“Why have you stopped posting?”, “Have your plans changed?”, “Are you closing down the blog?” and even “Have you given up on Financial Independence?” – these are just some of the questions that hit my inbox over the past few months. Yes, I’ve been a bit more absent recently and have published articles far less frequently than in the past. I had planned to write a little update as part of the next quarterly Semi-FI update, but it turned out way too long, so I decided to publish it as a separate post.
Here is the tl;dr version: I’ve decided to semi-retire the Money Flamingo blog. I’ve changed; my priorities have changed; the FI community has changed – so I feel it’s time to take a step back and make space for other things.
In this article, I’ll share a bit about
- the reasons behind this decision
- what this will look like in practice
- an update on our overall goals and plan
- a little announcement
It’s Been a Long Time
I’ve been a member of the FIRE community since early 2012. First as a reader and spectator, then as an enthusiastic participant, and eventually, once we had gathered momentum, as an active contributor. It’s been a long time – just over 11.5 years, to be exact.
I originally started the blog to share our take on Financial Independence and to stay accountable during the last leg of our accumulation phase (which ended in 2020). I then started writing more about alternative FI strategies, mindset, happiness and life design – topics that are important to me and that should be more widely discussed in the FI community.
However, I now feel that, in many ways, the blog has served its purpose, especially considering how much the FI community has changed over the years. I wrote about this in more detail in the recent 5-year anniversary post.
I love the FI community and the values we all share. But the truth is that three years post-accumulation, I feel I may have outgrown the FI label and find it harder to connect with those just beginning their journey (or pursuing FI for reasons I can’t relate to). Maybe I also suffer from a bit of FIRE fatigue?
FI is one of the pillars that has allowed us to create a fantastic life for our family. But now that we are busy living that life, the role FI plays in our everyday routine is becoming smaller and smaller.
So I’ve decided it’s the right time to step back and semi-retire the Money Flamingo blog (note that I didn’t say fully retire!).
We Have Arrived
When I first started pursuing FIRE, I saw it as the ultimate escape plan from the rat race and a job that made me miserable. I felt trapped and was desperate to gain control over my time. Autonomy. Choice. Freedom. I wanted to build a life on my terms, based on my values.
I can honestly say that I have achieved all of that and more. We are now living a life that’s completely different but, at the same time, much better than what I pictured when we first started this journey.
I am extremely lucky that I realised early on that work is not the enemy and that meaningful, enjoyable work is, in fact, an important piece of a fulfilled life. This has meant that we were able to optimise our journey to FI around this fact – that’s how Flamingo FI was born. This approach has saved us years in the accumulation grind.
When we first came up with our plan, I made this chart:
I started the blog at the “Start of Project 1000” (which chronicled the last 1000 days of our accumulation phase). We are now well and truly in the second phase of the plan (the semi-retirement phase in the chart). And the way things are currently looking, we will likely choose to stay in this phase as long as possible.
We are now living the goal we set all those years ago. It really feels like we have arrived at the destination of our FI plan. In many ways, we are living life on easy mode these days – thanks to the principles of financial independence.
One of the reasons I don’t write as many progress updates and strategy articles is that these things are becoming increasingly irrelevant to our plans and priorities.
I have also become less interested in 101 conversations about index funds, cash buffers, and yields. Our finances are on autopilot, and we are slowly coasting along. Reaching certain monetary milestones is a mathematical certainty.
All of this is, of course, a natural transformation and a good thing.
In short, we have switched from pursuing FI to living it.
I don’t want anyone to think we are totally loaded and living the Fat FI champagne lifestyle – we are not.
I’ve always said that FI is all about the right mindset and that the numbers, beyond a certain level of financial security, make little difference. And that’s proven to be true for us. This is what I’m talking about when I say we are living a FI lifestyle.
We still have a lot of plans and goals we are working towards. However, our goals are not based around wealth accumulation and spreadsheets but around family priorities, travel, experiences and quality of life. We are actively optimising for lifestyle and making memories as a family while our kids are young. Some of this costs money (a lot, actually).
While we haven’t added to our portfolio in three years now (because we are done saving for FI), we are still saving – but for “extras” like holidays, experiences and things we feel would improve our lifestyle as a family.
Of course, having a cushy nest egg that can cover all our core expenses makes focusing on lifestyle easier, so I know I’m speaking from a position of privilege.
