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100 things that made my year 2019.
Wow! Where do I start with this year of 2019?
It has been a year that far exceeded my expectations in so many ways.
If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know that I normally write a post about 100 things that have made my year.
This has become a tradition on this blog and it is my way of allowing myself one very personal post every year.
It started off as a diary entry and then a blog post. You learn a lot about what I value in my life through this post.
If you did not read the one from last year, I’ll link to it here so that you can check it out.
As is customary with these posts I always begin with thanking God.
There is nothing that I own that has come purely from my efforts.
This year in particular, I have been blessed and promoted beyond belief, and writing this post is my way of being thankful.
Now let’s jump in and look at the 100 things that made by year in 2019.
I will look at these in no particular order:
100 THINGS THAT MADE MY YEAR
1. My mum survived a major brain operation in January. It was a huge relief as my mum is a big pillar in my life and that of my family.
2. We launched our first ever online course called FIRE SuperPower. 8 months of our lives went into creating it. Huge relief seeing it go live.
3. I did my first ever public speaking event called Faith & Finances. This event opened more doors than any other thing that I did in 2019.
4. Travelled to Disneyland in Paris and enjoyed a beautiful time with our kids.
5. We finally launched a YouTube channel and imaginatively called it The Humble Penny TV.
Launching this channel made me really happy in many ways because it is something I could not see how we'd start and achieve successfully.
6. I co-hosted the Playing With FIRE documentary premiere at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.
7. We met Jim and Jane Collins for lunch. Jim is the author of the popular investing book called The Simple Path to Wealth.
8. I got featured on the Metro newspaper. A piece called Can You Retire In Your 30s?
9. We worked with some interesting brands in the year including PensionBee, Experian, Hargreaves Lansdown, Chip, etc.
10. I was paid well this year and and we further diversified our incomes. This seems to get better each year.
11. I featured on the Dope Black Dads podcast and had major banter! Episode called How Can I Make Money? I'm Broke!
12. I contributed to an important research piece about the UK FIRE movement with Goldsmiths university.
13. I celebrated With Mary in August 2019, as well as 8 years of peaceful and happy marriage. We celebrated in the beautiful St Lucia:
14. I experienced our son Elias (now 5) learn to ride a bike within 10 minutes of unboxing the two wheeler.
15. I was featured in Economia – Institute magazine for all Chartered Accountants talking about the FIRE movement.
This was a major departure for a fairly traditional profession that is not usually about the trends.
Article called FIRE Today, Jam tomorrow?
16. I presented at a Generational Wealth event by the guys at A Tribe Called Progress.
17. Enjoyed beautiful Florence, Italy with Mary on a much needed weekend away.
18. We made a five-figure sum this year selling our online courses.
We went from zero courses at the start of the year and ended the year with 4 courses.
19. I hung out with a pretty cool and smart bunch at the Over The Bridge Podcast.
Young guys who all attended Cambridge University. Really enjoyed talking Financial Independence on this podcast.
20. I took an important SEO course, which really changed my approach to blogging and has helped us grow our YouTube channel pretty quickly.
21. I met some recognisable FI faces when I co-hosted the FI documentary in the Summer. Everyone from Millennial Revolution to The Escape Artist, to the Mad Fientist, etc.
22. Taught at the Pop-Up Business School with Alan Donegan.
On both occasions (at Croydon and Paddington), I taught the art and science of blogging, as well as the business end.
23. Got invited twice to the Shades of Black Parenting Podcast and on both occasions, the hospitality was 10/10! Amazing food and goodie bags to go!
Episode on How To Make Your Child a Millionaire
24. Had a spectacular time with my entire family at Centreparcs (Woburn Forest). Such special memories here.
25. Spoke at a Manchester conference with Mary at an event for Women of Purpose and Influence.
This was the first time we’d been invited to speak together (all expenses paid too!).
26. Created the Super Simple Investing course. This was the most enjoyable course I have ever made.
Something about going from idea to physical product is so satisfying.
27. Travelled to Pigeon Island (St Lucia) with my family and for the first time ever, all 4 of us did a hike up a mountain and were greeted by some spectacular views:
28. We hired a boat and cruised the Atlantic ocean for the first time together as a family.
29. I spoke on the panel at the UK Money Bloggers conference and was honoured to have been asked to sit on the panel.
30. Won a creativity contest (simply by sticking to the rules) and awarded dinner at Nobu for two.
31. Got monetised and started generating an income on YouTube. I never ever saw this as something that could become a thing.
32. The Humble Penny became partners with 2020 Change as we began a big part of our giving back initiative.
We provide their students with Financial Education classes for Free.
