Today is an amazing milestone in my life. Today, I am worth nothing. Not worthless – just nothing. If I add up all the liquid assets in my accounts they offset completely the debts I owe.
That is a good thing.
Debt is easily available in the UK and leveraging that availability leads to indebtedness. As an Indian colleague said to me as he moved back to India years ago: “most people here in England are on the tick” – which means that most people live on credit cards and other domestic loans for a long portion of their lives.
Once understood, it can be controlled and I found a program called You Need A Budget particularly helpful, a bit like a row of cookie jars into which you put your allowance each week and when a jar is empty then you stop spending. Their four basic principles are awesome. Using it for 5 years gave me a good appreciation of where my income was being spent, and that enabled me to accurately estimate how much I’d need when I retired.
Of course I am worth more than nothing – liquidate all the assets I have (investments, car, house, family …) then they would add to more than nothing but at least in liquid terms I am breaking even right now. That’s a great sense of relief, and allowed me to retire early. I’ve joined the FIRE movement big-time. Having started paying down all personal loans in my 40’s and moving to the YNAB budgeting system has given me the data needed to accomplish this and see life beyond the payslip.