How much would it cost to be living on a boat in the Netherlands? I had no real clue, but expect it to be rather pricy. After we looked at our housing history last week, I found myself on Funda once again (a “house for sale” site). Here a found a “creative living option” that looked rather promising (and quite pretty). So I got out the good old calculator, opened up my internet browser and started having fun. Please tell me I’m not the only one doing this 😉

Living On A Boat

What caught my eye? Well this beauty! Almost 22 meters of old Dutch design (built 1902). Pretty cool, eh?




The price for the “floating house” is now €75.000. That is still a lot of money, and you can certainly buy a house or apartment for this. But I doubt the views and character will match. For those interested, you can download the sales brochure here (just in case the ad disappears from Funda in the future ):

Living on a boat – bolhaven 10 Zeewolde


The vessel is for sale for a price of €75.000. Based on the notes in the brochure, there are no transfer taxes applicable (for a house this would be 2% around here). No sales taxes either. You would want to inspect the vessel, that would probably set you back €300-400 (unless you want to take it out of the water). Then there are the notary costs at about €600-800. In short, you should bring a total of about €76.000.

You cannot finance this vessel with a regular mortgage, apparently (see brochure). The ING bank stopped these special “floating house” mortgages in 2016. Only the Rabobank still does them apparently, but not for this boat it seems.  So you would have to get creative! It will be either cash, or crowd fund, take out a personal loan, family loan, or ….(and any combination of the mentioned).


What expenses are to be expected for living on a boat. Most will be very “similar” to those for a house, but some will be typical for a boat obviously. From the advertisement/brochure and from browsing around the web, I got to the following monthly expenses:

  • Slip fees (“havengeld”): €275
  • Heating & Electrics: €225
  • Financing (€75.000 @ 4%): €250
  • insurance: €75 (could not get a quote quickly, so I assume it’s much more expensive then a house)
  • Internet/phone connection: €25
  • Maintenance: €500 (costs and reservations)

The total monthly expenses will likely hoover around €1.350 (or about €16.000 per year). That is all-in! Not too bad actually, especially not considering your house is mobile, spacious and you are living on the water.

Some notes:

  • No garbage or property tax apply according to the brochure (likely partially included in slip fees)
  • Water use is assumed covered by the slip fees
  • The maintenance is a rough estimate as I don’t know for sure how well the boat is maintained. Nor do I know all the costs associated with getting it out of the water for maintenance. I do know it won’t be cheap! You will need to paint something on this boat about every year. You will also need to  pull it our of the water to clean, paint and repair the underside every 5-10 years. Also the diesel systems need to run and be maintained regularly.
  • Not sure how the gas stove works? Did not see costs for gas use anywhere.


Living on a boat is often not very practical, but this is a fairly large boat and the layout seems rather good.


It might not be ideal for tall people, but I can see this being a very nice place to live. The location where the boat is currently moored is close to the town of Zeewolde in the province of Flevoland. So even groceries, medical care, etc. should not be a problem. Heck, you might have these guys as your “neighbors” (blog in Dutch).


Financially savvy as we are, we also need to look at this in terms of it being an investment. Let’s assume that we just buy the boat in cash. Let’s assume the monthly expense noted above are the same (minus the interest). In short, operating expense are around €11.000 per year, excluding cleaning.

Based on some browsing around for other vessel/house boats that are rented out, we found that €100-150 per night is nothing out of the ordinary. We will take €125 per night as average (sleeps 4 max). Let’s assume no one wants to say here during the three winter months. The fall and spring will have 60% vacancy and the summer only 20%. This is a yearly utilization of 40% (144 nights) as a base case. This should provide you with €18.000 gross income.

Now let’s say we have cleaning expenses of €30/cycle. The assumption is 144 days of utilization, with an assumed average stay of 3 days = 48 stays. That is €1.440 in cleaning expenses. This leaves you a net operating income of €16.560 – €11.000 = €5.560/year. On €76.000 that is a yield of 7.3% (before taxes). Not bad! We might just need to get ourselves a boat 🙂



Have you ever lived or stayed on a boat?


Guess there is a new trend in blogger land (well, at least in the Netherlands). Several of our blogging colleagues have been reviewing their housing history. In short, they told us how they lived in their lives, from the moment they were out of school/University. Including some explanation on why they did what they did, costs, prices and more. They sometimes also noted what their plans are for the future. Guess it’s our turn next 🙂

Housing History

To put it mildly, we did not sit still for very long (or we are getting old, you pick). Over the last 12-13 years we have lived in many different type of properties in two different countries. We owned and we rented, in both countries. The latter was usually the best option if didn’t know how things were going to develop in our careers/lives. It’s also the “mandatory” place to start when you have no money 😉

Housing History - Think big! Well maybe....not.

Housing History – Think big! Well maybe….not.

The Start

Our living journey overlaps a bit with our student days. As Mrs. CF was still living in her 20m2 (215sft) student condo during the first 3 years after she graduated. She had a shared kitchen and bathroom and paid about €270-300 per month for the place I believe (including utilities).

At the same time I was living in a 35m2 (377sft) social housing condo. I was fortunate enough to have my own kitchen and bathroom. For this unit I paid about €350 per month, utilities/taxes came separate. We were living about 40km from each other during these days. Because of where we were working at that time we often used each others condo’s to live in, saved a lot of commuting time!

Housing History - Small Condo

Housing History – Small Condo

Fun fact, this first “grown up” condo for Mr. CF was actually huge compared to the previous student room(s) rented prior. That was a mere 11m2 (118sft) divided over two rooms on either end of a hallway (with shared bathroom in between), but it had it’s own “kitchen”! Needless to say that was rather small but with fun house mates.

Moving Up

After we decided that we really liked each other, we moved in together. We found a nice condo that we could rent for about €650 per month and was “huge” compared to what we had been living in prior. The condo had 4 rooms as was 70m2 large (753sft). So we had more space, spend more time together, and we were still paying about the same!

Before we moved into this condo Mrs. CF did look at buying a place of her own, but could never find something affordable at that time on her income. This was also when we discovered we really like house hunting!

Housing History - Bigger Condo

Housing History – Bigger Condo

Moving Abroad

The next step in our adventure was to dump all our stuff into a sea container and fly to Canada. We were lucky enough to have a fully paid for furnished condo to our disposal when we arrived. This gave us the ability to look around for a rental place so we would be covered for the first year. Obviously we didn’t have the ability to purchase a property yet, nor did we want to. When arriving in a new country you want to be flexible to be able to adapt to your new life.

The place we found was a 130m2 (1400sft) detached house with attached double garage! Coming from the Netherlands, we were so not used to this amount of space. We loved it! And started to fill the garage with one nice car, a motorcycle, bicycles and a BBQ….(oops). We paid about €950 ($1.500) per month for it (based on todays exchange rate).

