Why FIRE: Melissa’s story

She came in looking for a meal and settled on wings and a side salad. She seemed lovely but was visibly agitated. I asked what was going on and she said that she had just been at the bank trying to set up a savings account but they told her she could only set one up online.

Bee and I had just been dealing with the frustrations of setting up bank accounts in the UK, finding it extremely difficult and convoluted to set up joint accounts, make payments to people etc. Much harder than in Australia. (As a result of all of the fucking around by Lloyds and Natwest, we now do all of our banking through Monzo, the bank of the future in my opinion)

We spoke for a little bit about how shit the banks are here in the UK when it comes to functionality and service and I offered to help her set up an online account and what came next cemented two things for me;

  1. I never want to die before Bee
  2. How lucky I am to have discovered FI in my twenties

So Melissa’s story goes as follows;

Married young. Stayed at home with the kids. Husband didn’t contribute to pension. Husband was still working in late age due to savings. Husband died. Melissa found herself with no husband, no savings, no pension and no job.

When I met her she had just started some part time work at a local cafe and was going to pocket away any spare cash she had for her retirement. She was 56 years old.

It’s this sort of situation that so many of my family members and other people Bee and I know are currently finding themselves in. It’s hard, balancing the desire to be currently FI, with the understanding that;

  1. It takes time, quite alot of it
  2. There is a ton of fun to be had along the way
  3. With over $100,000 net worth, Bee and I are already doing very well

That’s the hardest part of all of this – not letting the fact that we are not yet FI stop us from enjoying the present day. It’s about being okay with booking tickets to shows we really want to see. It’s about booking travel and taking advantage of having Europe on our doorstep. It’s about being okay that our savings rate is in the mid twenties and not the mid fifties or higher like some other FIRE people.

We get better every day at all of this, but it is a constant journey and required frequent reflection, review and reprioritizing.

Hopefully that way, WE get to 56 and are happy, healthy, have few regrets AND a great net worth.

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