RESET: How to Restart Your Life and Get F.U. Money: The Unconventional Early Retirement Plan for Midlife Careerists Who Want to Be Happy
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"A comprehensive introduction to things you didn't learn in school but should have. RESET is a complete program with enough motivation and details to make it easy to begin without being too complicated. You'll feel like doing something right now."
"Tempted to throw in the towel and run away? Tempted by the greener grass on the other side? Well...be tempted no more...this book will actually let you "reset". It's a fun, compelling and, dare I say, tempting prescription to a different approach to life, work and play. What Matters To You is a global movement in healthcare aimed at improving experience of patients and families; this book makes you ask this question of yourself and then encourages you to do something about it. Tempted? I am..."
"Sawyer's RESET shows us how to achieve material wealth. It emphasizes discipline, sacrifice, and hard work. No argument here. However, we must also reflect on the wisdom from Benjamin Franklin's 1758 essay on The Way To Wealth: "Do not depend too much upon your own industry, and frugality, and prudence, though excellent things, for they may all be blasted without the blessing of heaven." But even with this admonition, Franklin truly understood human nature, concluding that the people heard it, approved the doctrine, and immediately practiced the contrary. My advice: approve of Sawyer's doctrine. It makes good sense."
"RESET is an incredibly detailed and comprehensive guide to planning and achieving the life you desire. But that's only true if what you desire is to work on your own terms, to achieve goals that are meaningful to you, and to move rapidly towards your financial independence."
"Dave was like me; dashing around, time-poor and feeling a bit unfulfilled. Actually, he's probably still time-poor but only because he's taken life in hand and, in the manner of Frank Sinatra, now does things "his" way. Even better, he's knocked his pan in to write a book that shares accessible logic, real-life stories and the inspiration to freewheel out of whatever rut you may be in. Sometimes you just need a bit of a push and RESET is positively nudging. Or maybe you just want to stay doing what you are doing, the way you've always done it. Your choice."
MARJORIE CALDER, director, OceanBlue Consulting
"There is no PR spin here! A frank and honest appraisal of the challenges facing the PR industry and also the immediate future of a generation that is supposedly at its peak earning potential yet woefully unprepared for what comes next."
JIM HAWKER, co-founder, Threepipe
"As a 25-year-old GB endurance athlete who's had his fair share of injuries, I think, like Dave, that setbacks in any field should be used to propel you forward not hold you back. I found inspiring and relatable advice everywhere in RESET and recommend it to anyone with dreams who believes their best years are yet to come."
LUKE TRAYNOR, (as-yet-unsponsored) GB runner: 61:55 HM, 13:39 5K (2018 PBs)
"Hidden in plain sight within the 300 or so pages of RESET is an elegant synthesis of the latest thinking in financial independence, lifestyle design, and age-old philosophical wisdom - cunningly disguised as a breezy pep talk from your witty mate down the pub. In a world that's forever racing past us on a screen, it's a reminder of the potentially life-changing power of a book."
"If you feel normal in today's world - that is - less than joyful, bored, unfulfilled, overworked yet not-meeting-your-potential, trapped, or simply apathetic about your current state of affairs, David Sawyer's RESET is the refreshing splash of water you need to put yourself right. A terrific book."
CYRUS SHEPARD, founder, Zyppy
"This might just turn out to be one of the most influential books many people ever read - and most likely the most influential one any of them read over 40!"
"Most of us dream about changing things up, walking away from where we are now, and pushing a giant reset button. But most of us don't know what do next. David Sawyer's life, and new book, is a testimony to the power of restarting and pursuing the work and life that will make you happy. More than a testimony, it's also an instruction manual."
"RESET is an eye-opener. It's a very well-written book about the meaning of life, about angst and the search for purpose. Whether you work in public relations or not, view this book as a guide to creating a strategic plan for the rest of your life. It's impressive. It's exhausting. Sawyer suggests he's everyman. I think he's Superman."