Housing History - Canadian Style

Housing History – Canadian Style

After about a year we decied that Canada was a very nice place to live and wanted to stay there longer. But renting was out of the options, as it was considered “too expensive”. This was before we realized the amounts for maintenance costs an property taxes! As the house prices had just stabilized from the crisis years, and the interest rates were pretty low already, we made the plunge into home ownership.

The first house we bought was 205m2 (2.200sft) without the basement developed. We did that a couple years later and added another 75m2 (800sft) in living space to it. Getting to a total (and very ridiculous) 280m2 (+3.000sft). The house cost us (including fees, garden and basement development) a total of €315.000 ($500.000). Yes, we used to own a half million dollar house! My fault, lesson learned and won’t do that again, unless it’s a rental property 😉

Moving Back

After Miss CF was born we decided to change our housing history once more and move back to the Netherlands. Because we had no jobs we decided to rent a house once again. We found a deal via Mrs CF’s father and landed our butts in an old farm house. As we were ready to downsize, we would have taken anything, but still ended up with whopping 220m2 (2370sft).

Housing History - Farm House

Housing History – Farm House

We only paid about €800 per month for this place (it’s condition matched the price, in case you were wondering). However, we also had a huge heating bill! The place had virtually no insulation (and mold in the basement). It still was a pretty cool place to live for a while and we enjoyed the place quite a bit. The house had “character”, shall we say.

Second Home Purchase

After we had settled and found jobs again, it was time to buy another property. One that we could potentially modify and rent out in the longer term. We were definitely not looking for a “forever home” this time around. The last time we did it got us 280m2 to clean, heat and maintain! We’ve (more specifically me) learned that “more space” does not equal more happiness.

It took us a few months of browsing, and a couple “near miss” purchases, before we got our hands on our current house. We now own a 125m2 (1345sft) house consisting of two floors. The price for this house was (including fees) €200.000. Our current mortgage payment for this place (interest and principle payments) is about €626 (excluding any tax returns on the interest). It’s still owned for 86% by the bank 🙂

The Future

The next step is to move again! We will split our house into two rental units and move out ourselves. The current plan is to move into one of our current rentals. This unit is “only” 77m2 (828sft) and has no more mortgage associated with it.

We will however take mortgage on the property to have more money to reinvest into other assets. As it’s a nice place and situated in a good area, we probably could get a €150.000 low interest mortgage on it. That gives us a lot to work with!

Housing History - Tiny House

Housing History – Tiny House

Anyhow, it’s a nice little semi-detached house and situated near some green spaces and water bodies. It’s a good place to live and it much closer to family. The latter will make Mrs. CF a happy woman, and a happy wife is a happy life, so onwards we go.

Other Bloggers

Fellow bloggers that posted about their housing history:


How about you? Where did you live and how has your housing history developed over the years?

As some of you might recall, we will be going on a 9 week road trip through Europe. Why? Because it’s very difficult to do this again once our little one goes to school mandatorily (as of age 5). But mostly because it’s great fun. Like most of you probably agree, some of the fun is in the preparation of the trip. The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary presented here is a rough indication of where we would like to go. We will remain flexible during the trip and will switch directions based on weather, preferences, limitations or other life events that will happen.

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary

The current plan is to leave mid April and return late June. We will thus have a total of up to about 63 days to play with. That is quite a bit of time! Now, travel insurance wise (at least for the one we are considering) you are allowed to do continuous travel for 60 days. In short, if we do stretch to the max we should not do any weird things in the last few days 🙂

Miss CF is a typical kid, so she’s generally not very good at sitting still (sounds familiar?). We therefore want to limit our daily travels to about 2-3 hours of driving per day maximum. In reality we will have days we drive more and days we drive less (or not at all). Assuming an average speed of 50 km/h that gives us about 100-ish km per day on average. That would be about 6.000-6.500 km in total.

Considering this will be a “slow travel” type trip (i.e. it’s about the journey not the destination), we will do the exploring along the route and at places where we spend the night. Let’s assume we need about 80% of the km to make “the journey” and 20% of the km to do local sightseeing. This is what we came up with for the journey (~5.000 km or 3.000 mi):

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary - Rough Route

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary – Rough Route


We will obviously start in the Netherlands and head so the south of the country. We will likely meet with some friends that live in Maastricht. Perhaps we stay a day or two before we head further south.

Holiday Destination Maastricht

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary: Maastricht


We have done several holidays and meetups in Belgium already, so will likey skip through the country and head straight to Luxembourg. As we have not looked for accommodations, we might still spend the night in Belgium instead of Luxembourg, depends on what we can find on AirBnB or otherwise.


It’s been a while since I have bee in Luxembourg, actually we have never been there as a couple. The county is pretty small, but has nice nature areas as well as a pretty capital. We also need to go there for Mrs. CF as she will need to meet people for business purposes too. Should only take an hour or so, gives us a good reason to explore the capital city and the country!

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary: Luxembourg

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary: Luxembourg


Once we leave Luxembourg we will head towards Lausanne in Switzerland. To get there we will drive a couple of days through northern France. There are some nice nature areas where we might try go for a few walks and try to stay the night. We will also do the same on the way to Monaco. Southern France is really nice and can be very well enjoyed when doing slow travel. We will take a more rural route here with lots of hiking (if all goes well).


We have both been to Switzerland on a couple occasions for both hiking holidays and winter fun. We drove by Lake Lausanne before and really would like to return. So decide to try and make this a stop for the trip and spend some time in the area. Once we leave here we would like to head towards Monaco via a lot more of France.

The 9 week road trip Itinerary - Lausanne

The 9 week road trip Itinerary – Lausanne


Monaco is a bucket list item from Mr. CF. Initially I wanted to combine with the Formula 1 event. Albeit the chance of that happening is rather slim, as the event is in late May and we would like to see as much as possible in a non-rushed way. Guess there is always a next time!


Italy is a country that for some reason we missed a lot during out travels in Europe. So it is time to catch up and spend a few weeks in this lovely country. The rough idea is to travel along the coast line to Genoa and head to Rome via Florence. Next the plan is to drive to the other side of the country, hop on a ferry and sail to Croatia.

The 9 week road trip Itinerary - Italy Genoa

The 9 week road trip Itinerary – Italy Genoa


Several people we know have already visited Croatia, heck I even had colleagues from this country. Not one person I spoke had a bad thing to say about the place! It’s got a great coastline (snorkeling??) and nice nature parks more inland. Add in some nice cultural spots and you have a recipe for a great time.

