Episode 061 – Enjoying the road to FI | Michael from Playing with FIRE

Episode 061 – Enjoying the road to FI | Michael from Playing with FIRE

Hello good people! Today we interview Michael from Playing With FIRE: he’s originally from New Zealand and now living in Ireland with his wife and three kids, and we’ll be talking about his very interesting take on FI, focusing on the journey more than the goal, and the purposes of doing it all in the end. In doing so, we will touch many other topics including, going part time, side hustles and much more. Enjoy!

We also talk about:

  • Portfolio distributions
  • Taxes in Ireland
  • Vanguard ITF
  • Healthcare in Ireland
  • Budgeting and micro-managing
  • Kids and time management

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Going part time as a way to free up resources

Michael has always worked as a freelance web developer and moved to Ireland in 2011, in a time of great changes: being able to increase his hourly rates eventually allowed him to save a big part of his earnings, and in 2017 he came across the FI movement. In 2018 he has been able to save an impressive 40k euros, and a key move in doing it has been going part time: that freed up a lot of time he could use to focus on side hustles – like a hockey coaching business – and portfolio management. He is also making his own websites, after having spent so much time building other people’s ideas!

A semi-retirement lifestyle to gain the passion back

As a full time freelancer Michael came to a point where he didn’t actually enjoy what he was doing any more. The choice of moving to part time provided him with the ability to manage his time and choose how much time to devote to web developing, thus putting the passion back in his work. Instead of focusing on the numbers to reach FI, for the last two months he has set up an effective semi-retirement scheme, working a couple of hours a day and making work come second after his family and passions.

Time freedom as the ultimate goal of financial independence

In Michael’s view the main purpose of the FI movement is time freedom: time is the most valuable resource, and having FI as a goal lets you rethink all your life in light of having the most freedom in deciding how to spend your time. By carefully budgeting expenses it’s possible to evaluate the resources already in our possession, and the decision to go part time again helped Michael shape his days in a different and more meaningful way by prioritizing expenses – for example building a ‘Luxury List’ – and carefully allocating money.

Let us know what you think about the Interview in the comments or our Facebook Group!

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One thought on “Episode 061 – Enjoying the road to FI | Michael from Playing with FIRE

  1. Michael talks a lot of sense, and I admire his courage in pursuing FI. There’s one item where I don’t believe he has the full facts, and that’s in relation to Irish income taxes. By European standards, these are generally low, especially for those earning around the industrial average. A salary of 30k was mentioned during the interview, in Ireland you’ll actually receive 85% net into your pocket, that’s after all income and social contributions have been deducted. There’s more information here from a fellow blogger: https://mrsmoneyhacker.com/why-irelands-tax-system-gets-too-much-flack/

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