My Thoughts on ‘How to Retire at 40’


What a shame!

All of that build up, and for what??…..

Hang on a minute here Huw…. are you talking about how disappointing the show was on a topic you’re passionate about or your lack of air time to boost your ego? 

Both, but mainly me OK. I said I cared more about the topic than my appearance in the last post, but I was just saying that to show you how grounded I was. I don’t care about finance. I care about me, and my beautiful face on the big box.

Jokes aside, I was equally gutted on both fronts. Before I go onto the more serious analysis of how I think they did highlighting FIRE in 30 mins, I’ll just share my personal disappointment with you…. you’re welcome!


I told my family, friends and ex-colleagues to watch, whilst preparing them for a lack of an appearance. I was genuinely expecting to see my face flash up a couple of times and that be it, but that Channel 4 harlot pulled me in again didn’t she!

My face flashed up quite early on, which I was expecting, but then they zoomed into one of the four Skype calls.

My heart starting racing!!

Within the next 10 minutes, they went back to the image of me on the wall and zoomed into a second Skype call recording.

Gulp! Holy Shit! They’re showing us all talk. We’re not even halfway through the show and they’ve shown two of the four calls.

My heart raced even faster. I actually started to feel nervous. What were they going to show? Can I remember what I said? Oh shit, I hope I don’t sound like a dick.

All the while, Lou has positioned herself in front of the TV and is filming the show on her smartphone. We don’t have a recorder.

Me: “Lou, you don’t need to do that”

Lou: “Yes, I do. I want to capture my honey bunny on TV”

Me: “They’ll show it again on catch up or 4OD. If I’m on, you can just record that”

Lou: “Oh yeah” (followed by her closing the video recorder)


The tension kept rising. In fact, I’m not even listening to the program because I’m thinking about the possibilities of being featured. I missed most of the segment of the two guys talking about sharing a mortgage.

Here’s a snapshot of a text conversation I had with one of my best mates. I think it gives a summary of the proceeding events:


(Before the show)

Mate: “Are you excited?”

Me: “Massively. Although I’m sure I won’t feature. Still can’t help but hope…”

(During the show)

Mate: “I reckon you are going to feature!!! You’re on the wall!!”

Me: “2 down… 2 to go!”

(After the show)

Mate: “What a disgrace! You were on the wall!!! THE FUCKING WALL!!!”

Me: “Channel 4 dick tease. I was totally taken in by that!!”


Me: “I know. My family are saying I’m a letdown and should go bk to work as my idea must be shit. Gutted (mates name). Gutted!

Mate: “That’s a fair comment from your family as a signed potato made a featured piece!! You can still say “as seen on Channel 4″ and rinse the dickheads for all they’re worth!”


I received similar comments from my family, including the comparison photo from my brother at the top of the post, which set the rest of my family off laughing.

I wasn’t expecting to feature prior to watching the show, but after sitting through the first half, I would have put money on being in the second half. And I wouldn’t have laid it off either. I was that confident!

Oh well, the whole build up was fun and it made for some hilarious conversations between friends and family.


A supportive picture sent by my brother




What did I make of the show itself?

First of all, I think it's only fair to say that making a TV program that summaries FIRE in 30 minutes, that's engaging and informative for the general public, is no easy task.

Also, I'm biased as hell. This is a passion of mine, and as such, I knew I would have high standards of what I wanted the TV show to deliver.

However, with all of that said....

I was extremely let down by the program, and that's not accounting for the Channel 4 dick tease either. I wanted the show to be great. This was a chance to highlight how life changing the pursuit of FIRE is, and that anyone can do it. Perhaps my friends and family would have a better idea of why I do the things I do, and they might decide to do some of the same things to improve their lives.

But, No!

I found it quite difficult to watch if I'm being honest. Cringy even.

I like the format of splitting FIRE down into different sections, but I would have gone with an alternative split. C4 went with Super Saving, Trend Spotting and Taking a Risk.

For sure, Trend Spotting and Taking a Risk are far more 'sexy' than super saving, but they're also far less attainable/realistic for everyday folk.

I would have focussed on saving initially, then investing, and finally, how to earn more in order to invest more.

They featured an amazing individual who created a nut butter business from local markets into a national brand (with a £3m turn over). C4 decided to hone in on the venture capital side of the business, and how she raised over £100k to get started. Not how she started or how she transitioned her business from local markets to supermarkets, which would offer the audience far more value. I understand that they're showing how attainable it is to get money via Kickstarter (which is an awesome platform), but surely that's not the priority in making a successful business or the first steps towards FIRE. It's like focussing on what t-shirts to wear once you have bigger biceps. But, how do you get bigger biceps?