From the Author
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This definitely fit the bill. I loved the author's conversational tone and accessible approach, which was highly relatable and also made for enjoyable evening reading. This is not a boring personal finance book - nor does it require any advanced knowledge or being of a certain net worth or station in life. The messages and advice are highly universal. David injects helpful wit and self-deprecating humor to topics that likely cause a lot of folks to want to bury their heads in the sand. I actually requested that my husband read this book (as opposed to others on related topics) so we could get on the same page for that very reason.
Cons: if you're farther along on your FI journey, this is probably not the book for you. You've likely thought through a lot of the concepts and will want more specialized, tactical advice. Also, with the more tactical recommendations in the book, some of the nitty gritty is more specific to overseas audiences (given the writer is based in the U.K.), though he does a good job of specifying when that is the case.
The part with DO’S / DON’TS was great
He describes RESET as his creed, the culmination of six years of self-discovery that led him down one rabbit hole after another, the most influential being the US-based financial independence blogosphere.
He’s a Scotsman, a scary-fast marathoner (2:40), and a father of two boys that happen to be the same age as mine. At 45, he’s a ways away from financial independence, but he knows what it will take to get there, and he and his family are making strides to make it happen within about 10 to 15 years.
He took the better part of a year off to write his manifesto, and I’m glad he did. It’s clear he did his research and homework; he lists about 10 books just on writing that he consumed as part of this quest. He read hundreds more on personal finance.
In the testimonials, William Danko, co-author of The Millionaire Next Door, sings the praises of the text. Now, you’ve got my attention.
The book is a bit eclectic. At times, I felt I was half-heartedly laughing so as to seem I was in on the inside joke even though I didn’t quite get it. Think Tim Ferriss meets Mr. Money Mustache meets Groundskeeper Willie and they all pay Marie Kondo a visit. That’ll happen when you explore all the rabbit holes.
I did laugh full-heartedly a number of other times, and Mr. Sawyer did a great job of bringing together many philosophies to synthesize his own take on financial freedom and how it can be achieved. This book is ideal for someone living in the U.K. as there is some specific investing talk pertinent to that part of the world, but 90% of his story and recommendations could apply to anyone.
Top international reviews
There's a lot to like about this book. For starters, David's targeting of 'mid life professionals' makes a lot of sense to me, as IMHO this is the demographic far more able to achieve FI through relatively simple life changes. His leaning towards motivational topics makes a lot of sense too - the financial tenets of FI are straightforward enough (earn as much as you can, avoid spending all of your income, build an emergency fund then invest as much of your savings as you can, eventually income from investments pays for your relatively low financial needs) and the real difficulty is the change in mindset needed to enable these changes.
As per almost all of the FIRE community he focuses almost entirely on the use of equities and bonds as investment choices, writing off the idea of renting out property in a couple of short paragraphs. Since our personal FI journey has been largely driven by letting out houses we used to live in, this is a shame. The suggestion that property isn't passive income is fair, but we've used full-service management agents for many years, and have been able to travel full time abroad while they took care of finding and vetting tenants, rent collection, checking the houses, holding deposits, making repairs, arranging gas inspections, everything. While if we were starting from scratch now we'd go down the index tracker (shares) fund route David suggests, renting out property is well worth investigating more outside of this book, if only to ponder a wider asset diversification.
One area David couldn't comment on is what happens post FI, as he's not hit that point yet. My hope is he'll update this book over time as he gets closer to the 'trigger point'. Getting to financial independence has been a great thing for us. It has enabled the many freedoms David discusses. But it's important to understand it's not a panacea. Removing the need for work for money also removes the character-reinforcing struggle David talks about, which needs replacing with something else, or (in my case) anxiety takes over. Having a million hours on your hands can also lead to a downward spiral unless the time's channeled into positive action, and after decades of commuting/office work, the imagination has been somewhat dulled for me, and needed re-igniting. If you're on the path to FI, start planning early what you're going to do if/when you pull the trigger and quit work. And once you've planned, plan for what you'll do after that. We planned to travel but after 4 years full time on the road, that eventually became stale, and we've still got (maybe) 30 years of 'retirement' to go.
