“Anonymous Dad”

October 18th 2016.

A hotel room in Edinburgh.

Watching a YouTube video on Personal Finance. That’s precisely when Anonymous Dad’s financial world came into sharp focus.

I was 58 years old.

Truth be told, I wasn’t completely clueless when it came to Personal Finance. I was “good-ish”, but far from great. But that YouTube video lit a fire underneath me that’s been burning steadily ever since.

That night was a game-changer in the financial fortunes of our family. Slowly at first…but with bursts of activity each year, the lessons that we applied from that time forward transformed our financial health & well-being.

Unfortunately, that “Edinburgh epiphany” was 35 years too late.

And that’s the reason for constructing this blog…so that you, dear Reader, “Don’t Suck at Money” as I did – for most of my working life.

The Target Readership

“Who is this blog written for?”

  • Single professional people
  • Working in the UK
  • In their early 20’s to mid-30’s
  • University graduates

I know a fair amount about such young professionals because our two sons are precisely that.

As their “not-so-Anonymous” Dad, I’ve seen them (and their friends) doing their best to navigate money in the 21st Century. And it’s not easy. Student loans, high rents, costly train season tickets and entry-level pay rates.

There’s no magic wand to solve all those issues. But there is a plan. And there are some well-documented processes. And the purpose of this website is to set out that plan and explain a handful of key processes.

To carve a clear path for you (and them) to the “financial uplands”. To get money sorted “early doors”, and concentrate on more important things… like relationships and the environment.

Message to the non-Target Readership

What if you’re over 35 and reading this, what then? What if you’re under 35, married and with kids? What if you’re earning the Minimum Wage or on a zero hours contract?

Does any of this apply? Yes, plenty.

Because the “core” personal finance principles remain the same:

  • Build a “starter” Emergency Fund
  • Get out and then stay out of debt
  • Build a “fully-loaded” Emergency Fund of three months’ total spending

Everyone can start building a “starter” Emergency Fund with just £1. Everyone can total up all their debts and start planning how to crush them.

You don’t have to be a young, extremely well-paid, American software developer / engineer to start making these decisions.

Anonymous Dad was none of those things. But that didn’t stop me from fully adopting (and adapting) these principles.

At 58 years of age.

Why Bother?

Here’s why. Because:

“No one is coming to save you…”

Nathaniel Branden

Either now or in your imagined future. You need to save yourself, financially.

You need to learn more. You need to understand more. And, of course, you’ll need to do more.

Financial Independence. Born in the USA…

And now appearing in the UK…

With respect to retail and consumer innovation, the USA is often ahead of the UK:

ProductUSAUKDelay
Supermarkets1930194818 years
Colour TV1954196713 years
Vanguard Index
Investment Funds
1975200934 years
America: Ahead of The Innovation Curve

Given their enthusiasm to shake off British imperialism, the whole idea of personal Financial Independence has – unsurprisingly – been popular in the States for more than a decade, before making its first, tentative appearances in the UK.

This means that a lot of the literature and most of the digital resources are from US bloggers, authors and podcasters.

Which I have extensively stolen from referenced.

Indeed, I’m not just “standing on the shoulders of giants”, I’m shamelessly trying to “eat their lunch”.

All for your benefit, dear Reader.

Of course, wherever possible, I’ll reference the ideas of UK personal finance bloggers and authors.

But be warned, there’ll be a lot of links to US bloggers and authors. My advice is to read the US material for ideas and inspiration that you can adapt to make your own journey easier and more fun.

That said, here are a few things to bear in mind:

  • US bloggers tend to be a lot more aggressive about the toxic effects of consumer debt. And a lot more open about their income. Because they’re more happy to “overshare” than us buttoned-up Brits.
  • That’s perhaps because they have even more to be scared about…personal debt levels in the US are higher and there far fewer “safety nets” for people who completely run out of money
  • Americans seem more comfortable with having multiple jobs – commonly referred to as “side hustles”. They may be a school teacher during the week and and a pizza delivery driver on the weekend…
  • US residents that go after financial independence seem to embrace frugality more quickly and fervently than their British cousins. Again, they may, on balance, have more compelling needs (i.e. higher average personal debt caused by larger student loans and driving more expensive leased cars. All that against a backdrop of high private medical fees).

“Travel the world, and steal the best”

David Ogilvy

Disclaimer: None of what follows constitutes professional financial advice. I’m just a writer turned blogger. Who wants younger professional people living in the UK not to miss out on the opportunities in front of them.