How we saved €100.000 in 3 years!

And now you expect to hear an amazing story about how we saved €100.000 in 3 years! Wrong. You are going to get a rant. Disappointed? Too bad, suck it up or leave 😉

How we saved €100.000 in 3 years!

Usually when I read this type of titles I suddenly feel a rash coming up, get spots all over my body and start to get foam in my mouth. Yes, it’s click-bait, yes it sound interesting, yes it draws you in, but it’s all a load of BS.

How we saved €100.000 in 3 years!
How we saved €100.000 in 3 years!

Bullshit

Did we actually save €100.000 in 3 years? Yes, we did from 2006-2008. We worked out butts off (up to 84 hour work weeks), lived like students and saved a ton of money. But you must have had an amazing income? Yes, of course we did! How on earth are would we have otherwise been able to stash such a ridiculous amount of money? We both have an MSc. degree in fields where you can earn good money. Couple that with working internationally regularly for up to 2 months at a time and “miracles” happen. When working abroad and everything is paid for (even beer!), and you cannot spend money as you are living on a construction site, saving goes fast.

Is that impressive? No, it isn’t! It would have been impressively stupid if we’d spent all that money. Saving large sums of money when you earn lots of money is not something to shout about. It’s something that should be normal. You’d be an idiot if you didn’t.

Lists

The same posts that have such “killer” titles as “how we saved €100.000 in 3 years!”, usually come with a list of “amazing” tips how you can too. Well here is a wake up call, most of you can’t. Even in your wildest dreams you are not going to make this, because you simply don’t earn enough. You can save all you want, clip coupons, go to the library, travel hack, buy everything with credit cards for point, etc. But if you (two?) don’t earn at least €50.000 net per year, you will never save that €100.000 in 3 years.

Based on this posts from a while back, to earn about €50.000 net as a household you need to be in the top 5% of all household incomes. Good luck with that!

That being said, should you save as much as you can and invest? Yes, always! Should you stay humble if you also can save €100.000 in 3 years, absolutely! Because you are a lucky son of a (fill in nasty word).

Impressive

You know what’s impressive, saving a lot when you earn a little. I think one of the best examples in blogging land is that of Jason Fieber. He is a former car salesmen that went from having no money to having more than $370.000 in invested assets in about 6 years, and was able to FIRE on that money! That takes dedication, education, staying humble, staying frugal, drive and passion. Albeit I still hate the title of that book of his, something with lists of tips/steps…. I know, it does sell books, it just gives me rashes.

Awesome!

You know who is awesome? You, for making it to the end of this rant, which is not particularly inspirational or motivational. Sorry about that, but it’s the truth. However, you are indeed awesome, for reading this post. Also because you have found your way to the FIRE community. You probably already know how to save money and invest. That means you are able to create (extra) money and therefore time for you and your family.

It does not matter how much you saved or how long it took to get there. It does not mater how much you earn. It only matters that you took (or should take) action! So stop reading those stupid posts with lists about how to be better, smart, faster & richer. They generally only make you depressed and won’t help you along. So start looking at what really matters. Start with looking at yourself. And it you don’t like what you see, do something about it!

Getting off my soapbox now……

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49 Comments

  1. Nice rant, had to chuckle. The absolute worst example of that kind of marketing came across my inbox in a newsletter from Ben Gothard titled “88 million in 6 months” and asked me to “Click here to hear how Terri Levine built an 8-figure business in under 6 months…“

    I told him right to his face how awefully sleezy that was, but he somehow couldn’t see anything wrong with it. Go figure.

  2. So, it is so easy? Just to win 50k per year, spend 20k, 30k invest asap, be humble and keep the road for next 3 years x 12 months x 30 days x 18 hours (during sleep is easy)? . No secrets revealed?

    (joking 😀 . The solution is always the discipline and action, nothing secret, but I am not ready to accept I have the life build by me, step by step and only me can do it better).

  3. I’m a little late to this comment party, but feel compelled to chime in.

    Those opportunities are available to just about everybody. What you are reiterating, and some other commentators, albeit indirectly, is that there is a lot of opportunity in top line (gross income). And I’d take it a level further and say there is a lot of opportunity in improved bottom line via reduced tax liability (most people’s largest expense).

    And after this, then, it becomes about daily/weekly/monthly expenses and how the delta is preserved and invested. But many FIRE lists you mention, focus mostly on this latter part.

    Main point, if you’re early enough in your life/career/saving/investing trajectory, look to prepare yourself to take advantage of opportunities that improve top line and bottom line prospects via earning levels that are higher, and tax levels that are lower, than your local jurisdiction.

    I don’t know if I summed that up very clearly… but besides that, I agree with you… most people trying to do European FIRE from within a local jurisdiction, without any special advantages, are up against it in a big way.

    1. To add one more thing… okay, I’ve thought about this quite a lot… my observation is that Europe isn’t meant to need FIRE in the same way as the US, because we get our 5-6 weeks vacation, we routinely work our sub-40 hour weeks, there is more labour-force protection that means we can push back on “the man”, or we don’t have to worry about losing our health-care shield.

      It’s meant to be this way, which is an argument for why paying a lot of taxes and working until 68, but in a balanced way, is the European model.

      But what I find curious is the increased rate of burn-out in countries like NL, or Sweden, which I put down to the forces of globalisation impacting on the local economies and at the coal-face in the form of pressures on co-workers to work in a way that is un-European.

      Bottom line; if you’re not getting out there and working internationally, you’re at major risk of having your standard of living eroded (in the best case) or crushed (by burnout) in the worst. And if you’re going to get crushed, at least make sure you’re getting paid handsomely for it!

      My rant over 😉

  4. I have been pruning my blog list and most of the ones I axed are American bloggers because the numbers just don’t make any sense for us Europeans. A 100K+ job? Nah, not going to happen…
    Other fun titles

  5. Nice piece of truth! I completely agree, there are no hacks or short cuts. Just hard work and dedication! I must say, the opening line of your post, it’s very aggressive. I like it!;)

    DI

  6. Mee eens! Het antwoord op ‘hoe verdien je 100.000 in een paar jaar’ is inderdaad altijd ‘verdien veel’. Je kan dan jezelf wel een schouderklopje geven omdat je een hoog percentage daarvan spaart, maar waarschijnlijk zijn je maandelijkse uitgaven niet heel veel lager dan mensen die met veel minder inkomen rond moeten komen.

  7. I remember saving the first 100.000 was hard, but not as hard as the first 10.000… and that was not as hard as the first 1.000. The beginning always seems to be the hardest. Great post again!

  8. So true! It is for most households difficult to save enough money for things like vacation time, college money for the kids, school supplies and so on. 100.000 euros in 3 years is out of reach for the average Joe and his family. Clickbait articles like that do not inspire people, do not inform or educate people. It could however make people feel inadequate. And that is a wrong signal. In countries like Holland and Belgium with the high tax rates it is very hard to set aside 50% of your net income and even if you manage to do that, with an average or median income it still will be nearly impossible to make it to FIRE. So, i agree 100% with you.

  9. Saw the title of your article and got a rash and felt a bit sick.Expected another tribute to the never ending stream of clickbait-amazing-tips-lists that always seem to follow title such as this one..

    But since you àre CF, I gave it a chance and … You made me smile in the morning.

    Thanks for that!

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