All in all, I really enjoyed David's book - like reading one a (much) better version of me would have written! We thought about what would make us happy, we minimalised, we downsized, we reduced consumerism, we evaluated and pondered every purchase, we tracked our spending (notepad and spreadsheets for us), we drove less and walked or ran more, we read about and tackled fears, we researched investments and invested. All good stuff, and of course it works. If you go down this path, you might spend your life pondering while so few actually do it.
Personally I found this book a bit frustrating as I am already quite frugal (and don't earn that much), and a lot of it was just recommending other people's books or techniques rather than explaining how to do or apply anything directly. There are also many lists, 11 tips for this, 25 steps to that, that read like a cobbled together series of blog posts and become overwhelming when read all at once. And by the way, if you do decide to look up the konmari method of decluttering and organising, ignore the author's suggestion to skip rolling your socks - being able to instantly find the right type of socks while avoiding saggy ankles will make your life 1% better.
Something better change I thought, I need to find a purpose, I need to find some meaning that gives me some hope that things might be different. So I started scrabbling around for inspiration, dabbling in self development, poring over the mind body and soul section in bookshops, looking for the answer, but with thousands and thousands of titles out there to choose from it's difficult to know where to start.
Then I was sent a link to download a copy of a book by this bloke who's stood in the very same shoes as me.
RESET is a godsend for anyone who finds themselves in our situation, because Dave has done all the reading for us and created a step by step guide for resetting our lives and reaching financial independence. Easy to read, I blasted through it in one sitting, his prose skips along at a fair lick: two parts motivational guru, one part knowing Northern curmudgeon. And whilst I might not decide to retrace every step of Dave's journey, I'll certainly be stocking up on index cards and dipping in and out to make some long overdue changes. Who knows, by the time I reach my sixties I may be able to finally say F.U. after all.
OK, that sounds dramatic, but it really struck a chord with me. Whilst we do not share the same career, his story is remarkably similar.
I don't actually just want money, I want to be happy, I want to find meaning in life, I want to stop being so lazy, I want to not have to worry about my job, I want more in a nutshell.
Sections on Happiness, Purpose, Finding Your Why are not new in this genre, but I hadn't seen anyone touch on Future-Proofing your career by learning about digital (applies to any career) or De-cluttering (your mind....and house obviously). I particularly liked that he has walked the walk and fed back on the benefits of each of these on his and his family's life outside of the obvious benefits. It was inspiring.
Perhaps the measure of any of these sorts of books is what have I actually done as a result of reading it. So here is my list:
Signed up to Money Dashboard and linked my and my wife cash accounts - I can now see exactly what we have in one place. Its revolutionary for me. HIGHLY RECOMMEND
Ordered Marie Kondo - The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying (my next book)
Planning to go shopping in Lidl and Aldi rather than Morrisons to shave £100's from monthly grocery shop - If they can do wholemeal pitta bread on par with Morrisons, I'm converted.
In the process of consolidating my old pensions into a SIPP - I had previously tried to optimise the investment selections but realised they are not diversified correctly and I want to control the 3 of them under one plan.
Sold my entire fund portfolio - OH YEAH, quite a big one. I had previously tried to emulate suggestions from Andrew Craig's How to Own the World, but I got sidetracked by Trustnet's fund recommendations and didn't split them globally correctly. I figured lets just start again and stick to a tried and tested plan suggested in this book
Sold all my sons shares in his Junior ISA so to reinvest properly - as per 5
The Investing section is clearly the big one and his practical advice on exactly what funds to invest in and in what exact proportion is precisely what I've not seen anywhere else. I just want to copy someone and not let my amateurism get in my way.
I trust him because he reads a helluva lot. The references throughout are vast and varied. From financial heavyweights to blogging heavyweights and I can see a healthy mix of independent thought on each topic. It just feels like he takes the best bits.
I really hope I do not read any other books that contradict all this as I cannot be bothered to keep selling my funds and restarting every week, and I really don't think I will read anything on this subject for a while now because I feel I have a guidebook I will refer back to time and time again. Better to focus on other things like Affiliate Marketing for this blog, investing in business, Marie Kondo's book. I mean seriously, if I read that, my wife will think I've gone insane. I hope she likes the new me.
However one I found of very little actionable use in my own life.
