Mrs Mummypenny Talks Podcast Ep 3 What is Financial Freedom? With Faith Archer


In this episode of Mrs. Mummy Penny Talks, Lynn Beattie interviews Faith Archer, a financial journalist, about the concept of financial freedom. They discuss the definitions of financial freedom and how it relates to happiness, as well as the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement. They also explore the difference between saving and investing, and the advantages of pensions and ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts) for achieving financial freedom. The conversation emphasises the importance of starting early, managing expenses, and making informed investment decisions. The conversation explores the concept of financial freedom and the different factors that contribute to it. It discusses the importance of diversifying one’s assets, including savings, investments, pensions, and property. The limitations of relying solely on property as a source of wealth are highlighted, such as the challenges of selling a house or borrowing against it. The conversation also touches on the impact of major life events, such as divorce and having children, on one’s financial situation. The role of financial education and upbringing in shaping money mindsets is discussed, as well as the importance of making conscious choices about spending and saving. The conversation concludes with a discussion on retirement planning and the factors to consider when aiming for financial freedom in later years.

Keywordsfinancial freedom, happiness, FIRE movement, saving, investing, pensions, ISAs, financial freedom, diversification, assets, property, savings, investments, pensions, major life events, financial education, money mindset, spending, saving, retirement planning


  • Financial freedom is the ability to afford choices and live without the stress of money worries.
  • Money is not the same as happiness, but it provides the freedom to pursue what makes you happy.
  • The FIRE movement aims to achieve financial independence and retire early by creating a gap between income and expenses and investing wisely.
  • Saving involves putting money in a bank, while investing involves putting money into companies or funds to earn a higher return.
  • Pensions and ISAs are long-term savings vehicles that offer tax advantages and can contribute to financial freedom.
  • Starting early, managing expenses, and making informed investment decisions are key to achieving financial freedom. Financial freedom is achieved by diversifying assets and not relying solely on property.
  • Major life events, such as divorce and having children, can have a significant impact on one’s financial situation.
  • Financial education and open conversations about money are crucial in shaping money mindsets.
  • Conscious choices about spending and saving can lead to a more fulfilling and financially secure life.
  • Retirement planning should consider factors such as life expectancy, living expenses, and potential care costs.


  • Understanding Saving and Investing
  • The Advantages of Pensions and ISAs Achieving Financial Freedom through Diversification
  • The Impact of Major Life Events on Financial Stability

Sound Bites

  • “Money cannot buy you happiness, but it can set you free from money worries.”
  • “Financial freedom is having enough money to never have to do a paid job again.”
  • “Financial independence is about creating a gap between what you earn and what you spend.”
  • “Everything you own. Everything you own.”
  • “Savings and investments, it’s so much easier to get your hands on the money.”
  • “Big things happen that can impact the money you’ve got.”


00:00Introduction and Background

03:28Exploring the Meaning of Financial Freedom

11:45The FIRE Movement and Early Retirement

21:53The Advantages of Pensions and ISAs

25:43Keys to Achieving Financial Freedom

26:45Achieving Financial Freedom through Diversification

29:29The Impact of Major Life Events on Financial Stability

32:12The Role of Financial Education in Shaping Money Mindsets

35:09Conscious Choices: Spending and Saving for a Fulfilling Life

41:48Retirement Planning: Factors to Consider for Financial Freedom

Lynn Beattie (00:02.227)
Welcome back everybody to the latest episode of Mrs. Mummy Penny Talks. We are onto episode three now and my guest this week, as you can see if you’re watching this, is Faith Archer of Much More With Less. Blog, Instagram, but predominantly, Faith is a very, very fabulous financial journalist. So welcome to the podcast, Faith.

Faith Archer (00:26.126)
I’m really glad to be here, excited for this new series.

Lynn Beattie (00:30.291)
very excited. So I got you on early in the in the season because so I’ve come up with big questions for this podcast season, and we’re going to be talking about what is financial freedom. And I wanted to get you on sort of early in the season, because you’re one of the wisest people I know. And I often refer to you when I need help with with with

my sort of big financial decisions or even, you know, when it came to I was in loads of debt and I needed to come up with a budget, you were the one that helped me sort of go through that budget with a fine tooth comb. And you’ve proofread articles I’ve written for newspapers and you were the first person to read my book. Like you’ve had a huge impact on Mrs. Mummy Penny and the last, well, we’ve probably known each other for the whole 11 years of Mrs. Mummy Penny. So yeah, that’s why.

I wanted you on because I appreciate what you do for me. I feel that I don’t maybe help you as much as you help me, but there we go.

Faith Archer (01:35.725)
there it’s definitely a two -way street

Lynn Beattie (01:38.163)
Yeah, yeah. And we’re really good friends. So we’ve done a lot of work together, mostly for Pension B. I’m sure we’ve done other stuff together in the past. But yeah, Faith, tell us a bit about you and sort of your background and what you do now.