I was pleased to see the feature from the accountant chap in the coffee shop. He explained the simple maths to retirement by multiplying 25x your annual expenditure, and then went on to explain how to estimate how long it'll take if you saved 50% or 75% of your wage. These were probably the biggest takeaways from the show for me. I wonder how many people who digested these powerful numbers? Especially those who weren't aware of them prior to the show.

I wish the show went into more detail in this area. They could have shared a few more examples, like how long it would take to retire if they saved only 10-20% of their wage (approx 50-40 years). That might kick a few people up the backside and make them realise what their current efforts are providing.

The was ZERO mention of investing too, which is the premise behind the maths of multiplying 25 by your expenditure (receiving 4% returns). How would a complete novice get 4% returns today?

A mention of index funds, their past performance, how easy it is to get started, and some compound interest calculations might have been the perfect addition to this section.

The 5:2 'spending diet' was a typical modern day fad that offers little substance. It's nothing personal to the couple that created/presented it, and yes it's better than doing nothing, but it like collecting water with a cullender. You're going to collect some water, it's better than not having anything, but there are holes leaking everywhere.

So, you don't spend any money for 5 days (that's beneficial for a big spender - TICK) and then you can spend anything for 2 days (better make up for lost time and go crazy! - BIG CROSS).

What if you wait for the weekend and spend all of your money in 2 days? It doesn't fix anything, it makes a mild attempt at placing some restrictions. Why can't we focus on solving the problem of finances, rather than creating shitty little fads to try and bring in newcomers? It's about as effective as the 5:2 food diet in that it'll produce some short term results, but for the most part, is largely ineffective for long-term results and doesn't fix the underlying issue.

I'm sure the family had loads of great advice to share, and again I'm not having a go at them. C4 latched onto the fad item and decided to edit that bit. (sigh)

I wanted to give the presenter a "mustachian face punch" when he attempted the 5:2 'spending diet'. If I didn't, MMM certainly would have. Jesus, what the hell was that?! Was that supposed to be funny or informative?

I have the answer.... it was neither!

It's shit like that that makes people turn off from frugality and makes a mockery of what so many well-intentioned people are doing to improve their lives. Day 1 he can't feed himself for lunch, and day 2 he's out of loo roll. Does he live in constant reactive mode 24/7? Here's something crazy..... prior to starting the 5:2 spending diet, try buying some things in advance to last 5 days rather than going straight into the 5 days unprepared.

Day 1 he can't feed himself for lunch, and day 2 he's out of loo roll. Does he live in constant reactive mode 24/7? Here's something crazy..... prior to starting the 5:2 spending diet, try buying some things in advance to last 5 days rather than going straight into the 5 days unprepared. Kay?

OK, I know it was meant as a comedy piece rather than a real life situation, but I told you earlier.... I'm biased, and I wanted this program to give our lives a real insight in a hope to help other people do the same.

Next, the personal potato messages.....

For Fuck Sake!

Again, not taking anything away from the chap that did it. Good on him! Well done! I'm just disappointed in C4 for showing that as a feature when there are so many other better ways of showing how someone could retire before 40. They were highlighting how someone could earn just under £25,000 a year with their own quirky business on just 8 hours a week, which is great. But, what are they going to do with that money? How will that help them retire early?

It's the same with my earlier point on getting venture capital via Kickstarter. So, you have £100,000 from investors, what do you do with it?

The end of show summary did a great job of highlighting how bad the program was when the lead presenter shared the results of their survey. 66% of people would be more prepared to save money in order to retire, rather than take a risk. I would suspect that the 33% would be even less when it came to actually taking action.

At least 2/3 of the population were more interested in saving and yet, the show lacked any substantial information the viewer could take away to help them save. And the most important element of how to retire early - INVESTING - didn't even feature at all!

So you didn't like it then Huw?

No, that's fair to say.

I was having a good old rant to Lou as we walked into town this week and I ended up saying "It's such a shame, I would have done it so differently", and then it hit me. If you want something done, do it yourself.

Am I surprised that C4 latched onto faddy concepts and entertainment over substantial solutions? No.

If I think I can do a better job of helping people retire early, then let's see it. Talk is cheap. It's the execution that counts!

Once my publishing course is up and running, I plan on doing a lot more with this Blog and my youtube channel. I'm not suggesting that I'm going to have all of the answers, but I'm confident that I'll do a far better job of helping promote FIRE, and deliver real results than the 30 minutes program I watched on Monday night.

