Is a 50% saving rate really possible?

Living in a high tax and benefit system such as the UK saving 50% of your pay seems extreme. I recently had a conversation on this point with a colleague - he could not believe how we as a family of 4 could still manage to save a 50% of our take home pay. He sat there playing with a very expensive mobile phone. He was working out how to use the latest app to track how much faster he was on his top of the range carbon fiber bike.

As you can already gather THE.CONTENDER was trying to refrain himself for not stating the obvious. One of the most difficult topics I have encountered in professional social and family life is how to approach difficult subjects and significant change:
So and so is really good I could never be as good as..., that is not possible....., my circumstances are special...it is OK for you but it would never work for me..... 
So the problem is not the subject per say - surely everyone would like to be financially free. It is the person's initial mindset and perception of sacrifice that goes with it. Where has that perception come from in the first place and is it misplaced? So how do you get your point across \ engage them or should you try and discuss further, at the expense of coming across as pushy.....****!!!

Buy now and retire at 70 or save a lot and be financially free after 10 years?

So if you need to save 50% or more of your salary to be financially free quickly what is the "sacrifice". Expensive, fun (tropical holidays \ designer suits) are delayed. In budgeting and saving (investing) diligently you will build the capital to be financially free for you to pursue your dreams in a surprising time frame. Could this be true?

"Don't forget  you could be knocked down by a bus tomorrow. So don't be silly LIVE FOR TODAY! consume, enjoy your shiny gadgets - forget about financial freedom that is only for the wealthy you are a worker bee in the middle class. If you are a good little worker and make it to 70 you can retire on us" - Anon

Advertising, peer pressure, fear and not being part of the crowd are very powerful influences on everyone in society. How is the financial independence blogosphere really going to get its point across? Are people going to give their precious time between distractions like films and the challenges of our hectic daily life to understand the benefits of saving like mad?

My concern is the powerful media message to buy, buy, buy is backed by the best advertising talent and research money. It tells us how to spend our money and is very persuasive to boot. We are exposed to advertising from a very early age when we have very few defenses. Society has been educated to listen and be a good consumer of needs that are actually wants. A lack of inquisitiveness has been instilled in young minds. Subordination to hierarchy is "normal" in the western education system. Young people are at its mercy and do not have the mature skills to critically challenge the status quo.

Prepare and pass "standard" tests dumb down society. Innovation and creativity is not being nurtured. Critical questioning is discouraged. You need to agree or rebuff someones stance, idea or facts through your own reasoning. I see this a hindrance to societies health, prosperity and happiness but that debate is for another day;)

Still assuming that we want to save (50%+) and have the will to make it happen. We as adults must fully understand the pros and cons of the decision and required plan to make it happen. As covered above, 50% savings do not = boring life, just different expectations.

Financial freedom advantages pro's are- some of the best years of your life doing what you want to do not what others want you do do. Con's include working for someone else doing what they want you to do or missing valuable time with your growing children. So what changes \ decisions can be made and their perceived trade offs.

Team Contender 10 Rules of Living Comfortably & Saving 50% as soon as possible

  1. Education
    1. One key aim of an education must be to get a good job! Ideally you enjoy, if you have no idea of what a satisfying job is, a good job that pays a good salary is a must to become financially independent quickly.
    2. Make sure you minimize your costs over the degree - work in the summer. Perhaps start to learn about investing with some of those low cost student loans. Stay away from credit cards and all other teaser financial products
  2. First Job - Aim at getting promoted then promoted again - unfortunately just being good at your job is not good enough these days. Don't be naive. What are the politics and people you need to negotiate - your goal is to increase income to save as much as possible not be the perfect employee for yourself. Let's be frank here a company views you as an asset to use to its advantage. It does not care about you. You may be brilliant at your job but you are replaceable - live with it. You work to live NOT live to work.
  3. Work expenses - Can you live close to work to walk \ cycle or commute by train - cars are damn expensive. Do you need 20 different designer shirts?
  4. Living costs and going out - this I admit is a difficult one at an early age - you are young want to live a little and meet that perfect partner to enjoy popcorn with at the flicks. Renting versus sharing really depends on the area. The lifestyle choice between living in a shack to flush apartment is yours just make sure you know how it will impact your long term plan. 
  5. Pension: If you are fortunate to have a matching pension contribution scheme, max it out. It is free money. Where possible take control of your pension choose your funds you do not want to be Jo Blogs retiring at 75. From a financial independence perspective your pension  is your future fun pot of gold.
  6. Superfluous spending: Telecommunications and subscription TV. Do not fall for the expensive subscriptions \ minute and free data - you ultimately pay over the odds for it. Your time would be better spent learning something from a book of use than the latest soap and interacting face to face with humans - a good way to meet a mate ;)
  7. Holidays: We are all sold the exotic holiday on the beach in some far flung place. Really really expensive, takes hours of your holiday to get there and not really a good talking point (sat on the beach all day). What about trying out a new language in a new country with some history closer to home - the Colosseum in Rome is really quite something. You can get there by train with a stop off in Paris and Milan and won't cost an arm and a leg. I am sure this would be a better talking point than some random beach to a potential Italian girlfriend \ boyfriend met in Rome.
  8. Saving and investing - Key to financial freedom to obtain that passive income
  9. Avoid consumerism - ultimately whose benefit is it? The most expensive computer will be out of date in 6 months and cost half the price. Designer clothes are unimportant - if you have good taste you will generally wear closes that make you look good not a fashion victim.  A big house costs more to heat, fill, insure and local taxes is the space used all the time? Every $ or £ you can save \ invest can work for you not against you.
  10. Learn and Adapt - Life throws all sorts of decisions and conundrums at you. Good and bad, be bold, be brave, have a go, do not be scared of F****** UP you will invariably learn something - been there done that. What's more, learning is fun and you will get to meet lots of fascinating people along the way that will open doors for you.
The list is a starting point please post comments below!



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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)