THE.FUTURE: "CONTENDER what is the point in fighting me. I will always be here. You came into this world with nothing and you will leave nothing - FACT! Do yourself a favor, give up now while the going is good"

CONTENDER: "Ah I can't take it with me - I have heard that one a few times - I do, however, intend to leave something behind. Something for you to remember me by"

THE FUTURE: "Thank you for your offer but I have no need for worldly goods. Just disappear as fast as possible"

CONTENDER: "Why don't flatter yourself who said about leaving you stuff - what about some pleasant memories instead.... about your defeats, I am sure you would like to remember those!"

How much saving and investing is needed for Early Retirement or Downshifting? A general rule is a investment pot of 25 times current spending = financial independence. Does this consider everything let's double check; what about looking at a NEW TOOL - creation of a full financial timeline of expenses and incomes?

What is Financial Freedom to the Tribe?

Dreams, Dreams, Dreams, we all need dreams and part of our little dream is getting close. In September our little tribe is moving away from the hustle, grime, crime and constant advertising in the city to the quieter French countryside.

Our dream is to be free from consumerism and free from the trappings of an unwanted job to pay for our vices. Will the French countryside offer this to us?

We are sure that THE.FUTURE will not let us have everything our own way though. The question is what will we be able to avoid in THE.FUTURE:

No more appraisals in work; CONTENDER you have done OK but DO BETTER! - give me a break! 

No more living in a box small house. Where is the view?
No more commuting - what a waste! 2hrs a day 5 days a week for 46 weeks in the year. 460 hrs per year = 19 full days in the car / train! Complete bonkers?
No to conformity - at the desk by 9am?
No to keeping up with the Jones. When is enough stuff enough?

Our little tribe think we can be financially independent later this year. By this we think we will be able to buy a house outright and live off the income from our investments and at a later date our pension savings.

Yes to choice - hiking or swimming, a bit of work, read a book, play with the kids or an educational activity
Yes to responsibility - we are responsible for our place of living, kids education, long term finances
Yes to fun - Less work = More leisure time = More fun for our little tribe.
Yes to thinking, talking and reading more - It is nice to just sit under a tree on a warm summers day and think. Later have friends around for a bite to eat and talk about the silliness of the day ;)

How have we come to this conclusion? Well we used a little financial tool which we have used to lay out our finances for the next 40+ years. We have been pouring over the numbers and different scenarios with the tool to visualise our possible financial future.

A SIMPLE guideline for FULL financial independence is savings of 25 times current expenditure. Then expenditure is 4% of the pot each year.

But what about buying a house, kids...... What if we layout ALL our expected expenditures and projected incomes on a timeline into the future. What would it look like? Will we have enough?

Financial Timeline Planning Tool

Fight fans this is going to be a long road. THE.TRIBE wants to be financially free to do as we wish unfortunately THE.FUTURE has all kinds of demands and surprises in store for us. He must be satisfied.

Below is a yearly timeline planning tool developed by THE.CONTENDER to ponder THE.FUTURE in particular when to work and when to spend:
  1. Cost of buying a property and maintenance?
  2. Cost of a car and how many?
  3. What about work pensions and lump sums?
  4. Holidays, Weddings and other large events
  5. University education
  6. Investment returns and inflation
  7. Unforeseen problems
THE.CONTENDER admits here is no way of knowing exactly what experiences (and costs) THE.FUTURE holds. Likewise ignoring and not contemplating what THE.FUTURE in hold for us  is at THE.CONTENDER's tribes peril!

Admittedly THE.FUTURE has a nasty habit of catching us out but none the less this tool gives us a  guess of what lies ahead for us.

The benefits in our eyes are; an idea if we can we afford our lifestyle, enjoy all of the activities we want to do in the future and have plans for some unexpected problems. Here is the financial timeline planning tool:
Click For a Larger Image
The spreadsheet can be found in the toolkit section
Is extreme financial independence too much of a sacrifice?

Financial independence is great and all. One caveat is that we must contemplate that in striving for very early FI can come at too much of a cost. Living uber frugally to save very quickly may mean missing out on too much in ones prime years.

So what could be a good balance of earning and saving versus living? 

Using the spreadsheet it is possible to try out a few different scenarios. What about downshifting to a lower salaried less stressful and enjoyable job instead? What about taking a few years off then go back to work for a while? For example:
  1. After graduation work hard at a job and save a reasonable amount of ones pay. Start a pension and put enough in to get the full matching contribution the employer. The rest of it - live a little get some real life experiences and search for the perfect other half. 
  2. Maybe after 5 years you have another half and lots of good memories from nice, but not too extravagent, friends, experiences and holidays. The saving rate as doubles as a couple and less extreme partying reduces expenditures. In the meantime the career is progressing well and some pay rises and bonuses are adding to the savings pot.
  3. Marriage! Kids will be on the way soon? What are your next plans?
  • A home
  • Where to live and educate the kids
  • How much time you both want to spend with them
  • Do you both want to stop work completely or take some time out
What would all of this look like laid out over time? The spreadsheet allows the input of different scenarios such as the one laid out above.

Our own scenario / goal is to have enough passive income / savings to take some time out without using up saved capital. We do intend to make some extra money in THE.FUTURE. Is this financial freedom or downsizing? Will we find utopia? Is there such a thing? Will THE.FUTURE blindside us and mess up our scenario....

What if the returns are not in line with historical returns ( we are expecting 7% from dividends and capital appreciation)? What if the new normal only 5-6% investment return and is our 4% estimate for inflation too optimistic? All of these parameters can be played around with in the spreadsheet.

Guesstimate some financial goals today!

What about developing some scenarios for THE.FUTURE?

Perhaps complete financial independence but downshifting is more desirable? Perhaps a less stressful job or job missions from time to time may be a goal.

Click here to download the open office spreadsheet.

Last Thoughts on Stuff

We accumulate so much stuff throughout our lives. STUFF IS EXPENSIVE.

First money is required to buy the stuff, then money is needed to maintain, upgrade, fix and house the stuff. Stuff becomes obsolete and needs to be replaced.   

We can all ask ourselves some questions when we buying STUFF.
  • Is it going to be used each week?
  • Is it good quality and will last / hold some value?
  • Will it go obsolete in a few years time (perhaps top of the range is not required)
  • Can it be sold on once I have finished with it?
  • Do we need to spend so much on it?
  • Can we do without it? 
What if less stuff, less house, less car is added to the spreadsheet - how many "free" years can be gained? 
Peace, prosperity and happiness


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Here you can find out about THE.CONTENDER and the purpose of the blog is or perhaps browse the all posts list, have a look at the pictures on the notice board. Please feel free to play with the planning tools and checklists.

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Post a Comment

  1. An Excel version has been posted to the tools section of the blog > Toolbar > Free Tools

  2. The financial planning spreadsheet looks really interesting - but the links all redirect to a "page not found".

    1. Hi Ken,

      Sorry about the link. I havent been on the blog for a while busy writing a book. I dropped the Open Office Version. I have updated the link and it points to the excel version in the tool section.

      All the best.


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)