In the meantime, I'm off to start a business writing messages on carrots. 😉


  • EarlyRetirementGuy

    Reply Reply 13th July 2017

    Oh man what a missed opportunity! I had an idea of the sort of show they were wanting to produce from the leading questions they asked me during the screening interview but damn if I wasn’t blown away by the complete lack of actual real information discussed during the show.

    Infact this may just be enough to nudge me out of my writing hiatus and actually put up my own blog post on what I thought went horrifically wrong with this program.

    I absolutely agree that you are in a great position to be spreading the right message yourself. We’ve been crying out for a slick media producing MMM with a British accent… could you be it Huw?!

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 13th July 2017

      Yes, it was a real let down. Guy, I’d love to hear your thoughts about it, break the hiatus I say.

      I know I’ve just hammered the program, but I’d prefer to be someone that tries to improve the situation rather than dump on it. I’m not sure I’m the British MMM, but I make a bloody good Huw. (Love the pun BTW!)

  • TechnicallyOnFire

    Reply Reply 13th July 2017

    I’m a very active lurker in the UK FIRE blog scene, while not having a site of my own, and I was very excited when I saw your face appear on the advert one day. I was a couple of days behind my feeds when I saw the trailer, so didn’t know about it before then, and made sure I was watching on Monday night.

    I also consider myself a resident expert in Channel 4’s never-failing ability to mislead and disappoint, particularly during the commissioning and editing phases with the intention of dumbing things down for the publc.

    Even I was disappointed for you. Unfortunately, it seems that producers these days go into the start of the shoot with a set plan in mind, and anything that fits that plan will make it in, and anything that deviates from it will be thrown away; even if, objectively, it’s better content.

    I had switched off at the point of the two mortgage guys if I’m honest. “Two twenty-something guys buying together in London 50/50 because they can’t afford it individually” is somehow a preparation for retiring in 15 years? It didn’t even really go into their plans beyond “we get any house price increase and split it between us. If one of us dies, we get to pick who the money goes to”.

    Dumbing it down, they went too far and made it almost pointless to watch. My girlfriend is aware of my plans for FIRE, without truly understanding them, and I was hoping the show would be a really good way for her to explain the concepts without me appearing preachy.

    I’m sure your interview (actually, all four of them) were really good and you probably explained things brilliantly – they just didn’t fit with the storyboard they had designed.

    I look forward to your education pieces! The UK really needs some superstar FIRE personas to stand up, in the ways that ERE and MMM do in the US. I wish anyone good luck who wants to take up that mantle.

    (I’m deliberately not making my name or which show I have experience with public here, as it is to do with my day-job and nothing to do with FIRE, but Huw will be able to see my email address and can look it up if he desires)

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 13th July 2017

      Great summary TOF! Your assessment of the mortgage guys was spot on.

      It’s interesting to hear your inside perspective. The dumbing down was quite extreme, and I can’t help but think that no one got anything from that show.

      The non-FIRE converts (everyday folk) weren’t inspired in any way, and we (the FIRE converts) were left deflated and frustrated.

      I think the UK does need someone to take on the FIRE mantel. Martin Lewis does a fantastic job of getting people on top of their Personal Finance and is in a great position to do so, but he seems totally unprepared to help people invest and take their wealth to the next level. I’m not sure if I’m the guy, but I’m confident of taking it on further than what’s currently out there. Granted, that’s not a big challenge.

      • TechnicallyOnFire

        Reply Reply 13th July 2017

        You know what they say about standing on the shoulders of giants…

        I’ve always been curious about Martin Lewis’ avoidance of sharing investing education. I know there may be some legal issues regarding “value may go down as well as up”, etc, but the MSE website seriously feels that it’s missing a Monevator-style writer for the investing parts. I know I visited MSE as my first port when I realised that investing was something that normal people could do, and not just men in sharp suits in the City. Even if it’s an introduction to tracker funds and a broker costs table, it’s something that bridges the gap from “I have money in a savings account” to “I’m investing for my future”.

        Anyone who is willing to start a FIRE blog, with their own name public, is already someone I applaud for their courage. Doubly so with those who actively include exact numbers in their expenses breakdowns and net worth figures! From there to someone who is happy to do media pieces, and have the ability to explain financial concepts for the layperson, is still such a jump that I can see why noone has done it yet.

        Maybe one day you’ll truly earn that “As seen on TV” banner to put across the top 😉 noone can ever fault you for trying.

        • Huw Davies

          Reply Reply 13th July 2017

          I agree. I’m not sure why Martin opts out of advising how to start investing. He seems quite ballsy in some areas of Personal Finance. I imagine he’d do a good job of it too. His website kickstarted me on my Personal Finance journey, but it just lacked that next level information on investing that’s required for FIRE.

