Hi, I’m Richie. Welcome to my blog.
I bet you could have guessed my name from the name of the blog!
And the fact that I’m contemplating retirement (although I’m not there yet!).
Anyway, let me remove any further guesswork and tell you more about my background and why I’ve decided to write this blog.
The (very) early years
I was born in Birmingham (West Midlands, UK rather than Alabama, USA) but grew up in a small town called Bromsgrove.
I did all of the things that a normal toddler does; fell down the stairs and bashed my head, railed against the subsequent installation of a stair-gate by throwing anything that I could find over the gate and down the stairs, and played with my invisible friend.
That’s all normal, right?
I also had a rocking horse!
Although my sister and I never went hungry, things were financially tough growing up.
Clothes were either second-hand or bought with plenty of ‘growing room’. I once had a Parka coat that was so big I had to push my sleeves up to be able to use my hands to unzip it! I looked like Kenny from South Park!
And I remember having a bike bought for me that was both second-hand and had lots of growing room. It was so big I had to prop it up against a fence and then climb up to get on it! And getting off again could be quite hazardous, too.
I don’t tell you this looking for any sympathy. We were loved, had a roof over our heads, never went hungry, and at least we had material items bought for us – I am well aware that many people had, and have, it much worse.
I’m telling you because it had an impact on the way that I thought about money as I got older.
Here in the UK, when I went to university there were government grants paid to students from poorer families to help cover the costs of tuition fees and accommodation.
(Sadly, that system is long gone and there is now a situation where many students have to borrow money if they want a university education).
My parents also managed to send me money on a regular basis to help out, too – I was the first person in our family to go to university and they were immensely proud.
I cringe, now, when I think about what they may have gone without to be able to do this.
Having served my time (who am I kidding – I loved it!) I left Essex University with a degree in economics.
My first job was as a trainee accountant at a small firm of accountants.
I liked dealing with numbers and, after a while, decided to specialise in tax. And that, after a few changes of employment, is what I’m still doing today.
My first job was also when my pension planning adventure began. I was told that if an employee contributed 2% of their salary into a pension scheme then the employer would contribute a further 4%. Free money! Yes, please.
Marriage and home ownership
The highlight of my first job, as far as I’m concerned, is that while working there I met my future wife.
After a while, we decided to get a house together.
Things were pretty tough, financially, as we were both trainees and were not earning very much money. We had to be so careful with our money that we even kept a cashbook to summarise our income (not that this took long) and our expenses so that we could effectively budget and not go overdrawn.
Note that my wife and I both contributed to the workplace pension scheme to take advantage of the employer contribution. All of the other expenses that we incurred came out afterwards.
The big pension plan
Shaped, no doubt, by previous financial experience, I was determined that during both our working life and our retired life my wife and I would not struggle financially.
We’ve worked hard in our jobs and have worked hard at making the necessary financial provision for our retirement.
Be under no illusion, it’s highly unlikely that you will just drift into having a financially secure retirement. It takes planning and it takes commitment.
The good news is that it’s something that we can all work towards.
Do you know when you will be able to afford to retire?
Take control of your pension destiny.
How we enjoy our retirement is, it seems to me, a matter of focusing on three key areas:
Wealth. There is no getting away from it – not having enough income in retirement will impact how much you enjoy it.
Health. Similarly, if you don’t take care of your health, this can spoil your retirement enjoyment.
Hobbies. So, what are you going to do in retirement?
And that, dear reader, is the purpose of this blog.
Throughout this blog, I will write about topics falling within the three categories above.
In doing so, it is my intention to help you by providing sufficient information on a particular topic for you to be able to make a decision as to how you want to proceed. And, ultimately, help you to enjoy your retirement to the fullest.
Oh, you want the short version? OK …
- Things were financially tight for me growing up.
- This motivated me to focus on my own finances and, in particular, pension provision.
- I’m going to write about the Wealth, Health, and Hobbies aspects of retirement.
- I hope that by sharing these posts I will help you to enjoy your own retirement.
If you’ve read this far, be it the full version or the tldr version, thank you!
I sincerely hope that I can help you to enjoy your retirement. If you find just one post that makes a positive difference to how you proceed then I’ll count that as a win.