Work

Discovering the FIRE Movement in Australia

FIRE stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early (or as some people like to call it, FIOR - Financial Independence, Optional Retirement).

It’s as much of a mindset as it is a way of life or an aspirational goal. Over the last year, I discovered this movement in Australia (which is already quite large in the US), and have dived deep into learning as much as I can.

FIRE is all about increasing your savings rate, consuming less, pursuing happiness and having the financial freedom and flexibility to choose if, how and when you work. FIRE is not necessarily about frugality (although some pursue it that way) and retiring to do nothing all day. The retirement part is optional, but by being financially independent you have more opportunities to direct your life and make decisions out from a position of strength.

When you achieve Financial Independence you gain the ability to live off of your personal finances, without the requirement of a salary to maintain your lifestyle. A common aim of the FIRE movement is to have 25x your annual cost of living invested in a diversified portfolio, with a safe annual withdrawal rate of 4%.

I guess the big attraction of financial independence for me, is the feeling of empowerment and self-sufficiency it can give you. For me, it’s not necessarily about early retirement (although I may choose that), but the ability to make choices from a position of strength and give back to the world.

My discovery of FIRE came from reading through copious amounts of online content and clicking from site to site. To get you started I have listed below some of my favourite FIRE resources from around the web (which I will add to regularly).

Here are some of the best FIRE resources from around the web:

And some more resources that are specifically Australian:

And of course some Podcasts (via iTunes):

And finally some of my favourite financial independence-themed books at the moment:

As I continue on my FIRE journey I plan to share what I learn and discover here, as a record of my discoveries and growth. Please feel free to share your FI questions or stories with me, I’d love to hear from you!

And as I read in the April 2018 edition of Money Magazine Australia - ‘Don’t make your life about money. Money is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Don’t get lost along the way.’

Until next time,

Kate

Vision Without Action is Worthless

Are you doing something every day that will lead you to achieve your goals and overarching vision?

I’ve been thinking a lot about organisational vision and mission lately, and the importance of having both along with clear company goals. I see many companies with these crazy big visions, which I am all for, but if they can’t back them up with clear strategic goals and relevant action, then they’re just impressive words. Companies with clear actionable items that are in line with their vision and mission are going to have much greater results than those with a vision that is just for show.

A vision defines the desired future state of an organisation, and what it wants to achieve over time, whereas a mission defines the current state of an organisation and why it exists (Evans, 2010). In terms of executing the vision, it is crucial that it is not imposed or sold to the company, rather an effective leader will be able to inspire employees to take on the work of making the vision a reality (Quijada, 2017).

It is important however to recognise that the vision is not the end goal in itself, rather a way for leaders and employees ‘to share a vision in order to facilitate common goals, perspectives, and outcomes’ (Berson, Waldman and Pearce, 2015).

Here are some questions to think about in relation to your vision and mission.

  • Is your vision and mission clear to everyone that sees your company?

  • Have you developed clear, actionable goals for your employees to strive towards your vision?

  • How is your company working towards achieving the vision?

  • Are you developing your employees with the skills necessary to maintain the mission, and achieve the vision?

‘Learning is a necessity for organizations to remain adaptive and competitive in today’s ever-changing business environment.’ (Chadwick and Raver, 2012)

Even if you don’t own a company, it is really good idea to think about your own vision. The principle that vision without action is worthless still applies here, so think about your own vision and how you are working to achieve that.

Best Wishes,

Kate


References        

Evans, J. (2010). Vision and Mission. [online] Psychology Today. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/smartwork/201004/vision-and-mission [Accessed 16 Sep. 2017].

Quijada, M. (2017). Ideas for Teaching Vision and Visioning. Management Teaching Review, pp.3-4.

Berson, Y., Waldman, D. and Pearce, C. (2015). Enhancing our understanding of vision in organizations. Organizational Psychology Review, 6(2), pp.171-173.        

Chadwick, I. and Raver, J. (2012). Motivating Organizations to Learn. Journal of Management, 41(3), p.958.

Mistakes and Mishaps

So you stuffed up at work? Sent a text you regret to a friend? Posted something in anger online?

It happens, it's entirely human to make mistakes, and do things we wouldn't usually set out with the intention to do. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure or is a sign to give up. As the timeless song repeats 'we're only human.' I guess the most important thing here is how you react to these mistakes. If you let the mistake derail you, one smaller error can have a snowball effect and lead to much larger issues. Maybe you’ve tried to hide the mistake, and it’s blown up in your face, or it grew exponentially while you tried to ignore it.

The best thing to do when you make a mistake is to take a breath, step back and evaluate the situation. You might need to let someone know as there may be flow on implications that affect others, or certain processes in place to deal with it. Once you have thoroughly evaluated the situation, you can then make a plan to adequately remedy or deal with the mistake as best you can. You may need to ask other people for help or discuss the problem with people you trust. It may be a simple as reflecting on your mistake and offering a sincere apology, or there may be internal work processes that you have to go through.

"It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure." 
~ Bill Gates

When I made a mistake on the second week at my new job, I was completely freaking out. I think I was a lot more worried than anyone else at the company, who kept telling me it was okay and it had happened before. It was highly likely that the issue was going to be fixed in a few days with no one the wiser, but I’d catastrophised the entire situation in my head and kept thinking about the worst case scenarios. 

I did get straight onto fixing the mistake and followed it up until a resolution was obtained, but the entire experience taught me a huge lesson. Ever since that day I have been twice as diligent about checking my work and making sure I don’t make a mistake like that again (although I'm confident that won’t be the last mistake I ever make in my career).

I think the most important takeaway here for me when I make an error in the future, is to take a step back and come up with a plan of attack, resolve the problem and put strategies in place, so you don’t repeat it in the future. We can learn so much from our failures and mix-ups, so it’s important to recognise and reflect on the learning points brought up by mistakes and mishaps.