Hello Folks, got some exciting news today! We have scheduled another FIRE meetup, but one that is specifically focussing on real estate investing. In short, get ready for Utrecht Real Estate Con!

Utrecht Real Estate Con

We noticed that a lot of people are interested in real estate investing as (part of) their FIRE strategy. Likely because it is an investment that you can see, feel and easily comprehend. However, there are many things about real estate that one should consider.

Utrecht Real Estate Con

Utrecht Real Estate Con
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House#/media/File:1156_Marken,_Netherlands_-_panoramio_(1).jpg

There are also many different investment strategies related to real estate, which depend on your risk profile and preferences. It’s therefore time to review this investment method in more detail during a meetup.

Together with Divnomics and GeenBaanMeer.nl we came up with the idea of Utrecht Real Estate Con (Dutch: Vastgoed Con).

The Date

The “Utrecht Real Estate Con” is scheduled for Saturday 17 November 2018 (in Utrecht, go figure!). Location details will be made available for those that sign up for this event.

The Program

The preliminary program for the day:

  • 12:00-13:00 – Welcome
  • 13:00-14:00 – Introduction to Real Estate investing
  • 14:00-14:30 – Coffee Break
  • 14:30-15:30 – Real Estate investing Examples
  • 15:30-16:00 – Coffee Break
  • 16:00-17:00 – Real Estate Investing Strategies for FIRE
  • 17:00-18:00 – Q&A and Drinks

The final program details will be made available closer to the date. We plan to tailor the program upon your input. For example, we can focus more on the strategies and examples and skip on some of the introduction. Please let us know what you think. Either way, it should be very interesting and a good learning opportunity. Especially for anyone that wants to invest into real estate in the Netherlands.

The Costs

The fees for the day are about €29.61 (€28 + Eventbrite booking fees), which is including drinks and snacks. We have a total of 45 seats available. Don’t wait too long before signing up as our meetups are getting increasingly more popular.

Signing up?

Inspired and interested to talk real estate for the day? You can signup via the following link:

https://www.eventbrite.nl/e/tickets-utrecht-real-estate-conference-48118543860

To sign in you need the following password: Vastgoed Con

 

Hope to see you in Utrecht!

 

Not interested in Real Estate, just come and have a chat with us in Zwolle! Check out Chris’s blog:

FIRE Meetup 30-9-2018, The Zwolle Edition

 

 

 

 

 

What I like about dividend investing is that once you have selected a few good companies, the rest is relatively easy. Yes, you need to keep an eye on your investments, and check how the companies are doing. But the money generally just keeps flowing in, how great is that! Here is the June 2018 Dividend Update (with catch-up from April and May)

June 2018 Dividend Update

The following stock(s) were reduced or disappeared from the portfolio:

  • 974 shares of AAR.UN (REIT): company was bought by an investment group and was delisted. Made a killing though! Nearly 80% profit 🙂
  • 150 shares of PJC.A (Consumables): company merged with the Metro group and was delisted. Albeit we were supposed to get MRU shares, we missed the exchange deadline (due to travels) and got the cash. Also a 30% profit.

We made no new purchases (since we were travelling and did not look at the account for almost 2,5 months!).

Keen on some 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!

April – June Dividends

All the dividend deposits received into the bank accounts (and correct for exchange rates) sum up to a total dividend income of €567,4 for April, €567,13 for May and €638,93 for June. Not bad!

Compared to last year (when we still had some Dutch share too) we changed by -23.6%, 34.9% and -34.3% for April to June respectively. Now that is what I call a rollercoaster!

However, when looking at the Canadian part of the portfolio (in CAD), we see the following changes: 18.2%, 34.6% and 13.9% increases. Now that is what I like to see, growing dividends! This is organic growth too, as we did not add to the accounts since 2016.

The stats for last month:

June 2018 Dividend Update - Dividend Income

June 2018 Dividend Update – Dividend Income

The graph below is showing the yearly dividend totals for 2015, 2016, 2017 and the YTD for 2018. Despite selling many shares in 2017, we might actually beat 2016’s total this year! That’s good.

June 2018 Dividend Update - Yearly Dividend

June 2018 Dividend Update – Yearly Dividend

Dividend Stock Overview

Our dividend portfolio now “only” contains 36 companies with a total of 8.124 shares. As noted in previous post(s) NTR is 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 individual companies within our portfolio below about 5%.

The portfolio looks like this:

June 2018 Dividend Update - Dividend Overview

June 2018 Dividend Update – Dividend Overview

Dividend Sector Breakdown

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

June 2018 Dividend Update - Sector Allocation

June 2018 Dividend Update – Sector Allocation

 

How did you do in June on the dividend side of things?

3 months of doing nothing…..sort of. It’s been almost exactly 3 months since I gave up my well paying job and decided to travel and think what I want to do with my life. I’m now only more confused!

3 Months of Doing Nothing

Since I quit my job in April, I first prepared the house to be able to be rented on Airbnb. Next we disappeared for a 9 week road trip (first two posts are here and here). After we came back renovations works stated on some of our real estate, so that took up some time & energy. But this is progressing well and almost finished, should have this all wrapped up in a couple of weeks.

In short, albeit having no work anymore for the past 13 weeks, I have been far from bored and this does not seem to change in the near future. That being said, emotionally it’s been interesting. Still not sure what I want to do! I’m confused?!

