Hi fight fans, nearly the end of the year already! Where did it all go. Who were the winners in the game of life?  
THE FUTURE is still lurking there ready to take THE.CONTENDER to the cleaners when he gets the chance. What is THE.CONTENDER to do? Keep on LEARNING

Below are some of the favorite posts THE.CONTENDER has read this year and a brief summary of what they were about, and what can be learnt from them.

January Freeze - too cold for brass monkeys. New Year Resolutions for the rest of the year anyone? (P.S. CONTENDER remember last years and don't kid yourself;o)

jlcollinsnh - The bashing of Index Funds, Jack Bogle and a Jedi dog trick
What: Why cheap index funds such as Vanguard are a great way to invest and why the financial media and investment houses hate them*
Early Retirement Angle: Cut out the investment fees to retire early

February Blues - bills bills bills Christmas overspend?

Brave New Life - How To Get Your Significant Other To Embrace a Brave New Life
What: Change of direction, stop wasting money and being a good little consumer? What about the rest of the family?
Early Retirement Angle: Taking people with you all working towards a common goal of early retirement is a change in mindset. The consumerist live for today lifestyle needs to countered with save to day to enjoy tomorrow financially free.

March Madness - It is getting lighter in the evenings and the world is a better place

Brave New Life - Core Principle 6 This Is Water
What: David Foster Wallace inspiration talk on life - what is it all for / have some perspective on life?
Early Retirement Angle: Consider the big picture in life who are you and think carefully about the world

Brave New Life -10 Reasons Not To Retire Early? Uh-Oh!
What: Nice post on the financial media's excuses \ procrastination against early retirement.
Early Retirement Angle Grinder: Doubts, herd mentality, media - think clearly set your own goals and try to shut out all of the negativity that is out there about "retirement" and "frugality".
April Showers - it rains enough in this country and they get away by calling it showers?

A Good Day To Live - #4 The right balance
What: Are you going for hardcore ERE (Early Retirement Extreme) or is a more balanced approach more desirable even if it takes longer?
Early Retirement Angle: There are different options for early retirement and each is INDIVIDUAL - what is yours?

May - Warming up. Time to book a holiday somewhere exotic because I'm worth it.

Canadian Dream FI=FU?
What: What crazy / different / exciting things can you do knowing you have a nice backup of savings? Try talking up your ideas in work, taking some risks with your investments (god forbid:) or have some plain old fun.
Early Retirement Angle: Get started and doors will open. Everything in life is a risk the more risks you take on the more alive you feel and in control of your life. One of those risks will eventually pay off big time?

June - Why am I still in work!!!!

Simple Living in Suffolk - The Ermine is Retired
What: Always nice to read about someone who has reached his goal. Handing in the office tools, saying goodbye to colleagues and the exhilaration of it all.
Early Retirement Angle: Get on with living in THE FUTURE :)

Can I Retire Yet - Three Wildcards for Boomer Retirement
Why: A look at risk management. Will health care or inflation wipe out your savings? What would be a good withdrawal rate from savings to maintain the capital?
Early Retirement Angle: Risk planning is a very useful tool - consider your risks, consider how you can reduce them or what are your backup plans such as multiple income streams, quickly start \ re-start a business even go back to work (so keep the cv and skills up to date). Better to be prepared than caught out.

July Hols - Too hot - time to holiday in Iceland?

MMM -Protecting your Money Mustache from Spendy Friends
What: Being frugal versus cheap when going out with friends that still enjoy $100 meals. Tips to plan a cheaper night out while really enjoy yourselves.
Early Retirement Right Angle: Being frugal changes your mindset to over consumption but it is your choice and other people make their own choices. Don't impose yourself on friends and be "cheap" as MMM highlights enjoy other people' s company whilst keeping your eye on excessive spending.

20s Finances - Keeping Track of Your Expenses and Why It’s Important
What: Just like the title, track by a paper trail or electronic such as Mint then understand what your spending habits are and why.
Early Retirement Angle: Tracking spending habits and identifying opportunities is a must for early retirement. THE.CONTENDERprefers a spreadsheet as you can keep it private, it is quick and easy to manipulate the data the downside is the learning how to track you expenses by a spreadsheet. This is why Internet tools like MINT have sprung up.

August Rest - Summer, Summer, Summertime go to the beach and all is fine

A Good Day To Live - A new era of work – Part 2: Both partners working full time – what a crazy concept!
What: A refreshing analysis on the two-person working household from spending, tax and time as a family.
Early Retirement Angle: Can you retire early with a balanced approach to life with only one employed adult? What are the short and medium term benefits and are they worth it?

ERE - Money Goals and Score Keeping
What: Jacob's money accumulation goals and a simple look at safe withdrawal rates.*
Early Retirement Angle: Setting and tracking goals keeps you focused and disciplined as well as realistic!

20's Finances - Overcoming Inflation
What: Inflation is a REAL issue - the websites SIMPLE explanation for young adults gets to the point.
Early Retirement Angle: Inflation is due to the Fiat money system we have. Understanding money and why inflation occurs will help investment planning to gain returns that exceed the rate of inflation...

Can I retire Early - Don't Miss These 6 Investing and Retirement Blogs if You're Serious about Financial Independence
What: Another one of those useful link posts to other sources of information on early retirement / financial independence but from a fellow early retiree. 
Early Retirement Angle: If you type in financial independence on Google you get 53 Million hits and early retirement 135 Million hits - posts like these are great for finding NEW sources of information you would really struggle to find on Google.