The financial section the author seems to build up to with some glee was the closest to interesting in a novel way, but not being in the position to have either a) a £100K 'stash' or b) the mental disarray to somehow spend £600 a month on frivolity, this still felt quite useless in my case.
The details on 'FIRE' and just precisely how to invest were the most notable in the book however, so maybe one day it'll be of some use.
The other sections of minimalism and being generally tidy I found just nodding along to -- and wondering just how good this Marie Kondo 'Spark Joy' book is (update: it's ridiculous nonsense) -- while the 'Digital' section a bit dull for someone working in software.
The early section on Happiness full of quite relatable quotes, as most books in the genre manage as otherwise no one would buy these, but didn't find any particular gem to push me in a different direction.
Perfectly OK, a lot better than the majority in the genre.
With each step intelligently and accessibly explained, the sheer volume of research that David has undertaken, tested and compiled in such a small space is remarkable. It’s not a compendium of ideas and thoughts plucked out the air as many books of the genre can be accused of, it’s a validated step by step guide on how to achieve more with what you already have and what you need to add, which is scarily already well within your reach.
I thoroughly recommend this title to everyone reaching their own idea of what midlife is and want to take stock before the next round. And do buy the hardback, as you will want to highlight and scribble the heck out of it, as I’m sure the author would wish.
There is also some good advice about how to keep your skills updated and build a professional network which could lead to a promotion or make sure you are up to date with the current job market should the worst happen.
If you are struggling with a job you hate or feel that your current pension just won’t meet your needs and if you just can’t see an alternative way this book will truly RESET your thinking about financial planning and provide the motivation to try something different.
What shines through is David's honesty and wit. He's sharing his wisdom not as some kind of guru, but a person like you or I, who has fretted, sweated and searched for answers. He's got a pretty good idea of how you might be feeling, because he felt the same. So he's not here to lecture you on your loss of vim and vigour, he's here to gently coax you into a different way of thinking about things and some practical steps to consider.
I don't know David, but, having read this, I almost feel like I do. It's genuinely like talking to an old friend in the pub. But without the background noise, the wallet-draining trips to the bar, the melancholy-tinged nostalgia or the fear that you might wake up tomorrow and remember nothing of the knowledge that was imparted.
Sometimes these kinds of books can be dry, repetitive, aloof, patronising and unrealistic. This is none of those things. I actually enjoyed reading it. And it's left me with a lot to think about. In a good way. If any of the above chimes with your current psyche, I recommend you read it too.
NB: This review is based on my reading of an advance copy prior to publication.
1. Find a way to save money (yes, absolutely!)
2. Invest in the stock market rather than in property (ditto!)
3. DON'T buy managed funds (ditto!)
4. DON'T try and stock pick (ditto!)
5. Buy tracker funds
Er, that's it? Your ambition should be to do slightly worse than the market?
Actually your ambition when 'retired' should be to live well, beat the market and be better off each year.
It's simple enough. I'm not especially bright and that's what I've done for the 25 years since I retired. The time to buy tracker finds is when you're totally past it - good to leave in your estate.
I enjoyed reading the book and much of it is good advice, or at least interesting
A whole different take on living life efficiently. I read it basically in one go. Well researched with hundreds of interesting reference points(must have another weeks worth of reading still do do in those!) As a Financial independence seeker myself (I read money moustache,jdroth and theescapeartist regularly) It was great to see loads of knowledge distilled down in an easily readable and understandable book. If you are looking for a simple plan to escape the rat race and live life on your terms, this is it.
P.S. David, it was nice to read that there are other "weirdos" out there such as myself trying to live this lifestyle. I.e. not being sucked into a stupid consumer lifestyle and trying to make simple changes to enhance their lifes.
This book contains all the hints and tips you need to set you off on your FI journey including decluttering, saving, and investing.
I would recommend this to any in the U.K. WITH AN INTEREST IN financial independence but who aren’t too sure where to start. By the 50% mark in this book I had already fixed my budget, began paying down my cards and started looking in to investments once my cards are paid off!
This book lost a star for my simply because I am a visual learner and would have liked more graphs, charts and infographics to help get the information across.
A fantastic book! ****