What Financial Independence means to me.

I decided to write this blog because it is very difficult to find solid financial and investing information in Ireland. I am not a financial advisor nor do I proclaim to have the training or expertise to provide such advice. I will be documenting my findings, any suggestions that I come across which I want to share, and my journey to possible financial independence. I say possible because I’m not sure I will reach it before retirement.

Here are some of the main topics: Passive income, Pension plans, Investment brokers, Taxes, and other sources of income. All of these I believe are important in the path to financial Independence.

The first thing I want to discuss is why I want to be financially independent and what it means to me and give you some background on my life.

Why Financial Independence?

My journey to Financial Independence (FI) started when I moved back to Ireland just before my 50th birthday. The company I worked for offered an additional 8% pension contribution and as I watched this grow, I realised that this is my only pension and there was less than 5,000 Eur in it. Around the same time, I started tracking my expenses and came to another realisation that I am spending most of my income and saving very little.
At the time, my saving plan was to pay by bills, buy whatever I needed to, go out for a drink / meals, and if there was something left over then put it in savings. Of course, rarely was there much left over.
So, I had a wake-up call. This blog is about what I’ve learned and learning along this path to financial Independence and share it with others. I don’t think the retire early part is an option for me. 😯

I grew up very poor on the west coast of Ireland. I left school at 16 years of age in order to work and contribute to the family income. At that time, nobody considered future plans for retirement, careers, or education. There was one main concern at the time; get an income in order to buy food and have shelter. Later in life that same mentality stayed with me. I was never concerned about the future.

I am now in my 50’s and have only recently discovered Financial Independence (FI), it’s late for me, I know, but there is a Chinese proverb; ‘a journey of a 1,000 miles begins with a single step’. I started that single step about two years ago.

I have been working for a tech. company for the last five years which does have a pension plan. But tech. companies are not very secure places to work, they are notorious for having mass lay-offs. At my company, we have had three mass lay-offs in the last four years. So far, I have been lucky to survive. But I feel that I do not have the work security that I would like to have, I want to get to a point where my passive income matches or exceeds my expenses. This is my main reason for financial independence to provide a security blanket in case I am targeted during the next set of layoffs. The secondary reason is to provide for a comfortable retirement income.

In addition, I have travelled and worked in other countries, which did not provide a workplace pension. So, I am literally starting from scratch.   

I try to avoid debt as much as possible. I do have a large mortgage that will be hanging over my head for another 20 years, but that is a necessity due to the high rental costs in Ireland. Once I get to retirement, I will be looking at downsizing and using the extra cash for retirement purposes.

I would like to get to financial independence in Ireland so that I can work for a company if I want to. I would like to get to a point where I don’t have to work but work because I want to. I think this would take a lot of pressure off. Being financially independent will help me to move on to something else in my life if you want to. I will no longer be tied to my current job and relying on a pay cheque.   

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