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Results: Is this achievable & worthwhile?

Yes, do it.

50.00% • 4 votes

You're on the wrong path.

50.00% • 4 votes

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8 votes in total.

  • FIRST POST
    • PennyBun
    • By PennyBun 27th Jul 18, 3:19 PM
    • 2Posts
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    PennyBun
    Lifestyle Change
    • #1
    • 27th Jul 18, 3:19 PM
    Lifestyle Change 27th Jul 18 at 3:19 PM
    I'm a long time reader of these forums but I've never posted here before. Now I want advice so I'm reaching out. Not sure this is really the right sub-forum but it seemed the most appropriate.

    I'm looking to change my life.

    I've tried hundreds of cost saving tips I've picked up on here and I've succeeded in living frugally but I want to go a step further and make a big lifestyle change.

    I am very lucky to be earning disproportionately good money working in a warm and safe office environment. Our careers have allowed myself and my wife to purchase the house our dream house at the age of 28 and still find ourselves with disposable income.

    Whilst we are ploughing all the money we can into our mortgage we are a good 20 years off paying it off based on our current salaries.

    The problem is that neither of us are happy in our jobs or the feeling of being imprisoned in office jobs by societal norms.

    Somehow I have come to the conclusion in my head that we need to stop "working" and start actually sustaining ourselves.

    Now before you jump the gun, I'm not about to propose robbing a bank. In fact, I'm talking about a much more dull sounding '5 year plan'.

    We are young, have a garden we could live off, a house that would accept the necessary adaptations to make it as green as any other and most importantly the drive to change our lives.

    So, after 5 years of careful saving, the right adaptations to our house and a lot of hard work we're hoping to pay off our mortgage, make our house more efficient and save enough money to live for the next 50 years of our lives without feeling trapped by jobs and career expectations.

    My questions are:
    Is this the most selfish thing you've ever heard? Are we being naive? Is 5 years enough time? Why shouldn't we be looking at our lives in this way?

    For reference, our combined annual income is 50k before tax, student loans, pensions etc and our mortgage is around 150k. We're not proposing to never work again, just to quit our careers in 5 years time.

    Thoughts?
Page 1
    • spadoosh
    • By spadoosh 27th Jul 18, 3:32 PM
    • 5,381 Posts
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    spadoosh
    • #2
    • 27th Jul 18, 3:32 PM
    • #2
    • 27th Jul 18, 3:32 PM
    Yehits not to dissimilar to my desires.

    Your huge stumbling block comes here....

    Whilst we are ploughing all the money we can into our mortgage we are a good 20 years off paying it off based on our current salaries.
    and here....
    So, after 5 years of careful saving, the right adaptations to our house and a lot of hard work we're hoping to pay off our mortgage, make our house more efficient and save enough money to live for the next 50 years of our lives without feeling trapped by jobs and career expectations.
    Without sounding like a douche, how do you plan on paying your mortgage off in the next 5 years if you anticipate it taking 20 years to pay it off?

    What are you anticipating doing differently in the next 5 years that will put you in a position to be able to do what you suggest?
    Don't be angry!
    • pumpkin89
    • By pumpkin89 27th Jul 18, 4:25 PM
    • 109 Posts
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    pumpkin89
    • #3
    • 27th Jul 18, 4:25 PM
    • #3
    • 27th Jul 18, 4:25 PM
    Not wishing to be unkind, but I think you're being hugely unrealistic.

    Given that the national average salary is 27k, a combined salary of 50k is certainly not "disproportionately good money". There's also no way it's going to give you enough of a reserve after 5 years to sustain yourselves in the medium term.

    Your goals of careful saving, overpaying on your mortgage and adding some new dimensions to your lives are great. But don't be too quick to throw in the towel on what could be promising careers. Many people find they settle into the office life in time. Also, if you plan to have children in the future, you will need stable employment.
    • PennyBun
    • By PennyBun 29th Jul 18, 9:25 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    PennyBun
    • #4
    • 29th Jul 18, 9:25 PM
    • #4
    • 29th Jul 18, 9:25 PM
    Thanks for challenging my thinking, fantastic replies.

    We've been in our new house for a year and have managed to save 12k in that time (whilst maxing out mortgage repayments). We cycle to work, don't have TV / internet, use a wood burner to heat the house and buy very little we don't need.

    When I said 20 years for the mortgage, that's how long we took the mortgage out for.

    I think I said 'disproportionately good money for working in a warm safe office'. I wasn't comparing mine to the income of others - just that the money they pay me is much more than I feel I deserve considering it's not physically demanding or risky. It's just pretending to be nice to people and using computers.

    We've been working up the ladders in our respective careers for the past 8 years and have not 'settled in to office work' yet. We both hate it and hate the whole idea of working for someone else reinforcing what we believe is a broken system.

    We want to challenge the way society says we should live our lives and we're working really hard to try to.

    I have done the math. We can achieve it in 5 years. In that time we can buy ourselves out of our mortgage and save up a buffer. Once that is done it's our biggest outgoing gone. We will then be free to make our own living without having to rely on a career.