          I appreciate the kind words. I might not be an expert or claim to be the best communicator, but at least I’m honest and transparent in what I do. Perhaps one day TOF! 🙂

          In all honesty, I’d prefer to create a guide or course that helps people through the initial steps of FIRE than getting on TV. Despite the fuss I’ve been making in the last week! 🙂

          • weenie

            13th July 2017

            It’s probably because Martin isn’t a financial advisor so he can’t be seen to be giving any sort of investing advice. However, just saving money from switching utilities isn’t really going to get you anywhere in the long term if you don’t invest the money you’re saving.

            I check out the MSE forums occasionally and there are a couple of posters on there who are helpful on the investing pages but usually, there are just far too many voices shouting on there, plus some terrible ‘advice’ given occasionally.

          • Huw Davies

            13th July 2017

            My best guess would be that Martin’s avoiding getting into the whole ‘financial advice’ bracket. I still think it’s possible to discuss strategies and options without directly giving advice. You can also ‘wave the waiver’ very strongly at the start and end of an article to put the responsibility back onto the reader.

            I really hate the fact that people aren’t able to benefit from learning about investing because of the fear of being sued. There are charlatans shovelling shit about everything else, including stuff that costs money, and that’s all fair game.

      • Huw Davies

        Reply Reply 17th July 2017

        Nice post. Thanks Guy!

  • weenie

    Reply Reply 13th July 2017

    The accountant chap was The Escape Artist, verified by TFS as he’s met him! Shame they couldn’t have gone into a bit more detail with his numbers, ie some illustrations and examples/graphs etc.

    It’s highly likely that the couple practising the ‘5 2’ spending plan did have some sort of cap on the days they could spend as they are able to save £14k a year. But no mention of where they put their savings, although I would guess they were investing it. And yes, I too was really annoyed with the presenter who tried the plan and looked like he’d been deprived of food, drink, sleep and other civil liberties! How disappointingly pathetic!

    I realised as I watched the programme that I’ve been inadvertently practicing ‘5 2’ most weeks these past few years, with some weeks being ‘6 1′(the 1 being the day I do my grocery shopping). Maybe a challenge for me would be to see if I could do a ‘7 0’ haha – would need a bit more planning!

    I would love to see your version of the ‘How to retire before 40’ and yep, I agree with Guy, you are like our British MMM, except with a beard! :-:

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 13th July 2017

      Oh really. Well, he came across very well. It was a shame we didn’t hear more from him.

      Yes, the 5:2 spending diet must have had more than what C4 described. If not, there can’t be much to it. Likewise, Lou and I were discussing that. We regularly hit 5-7 days of no spending.

      Thanks for the support Weenie. I’m not sure about being the British MMM, but I definitely have a beard!

      • Playing with Fire

        Reply Reply 15th July 2017

        I agree that the 5:2 money diet was presented as a gimmick but there is a clever idea behind it. They totally eliminate impulse spending during the week, so they need to think about what they need for the week ahead at the weekend. They then avoid having to think “should I buy this?” or “do I need this?” because it doesn’t follow their rule. This reduces the mental load of saving money that some people find a struggle – they give themselves the freedom of not worrying about spending decisions during the week. And they seem smart enough to realise the need to buy loo roll ahead of time (seriously, is it that difficult?).

        • Huw Davies

          Reply Reply 17th July 2017

          Hi PWF,

          I agree with your point here. I know I gave the system a hard time, and I’m assuming that you’re somewhat in agreement with my points, but I do think the 5:2 spending diet is better than doing nothing. It will help to minimise impulsive buying. I just think there are stronger arguments to be made without the use of such gimmicks.

          My annoyance came from the attention it got above the reason behind its existence.

          • Playing with Fire

            20th July 2017

            I totally agree it was presented as a gimmick, the way the presenter tried it made my teeth hurt. Urgh!

            For many people it wouldn’t be a helpful tool; either because their spending capability is such that they could break the bank in 2 days per week or because they have their financial shit together and can say “no” to things they don’t need.

            However for some personality types, the 5:2 spending plan would be really helpful. I know people who have struggled with weight management, and then had real success by cutting out foods that began with “ch”. It’s a totally arbitrary rule, but really helpful for some people because it is easy to follow. Have you read Gretchen Rubin’s work on “abstainers”? It’s a similar idea.

            But it isn’t such a good idea that it should be the only idea featured on how to save money. There are so many more tools that have wider appeal and are less likely to be rejected because one fool ran out of loo roll.

            You are right that there are stronger arguments for saving. This is a method that will appeal to a very niche audience in a particular stage of FI readiness.