33. I spoke on a panel at SHELL for Black History Month in a collaboration with BBC Embrace.
It was such an honour to sit on the same stage with some seriously accomplished people and there was little me next to them ;).
I learnt a lot about West African mathematical systems and made some great connections.
34. We celebrated with Elias as he turned 5 and did a full on Super Hero party. Joshua turned 6 and the Disneyland trip was part of his celebration.
35. I came across the Hoodies All Summer album by Kano.
I think the thing I love the most about it is the energy and passion that went into creating it.
Watch this video on YouTube. In particular from 11:14. Insane skill at play!
Listening to Kano just makes me marvel at the Creativity that goes into making anything worthwhile.
36. I became 36 years old (OMG!). My day was relaxed and started with breakfast at Bill’s.
Then followed by a RARE retail shopping experience with Mary. The followed by a movie called Joker.
37. I thoroughly enjoyed Top Boy on Netflix, with my favourite character being Sully.
The vulnerability he showed through the series still sits with me today.
38. I visited Twitter HQ in London for an event about Black Twitter.
I had no idea what this was, but I left really inspired and made some really important connections.
39. We made our first income on YouTube. All of £238 for the month!
In case you’re wondering, 5 months in, the channel is seeing about £500/month income. Enough to keep our little operation going, haha!
40. I won some major arm wrestles with insurance companies to get major payouts to my mum after her brain haemorrhage.
41. We completed our studio at the back of the house for The Humble Penny. We’ve called it The Ark.
It will be a new space for a lot of our creative work in the very near future. See the reveal here:
42. I enjoyed the most beautiful moment of the year – Swimming with my son Joshua in the Atlantic ocean.
Something about swimming in the environment with my son right next to me was so special that it almost brings tears to my eyes. A unique experience that I’ll never forget.
43. I did the Informed Choice Radio Podcast with Matthew Bamford and spoke about Financial Independence as a SuperPower!
44. I read a dozen books for the year. Some of my favourites included: Keep Going and Thirst
45. The BBC invited me to do a Financial Independence workshop in 2020! So cannot wait 🙂
46. We created the BUDGET FOR LIFE – A simple budgeting tool for non-Excel users.
47. More than 200 people started their own blogs because of my Step-by-Step blogging tutorial.
48. I was invited to speak on BBC Radio 4 (You and Yours show) about Financial Independence with ~3 million people apparently listening. Scary thought! Listen here.
49. Co-hosted the Playing With FIRE documentary premiere and Q&As in Birmingham. I made friends with a couple I really appreciate today.
50. We re-imagined Financial Joy Academy and will start 2020 with a game-changing offering for families around the world. Learn more by watching Our Goals & Vision for 2020:
51. Time by Hans Zimmer and The Way by Zack Hemsey remained my most played piece of music.
52. Mary went full time working for The Humble Penny. The joy from this is one that I can hardly put into words.
53. Elias got awarded a Merit for reading. Teaching him how to read is one of the best gifts we have given him.
If you have a preschooler, I highly recommend Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.
54. We became mortgage free after taking the leap to pay the thing off! It took us 7 years in all from a 25 year mortgage in 2012.
A HUGE leap of an achievement for us. See our video on how we did it.
55. We bathed in Sulphur Springs (in St. Lucia) for the first time ever as a family. A surreal experience.
56. We visit the spectacular Pitons. I shared a video here on Instagram:
57. My brother become the ONLY paralympic rower to represent the continent of Africa for Tokyo 2020. I so cannot wait to see him win Gold for family and country.
If only you knew what my brother has had to overcome with his disability to get to where he is.
I’m super fortunate to have winners like him in my life as inspiration for believing that I can get better everyday.
When I speak of a generation of Fearless Dreamers, I talk about people like him.
58. I saw forgiveness displayed like never before. Brother of a man mistakenly killed by a woman forgives her and wishes her well with a hug. Watch here.
59. We crossed 1,000 subscribers within 2 months of starting our YouTube channel. We celebrated with a high five 🙂
60. Our projector stopped working whilst I taught a bunch of young people how to invest.
The image that followed next as everyone gathered around my laptop (as an alternative) is one I’ll never forget.
The energy in the room was special as many just wanted that knowledge no matter the situation:
61. I got featured in the Metro but this time talking about a too often ignored topic – The Racial Debt Gap.
62. I delivered my first ever workshop on preparing youngsters for University when it came to managing money.
I had the priviledge of working with Reach Academy in Feltham.
This was one of my most heartfelt moments of the year.
63. I got to know my prayer group of 7 dads even better this year. We’ve laughed, broke bread, confided in each other and prayed for each other.
Forever may we remain in the light, brothers.
64. I worked in partnership fully on The Humble Penny for the first year this year with my wife Mary.
We had the odd disagreement about silly things, but in all, we’ve never been stronger.