September retreat - Indian summer! Time to throw some coal on the barbie

Retirement Investing Today - The Retirement Investing Today High Yield Portfolio (HYP)
What: A look at how would you evaluate high dividend stocks for a high yield portfolio.
Early Retirement Angle: Active investor or Index investor discussion point. Can you spend the time to choose individual stocks for income and diversify with say 20 shares or just go for the Vanguard basket approach?

October Falls - Need a holiday somewhere hot and time to stock up on some DVD's for the home cinema system

Can I Retire Early? - Do You Really Need a Financial Advisor?
Why: In depth discussion of going it alone or using a financial adviser. A review of the top financial services firms, individual advisers, costs and investment knowledge time saving.
Early Retirement Angle: When you start out with investing what should you consider? Try yourself from the onset, leave it to an adviser or plan for a combination of the two?

November Drag - work, work, work must be completed before the end of the year - why?

MMM -MMM interviews ERE on Peak Oil
What: Is peak oil real? If so, do we need to worry about it? As a "frugal" person with a low carbon footprint is a early retiree better placed to manage a decline in energy use?
Early Retirement Angle: A balanced reasoned approach to THE FUTURE. We currently waste huge amounts of energy and future green technologies are not fully known. Taking steps to live with a lower energy footprint will save a considerable amount of money when energy prices rise placing you in a better situation to manage the change to a new energy future as the importance of oil diminishes.

Retirement Investing Today - The S&P 500 Cyclically Adjusted PE (aka S&P 500 or Schiller PE10 or CAPE) – November 2012 Update
What: Cyclical adjusted price to earnings of the S&P 500 - a measure looking at if a market is overbought or cheap
Early Retirement Angle: Should you hold back from investing in stocks when the market is historically overvalued and wait for a better entry point? Another investment tool for the armory.

THE.CONTENDER- (selfless plug and top post of the year - I'm allowed one aren't I?) - 30 Rules of Very Early Retirement
What: 30 rules / ideas for the to be early retiree.
Early Retirement Angle: List some rules for your self and then build them into automatic habits to retire as early as possible.

Dec Joviality - Finished your work yet? Make sure you have time for that spending spree. Time for a New Year's Resolution :o)

Reddit/financialindependence - Forget the blogs. Here is the best site to read and learn about investing and financial independence: Bogleheads.org
What: Forget active investing Vanguard funds are the way to go! A link to the world of Bogle and his gift to the investing world. The reddit forum is a great collection of like minded people aspiring for financial independence.
Early Retirement Angle: Turn off and let low cost passive income funds do the work? THE.CONTENDER's opinion is that the next 30 years are going to be totally different than the past 30 years. If that happens will index funds hold fast based on historic principles? Would THE FUTURE come in with a low blow and blitz the funds? 

What a fight!

What an amazing group of blogs and information available to us. So many good advices, observations, discussions, humor and case studies to name a few of the amazing topics. THE.CONTENDER thoroughly enjoys the wisdom of these blogs and hopes you do to.

There are many other websites linked from these blogs covering financial independence and early retirement;  unfortunately THE.CONTENDER cannot cover the all here (see Yakezie and Sterling Effort blog lists).

THE.CONTENDER still sticks to the old 80:20 rule and here that means 80% coverage from 20% of the posts. Could this possibly be true? Please go ahead and list your favorites in the comments section.

Peace and prosperity,


Next up an end of year wrap up and PERL Medium then Long Term Planning posts.

Welcome New CONTENDER Readers! Take a look around. Find out who THE.CONTENDER is or Start at the first article, browse the all posts or just go for a Random Post. Please feel free to play with the FREE planning tools and checklists.

Keep in Touch:  RSS Feed, follow THE.CONTENDER on Twitter or subscribe to posts by email:

Source Blogs:

ERE - Early Retirement Extreme
MMM - Mr Money Moustache
A Good Day To Live
Retirement Investing Today
Brave New Life
20's Finances
Canadian Dream Free at 45
Can I Retire Yet?
Simple Living in Suffolk 

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Are you planning for financial independence and wondering what to do with it. If so is any of the content on this blog of use to you? I would appreciate any comments you have. All the best C

Welcome to FISH !
You have come here looking for answers. How to get out of debt? How to save and invest? How to retire early and how you want to live in retirement.

Well this is the right place for you as out tribe has been through all of these steps. We no longer work for a corporate employer and have saved enough to retire early. How we did this is shared here on this site for you.

Our little tribe found out these secrets to financial independence in our late 20’s. Since then we have taken early retirement, in our late 30's, in just 7 years. We now live in the South West of France with our two young children.

Along the way I decided to share everything I learnt. My articles and tips on aggressive saving and compound investing are there to help you meet your financial goals fast. I discuss ways to help you decide what you want by building a life plan. This helps to work out how to get where you want to be whilst avoiding the pitfalls along the way.

My expertise was built up working in blue chip corporate jobs, extensive reading and putting it into practice. I have condensed this knowledge into simple strategies to help you meet your goals and not those of the bank or the place you work.

There are free planning tools on this site that help you make a life plan. A plan for your future. The tools calculate how to reach your financial goals in a timeline that suits you. The tools help set out your life goals, make them happen and how to exceed them.

There are tips on how to simplifying your life to remove day to day headaches. These include ways to pay off debt fast buy eliminating wasteful spending habits. How to reduce your monthly bills through choices that actually improve your health and wellbeing. Identifying things you don’t need that sap your time and wallet.

There are little sustainability projects to reduce your dependence on shops and utilities whilst saving money to spend on things you want.

All of these little steps will show you how save 50%+ of your salary so you can meet your goal whatever it is. This huge saving rate can be compounded for very early retirement. I am sure you will find something here for you.

Darren Lee (A.K.A the Contender as in my blog)