Quit Working – Start living.

The Quit Work for Life Manifesto.

Why am I here? Why are you here? I’m here to be financially stable and independent that I can quit my job whenever I want. I want to be in charge of my time, I want to do things that are fulfilling to me. I hope you’re here because you too can see that the future of work is unpredictable and you want more in life than giving 40+ hours a week to someone else for little reward.

Economists once predicted that due to ever increasing labour efficiency our future would be one of increased lesuire hours, less work, more family time and less stress. 

Yeah right. Missed the mark a little bit there economists……

Instead we have long commutes in cramped cities, collections of stuff that weigh us down, job satisfaction that is little comfort as we spend hours away from family only to end up with very little cash after we buy all the supposed trappings of a middle class lifestyle and all the bills are paid.

Don’t despair, there is hope

If you are under 30 and willing to be disciplined there is no reason why you can’t quit work  before 65 (retire early) and spend more quality years doing things that make you and your family happy. The older you are the trickier it gets, but there are gains to be made no matter what decade you decide to get your financial self together.

Panning out how I can quit my job
What are my core ideals and beliefs on the journey to FIRE?

I’ve only been on this early retirement train for a year or so, somedays I feel like I found it too late, other days I am filled with optimism that it won’t be long till I have the financial freedom to leave my job. I have found that I have to change my mindset in order to make progress towards the goal of financial independence and there are a few ideas that I try keep front of mind on this journey.

I recognise that my life is exchanged for cash, 1 hour at a time.

Hours are spent working for cash, it will not be squandered, my time will not be givin in vain. I will not spend my thirties acquiring trinkets and memories of hangovers so that I have to work full time for the next 35 years.

I will have options, I will have cash

I won’t let a lack of savings put me in desperate positions where I am forced to make choices based on a lack of cash. Like having to take a job I find repugnant, make an unethical choice, move my family somewhere unsafe, sell a precious item, go without top medical care etc. Emergency funds will always be available.

I will be smart with what I have.

I will make my money serve me, I will not serve money. I won’t be a slave to a wage forever. My money will be put to work and no dollar shall sit idle. I will do my research and take advice where warranted.

I will always know where I am and where I’m going.

Tracking expenses and keeping a net worth spreadsheet up to date are the housekeeping of financial independence. I shall not slack, I shall not avoid looking at bank statements and expenses.

 

These ideas will steer me towards financial independence. Or at least put me in a better position in my old age, (no cat food dinners for me). Some days it’s hard work, some days its easy, but I know I’m doing something! Better to be living with intent, than to be left wondering where it all went 10 years from now. Sure there will be temptations (omg beer), mistakes (I’m looking at you Forestlands), slip ups but when you know the path you want to be on its hard to stay lost for too long.

 

Investing Failure? Forestlands in the News

When I was young I had issues with credit cards. But I also knew that I should be investing. I was miles away from understanding shares or buying a house but I did stumble across a company offering an investment in pine trees. Forestlands looked like a family run company and you could buy a share in a forest including the land underneath it for $1000. Well I never had $1000. It was not in my capacity at that time to save like that. But Forestlands offered a payment system where you could pay the investment off over 1-2 years. I was instantly sold. Did I do any research into forestry markets? No. Did I read the documentation? Yes but not well. I think I missed a few things. The main thing I missed is that these were B-class shares, meaning no voting rights. That’s never going to be good.

So at the end of March I received a letter informing me that all the Forests have been sold. They couldn’t tell me what my investment was worth and even had a line in the letter advising investors NOT TO CALL and ask because they didn’t know yet. Talk about alarm bells. How can you sell off an asset which has a schedule of investors and their share of the assets and not know how to distribute the funds. Madness.

Forestlands investors left in the dark

So a few investors complained and now the Financial Management Authority is involved and they have got the Serious Fraud Office investigating Forestlands. Apparently there is 18 million in a trust to be distributed to the investors but that doesn’t look like anywhere enough money to even get back what was initially invested. There are rumors that the head of the trust that owns Forestlands actually sold the forests for a lot more and has pocketed almot 19 million dollars in “fees”. We’ll just have to wait and see what the SFO and FMA manage to dig up.

Our Nation Business Review is covering the issue but most articles are behind a paywall so its been hard to keep up with the gossip on the matter but you can see from the pained comments on this article that is affecting quite a few New Zealanders. Forestlands always maintained a folksy family friendly type communications and sent out chocolates with annual updates. It gave them an air of trustworthiness which meant a lot of families felt comfortable buying a few shares for their children as well. Grandparents invested on behalf of granchildren hoping that in the time it took the forest to grow the invest would be worth enough to offset some university fees.

Its hard to keep emotion out of it. My shares in the forest represent about 1% of my total assets. So its a loss I can afford to absorb and move on but you can bet that I feel outraged over the way the Director (Rowan Kearns) has acted.