Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Wednesday W’s #21.

What’s top of my mind: Helping Tom30 with his house deposit.

The boys know that I’m not in a position to be The Bank of Mum and Dad when they’re looking to put a deposit down on a home. My gift to them is the same gift my parents have given my brother, my sister and me – to be financially independent in their old age so they’re not a financial drain on their kids.

Tom30 has floated the idea that I might help out… I’ve said no to hints that I might go guarantor or that I might lend a sizeable chunk of money. If he was an only child it might be different, but with any help given having to be multiplied by 4? Forget it.

However, he asked if I’d be prepared to lend him the money to pay off his car at the end of the year when he’ll be in a serious position to start looking. It’ll be around the 5K mark by then. I told him I’d be prepared to do this for him. I know without a doubt that he’ll pay me back, and having this debt wiped from his liabilities would mean that the banks would look at him slightly more favourably.

It’s such a fine line between wrapping them in cotton wool and weakening them by helping too much, or not helping enough and putting them behind the 8 ball! He doesn’t know that I’m saving his $50/week board to give back to him when he moves out.

I don’t know – I’m happy that I’m in a position where I can do this for the boys. I really wish I could help them more, but I’m definitely not prepared to put my own financial standing at risk. I’ve worked too hard for that!

(The boys’ father suggested to Tom30 that instead of borrowing the money from him, he should ask my father for a loan… “He has HEAPS of money.” Wow. Seriously??? Every now and then I get a little reminder as to why I left him all those years ago.)

Where I’ve been: 5 minutes in the most stressful place ever.

Every teacher in a school gets a set of keys to use. We lock most classrooms after every period, especially those rooms like music rooms and computer labs that have expensive equipment in them. We all know that we have to guard those keys with our lives. If a set of keys go missing, then every single lock has to be changed in the entire school, along with issuing new keys to every single staff member. In our school, there are over 200 people who work here.

Imagine how expensive that would be?

At the end of the day yesterday I handed in my laptop and my lanyard and walked to my car. I’d just started the engine when the principal of the campus phoned me.

“Frogdancer, you’ve handed in the lanyard with no key fob.”

My blood went cold. This meant that the fob had fallen off somewhere. The classroom I’d been working in didn’t need to be locked, so I hadn’t looked for the fob at the end of the day. It could be anywhere – and anyone could’ve found it. Shit…

Luckily, the class I’d had after lunch for a double period was so quiet that I’d barely got up from my desk to walk around. I’d had a full lunchtime in the staff room because I’d had recess yard duty that day. The areas where it could ossibly have fallen off were pretty limited. I told the principal where I’d been teaching and he said he’d call me back with any news.

I kept driving. I felt sick with stress. This is the one thing that everyone dreads. Why am I doing this? I don’t need this stress in my life! Is avoiding Sequence of Returns Risk worth it? I’ve pretty much covered my share of David28’s wedding. Does Tom30 really need me to loan him the money for his car? Maybe I should just go back to my beautiful retirement life?

A couple of minutes later the phone rang. He’d found the keyfob on my chair. It must’ve fallen off as I bent over to pick up my bag and laptop at the end of the day.

PHEW!!!! I drove home, listening to my audiobook and feeling like all was well with the world.

This morning when I came in, the receptionist in the office said that they’d noticed that every single lanyard had dodgy clips on them. They’ve fixed them. So maybe my panic-stricken moment was actually a gift to the school…?

Still – how great is it that I’m in a position to instantly decide whether or not to keep working? For anyone still working on getting your F-You fund together – keep going! It’s worth it. The stress I felt until I got the second phone call would’ve been so much worse if I’d not had the option to walk away if I wanted to.

Where I’m going: to the supermarket.

I’ve accepted a Flybuys quest to spend $50/week for a month at Coles to earn a $50 voucher. Sounds like free food to me! Once I publish this post, I’ll have a look at the weekly specials and work out what I’m going to buy this week.

Once I spend $50, I’ll pick up the rest of what we need from Aldi.

What I’m watching: a loom video on the trenches in WWI.

I’ve just come out of a year 9 history class where they watched a video made by their teacher before they were to go on and complete some work. I found it interesting – my great-grandfather fought for the English in those trenches.

I told them his story. How, as a young married father of two he did the patriotic thing and signed up for the war. He was allowed some time to go home when his wife was due to give birth to their third child. It was an awful labour – the baby was 13 lb/6 kg and both he and his mother nearly died. My great grandfather overstayed his leave until he was sure they’d both live.

When he reported back late for duty, they sent him to the front lines as a punishment. He was dead in a week.

What I’m reading: A Single Thread – Tracy Chevalier.

I’m enjoying this book, even though I’ve never tackled embroidery and I don’t intend to try! I remember going to my Mum’s cousin’s house as a child and seeing embroidery literally EVERYWHERE. It put me off.

Clearly, the author visited Winchester cathedral and noticed the kneeling pads and cushions, and researched how and when they were made.

What I’m listening to: A Home Like Ours – Fiona Lowe.

I just finished this audiobook this morning on my way to work. It’s a marathon 16 hours worth of listening time. I enjoyed the story. Now the plan is to get back to the podcasts that have been stacking up! Then, once I whip them into shape, then I’ll borrow another audiobook.

What I’m eating: leftover goulash.

A few nights ago I made the most delectable goulash using a Skinnymixer’s recipe in the slow cooker. There was enough left over for two serves. Tom30 said he’d probably buy a pizza tonight, so Ryan27 and I will be so happy to tuck into the rest of the goulash!

What I’m planning: a delicious meal for tonight!

See above.

Who needs a good slap:

Whoever designed the dodgy clips on the lanyards. If my hair wasn’t already going grey, it would’ve started when I got that first phone call from the principal.

What has made me smile: 9H.

I taught 9 of these kids in year 7 and I haven’t caught up with most of them since I’ve been back. It was so lovely to see them all again.

It’s especially nice that they’re in a great class who are all quietly working. The loudest sound in the room is my keyboard as I’m typing this.

This class is a CRT’s dream!

Dad joke of the day:

I don’t know why some people insist on using fractions instead of decimals.

They’re pointless.


  1. Debbie

    I love your Wednesday W’s …. look forward to them every week!

    • FrogdancerJones

      Oooo thank you! That’s lovely to hear.

  2. Jeff

    That story about your great-grandfather in WW1 was quiet something. There’s a damn fine novel in there… You should try your hand at writing that novel. I’m certain you’d make a good go of it. The best writers are the best readers after all…

  3. Josie

    Your poor great-grandmother, on many levels. Such a sad story.

    I laughed at your shopping at Coles story. When Lidl opened in my town, they did a promotion of $10 coupons for a month if you spent a certain amount which they increased each week. Needless to say, I only spent a bit over that amount! But it does take discipline, which they hope most shoppers don’t have!

  4. Maureen

    I struggle with that fine line between helping out my adult daughter, or letting life teach some hard lessons. If I hear her talking about her sound financial practices, I do tend to bless her with some $. But if she is foolish, not so much. I had a grandmother give me $$$$ when I was young and skint, and she said to pay it forward when I could. I tend to do that occasionally for young relatives.

    • FrogdancerJones

      That’s lovely. Your grandmother clearly had an eye to the long view.

  5. Amy

    I just tried to comment on today’s post (8/6/22) and it gave me an error code ‘403 – forbidden’! Could you look into it? I have tips on thermals for you.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Weird. Someone else has been able to comment – after you- so I’m not sure what’s happening…

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