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  • eurfi 21:51 on 2019-07-17 Permalink | Reply  

    Summer 2019 Update 

    I’m writing this “on the road”. Our whole family is touring Europe in our (now one year old) camper van. We are still very happy with the car and the freedom and joy it brings us.

    Financially 2018 was a very bad year and it kind of destroyed my plans for retirement in the next few years. It erased the gains of two years (including the car purchase).

    I had some bumpy periods before and usually I was more conservative afterwards. It should be the same this time.

    I’m still working full time (except one month in Summer).

    So, life is good, but not much to report on the blog.

    • FInancial Independence 23:18 on 2019-11-06 Permalink | Reply

      Hi eurfi,

      Glad to see that your thoroughly enjoyed the summer. As for the financial performance it does goes up and down. I appreciate that you keep sharing information honestly, regardless how painful it is.
      Hopefully coming year will be better, enabling you to get back on track with the progress.


    • Financial Independence 18:10 on 2020-03-15 Permalink | Reply

      Hi EurFi, where you tempted to go back on the market and do some trades? It is one big roller coaster!


    • eurfi 0:03 on 2020-07-01 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, I was loosing on the way down and on the way up too. 2020 will also be a bad year for me (market wise). Other than that all is fine.


  • eurfi 22:57 on 2018-11-02 Permalink | Reply  

    Increasing Expenses 

    Lately I’m thinking about increasing our expenses. I consider spending more on food. In my mind organic foods costs roughly 3 times the “normal” price (the difference is smaller for some categories, but even higher for others – meat).

    But for health reasons I would like to spend more. It doesn’t have to be (always) organic, I would rather prefer smaller producers near us. We live in a region where this is possible.

    Our yearly expenses are on track for 36k. It is certainly higher than the last years, but in line (from 2014: 33k, 34k, 35k, 34k). I guess most of the increase is coming from our car. I do not include the initial price of the car here.

    Our monthly food spending (groceries) is around 400 Euros. I guess this might increase to 700 Euros (which is around 4k a year).

    November will be the first month where we spend more, let’s see how it feels…


    • Financial Independence 0:07 on 2018-12-09 Permalink | Reply

      I do agree with you. The choice is almost obvious but sad. In the same supermarket you could buy a food and organic food. I do not comprehend how could they sell unhealthy food and get away with it.

      In the long run it worth every penny.

      I am also looking forward for you end of the year update. With the market roller coaster I am sure you made a killing.


    • eurfi 23:08 on 2018-12-12 Permalink | Reply

      Turns out our November groceries where about 500 Euros. A bit higher than normally, but not at 700. I did still buy some “normal” stuff.


  • eurfi 21:58 on 2018-10-17 Permalink | Reply  

    October Update 

    Options Trading

    I do active investing. I’m mostly selling options. Some structures are far away from current prices, while others are more current.

    In February 2018 I lost a complete account, because I had too much far away positions in it. Two other accounts survived it just fine.

    In October 2018 there was a similar (but much smaller) situation. This time I had no positions on, that where near current prices (we option traders call that ATM – at the money). My two accounts with the far away positions did suffer, but they are still fine.

    For almost all of my option trading friends the October situation brought sizeable losses and a lot of them did realise some losses. As I had nothing on, it was not stressful at all to me.

    Camper Van (and Kids)

    We are still enjoying the camper van and used it several times already (weekends). My kids like it. It is like a second flat. I could sell the big house and live in a much smaller flat and enjoy the freedom. But, of course, it will never happen. My wife likes to live bigger and of course every kid “needs” to have his own room!

    Years ago I was in a museum, where older people were talking about their childhood. Back then it was normal, that two kids would sleep in one bed. An own room was not even talked about. I sometimes joke kids do not need an own room – they like to sleep in the parents bed and play in the living room. (I’m sure, this changes at some time, but I still have to experience that change.)

    Working Time

    I’m working full time for almost two years now. It was part of my “sprint to the finish line”. Which I’m no longer convinced about (see the last posts). So I’m thinking again about reducing my hours. I find it hard to give up the extra money. You never know what the future brings and it might never be as easy as it is now.


  • eurfi 22:56 on 2018-08-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Falling Victim to the Diderot Effect 

    After buying our camper van I felt victim to the Diderot effect. The new car “needed” lots of small electronics (power plugs, converters, 4G router, …), kitchen stuff and sleeping textiles (pillows, blankets).

    And with AliExpress I found a fountain of ideas to purchase (if only it wouldn’t take so long to deliver).

    Of course, all these expenses are a danger to my goal of FIRE. But after loosing so much money I’m more relaxed in this regard. I want to enjoy life more now and not just in FIRE.

    My goal for our yearly expenses (the car itself not included) is below 36k. The running total (for the trailing 12 months) so far is rising (May till August were expensive months) and around 35.5k already. It is still possible, but not really looking good.

    • Financial Independence 0:37 on 2018-10-10 Permalink | Reply

      This the camper van, house or anything else no doubt there is temptation to invest a lot small improvements, which will inevitably add up. This is only human thing to do.
      What I could not really get my head around – why 4G router? I was geneuly thinking that the van is to get closer to nature, not have a mobile internet station.


