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happihorse's journey to mortgage freedom and contentment…



  • happihorse
    happihorse Posts: 182 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    You state that you wish to retire in 15 years, what is your plan to achieve that?

    At the moment you are throwing £900 (after tax) at your mortgage. Are you able to throw this at your pension instead?

    If you threw it at your pension, (assuming it is a defined contribution scheme), you would benefit from tax savings via salary sacrifice and hopefully see a 5-8% growth per year. When you retire, you can take a tax free lump sum (25% of pot) and pay off the mortgage.

    Far more financially savvy?
    Thanks for dropping by Simon11.

    I have a pension with my employer into which I pay 8% of my pre-tax salary and the employer puts 12%.  I think this might be the most I can contribute but pensions are not something I have taken a huge amount of notice of so it's definitely worth exploring further.  That would be a massive saving if I could avoid paying tax on the extra pension contribution and then use this lump to pay off the rest of the mortgage in a few years time.  Thanks for the suggestion :) - I will investigate further. 
  • happihorse
    happihorse Posts: 182 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    On balance it's been another good day today.  I managed to get up and out of my cosy bed to do an hour's walk with the dog first thing before starting work (hitting my active minutes target), I finished work at a reasonable time (although it was a quieter day today as everyone is just catching up after the festive break) and managed a NSD (with no trips out in the car either).  I just need to stick at this routine now!

    Still need to get out for a short walk to hit my step count but was quite chuffed today to realise that, so far this year, I have walked nearly 13 miles.  I've decided to aim for 1,000 miles this year so we will see how that goes.   :lol:

  • happihorse
    happihorse Posts: 182 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Following Simon11's suggestion I have been looking at my pension this evening and playing around with some figures on my provider's online calculator.  If I continue at my current rate and retire at 55 I am forecast to receive an annual pension (annuity) of just over £12,500 a year which doesn't seem much, particularly when you take into account inflation.  If I took out a tax free lump sum the amount would obviously reduce significantly too.  Bearing in mind I am unlikely to get my state pension (if I even do) until I am about 70 then this is something I need to think about further.

    There is a few options to consider including increasing my monthly contributions and / or working for longer so I will give this some more thought.  I probably need to speak to a financial adviser or someone to understand when I can get my pension, when I could draw a lump sum, how much more I can pay in and what (if anything) is guaranteed, to understand my options better.

    I don't know much about pensions and, bearing in mind the negative media attention some have had over the last couple of decades, I have an inherent distrust of them, compared to having the money in my account (or invested in my own property).  There could, however, be a huge benefit to investing in my pension rather than the mortgage.  Lots to consider.  🤔

    In other news, I kept to my contracted hours with work today and still managed to accomplish all that I needed to.  It was too cold first thing so I opted to have a lie in but got out for an hours walk at lunch time so hit my active minute target and am well on the way to getting my steps too.  It's been a NSD so far today but I have run out of bread and am craving something sweet so might cave and walk to the shop.  At least it will help me hit my step target!
  • happihorse
    happihorse Posts: 182 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    So, today has had some ups and downs.

    I got out for a 3 mile walk before work (just have another 1000 steps to do before I go to bed but have hit my active minutes target already), won £25 on the Premium Bonds and have had a NSD.  I have only just finished work but started very late (due to my walk) and spent an hour on the phone to a friend in distress so not too bad (although I had hoped to get a bit more done today).

    I still need to sort my diet out in terms of what and how much I am eating.  I am finishing off all the food I have in so that's money saving, right?!    :p

    I had hoped to achieve more today, just little things around the house etc, but got a bit too wrapped up in work.  Will try to get those jobs blitzed this evening which will help get my steps up too and then make a list for tomorrow to hopefully have a more productive day.

    Walking is going to be a challenge tomorrow - I have 5 hours of meetings spread throughout the day so I am going to need to get out very early as the first one starts at 9am!   :open_mouth:
  • happihorse
    happihorse Posts: 182 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    I don't know where the last 3 days have gone!

    Walking did turn out to be a challenge on Friday.  I couldn't prise myself from my bed early enough and work was manic so did 2 short walks - one at lunch time and another in the cold and dark so still managed to hit my step and active minute targets.  Did a 2.5 mile walk yesterday (Saturday) and a 3 mile one today (Sunday) and hit both step and active minute targets both days.  It's so much easier when I am not stuck at my desk all day!  Really pleased because I have managed to hit both targets every day so far this month/year.  I've also walked 26.7 miles so far.   :smiley:

    I haven't started a formal diet yet but am watching what I eat and reducing portion size.  Trying to drink more water and avoid buying junk food.  This does need some more work.

    Not much to report in money news - weekend was quite spendy though largely grocery shopping rather than anything extravagant.  Really need to avoid shopping again for at least 3 or 4 days!