    You say you need stability for kids. I don't regard putting all your eggs in one basket and living a life on credit as stability.
    • michaels
    • By michaels 29th Jul 18, 9:54 PM
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    michaels
    • #5
    • 29th Jul 18, 9:54 PM
    • #5
    • 29th Jul 18, 9:54 PM
    Do you see self sufficiency as being the best way you could live your life, perhaps you would be better putting your above average skills to helping others perhaps in the charitable/third sector where you might also gain a fair degree of autonomy and this not only be able to support yourself and your family perhaps both working limited hours but also be putting back into society?
    Cool heads and compromise
    • pinnks
    • By pinnks 29th Jul 18, 10:01 PM
    • 622 Posts
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    pinnks
    • #6
    • 29th Jul 18, 10:01 PM
    • #6
    • 29th Jul 18, 10:01 PM
    Admirable dreams but probably just that. 30 years ago we had similar thoughts but leaving the rat race completely behind is not as easy, or necessarily desirable, as it may look on paper. In my experience, those with the real drive to achieve it end up stepping out of the "office" rat race to only end up creating their own similar pressures in their new-found utopia. For instance, they end up starting their own business only to become focussed on growth and expansion, ending up trapped anyway.

    If you can manage it then great but if not enjoy being as much in that mode as you can and don't let the dreams rule you having a fulfilled life...
    Wiltshire - 5.25kWp
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    • Ectophile
    • By Ectophile 29th Jul 18, 10:05 PM
    • 3,236 Posts
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    Ectophile
    • #7
    • 29th Jul 18, 10:05 PM
    • #7
    • 29th Jul 18, 10:05 PM
    Have you been watching too many repeats of The Good Life?


    Have you actually worked our how much money you will still need to earn to keep paying the bills when you give up your current careers? There will still be utility bills, council tax, food bills for whatever you can't grow, maintenance bills and so on.


    You have a wood burner, but unless you have plenty of trees in your garden, you're going to have to either buy logs, or collect them yourself - which probably means a car and all the bills that entails.


    So there's no reason you shouldn't give up jobs you hate, but you need a plan for what you are going to do instead to earn enough money.
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
    • tori.k
    • By tori.k 31st Jul 18, 9:49 AM
    • 3,256 Posts
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    tori.k
    • #8
    • 31st Jul 18, 9:49 AM
    • #8
    • 31st Jul 18, 9:49 AM
    If it make your family happy why not, but personally i'd take a slower approach, first step is to get the mortgage paid off and get together a plan to create a passive income, use the next few years to school yourself in skills needed to be more self sufficient, create your network it takes a village to live on the fringe especially in a more urban environment as you wont physically have the land and equipment required to be truly self sufficient, so you need a good co-op behind you its actually easier to become isolated with the rat race then out of it.
    It doesn't have to be all or nothing, just find the level of freedom that makes you happy it could well be the wholehog of a smallholding or could be just working part-time and growing some of your own food is enough work.
    But one thing that is guaranteed is death and taxes so you will need that passive income
    Debit to Credit (stage 1) 3652.34 completed 15/10/16
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    • JKenH
    • By JKenH 8th Aug 18, 8:29 PM
    • 45 Posts
    • 221 Thanks
    JKenH
    • #9
    • 8th Aug 18, 8:29 PM
    • #9
    • 8th Aug 18, 8:29 PM
    PennyBun, keep those dreams alive. 40 odd years ago I was in a very similar situation. A lot of people were thinking about living the Good Life. John Seymours book on self sufficiency was my bible. I was stuck in an office and dreamed of giving it all up. We looked at a small holding but could not make the figures stack up so it was back to the grindstone.

    Kids came along in the early 80s and I took some time out doing a couple of self builds and went back to work the day my daughter started school.

    By 1986 after our third self build we no longer had a mortgage and I thought about it again. I reckoned then with interest rates around 10% we could live off 40k savings. (Everyone said do not be daft). I had a good job by then, and I was hooked on the self build thing although my wife was not so keen on continually moving. (Our daughter had lived in 5 houses by the time she started school). I finally got the go ahead for one more self build in 1990 and really pushed the boat out financially. Completely the wrong time. Six figure bridging loan 15%interest, my salary did not even cover the interest. Got through all that then 5 years later the firm I worked for went bust. Got a new job with a 100 mile round trip commute, had a lucky break career wise and was able to semi retire at 53 and finally give up work at 58.

    I have just been very lucky. Whoever claims to be a self made man just got a few lucky breaks. I just happened to have a meeting with a builder and realise how much I could save by building my own house. We were living in a two up two down cottage and just happened to get planning permission to build in the bottom of the garden. I had a very helpful bank manager - yes, those were the days when you met the guy who made the decisions face to face. I was able to drop out when the kids were young and walk back into my career. When I got made redundant it set me on a course to a better job that enabled me to retire early. Things could have gone so differently.

    I cannot count the number of evenings I spent totting up the figures and working out how little I could live on. I was always over optimistic and am very pleased that in 1986 I did not decide to try and live the rest of my life on a pot of 40k. You will always need more than you think.