Faith Archer (01:59.66)
Well, from a work perspective, I’m a personal finance journalist. I’ve been writing about money now for, I think it is getting on for 20 years. I used to be deputy personal finance editor at the Daily Telegraph, but then I went freelance where then I had my kids. And so now I do a mix of stuff and some of the places you’ll see me most regularly are in yours magazine. And I’ve also been doing,

Lynn Beattie (02:10.803)

Faith Archer (02:29.643)
I also do pieces for Still for the Daily Telegraph, some stuff recently in magazines like Woman in a Home and Woman’s Own. And as you mentioned, I’ve got my blog, Much More with Less, all about moving to the country, living on less and making the most of it. Not as active as you are, but I do do some stuff on social media. And I think it’s fair to say that I’m very passionate about money and money matters and what a difference it can make to people’s lives.

Lynn Beattie (02:57.999)
Yeah, yeah. And so the episode that people have listened to last week was recorded with Mr. Money Jar and Timmy, Timmy Merriman Johnson. And we talked about what is happiness. So I thought it would be really good to link what is happiness into what is financial freedom. Because as Timmy and I talked about last week, money isn’t happiness at all. But money gives you choice and money can give you freedom.

Faith Archer (03:28.457)
Yes, I would agree with that. I absolutely believe money cannot buy you happiness, but I think it’s fair to say if you don’t have money, and particularly if you have substantial debts, then that can be a very, very stressful and unhappy situation. And if you are able to manage your money, build up some money behind you, then I think that can set you free to do so many more things in your life when you’re not held back and shackled by money worries.

Lynn Beattie (03:59.187)
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Exactly. And I think we may well meander around subjects apart from the questions that I’ve sent to you. But I just think that we’ve done a lot of so the whole of season five of Mrs. Mummy Penny Talks was actually co hosted with you. And we went through a lot of the basics of personal finance. So what I’d love for

If people are listening to this and are thinking, what Faith just said there, I need to go back to budgeting. I need to go back to paying off my debt. Then just go back to season five. There’s only seven episodes to work through and they’re like 30 minutes each, aren’t they Faith? We did it very succinctly and we recorded them in 2023. So it’s still very relevant. It’s still cost of living and they are just packed full of tips on all kinds of day -to -day living.

I think the first five episodes were on things like budgeting, family money saving, paying off debt. And then we also did an episode on saving and pensions and investments. So yeah, there’s some really, really brilliant content back there to refer to. Just to get a plug in for season five as well. Because I think one of the episodes that…

I think the investments and pension episode that we recorded, which was the very last episode, has done really, really well. It’s had a lot of listens on Spotify and all the podcasts and platforms. So yeah, that one worked, which is very positive because season five was sponsored by Pension B. So it’s good for them. So yes, let’s go on to financial freedom. So.

Faith, what is your definition of financial freedom?

Faith Archer (05:54.343)
To me, financial freedom is the ability that you can afford to make choices. It’s having enough of a financial safety net that you can, it sets you free so you don’t have to stay in the job that you hate or the relationship that isn’t working or the home that you don’t like living in. So it’s not like it’s, or I’m comfortable because I have this bank balance.

but it’s what it can enable you to do.

Lynn Beattie (06:28.211)
Yeah, so I’ve got a different definition of financial freedom. So that’s really interesting to hear that from you. And we’re going to have different definitions because different people do. But my definition of financial freedom was having enough money so I never have to do a paid job again. So it’s not necessarily having an amount of money. Well, no, it is having an amount of money.

Faith Archer (06:48.389)

Lynn Beattie (06:56.883)
in the bank or in my pension. It’s not having a mortgage, it’s not having any debts, but it’s having enough of a pot that’s going to provide me with that income I need for the rest of my life. So with your definition, I think I’ve already got to financial freedom because I have that ultimate choice to do pretty much anything. But if I look at my definition, my financial freedom is…

years down the line because yeah I still have to pay for a house and my children still live with me.

Faith Archer (07:33.988)
It sounds like yours is linked to retirement because you’re talking about having enough money that you could walk away from work.

Lynn Beattie (07:37.619)

Lynn Beattie (07:43.763)
It’s not, no, it’s not linked to retirement. I don’t like using that word either. It’s linked to when I don’t have to draw money from a company. So I suppose it is retirement, but I don’t want to call it retirement.

Faith Archer (07:58.787)
Because the reason I’m drawing that distinction is because there is the fire movement, the financial independence, retire early movement. And the whole point of that, the retire early part, is that you have saved up enough money that you can just walk away from any form of employment and potentially walk away far earlier than most of us would choose to retire. You know, it’s like the…

Lynn Beattie (08:05.395)

Faith Archer (08:24.419)
the age when you can get your state pension in the UK at the moment is 67, so it’s being able to walk away from work way before that. But to me, I feel financially free right now, even though I’m still working, and it’s because I’m able to do a job that I enjoy. I do still have deadlines and things I have to do, but it’s work that I enjoy and I have enough time to be there for my kids and to do other things.

Lynn Beattie (08:38.867)

Lynn Beattie (08:49.331)

Faith Archer (08:52.483)
that I want to do with my time. I’m not chained to this job that I hate. I’m not working all hours of God’s sense. I fundamentally, I can sleep at night. I’ve managed to have enough of a financial safety net that I’m not stressed about how on earth to pay the next bill.