            In summary: hmmm interesting psychology, but “Get off my FIRE show”.

          • Huw Davies

            22nd July 2017

            Thanks for the additional thoughts PwF.

            I think I’m just overly sensitive and impatient to gimmicky crap. If I encounter a problem in my life, I try to go to the root of the issue and solve it. At times, I forget that not everyone thinks like me. Faddy things like the spending diet can help people get up and running, and they might ignore my solution because there’s too much to learn or less fun. So it’s better to get people doing something than nothing. I’ll just leave the gimmick design to others.

            I’ve not read her work, but thanks for the recommendation. It makes a lot of sense.

            Ha ha. Great summary once again PwF! 🙂

  • Playing with Fire

    Reply Reply 13th July 2017

    But, you were on the wall!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That Gavin and Stacey moment is so appropriate. You were robbed!

    The whole thing seemed to be really unfocused. As if someone scribbled super save, trend spot, take risk on the back of an envelope in the pub and they got wildly carried away.

    The nut butter entrepreneur was super inspiring, clearly had a great vision and story, but said nothing about retiring early. I mean, they didn’t even mention the profit from her revenue or whether she had a plan to sell the business? WTF? Get off my FIRE show.

    The potato writer – again, clever niche, looks like he is earning a solid wage for 8(?) hours work a week, but that isn’t retirement. You are still working, I got the impression that this wasn’t a side hustle for staching, and you cannot genuinely believe that this potato thing is going to last forever. [I’m getting a newfound appreciation for all the solid work that the Internet Retirement Police do.]

    The housemates (Huw, you didn’t miss much), reducing housing costs: sensible plan, but beyond that, I saw no link to FIRE.

    I’m so gutted that they cut Huw and ERG out, who are doing what the title of the programme actually talks about, to focus on stories (however interesting they may be), that are only tangentially related to the idea.

    The UK does need an accessible personality for people who have graduated from Martin Lewis. I’d see so many people on the MSE boards who are clearly in a good place and investing is the next step, but are told to either “seek financial advice” or “you should only invest money that you can afford to lose”. Monevator has great information, but doesn’t have the same approachability as MSE.

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 14th July 2017

      Ha ha. Thanks for the great summary PwF! “Get off my FIRE show”, I love that.

      I think you’re spot on with your assessment. Bitterly disappointing.

      I’m not sure if I can make a difference, but I’ll do my best. Just out of interest, when you say “Monevator has great info, but doesn’t have the same approachability” can I ask what you mean? Is it simply because you can see and relate to him as a person, rather than a character or something else?

      • Playing with Fire

        Reply Reply 14th July 2017

        Firstly, I love Monevator, and the authors, and the content. The site has helped me so much and I’m wildly indebted to the cheapest broker table.

        I suggested Monevator to my (bright, mathsy, actual genius-level-IQ) relative because I wanted her to consider dumping her expensive IFA and go it alone. I sent a couple of Monevator links, including the one to Lars Kroijer’s excellent video series.

        Instead of following the links, she searched for Monevator and started reading the first page, which was a wildly complex post (I think about tax efficiency of bonds and bond funds). She dutifully ploughed through the first two-thirds of it, before being utterly convinced that investing was too hard for her to do alone, and that she needed her comfort-blanket IFA more than she realised, and that her IFA was doing all this in their sleep.

        Now, I totally have some blame here. I should have suggested that we watch the videos together, and recognised that idea of having someone looking out for her is important to my relative. TBH, I could sense the squeamishness of her talking to a me, a “junior” relative about financial things, and focussed on separating my involvement sooner than I should. Noted.

        But had I sent the relative to MSE to look for the highest-rate savings account, I’m confident that she would have found the information that she needed. And even if she hadn’t found the right information, I don’t think she would have been scared off in the same way.
        To reiterate the point, this isn’t a woman who scares easily, she is more intelligent than me and taught me most of what I know about being kick-ass. The tax-efficiency of bonds is a dark magic that can put fear into the heart of the bravest of souls.

        It’s great that Monevator has the detailed bond-focused page, it is a useful resource; but without a flashing warning for newbies to go avoid reading it as a first article I’d struggle to recommend it to a beginner.

        Does that make sense?

        • weenie

          Reply Reply 14th July 2017

          I’m with PwF here – Monevator is a fantastic website and has really helped me over the years but it’s not a website I would point my completely-new-to-investing friends or family to visit initially.

          As the website also caters to experienced investors, it’s easy for a newbie to stumble across pages which will prove to be too complex for them (and which may not be relevant) and for them to decide that investing isn’t for them.