3 Months of doing nothing

3 Months of doing nothing
By Johnycanal – Wikitravel: http://wikitravel.org/en/Image:Phuka_beach.jpg, CC BY-SA 1.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1060769

The good

Quitting your job (when you have a good financial backup) that you don’t like gives an amazing feeling! Some of the (obvious) observations since I quit:

  • I sleep better / am far less tired
  • No more sitting in traffic jams / getting up insanely early to avoid said traffic jams (yeah!)
  • No more stress/frustrations
  • More time to work out
  • The house is a lot cleaner / dishes don’t pile up anymore
  • We don’t have to rush in the weekend to get stuff done (we both were working fulltime)
  • I’m happy and extremely relaxed, have not felt this good in years!

In short, this was a brilliant move! Should have done it sooner. Being happy and relaxed is very important in life, but you often realize this quite late in the journey.

The bad

Are there any “bad” things, yes, but not what you might expect. It’s also not really “bad”, more “unexpected”.

We are not financially independent just yet. However, there is a large pile of cash available and we have a pretty decent cash-flow income every month. Plus Mrs CF is still working and enjoying it. So financially we are in a good shape, but not done yet…… and this is bothering me. This because I’m farting around, while Mrs CF is still busting her @$$ to get us to FIRE. Albeit I know she is fine with it, it’s still bugging me.

I’m also confused as to what I want to do, I thought I knew when I was still working, but now I’m not so sure. Let me explain with the following two examples.

The side hustle

When I quit my job I was already planning a small side hustle to add some extra income (both passive and active). Because I didn’t like me job I was really motivated to get started, spent quite a bit of time researching and setting up a website/content.

But during the road trip the motivation to get started all but disappeared. Still cannot really figure out why, I still like the idea and the interaction with other people about it. But getting my butt moving forward with it is very hard right now. I rather go outside and play in the garden, cycle/swim, or cook. All great activities, but they cost money rather than add some funds to get to FI.

The blog

Same as with the side hustle idea. I really was looking forward to writing lots of content on this blog. But somehow that motivation has (almost) completely disappeared. I still have tons of ideas, but for some reason I cannot focus and write it all down.

The great summer weather outside and various other fun things that I can do stop me from blogging. Where blogging was a great way to avoid doing “work” at work, now it takes time away from sunshine and relaxation. Heck, it almost feels like “work”. Perhaps this changes in the fall/winter when it gets cold and nasty outside.

I’ve therefore decided to limit blogging to once a week for now (if that). Being outside, not behind a computer, is a much better way tp spend my time (sorry for being very egoistic here)

The Plan

So the plan for now is to just relax, enjoy the summer season and fart around. I’m just going to do things when I feel like it, not because they “have to be done”. Perhaps the motivation returns, perhaps not. Perhaps I might look for another job again to speed up the journey to FIRE, perhaps I’ll stay a stay-at-home dad. Heck, I don’t know it anymore, I’m confused! But at least I’m happy & confused 🙂

 

Thoughts? Ideas? How do you deal with lack of motivation? How do you take a hurdle? 

 

After the epic road trip, it was time to start figuring out how much we had spent (and saved!) in the past 3 months. Below is a breakdown of the June 2018 Savings Rate (with catch-up from April and May too).

April – June Finances

April through June were messy months in terms of both incomes and expenses. We received our tax returns from 2015 (final assessment) and 2017 (temporary assessment). The 2017 ones were as planned, the 2015 one was a surprise! The temporary assessment did not show any money being returned. Not complaining here about the payout!

My income still came in in April and partially in May (holiday allowance and final payout). Mrs CF’s came in in April and partially in May and June (4 weeks of unpaid leave spread over those months). The good thing is that we also received some money in April, May and June from our house being rented through Airbnb! All in all, no complaining on the income front.

Expenses were well above average due to the road trip, obviously. Food and fuel costs were much higher too. Because we prepared the car for the trip, we also had some maintenance costs in April. No issues during the trip, so it was money well spent.

Daycare costs were lower, as we took Miss CF out of after-school care for 2,5 months. She started again in July, as she loves it and it give me time to work around the house/start with the side hustle.

A more detailed breakdown of the holiday expenses is still to be completed, but we came in under budget!

June 2018 Savings Rate (and catch up)

With all the extra income from tax returns and Airbnb rental, we were able to stay in the black despite the road trip! This was a big and pleasant surprise. Did not expect that at all. The savings rate for the year is now a very respectable 54.6%, including the entire road trip!

Here are the stats for the last three months:

June 2018 Savings Rate - Overview

June 2018 Savings Rate – Overview

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

April 2018 Savings Rate - Expenses

April 2018 Savings Rate – Expenses

May 2018 Savings Rate - Expenses

May 2018 Savings Rate – Expenses

June 2018 Savings Rate - Expenses

June 2018 Savings Rate – Expenses

Forecast Coming Months

As you are most likely aware. I’m unemployed and for now only Mrs. CF brings in the cash. The coming months will have higher expenses too. This because of renovations around the house. We want to add/improve insulation at various places to lower the heating bill this coming winter (and the next). There is also some painting work to be done.

The new side hustle is therefore on the back burner for the summer. I also want to take it easy during the summer and enjoy the season. The side hustle activities should pick up in the fall. Hopefully by the end of the year there might be some income from this. Otherwise next year, I’m in no rush.

No other exciting things planned for now that cost heaps of money, other than our real estate investments. That being said, the savings rate will drop. We hope to stay within the 20-40% range going forward. December should be a nice one once again with a couple payment for Mrs CF. Might hit the 50% once again.

 

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

Last weekend, on Saturday, we had another BENL FIRE meetup. The 6th already that we organized. We have already been to Antwerp, Eindhoven, Leuven, Breda and Utrecht. It was another fun day with lots of chats, discussions, presentations, food, drinks and financial fun. Without further ado, here is the Utrecht FIRE meetup recap!

