Irish Financial Independence & Personal Finance Podcast

My FI Progress

I have been documenting my progress towards FIRE since I started in 2018. Initially, I only did an annual update, however since 2021 I started recording my progress on a monthly basis. My articles cover changes to my investment portfolio, as well as share my thoughts and forecasts at the time of writing.

My progress was slow to start, but as I concentrated on keeping our expenses in check and increasing our income, our progress got better. I made a lot of bad investments early on, but eventually found a balance with stocks and property.

If you want to track my progress from 2018 onwards, click here to get started, otherwise, you can view my progress updates showing the most recent first below.

April 2023 Portfolio Update

Wednesday, 3rd May 2023

What's different about this week compared to others? Well, it's my last week of working overtime. For the past 18 months, I've been pushing myself to take on as much work as possible to maximize my earning potential and get closer to achieving FIRE.

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March 2023 Portfolio Update

Monday, 3rd April 2023

I wrote last month about how I was concerned with how I planned to withdraw funds in early retirement. I mentioned that I didn’t want to have to sell our investment properties (at least until we are much older) and that I was concerned with how I could actually look to retire and withdraw €40k per year. Calculating a withdrawal strategy is an interesting thing about FIRE. It doesn’t seem to matter so much earlier on, but as hitting my FI number gets closer, planning for how I can withdraw is becoming more and more important.

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February 2023 Portfolio Update

Thursday, 2nd March 2023

Back in July last year, I challenged myself to build a portfolio of €500k by the time I was 40. However, the time has come for me to let go of this goal. I will likely hit the €400k mark over the next couple of months, but I am on track to reduce my monthly savings from €10k a month to €5k a month by June this year.

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January 2023 Portfolio Update

Thursday, 2nd February 2023

Five years into my FIRE journey, I have to be honest, I don’t always appreciate the impact of compounding interest. As it is, bar our first investment property, our returns to date have been average to say the least.

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December 2022 Portfolio Update

Tuesday, 3rd January 2023

2022 was my fifth year pursuing FIRE and in terms of financials, was my best FI year to date. We added €120k to our portfolio and saw our portfolio rise from around €220k at the start of the year to €343k by the end of the year. While the numbers look great, I have been reflecting in December over my work-life balance in general.

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November 2022 Portfolio Update

Sunday, 4th December 2022

Defining a FI number is a changing thing and the Cost of living Crisis is having an impact on this. Inflation has been a silent killer for the dreams of so many trying to retire early. This is because as expenses grow, one's FI number also gets larger as a result.

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October 2022 Portfolio Update

Tuesday, 1st November 2022

Back in 2017 our family was deep in the rat race. I was working 8 hours per day as a freelance software developer and we had a spending problem. Money was coming in, but going out even faster. After learning about FIRE, it all made sense - if we can reduce our expenses, increase our income and save the difference, I can finally get away from working 8 hours per day managing multiple clients and dealing with multiple problems per day.

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September 2022 Portfolio Update

Tuesday, 4th October 2022

I sat down in September to crunch the numbers on my investment properties. One of the frustrations in Ireland is that 50% tax rates mean that rental properties with mortgages typically provide no positive cash flow. While this is frustrating when building your portfolio, I made the realisation that when 20% tax rates are applied, positive cashflow is possible from mortgaged investment properties, though it would likely require me to manage the properties myself.

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August 2022 Portfolio Update

Saturday, 3rd September 2022

Over the years, I have heard time and time again that when pursuing financial independence, it was so important to find your “why”. Why is one doing this, and what is getting them up in the morning. I will be honest, for so many years I didn’t really know what my “why” was. I knew I wanted to take back my time, and have a feeling of being in control of my time and finances, but my big “why” was always about time freedom.

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July 2022 Portfolio Update

Tuesday, 2nd August 2022

We ordered Solar Panels back in March and they were finally installed during July. We purchased nine 400 watt panels and a 5KWh battery. It has been a dream so far, and in fact due to long summer days in July, nearly all of our electricity was powered by the panels.

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June 2022 Portfolio Update

Sunday, 3rd July 2022

June marked 7 months of me working overtime. It is tough - long days, with weekends being tired and simply trying to recover. As tough as working overtime is, it is for one simple reason - to build up my portfolio!

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May 2022 Portfolio Update

Friday, 3rd June 2022

Ben from the Limerick FI group made the suggestion in the recent meet up that financial Independence is “just a mathematical problem”. One could argue truer words have never been spoken. FI of course is just about getting the numbers to work in your favour - naturally, in practice it is a lot harder than that.

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April 2022 Portfolio Update

Tuesday, 3rd May 2022

April marked the fourth month in a row that I have been able to make a decent monthly contribution to my portfolio - in fact I have now added €40k to my portfolio in the first 4 months of the year - averaging €10k per month. There is no secret to my success. I have been able to increase my monthly contributions by simply working longer hours each day.

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March 2022 Portfolio Update

Sunday, 3rd April 2022

I sat down recently to work through our monthly budgeting. Like many families out there, with inflation kicking in pretty hard at the moment, there has been a noticeable squeeze on the bottom line!

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February 2022 Portfolio Update

Wednesday, 2nd March 2022

February was a record month in terms of new contributions. We have been looking to put together a deposit for a new investment property in quick time, so I have been working harder than ever before. While there is much to dislike in the post COVID world, such as high inflation, lack of supply etc, one positive thing has been the ability to work remotely. While I have always worked from home, in the post COVID world there are more remote work opportunities than ever before.

