We’ve got a pretty mind blowing episode for you today with Ken from The Humble Penny! We talk about Ken’s amazing personal FI journey as someone who literally started from 0, we focus on personal development and he gives us some great actionable advice to reach life optimisation.
Who is Ken?
Ken is 34 years old, married and with 2 sons. He lives outside London and works as a CFO for an investment firm in London. But this has not always been the case. Ken actually has an immigrant background. 20 years ago, his family immigrated to London from Nigeria and they had to rebuild their life from 0. This is important because these beginning hardships have built the person Ken is now, and he has an amazingly inspiring story to tell. Read on 😉
Ken is already Financially Independent
He discovered the concept of financial freedom in 2008 at a Rich Dad Poor Dad seminar. He met his wife there, and they both set of on the journey to reaching FI.
But it really all started 20 years ago when his family arrived in the UK. The first 10 years were all about surviving. Ken went through school and university and then became a chartered accountant. The next 10 years were about reaching FI, and he took an interesting multi-faceted approach. He explores side hustles, is minimising his debt and continuously investing. But the biggest piece of it all is self development (more on this later).
So what do they do all day? (Mathias’ famous question)
Mary, Ken’s wife, runs a nursery and party business. Ken still works at the investment firm since he is partly owner of the business and enjoys working there. He also runs The Humble Penny, a great blog on Financial Joy that has appeared on the BBC and numerous other cool places. They invest in the stock market, but a big part of their portfolio is real estate.
Ken says proudly that he is not interested in retiring early. In fact he loves work, and believes it has important meaning. So he is currently at FIOR (Financial Independence Optional Retirement). They don’t work purely because of money, since they know they can easily opt out. The have the option to exercise choice, and that’s what really FI is all about.
Why is Personal Development so important?
A big part of the FI world is personal development. This is because FI is not just about the numbers, it’s also about life optimisation. You’re trying to get to this number because you want choices, you want a change of lifestyle, you want to live the best life you can.
So this is why it’s so important for Ken to keep working on himself. He tells us his focus is to:
- Educate himself formally
He trained as a chartered accountant and then got an MBA. He wanted to be more confident, to be able to take bigger risks, to have acquired knowledge and learning.
- Educate himself informally
This means entrepreneurship.This means surrounding yourself with people who support you, who you want to learn from. Ken sought out mentors and coaches. And most important of all, he read books (we geek out on this a little later).
Another big part of his personal development journey has been fear. Fear paralyses people, it stops them from doing what they truly want. With fearlessness (so less fear) comes wealth creation and huge opportunities. You’re scared of taking the leap of faith. You’re scared of committing to FI because you have a low income. You’re scared because you don’t know where to get started.
If you have a growth mindset, the rest will come.
Self-education = constant growth
Because remember, it’s not about the goal, it’s about the journey.
How can I self-educate myself?
Getting into the juicy bits, we ask Ken what are some things he does everyday to keep growing and improving himself. He gives us some fantastic advice:
Some extremely clever person took 60 years of their life to become successful and learn some amazing lessons. They then write a book. And you get to read that book in a weekend and for £10. Put into action, experiment, keep that design mindset. Reading is Ken’s biggest life hack.
- A gratitude journal
Ken writes down 5 things he’s grateful for every day before going to sleep. He says this makes him feel buzzy the next day, because he knows how to appreciate what he has. Inspiring stuff.
- Don’t watch TV
His family used to watch quite a lot of TV and spend time on social media. Then Ken, tried out an app where he pretended to pay himself an hourly rate and control how many hours he was spending on every activity. You guessed it; he was spending way too much time in front of screens, and now he never turns the TV on at all. He decided he wanted to move forward in life, that TV is really a waste of time.
- Eat and sleep well
He focuses on eating well, on eating healthy and making sure to keep his body healthy. A healthy mind cannot give its best without a healthy body.
As Ken works on being grateful, he always tries to seek the best in people, and works towards positive relationships. Whenever he meets someone new, he tries to take away one important thing from them, their superpower, something that inspires him. Surrounding himself with a positive environment means he can keep growing and working on being the best version of himself – as corny as that mind sound, it couldn’t be more true 😉
The Humble Penny is Ken’s blog on creating Financial Joy in people’s lives’. He wants people to think of money from a happy place. For him, FI is simply a pit stop on a money journey. First you need to save, budget and invest, and you want to be feeling happy on every stop.
Before he started his site, he wrote down 100 people he would love to meet one day that would help get his site out there. And it seemed to have worked; his website has been featured on Channel 5, BBC Radio and the Daily Mail.
His aim with the website is to take people through a transformation. He offers courses, coaching and tons of articles to help people get to where they want to be financially (both pro bono and paid). He is also big on giving to others, on being straightforward and genuine. As I said before, some pretty mind blowing stuff, we recommend listening in to get the full force of it 😉
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