Life outside of Investments

After a pretty awesome year of returns we've started 2022 in the red. The stock markets are looking somewhat shaky, what with all the uncertainty in the world, and major cryptocurrencies have taken a bit of a battering.

For reference we've just seen five consecutive red days in the S&P 500 while Bitcoin is down about 10% since the start of the year, currently hovering at around $42,000 after briefly going below the $40,000 level.

But there's more to life than the short term noise of the investment markets.

We've basically entered the third year where the world has been tackling Covid-19, and who would have thought that we'd still be faced with lockdowns and travel restrictions.

Mum was meant to have arrived in Hong Kong two weeks ago but last minute policy changes by airlines and governments meant the journey didn't happen. She's still hanging out in the UK.

It's been a long time since I've seen my mum in person and honestly I look forward to a chance to cook a meal for her. Thinking about it does get me a little emotional, so let's hope the travel situation clears up sooner rather than later.

There were some losses of cash due to booking non-refundable quarantine hotel rooms. Lesson learned: don't sacrifice cancellation options for a cheaper rate, especially when the risk of plan changes is relatively high due to uncontrollable factors (like a pandemic).

But oh well, it's not like I can't take the hit. Still sucks though!

My Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym has also been closed down for the next 2 weeks. Government mandate. I'm sad about it because I want to keep practicing but on the plus side I get to work on my flexibility and do home workouts in preparation for when the mats re-open.

Got myself a pull-up bar, kettlebells and an ab wheel so that I can destroy myself at home.

Funny thing - I've always wanted to do pull-ups at home but my door frames weren't right for the bars that sort of hook on. And I rent so I can't exactly drill a bar into the frame or onto the wall. But it turns out there are bars that you can slot into the door frame without drilling any holes, and they can hold up to 100kg in weight.

Clearly I wasn't looking hard enough. I'll put it down to avoiding the exercise that I know I can't do well - but I'm determined to change that.

The equipment cost me about £100 in total, and if I add that onto the £100 I've already spent previously on yoga mats and bands I'd say I've got a pretty decent set up. Much cheaper than an annual gym contract and zero travel time to get the workout going.

All that's left is the discipline, but I think I'm pretty good at that in general.

I've started to read children's bed time stories to myself. I know it sounds weird for a guy in his 30's but the caveat is that these stories are written in Chinese. Yep, this year will be the year where I put all of my language learning into practice and get at least one Chinese book on my "read" list.

There's 70 stories in total so this should keep me well occupied for a few months.

Besides that, I've continued learning 50 new words a week which has now pushed my total vocabulary to something close to 1,500. Some of the words are a bit difficult to remember since they're not frequently used in day to day life, but they're part of the 'HSK programme' so there's no avoiding them.

On the plus side I'm now able to read so many more road signs, menus, and advertisement billboards wherever I go. Not that they'll get me to spend any more money mind you!

And then there's work.

You know, for someone who writes and talks about financial independence you'd expect me to hate working. And I did for a time. Last year I hit a low point where I was desperate to be "out" of the rat race.

All you need to do is read some of my older posts.

But after changing my mindset and realising that work wasn't my problem, I began to enjoy my work much more. I saw how it fit into everything else that I'm trying to achieve in life and that allowed me to strike a much better balance that aligns to my life's goals.

I'm still investing and striving towards financial independence of course, and I'm probably much further along than many other people my age. But that's not the main focus for me on a day to day basis.

Which brings me back to those investments that I started the article with.

They might be in the red for now but honestly who cares. I used to get really caught up in the daily or even monthly movements of the market, and it stressed me out to no end. But now I'm just focused on doing the things I need and want to do in life.

I've got a wedding to sort out, a mum to get into Hong Kong, a body to train, a language to learn, and great projects at work that are going to lead to really interesting things in the future for my career. Plus a whole range of other goals that are lined up and ready to be worked on once I finish or make enough progress on all of the above.

I can't control the markets but I don't need to. I know they'll more than likely be green in the long run as long as I leave it alone and keep investing what I can, when I can.

But my life's goals are different. I have full control over those and if I don't put my energy into them, nothing will happen. Not today, not tomorrow, not in a decade.

So let the markets be red for now. I'll just focus on making my life green.

I think you should too.


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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