Lynn Beattie (08:58.035)

Lynn Beattie (09:09.555)
Yeah, you’ve totally flipped it on its head. You’ve made me think about it really differently because, yeah, I’m in the same situation as you. Like, we both love our jobs. Like, what can be better than empowering people to be better sort of financially and then mental health -wise because there’s such a link between money and mental health? I still have a mortgage to pay.

which is very big, but I can afford to pay it. So I guess, yeah, you’re right. Like I’ve got financial freedom to do the holidays I want to, like my children want for nothing. Yeah, that’s good. I like that. Okay. So yeah, you touched on the FIRE movement and I’d like to have a little bit of a debate about FIRE. So FIRE stands for, as you said,

Faith Archer (09:57.856)
Bye bye.

Lynn Beattie (10:07.027)
financial independence, retire early. And you often hear about these dramatic stories of people in their like, 30s, maybe not 30s, in their 40s, who are like, I’ve saved enough money to walk away from my career. But if I really honest, it feels like a massively unrealistic expectation. Because who is going to get to the point of being my age, 47?

and have financial freedom if they’ve had things happen to them in their life that end up costing you money. So like having debt, overspending, having a job that pays you an average UK salary, having a family, or as I said that, getting divorced, maybe getting ill, like all of these things, they’re not, they might happen. The likelihood is, is something like that is gonna happen.

and which massively impacts on your sort of financial journey, doesn’t it? So I really struggle with the fire movement.

Faith Archer (11:15.263)
You’re right. I mean, I absolutely take your point that if you are going to raise enough money that you can quit your job and know that your money is not going to run out, that is a very large sum of money that you might need to put together. And there are a lot of life events that can derail that process. Yes, I entirely accept that. But in terms of how to achieve that kind of financial independence, how to achieve financial freedom, then…

It’s basically about trying to create a gap between what you earn, what you spend, and then when you’ve created a difference between those two, when you’ve got some money that you can save, making sure that you invest that money to get the very best return that you can. So the levers that you can pull, you can either work out how to get a better paid job or overtime or…

you know, bring in sources of passive income or have a rental property, whatever it is, you can work out how to up your income. You can work out how to cut your costs. And that’s where, as you were saying, I think the previous series of Mrs. Money, Penny Talks has some brilliant practical tips on how to do that. But part of that is making the call about how much money you need to live on to be happy. Because when I talk about financial freedom and being financially free to do what I want, I…

Lynn Beattie (12:34.963)

Faith Archer (12:41.021)
that isn’t actually involving Caribbean holidays every other month and the Porsches and Michelin -starred restaurants the whole time. If you do want genuine financial freedom to be able to support yourself, if you can be happy living on a lower sum of money so that your costs are lower, then partly you can, it’s a double whammy, it’s got two benefits, partly you can create a bigger gap between your spending and earning.

Lynn Beattie (12:59.667)

Faith Archer (13:10.844)
so that you can put more money into investments, raise the money quicker to be financially free. But also it means you don’t need as much money to live on in future. You don’t have to save up so much because your living costs are fundamentally lower. So it’s a choice. And obviously the amount of money that you would need to be financially free is gonna be radically different if your living costs are say 20 ,000 pounds a year versus 60 ,000 pounds a year.

Lynn Beattie (13:21.075)

Lynn Beattie (13:27.411)
Yeah. Yeah.

Lynn Beattie (13:40.531)
Yeah. Yeah. And also, the age that you start saving and investing has a massive impact on the eventual size of the pot, doesn’t it? Because if, so in my, use me as an example. So in my twenties, I didn’t have children, but, and I had a really well paid job because I was an accountant, you know, working in the city for a bank and then test goes. So I could have, I could have,

As you say, reduced my lifestyle, not gone on all those holidays, not bought all those designer handbags. And I could have built a nice gap between my, my incomeings and my outgoings. Then I could have say, invested 500 pounds a month. We need to talk, we need to go on to talk about savings and investing and pensions as well. But yeah, I could have invested 500 pound a month.

And if I’d started doing that when I started working at 22, I was working for a bank for like, it’s just annoying that I didn’t do this, but I would have built up so much money, wouldn’t I, throughout my 20s. And because I’d done it in my 20s, you’re then benefiting from the wonders of compound interest or compound investing over those years. So suddenly at the age of 47, if I’d built up a pot of…

let’s say £20 ,000 or £30 ,000 in my 20s, that would be worth a lot of money now in my 40s, nearly 50.

Faith Archer (15:18.745)
I think it’s very true that time is the superpower behind financial freedom. The earlier you can start putting money away, the more chance it has to grow. And then anything you earn, earning interest on top of interest, dividends on top of dividends, the power of compounding will make it so much bigger.

And the other tool is the percentage of your salary that you can save. That’s back to the gap between incomeings and outgoings. Lynn, I don’t know if you’ve actually read anything by Mr. Money Mustache. He’s an American financial independence blogger, very good. A very strong and individual voice, Mr. Money Mustache. But he does have a very popular post called the shockingly simple maths of…

Lynn Beattie (15:50.931)

Lynn Beattie (16:00.276)
Yes. Yes.

