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{ in·deed·a·bly }

adverb: to competently express interest, surprise, disbelief, or contempt

I own

Charting my finances for over 30 years has taught me a few things.

On its own data is potentially interesting, yet without context and understanding it is uninformative.

Data plus knowledge creates information. The more you know, the more useful that information may be.

Information without analysis fails the “so what?” test. The winning lottery numbers match your ticket. The zombie apocalypse has begun. So what? What does that mean? What do we do about it?

Analysis without action reads like the underachieving student’s report card: “capable of great things, if only they applied themselves”.

A great deal of action is taken just to be seen to be doing something. However it is often no more productive than watching a sugared-up toddler act out the tax code via interpretative dance.

The question is: did things get better or worse as a result? Was that outcome verifiable and repeatable, or just a coincidence?

Measuring and monitoring allows us to assess the effectiveness of our actions, and learn from them. What should we do more of? What should we do differently? Is there anything we should we stop doing entirely?

This collection of charts helps to keep me honest about the progress of my own financial journey, tracking where my money comes from and where it goes.

The measure of wealth is time

I define the point at which I had “enough” as being when paying the bills no longer determined how I chose to invest my time.

Buying control of my time.

Investment income grants the ability to exchange those things I used to have to do with things I choose to do.

Income composition over time.

My investment income does not yet cover all of my living costs. Until it does I choose to work full time through the cold wet London winters. This frees me up to be a man of leisure for the remainder of the year.

Work a little, play a lot.

Time is bought with money

The ability to play when the sun (hopefully) emerges from hibernation is provided by the free cash flow generated by my investment portfolio.

Net worth over time.

In my experience investing wisely has a greater impact on increasing net worth than saving surplus cash flows.

Net worth contribution by year.

That said, investments don’t always increase in value!

Monthly change in net worth.

Diversification across asset classes, geographies, jurisdictions and providers is an important consideration for reducing risk. As a (mostly) reformed stock picker, I have found low cost index funds also reduce risk… though I still like to dabble on occasion!

Asset allocation over time

I believe that using debt to fund investment purchases can be a powerful tool, but only when the income produced by those assets more than covers the borrowing costs.

Asset allocation and gearing.

Made round to go round

Spending money on crap I don’t need has never been my thing.

However I am a firm believer in maximising earnings potential by investing in myself, rather than doing without.

Inflows and outflows.

For mine, frugality is not the path to happiness and contentment.

Real inflows versus outflows.

Real inflows versus outflows.

Over the years I have established a diverse set of passive income streams.

Passive income over time.

These income streams have grown to cover my lifestyle costs one at a time. It is a great feeling knowing I should never need worry about how I will pay for things like the electricity or groceries again!

Expenditure over time.

While those passive income streams grow at a faster rate than my lifestyle costs, it feels like winning.

Journey to financial freedom.

Which is how I find myself at my current location on my financial journey.

Financial Independence-o-meter.

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  1. Damn Millennial 17 August 2018

    Very cool graphics.

    My favorite one is your work schedule!

  2. Ms ZiYou 1 September 2018

    Wow, I absolutely love this and have so many questions……

    First of which – what is operation Gordon that is so important to get it’s own category?

  3. chris 3 September 2018

    Really enjoy your blog – nice to see an Aussie in London doing well. I am envious of your work schedule and would like to hear more about it. Maybe an option for me once I have sorted out residency in the UK.

    Is there a way to subscribe?

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 3 September 2018 — Post author

      Thanks for visiting Chris.

      The site has a RSS feed you could add to your Feedly.

      I’ve never given much thought to email lists. If there is sufficient interest I will look into figuring out how they work. Stay tuned.

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 5 September 2018 — Post author

      Turns out email subscriptions are in demand, and not that hard to implement. There is now a subscription box at the bottom of the page.

  4. The Transoceanic Teller 18 October 2018

    These graphs are so so fun! They are inspiring me to overhaul my tracking spreadsheets and look at my data in a new way. I especially like the more qualitative ideas that you also present in graphs.

  5. The Obvious Investor 20 October 2018

    Love your work schedule! Play schedule is better though 🙂

    Just lovin your blog.

  6. GentlemansFamilyFinances 21 October 2018

    How can your investing expenses be so.much?
    If I add mine up they “only” come to about 10% of my expenses and three quarters of that are from vcts.

    Great article and great to see such a long record of your expenses!

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 21 October 2018 — Post author

      Thanks for the kind words GentlemansFamilyFinances.

