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  • eurfi 23:15 on 2017-01-09 Permalink | Reply  

    2016 – Yearly Expenses 

    While 2015 was financially spectacular, I did not achieve similar results in 2016. In the beginning of the year I bet on a rallye (didn’t happen) and in the final month on the year I bet on a decline (also didn’t happen). So I lost needlessly money. In between were some good months, so in the end all was okay (but not spectacular).

    2012 – 2016 in comparison

    But in this post we talk about the expenses, so let’s compare the years:

    • 2012 – 42k
    • 2013 – 44k
    • 2014 – 33k
    • 2015 – 34k
    • 2016 – 35k

    I was expecting rising expenses and wanted to stay below 36k (stretch goal was to stay below 2015’s level). For 2017 I’m expecting slightly lower expenses (around 100 Euros each month).

    Expenses by Category

    • pension payments – 18 %
    • children – 16 %
    • housing – 15 %
    • groceries – 13 %
    • car – 7 %
    • travel – 5 %
    • clothes – 5 %

    Children related expenses jump from the 4th place last year (13 % back then) to the second place this year. We did more vacations than 2015 (or at least paid more for it) and my wife bought a lot of clothes (for our standards).

    Goals for 2017

    • yearly expenses below 2016 level
    • net worth of 450k

    I have not really thought about other goals. So maybe I will add some during the year.

    Savings Rates for 2014 – 2016

    Reader Niterainbow asked about my savings rate. I could not answer it, because I never calculated it. I was very interested in this as well:

    • 2014 – 38 %
    • 2015 – 41 %
    • 2016 – 41 %

    For 2017 I predict over 50 %. As I’m now working full-time again we will earn more. Above 50 % is a nice number!

    What is even more interesting (at least to me), is that in all 3 years our expenses would have been covered without my salary. I calculated it like this: yearly net worth gain – my net salary. This number was positive even in 2014 (were the net worth gain was only 33.4k).

    • MustardSeedMoney 4:49 on 2017-01-11 Permalink | Reply

      Wow that’s incredible that you have been able to keep your expenses trending down and keeping your savings rate so high. Awesome job and I can’t wait to you hit your 50% savings rate!!!


    • eurfi 0:11 on 2017-01-12 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks. The drop from 2013 to 2014 is about our move into our house and a change in health insurance. So when we ignore these “other” years. The expenses are going up from 2014 to 2016. 😦
      But this is okay, because I believe 2017 can be cheaper than 2016.


  • eurfi 21:32 on 2017-01-01 Permalink | Reply  

    December 2016 – Net Worth and Expenses 

    Back in November I started a bearish leaning trade that did not work out at all. It had the potential to destroy my goal of reaching 360k net worth by the end of the year. But it turned out well – I made it!

    • brokerage accounts 295.5k (+2.5k)
    • ETFs 12.0k (+1.5k)
    • cash 23.1k (-26.8k)
    • alternative investments 35.3k (+0.1k)
    • taxes -0.2k
    • total 365.7k (+7.6k) [+2.1%]

    I had to pay my taxes for last year. ETFs gained nicely.

    Monthly Expenses

    • January 2.8k
    • February 2.6k
    • March 3.4k
    • April 3.7k
    • May 3.3k
    • June 3.2k
    • July 2.9k
    • August 2.6k
    • September 2.9k
    • October 2.7k
    • November 2.5k
    • December 2.4k

    December was a cheap month, despite the usual Christmas gifts. Our yearly expenses were 34.7k – well below the target of 36k. I have some error in my accounting, running expenses are always higher than the final number.

    I will talk about the full year numbers in a detailed post. Yearly goals will follow too.

    I wish all my readers a happy New Year and a successful 2017.

  • eurfi 11:27 on 2016-12-09 Permalink | Reply  

    My last free day – how did I spent it? 

    Today is my last free day. From next year on, I will go back to full-time work. This year I was working some months only 3 days a week and most months 4 days a week.

