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My name is Rachel and I am 40 years old and a later life FIRE convert. Whilst many do get into the movement in their 20s or 30s, I am a little more mature.

I got myself in debt at university, eager to be a proper grown up and thinking it was exciting and glamourous I stupidly got a Barclaycard. It didn’t take me long to spend the £600 limit on clothes, cds, take out and I can’t remember what. It was only about 7 or so years later than I was paying off the minimum payment when I realised that I couldn’t recall what I had spent the money on and was still writing cheques for the minimum payment of a debt that would take me another decade or two to clear at this rate and I hadn’t used the card in years.

It felt like an epiphany moment and that is when I grew some common sense with money. I was living on my own in a two-bedroom flat and a mortgage that was scarily large. In reality, I probably should never have purchased it. But it was too late to offload it without loosing a lot of money.

I was looking for online financial advice and I stumbled across Money Saving Expert (MSE). One of the best stumbles in my life and I remain thankful to Martin Lewis and the posters providing advice and supporting one another on the forum.

I did my statement of affairs (a detailed list of incoming money and all expenses) and it didn’t look very good. I felt sick seeing it all on one page, credit card debit, overdrafts, a sofa loan and the outstanding mortgage, then my monthly bills and on the other side, my salary. I knew I was one emergency away from things going wrong.

Inspired my reading the advice on MSE, I decluttered, selling my old textbooks and childhood toys and all the money raised went straight to the Barclaycard. I managed to get a lodger in pretty quickly, so it didn’t take long to pay that off and to this day, I have an irrational fear of trusting myself with credit cards.

My £2500 overdraft took a lot longer, but I paid it off and a very frugal celebration happened.

Shortly after this I met my now husband Mr Later Life Convert and moved in together and let out the flat as I couldn’t sell it.

We bought a beautiful old house in a new area and relocated. The house needed a lot of work doing to it and most of that we did ourselves. Going back to my MSE roots, I became a mortgage free wannabe and after a long slog, we managed to clear the mortgage. Shortly after a promotion was offered to Mr LLC and we moved again. We could have easily obtained another mortgage, but we decided to stay without a mortgage and bought a house with outbuildings that we could convert to holiday lets and give us a retirement strategy.

We are currently in the process of doing a lot of work on the main house and the future holiday let and both holding down full-time jobs.

This blog was born out of a realisation that I do not want to wait until I am 68 to retire and draw my state pension. I want to retire earlier and through more online research I discovered the cult that is Mr Money Moustache and have found a new way of financial thinking that suits me. I have paid off debt, paid off a mortgage, saved a significant sum and am now concentrating on two things- increasing my pension pot and getting my holiday let ready.

I hope that this blogs inspires others in the way other people have inspired me.

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