself able to care for a chronically ill cat in his final years and have has a total of four over time who have had long lives that I could afford to provide them. Everyone has different challenges and for me, being frugal has helped meet mine.

    1. shoestringjane@outlook.com Post author

      Hi Elizabeth, that is so inspiring. You sound so positive and well organised. Those two books in particular seem to have made a massive impact on so many people. I have cats too – wouldn’t be without them!

  5. Gillian

    I’m so happy that you’re enjoying the Frugalwoods!! They really make me smile with their youthfulness and enthusiasm!! It’s always encouraging to read their blog pages, and yes, doing their UFM challenge has been extremely helpful even though I have fallen by the wayside a couple of times. Have you come across their ’72 hour rule’ yet? ie before you buy any one-off purchase, give it 72-hours of thinking time before you decide to go ahead. I ran out of a very expensive hair conditioner (christmas present to myself); found a bottle on ebay and immediately bid for it, (totally forgetting ‘the rule’); I was outbid 2days later when the bidding closed – but sure enough by then, I had regretted my bid and decided that I did not need that particular luxury brand. So, the decision was made for me(!), but it proved the worth of waiting a while before spending!

    1. shoestringjane@outlook.com Post author

      I tend to operate a not until next month rule at the moment and this is proving vet effective

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