Faith Archer (16:13.336)
early retirement and making the point that the higher the proportion of your income that you save, the quicker you will reach financial independence. And yes, partly he’s saying if you’re saving half your income, which is enormously more than the majority of people do, then you can reach financial independence in I think it’s 17 years. But more realistically, he had a figure that if you can just up your saving from say 10 % of your income,

Lynn Beattie (16:22.963)
Yeah. Yeah.

Faith Archer (16:41.624)
to 15 % of your income, then you can cut your time to retirement by eight years. And so it doesn’t necessarily have to be an all or nothing, living on gruel and baked beans in a cold room. Even if you can make, just starting saving at all and then increasing the amount you save every time you get a pay rise and chucking extra money into it, all of that really can add up.

Lynn Beattie (16:54.259)


Faith Archer (17:10.039)
over time to make a big difference.

Lynn Beattie (17:10.547)
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So shall we? I think, I think as I think we’re talking about a lot of words there that people might not understand. So if we go back to basics with, so let’s say you’ve got to a nice even keel, where you’ve not got any credit card debt. And you’ve got you’ve got a little bit of an emergency funds in place, you’ve got like, one or two or three months worth of essential expenses sat in.

cash in your emergency savings, which is actually a really difficult position to get to. I recognize for a lot of people. And do you know what? I just say build an emergency fund with what you’re comfortable with. Because when I was paying off debt, I had like a thousand pounds emergency fund. I’ve now got a bigger emergency fund because I have more space between my income and my outgoing. So I’ve built up a bigger emergency fund. But…

then you’re in the position where you can start, well, let’s talk about investments, let’s talk about pensions. I mean, it’s not one before the other, because they both sort of run alongside each other. But when should a person sort of look at start looking at investing? And what does it mean?

Faith Archer (18:27.477)

Faith Archer (18:31.733)
The difference between saving and investment. Saving is when you just put your money in a bank and the bank pays you interest. Brilliant. So you’re earning money on your savings rather than having debt where you’ve borrowed somebody, borrowed money from somebody else and then you’re having to pay them interest. So all of a sudden your money is making you money. That’s brilliant. And as you say, it’s perfect for emergency savings, money that you might need in a hurry.

investing is when you take your money and rather than just handing it to a bank you invest in companies. You give it to companies to try and make some money and the point about this is it does have more risk than just sticking it in a bank because if you invest in one particular company and that company goes bust your money is gone. But…

Lynn Beattie (19:23.411)
Yeah. And that has happened several, several times. Like…

Faith Archer (19:26.516)
Yeah, you know, there are companies that go bust. But what you can do is, so that might happen, say if you bought shares in Marks and Spencers or British Airways, you know, these companies, you can buy a chunk of the company as the company does well, they pay you money called dividends, and you would hope that the value of your shares, the value of your stake goes up. Another option if you want to invest is to invest in what’s called a fund. And with the fund,

they would have gone out and invested in lots of companies. So all of a sudden you’re not just investing in Marks and Spencer’s, but you’re investing in Marks and Spencer’s and British Airways and Next and BP maybe. So you can have a fund that’s literally got hundreds of companies and maybe not just in this country but around the world. And what it means is your money, your hundred pounds, thousand pounds, whatever it is, is suddenly spread.

across lots and lots of different companies. So yeah, one of them might have a bad year, one of them might actually go bust, but all the rest of the companies are still going strong. And if their businesses do well and your state grows and they pay out dividends, you know, your money grows. And the reason we bang on about investing is because there is this greater risk, the companies have to pay you a greater return. And the longer that you can invest, leave your money invested.

If you’ve ever heard about the stock market, listened to stuff about the FTSE 100, it will go up and down. Your balance will vary. It’s not like a bank account where it stays the same until you get the interest added. But historically, over the long term, investing outperforms. It does better. You will earn more money than if you just stick it in cash.

Lynn Beattie (21:13.331)
Yes, good explanation. And then you have your pension, which is slightly different, which is more longer term.

Faith Archer (21:24.336)
Well, a pension is another form of, if you have a pension, you are already an investor because that pension money will be invested in the stock market. The pension company will not just put it in cash, well, for the vast majority of people. So if you have a pension, you’re already an investor. The real advantage of pensions, they are the government’s way of bribing us to save to retirement. They’re very long -term savings vehicle. They…

Lynn Beattie (21:49.314)
Yeah, that’s the truth, isn’t it?

Faith Archer (21:53.296)
you’re not allowed to touch money in a pension until you are the very earliest, 55, rising to 57 in 2028. So again, that is about 10 years. Typically it’s pegged about 10 years behind the earliest you can get your state pension. So you can’t, if you put money in a pension, you can’t get it out until 55 at the earliest. But the bribe is that for any money you put in a pension,

the government gives you tax relief on top so you get this free money instantly. So as a basic rate taxpayer, if I put a pound in my pension, I’d get 25p added on top. Instantly, instantly, you’ve made 25%. And if you’re a higher rate taxpayer, you know, you put your pound in, you get 25p added in tax relief, but then you can claim another 25p back of your tax return. So they are hugely advantageous.

a tax perspective you get the extra money going in and when you take the money out at the other end 25 % of that is tax free.

