My story starts one wet Monday lunchtime sat in a works canteen. I was 18 years old and had just completed my first morning’s full-time work after leaving college.
As I looked around the room at the different people that were there eating their lunch, the vast majority of them were over 55 and the work they were doing was physically very demanding. It was during that look around the room that I realized that one day that could be me, in the same job for my whole life, doing the same demanding work and probably doing the same complaining about how hard the work was and how tired I was after work and on my days off.
I had no goals, no idea where I was going, what I wanted to do or what kind of career path I should take. If I did nothing, the likelihood was that I would amble along in life and work there for the rest of my life. It was at that point I decided that I needed to think about what I wanted and how I was going to get it. This was back in the early 80’s so no internet and the marvelous tools and inspiration that we take so much for granted these days from reading this great resource.
My First List of Goals
I sat down that evening and wrote down a list of things in life that I wanted to achieve and by when. Items on my list included all the usual desires of an 18-year-old such as an XR3i, a house etc. but more significantly a desire to be in a position to retire by 50. I had no idea about the concept of goal setting to achieve financial independence, indeed I did not even understand what financial independence was, but I did have a desire to change the course of my life and was willing to put some thought and effort into achieving it.
Armed with my list of goals, I started to develop a plan which was thwarted somewhat by only earning $99.26 per week and having very little, if anything, left after payday, never mind the rest of the week.
Fast forward 32 years and to today. As of this post of March 2016, I am now 50 and have achieved my goal of being financially free. I still work in a job that I largely enjoy although today it is in a completely different field. The psychological difference between having to work and wanting to work is enormous. People think I am crazy to continue working, however, life is about happiness and having the choices to do what you want and when. At present, I choose to work because I get a lot of satisfaction from what I do. Knowing that it’s more on my terms now that I am not shackled by financial commitment, I may continue for another month, or maybe a year or two, who knows?
I must be totally honest and say that not all of the things on my list were attained. The XR3i dream never materialized, however, that was through choice and will be the topic of a future blog post.
My Aim for This Blog
My aim for this blog is to share with you the journey I took over those 32 years the things I did that worked and didn’t work, but more importantly the mistakes I made. There were a number of things I could have done differently but didn’t, mainly due to lack of information and understanding, some of which were fundamental and will be covered in future blog posts so that you can consider how you could avoid the same costly decisions. I will say this though, had I not made those mistakes I would easily have been in a position to stop work at 35-40 instead of 50, such was the magnitude of those actions.
I do hope that this introduction post, albeit it brief, has wetted your appetite to join me in learning more about my journey and how it can benefit you by learning from my mistakes and analyzing what did and did not work.