The 9 week road trip Itinerary - Croatia

The 9 week road trip Itinerary – Croatia


This is a completely new country for us, we really need to do some homework here. But we got triggered to visit this country after a documentary we watched by Michael Moore (“where to invade next“). If you have experiences here, please do share!

The 9 week road trip Itinerary - Slovenia

The 9 week road trip Itinerary – Slovenia


From Slovenia we will likely drive towards Budapest for a city trip and some other local site seeing. Hungary is also a new country for us to visit with lots of things to learn and explore. From here we plan to go to Vienna (Austria) via Slovakia.

The 9 week road trip Itinerary - Budapest

The 9 week road trip Itinerary – Budapest


On our way from Budapest to Vienna, we have the opportunity to explore yet another country we know little about. The plan is to drive through Slovakia and visit Bratislava for some more cultural exposure. Not sure what to expect, but it’s bound to be good.


Vienna has been on the list to visit as well. We have been in the area, but never made the time to actually visit the city. When we go to Austria we normally go for hiking, during such active holiday we tended to avoid bigger cities. This time around we won’t do so much hiking (Miss CF is not grownup enough yet), so city trips make more sense! Once we leave Vienna we will head north to Prague in the Czech Republic.

Czech Republic

Both our mom’s have visited Prague before and were quite enthusiastic about the city. So if we have enough time on the way back, the plan is to visit the Czech Republic and explore yet another country we have not been.

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary: Czech Republic

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary: Czech Republic


On the final leg of the journey we will be travelling through Germany. Depending on how much time we have left, we will spend some time exploring the central areas in Germany. As Mrs. CF’s company also has offices in Germany, we might need to do a quick stop in Frankfurt for a quick business meeting. We are very familiar with Germany and have been there several times before, so it should be smooth sailing for this part of the trip. We know we are in for a good time!


In short the idea for this trip is:

  • Visit up to 13 countries;
  • Visit up to 5 new countries;
  • Up to 6500 km of driving;
  • We are aiming to spend up to €150/day all-in = max. budget of €10.000;
  • Many, many photos; and,
  • One heck of a good time!


Bring on all your tips, tricks and idea folks!

February was an eventful month, lots of price swings and volatility. We decided to use some of this to rebalance the portfolio a bit more in an attempt to get more dividend growth shares. Here is what we did: the February 2018 Dividend Update.

February 2018 Dividend Update

The following stocks were reduced or disappeared from the portfolio:

  • 171 shares of CIX (Financial company): we had a rather large position in this company to allow monthly DRIP’s. But found the position a bit too large, so we reduced and took some profit.
  • 128 shares of FTT (Finning); this stock went through the roof over the last year. Why sell? Because we had the opportunity to make a good profit (70%!) and reinvest in other shares that were better priced (think utilities and REIT’s). It also increased our portfolio yield while maintaining the money in dividend growth shares. Still think the company is a good buy, and if price come down, we might just do that.

We made the following new purchases:

  • 50 shares of EMA (Utility): increase position upon price drop
  • 50 shares of FTS (Utility): also added to the position during price drop
  • 100 shares of H (Utility): see above 🙂
  • 90 shares of H&R (REIT): the rise in interest rates made the whole REIT sector drop, which was a nice time to add some shares. (Note, this is not a dividend growth stock, but the monthly DRIP’s work very well too!)

Interested in Canadian shares? Try this awesome list to see which companies might be of interest.

Oh, don’t forget to check out the community updates at the Dividend Diplomats and Easy Dividend!

February Dividends

All the dividend deposits received into the bank accounts (and correct for exchange rates) sum up to a total dividend income of about €368.89. This is respectable increase of 7.6% compared to last year. Unfortunately we did see another worsening of the EUR/CAD exchange rate in February. In Canadian dollars the dividend actually grew by 19.7% from a year ago. Now that is dividend GROWTH investing 🙂

The stats for last month:

February 2018 Dividend Update - Dividend Income

February 2018 Dividend Update – Dividend Income

The graph below is showing the yearly dividend totals for 2015, 2016, 2017 and the YTD for 2018. We received €917 in dividends so far for 2018.

February 2018 Dividend Update - Yearly Dividend

February 2018 Dividend Update – Yearly Dividend

Dividend Stock Overview

Our dividend portfolio now contains 36 companies with a total of 8.954 shares. The ones with a keen eye among you will see NTR noted twice in this overview, this is due to the merger of POT and AGU (we each had one of these in our RRSP accounts). Since I’m lazy (and have the spreadsheets setup to provided an overview of both our accounts individually), this probably won’t change soon.

We generally try to keep the weight of companies within our portfolio below about 5%.

The portfolio looks like this:

February 2018 Dividend Update - Dividend Overview

February 2018 Dividend Update – Dividend Overview

Dividend Sector Breakdown

When you breakdown the previously shown dividend stock overview by sector, it looks as follows:

February 2018 Dividend Update - Sector Allocation

February 2018 Dividend Update – Sector Allocation

I’m reasonably happy with the distribution, but there is still some work to do. Since markets change, rebalancing will be an ongoing theme.


How did you do in February?

We had fun in Leuven and we will have some more fun in Utrecht later this year. But the “funny” thing is, these meetups are not even that expensive! The last one only set us back about €120 for the whole weekend, that’s including EVERYTHING. We were even with 3 people (Miss CF had to come along as we could not find a baby sitter for the whole weekend). Anyhow, it’s already March and therefore time for the February 2018 Savings Rate update.

February Finances

A good and bad thing happened in February. The good thing is that Mrs. CF got her annual bonus, and it was a lot of money. The downside is that her two month paid leave (which she was supposed to have gotten instead of the bonus) is cancelled. Something with “unfair toward other colleagues”, but it was already promised more than 18 months ago. Apparently that is not “unfair” towards Mrs. CF. Lesson learned here (again!), always get stuff in writing that is approved by ALL parties. NEVER accept anything that is verbally promised. Cheesy top tip!

Savings Rate Update

Savings Rate Update

Financial Overview

Here is the usual short financial overview for the month:

  • Mr. CF’s Salary + Mrs. CF’s Salary+ Bonus – Business expenses for Mrs CF = insane income! And we did not even get the expenses from January/February back yet;
  • The crowdfunding income was back to normal with €191 in deposits (combined interest and principle);
  • Living and healthcare category was low at a combined €574. This includes costs for mortgage interest, insurance premiums, healthcare premiums and utilities. Nothing special to report; 
  • Grocery costs were even lower than last month with only €287 in expenses. Still no new beer bought since december 2017, saves a lot ;-);
  • The transport costs were below average again with €234 spent. (couple days off and worked from home a few days). Expenses include fuel, insurance, road tax and ferry fees;
  • The kid category was normal with €455. This month only included daycare expenses (including after-school care benefits). No other expenses this time around (albeit new clothing is coming up);
  • Travel and Leisure was €131. This included some of the Leuven expenses and a new GPS map for the upcoming 9 week road trip. Remainder of the month was basically free leisure or family visits; and,
  • The other category was about €129. Money was spend on the gym for Mrs. CF, some new cloth for Mrs CF too (she is really tall and is having a hard time finding used cloths, go figure), plus some minor stuff.