Utrecht FIRE Meetup Recap

It was our second time we visited the venue in Utrecht. It’s a very nice place with good access by public transport and car, but gosh it’s hot on summer! The place is obviously very affordable (otherwise we would not have been there), but it does not have air-conditioning. With 28 degrees Celsius outside, it’s really hot inside. Needless to say a lot of folks enjoyed the outside and chatted in the sun. We will likely return to this venue again, but during a different season 😉 Other lessons-learned: when it’s hot, buy more beer!

Utrecht FIRE Meetup Recap

Utrecht FIRE Meetup Recap – We are not the only cheese heads!

Presentations

The real reason we organize these meetups is to have the opportunity to chat with like-minded people. But we do like to have the occasional group discussions and educational moments. This time we had two presentations and one interactive presentation with discussion.

Making money online with blogging

We started the “formal’ part of the day with a presentation about making money online with blogging/writing. This presentation was done by Adine from lekkerlevenmetminder (a Dutch personal finance blog). Adine is a great writer with a passion for personal finance. But this passion has turned into a nice gig where she is actually making some decent money blogging (in addition to her writing job). Her presentation can be downloaded here: Making Money Online.

Crowdfunding

The second presentation was done by Daphne. She has many years of experience with crowd-funding, both professionally as well as personally. Daphne has invested in more than 550 projects to date, and has a surprisingly low default rate! She shared some of her lessons learned and insights with the group. Unfortunately, this presentation cannot be shared due to the details of the content.

Negotiations

HOT” Chris finished up the “formal” part of the day with a presentation and discussion about negotiations. Bottom line is, always try to negotiate and try to find out what the percentages are that you could potentially get (think kitchens, cars, furniture, etc.). Also check on times when certain items might go in sale (think year-end inventory sales, etc.).

Thank you all for presenting!

Slack

Oh, for those interested in FIRE and want to spend even more time on social media/their phone, Spekvet and Divnomics have setup a Slack group. Just in case you are interested!

Next Meetup?

There will definitely be another meetup in the future, we have no fixed plans for now but are in for suggestions or offers to help. It takes a lot of time and energy to organize the meetups, which takes away some of our time to enjoy the meetups too.

One of our ideas is to have another meetup at a bar or pub, no entrance fees or presentation, you just show up and we have a beer/wine/whatever. Similar to what we did before in Gouda.

We also noticed that more and more new people come to the meetups that are especially interested in the presentations. A lot of folks are just starting out on the FIRE journey and are exploring their options for investing. I’m now looking at ways to see how we can cater to those of you. Perhaps I have to ask this guy to help out? There might even be a camp FIRE in Oosterwolde! Anyhow, lots to consider!

Any feedback from your end of what you would like to see or do for the next meetup is greatly appreciated.

Hope to see you next time!

 

 

We are back in the Netherlands! “Normal” life has resumed, albeit I don’t have a job anymore at this stage. You would assume that I now have tons of time on my hand, and you are probably right! However, the to-do list is longer than ever, go figure 🙂 On top of that to-do list is also writing down all the fun things we did on the road trip. Today I hope you enjoy this “9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2” as much as I did writing it.

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2

As noted in the previous post, a 62 day road trip is a bit much to pack into one post. I planned to split the post into 15-16 day segments, followed by two posts about trip finances and Airbnb experiences. Below is a short summary of day 16-31. We start in southern France and moved to southern Italy during this time.

Day 16 – Trip to Cannes

We arrived in Cannes the day before the whole movie thing was about to start. It was kind of cool to see all the movie related stands, stages and displays. We walked around the boulevard before travelling to the Monaco area later that day.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Cannes

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Cannes

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Cannes Film Festival

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Cannes Film Festival

When driving through Monaco, the GPS had a rough time and we sort of got lost. The fun thing though is that we ended up driving on parts of the F1 grand prix circuit! Made my day 🙂

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Monaco Street Circuit

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Monaco Street Circuit

Day 17 – Trip to Beach & Monaco Run

Monaco is obviously an expensive place, so we arranged accommodation just outside of Monaco. Fortunately not that far away. We used this day to give Miss CF some time to play at the beach, while Mrs CF could do some work. Yes, unfortunately she actually needed to work a few days during our trip (part of the time-off deal).

Once Mrs CF was done work and Miss CF fell asleep, I got the opportunity to hike around and decided to speed walk to Monaco for a preview for the next day.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Monaco

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Monaco

Day 18 – Trip to Monaco

We took public transport to get to Monaco to limit the parking costs & troubles. We decided to just hike around town to see all the famous sites like the Casino and the harbour. Fortunately for us, the preparations for the historical grand prix where underway, so we could do some car spotting and walk on the actual F1 grand prix circuit.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Monaco Harbour

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Monaco Harbour

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Historical Grand Prix Cars

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Historical Grand Prix Cars

Day 19 – Trip to Menton & Travel to Italy

We closed our time in France by visiting a small amusement park in Menton. Once Miss CF has spent all here coins, we drove onwards to Italy. We arranged an accommodation about halfway to the town of Pisa. it was still pretty near the coast, so we did another boulevard walk (and ice-cream) that afternoon.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Beautiful welcome to Italy

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Beautiful welcome to Italy

Day 20 – Travel to Pisa

While in France we avoided all toll road, we quickly discovered that’s not a good idea in Italy. The toll roads are in pretty good shape, but the highways and secondary roads are mostly rubbish! For the sake of our kidneys and our car, we stuck to toll roads as much as possible. I though Belgium was bad, but Italy actually has far worse roads.

Today we drove to the town of Pisa (yes, the one with the tower). As we were scheduled to arrive late, we would not have time to visit the city (+ the little one was tired). So we decided to just park at the Port of Pisa and enjoy the scenery and the peace & quiet.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Port of Pisa

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Port of Pisa

Day 21 – Trip to Pisa

We started the day relatively early and took the bus to downtown. As we started our day outside the main centre, it was still pretty quiet. Once we got into the city centre we were surprised how laidback it was. However, once we turned the street to where the leaning tower and cathedral stand, we noticed how incredibly touristic the place actually is! Wow, it’s busy in this place.