Lynn Beattie (22:59.155)
Yes. And what I was going to say was, if you are employed, which most people listening to this will be employed, your employer has to set you up a pension scheme when you start working for them. And I mean, every company is different, but that company will also give you a chunk of free money as well. So there’s free money being thrown at you from a lot of different angles with a pension, isn’t it?

Faith Archer (23:29.326)
Yes and once the money is inside the pension it grows tax free as well.

Lynn Beattie (23:31.027)

Lynn Beattie (23:36.787)
Yes. So it’s it’s pensions are sounding very, very exciting and very wonderful there. But the big disadvantage is that you can’t touch the money. So it’s and I’m self employed. So it’s always quite a big decision for me to put money into my pension, because that’s cash flow gone. I’m 47 can’t access my pension till I’m 57. So that money is gone for 10 years. But yeah.

So those are the different vehicles. And there are other things that people use for financial freedom. I think you did touch on it slightly. Some people invest in property. There are other things that you could invest in. But what I would always say about investing is don’t put your money into something that you don’t understand or copying a fad that other people are doing. Try to keep…

try to keep things as simple as possible, which I 100 % do with my money. I mean, you may be a little bit more complex with yours, but I put £200 a month into my stocks and shares ISA, which is just a simple… My money’s with Vanguard. I’m just giving you like what I do. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Vanguard are the best, but they’re pretty good. Their fees are low. I get no money for saying that. And…

Then I put every quarter, I review how much cash flow I’ve got going on in my business, and then I put a chunk into my pension at the end of every quarter.

Faith Archer (25:13.387)
I think I’m similar. Every financial year you can put up to £20 ,000 in an individual savings account in an ISA, which again, it’s got tax advantages that once your money is in an ISA, the taxman can’t touch it. They can’t charge you any tax on growth, dividends, interest. And the advantage with an ISA is that most standard ISAs you can whip the money out whenever you want. It’s not locked in there and there’s no tax to pay.

on withdrawals from an ISA. So that’s the, you know, with an ISA, there’s no tax on the way out, with a pension, you get the tax break at the beginning and a quarter of it is tax free on the way out. And I think sometimes for a lot of people, if you’re trying to go for financial freedom and hoping to retire earlier, instead of retirement age, using a combination of pensions and ISAs is a good idea because that way you can tap into ISA money earlier than you can pension money.

so that you can use your ICER to fund your lifestyle at a younger age before your pensions kick in.

Lynn Beattie (26:13.427)

Lynn Beattie (26:20.691)
Yes, yes. And then a lot of people use the value they build up in their property as part of their, I mean, that is part of your, your net worth, whatever word you want to use, which is the, net worth is the, when you add together how much equity you’ve got in your house, how much you’ve got in investments, plus how much you’ve got in your pension. That’s pretty much what your net worth is. Like other people would argue everything you own. Yeah. Yeah.

Faith Archer (26:45.449)
Everything you own. Everything you own. Yeah. So savings, investments, pensions, property, cars, you know, if you’re lucky you have jewellery, fancy artworks, that’s all part of your network. I think personally I’m quite relu… You know, the thing about property is you do need somewhere to live. And so I have heard people say, I don’t have a pension because I got my house. Well, the thing is, at the point that you need money to live in…

Lynn Beattie (26:55.987)
Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Lynn Beattie (27:05.715)

Faith Archer (27:14.472)
you know, what are you going to do? Take a brick to the supermarket? You know, if you want to release the money, either you’ve got to sell your current house and move somewhere cheaper. Well, it can be a lengthy process. You don’t know what house prices are going to do. You don’t know what kind of house you’re going to need. So it’s kind of a bet that your house will increase sufficiently in value that you can sell it, move somewhere cheaper and pocket the difference. Or…

Lynn Beattie (27:21.779)
which takes a really long time.

Lynn Beattie (27:32.915)

Faith Archer (27:40.328)
you could be in the situation that you decide to carry on living in your current house and borrow against it, whether that’s as remortgaging, in which case you’ve got parents’ payments to make, or equity release, in which case you don’t have to make payments, but that loan plus interest will have to be repaid when you sell. So it’s not a magic solution. So I think one of, to me, one of the good things about savings and investments,

And I say this to somebody with a paid off house and a rental property. You know, it’s not that I don’t believe in property, but I believe in having a combination of different things because savings and investments, it’s so much easier to get your hands on the money. And they don’t suddenly present you with a bill if you’ve got a hole in your roof or your boiler blows up.

Lynn Beattie (28:25.939)
Yeah, and emergencies things happen where you need to get cash. So a good, not a good, but an example of this was, so I got divorced and in order to keep my house, I had to buy my ex -husband out of the house. So I had to find a considerable chunk of money, let’s just say, it was six figures, to buy him out of the house.


