The Journey Begins

Like Prometheus intent on claiming his prize, I’m on a journey to find FIRE. That’s Financial Independence Retire Early, for the uninitiated.

Fuger's Prometheus

I’m not particularly focused on the Retirement part at this stage, but I absolutely want the Independence part, so that I can grab whatever opportunities come my way without all the stress about money. That’s what drives me on my quest to achieve wealth, or as the Romans would have put it, Carpe Dividendum!  Technically that’s “seize the dividends” in Latin, in case you were wondering.

I’m new to the whole investing game.  I’m in my mid-30s, living in Melbourne, Australia. Until this year, I spent everything I earned as fast as I earned it, but luckily not faster. So I had almost no savings, but also no debt. Thankfully my parents instilled in me a healthy fear of debt from a young age. I work in a very modest clerical role, earning about as little as it’s possible to earn in the corporate world. I spent my 20s and early 30s traveling and studying in a field that I enjoyed but that offers little in the way of job opportunities. Then last year I got married, moved back to Melbourne to settle down, and finally got started on the task of being an adult. I’m not really sure what that means yet, but I’m pretty sure it requires having a bit of money, so I set out to educate myself about personal finance. To my complete surprise, I found it really interesting. Hopefully you think so too, since you’re here reading a blog about it!

My mum gave me a copy of Scott Pape’s book, Barefoot Investor, for Christmas last year. I guess she sensed that I was finally moving past my hedonistic and frivolous youth. I was fully expecting the book to suck, but I read it anyway, and I can honestly say that it changed my perspective on life.  Thanks Mum! Since then I’ve learnt a whole lot more about finance, and I now have some reservations about the Barefoot ideas, but as the instigator of my interest in finance it was invaluable. I’ll write a more in depth review of the book later.

Dead Poets SocietyWhat followed from there will be the subject matter of the blog posts to come. In short, I kept reading. I became voracious for knowledge about personal finance. I found various online discussion forums about personal finance in Australia, I discovered the FIRE community, and I learnt about different strategies of investing. As I read, I absorbed the discourse and became thirstier for more knowledge, in the hope that I could find a path to riches! I’m still reading, and still learning, and although I’ve realised that getting rich quick is out of the question I’m enjoying the process of discovery and experimentation. This blog will be a chronicle of my journey, from nothing to – maybe, hopefully, someday in the far distant future – a life of comfort, with the financial freedom to, if not retire, at least enjoy life on my own terms. Which I think is a pretty powerful goal.

I’m certainly no expert, so don’t read this blog expecting to find any secret recipes for success. And in case it needs mentioning, readers should understand that I’m in no way qualified to be giving any sort of financial advice. The contents of this blog are purely for entertainment purposes! It’s my hope that it will also be educational, for myself as a motivating tool to push me further along the path as much as for those reading. I also hope to engage with readers who are also on the quest for FIRE, or perhaps even there already, so I’d appreciate any suggestions, comments, or “not-advice” that you can contribute from your own financial experiences, so please feel free to reply to any of my posts or send me a message through the contact link.

I also want to acknowledge the great people in the Australian FIRE community who’ve helped me get started on this journey. I’ll post a more comprehensive set of links and resources sometime later, but for now I just want to give a shout out to some folks. Strong Money Australia and Aussie Firebug have given me plenty of great food for thought through their blogs, so if you haven’t read them yet you should definitely check them out. Australian Dividend Investor is another who helped me clarify my goals a lot, and also inspired me to start this blog. Australian Dividend Investor wrote a great post about the practical benefits of recording your investing thought processes in a blog, so that later on in times of volatility you can look back over them to keep yourself on track. Beyond these there are many other smart people in the Aussie FIRE community, so dig around if you’re interested or send me a message.

Until next time, I wish you luck in your own Promethean quest to seize wealth. Carpe dividendum!

DEAD POETS SOCIETY, Robin Williams, 1989

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