February 2018 Savings Rate 

The savings rate for February was ridiculous! It will also be the highest for the remainder of the year, guaranteed. The end result for last month came in at 82.1%. No, there is no typo here. The bonus and very low expenses for the month are a winning concept.

Here are the stats:

February 2018 Savings Rate - Overview

February 2018 Savings Rate – Overview

If you breakdown our expenses for the month, the distribution looks like this:

February 2018 Savings Rate - Expenses

February 2018 Savings Rate – Expenses

Forecast Coming Months

You are not going to believe this, but tomorrow we should get our roof fixed (finally, it only took 4 months!) Not sure about the bill, as there are a couple items added to the scope of work. Probably will end up paying more than the originally agreed €1.200. Will take it, as long as those singles go back and are secured!

Still need to work on the taxes, finally got all documents in this weekend. Will be a job for next weekend or the one after that. Not looking forward to the final number as we will have to pay this year (the downside of owning a substantial sum of money).

We also got the bull for sewage, garbage removal and property tax for pretty much all rental properties and our own. Total costs are around €2.800; €300 payable in March, €2.500 payable in May, with more (water management) coming in later in the year. Some of these will end up under the investment costs for the real estate investments. That post is a bit delayed as we are working on interesting maintenance stuff at the moment and should have some updates to report next week.


How about you? How was your month in terms of savings and living life?

After a successful BENL FIRE Meetup in Leuven Belgium, we already started planning for the next one! We (Amber Tree Leaves and us) decided to visit Utrecht once again. So we hooked up with a great venue and secured our spot in June. It’s time for a second BENL FIRE Meetup – Utrecht Edition! This will be our 6th FIRE meetup already.

BENL FIRE Meetup – Utrecht Edition!

Utrecht is a great place with a very fun City Centre. If you want to join, and/or are coming from afar, it’s probably worth to make it into a long weekend and explore the city. On that note, we secured the venue for Saturday June 30, 2018, but we still have the option to make it into a weekend event too. Depends on your enthusiasm and the number of registration we receive. The venue has a maximum capacity of 50 people!

We already send out an email on last Thursday to the peeps on our distribution list. We now already have more than 20 confirmations to date! It’s just great to see that these meetups are appreciated and that people really like to come. Makes it worth it for us to continue these events 🙂

BENL FIRE Meetup - Utrecht Edition!

BENL FIRE Meetup – Utrecht Edition!

As per “usual”, the following applies:

  • You are free to come and go as you please;
  • The venue is easy to reach with both public transport and car;
  • The costs will depend on the number of people attending, but is usually in the order of €10-15/day (including drinks and snacks but excluding lunch/dinner);
  • It is mandatory to have a good time 🙂

What Are We planning?

The general program for Saturday looks something like this:

  • 10:00 – 12:00: Warm welcome, informal chats and perhaps some financial speed dating again;
  • 12:00 – 14:00: Brown Bag lunch at the venue (or elsewhere if you prefer)
  • 14:00 – 18:00: Presentations and discussions;
  • 18:00 – 19:00: Dinner at the venue (we can order in food or bring some ourselves to heat up on the kitchen); and,
  • 19:00 – 21:30: Beers and other drinks + more informal chats.

As it looks now, we will have a presentation about crowd-funding. However, there is room for one to two more presentations on Saturday! What would you like see or would you like to present? Let us know!

BENL FIRE Meetup - Utrecht Edition!

BENL FIRE Meetup – Utrecht Edition!

So, Do YOU Want To Join?

If the answer is YES, please drop us or Amber Tree Leaves a comment/email (info @ “ourblogname”.nl) and we will add you to the (ever growing) distribution list. Hope to see you all in Utrecht!

BENL FIRE Meetups - Financial Fun Since 2016

Based on this already “old” post by Early Retirement Extreme (ERE), Jacob was able to live off $5.000-7.000 per year, as late as 2011. For argument sake, let’s assume that this $7.000 annual spending in 2011 is now $7.714 in today’s money (2018). This would be about €6.250/year (current exchange rate ~$1.233/€), can you survive on this amount in the Netherlands? How low can you go? In the Netherlands at least!

How low can you go?

We have done earlier assessments about how much money we would need in various scenarios for FIRE. I’ve plans to revisit this post and apply the 2018 taxes. But it also got me thinking, how low can you go? Let’s have a look!

How Low Can You Go?

How Low Can You Go?

Some boundary conditions to consider:

  • No insurances other than mandatory ones (e.g. health insurance);
  • Bare bones living, no fluff/holidays, but  some leisure is included;
  • No government benefits included;
  • You still need to be able to stay healthy (e.g. eat/sleep well);
  • Let’s assume you are FIRE and have no need for a job (i.e. no commute, limited clothing costs, etc.); and,
  • It has to be legal!


The idea is to live a cheaply as possible, so we will look at extremes here.

How Low Can You Go? The Garage Box

How Low Can You Go? The Garage Box

Options that I found/could think of are:

  • Camping out in the “wild” (read public lands or forests) = Free, but very much illegal in the Netherlands. You would still need a tent too!
  • Live in your office = Free, but probably illegal and not applicable as we assume you are FIRE.
  • You could also live in a box truck  = Free and illegal. However, buying the APK approved truck (i.e. road legal) would be rather expensive around here, probably not really an option.
  • Garage box (€35/month). You probably need some funds (or do dumpster diving) to make it “habitable” and a gym membership to be able to shower (€25/month). Total costs about €60/month. Also illegal!
  • Room for rent (€50/month). The lowest I could find was really cheap, but you had to help with choirs around the house. Let’s go with this one (not discounting that you might be able to live somewhere for free if  you work on say a farm).

Since we are law abiding and we want to do as little as possible (i.e. limited work), the yearly expenses for living are about €600 (including utilities!).

A more reasonable/realistic number, if you want to have your own “private” room is about €250/month including utilities (€3.000/year). But again, this is not really barebones, eh?

Food and Groceries

Based on our own grocery expenses (with 3 people, about €350/month), you should be able to easily live off €116 per month. Let’s assume you are good at cooking and very efficient. You also don’t want to die from malnutrition, so let’s assume  you can live off about €3/day (€90/month). This include toiletries as well.