      I suspect the difference is probably down to what we each classify as investment expenses. Mine includes things like financing costs, brokerage, property management fees and maintenance, land tax, and so on.

      • GentlemansFamilyFinances 21 October 2018

        so the difference between gross and net rental yield. 🙂

      • Richard 16 September 2019

        Great post and data visualisation 🙂
        Have you considered reducing your “investment expenses” by self-managing your rental property?  I was using property management companies for my London property for 10 years and recently made the move into self -management and wish I’d done it sooner. There are the obvious fees that are saved and also maintenance costs by getting sensible quotes for repairs. This approach means my income is slightly less passive, however, I have more control over costs, my main asset is kept in better repair and I find it less stressful! 

        • {in·deed·a·bly} 16 September 2019 — Post author

          Thanks for the kind words and suggestion Richard.

          Self managing is something I do for my investments close to home, but that doesn’t scale too well for those I have overseas. The bulk of the my investment expenses are actually financing costs.

  7. Mindy 1 November 2018

    So many pretty charts… I like 🙂 I think I need to up my Excel game.

  8. Cashflow Cop 7 January 2019

    Love your writing style. Concise.

  9. FIRE v London 7 January 2019

    Excellent post – loving the typology and the colour (in both senses). I may well shamelessly borrow your framework at some point in the future.

    – what sort of work do you do in London winters? Is this tech-like consulting (day rates?)? Is this real-estate related? Something else (Deliveroo?!)?
    – how did you stop biting your nails (from a separate blog post, apologies!)? Any tips?
    – what happened to your investing expenses after 2012/2013? They dropped appreciably – was this real-estate related? And likewise your housing costs were low at this point; were you living in a place you were doing up or something similar?

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 7 January 2019 — Post author

      Thanks for the kind words FvL.

      To answer your questions:

      Work – I find clients facing a tricky problem, then help them solve it.

      Typically involves a combination of: listening and learning, management consulting, obtaining and torturing data, understanding numbers, and a willingness to call bullshit. Sometimes project based, sometimes freelance, rarely fixed price tender (all the accountability yet none of the control…yuck!).

      Finger nails: This is one of those annoying “simple, but not easy” ones… I just decided to stop.

      The motivation was my elder son was making a mess of his own fingers biting his own nails too much. I couldn’t dissuade him from doing it without being a hypocrite, so each time I caught myself with a fingernail approaching my mouth I gave myself an uppercut!

      Fortunately it didn’t take long to break my habit! Unfortunately my son persists with his.

      Money: 2012 we were living in a flat we owned outright, but quickly outgrew once my younger son was born.

      A year later the local market peaked, and was about to be flooded by a large volume of overpriced off-the-plan new build apartments, which had been marketed to foreign buyers, but hadn’t sold well. We sold the flat, used some of the proceeds to reduce leverage elsewhere, and put the rest into the stock market.

      That proved to be fortuitous as the markets subsequently experienced a good run, while many of those (still vacant) new build apartments ended up being used to accommodate council tenants displaced by the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

  10. freestripe 15 September 2019

    Just found your blog and love this post – I was self-employed / freelance for years in London but never considered a seasonal approach 🙂

    PS. Shared at https://www.reddit.com/r/FIREUK/comments/d4ia9k/the_measure_of_wealth_is_time/

  11. sebastian 13 July 2020

    really interesting, great graphs that nicely visualise a rich set of underlying objectives, targets, data and insight. nicely done.

    as I’m trying to make my planning more robust, quite interested in models, data collection sheets and how people go about (and how/which granularity being captured). You willing to share the framework/bareboned underlying sheet? – if not no probs clearly 🙂

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 13 July 2020 — Post author

      Thanks for the kind words Sebastian.

      There isn’t any science to it, just a monthly balance sheet and cash flow statement, the latter broken down into the categories you see here.

      I would recommend you build your own, you will learn more about your inflows, outflows, and asset allocation breakdown that way.

  12. J. Money 19 January 2021

    First time stumbling across this – brilliant! Never seen $$$ displayed like this before… Do you share these in any template forms us fellow nerds could pay with/steal? 😉

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 19 January 2021 — Post author

      Thanks J. Money, that is very kind of you.

      The charts are automagically generated by my tracker spreadsheet, which also contains a bunch of stuff that I don’t include in my net worth numbers, such as the value of my business for example.

      A few people have requested a template in the past, but thus far I haven’t invested the time required to strip out all that extra stuff in order to put a functional template together.

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