    And today is my last free day (with at least a few unplanned hours) – how did I spent it? Inspired by a reader comment I started looking at my yearly income minus my yearly expenses. I will post more details about this in the beginning of 2017, when the final numbers for 2016 are in. But there were some interesting insights already: In the last three years (2014 – 2016) we would have covered all our expenses without my salary. So I could have already retired 😀

    I earn around double what my wife earns, so I didn’t expect that. Also, 2015 was a spectacular year for us, so no surprise here. But it also worked in 2014. In 2015 and 2015 our non-salary income would have been enough to cover our expenses. So, theoretically, my wife could have retired as well.

    But our current net worth (355k) is too low to really quit. My target number is 600k, which would give us 24k a year with a SWR of 4%. This is more or less our planned expenses in (full) retirement.

    My wife (currently) does not want to retire, so the numbers look quite okay for me leaving the corporate world. I still have to convince my wife, though. This is by far the hardest part. My current plan involves a “sprint to the finish line”. Next year I go back to full-time employment. Earning more will lead to saving more. The “conservative plan” has a target retirement date of mid 2020 (we will have our 600k by then).

    But I’m not sure if I can sustain working until then. I would rather quit in 2018 already. So, I try to generate an extra income of around 1k each month. With that I hope to convince my wife to let me retire earlier. I can do it!

    • Financial Independence 12:01 on 2016-12-26 Permalink | Reply

      Hi EurFI, welcome to the FTE (Full Time Employees) circle. I am still truly amazed that you can cover all your expenses with not being FTE and yet, focusing on the full time job.
      If you could cover our expenses I would likely to build on that success or even better – start doing it for the other people and got my fair share from the results.
      With my $387K portfolio I managed to get $8K a year in dividends (all beit around $50 is cash and some precious metals).

      The choice is yours and I am looking forward to your posts in 2017!


      • eurfi 0:11 on 2016-12-27 Permalink | Reply

        This (covering our expenses) was only possible because of investment returns. And if I hadn’t made some mistakes in 2016, it would have been a very boring, but constantly growing year. This is one of my goals for 2017 – less volatility.
        I also have some dividend stocks (mostly REITs) – 3.3k dividend out of 50k invested (around 6.8 %). I bought OHI (9 %) for very high yield and also have CCP, quite concentrated sector risk. But your portfolio is similar (albeit concentrated in a different sector).


  • eurfi 22:18 on 2016-12-02 Permalink | Reply  

    November 2016 – net worth and expenses 

    November was the post-election month and the markets did surprise me. I did not expect this rally! In the end it was a positive month and I’m closer to my year-end goal of 360k.

    • brokerage accounts 293.0k (+1.3k)
    • ETFs 10.5k (+0.5k)
    • cash 49.9k (+3.0k)
    • alternative investments 35.2k (-0.1k)
    • taxes -30.5k
    • total 358.1k (+4.4k) [+1.2%]

    Monthly Expenses

    • January 2.8k
    • February 2.6k
    • March 3.4k
    • April 3.7k
    • May 3.3k
    • June 3.2k
    • July 2.9k
    • August 2.6k
    • September 2.9k
    • October 2.7k
    • November 2.5k

    Yeah – the lowest month of the year! Running expenses for the year are now below 36k (which is my goal).

    About this blog

    I will spend less time on this blog in the future. This means comments will take much longer to get published and my next post will be in the beginning of the new year. My previous “Escape 9 to 5” is more or less failed (at least stalled). So to be free earlier, I’m working on a new way to earn around 1k each month (which will be selling my time doing programming).

    • spaarolifantje 22:47 on 2016-12-02 Permalink | Reply

      Nice, you are definitely getting close to that 360k goal!


    • homoinvestor 19:51 on 2016-12-06 Permalink | Reply

      Hi eurfi!

      How are you going to sell your time? As a freelance? I’m also looking for new income streams and programming is on my skills.

      Kind regards,

      Homo Investor.


      • eurfi 22:40 on 2016-12-06 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, I found a company that pays me for each hour I code.


        • homoinvestor 22:42 on 2016-12-06 Permalink

          Which technology? I’m a spaniard… Do they hire international people?


        • eurfi 23:23 on 2016-12-07 Permalink

          An old, unsexy technology. I don’t want to name it.
          It is a very small shop, I doubt they would even hire another developer.


  • eurfi 0:34 on 2016-11-02 Permalink | Reply  

    October 2016 – net worth and expenses 

    October was – for the most part – very quiet on the financial markets. My trades did well. Only in the last few days I had to give back some gains. Overall I’m a big step closer to my year-end goal of 360k.