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January 2022 Portfolio Update

Wednesday, 2nd February 2022

From an investing point of view, January started off in the red. While it looks like 2022 might be a rocky road ahead, most of us should relish the opportunity to buy at a discount. I decided to be brave, and purchase some additional shares in the Vanguard S&P 500 fund that is available through Davy via my pension.

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December 2021 Portfolio Update

Tuesday, 4th January 2022

Looking back on the year 2021, it's been a year of internal conflict. One month I'm looking to slow down on work, the next I'm taking a new opportunity. Reading back, it's been a difficult read to see so much inconsistency, but it highlights the internal struggle one goes through when following the FIRE Path.

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November 2021 Portfolio Update

Wednesday, 1st December 2021

Back in 2019, I did a podcast episode on The Mexican Fisherman about living today like you're retired. It is still one of my favourite episodes, but there is one aspect which is missing from the tale. The Mexican Fisherman has to get up each day to fish! There is no option for him to take a day off. Yes, he loves fishing now, but will he always love fishing? Will his health always be good and allow him to fish each day, or what if his boat is blown away by a storm. Here lies the issue I was facing when deciding to adopt the semi-retirement lifestyle...

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October 2021 Portfolio Update

Wednesday, 3rd November 2021

In October, I started to reduce my workload. I gave notice to clients who I have worked on and off with for many years that I was no longer going to be available to work on their software projects. I started the journey into the semi-retirement phase of my FI journey. But was this the right time to be doing this? Was I missing out on other opportunities?

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September 2021 Portfolio Update

Friday, 1st October 2021

When I first got started on my FIRE journey, I was under the false idea that €200k was going to be more than enough to retire on! I had the logic that if I could withdraw 1% per month, that would give me an income of €2,000 a month, which would cover my basic expenses. I thought it would take me at least 5 years to hit my FI number back in 2018. In the end, it has taken me a little over 3.5 years - I will likely hit €200k in October.

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August 2021 Portfolio Update

Wednesday, 1st September 2021

Over the last few months, I have had a frustration when it comes to FIRE in Ireland. 50% tax rates kick in so early, we are forced to use pensions to limit the tax we pay. This is all well and good, but that then rules out early retirement, with no option to retire in our 30's or 40's, because we can't access a pension until we are at least 50.

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July 2021 Portfolio Update

Monday, 2nd August 2021

I often look back on my early investing mistakes with regret. Yes, I have learned from so many mistakes and I am now in a far better investor mindset, but the cost of the lesson has been significant. In 2018 I invested around €36,000. Of that, €6,000 went into my pension and €30,000 went into high risk investments. Had the full €36,000 been invested in my pension in a US Indexed Fund, I would be a long way ahead today than I currently am - highlighting the cost of my mistakes in the past.

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June 2021 Portfolio Update

Sunday, 4th July 2021

One of the reasons that I love to share my own FI journey, is that I get feedback from you guys - those who are following my story! Last month was a great example of this. I made the comment that I thought I was going to need a portfolio of around €1 million in today’s money to retire comfortably and it didn’t take long to get feedback that this was likely too high!

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May 2021 Portfolio Update

Monday, 7th June 2021

I recently podcasted about The Coast FI approach. Being self employed and being able to utilise a Director’s Pensions (where I can put over half my salary into it each year), means that this approach is likely the fastest way for me to become FI in Ireland. While this is great in principle, there are a couple of considerations I didn’t fully factor in, until I sat down and tried to forecast how that would look in 18 years time.

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April 2021 Portfolio Update

Monday, 3rd May 2021

I turned 37 in April. As I blew out my birthday candles, I released I had nothing to wish for - I had everything I needed and was content with my life. Contentment is an important aspect of the FIRE movement, and one which is often not mentioned. Often when blogging and podcasting, it is easy to focus on the exciting things about trying to become financially independent... in truth, 90% of the FIRE movement is simply good old fashioned hard work.

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March 2021 Portfolio Update

Sunday, 11th April 2021

I have often moaned on the podcast that I no longer enjoy being a freelance software developer. On reflection recently, I felt this was unfair. I enjoy 80% of what I do, it was just the 20% of my work that was making me unhappy. I decided that I was going to keep the freelancing clients that made me happy - keeping the clients that I liked working with and where I enjoyed the coding side of their projects.

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February 2021 Portfolio Update

Thursday, 4th March 2021

February was a volatile month! We saw some record market prices, with the S&P 500 and Bitcoin both hitting record highs. We saw a small correction on the last day of February, but overall asset prices are rocketing - which is likely a reaction to the share amount of cash which is being printed by governments at the moment.

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January 2021 Portfolio Update

Thursday, 4th February 2021

January was a solid month overall. It was officially our first month as a landlord, after renting out our house in mid December. The rent was paid on time and there were no issues.

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Review of my third full year of investing - 2020

Monday, 4th January 2021

Throw any plans out the window - in 2020 along came COVID and the whole world got turned upside down. Much of what I had planned for 2020 never actually happened. The year started out normal enough, but things changed pretty quickly.

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Review of my second full year of investing - 2019

Saturday, 4th January 2020

Finding a balance between making contributions to my portfolio and enjoying life was the story of 2019. I made contributions of around €1,500 a month on average and worked less than 4 hours per day in 2019.

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Review of my first full year of investing - 2018

Thursday, 25th April 2019

This article is going to look back on the last 12 months and share my investing experience. Investing should be simple, but when it's your first time around it seems so much more complicated.

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