          • Huw Davies

            17th July 2017

            Thanks for the addition here Weenie. You and PwF are right on the money.

            Once I have something set up on the Blog to help the newbie investor, I’ll be sure to run it passed you both.

        • Huw Davies

          Reply Reply 17th July 2017

          Thanks for the detailed reply PwF!

          It makes perfect sense, and I’ll consider this feedback when it comes to creating my own version of ‘How to retire early’. I’m determined to create an easily accessible guide to help the complete novice, perhaps now more than ever.

  • Richard

    Reply Reply 13th July 2017

    My take on the show is that Channel 4 and its presenters are no different to the vast majority of people when it comes to FIRE. They are clueless.

    The show jumped about all over the place and gave no real substance to anything. It was a complete mismatch and confused the hell out of me as to why they were showing certain things such as the two guys buying a house together.

    The part that had my blood boiling was the presenter doing the 5:2 saving. Scratching around in his cupboards for food highlighted what most people believe will be the result if they save. My niece who was watching the program with me said “I would rather have a life than save” in fact she is always saying that to me as she disapproves of my frugal ways and most likely believes that is what my life if like.

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 14th July 2017

      Thanks for your feedback Richard!

      Great point on the presenters. I didn’t consider that, but you’re spot on. Having a set of presenters that don’t know what they’re talking about diminishes the power of the message they’re conveying.

      Ha ha. Yes, to use Weenie’s words, the 5:2 saving diet attempt was pathetic. It’s such a shame that the show compounded non-believers more than inspire them.

  • The Rhino

    Reply Reply 14th July 2017

    Theres a lesson in here somewhere – tell everyone about it *after* you’ve watched it.

    You’d have known to keep quiet that way

    Excellent diversity of presenters, one lesbian, one disabled and one ethnic minority but that’s as far as my plaudits can travel..

    The programme doesn’t really warrant any further discussion

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 17th July 2017

      Oh Rhino, I do enjoy your spiky comments.

      Is that the lesson from all of this?

      The show was a huge disappointment, but my posts were created to entertain as much as anything else. By putting my name, face and details out there to the world I thought it might be obvious that I don’t fear looking the fool. I’m ginger, bald and wear glasses….. it’s kind of my thing!

      I would not have “kept quiet” having known what was coming. It’s just not my style. It sparked conversation, I have some idea on how to help others and it made for some fun and at the very least.

  • Claire

    Reply Reply 15th July 2017

    Wait, does this mean the show was a one off? I thought this would be a series as there is so much to cover and so many people to talk to…

    And my colleague spoke of it and she thinks FIRE is a sad existence. (Doesn’t help that she watched live and i just watched it on catch up) I was a bit appalled at the presenters attempt of the 5.2 diet. He goes straight into not spending and implies he has nothing in his cupboards to make lunch. It focused on the going without rather than the planning and organising involved.

    It’s a shame, because everyone who appeared who had accomplished their goal looked so healthy and happy!

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 17th July 2017

      Currently yes. They said they hoped it would go onto a full series but I’m not so sure anyone got anything from that show.

      It seemed to compound the nay sayer’s opinions and disappoint the converted.

      The show’s lack of information and value on the topic has motivated me to do a much better job of highlighting what I do, and how to start as a complete beginner. For that, I’m very grateful.

  • theFIREstarter

    Reply Reply 16th July 2017

    Hi Huw.

    Great to see your mug on the box and also that you sorted out your own domain. Blog is looking good!

    Hope you don’t mind but this is an edited cut n paste of my comments on the show I left on TEA’s blog:

    I think we were maybe expecting too much here.
    Happiness is reality minus expectations and all that!

    I mostly enjoyed the show but yea it was light on content on how to actually retire by forty. Didn’t get the bit about the guys “investing” in the property share. Unless they were planning on doing some Geo-arbing once they sold up and banked their profits then they would just have to buy somewhere else to live and be no better off because the whole of the housing market would have risen as well. But it was a good demo of how to get on the housing ladder I guess.

    The potato guy did say he worked 8 hours a week, so I guess he’s got his process down to be very efficient! If people are paying him for this then I would assume they find it valuable and so he is not just making money for the sake of it, he’s providing a valuable service (to idiots, I guess you could argue, but who are we to judge 🙂 )

    Shame we saw Huw’s face but they didn’t feature him at all.

    I’m looking forward to productions churning out some far better content on how to retire by 40…!

    Watch out Martin Lewis 😉

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 17th July 2017

      Hey TFS,

      I don’t mind the copy and paste job all. Why repeat the same sentiment? How very efficient of you!