Total costs per year: €1.080

How Low Can You Go? The Groceries

How Low Can You Go? The Groceries

Side note: according to the NIBUD (a budgeting site from the Netherlands) I’m grossly underestimating. They recon you need €5-6/day as a minimum per adult person. However, despite the NIBUD stating our expense are “not possible”, we managed to do this already for a few years in a row.  I’ll take their numbers with a grain of salt.


In the Netherlands you are required to insure yourself, its mandatory by law. The lowest rates I could find, based on an adult, was €75/month (no dental/highest deductible/basic coverage). Assuming nothing bad happens and you are healthy and brush you teeth, the total yearly expense are €900.


We are in the Netherlands, so you will have a bike! Depending on how much you use it, let’s include €50/year in costs related to wear and tear. There might be things you need to do that are not within cycling distance. For this let’s assume €250 in transport related costs for public transport or occasional car rental for a day.

Total yearly expenses: €300

How Low Can You Go? The Bicycle

How Low Can You Go? The Bicycle


We said bare bones with no fluff/holidays at the beginning. In short, most leisure activities are things like reading books, going for a hike or cycle ride, volunteering & visiting free activities around town. However, it’s not about becoming a hermit, so let’s include some minor expenses for the occasional leisure event.

Total yearly expenses: €200

Other Costs

Considering life has become increasingly digital at the moment, you will need access to internet (for banking, health insurance, taxes, etc.). Some access can be free at the library, but let’s assume you cannot always time things. Let’s also include mobile phone (sim only, no data) and banking fees with this. Total costs per year €125.

You also need cloths, thrift stores are great for this obviously, but they may not always have what you need. Since you have time on your hands, you already repair some of your own cloths. Total expense for the year €150 (I’m generous here).

I’ve probably forgot a few items, so let’s include another €225 for unforeseen expenses.

Total other costs sum up to a total of €500 per year


The grand total of the expense noted above is €3.580. That is really low! It’s also very much barebones, not easy and you are really just “surviving” with the occasional exceptions. If something happens the expenses will quickly rise. For example, if you are taken to hospital, your deductible of up to €885 will be added to your expenses. If your bike breaks, that’s likely another €50-100 (for a used cheap bike). Perhaps you need glasses? You see where I’m going with this. The number above does not include for any buffer! Nor does it include replacement costs. Perhaps a value in the order of €5.000 is more reasonable (add in the “private” room and you are at €7.400).

For reference purposes; what’s poverty level in the Netherlands? It’s about €1.030/month for a single adult (2016 numbers). This is a total of €12.360 per year. Welfare support at the moment, for a single adults over 21 year of age, is €992,12/month (€11.905,44 per year). There are all after taxes.

The point I’m trying to make is that it is possible to survive in the Netherlands with very little money. How much you will enjoy life, and how comfortable it is, is a different thing. It seems that the numbers by Jacob are achievable, even in the Netherlands, but not easy to manage. Then again, we are talking Early Retirement Extreme here!





We just had a great weekend again with a lot of fun people. There was talk about money, dividends, permaculture and ethics, all while enjoying some good Belgian Beer! We also did a interesting (but rather chilly) city tour, courtesy of Amber Tree Leaves. Here is a (visual) Leuven FIRE Meetup Recap!

Leuven FIRE Meetup Recap

The meetup was split over two days at two different locations in the city. Amber Tree Leaves really did a great job in finding these venues!

Day 1: Dividend Growth Investing

On the first day we gathered at a local chapel (Augustinessenklooster: Romaanse Poort), which had one of the most spectacular conference rooms I’ve ever been in. It looked like this:

Leuven FIRE Meetup Recap: Chapel

Leuven FIRE Meetup Recap – Augustinessenklooster: Romaanse Poort

Yup, this was the setting for the Dividend Growth Investing (DGI) presentation, how cool is that! I did a two hour presentation about DGI. The first hour focussed on the basis of DGI investing. The second hour I talked more about the strategy, risks and problem with taxation we face here in Europe. There were some interesting discussions too!

For those that are interested, you can download the presentation here: Leuven FIRE Meetup Recap: DGI Investing Presentation

If you are wondering about the reason for the selection of the “beautiful” purple-ish presentation template, the theme was called “Dividend”. Enough said 🙂

Day 2: City Tour

On day two we did a city tour through the center of Leuven. The start was on the main square of the city, at the old city hall and the main cathedral. We went through the city via the local university and visited a local small market squares (with lots of bars!). Next, walked to the “groot begijnhof”, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ultimately we looped back toward the train station, from which we went to the afternoon venue.

We took a couple of pictures of the tour, which are shown below. The first one is a stich of several photos, so it’s a bit distorted.

Leuven FIRE Meetup Recap - 01

Leuven FIRE Meetup Recap:
Main square with city hall and cathedral

Leuven FIRE Meetup Recap - 03

Leuven FIRE Meetup Recap: inside the “Groot Begijnhof”

The above housing is now also used for students of the local university.

Leuven FIRE Meetup Recap - 02

Leuven FIRE Meetup Recap: “Groot Begijnhof” with local stream

Leuven FIRE Meetup Recap - 04

Leuven FIRE Meetup Recap: Local Church within the “Groot Begijnhof”

The city of Leuven is really a pretty and a lot of fun to visit! It’s high recommended to give it a try in you are in the area.

Day 2: Permaculture and Ethics

After the pretty but cold city tour we went for lunch and afterwards to a local hostel to do two more presentations. The first presentation was about ethics and how do deal with ethics and investing. It was a great session that was presented by Geld-is-tijd. A lively discussion followed.

Leuven FIRE Meetup Recap - Permaculture 101

Leuven FIRE Meetup Recap – Permaculture 101

After a short break session with coffee and delicious cake, the next presentation was about permaculture. If you like engineering, you have to love permaculture! It’s the most efficient way to use nature to your advantage and have maximum yield (for organic produce) and very little work. The sloths in us love this! However, we don’t have the right yard just yet, something we would like to work on in the future.

Leuven FIRE Meetup Recap - Permaculture Presentation

Leuven FIRE Meetup Recap – Permaculture Presentation

For those interested in a basic Permaculture 101, you can download the presentation here: Leuven FIRE Meetup Recap: Permaculture

Next Meetup?

We are already making plans for a next meetup, this time we will visit Utrecht again. The plan is to do the meetup either the last weekend of June of the first weekend of July. Considering that “yours truly” will be travelling for a while, we decided to push back the next meetup until after we are back.

We are planning on a one day event, but if there is demand, we might stretch is into a two day event again! So if you want to join, please let us know and we will put you on the distribution list. If you have topics that you would like see discussed, let us know too! We still have some time to prepare.