So that money that I had to, you know, I think I sort of carried along when I was married thinking, we’ve got all this joint money. And I sort of like assumed it was all mine. But then I realized when we got divorced, no, you actually have to give up half of your money to your ex partner in the divorce. So that hugely, hugely impacted my financial position.

Because, you know, well, I got the money. It was a challenge. I got it from a bank. I didn’t get it from a person. But it’s just demonstrating the fact that big things happen that can impact the money you’ve got. And it can be really, really big things. Most people, when they get divorced, have to sell the house because they can’t afford to buy each other out.

Faith Archer (29:52.292)
Yeah, there’s a book called The Millionaire Next Door. And it’s all about how the kind of always people you might not expect can have a lot of savings might actually be millionaires. It probably isn’t the person with the really flashy house and the Range Rover and the designer clothes. You know, they could be the millionaire living next door. And one of their phrases there about how you achieve that was same, same house, same car, same wife.

Lynn Beattie (30:10.227)
Yeah. Yeah.

Faith Archer (30:21.892)
because they haven’t, they have not had to go through these major life events that mean you spend enormous quantities of money.

Lynn Beattie (30:33.235)
Yeah, very true. But then there are other like nice things that happen which really impact us as well. So, I mean, just look at the impact on your career and my career of having children. I mean, like, I had my first child at 30. I had one at 30, one at 32, one at 35. My career didn’t, and I was on track for high.

Faith Archer (30:45.06)
Yeah. Yeah.

Lynn Beattie (30:57.427)
big things in the corporate world, let me tell you. But my career just stood still for like eight years or something because I was either pregnant or I had little children. And this is actually another big question that I’m going to come onto later in this series. But you can’t have it all. You can’t have, you can’t give all the time you want to your children and all the time you want to your job.

and have a beautiful house that’s wonderfully tidy and have a relationship with your partner or husband that is nurturing and wonderful. You just can’t have it all. We’ve been led this dream as women that we can and we can’t. That was quite

Faith Archer (31:43.522)
only 24 hours in a day and there’s only you know one of each of us yeah. In the end you have to make choices and I think what’s really helpful is if you can build up enough financial freedom enough of a financial cushion that you can kind of step back from the day -to -day money worries that how the hell am I paying the next bill through the door and actually think you know what what is it that I want out from my life?

Lynn Beattie (32:02.675)

Faith Archer (32:12.001)
and really think about those big questions. Do I want to be in this relationship, in this house, in this job? Is there a different way that I can live my life and that I can live my life aligned with whatever you want out of it? I mean, we as a family made a very active choice that we did not want to carry on living in London with my husband doing, with my husband and I both doing London jobs.

well -paid but long hours. And for us, you know, it’s taking that really high level view and going, you know what, this isn’t working for us. I looked at it and thought, I do not want to carry on with my job when I can only do it by putting my baby in a nursery and I will never see my child awake during the week. It was just like, that is not how I want to live my life. And we made the call, you know what, by selling we were lucky enough that we’ve both got on the property ladder.

relatively early in life. I had a very well -paid job and I saved a lot of it so I could get on the property ladder. But I had this brilliant thing that by selling up in London we could move to a different part of the country with a lower cost of living and lower house prices. And so you know what, by doing that, our living costs are lower, it meant I could continue as self -employed and my husband could go back to working for the charity sector, he didn’t have a commute.

Lynn Beattie (33:25.97)
Yeah. Yeah.

Lynn Beattie (33:36.531)
Yeah. Yeah.

Faith Archer (33:37.151)
He didn’t have to work such long hours and we had more time as a family. And it’s that kind of decision -making when you have been lucky enough to manage your money so that you’re not tied down to that job that you really hate because otherwise you couldn’t afford your debts and your lifestyle. And just saying, you know what, I want a different life. That to me is financial freedom, carving out the life you want to live.

Lynn Beattie (33:55.923)

Lynn Beattie (34:00.563)

Yeah, you’re right. You’re absolutely right. And you and you made huge sacrifices when you were in your 20s. Like, like, I suppose what you did differently to me, because, you know, we both worked in London, we both had, we both had sort of decent well paid jobs was that you saved more than I did. You, you, I mean, I don’t, I don’t.

Did you go on all the expensive holidays? I doubt you bought designer handbags knowing you, Faith.

Faith Archer (34:39.614)
I do have some design handbags, but I think probably fewer and possibly different designers. And I did go. It isn’t that I love traveling. Traveling is one of those things that I love doing. We did it a lot more before we had children. And I’m hoping that because we’ve been saving all this money in pensions, that by the time we retire, we can do more traveling then. So I did go on holidays, but even when I had a high paid job, I went back.

Lynn Beattie (34:46.419)
Yeah. Different designers.

Lynn Beattie (34:53.747)

Lynn Beattie (35:04.083)

Faith Archer (35:09.245)
packing in Ecuador, for example. It wasn’t, how do I go to this really, really expensive hotel? It was more, you know what, I want to go to Ecuador. I’d love to go to the Galapagos Islands. How can I afford to do that and still save enough money that I can, at that point, house prices were slightly more reasonable, so I could still save towards a flat.