      • eurfi 23:01 on 2018-11-02 Permalink | Reply

        A month without Internet is not possible for me! I need it for the stock market (options trading) and I also work on the side.
        I like to combine nature (and adventure) with computer stuff. I work as a developer and I spend a lot of my free time in front of a computer.


  • eurfi 21:54 on 2018-08-17 Permalink | Reply  

    How Loosing 100k changed my Life 

    Well, the 100k are not entirely true, but it sounded so nice…

    In February I lost 60k (compared to January). One of my options accounts was completely eliminated by the rising volatility in early February.

    This made me think.

    So far I was in a “sprint to the finish line”. Now I saw that the markets are clearly not an one-way street. And living off from my investment income might be more problematic than I thought.

    After a few iterations I will now probably work longer (more years) than I initially hoped. And now I’m looking for ways to make these years more pleasureable.

    Long story short: We bought a camper van! (That is the remaining 40k “loss”.)

    We already spent a month (summer break) with our kids in it. We like it very much! Before we bought it, we did a test run with a rented car (for a week). That was in May.

    I could sell the house and only live in the van, but of course my wife and children have a different opinion. 🙂


    • Financial Independence 0:41 on 2018-10-10 Permalink | Reply

      Congatulations on buying the van! I sincerely hope that you will continue to enjoy it for many years to come. How does the FIRE look like now?

      Will you change your investment strategy or will keep doing it the same at risk of loosing money? What has happened?

      Many thanks for sharing the news. EU regulators cleaning €1tn market for “contracts for difference” — derivatives that allow traders to track the price of an underlying asset such as gold, shares or a cryptocurrency. Data show that between 74 and 89 per cent of European retail accounts trading CFDs lose money, with losses ranging between €1,600 and €29,000.


      • eurfi 23:06 on 2018-11-02 Permalink | Reply

        2018 is a very bad year for me. I did between okay and well the years before.
        Yes, I will change my investment strategy. At the moment I’m (almost) flat. I closed all option positions (taking another loss).
        Living off my investments is not as predictable as I initially thought. I might never fully retire. I’m thinking about reducing my hours (but probably not now), but working longer (more years).
        It is socially most accepted 😉


  • eurfi 22:52 on 2018-01-18 Permalink | Reply  

    Spending Summer Break with my Kids 

    I have worked part time before, but returned to full time work (I called this my sprint to the finish line). Working every day and seeing the kids only for a few hours (on some days maybe only minutes, not hours) has its price.

    So in looking for new ways I decided to take one month off of work each year and spend it with my kids (and my wife, if she can join). For 2018 we are planning a road trip through Europe. Later years we might just do shorter trips in our home country or even fly to the US.

    In 2016 we almost bought a camper van. Of course I still have this wish (and will probably buy it, once retired). And for our road trip this year I was checking prices again. But no matter how I calculate, it is still a few thousand Euros more per year than our current car. Let’s say it is 5,000 Euros more per year. Now, how many nights are we realistically sleeping in the car? Maybe 50? This would be 100 Euro per night – you can get an Airbnb almost anywhere for this price.

    So, maybe the camper van would add more stress to our life (having to “use” it). And “more stress” is the least desired thing I would want…

    • Finanancial Independence 19:30 on 2018-03-10 Permalink | Reply

      Hello EurFi,
      there is a hidden gem in having camper van, which is missing from the calculations. You do not need to buy air tickets. For example hotel in Mexico costs same (100 eur a night) but having a camper van means that you do not need to buy tickets to Mexico (or even Spain) and this is additional 600-700 to 200 EUR per head per holiday.
      Hope you will revert to the blogging soon but I am equally curious when you will start you financial independence life for real.


      • eurfi 22:05 on 2018-08-17 Permalink | Reply

        Yes. Now that we have one, I also think that this calculation is wrong. I might correct it in a new post.
        Having sold my old car I now know the real loss (around 3k per year). The camper van will loose propably less than 4k each year – very similar to the normal car. Insurance is quite cheap. Only the fuel consumption is much higher (around 50 % more). So the difference is maybe only 2k (not 5k).
        And you are right, the vacation itself is cheaper than hotel rooms. For our summer trip I initially planned to use AirBnb. Each night is around 50 Euros (or more). Some nights we paid nothing or 10 Euros for a RV place. Camping places did cost between 14 and 54 Euros (the coast is very expensive).

        With my recent move to working longer my situation is now comparable to yours. It solves a few other “problems” as well – mainly the social aspect (“what is he doing?”)


  • eurfi 21:57 on 2018-01-06 Permalink | Reply  

    Happy New Year 

    In September I announced a break from blogging.  And I really did not look into the blog (I’m proud about that). As always, only during the first weeks I was tempted. Later I did no longer think about it. I also read fewer personal finance blogs (I unsubscribed a few in my RSS reader).

    During the months I continued my book keeping. I will no longer publish my numbers regularly – what’s the point of it? My savings rate for 2017 was over 50 % (and between 38 and 41 % in 2014 till 2016). The yearly expenses were quite stable (between 33k and 35k in 2014 till 2017). So the increase in savings rate came from higher income. I was working full time the whole year (and part time in 2015 and 2016).