Hope to see you next time!


This is your final call for Leuven! If you still want to attend the next BENL FIRE meetup, let us know as soon as possible. We are currently having about 25-30 people confirmed for each day, so there are tons of people to chat with! No investing/frugal experience required, just the right attitude 😉

Final Call For Leuven!

For more details on what to expect, do go check this post. It contains tons of good references to previous encounters of the FIRE kind. However, this really is your last chance to register for the BENL FIRE meetup this coming weekend in the beautiful city of Leuven in Belgium! Don’t miss it 🙂

Final Call For Leuven, Belgium

Final Call For Leuven, Belgium

What Are We Planning?

The program for this weekend will look like this:

Saturday February 24, 2018:

  • 12:30 – 14:00: Warm welcome and informal chats;
  • 14:00 – 18:00: Presentations and discussions regarding Dividend Growth Investing (by yours truly)
  • 18:00 – 20:00: Dinner (local restaurant); and,
  • 20:00 – ??:??: Belgian BEER and other drinks + more informal chats.

Sunday February 25, 2018:

BENL Meetup in Leuven, Belgium

Final Call For Leuven, Belgium

How Much Is It?

You can attend either Saturday, Sunday or both days. Fees to cover various expenses are as follows:

  • Saturday: €8,-
  • Sunday: €12,-
  • Whole weekend: €20,-

Included in the fees are accommodation expenses, snacks and drinks for during the day. You are responsible for your own breakfast, lunches and dinner (as applicable).

Do you want to join?

Please drop us or Amber Tree Leaves a comment/email (info @ “ourblogname”.nl) and we will add you to the (ever growing) distribution list!


Hope to see you this weekend!

As noted in a post last year, we dipped our toes into the world of cryptocurrencies. Why on earth did we do that? Perhaps a slight case of fear of missing out (FOMO), but also the belief that the technology (and perhaps some of the coins) will survive (and thrive?). It was also a lot of fun with the massive volatility. Where are we today?

Combicoin Update

The way we got into cryptocurrencies is via de Combicoin. I can hear you think, what was that Combicoin again? It’s a token that is developed by a few of our fellow countrymen that derives it’s value from the top 30 cryptocurrencies. It’s kind of a crypto ETF. We liked that idea of a diversified token so we bought a few back in late November of 2017 (at about $15.3 after fees).

Combicoin Update - February 19 Overview

Combicoin Update – February 19 Overview

The problem with this token is that the company that issued it is new and is still developing the software to trade the token. On top of that, the company wants to stay out the of crosshairs of the government (and financial regulatory bodies). So they temporarily stopped the sale of the coin.

However, they did stick to their promise that you would be able to sell the coin (if you’d already bought some). Ok, it was a bit later than late January, but at least for existing token holders you now have the opportunity to cash in. So this is what we have done. Or at least are still trying to do. Let me explain.

Selling Process

When we bought the Combicoin, we could do so without the need to register for an exchange account (i.e. Coinbase, Kraken, Binance, etc.). Which was nice & easy, because most exchanges had issues with the large volume of traffic and transactions. But when we got the news we could sell, it appeared to be a rather cumbersome and complicated process (that being said, Triaconta have done a good job in describing the process). We are still trying to complete the transaction, now already a week in progress!

Because we only had tokens in our wallet, we could not send them to Combicoin to sell. You have to pay network transaction fees for this. So we first needed to open an exchange account, this took a couple of days to organize and get approved for trades. Next we bought ETH (Ethereum) for about €20 and transferred to our online wallet that contains the combicoins (it’s a myetherwallet).

Combicoin Update - Ethereum

Combicoin Update – Ethereum

Once we received the ETH in the online wallet, we could finally send the Combicoins to Triaconta for them to sell. This was completed last Friday (including the sale of the Combicoin themselves). However, we won’t get money back! No, we will get more ETH……. We should get his deposited into the online wallet today, next it has to be transferred to our account at Kraken. From here we have to sell the ETH for Euros. These would then need to be transferred to our bank account in the Netherlands. Damn! That’s a lot of effort to sell a few tokens!

Crypto Profits

If everything goes well, and the value of ETH stays stable, we should end up with a net profit of around €900-ish €1.032 (UPDATE 20-02-2018: all ETH is sold and € are in the account!). Not bad on a initial €1.000 investment in just 2,5 months. That being said, the costs for trading and investing in Combicoins are not cheap. The fee to purchase the Combicoins was 5%, the associated sale was another 3.5%. That’s quite substantial.

Then there are the fees for the network transfers from myetherwallet to TriaConta, those are not too bad. But the relative fees for small transactions from Kraken to our myetherwallet was huge (about 0.005 ETH or €3.75 at time of writing). In the grant scheme of things, to total transaction fees will be around €100 from start to finish, or 10% of our invested amount.

I’m still debating what to do with the ETH, perhaps I will sell about €1.100 worth (so we make 10% return on our initial investment). With the remainder I could play around a bit and see if I can use the volatility to my advantage (yes, that’s timing the market and I suck at that!). Or I can just cash in on everything and take a 10 week holiday, well fund a small portion of it anyways. Perhaps I should to do the sensible thing….

Crypto Thoughts

I still like the concept of the crypto ETF that is called the Combicoin. We might get back into it once they get all their ducks in a row and the crypto market matures.

However, the crypto market seems to be moving as a whole. Yes, there are varying degrees of profits/losses per coin, but they generally move in the same direction at the same time. This makes paying for a crypto ETF a bit of a waste. You might as well just buy some of the underlying cryptocurrencies yourself, would probably be cheaper! It would also be much faster to buy and sell, at least at this time.


How are your crypto investments doing? What’s your plan?

We have been busy making some updates and modifications to the underlying calculations (and numbers) for the Cheesy Index, which will apply as per this January 2018 Cheesy Index. There were some significant changes implemented. This caused our target wealth number to change, albeit not too much. What did we do and what changed?

January 2018 Cheesy Index

We closed out 2017 with an incredible increase in the Cheesy Index, we really could not have hoped for anything better. Based on last years target numbers we got to 69%. But that was so last year! 😉

Here are the latest stats:

January 2018 Cheesy Index

January 2018 Cheesy Index


Huh, hold on, you went backward by about 2.1%. Cheesy, that’s the wrong direction! Yes, it is, let me explain.

Cheesy Index Updates

As time goes by, things change. What changed? Well……

  • Taxes!
  • Future Housing situation
  • Family loan write off


A new year and we got new wealth taxes (again). I’ll do a more detailed post on this in the future, but it boils down that if you have less wealth than about €200.000 per person, you are better off. If you are worth more, not so much. Albeit the changes are not very drastic (fortunately), it’s not helping either.