      Your comment on happiness is very accurate. I got excited, what can I say! I had hoped for a little more, but of course, you’re right. You shouldn’t really expect anything to happen that’s 100% out of your control. Despite my slating of the show, I appreciate the poor job they did, because it’s motivated me to do a much better job (which won’t be difficult), for which I’m grateful.

      I have nothing but respect for what the potato guy did/does. I think it’s awesome, truly! I just think with a limited amount of time to focus on the topic of FIRE, it was a poor choice. The concept of supply and demand was probably lost for most people, as they were awe struck but it’s simplicity. In fact, my friend said he was expecting the potato to be carved in some cool design, and was surprised when he saw that he just wrote on the spud with a black marker. My post was not a dig at the entrepreneur. I have nothing but respect for his business, I just wish they had focussed their time on something less comical.

      Ideally, I would have liked to have seen strategies everybody could follow, like simple saving and investing strategies.

      Ha ha. Yes indeed, watch out Martin Lewis! The ginger man is coming for you! 😉

  • Faye

    Reply Reply 17th July 2017

    Oh my god, YES! Exactly everything you wrote above. YES!

    Firstly, I recorded that program and watched it last night. Bit of my background is I was bought up by poor parents but with a seriously thrifty, albeit investment-suspicious mum. Result being I’m now better off than almost all of my peers but I’m not really well-off, I’m hugely interested in money as a tool to self empowerment and personal control, but I really am clueless when it comes to investing. I know how to save/compare/spend well etc. but now i have a bit of money I am desperate for an Idiots Guide in How to make your Money Grow! I watched this program last night and was left almost gagging for more. It was just a tease.

    But if it helps you sleep well, last night was the first time I have ever come across the suggestion of x25, 75%, 7 years, etc. Despite me shouting ‘What? Why? Why 7 years? WHY 25 TIMES???!!’ at the telly and sitting waiting for follow up article that never came, I was on google as soon as it finished and after a few clicks found myself on the MMM site where there was a handy chart telling me how long I would have to work for if I saved 5, 10, 15, 20% etc etc. It was the most powerful thing I think I’ve ever seen. I even woke the poor husband up to show him, haha! Today I cancelled the booking we made last week to have a log burner fitted for £3k (I’m embarrassed even writing that), figured out how I can grow another row of lettuce in one of my tubs and discovered these types websites. I am hugely excited but quite nervous for my next few weeks and months, I know I have a lot to learn, a leap of faith to take and a lot to loose. But I have SO much to gain.

    My rambling point being, it was not a lost opportunity. As with everything, if it interests you, you will investigate it yourself. Sometimes all you need is that magic bean of information to spark an idea, a suggestion, of something. Judging by what I’ve read in the comments section of most of the newspapers reviews of this program, it seems almost everyone thinks this is beyond their grasp anyway and that early retirement is not for ‘real’ people. Each to their own, but I’ll be making sure that I retire early, now I have seen that it is possible. Thank you for this site and the others like them, for sharing. Now I’ve got to go off and do a LOT of reading!

    Maybe if Mic had retired earlier he wouldn’t have found that dead body…

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 18th July 2017

      Hi Faye,

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience of watching the show. It’s great to hear you had such a positive experience. I’m excited for you!

      I still remember the time I came across that very same post, and it sounds just like your own experience. It was like turning on a switch in my head, suddenly you’re considering all of these crazy possibilities that didn’t seem possible a few seconds ago.

      I just want to say Kudos on the immediate action taking too. Yes, there are a lot of things to learn to help you reach FIRE, but none of which is as important as your mindset and determination to get the thing done (IMO). It seems like you have that in spades!

      Faye, I’m so pleased you took something from the show. It sounds like you might look back on it in years to come and thank it for igniting a significant change in your life.

      If you have any questions about FIRE or anything related, feel free to drop me an email, I’d be more than happy to help.

      Please keep me posted on your progress either way!

      PS: Your last line made me literally laugh out loud in the true LOL sense. 🙂

      • weenie

        Reply Reply 18th July 2017

        “…after a few clicks found myself on the MMM site…”

        And so it begins for Faye! 🙂

        I’m so glad that at least one person was inspired by the programme. Good luck with your journey to early retirement!

        • Maree

          Reply Reply 1st September 2017

          I also have been inspired by it. Yes, I agree fully with all your criticisms, but like Faye, I went looking for more info, found loads of great blogs, and started reading. A LOT!