    I have read a few times about the stages of FI. Most of the blog posts have a high number of beginning stages, but later is a huge gap before reaching FI. With a net worth of around 425k I’m more than halfway there. There is no longer the question if I reach FI, it is more when. And even if I do not generate extra returns from the stock market, the monthly surplus from our working income will get us there. Plus, my wife does not want to stop working, and we could almost live from her income (and my side job). But as I earn way more than her, it is not so easy to quit (she feels more secure with both incomes).

    In the last few months I started listening to two podcasts:

    The future of this blog

    I will stop my monthly net worth reports (and also the options reports). But I will blog from time to time. Whenever I feel like it. Be it only once every few months, or a few times a month. I have some thoughts about the future (and my kids) that I would like to share. Also, “Second Generation FI” (as coined by Choose FI) is very interesting to me.


    • Financial Independence 0:26 on 2018-01-11 Permalink | Reply

      Hi EurFi,

      Happy New year. Indeed, the blogging could be quite time consuming and not always rewarding (financially wise),
      as income goes up and down.
      I found rewarding to publish my financial performance, as it attracts more interest and keeps me honest about actual performance.
      It is very easy (for me) to sweep bad results under the carpet and pretend it never happen.

      50% savings rate is beyond believe. You are the champion! Taking into account very high income taxes in the NL you are doing amazing! I think there is a lot of blogs out there which publish somewhat unbelievable or unrealistic numbers. Yours was a breath of fresh air.

      In a way we all reach FI, some of us do it at retirement age ;-).

      Thank you for the recommendations. I do like podcasts and big fan of audiobooks, but I also read much faster that listen words.


  • eurfi 23:12 on 2017-09-06 Permalink | Reply  

    Blog paused until end of 2017 

    The (few) regular readers might have noticed that I only post the monthly net worth and options income report. All other types of postings stopped a few months ago.

    I thought about stopping this blog, but then decided to keep the monthly reports. I was not sure if I would stop the accounting for myself, so I still reported my numbers on the blog.

    Now I’m pausing all blogging. I will re-evaluate at the end of the year whether I will continue with the monthly posts (e. g. if my accounting slips), reduce the frequency of my number reports or if I maybe stop blogging completely.

    My main reason is my lack of (free) time. Kids, an house and (multiple) jobs leave too little time for myself. While I enjoy writing my numbers down and seeing some visitors and even getting a few comments, the time is ultimately better spend on other ventures. My ultimate goal is freedom (from a day job) and so (paid) work is bringing me closer to this than blogging.

    I will not stop my journey. I’m on a very good way and end of 2022 should be the latest date where I reach my goal. If all goes well it could also be end of 2020.

    • Financial independence 14:56 on 2017-10-06 Permalink | Reply

      Hi EurFi,

      I am not sure how much the blog contributied to the discipline and your commitment, but from 216 in October 2014
      you are almost doubled your amount by reaching in 396K in September 2017.

      This is in three years. The goal is more important than description. If more time will help you to hit your target by 2022 – so be it.
      You will be missed.

      Writing a meaningful posts with unique content does take time. I hope you will manage to rationalise your schedule and come back whenever you are ready.

      Liked by 2 people

    • eurfi 22:05 on 2018-01-06 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, what a ride. Apart from a few bad months (I will always remember the -30k of October 2014) it was a very steady rise. It is almost too easy.
      My biggest takeaway is “thinking about it (money) really helps”. But I can not attribute this to the blog, as these insights came while I was doing some private/internal planning (I never published these numbers).


  • eurfi 19:22 on 2017-09-02 Permalink | Reply  

    August 2017 – Net Worth and Expenses 

    May (-200) and July (+100) were two months with no progress. I’m glad that August shows a healthy gain of almost 1 %. The only sad thing: My stock market activity did not contribute to that.

    • brokerage accounts 292.3k (-0.5k)
    • ETFs 17.7k (+0.7k)
    • cash 20.3k (+5.5k)
    • alternative investments 62.2k (-2.0k)
    • taxes 3.5k
    • total 396.0k (+3.8k) [+0.97%]

    Monthly Expenses

    • January 5.2k
    • February 2.5k
    • March 2.5k
    • April 3.3k
    • May 3.1k
    • June 2.1k
    • July 2.3k
    • August 2.1k

    August was the cheapest month so far (a few Euros below June). An yearly total of 33k seems achievable.

  • eurfi 7:39 on 2017-09-02 Permalink | Reply  

    August 2017 – Options Income 

    I opened another account, that I will also track from next month on. August was the first negative month for my strategy. But July was exceptionally good.

    Far OTM option selling (MTM)

    • January: +1.9k
    • February: +0.5k
    • March: +0.9k
    • April: +1.1k
    • May: +1.1k
    • June: +1.2k
    • July: +2.6k
    • August: -0.3k

    Far OTM option selling (closed trades)

    • January: +1.6k
    • February: +0.8k
    • March: +0.4k
    • April: +1.5k
    • May: +0.4k
    • June: +0.8k
    • July: +3.2k
    • August: 0
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