    • brokerage accounts 291.7k (+5.0k)
    • ETFs 10.0k (+0.7k)
    • cash 46.9k (+0.8k)
    • alternative investments 35.3k (+0.4k)
    • taxes -30.2k
    • total 353.7k (+5.6k) [+1.6%]

    Monthly Expenses

    • January 2.8k
    • February 2.6k
    • March 3.4k
    • April 3.7k
    • May 3.3k
    • June 3.2k
    • July 2.9k
    • August 2.6k
    • September 2.9k
    • October 2.7k

    I’m very pleased with our low expenses (we spent almost 400 Euros on used Lego). Our running total for the year is 36.6k – we can achieve 36k for the year (November last year was 3.3k – above average).

    Camper Van Savings Account

    • July 2.2k (monthly savings 37 Euros)
    • August 2.6k (monthly savings 165 Euros)
    • September 3.0k (monthly savings 165 Euros)
    • October 3.2k (monthly savings 165 Euros)

    Our monthly savings will decrease from November on, because we bring back a saved expense (sports club membership for our oldest kid). At least it will be a little bit less than last time.

    As this section is a bit boring, I will leave it out from next month on. I will only mention it, if something remarkable happens.

    • Financial independence 17:02 on 2016-11-26 Permalink | Reply

      I am amazed that you manage to go from 216.9K in October 2014 to 353.7 in 2016.
      This is 137K over two years or 68.5K a year. Amazing progress!

      Have you try to analyse how much came from savings, passive and active investments?


      • eurfi 22:22 on 2016-11-29 Permalink | Reply

        I have not analysed this. But would be interested in it as well 😀

        2015 was my best year – active investing brought in 55k. I usually calculate with 20k savings. Currently there is not much passive investment left (maybe 2k in total return). In January 2017 I will analyse that for 2015 and 2016. Looking forward to it.


      • eurfi 23:03 on 2017-01-10 Permalink | Reply

        In 2014 my income from active investing was only 5.7k. In 2015 it was 62.9k and in 2016 24k. All numbers are after taxes.


  • eurfi 19:44 on 2016-10-16 Permalink | Reply  

    Goals 2016 – Three Quarter Report 

    My goals for 2016 were:

    • Yearly expenses below 36.000 Euros (average of 3.000 Euros per month).
    • Change in work situation.
    • 100 Euro per month side hustle (project Escape 9 to 5) in December 2016.
    • 24 blog posts (average of 2 per month).
    • Spend 3 nights outdoors with my oldest kid.

    And I recently added:

    • Net worth end of 2016 – 360k Euros.

    Our yearly expenses are running at 37.4k. This is slightly less than 3 months ago. It felt possible to reach, but then we bought Lego toys for over 400 Euros (around 40 kilos). We will see, what the future brings.

    I changed my work agreement to 3 days a week. But I didn’t use my free days to my advantage (e. g. project Escape 9 to 5). At the moment I’m back to 4 days a week and I might be back full time in 2017. It is quite an amount for each day more/less. So, in order to reach financial independence by Summer 2020 I have to use all I can get.

    I abandoned my ambitions to earn money with my side hustle (project Escape 9 to 5). Over the summer I had 2 free days each work and almost never worked on it. I still use my software often, but rarely do I program on it. At the moment I concentrate my energies on the stock market. I think there is the most potential. I will go back to my little software project when I’m FI.

    24 blog posts: 12 posts are set (monthly net worth report) and if I post at least once in between I should be able to make it. But of all my goals it is the least important one.

    I spent 2 nights outdoors (with my wife and all kids). So, while I did not reach 3 nights, I’m very happy that we camped two times! It was fun (and very wet the second time).

    To reach my 360k net worth goal I have to add 4k each remaining month.

  • eurfi 23:25 on 2016-10-03 Permalink | Reply  

    September 2016 – net worth and expenses 

    September was a solid month.

    • brokerage accounts 286.7k (+6.1k)
    • ETFs 9.3k (+0.6k)
    • cash 46.1k (-13.6k)
    • alternative investments 34.9k (+15.0k)
    • taxes -28.9k
    • total 348.1k (+6.5k) [+1.9%]

    I have an aggressive goal for the next three years (more on this further below) and the year end figure for 2016 is 360k. As of today only 12k are missing. I expect half of it (2k each month) to come from savings. The other half has to come from the stock market.