    Keep the dream alive and take any breaks you can get. You will always regret the things that you do not do. You do need to get rid of that mortgage though.
    Last edited by JKenH; 08-08-2018 at 8:33 PM. Reason: Removed apostrophes
    Solar newbie. Lincolnshire. 7.8 kWp system, (4.2 kw west facing panels , 3.6 kw east facing), Moixa 3kwh battery. IBoost water heater.
    • C_Mababejive
    • By C_Mababejive 8th Aug 18, 10:11 PM
    • 10,539 Posts
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    C_Mababejive
    My thoughts in this area revolve around communal living and sharing of work and resources.

    A group of like minded people all live in the same big property which has shared and private spaces. They share workload, all contribute financially and help eachother out.


    The group could be family,wider family,friends or a mix.

    Why do we insist on struggling on alone? History has taught us that communal living is much more beneficial and healthier in so many ways.
    Feudal Britain needs land reform. 70% of the land is "owned" by 1 % of the population and at least 50% is unregistered (inherited by landed gentry). Thats why your slave box costs so much..
    • tori.k
    • By tori.k 10th Aug 18, 7:56 AM
    • 3,256 Posts
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    tori.k
    You often find with communal living that sex gets in the way, and it ends up becoming quite transient in nature as life evolves bringing money arguments into the picture. A land co-op is much easier to maintain long term then shared housing.
    • C_Mababejive
    • By C_Mababejive 12th Aug 18, 11:42 AM
    • 10,539 Posts
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    C_Mababejive
    Of course there would have to be rules that all in the commune sign on to..
    Feudal Britain needs land reform. 70% of the land is "owned" by 1 % of the population and at least 50% is unregistered (inherited by landed gentry). Thats why your slave box costs so much..
    • DigForVictory
    • By DigForVictory 14th Aug 18, 6:11 PM
    • 7,972 Posts
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    DigForVictory
    Go for the dream, just be prepared for it all to go sideways on the arrival of offspring.
    Says she who even with "child labour" can't grow enough to feed three hungry teens, but them I am working an office job as well to keep them fed.
    There's no harm in trying, just be ready to adapt (hard) to the other realities life may throw you.
    • pile-o-stone
    • By pile-o-stone 14th Aug 18, 6:43 PM
    • 52 Posts
    • 52 Thanks
    pile-o-stone
    I am very lucky to be earning disproportionately good money working in a warm and safe office environment. Our careers have allowed myself and my wife to purchase the house our dream house at the age of 28 and still find ourselves with disposable income.

    Whilst we are ploughing all the money we can into our mortgage we are a good 20 years off paying it off based on our current salaries.

    The problem is that neither of us are happy in our jobs or the feeling of being imprisoned in office jobs by societal norms.

    Somehow I have come to the conclusion in my head that we need to stop "working" and start actually sustaining ourselves.
    Originally posted by PennyBun
    Your main problem is the mortgage. If you can pay that off then you're a lot further down the road to getting out of the rat race. Even then, you will need a reasonable income to pay household bills like life insurance, property insurance, council tax, utility bills, etc. If you stop working, then you will need investments to pay these bills. So if these bills all came to 250pm (3000 per annum) and using the sensible 4% rule, you'd need to have a 75,000 lump sum invested. I'd suggest saving in ISAs as you're way too young to access pension savings.

    You'd also need money for food and clothing. While you could reduce your food bill by having an allotment or smallholding, It wouldn't be reasonable to expect to grow enough to be completely self sufficient, especially over the winter months. So add in an additional 100 pm to feed and clothe yourselves, so that's 1200 per annum, which pushes your lump sum up to 105,000.

    Those figures are quite low (My council tax bill on its own is 180pm), but you get the idea. I'd suggest you add up your own bills, excluding the mortgage as this will be paid off then multiply by 100 and divide by 4. This gives you the figure you need to have invested if you're not going to work again.

    The alternative is to continue to work, but if you're going to do that then it undermines your aims to be self sufficient, plus it'd be difficult to tend to your land and animals with a full time job. A compromise would be a flexible job where you work longer hours in winter and shorter, or perhaps part-time in summer. These are difficult to obtain as seasonal jobs tend to involve working in the summer months, which is the opposite of what you need.

    I think what you need to do is look at why you want to live this sort of a life? Reading between the lines, it sounds like you're both not enjoying your office jobs? Perhaps a change of careers to something you would enjoy would be the best approach?

    Otherwise you'll have to just plod on, scrape by and pay off the 150k mortgage, build up a further 100k to 150k (bare minimum) in savings to cover expenses and perhaps also an emergency fund of 10k for any unexpected issues like broken white goods, house repairs, central heating systems and the like).

    So, years and years of grinding away in a job you don't seem to enjoy in order to give it up or just give it up now and do something you do enjoy. Once you have a more enjoyable job, and if you still feel that you want a more sustainable lifestyle then you can start moving in that direction.
    Last edited by pile-o-stone; Today at 7:40 AM.
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