Once we returned to the city center later that day, we noticed that the whole town was swamped with tourists. So, if you want to do your sightseeing in relative quiet (and limit your time in waiting lines), start way before 10:00! Cheesy top tip here 😉

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Pisa

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Pisa

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: River through Pisa

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: River through Pisa

Day 22 – Travel to Monte Argentario & Aquarium

After leaving the town of Pisa, we decided to look for more tranquility along the coast line. We found this at the peninsula of Monte Argentario. This “island” is connected to the main land via three “legs”, which have loads of campsites.

We first visited the town of Porto Santo Stefano, which has a small aquarium and ferry service to local islands. It’s quite a nice coastal town with nice blue waters and some beach access and restaurants.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Porto Santo Stefano

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Porto Santo Stefano

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Porto Santo Stefano Aquarium

Day 23 – Trip around Monte Argentario

On the second day at the peninsula of Monte Argentario we drove around. We also did a bit of hiking to get to the waterfront (most roads are up the slopes of the peninsula). It’s a very nice area and definitely worth a visit.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Monte Argentario Coastline

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Monte Argentario Coastline

Day 24 – Travel towards Rome

As you probably noticed, we like to visit cities, but don’t like to stay there for very long. Too busy and noisy for our liking. Driving (and parking) in major cities is not much fun either. Especially not in Italy! So when we were planning our trip to Rome, we decided to find accommodation outside the city and use public transport to get downtown.

Today we drove away from Monte Argentario and took it easy. The drive got us to a town just outside Rome. Oh, and the roads got even worse! Never seen so many potholes in my life.

We also did have some time to relax at an outlet centre outside Rome (something with playground areas…….)

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Outlet Centre near Rome

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Outlet Centre near Rome

Day 25 – Rome in a Day

The trains in Italy are extremely cheap, surprisingly comfortable and even travelled on time! We were pleasantly surprised to be honest. The train ride got us to Roma Termini from which we arranged the hop-on-hop-off bus (the cheaper green line) and started out on our first tour around town. We actually ended up doing two loops.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Old Stuff

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Old Stuff

Rome really is too big to see in one day, but the tourist busses work really well. Be very careful when going out to restaurants (or get a cab, etc.), as you get screwed everywhere in this town. Don’t expect too much friendliness either. It’s also not the cleanest place I’ve ever been. Albeit very pretty and full of history, Rome was not our favorite place to visit.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Colosseum

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Colosseum

Vienna on the other hand, which is a kind modern and clean version of Rome, is so much more fun to visit (more on that in a later post)

Day 26 – Trip to Lake Albano

After the busy day in Rome, we picked Lake Albano to chill for a few hours. We had to drive to Naples that day, and this lake was definitely worth the small detour. We rented a paddle boat and had fun with the little one on the local beaches.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Lake Albano

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Lake Albano

Day 27 – Trip to Naples

Cheesy top tip, don’t drive into Naples during rush hour. Probably one of the scariest rides we’ve ever done in our lifetime. Still surprised that the car (and us) came out in one peace! We have driven a lot and certainly are not scared to drive, but this was a bit too exciting for our liking. Italians don’t do road rules.

You probably are familiar with the problems in Naples (garbage issues, mafia, poverty, etc.). Some are still very clearly visible in the city. The Archeological museum on the other hand was really nice. Also the old inner city very pretty to walk through. Not as “nice” as Rome, it was still worth the visit.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Roof at the Archeological Museum

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Roof at the Archeological Museum

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Gesù Nuovo Square

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Gesù Nuovo Square

Day 28 – Trip to Pompeii

Who thinks of Naples also thinks of the volcano Vesuvius and Pompeii. We would have loved to hike up the volcano, but with the little one that was not going to happen. So we visited the next best thing related to that volcano: Pompeii.

Fortunately, we had visited the archeological museum in Naples first. Otherwise Pompeii might have been slightly disappointing as most art work and statues are located in the museum. Pompeii was a very interesting visit, but it does start to look alike once you walk around there for a few hours. Glad we visited though! One less item on the bucket-list 🙂

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Pompeii

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Pompeii

After leaving Pompeii, we moved on toward the Sorrento area for some relaxation again.

Day 29 – Trip around Sorrento

It was time again to for Miss CF to play and relax. So we spent some time on the beach at Sorrento and enjoyed the surrounding areas (including some fresh made lemonade). Sorrento and surrounding area is famous for its Limoncello (we bought some too). The place is packed with lemon orchards, which look very pretty when you walk through them.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Sorrento

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Sorrento

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: View of Vesuvius

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: View of Vesuvius

Day 30 – Travel to Amalfi

The next area to explore was on the other side of the peninsula. Today was our trip to the Amalfi coast. Unfortunately, It didn’t go as smooth as we hoped though. We arrived around mid-day in the Positano area, which is stunning but there were NO parking spots anywhere. People already parked alongside the road more than a km before the town. With our big Prius wagon we were simply out of luck 🙁

The roads are super small, has concrete barriers/rock cliffs and there are tons of busses and trucks that drive around. Needless to say that it was not a very comfortable ride. It actually was a near 2 hour traffic jam to get from Positano to Amalfi. We had virtually no opportunities to park, turn around or look around.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: "Positano" Coast line

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: San Pietro Coast Line

To continue the nightmare, our accommodation didn’t plot correctly on the GPS, we overshot by a good half hour! Needless to say we all were pretty grumpy by the end of the day. But we had gotten to the Amalfi area! We did make a plan to make the next day go smoother.

