Joel’s Resources Report – semi-retirement by 35 with mediocre returns?!

Joel’s Resources Report – semi-retirement by 35 with mediocre returns?!

Hi all, what a first week on the markets – of coursing I’m bemoaning having sold my Argo Blockchain shares last year (a bitcoin mining company whose shares are up over twenty times since I sold them…)

On the plus side, my portfolio is up about 5%. Now if I can only compound that weekly..!

A slightly different article this week: I thought I’d share how I believe any young, single and very frugal person can retire within fifteen years or at least go part time.

I am going to make a large number of assumptions which obviously won’t apply to everyone:

  1. Earning UK average salary £31,461.
  2. 5% pension pre-tax salary contribution.
  3. University educated – paying back student loan.
  4. Willing to live in a shared house – cost including bills £500.
  5. Single.
  6. Zero salary increases (it makes calculations easier).
  7. Portfolio grows at MSCI world index average 10.8%.
  8. Begin working at 21.

Net Monthly Salary after tax, accommodation and other deductions – £1444

For food, clothes, going out & holidays let’s deduct – £644.

Available to invest into an ISA each month – £800.

Yearly investment amount – £9600.

How much does £800 a month turn into at 10.8% growth per annum?

I’ve decided to accrue interest for only 11 of the 12 months as many employees are paid at month end. After one year, £9600 has turned into just over £10k:

How much money is available when you turn 35?

At the end of 14 years, you’d have saved a total of £134k and you’d be sitting on just shy of £300k:

With nearly £300k in the bank, you would have multiple options – a large house deposit, reduction in hours etc.

If you wanted to go down to three days a week? Taking into account 3/5 of salary, you’d take home £1310 – less £500 rent and you’d have £810 – slightly more available to spend than previously.

What a would a more successful rate of return look like?

Assuming that you’re an active (and successful investor), let’s assume a 25% per annum return over the same investment period, now I appreciate that may not sound very exciting to the Twitter investment community but let’s take a look at what happens:

You’d be sitting on just shy of a cool £1m. Of course with (hopefully) at least another 50 years ahead, it wouldn’t be retirement money but it’d be pretty incredible given that the person sitting on nearly a mil didn’t receive a single pay rise, promotion etc which is obviously very unlikely.

Admittedly, investment returns are unlikely to go up in a straight line but I find it useful to model potential returns against goals. One of mine has always been £1m+ in my ISA. If a £1m portfolio yielded just 5% that’d be £50k tax free which would be equivalent to a roughly £70k pre-tax salary which I’m pretty sure most people could live on comfortably.

How’s my progress?

I’ll eschew giving exact numbers – what I will say is that three years ago I decided to start investing more time and money into my portfolio with the goal of retiring by the time I’m forty (I was 29 at the time). The first year was a bit of disaster – anybody remember the carnage towards the end of 2018?! I ended the year down. I’ve been incredibly lucky that in the two subsequent years I’ve managed to increase my net wealth by over 100% two years in a row through a combination of salary and investment returns.

Should such returns continue I should be in a position to semi-retire by the time I’m 35 which would be pretty awesome – although I do need to try and get on the housing ladder first!

Hope you enjoyed this article – I’ll be back to resources next week!



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  • comment-avatar

    Nice article, Joel. Maybe I’m too conservative, but for me, a 20% annual return, if achieved on a consistent basis, is exceptionally good!! Well done to anybody who can beat the market return (around 7%) on a consistent basis!

    • comment-avatar

      I guess everyone has different expectations of returns – the stocks I invest in aren’t for the faint hearted, they’re illiquid and under-researched however find the right ones and they can deliver exceptional returns – e.g. RockRose Energy/Avacta/Pensana etc.

  • comment-avatar

    Please note the 20% should say 25% PA

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    Hi Joel. Very interesting! I went part time at 46 and packed in work entirely at 55. I am now 57. My method was very different to your plans, and totally unintentional. My top tips are:

    Don’t have kids (My brother always worked in better paid jobs than me, but has two daughters, who he still subsidises). He still works full time at 61. He will retire…never!

    Live in the grim North, if staying in the UK. Wages tend to be lower, unless your are in state employment, but the lower cost of living more than makes up for this.

    Controlling expenditure is more important than maximising income. Live a good life and be happy, but cut the inconsequential spending.

    Acquire desirable work skills and qualifications. I have a totally useless doctorate, but luckily had the sense to get an HGV1 licence too.

    Don’t assume not working will make you happy. Better to find a job you enjoy, then you will never work a day in your life.

    Good luck with your scheme of arrangement!

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    Hi andsoforth.  That’s a great post.  This is probably the wrong forum (although it’s not so busy that we’re likely to annoy too many people), but I’m retiring in May at the age of 53 and by biggest dilemma is deciding between throwing myself fully into permanent retirement and just filling my time with walks, learning to play tennis, cooking, investing etc. and deliberately learning to relax or wether I should look to do some other work that I enjoy.  It seems that your tips are contradictory in that you said “Better to find a job you enjoy” but at the same time you’ve said that you “packed in work entirely at 55”.  Do you just mean that you packed in your full time gig and now do work that you enjoy or have you fully embraced the full time retiree life?

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