The FI goal has pretty much been ticked off the list, and we’ve moved on to other things.
Normal Life – Work and Family
They say that work gets better when you don’t need the money – and that’s 100% true. But work also gets better over time as you slowly dig yourself out of the miserable hole that entry-level positions can be (mine were).
When I started my first job, for some reason, I assumed this was what work would always be like (for the next 40 years!) – low-paid, thankless, tedious, and robbing me of my time and freedom.
That’s obviously not how things usually pan out, and work has gotten (much) better and more enjoyable for us over the years.
That, combined with the F-You factor our nest egg gives us, means that we have plenty of freedom and choice when it comes to our careers (portfolio or otherwise) – and no good reason to stop doing what we are doing in the foreseeable future.
This also means that from the outside, our life looks pretty normal – because it is. We are working parents with young kids, enjoying family life. The only difference is that we have choices and a level of optionality that feels liberating but is invisible (and irrelevant) to the outside. Remember, FI is an inside job.
So I don’t have any clickbaity “I retired at 30, moved my family to Iceland and side-hustle as a spearfishing instructor”-type stories to blog about at the moment. And there is only so much to be said about everyday family life.
We Will Die With Zero
Yes, you read that right. We’ve decided to throw the 4% withdrawal rate out the window and plan to start drawing down our nest egg as soon as we hit our “number” (while we continue working for as long as we enjoy it). I know this might get me kicked out of the FI community, but after thinking about it long and hard, dying with zero just makes so much sense.
I’ve always been more scared of running out of time and over-accumulating (= wasting life energy) than of running out of money. So this is the logical choice for us and will allow us to maximise the enjoyment we get out of the wealth we’ve built.
As most of you know, I’m not a naturally uber-frugal person – so I don’t have that existential fear of cracking open the nest egg that so many suffer from.
I feel this is another area where we’ve moved away from the general line of thinking in the FI community. This is something I plan to cover on the blog at some point.
I’m Not an Influencer
I’m just not an influencer. I’m bad at social media. I don’t enjoy it. I don’t like writing about things I don’t care about. I’m a private person and won’t share my family’s personal life on Instagram. I don’t want to post sound bites five times a day.
I enjoy going deep. I like creating (and consuming!) long-form content. About topics I care about and find interesting. However, the way the financial media universe is evolving, the humble blog is fast becoming an outdated content model.
The opposite of all the things I listed above is required to stay relevant these days, and that’s just not my style. It would feel like a chore (or another job…) – which is obviously not the goal. Another reason to take a step back.
What Does Semi-Retiring the Blog Look Like in Practice?
We’ve defined semi-retirement (in the work sense) as being done actively growing your nest egg. So the way I like to think about my blogging semi-retirement is that I’m done actively growing the blog (clicks, subscribers, whatever metric you want to use).
I will keep the blog and all the resources (like the Semi-FI calculator) live. I will likely still post from time to time, but less regularly than before (and maybe also about topics not directly related to FI). Maybe I’ll look into putting some ads up at some point to cover the hosting costs.
One thing I will definitely continue to do is to publish our quarterly net worth updates until we officially hit our FI number (because I promised I would and know many of you are following along).
I might also send the occasional email newsletter – you can add your email address to my list here.
Apart from that, I’m not 100% sure what this semi-retired blogging life will look like. Let’s find out. 🙂
A Little Announcement
And to finish the article off, I’ve got a little announcement: I’ve decided to write a book.
Over the years, I’ve written many, many articles, created a course and coached several dozen people at various stages of the journey. I’ve also learned many lessons along the way. I want to create a single resource that brings everything I’ve learned and created together in an organised, curated format that is more permanent than a website. Something I can show my kids one day and say “Your mum wrote this book!” (and watch them roll their eyes).
Now that I’ve decided to close (semi-close?) this chapter in the life of the Money Flamingo blog (and my FI journey), it feels like the perfect time for this.
I had never even thought about writing a book until very recently when a family member published a book about a topic they are very passionate about, and I could see how much joy and pride they got out of the experience.
I’ve started working on the manuscript and will need some help at some point soon. If you are an experienced editor interested in FI and the topics I write about (if you’ve read this far, you most definitely are!), please get in touch!
Thanks for reading and all of your support! 🙂