Lynn Beattie (35:12.563)

Lynn Beattie (35:23.475)

Lynn Beattie (35:32.115)
Where do you think you got that sort of money mindset, that financial upbringing from?

Faith Archer (35:38.684)
I think, I mean, you’ve said it, haven’t you? Financial upbringing. My mother, my mother is an over communicator. My mother talks to anybody about anything. So even as a kid, my mom would talk to me about money. She would talk about her money worries when we had an overdraft, for example, talk about costs. But also she was, my mother is very entrepreneurial. She, she.

Lynn Beattie (35:42.387)

Faith Archer (36:06.492)
used to be trained as a teacher, she did used to teach primary school, primary school, but she then got a job, she had her own business selling furniture that she took international, she used to flip properties. So she was she was one my dad had a very steady income. She was the one when we needed more money. She went out and made that happen. And I think also my mom, her pension wasn’t great, different generation, different pension setup.

Lynn Beattie (36:26.867)
That’s amazing.

Faith Archer (36:34.524)
You know, she paid married woman’s stamp, which was smaller pension contributions. She got less of a state pension. She cashed in her teacher’s pension when she stopped teaching. So I was like, we need to use this. She was self -employed. She always assumed that her pension would be made up of selling her business basically. So it didn’t work out as well as she had hoped. So she was always on at me, you know, get on the property ladder, get on the property ladder and pay into a pension, pay into a pension. So I was 22 and I started saving into a pension and I not stopped.

Lynn Beattie (36:54.675)

Lynn Beattie (37:03.699)
That is incredible. And I had the complete opposite. Nobody spoke to me about money. It was a taboo subject. Yeah. So first thing I did at uni was give me a credit card, give me the overdraft. I want all the debt, all the debt. But it just goes, that just completely nails it. The importance of financial education, of talking to your children about money. And okay, of course you’re not going to tell them the like, the

the dark, you know, I’m in 20 grams worth of debt, or I’m in 10 grams worth of debt, I don’t know what to do. You’d never say that to your children. But you can say no to them when they’re asking you for the latest pair of trainers if you can’t afford it. And you can say to them, I’m sorry, but this year, we’re going to have to go camping in Cornwall for our holiday. Actually, that probably costs loads of money. But we’re going to have to go camping for our holiday rather than Greece.

Faith Archer (38:02.938)
But that’s one of the things, because we made the call that I had a full year of maternity leave and chose not to go back to my office job, we bought a secondhand tent. That’s one of the things we did. We bought a secondhand tent, a refurb tent, all the sleeping bags and mattresses and camping gas stoves, that kind of thing. And we had several holidays that were camping in this country. And you know what? We had a great time. I’m not the most committed camper. Since then I have…

Lynn Beattie (38:26.035)

Faith Archer (38:33.017)
When we’ve had a big budget, then probably we have gone on some other kind of holidays as well. But it was fun. The kids enjoyed it.

Lynn Beattie (38:43.763)
kids love camping. Like, I just I get concerned about the sanitary conditions like of a toilet and a shower and stuff. But I love camping. I love being in nature.

Faith Archer (38:45.816)

Faith Archer (38:53.592)
There are reviews of campsites. You can filter.

Lynn Beattie (38:57.779)

Lynn Beattie (39:01.939)
I’m just thinking about festivals and the state of some of the toilets I’ve seen at festivals.

Faith Archer (39:06.008)
right, okay. Yeah, I’ve never camped at a festival.

Lynn Beattie (39:10.803)
I have five times, five times. Although last year they gave me a bell tent, didn’t they, because I was helping them to promote the festival and I was working there. So I did luck out last year, I got a beautiful bell tent.

Faith Archer (39:13.848)
my god.

Faith Archer (39:27.064)
But you see, I think that is a fantastic example of a situation where you wanted to have a great experience and you didn’t have to spend an enormous amount of money. In fact, you got paid to be there. That to me, when people look at people trying to save more and they’re, my God, is your life really sad if you’re saving all this money, investing all this money? Well, it doesn’t have to be, but sometimes it can be about being creative.

Lynn Beattie (39:39.507)
Nothing. Yeah, yeah.

Faith Archer (39:55.735)
and think about how do I get that experience I want, or the fun that I want, or the socialising that I want, without it costing a bomb, and working at a festival. Perfect example.

Lynn Beattie (40:08.467)
Yes. Very good. Right. Where are we up to? 40 minutes. Okay. Can we… I think where I want to close this is talking about your… If you’re okay sharing this kind of information, you’ve probably written about it already, but what your financial freedom goals are and like when do you think you’re going to get to a point where you don’t have to earn any more money or… I mean, you’ve already said you’re at financial freedom now.

facing the very, not, I was going to use the word fortunate, but it’s not fortunate at all because you’ve worked hard to get there and you’ve lucked out from buying properties, you know, back in the early days.