Cheesy top tip for the Positano/Amalfi area, don’t drive but take a bus/boat! Alternatively, go really early so you can park (and get a small rental car while you are at it). Or, if you have a lot of money to spend, arranged a place with private parking.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: "Amalfi" Coast line

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Not quite “Amalfi” Coast line

Day 31 – Hike to Amalfi

We parked our car up the hill in Pontone (still had to pay €1.5/hour, cash only!) and walked down into Amalfi. It was such a better way to get around Amalfi and actual have time to enjoy the area and the coast line. The hike up and down were really good too, stunning views. It’s such a pretty coastline. Really worth the visit!

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Amalfi

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Amalfi

Ok, time to wrap it up for today. Planning to do another recap next week.

 

How about you, did  you visit any of these places? Similar experiences, or totally different? Let us know!

 

We are in Austria and are having a bit of a break day. After having pretty good weather for the last month and a bit, we are now suffering from clouds and rain. In short, it’s a great time to look back at what we have done so far. Here is the 9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1 with a recap of the first 15 days of our epic road trip.

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1

Considering we did a whole lot of sightseeing during our road trip, it’s way too much to dump into one post. I’ve decided to split this post into 5 posts.The first 4 will contain the day-to-day recap of the trip (about ~15 days each). The final one will deal with the finances. I perhaps will make one about Airbnb too, about being both as a host as well as a user. Learned quite a few interesting things over the last weeks.

Any how, below is the recap of the first 15 days of the road trip. Enjoy!

Day 1 – Trip to Maastricht

It’s Sunday April 22 and we are ready to go! We tried to limit the amount of stuff we wanted to bring, but wanted to be ready for most situations one can encounter during Airbnb stays. You really never know what you are going to get :-). So we brought extra towels, bed linen, some useful items such as a sponge, kitchen cloths, matches/light, dish washing soap, etc. Smart thing that we did!

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: The Start!

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: The Start!

Day 1 we started late and had a long drive. We ended the first day with dinner at friends in Maastricht. Pretty relaxed and nice day to start the road trip!

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Pretty end of the day.

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Pretty end of the day.

Day 2 – Trip to Fairy Tale Forest (Valkenburg)

Since we are travelling with our 4,5 year old, we had to incorporate some entertainment for her too. That is why we started with “sprookjesbos”  (Fairy Tale Forest) in Valkenburg. We were a bit too enthusiastic and got there before the gates even opened! So we had cart place to ourselves 🙂

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Sprookjesbos Valkenburg

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Sprookjesbos Valkenburg

Day 3 – Trip to Luxembourg

Having been to Belgium already many times before (see here and here for a few). We decided to drive straight through to Luxembourg to make some distance. However, we did visit La Roche de Ardenne during they day and visited it’s castle ruins.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Church in La Roche en Ardenne

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Church in La Roche en Ardenne

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Castle ruins in La Roche en Ardenne

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Castle ruins in La Roche en Ardenne

Day 4 – Trip to Luxembourg City

On day 4 we drive from northern Luxembourg, via Luxembourg City to Northern France. During the day we visited another castle ruin (this time in Esch-sur-Sûre) and Luxembourg City itself. Due to the bad (rainy) weather (and a tired kid) the amount of things we could see and do in Luxembourg City were limited. It was still a fun and interesting visit.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Castle Ruins Esch-Sur-Sure

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Castle Ruins Esch-Sur-Sure

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Luxembourg City

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Luxembourg City

Day 5 – Trip to Chateau des Ducs de Lorraine

During our first day in northern France we visited yet another castle ruins (the little one liked them, so we just keep going!). This time we visited Chateau des Ducs de Lorraine, this is located in the small town of Sierck-les-Bains. The town is not very special, but the ruins are well maintained and take about an 1-1,5 hours to visit.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Chateau des Ducs de Lorraine

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Chateau des Ducs de Lorraine

Day 6 – Travel to Gérardmer (Parc Vosges)

On day 6 we drove quite a bit. On one of our first stops we visited Pont-à-Mousson and had a quick look at (the outside of) Abbaye des Prémontrés. Next we drove onward and explored a waterfall called “Grande cascade de Tendon”. This is located at the small town of Le Creux on the D11 road towards Gérardmer. We finished the day with stay at the lake. The Vosges parc was known to us only by name, as many people visit this area and spoke highly about it. They were right!

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Le Grand Cascade

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Le Grand Cascade de Tendon

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Lake Gérardmer

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Lake Gérardmer

Day 7 – City Visit to Luxeuil-les-Bains

During our travels this day we visited the city of Luxeuil-les-Bains, a lovely place to stroll around for a couple of hours and get an ice-cream!

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Luxeuil-les-Bains

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Luxeuil-les-Bains

Day 8 – City Visit in Besançon

More city visits, this time in Besançon on our way to the Jura Mountains and Lake Geneva. There was a flea market in the city streets that day and we found some new records for the jukebox. We also got a puzzle for Miss CF to use during the trip. It still fitted in the small suitcase we got for her to put all her toys in.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Besançon

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Besançon

Day 9 – Jura Mountains and Lake Geneva

The highlight of day 9 was a small mountain lake (Lac de Lamoura) and a mountain pass (Col de la Faucille) with a gorgeous view of Lake Geneva.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Lac de Lamoura

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Lac de Lamoura

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Col de la Faucille

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Col de la Faucille

We actually ended up reaching the southern shores of Lake Geneva later that day.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Lake Geneva

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Lake Geneva

Day 10 – Évian-les-Bains & Switzerland

This day we took a drive towards Switzerland and walked across the border (just for the fun of it) at Saint-Gingolph. For cars on the main road there is a border patrol check, for pedestrians it looks like this:

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: French - Swiss border crossing

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: French – Swiss border crossing

During the day we also visited the source of the Evian water in Évian-les-Bains. The company still has an office here too.

