In this blog post I interview the owner of the Financial Independence Ireland blog. The blog archive section of the website shows content from May 2016 and indeed this may have been the first Irish FIRE blog in origin!
I asked the exact same 3 key interview questions and the full Q & A is here for you:
Who are you and how did you discover fire?
As far as I know I was the first Irish person to have set up a blog dedicated to the pursuit of financial independence from an Irish perspective! I am Irish born, and globally matured! I discovered FIRE by accident in early 2015 when an article appeared on my MSN newsfeed about a couple who had retired in their 30s to travel the world. The idea that I could take control and potentially design a life like this was an incredibly exciting discovery to me! I was immediately drawn in to this couples’ blog (Go Curry Cracker/), as well as other similar blogs such like Millennial Revolution (https://www.millennial-revolution.com/) and (Mr Money Mustache/). It was life altering to me to discover that this was simply a numerical equation – “shockingly simple maths”, as Mr Money Mustache writes! I then went through many of the same phases that a lot of people seem to go through – tracking expenses, becoming quite frugal, wanting to share this exciting discovery with the world, and quickly realising that financial independence if like Fight Club – best not talked about openly! Most importantly, I wanted to understand how to apply this best from an Irish perspective. I spent a lot of time in my local library reading everything available (which was not very much). I searched for online content, and to my surprise I could not find any Irish blogs, so I set one up in order to connect with the Irish financial independence community, and the rest is history! This is my blog – https://financialindependenceireland.wordpress.com/
What is the backbone of your fire strategy?
It is twofold – Firstly, to optimise my income and expenses to allow as much as possible of my income to be invested in things which will generate income for me, either now, or in the future. Secondly, to look for ways to grow my income to accelerate the process.
In terms of income, I currently have 3 income streams. I work full time, and I currently have 1 rental property as well as 1 room in my primary residence which I rent out. My aim is to a) use my income as effectively as possible, and 2) to grow it as much as possible.
I am doing things like maximising my pension contributions to reduce my tax as much as possible and build up the pension pot which will provide some income for me in the future. I also overpay my mortgage to reduce the principal, and the amount of interest that I will need to pay over the life of the mortgage. I have been consistently saving as much of my post-tax income as possible for the past number of years, and am currently using most of this to build an apartment unit in my back garden which I plan to rent out to create an additional income stream.
I am also currently reviewing the jobs market with a view to increasing my job-based income by 20% or more through a job move in 2021. I will also review the rent on my rental property to establish whether this can be increased in line with market rents in 2021. Once the vaccination programme for Covid-19 has reached critical mass (possibly around the middle of 2021), I may also rent a third bedroom in my home to create another additional income stream.
I will then consider how to invest this additional income to make it work for me most effectively. This might involve the purchase of an additional investment property, depending on how the Irish housing market performs during the period, or perhaps some combination of peer-to-peer lending, post-tax stock market investing or even investing through the Employment and Investment Incentive Scheme (a tax-advantaged means of investment in Ireland).
How do you plan to spend time when you are FI, and any plans?
I am pursuing financial independence for peace of mind and flexibility. Peace of mind that expenses will at some stage be covered by non-job related sources. Flexibility in life which a typical job simply does not allow, such as the flexibility to work from overseas during a pandemic! Once I have basic expenses covered, I will probably heave a big sigh of relief and get a bit feisty and selective about what type of work I choose to do, and when. It will allow me the flexibility to travel more, and potentially to combine this with some kind of work project. For example, if I know that my bit of real estate can cover most expenses, this already allows me a whole load of flexibility in that I could, for example, take up a position overseas in a location in which I would like to spend some time, and for a salary that is less than what I would command here. Or, I could opt to choose contract work without worrying about the fact that it will end at some stage. So, even partial FI provides some of what I am looking for.
In many ways, I think that the pursuit of financial independence is not really that radical. Everyone who is working and paying even 5% of their salary into a pension scheme is pursuing financial independence, although they might not be consciously doing it. Anyone who is paying off a mortgage every month is probably well aware that they will need less money coming in once their mortgage has been fully paid off. Somewhere in the back of their minds, they are investing money with the goal that they will one day no longer have to work for a living. The only difference between that and the financial independence community is that we are doing it much more consciously, and are attempting to accelerate the process! I feel extremely grateful to be in the privileged position to have these types of choices!
If you want to see the blog, or connect just head over to the website
Thank you for sharing this!