    Monthly Expenses

    • January 2.8k
    • February 2.6k
    • March 3.4k
    • April 3.7k
    • May 3.3k
    • June 3.2k
    • July 2.9k
    • August 2.6k
    • September 2.9k

    September seems average, but there are vacation costs (700 Euros) and clothes included (300 Euros). So it actually was a very inexpensive month. My goal for yearly expenses is to stay below 36k. At the moment we are running at 37.4k.

    Camper Van Savings Account

    • July 2.2k (monthly savings 37 Euros)
    • August 2.6k (monthly savings 165 Euros)
    • September 3.0k (monthly savings 165 Euros)

    No changes for the monthly savings (and also no changes expected for the rest of the year).

    FI Date / Aggressive Goal

    My Excel sheet (which is based on increasing the yearly gain by 10k each year) projects us at 600k at the end of 2020. With the 4 % rule we can then withdraw 2k each month, which should cover our (then reduced) expenses. My new goal is to reach this point in June 2020. 360k in 2016, 420k in 2017, 490k in 2018, 570k in 2019 and finally 600k in spring/summer 2020. I will try to reach it in 2019, but 2020 is more realistic. To achieve this, I have to make (on average) between 4k per month in 2017 and 6k in 2019 in the stock market. At the moment I do not know how to achieve this. I have to spend more time learning and researching, that is for sure!


  • eurfi 10:06 on 2016-09-08 Permalink | Reply  

    Two Years of Blogging – Lessons from Thinking about FI 

    Today is my two year anniversary. I started this blog exactly two years ago. My first post was a few days later. I learned about the concept of early retirement in July 2014: I stumbled upon a book review of Jacob’s book “Early Retirement Extreme”. And from his blog I also found MMM and 1500 Days etc.

    I was immediately hooked by the concept of saving enough to live from the proceeds. It really changed my thinking. I was tracking my expenses and net worth before, but I was not drawing enough conclusions out of it.

    My biggest lesson in the two years of blogging: Thinking about money pays out.

    I noticed recent yearly net worth gains were around 10k in 2012, 20k in 2013 and 30k in 2014. To recognise the pattern was easy! I made an Excel sheet and projected each year an additional increase of 10k. This would give us 600k end of 2020 and over 1 million in 2024. Our actual savings (from our salaries) were limited, so the additional income had to come from investment gains. At that moment I had around 100k in our brokerage account and about 60k cash in a money market account. There was no way I could achieve those returns with this allocation. So in 2015 I moved the cash into a new brokerage account. And this paid out handsomely. Our net worth gain in 2015 was way above the projected 40k. (There was a lot of luck involved – it just was a fantastic year for my strategies. The same strategies did not work in 2016 at all. Luckily I played it small and later stayed away from them.)

    I’m sure, if I had not made this Excel sheet, I would not have moved the money into brokerage accounts and I would not have had such a spectacular year 2015.

    A big topic for me is onboarding my wife. To achieve the goal of financial independence it is necessary to cut expenses. We spend around 600 Euros each month for pension contracts. This is no longer necessary, if we can live from our investments early. So we have to terminate these contracts. It was a heated topic for a long time. Finally we see some progress there. I hope to do quarterly reviews of our net worth with my wife. (I manage all our finances and investments.)

    This year we started a special savings account were we accrue money for our dream – a camper van. I hope to further reduce our monthly expenses with this account (reducing costs to save more for the van).

    My next area were thinking about money produced results is our dividend portfolio. I aim for a 600k portfolio and 4 % dividend yield. Almost no quality stock has 4 % yield at the moment. So I mostly sell puts with a lower strike price and collect some premiums. I’m already at a yearly return of 16k out of a nominal portfolio size of 235k (average yield 6,8 %). This yield will go down, as new investments will have a much lower yield. Nevertheless the progress is fantastic.

    • Financial Independence 12:05 on 2016-12-26 Permalink | Reply

      I keep our financial independence separately from the wife’s pension. More over I actively encourage her to contribute her maximum amount she can at her work pension.
      Pensions are protected from bankruptcy, create her good feeling and allows me to do some real life benchmark. I do not think we will be able to retire any earlier than ordinary people unless something changes dramatically.