Day 11 – Swimming and Lac de Bourget

After our visit to Lake Geneva we continued our travels in the direction of the south coast of France (Cote d’azur). But since the little one showed signs of being tired, we stopped for a swim and did a short lake visit in the afternoon at lake de Bourget.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Lac du Bourget

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Lac du Bourget

Day 12 – Serres & Gorges de la Méouge

More traveling southward. We did not expect much this day, as we had not seen any special places based on our route. Boy were we wrong! First we drove into the town of Serres and got this awesome view. Added an ice-cream to make it perfect.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Serres

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Serres

Next we found the Gorges de la Méouge, a small car park along the road and short trail got us to a few falls and a nice area to enjoy nature.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Gorges de la Méouge

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Gorges de la Méouge

Day 13 – Gorges du Verdon

The “Grand Canyon” of Europe is call the Gorges du Verdon, and it’s awesome! It certainly is not as big as the actual grand canyon, but it is really pretty with the blue water and the big lake. Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. Good hiking in the area too.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Gorge Du Verdon from above

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Gorge Du Verdon from above

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Gorge Du Verdon from below

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Gorge Du Verdon from below

Day 14 – St. Tropez

I always wanted to to go St. Tropez, the name alone is cool. Albeit we did not spend much time in the village (tired kid and not enough cash for parking!), we did go to the beach at the outskirts and visited the citadel in the center of town.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: St. Tropez

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: St. Tropez

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: The Citadel of St. Tropez

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: The Citadel of St. Tropez

Day 15 – Beach day in Sainte-Maxime

Even during a slow travel road trip, you need a break day on occasion. That’s what we did in Sainte-Maxime. It was good, albeit still pretty cold water at this time of year!

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Break day at the beach in Sainte-Maxime

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Break day at the beach in Sainte-Maxime

 

That’s it for now. It’s just waiting for the next rainy day, or until we are home, before I can make the rest.

In the mean time, enjoy your own travels and/or travel planning!

Where I’m normally trying to be a “regular” blogger (in terms of timing of posts),  the coming months posting will “less structured”! If you are new, you might have missed this and this. If you are a regular reader you will understand 🙂

We can’t come to the blog right now, please leave a comment.

Now that I’m happily unemployed and we have started with our 9 week road trip, the blogging side of things is going to be a mess in the coming months. There will be no Cheesy Index updates, no Savings Rates, no dividend updates & no Real Estate Reports for the next little while. I’ve got my priorities sorted and they will be with our travels an my family, and not behind a screen. I know, what a concept!

That being said, I will have to catch up during the summer with all the financial stuff and will owe you some updates. So no worries!

We can't come to the blog right now, please leave a comment.

We can’t come to the blog right now, please leave a comment.

Travels

Travels are fun and the experiences are important to remember. So we will try to chronical our travels. I know that a fair amount of you are interested in the road trip, both visually and financially. If we therefore have a “slow” moment I will try to dump some text and photos on this blog.

I might even do a couple of pictures on twitter: https://twitter.com/CheesyFinance. However, since we don’t have data plans on our cellphones, we need to find a Wi-Fi spot first (yes, we are cheap little buggers! Sorry, meant to say frugal). The finances will have to wait until we return.

For now, have yourself a great day,  work week, retirement, etc. Hope to have some pretty pictures and fun stores to share with you in the coming time. I’m out!

Some good news again during March. We were able to increase our wealth just a tiny bit. Our real estate helped out a lot, the March savings rate not really, but overall we did well. Here is the March 2018 Cheesy Index update.

March 2018 Cheesy Index

In March the stock market continued to be rather volatile. To make matters worse, the exchange rates of the Canadian Dollar (CAD) versus the Euro (€) continued to go into the wrong direction. This had its impact on the value of our dividend portfolio and wealth.  But we are happy to report that the Cheesy Index still increased a tiny bit to 67.1%. We are now at the highest level of the year and erased most of the drops from the last two months.

Here are the latest stats:

March 2018 Cheesy Index

March 2018 Cheesy Index

Cheesy Index Forecast

As noted in last months’ Cheesy Index forecast, a lot of change is going to happen. My income will disappear, but I should still get some money in May (holiday allowance and 1 week of paid work; I was on a 4 week pay period in case you are wondering). As of June no money will be coming in. Mrs CF will have a partial pay in May (1 week unpaid leave) and virtually nothing in June (3 weeks of unpaid leave).

Fortunately the Dutch tax department was kind enough to give us our final tax assessment for 2015. Despite different earlier assessments, we still seem to get some money back. Almost €1.700 in fact. That’s good news! We should also get some money back for the 2017 tax year. It might actually even be enough to partially mitigate the loss in income from Mrs. CF. If all goes well, the Cheesy Index should even stay relatively stable throughout the coming 2-3 months, despite the travels. But it’s still is subject to market movements/exchange rates obviously!

In August we will likely see a drop, as the renovations on our real estate will be executed in July. Since these are expensive, a drop is inevitable. More to updates to follow after our 9 week road trip!

 

How about you? Did you go forwards or backwards in March?

 

 

Who can FIRE? This was a questions that was raised at the dinner table in the Cheesy Finance household. It was actually on the day we had the podcast interview. To be brutally honest, we are really spoiled  privileged. Take two people with a MSc. degree and professional designations, two full time jobs, a reasonably frugal nature, and you have a winning recipe for FIRE. But what if you earn a median income, or less, how good are your chances to FIRE? Can  you even FIRE?

