Financial Independence / Retire Early
Coined by the reluctant internet sensation Mr Money Moustache and his merry band of followers, the concept is simple. Lower your expenses, increase your income and save up enough money so you can live off the interest (at roughly 4%). The idea seemed genius at first. But on quick reflection, I realised I enjoy my work—I don’t want to slog out my working days trying to earn as much money as I can. But what it helped me see is that by reducing my expenses and having a continuous saving habit, I could build resilience in my life, such that I could recover from shocks that life throws at me. I’ve been tracking my expenses for over 2 years now using Money Dashboard – a free UK financial tracker in the UK. It connects to my bank account and automatically sorts my expenses into useful categories, so I can analyse my spending. I’ve recently moved onto You Need A Budget and I already love the way it forces you to only budget the money you have in the bank. This practice is useful for a variable consulting income like mine. I love that I have full vision of where my money goes each month so I can sleep easy at night.
Roam Research and Personal Knowledge Management
This has changed everything for me. For the uninitiated, personal knowledge management is the act of collecting and organising information in the form of digital notes. These notes can be connected to other notes to create new insights, like a serendipitous meeting of ideas. This is done in some sort of digital note-taking software (like Evernote, OneNote or Notion). I used Evernote for many years, but now I’ve taken to Roam Research because of the intuitive way it helps me access past information. This simple change has been profound. No longer do I need to rely on my memory to remember where I stored the information. I collect my notes in a clean, easy-to-use interface and link them together effortlessly. The result is a web of ideas and insights all connected for easy reference. I can ‘roam’ through my notes and get quick insights into different information even whilst in a conversation. And the online Roam community are a very supportive bunch who are always available for questions.
These are my new favourite hobby. Instead of thinking about adventure as jumping on a plane to visit exotic places, COVID-19 has forced me to think differently. I’ve learnt that adventure can mean doing something that places you on the edge of comfort, bordering scary. Through this lens, adventure can be sleeping in the fields outside my town with nothing but a sleeping bag and camping mat. Or going for a swim in a local river with snow still on the ground. I’ve travelled for most of my life and always seen adventure as doing what’s different: a new culture, new food, different landscape, stranger climate. My new adventures have taught me that by stripping away our basic needs we re-experience life again. Adventure is everywhere—we just need to know where to look.