Future Housing Situation

Once we are FIRE (and before FIRE obviously) we still need a place to live. As Mrs. CF already hinted on in this post, she’s not moving to Thailand (or somewhere else warm, sunny and cheap). The current plan is therefore to move out of our current home in 2020-2021, which we will split and rent out (yay, extra rental income!).

However, we are planning to move into one of our own rentals that is closer to family. Because this property is paid off, we suddenly will have more equity that is not doing much, but our expenses will also drop. The end result is a slight increase in wealth required to FIRE.

The plan is however to get a mortgage on this property and use that money to invest into other real estate (or the stockmarket if it has a major correction in the mean time). Borrowing at say 1.5-2% and reinvesting in something that provides about 6-7% seems logical to us.

Family Loan Write Off

To be blunt, we wrote off about €9.600. Ouch! This is an (very) old loan that Mrs. CF gave to her sister. She used it to buy a car to get to work. She started to pay off this loan but stopped once she moved to Africa for volunteer work. Instead of paying back the loan when selling her car, she used it to pay for the volunteer work (amongst others, pissing off Mrs. CF in the process).

Fast forward a few years, she is now a mom of two, no job, partner with a “average salary”. They live fairly frugal, but have no way to pay of this loan right now. We stopped charging interest a few years back already (problem just got worse). There is still the intent to pay it back, but Mrs CF does not want to push the matter at this time. She might once her sister start working again when the kids both go to school.

In short, we have taken the loan value off our balance sheet. We might still get the money, but it will be a bonus if/when we do. It does not impact our existing investments, but just dropped the “non-income” assets a bit. But it obviously will impact our future possible investments/cash-flow, since we have less to invest.

Moral of the story, never loan money to family! (Almost) always a royal pain in the @$$. If you do, make up a formal contract and keep your relatives responsible. Cheesy top tip.

Cheesy Index Forecast

So, with the above changes, and me voluntary becoming unemployed as of May 1, there will be more changes. Oh, and don’t forget the 10 week road trip that is coming up! The major impact is the speed to get to FIRE. Instead of taking about 3-4 years, it will likely now be about 6 (getting us to late 2023, subject to market developments). This is assuming I don’t make any money at all from potential side hustles.

In case you are wondering why the Cheesy Index chart above says a target of 72.5% for 2018 and the one below 70.9% for 2018, we like to aim high 😉

This is the new forecast:

Cheesy Index Forecast 2018-2025

Cheesy Index Forecast 2018-2025

Taking into consideration the new wealth target, we were not at 69% by the end of last year, but actually “only” 67.4%. Despite the major write off, we actually only dropped 0.5% month over month. There is probably another drop coming in February, due to the recent market corrections. Such is life, but we just keep going!



How about you? Did you go forwards or backwards?



A lot happed in the month of January. As noted in last months update, we decided to rebalance the dividend portfolio and remove shares that no longer fitter the portfolio and the dividend growth strategy.  Here is the January 2018 Dividend Update.

January 2018 Dividend Update

What’s changed in January on the dividend front? The following shares disappeared from the portfolio:

  • POT (Potash) & AGU (Agrium): these merged and are now Nutrien LTD (NTR). The shares of  both companies where exchanged for NTR shares, and plummeted next…… Not really creating any shareholder value at this point. To maintain exposure to this basic materials sector we will keep the shares for now. We are also curious to see how the dividends will develop.
  • WJA (WestJet – Airlines): this was not really a good growth stock (sensitive to the economic cycles) and we were able to sell with a profit, so we did.
  • LIQ (Liquor stores): another non dividend growth stock (heck, it cut dividend a couple years back). One of our “chasing yield” stocks from when we started. Now that the share price had recovered, it was time to sell and reinvest the profits.

We also made some new Purchases:

  • REI.UN (RioCan): not really a “dividend growth stock” but it was battered recently due to the rising interest rates. It made for an interesting buy. It’s a REIT and a monthly dividend payer. With the Canadian REIT’s there are very few dividend growth stocks. However, due to their relatively high yield and monthly DRIP’s, they still are in interesting dividend “growth” investment. Plus, we want to have some real estate exposure and diversification too.
  • We also increased our existing positions with new share purchases of CU, H and FTS (all utilities).

We now do have some cash that we need to deploy and are evaluating this awesome list to see which positions we need to grow or start.

Oh, don’t forget to check out the community updates at the Dividend Diplomats and Easy Dividend!

January Dividends

All the dividend deposits received into the bank accounts (and correct for exchange rates) sum up to a total dividend income of about €522,5. This is a decrease of 4.1% compared to last year. However, this is all caused by a significant exchange rate fluctuation compared to a year ago. In Canadian dollars the dividend actually grew by 4% from a year ago. See, it’s still dividend GROWTH investing 🙂

The stats for last month:

January 2018 Dividend Update - Dividend Income

January 2018 Dividend Update – Dividend Income

The graph below is showing the yearly dividend totals for 2015, 2016, 2017 and the YTD for 2018. We thus received €522,50 in dividends in 2018.

January 2018 Dividend Update - Yearly Dividend

January 2018 Dividend Update – Yearly Dividend

Dividend Stock Overview

Our dividend portfolio now contains 37 companies with a total of 9.044 shares. The ones with a keen eye among you will see NTR noted twice in this overview, this is due to the merger of POT and AGU (we each had one of these in our RRSP accounts). Since I’m lazy (and have the spreadsheets setup to provided an overview of both accounts individually), this probably won’t change albeit we would like to sell on of the two positions.

The portfolio looks like this:

January 2018 Dividend Update - Dividend Overview

January 2018 Dividend Update – Dividend Overview

Dividend Sector Breakdown

When you breakdown the previously shown dividend stock overview by sector, it looks as follows:


January 2018 Dividend Update - Sector Allocation

January 2018 Dividend Update – Sector Allocation


How did you do in January?

We are about two weeks away from a weekend of chatting about money, finances, FIRE, dividends, ethics and permaculture. We will likely also have some beer, eat some good food and go for a walk. Are you ready for the BENL FIRE Meetup in Leuven Belgium?

BENL FIRE Meetup in Leuven Belgium?

This is just friendly reminder that we will be getting together in the weekend of February 24 and 25, 2018. We will be meeting up in the beautiful city of Leuven in Belgium.

For more details on what to expect, do go check this post with many links to people that wrote about these meetups.

Please take note, we are targeting about 40 people for this meetup on both Saturday February 24 and Sunday February 25. We currently have about 10 spots left on Saturday and about 15 on Sunday. So you have some time to think about it, but don’t wait to long as we do a first come, first serve approach.