65. Our reach expanded like never before in 2019. The internet has truly blown our minds by us taking the leap to start The Humble Penny.
We now have readers and viewers from more than 100 countries.
66. I maintained a mostly plant based diet in 2019 and felt most happy with the state of my health.
67. We enjoyed some wonderful collaborations. Check out our 2 year anniversary post for more.
68. I got featured in a short film by BBC Inside Out. It has become our most watched video on YouTube!
69. I got featured in a case study about my investing journey by Steps To Investing.
It was fun filming with them all day with my wife and kids at our home. Watch the video via the link above.
70. I got closer to my parents, sisters and brother and their spouses, more than ever before this year.
Driven by the need for us to come together as one as my mum became ill and needed us more than ever before.
71. My wife Mary learned an invaluable skill of video editing (in a month) and brought her full on levels of creativity into making our YouTube videos special.
72. Our income streams were more diversified than ever before. Watch our 12 multiple streams of income.
5 years ago, there was only a handful. So if this is an area of interest, there is much possibility for you.
73. Enjoyed a special reflection here on Reduit Bay Beach. So happy I captured this moment on camera:
74. I spent more time than ever with my kids when it comes to school life. I was able to attend all their events and enjoyed doing the school run on various occasions.
75. We posted a blog post on the blog every week this year without fail. Even with the demands of starting new platforms like YouTube, we still stayed consistent.
76. We from zero content on YouTube to one per week and then to two per week and have remained consistent ever since then.
77. I made some good business friends this year. Interestingly, most of them are women. They seem more willing to share successes and failures than men. Do you have the same observation?
78. I showed my presence in the UK African and Caribbean Communities and got seriously involved with important conversations and initiatives more so than ever before.
79. I met and became friends with an important historian of Ancient History and Black Civilisations – Robin Walker.
He is the author of an important book called When We Ruled.
80. I cared less about what people thought about me this year. I instead let my work do the talking.
This has helped me achieve more of what I’m passionate about achieving.
81. I danced a lot this year. If in doubt, dance!
82. I gifted more books than ever before. My most gifted book of the year is Principles by Ray Dalio. If you received one, happy next decade!
83. My dad ended the year in better shape than I have seen him in for a while.
84. I received an iPad as a gift and fell in love with the thing. A lot of my day to day life is recorded in it as I embraced a more paperless life.
85. The Game of Thrones finale was SPECTACULAR! Sad to see it go.
86. I gave no room to haters and naysayers in my life. I did not read a single comment on any publication I was featured in.
87. We had no cable TV all year, and I selectively watched certain documentaries or shows on Netflix.
88. I saw a different side of Lagos staying in a hotel for the first time ever. Within the chaos, I found an oasis of good food, great weather and overall awesome hospitality.
89. I met a select group of guy friends to celebrate my birthday for the first time in a long time. Nothing beats face to face conversations in small groups of real people.
90. Our message of Financial Independence sunk in with my friends this year more than ever before.
I had friends on unbelievable amounts of income (£250k+) finally speaking to me about the way out.
91. I enjoyed some special one to ones with my dad. We ate and we spoke. Special moments I’ll always remember as I aim to understand my sons better.
92. Regents Park was my most visited park of the year. I made some great memories there and generated some of my best ideas walking around to beautiful music.
93. I personally coached and mentored about a dozen people in the year one to one.
94. Our online academy finished the year with just over 300 enrolled students and this was without a great deal of effort. This again just proves what is possible with the internet.
95. We negotiated our first retainer sponsorship deal on The Humble Penny.
96. I was featured on BBC2 Politics Live:
97. I thanked God more this year than I probably ever have. Sooo many things went right and sooo many thing could have gone very wrong.
98. We started having fortnightly dinner parties at home and welcomed more families into our home than ever before.
This has been a good way to meet others whilst also building our faith.
99. I spent the 5 days building up to 31 December 2019 doing a staycation with my loved ones.
This time out has further shown me that there in better time than family time. I’m truly blessed to have each of my family members in my life.
100. I ended the year and decade alive and well with my wife and kids. Full of energy, excitement, hope and faith about what the future holds for our lives. Onwards!
Phew! I hope you enjoyed reading that. Speaking of the new decade, 10-Year Challenge accepted! Have we changed much?
What To Read Next:
What one thing made your year of 2019? And what is your one money goal for 2020?
Do please share this post if you found it useful, and remember, in all things be thankful and Seek Joy.
My one money goal for 2020 is to be consumer debt free. I am on target to hit this mark by the end of July. I’m so ready. Thank you for sharing for 100 things. This is wonderful. Blessings to you both in the new year!