Who can FIRE? Perhaps you can!

Who can FIRE? Perhaps you can!
Source: https://pngtree.com/free-fire-background

Who Can FIRE?

Before we can answer the question who can FIRE? We need to define some boundary conditions. Otherwise there are simply way too many variables. Here we go:

  • Three “situation” scenarios: Single, DINKS (Dual Income No Kids) & a family (two adults, two kids)
  • FIRE age no later than 50 years (so you have about 25-30 years to get to FIRE)
  • You start with the journey to FIRE once you get our of school (without student debts!)
  • Median income in the Netherlands (2017 data) is €37.000 gross and about €25.000 net
  • Return on investment is set at 6% average (assumed inflation adjusted)
  • 4% rule is applicable (in either withdrawal or as a net cash-flow)
  • No social benefits (I.e. allowances for healthcare, low income, etc.) during/after working years
  • No wealth tax included as an expense during working years (to simplify)
  • Assumption of a steady amount of savings throughout the years (to simplify)
  • No expensive live events (i.e. divorce, illness, etc.)
  • Wealth tax calculated on actual wealth (no “discounts” included that you could have with real estate valuations)

Dutch Income Distribution

How much are Dutch households earning? The latest (visual) data available from the Dutch bureau of statistics (CBS) is from 2014. The graph below shows the number of households vs. their available net income. This is shown for “all households” (in light blue) and for “families without kids before age 65” (dark blue):

Who can FIRE? Income distribution

Who can FIRE? Income distribution (net income per household)
Source: http://visualisatie.cbs.nl/nl-NL/Visualisation/Inkomensverdeling

 

Some data that accompanies the above graph.

  • Total households in 2014: 7,950,228 (light blue)
  • Single households: 2.803.852
  • Couple households: 2.498.744 (“DINKs” are the subgroep is shown in dark blue)
  • Family households (1 or more kids): 2.647.632

When I looked at the data behind the graph, about 50% of households need to “survive” on less than €30.000 net per year. Obviously, if you are a single, that should not be an issue. But for a couple with 2 kids this is a bit more difficult, albeit certainly not impossible. Many folks are in that position (say about 25%), as you can see in the dark blue section of the graph above.

Let’s look at a few scenarios and see if FIRE is possible before age 50?

Scenario 1: Single

You are single and earn a median income (€25.000 net per year). When you are very frugal and have a simple life (“barebones”), your expenses are assumed at €15.000 per year (€1.250/month). This leave €10.000 for investing and thus a savings rate of 40%. If you want to enjoy life a bit more (“comfort”), and don’t’ mind to work a bit longer, your expenses are assumed at €20.000 per year. In short, you have €5.000 per year to invest which is a savings rate of “just” 20%.

Based on the two lifestyle scenarios (“Barebones” and “Comfort”), you will need about €420.000 and €585.000 in assets. These numbers are based on the 4% rule (or 4% net cash-flow) and incorporate wealth taxes (2018 percentages and discounts). For more details on how this work, see this post (still contains 2016 tax percentages, but the calculations are the same!).

Who can FIRE? Scenario Single

Who can FIRE? Scenario Single

The graph above show wealth as a function of years, based on a certain amount of absolute savings per year. Based on this graph, you will need 30 years before you will reach a “comfort” level FIRE and about 21 years to reach a “barebones” level FIRE. In both cases you will be able to actually FIRE before the target age of 50 years! That is good news.

Keep in mind that in the Dutch retirement systems you might get a lot of extra spending money (or financial buffer, depending how you look at it), once your pension and/or old age security kicks in at about 65-70.

Scenario 2: DINKS

The next scenario assumes that there are two of you and both have (or combined you get) twice the median income (€50.000 net per year). When you are very frugal and have a simple life (“barebones”), your expenses are assumed at €20.000 per year (the benefits of living together compared to the single scenario!). This leave €30.000 for investing and thus a savings rate of 60%.

If you decide to enjoy life a bit more (“comfort”), your expenses are assumed at €25.000 per year. This leaves a very healthy €25.000 per year to invest and calculates to a savings rate of 50%.

Based on the two lifestyle scenarios (“Barebones” and “Comfort”), you will need about €565.000 and €730.000 in assets. Same logic applies as per the previously discussed Single Scenario.

Who can FIRE? Scenario DINKS

Who can FIRE? Scenario DINKS

Looking at the graph above, you will reach a “comfort” level FIRE in under 15 years. To reach a “bare bones” level FIRE you just need 12,5 years!. This is fairly quick and well before the age of 50. Saving more, in absolute and relative terms will get you to FIRE a lot sooner, but that’s nothing new 🙂

Scenario 3: Families

The final scenario assumes that there are 4 of you in the family and you guys earn 1,5 times the median income (€37.500 net per year). When you are a very frugal family (“barebones”), your expenses are assumed at Є25.000 per year. This leave €12.500 for investing and thus a savings rate of 33%. In the scenario that you want more family time and events (“comfort”), your expenses are assumed at €30.000 per year. This leaves a €7.500 per year to invest and calculates to a savings rate of 20%.

Based on the two lifestyle “choices” (i.e. “Barebones” and “Comfort”), you will need about €730.000 and €895.000 in assets. Again, same conditions as noted above.

Who can FIRE? Scenario Family

Who can FIRE? Scenario Family

When studying the graph above there is still some good news, becoming FI is possible! But you will need 35 years to reach “comfort” level. This means you can still retire before the official retirement age (and with a significant amount of wealth), but not before the magic “50” happens. To reach a “barebones” level FIRE you will need 28 years, so there is still hope for you to call it quits before the age of 50.

Now, this is technically a bad example, as by 28 years I really hope that your kids are living on their own and that you can get to the “DINKS” levels in terms of expenses. That being said, this depend on the age you get kids of course. So many variables! “Personal” finances eh?