BENL Meetup Leuven Belgium

BENL FIRE Meetup in Leuven Belgium? Source:

What are we planning?

The general program for this weekend will look like this

Saturday February 24, 2018:

  • 13:00 – 14:00: Warm welcome and informal chats;
  • 14:00 – 18:00: Presentations and discussions regarding Dividend Growth Investing
  • 18:00 – 20:00: Dinner (local restaurant); and,
  • 20:00 – ??:??: Belgian BEER and other drinks + more informal chats.

Sunday February 25, 2018:

  • 10:00 – 12:00 Leuven City walking tour with Amber Tree Leaves as our tour guide;
  • 12:00 – 13:00 Brown bag lunch; and,
  • 13:00 – 16:00 Presentations and discussions about Permaculture and ethical investing.

The presentations about dividend investing, ethics and permaculture are being developed as you read this. However, if you have specific questions about these three topics (or if you want to add a 4th by doing a presentation yourself on Saturday), please let us know!


BENL Meetup

BENL FIRE Meetup in Leuven Belgium?

Do you want to join?

Please drop us or Amber Tree Leaves a comment/email (info @ “ourblogname”.nl) and we will add you to the (ever growing) distribution list!

Hope to see you in two weeks!

Wow, that went quick! It’s already time for the January 2018 Savings Rate update. Feels like it only just turned 2018?! Something with getting older I guess? Or was it just me?

January Finances

Many folks, and primarily those in North America, always dread January. As many of the expenses from the holiday season are to be paid to the various credit card companies. Not here though! Credit Card charges were minimal, most expenses were already booked in December and we were still able to keep expenses in reign. In short, it was a pretty good month on the savings rate side of things.

Savings Rate Update

Savings Rate Update

Financial Overview

Here is the usual short financial overview for the month:

  • Mr. CF’s Salary + Mrs. CF’s salary – Business expenses for Mrs CF = good but below average income. Expense claim to be paid in February;
  • The crowdfunding income was back to normal with €191 in deposits (combined interest and principle);
  • Living and healthcare category was about average with a combined €1012. This includes costs for mortgage interest, home insurance, healthcare premiums, utilities and some minor home maintenance/up keep. Nothing special to report; 
  • Grocery costs were low this month with €311 in expenses. Because we did some major shopping’s in December, this month was bound to be low;
  • The transport costs were below average with €265 spent. Expenses include fuel, insurance, road tax and ferry fees. A normal month with nothing special (very little cycling though!);
  • The kid category was normal with €455. This month only included daycare expenses (including after-school care benefits). No other expenses this time around (who said kids were expensive?);
  • Travel and Leisure was €109. Some expenses were already incurred in December, but were bumped into 2018. We went ice skating several times, visited a Monkey Town (no affiliate link, just to show what it is) and went swimming in a subtropical pool; and,
  • The other category was about €127. Money was spend on the gym for Mrs. CF, going out to diner, cash and some quarterly banking expenses.

January 2018 Savings Rate 

The savings rate for January were good once again (sorry if this is getting boring! In case it is, come back in May!). The end result for last month came in at 64.4%. 

Here are the stats:

January 2018 Savings Rate - Overview

January 2018 Savings Rate – Overview

If you breakdown our expenses for the month, the distribution looks like this:

January 2018 Savings Rate - Expenses

January 2018 Savings Rate – Expenses

Forecast Coming Months

We had some more storm damage to our roof…. again. But because we are still awaiting some good weather to fix a few more things, this damage will be repaired at the same time. Fortunately. the roof is water tight even with a few tiles missing. Hoping to (finally) have this all fixed in February or March (weather permitting). But the bill will be much higher than the €1.200 for just the regular works to be done. Storm damage is a “bonus” expense. That being said, because our deductible is about €975. It’s actually cheaper to include this storm damage with the other works than call it in with the insurance company. So that is what we did.

Tax season is coming up in more ways than one. For us this includes property taxes, watermanagement taxes, sewage and water treatment fees and garbage removal. All of which will be coming around in the coming 2-5 months. The first payment is scheduled for March and is around €300 (water management fees = tax for embankment maintenance and such). The rest is still to be received.

We are also anticipating to have to pay taxes this year instead of getting a tax return. No deductibles this time around, so this is going to hurt!

How about you? How was your month in terms of savings and living life?

After all the fluffy posts about becoming HOT-er and something with a letter, it is time to talk cold hard cash! It’s time for the Real Estate Report – January 2018 edition.

Real Estate Report – January 2018

Rental Income

Our rental income for January 2018 is the highest it’s ever been at well over €3600. Primarily thanks to the first full month of interest on the  private Real Estate investment loan.

The monthly income distribution is provided below:

Real Estate Report - January 2018 Income

Real Estate Report – January 2018 Income

Rental Expenses

The expense for January were relatively low again. The expenses consisted of the following:

  • Mortgage and loan payments,
  • Management fees;
  • Insurance payments, and,
  • Property maintenance.

The maintenance on the heating systems of two units was done in late December, but the bills came in January. No other maintenance costs were incurred this month. We did notice a slight hike in the insurance fees, which is rather unfortunate but not unexpected with the storm damage in the Netherlands over the last few years.

The expenses for the month are as follows:

Real Estate Report - January 2018 Expenses

Real Estate Report – January 2018 Expenses

Real Estate Report – Overview

We started off the year very well with a net rental and loan income of €2.740. I added a new bar on the overview graph below with the net cash-flow income. In short, this is the money that hits our bank account and we are able to reinvest.

In January this net cash-flow was a solid €1.689. If this seems low, it is because the interest on the private investment loan is not paid out. This interest compounds and will be paid out once the contract term ends in December 2020.

Real Estate Report - January 2018 Overview

Real Estate Report – January 2018 Overview

Real Estate Report – Forecast


We received unfortunate news that one of our favorite tenants was leaving. She got to do an internship for her studies that paid really badly and she could no longer afford the rent. She ended up moving in with her boyfriend. We made a deal with here that if we could find a new tenant by February 1, she was free to move out early.

Fortunately for her, It took less then a week to find a new tenant and we had the transfer completed yesterday. The downside is the cost for getting a new tenant, since we use a property management firm (for tax reasons) these are considerable. The (cash-flow) income for February will not be very pretty.

The sale of one unit to family is ongoing and we are making progress. We are still evaluating mortgage options, after which the property will be assessed. Next we will do up our own contract and go to a notary public to get the ownership transfers sorted. Timing is a bit unclear, but might still happen before we go on our road trip in April. If not, we will compete it after we return. We are not really in a rush as the market is hot and new investments are hard to find. Still considering going for a private real estate loan.


How did you do in your first month of 2018?