Faith Archer (40:49.686)
I would absolutely say it’s fortunate and I am speaking from a position of massive privilege, you know, and education, I’ve been healthy enough to work, you know, my husband and I are still together, you know, we’ve had so many things going our way, but I think also we have tried to be very conscious about what we spend, where we spend and where we save. And so our perspective, I think for both of us,

Lynn Beattie (40:53.491)

Lynn Beattie (41:01.555)


Faith Archer (41:19.092)
you know, if you bring down your living costs, then that means you, you know, we don’t have to have such an enormous income in the future. I’m 53 now, so I’m very aware that it’s only a couple of years till in theory I could access pension money. And I also know that, because I checked it today, believe it or not, for a different context, check my state pension forecast, I’ve only actually got to make national insurance contributions for another three more years. And I get my full state pension, which I wouldn’t want to.

Lynn Beattie (41:32.403)
my God.

Faith Archer (41:48.371)
As we both know, I don’t think we want to live on the state pension alone, but having 11 or 12 grand a year that rises with inflation is a nice basis to retirement planning. So I think what I’m looking at at the moment is I would like to, much as I love my job, I would like to retire before the age of 67. And so it’s kind of saying, right, between 53 and 67, at what point?

Do we kind of jump out of the working world? And so it’s looking at when the pensions kick in and how much we got saved in ISIS that we can fill those gaps. So how far back from, how much younger than 67 can we afford to jump off?

Lynn Beattie (42:32.115)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then, so for me, so I own about half of my house, so I’ve got quite a chunk of equity paid off, but I live in the Southeast. It’s a house that’s worth quite a lot of money. So my plan is to one day sell the house and realize the equity.

and then buy a house mortgage free in the not too… Maybe like in 10 years time or so when I will be 57 and I’m then able to access my private pension money. But I’m also aiming… I’m aiming to get about 400 grand which is a huge number and I’m nowhere near that. I’m aiming to get about 400 grand in my pension.

Faith Archer (43:28.305)
Well, just to say, the financial independence movement, the fire movement, retire early, their magic number is 25 times your annual expenses. That’s what they reckon that you need to save in order to retire and draw 4 % a year rising with inflation every year without your money running out. And so if you think about it, that 25, so if your living expenses are 20 ,000 pounds a year times 25, 500 grams, that’s half a million pounds. So…

Lynn Beattie (43:58.003)

Faith Archer (43:59.089)
And obviously if you are somebody that, you know, that’s the approach if you never want the money to run out, but then you might be in a position where you could take larger chunks out of it if you are expecting, if you don’t mind taking the risk that that sum comes down over time, you know, the die with zero concept.

Lynn Beattie (44:07.763)

Lynn Beattie (44:19.283)
Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah, because of course, like, if I was to stop working and just have an amazing life from the age of, say, 60, like, if you just look at health aspects, you’re probably going to have a great 10 years, maybe 15, maybe 20 years. I don’t know how long I can go on for. But like, when you get to, say, 80 to 90, you’re not really going to be gallivanting off around the world.

between the ages of 80 and 90. I’d love to, but I’m not sure it’s going to happen.

Faith Archer (44:52.432)
Typically expenditure in retirement is the U shape. Starts up high, because you’re doing all those hobbies you already want to do, you’re doing all your traveling and DIY and all the things you wanted to do. Then potentially as you get older, health conditions come in, you’re spending drops, you’re not traveling so much, you stay more at home. But then the big unknown is how much spending creeps up if you later on need care.

Lynn Beattie (44:59.411)

Faith Archer (45:21.327)
there are care costs. So whether you’re being cared for in your own home or you’re moving into a nursing home, retirement home of some kind. So that’s the U shape and the trouble with planning for retirement is nobody knows how long you’re going to live and nobody knows what your costs are going to be at the end of your life. But the one thing you can say is that if you manage your money and you build your savings and investments you’re going to have a better time. You will have a more comfortable time than if you haven’t got any money at all.

Lynn Beattie (45:21.651)
Yes. Yeah.

Lynn Beattie (45:50.611)
Wonderful. There’s a whole nother podcast episode that we could talk about all of that kind of stuff, but I’ll leave that to somebody else. Brilliant, Faith. That was amazing. For some reason, this Riverside has turned our podcast into two different recordings, but it’s fine. It’s all still recording. I’m so wonderful with the technical stuff of podcasts. Faith, can you just tell everybody?

Faith Archer (45:54.927)

Lynn Beattie (46:18.707)
where to find you and then we’re done.

Faith Archer (46:24.367)
Absolutely, my website is muchmorewithless .co .uk and you can find me on Twitter and Instagram at muchmoreunderscoreless.

Lynn Beattie (46:36.947)
If you want lots of pretty pictures of a garden then that’s what Facebook, Instagram is all about. It’s very beautiful. I love it.

Faith Archer (46:45.293)
It’s all about the things that you can enjoy without spending a penny.

Lynn Beattie (46:49.651)
Yeah, yeah, that was a really great discussion. I really enjoyed that. And you’ve made me reframe things a little bit. So thanks for that. Okay, we’ll say goodbye. Thank you everybody for listening or watching and I’ll be back next week. Thanks, bye.

Faith Archer (47:08.941)


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Lynn Beattie

Aka Mrs MummyPenny

Personal Finance Expert

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