    I've been investigating and mulling over the option to pay more into my pension rather than mortgage (as Simon11) suggested and have decided that, for now at least, I am going to continue to overpay the mortgage.  My mortgage is huge and on a fixed deal for 5 years so I want to get the amount down before I need to re-mortgage.  I am also not entirely sure about my retirement plans and might be going for a promotion later this year.  If I did get the promotion then I would significantly increase payments to my pension as I will definitely want to retire at 55.  Until then though, I am going to focus on the mortgage.  If I don't get the promotion then I will reconsider whether to pay off the mortgage or pay into the pension.

    This weeks looks set to be crazy busy again at work.  :(  I have just done a couple of hours work so tomorrow is a bit more manageable (and I can get out for a walk in day-light hours).  Not going to put too much pressure on myself to achieve loads this week so just a few small goals to aim for (for the working week):
    - get out for at least one decent walk a day and hit step and active minute targets;
    - make a decision and plan regarding diet;
    - achieve at least 3 NSDs;
    - get all washing (including my bed and dog beds) done in the week so I have more time at the weekend;
    - stick to contracted work hours (as I have already done a couple of extra hours for the week ahead); and
    - plant some tomato seeds.

    Right - I'm off to have a hot bath followed by a couple of tea and early night and hope I can get to sleep at a reasonable time, ready to be up early tomorrow.

    I hope that anyone reading this has a good week ahead.
  • happihorse
    Another 2 days have flown by and things have been a bit up and down.

    In good news I have been awarded £200 compensation for poor service from the conveyancing solicitor that handled my recent house sale and purchase.  I did push for more but couldn't be bothered fighting any longer after all the stress and hassle that went on last year.  I also did a long walk yesterday and again today (despite work being manic) and hit my step and active minute targets (although I still need to do 900 more steps today).  I have also decided on a plan in terms of diet and will be starting that this weekend - I am opting for something quite dramatic to kick start the process and motivate myself and will then move to a more sustainable long-term solution.

    In less good news I blew a car tyre going round a roundabout last night.  I managed to drive off the road to a safe place but the hole was huge and couldn't be fixed with the foam and pump I had in my car.  Luckily I was only a few hundred yards from a Halfords so managed to get that sorted today although that has cost me the best part of £90!  :(  Have also failed to achieve any NSDs yet this week.  :#

    Did end up working a bit later again tonight so need to watch that as the week progresses.

    Feeling shattered now so going to get an early night (after I have done my last 900 steps) and aim to be up early again tomorrow to do another long walk before work.
  • happihorse
    I'm back again!

    Work is getting busier again and I can feel my goals slipping away from me.  My work hours haven't been too bad these last few days and I did get out for a good walk at lunch time today so not all bad.  But I don't feel like I am making much progress on money-saving or many of my other goals.  :(  However, I will not give up and guess a lack of sleep last night probably isn't helping matters!

    My diet plan stuff arrived today so that is safely stowed in the freezer, ready for kick off this weekend.  That also means I won't need any food shopping next week so want to make sure I get anything I need this weekend so I can benefit from a week of NSDs.  (I have only achieved 3 so far this month I think!)  I've started a shopping list to make sure I get everything I need.  I don't usually have a shopping list so think this might be a better way to plan what I need and buy and be a bit more considered about spending.

    I'd also like to do a bit of a budget review and statement of affairs exercise this weekend so will set some time aside to do that along with getting the house a bit tidier which should also help me feel more productive.

    Will sign off now and write some lists and plans for the rest of the week and hopefully be back soon feeling a lot more organised and positive.  :)   
  • happihorse
    I had a good weekend and am absolutely loving the cold fresh sunny days that we are having at the moment.  I can't recall it having been this sunny in January before and it sure is helping my mood through the depths of winter.  I am still getting out for a daily long walk and think that is helping massively too.  I have hit my step and active minute targets every day this month and have now walked more than 50 miles so far this year.  It's definitely starting to have an impact and, whilst I don't really feel like I have lost any weight yet, I am definitely not so out of breath when I am walking.  I even did a hill walk (of about 5 miles) at the weekend.

    I also got the house a bit more organised at the weekend but didn't do the budget review and statement of affairs exercise so will prioritise that for this weekend.  I need to do this to work out the best plan of attack in terms of replacing my car too.  I could continue with my current one but would prefer to get something a bit newer because mine is starting to show some wear and tear and I am doing a slightly longer commute now (when I return to the office).

    Work is getting really busy again now.  I did some prep work last night and ended up doing extra tonight.  However, I did take an hour out earlier to do a walk in the sunshine so it isn't too bad really.  Just need to watch it doesn't spiral out of control again.  After this week is over I am hoping it will calm down again for a bit.

    I will be back in a couple of days with an update on my goals and, more specifically, some bite-size targets to help me on my way to them in the shorter term.
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