I have made big steps towards my goals and FIRE
There has been a significant gap between this post and my last one. Life has been extremely busy and some fundamental aspects of my life have changed.
The Biggest Change: I'm now in a relationship
After over eight years of being single, I was lucky enough to meet someone who took me by surprise. We found that we are very compatible and share many interests and the same sense of humour. He was renting when we met and we were travelling a bit to see each other. It quickly made sense for him to move in with me so we are now living together.
I had often heard other FIRE community members talk about the impact of a relationship on their goals and even heard it disucssed as a topic on a popular fire podcasts. Some people find it hard to bring their partners along with the goals of FIRE and others find out that they are perfectlyt aligned. If you are lucky enough to partner with someone who gets it, it certainly can fast track some of your shared goals.
We are Sale Agreed on the Dream House in Wicklow with a Large Garden
Wow, this is moving fast. Yes some would say. When I said above that we were very compatiable, my other half has his head screwed on when it comes to finances. Plus he did nothing but nod in agreement whenever I spoke about my dream house in Wicklow with a big garden, close to mountains. We are being very pragmatic about how we frame the decision to buy together. I want out of Dublin and he wants the security of his own home.
The fact is, I could never afford the house we are sale agreed on alone. And neither can he. We have had some very serious discussions about contingency plans should our relationship not work out long term and we have a plan to ensure that all financial contributions concerning the house are 50/50. We will be consulting with a solicitor to take some advice on having a plan should one or both of us decide to move on.
In truth, this is our second time going sale agreed this year. We had found another house in January 2023. However, the sale fell through after we got the engineer’s report back.
The house itself was one of the last echos of 2008 crash in the Irish housing market and had been vacant for a number of years. It had been purchased for cash and the previous owners had plans to completely renovate it for their daughter. But they changed their minds when they secured planning permission to build a new house. So they put it back on the market and it was now selling with the plans to turn it into something spectacular. We divised ways of bringing it to a liveable standard while we saved up enough money to activate the plans.
But the engineers report showed some potentially big issues with the roof which, even with the vacant house grant, would have prooved too much of a financial burden. So we reluctantly pulled out.
The house we are now sale agreed on ticks all of the boxes for my dream home. There are mountains all around it. The garden is almost 1 acre in size. The house is in great condition. We will have spare bedrooms to accomodate visits from the parents and friends.
The only downside is the commute back to Dublin. My partner is now looking for a new job closer to where we will be living. I am fully remote now but my plan is to return to my easy teaching job that gives me half the salary but so much time off. When I go back to teaching, I will have an hour and a half commute each way, three days a week for six months of the year. Not too bad.
Hopefully everything goes ok with the purchase! I am a mix of nervous and excited.
I am planning to rent out my Dublin house
At a time when even the TD’s in the Dáil are off-loading their investment properties – am I mad for swimming against the current? I spent a lot of time thinking that I should probably just sell. I eventually settled on the idea that I can rent for now and, if it doesn’t go well, I can sell later. This obviously assumes that the eviction ban, or some other form of it, isn’t reinstated.
I am meeting with an estate agent very soon to get advice on renting the house. The dublin house is probably ideal for a family. It’s minutes walk away form two schools, shops and 20 minutes from a massive industrial estate where you find a few multi-national companies.
I am also VERY aware of my current housemate’s situation. I rent a room in my house and made the tenant aware that we are moving. I offered him a room in the new place at a lower rate but he wants to stay in Dublin. I currently charge him €450pm for a double room, including bills. He is now facing paying €750-€850pm for a single room, not including bills.
I am hoping he changes his mind and moves with us. He is a very nice and a very hard working guy who’s creative career is really begining to take. I worry that having to pay so much a smaller room might derail him.
I took a career break from part-time teaching and started a fulltime job as a Web Developer
I’m now over one year in to my full-time career in tech as a frontend web developer. Here is a quick summary of how my employment has evolved over the last two years:
- I started doing very part-time freelancing front-end web development in January 2020.
- I finsihed my contracted teaching hours for the academic year in January 2022.
- I started a new fulltime job in February 2022 as a web developer at a starting salary of 40k with an increase to 42k per year after a six-month probationary period.
- I applied for a career break from my teaching job which kicked in from September 2022 (they were still paying me up to that point! :o] ).
- I changed employer in Novemeber 2022 and secured an increase in my salary to 48k per annum.
- In February 2023 applied to extend my career break from my teaching job for another year.
The Pros and Cons of my new Career as a Web Developer
- I get paid around twice as much as my teaching salary which has allowed me to save increase my savings and pay down more of my mortgages.
- I am getting more comfortable and confident in my web development skills and I am learning a few new things along the way.
- My job is fully remote, which has already allowed us to sneak away to Gran Canaria, London and Lisbon with the laptops and enjoy the weather and sights in other countries as we work.
- I, like Dolly, have to work 9 to 5, Monday to Friday and I am really not loving that. I got spoiled as a teacher with much more free time.
- I have much less time now to focus on any DIY and gardening.
- Keeping up with my exercise routine has been challenging and now I often suffer from shoulder pain (RSI) from using the computer too much and not stretching properly.
I am done with Shares, ETFs and Peer-to-Peer
I mentioned this before. I have been steadily divesting away from these assets because I want to simplify things and make tax returns less of a headache. I might come back to them in the future but for now I feel like I have bigger things on my plate so I was happy to sell the little I had and add it to the deposit for the dream house.
I Learned About "Cognitive Dissonance" and it Changed my Diet
I follow a really interesting philosophy YouTube channel that covered the topic of cognitive dissonance, the mental discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs, values, or attitudes.
The video I watched was talking about the concept in relation to how animals feel pain and fear. After doing some research into the inherent cruelty and massive negative environmental impact of factory farming, I decided to move to a fully plant-based diet. I consulted with a doctor shortly after switching my diet and have since been back for checkups. I am in very good health and have far more energy. My food bills are a bit more expensive but my diet is far more varied now and I was shocked to find out exactly how much protein is in plants. And how much calcium is in broccolli! It’s far more than cow’s milk.
Eating out is sometimes a hassle if I haven’t planned ahead but I have found that I am far more interesting in cooking and trying new things than ever before. The personal positive impact I am making on the environment and animal welfare makes it feel very rewarding.
You will get one email a month with a summary of posts from that month so you can keep up-to-date with my progress and failures. Grand job!