          Long story short, I’ve now got a company pension (I trade as a Ltd Co, so my dividends are going into a pension tax-free, rather than being subject to the swingeing new tax, and they’ll be reducing my corp tax too), I’ve emptied several bank accounts (I too am a fan of MSE) to max out my ISA allowance, and I’ve started an S&S ISA for my husband too, which we’ll be paying into monthly. Early days yet for the ISAs, but the pension (on a fairly cautious portfolio) is returning about 6%, which I’m pretty happy with; better than the banks.

          As the saying goes, bad publicity is better than none!

    • Playing with Fire

      Reply Reply 19th July 2017

      I’m so happy to hear this. My concern was that the programme wasn’t compelling enough to inspire/convert anyone. I agree that the 25x rule segment was cut very short (from TEA’s description of it I bet they were also filming for hours), but I’m delighted that it was enough to inspire Faye to go and look for more.

  • Faye

    Reply Reply 20th July 2017

    Thanks all for the kind welcome!

    Huw, I will probably be emailing you very soon! Thank you for your kind offer of help.

    Weenie, I discovered your page the other night via FireStarter. I don’t think we live so far away from each other, so it’s nice to know there is another woman doing this in around about my age bracket not too far away!

    This has certainly been an interesting few days. Owing to full time work and a long commute I haven’t had as much time to sit and read as I’d like, but I know this is not a race and I need time to adjust and absorb what I’m discovering. But there is definitely a shift occurring inside my imagination, of seeing a different future than the one I’d assumed. I’m surprised how quickly I’m adapting to the idea of early financial independence. My reaction to the pension age rise yesterday was one of nonchalance (I’m 38 so I’m not affected (yet) but my husband is) because I already know I’m not waiting til anywhere near 67 or 68 to retire (barring all disasters – touching wood!).

    Not only that but my husband and I have been discussing this and we both agree that when we look back to our early years together when we were forced to live more frugally we actually appreciated things so much more. We’re looking forward to re-creating an imaginative, creative way of living and enjoying the challenges of FIRE.

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 22nd July 2017

      You’re welcome Faye!

      I’m so excited for you both. I found the initial transition into living a more focussed life to be very exciting. There’s so much information to divulge and so many ways to improve your life and finances.

      It’s also encouraging to hear that your husband is supportive. There are plenty of people who struggle to relate to their partner in regard to finances, and it makes the overall challenge that much harder.

      Best of luck and please keep us posted!

    • theFIREstarter

      Reply Reply 30th August 2017

      Some people (like about 95% of people at least) do not get FI and some people do.

      Faye – you totally get it!

      That first 3-6 months excitement period is awesome, enjoy devouring tonnes of information, learning and growing.

      Great to hear the TV show got through to at least one person out there… 🙂

  • The IG

    Reply Reply 20th July 2017

    Disappointed not to see you on TV, Huw 🙁 Recognized your face and fast forwarded after TEA appeared to see what you were going to say – couldn’t understand how I missed you, till I read your post above. Although looking at the rest of the programme, anything worthwhile you said, ,probably would have been diluted and may have actually made you more irritated at the producers! You thoughts/experience and achievements merit a programme to yourself- hope you make it and it influences people. I actually wrote an ever so slightly tongue in cheek script on how I felt it could have be done – – you are welcome to use bits if you wish 😉

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 22nd July 2017

      Thanks IG!

  • Mrschai

    Reply Reply 3rd September 2017

    Finally saw this show on catchup and was so disappointed. It was shallow stuff and just involved each presenter looking shocked, surprised or some other emoji expression. I had hoped to learn something or at least be inspired instead it made FI seem like a fad that’s for other people not ordinary people. The fact they only made a half hour programme should have given the game away really, FI needs a series.

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 4th September 2017

      Yes, it was a shame Mrs Chai. It’s not an easy task to cover FI in 30 mins, but I’d still back myself to do a better job with their resources. It failed to educate, inspire and entertain in my opinion.

  • We are the family they showcased doing the 5:2 money diet. I was slightly frustrated by how it was portrayed, especially by the presenter who “tried” it. They filmed for an entire day about lots of different aspects of our journey, but showed very little.

    I thought the programme would be a chance to make more people aware of FI and maybe inspire others to try, but it really didn’t come across well. Most people don’t want to start their own company and indeed shouldn’t! There are lots of routes to financial independence and they could have done so much more.

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 7th March 2018

      Hi Nicola,

      Thanks for reaching out. I can imagine your frustration. The presenters lame, not funny, and not entertaining attempt didn’t add value to anyone, including himself.

      Likewise, I thought the program might help some of my friends and family understand what I do and why but it just compounded their views.

      I totally agree that they could have taken several different angles.

      I wish you all the best in your quest for FIRE. Keep up the good work!

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