      • eurfi 0:04 on 2016-12-27 Permalink | Reply

        I assume the “dramatic changes” have to occur on the side of the expenses. 66k is quite a bit! But I know: This is easier said than done. (A few days ago I learned that our FI expenses will be at least 300 Euros a month higher – I will blog about it soon.)


  • eurfi 20:13 on 2016-09-01 Permalink | Reply  

    August 2016 – net worth and expenses 

    This month looks like an impressive jump (+8 %), but over 21k of the gains is from terminating a pension contract. I will be terminating another one at the end of the year and two more next year. All of these will lead to around 600 Euros less in expenses! We do not need this money with 65, we need it now. The less we spent, the more we can save and the earlier we can reach financial independence.

    • brokerage accounts 280.6k (+0.9k)
    • ETFs 8.7k (+0.8k)
    • cash 59.7k (+34.9k)
    • alternative investments 19.9k (-11.0k)
    • taxes -27.3k
    • total 341.6k (+25.3k) [+8.0%]

    My goal for the end of the year is 360k. This means I need to make around 4k each month with our investments. This is possible, but the market has to cooperate. 😀

    Monthly Expenses

    • January 2.8k
    • February 2.6k
    • March 3.4k
    • April 3.7k
    • May 3.3k
    • June 3.2k
    • July 2.9k
    • August 2.6k

    August was a quiet month – I like it like that. We bought some stuff, so even below 2.5k would have been possible. We have a vacation coming for September (and a lot of driving), so I’m afraid we might be over 3k again.

    Camper Van Saving Account

    • July 2.2k (monthly savings 37 Euros)
    • August 2.6k (monthly savings 165 Euros)

    Like I hoped last month, this month our no-longer-expenses have 3 digits (almost 165 Euros). The next big jumps will come in 2017.


    • spaarolifantje 22:59 on 2016-09-02 Permalink | Reply

      Are there disadvantages to terminating pension contracts? Do you have to pay fees? Or lose tax benefits?

      Personally, I’m in the Netherlands and I’m using my retirement investing options to fund my life after official retirement age, because using those accounts gives me nice tax benefits (42% of the investments are returned to me at tax time). Besides that, I also invest outside of retirement accounts to fund my life before official retirement age.

      So I see my retirement as two time periods: one before official retirement age, to be funded from regular investments and savings, and one after official retirement age, to be funded by social security and my official retirement accounts.


      • eurfi 10:59 on 2016-09-03 Permalink | Reply

        These were private contracts, a blend between investing and insurance. For a lack of a better word I called it “pension contracts”.
        They have a very high fees, so it was a mistake signing them in the first place. But this was years ago and I didn’t know better back then. Today I would never sign them in the first place.
        The gains were tax free, but what benefit is this if the gains are minuscule?

        I could approach it like you: early retirement and regular retirement. I’m aiming for not touching principle. So I would like to generate 2k per month in income, without selling stocks or ETFs. Then regular retirement income (which we will also get) is nice, but not important. I would rather have the money now, instead of in 25 years.


  • eurfi 22:46 on 2016-08-22 Permalink | Reply  

    Dividend Portfolio – Part 2 

    Last month I started my Dividend Portfolio using options. Since then I sold puts on VZ, VFC, TGT and GM with annualised yields between 4.6 % (VFC) and 7.9 % (GM). This yield is higher, if my strike price is nearer to the current stock price. All these options expire in January 2018.

    Today I sold puts on PSX relatively close to the money (stock at 77, strike 75) and with a much shorter duration (October 2016). The annualised yield is much higher (16 %), but I can only do this for stocks I would buy for the current price (because there is only little distance between the current stock price and the strike price of the option). Currently I do not find a lot of stocks that I consider attractive priced.

    Before today’s transaction my annualised yield of the whole portfolio was 5,6 % and I needed 430k to achieve my goal of 2k a month with this yield. After today’s transaction my annualised yield jumped to 7 % and my needed investment down to 340k. What a difference!

    Of course, if I can not reach the same yield in October, these numbers will go back to the previous level.

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