2021 was an awesome year

For me.

I set a couple of goals at the start of the year, something along the lines of:

  1. Increase financial net worth from X to Y.

  2. Propose.

  3. Learn 1,000 Chinese words.

  4. Read 2 autobiographies, a leadership book, and a novel.

And I smashed them.

I managed to increase my net worth to Y+7%. I even got a raise. I proposed and the wedding is scheduled for April 2022. I actually learnt just shy of 1,200 Chinese words. And I managed to read 18 books in total throughout the year (including audio books); a mix of autobiographies, fantasy or science fiction novels, leadership and strategy books, and books to help with my knowledge and thinking in product management.

The year has had some set backs, life isn’t as rosy as it sometimes comes off on paper.

Work got stressful at times as we’re trying to get so much done as a company. Being on the cutting edge of innovation sometimes feels like you’re trekking through a tempest. Sirens will try to lure you towards them with promises of “good ideas”, but will ultimately lead you astray from your true path. Got to stay strong to block them out, especially when most others in your group have already fallen prey.

There was also the thing with flights being cancelled thanks to Omicron. Mum is supposed to be here rather than in the UK but last minute cancellations and government policies in order to curb the spread meant that we needed to re-plan. Hopefully we’ll have better luck towards the end of January.

As long as she arrives in time for the wedding, nothing else matters.

I’ve got some goals lined up for 2022 but I’m not going to wait for the new year. Life doesn’t wait.

Volunteering was on the list and I did a bit of that during the Christmas break. It involved helping with guiding and taking care of kids on Saturdays, teaching them English with a focus on good life principles and reinforcing the message through group games. It was also a chance for their parents to take a bit of a break for a few hours.

Parenting in this part of the world is pretty intense. High expectations and all that.

The kids are kinda funny. Some are shy and quiet, others basically don’t care who you are… they just want to show you their new sticker or tell you some random story about their life. Usually involving that sticker.

I also started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Lots of confusion when learning new techniques, lots of burpees for losing in sparring, lots of sweat. Really fun.

This is going to sound weird but… I’m getting more and more comfortable with being choked.

The membership is a little pricey compared to my standard gym. But I can join as many sessions as I want on the mats and they’ve got a squat rack. Can’t be that bad. Only thing I need to figure out is how it all fits with my work schedule.

I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

And last but not least my entire year cost me "nothing".

The growth of my investments, not including the amount I put in myself this year, was able to "pay" for my living costs (housing and bills), my food and groceries, taking my fiancée out on dates, a highly graded bespoke engagement ring, and various deposits on my wedding.

The word 'pay' is in quote marks because I didn't actually sell any investment holdings to pay for my living costs. I still work and I funded my life via my salary, but the growth of my investments outpaced my spending so that my net worth grew by more than what I actually earned through working.

If my salary was £10,000 my net worth after all costs of living for 2021 grew by £10,000, effectively meaning I saved 100% of my salary.

Obviously this is thanks to a stock market that keeps rising regardless of what's happening in the world but I'll take it!

So all in all, the year’s been pretty good and I think this next one is going to be even better.


Don't wait for some magical number before you start "living". Life is full of surprises and you'll never be able to plan it perfectly. If you're doing sensible things with your money you'll eventually reach your goal. So start living now. The longer you wait, the less time you'll have. Money can be made, but time cannot. You are the barrier to the life you want to live, not a 4% safe withdrawal rate.

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