No Median Income?

What if you don’t earn a net median income (as about 60% of the households do; see net income per household percentage graph below)? Subject to how low you can go in expenses and/or by living in another country, there are still options to FIRE (or at least RE). But it’s certainly not “easy” for most people.

If you want to stay put in the Netherlands and don’t want to deprive yourself of too much, the sad reality is that it will be difficult for the large majorty of the households/people.

Who can FIRE? Income distribution 2014

Who can FIRE? Income distribution 2014
Source: https://www.cbs.nl/-/media/_pdf/2016/26/2016welvaartinnederland.pdf

Note to the graph above, this is showing “a standardized” household income = 2,2 people. The associated graph for standardized net income is shown below (the one at the beginning of the post is not standardized to 2.2 people!).

Who can FIRE? Standardized Income distribution

Who can FIRE? Standardized Income distribution
Source: http://visualisatie.cbs.nl/nl-NL/Visualisation/Inkomensverdeling

Conclusions

Albeit not all data and scenarios presented above match “statistically/mathematically”, the general trend is pretty obvious.This post was then also not a complete surprise. But I was a bit disappointed in how many people should be able to reach FIRE in the Netherlands. Even when people are frugal and invest all their savings, FIRE is simply not for most. This does not mean that you should not live below your means and invest your money, but getting out (really) early is just for “a lucky few”. For the majority of the people it is a dream (hence the large numbers that play the lottery) .

Want to FIRE as a single, make sure you save and invest at least €2.500 per year (~€210 per month) and be/live (very) frugal.  Couples should aim for at about double that. As a family, you better start aiming for about €7.500-10.000 per year (€700-800/month)! For these scenarios FIRE won’t be very luxurious (unless you move), but you will have a lot of time to do fun things! Part time work is also always on option of course! Just work 2-3 days per week, instead of 4-5. You are still better off this way.

Cannot save this much? You can still retire a number of years (say up to 10) before the traditional retirement age. Just eat into your savings/investment until the time old age security (AOW) and pensions kick in (assuming you have any). But leaving “some” wealth to supplement and provide a general financial buffer. With the formal retirement age trending towards 70, this is still very good news for a lot of people! One additional note if you do get out sooner your pension contribution will drop and you will get less once your are eligible! Always check what you your estimated income will be after formal retirement at https://www.mijnpensioenoverzicht.nl/pensioenregister/.

 

What are your thoughts on this?

The March 2018 Dividend Update is not as exciting as the one from February. We are getting close to being done with reshuffling the portfolio. From here on, there should only be a few small corrections. In the far future we may try to expand the dividend portfolio again, depends on stockmarket prices and cash-flow from our real estate..

March 2018 Dividend Update

The following stock(s) were reduced or disappeared from the portfolio:

  • 200 shares of CHW (Financial): sold some shares just before the big sell off due to poor performance results and no dividend growth.

We made the following new purchases:

  • 30 shares of CM (Financial): Diversification of investments into the Canadian banking sector with the CIBC bank, which we did not own yet.
  • 60 share in CAR.UN (REIT): the rise in interest rates made the whole REIT sector drop, which was a nice time to add new shares. This REIT adds more exposure to the residential sector.
  • 169 shares of AGU (REIT): see above.

Note, the REIT purchases are technically not dividend growth stocks (yet?!), but the monthly DRIP’s work very well too!

Keen on some 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!

March Dividends

All the dividend deposits received into the bank accounts (and correct for exchange rates) sum up to a total dividend income of €638.93. This is a decrease of 21.4% compared to last year. This is because we sold many RDSA/UNA shares last year to be able to do real estate investments, which made a big difference.

Unfortunately we saw another worsening of the EUR/CAD exchange rate in March too. In Canadian dollars the dividend actually grew by 11.1% from a year ago, which is really good!

One note, last month’s total was corrected downwards to €320.83, as one payment shifted into March. We therefore ended February with a small decline in total dividends received (in € anyways), instead of a small increase.

The stats for last month:

March 2018 Dividend Update - Dividend Income

March 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 €1.490.44 in dividends so far for 2018. Very happy with that result! And no, we are not going to get to 2017 in terms of dividend income.

March 2018 Dividend Update - Yearly Dividend

March 2018 Dividend Update – Yearly Dividend

Dividend Stock Overview

Our dividend portfolio now contains 38 companies with a total of 9.150 shares. As noted in previous post(s) NTR is 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 individual companies within our portfolio below about 5%.

The portfolio looks like this:

March 2018 Dividend Update - Dividend Overview

March 2018 Dividend Update – Dividend Overview

Dividend Sector Breakdown

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

March 2018 Dividend Update - Sector Allocation

March 2018 Dividend Update – Sector Allocation

 

How did you do in March on the dividend side of things?

We did a Podcast! Not sure how many of you have done one, but it’s an interesting experience. Why? Because it’s like a genuine chat, but with “strings attached”. Kind of found out this out only about halfway the recording! Let me explain.

Podcast

Guess you know you have “made it” in the FIRE scene when you get asked to do a podcast right? 😉 Neah, just kidding! But we did have to think about it for a while before we said yes. Albeit we have already lost our “anonymity” in the (local) FIRE community (thanks to various meetups), we didn’t want the same to happen to an even larger public. So we agreed to maintain our “online” identity during the interview.

And as to the “we” on this decision, it really means WE 🙂 Where the blog is primarily run by me (Mr. CF), I was able to get Mrs. CF crazy enough to accept this podcast invite. She generally does not prefer to be in the spotlight (not even on this blog), but does like to spread the message of common-sense financial approaches and help others with their finances. She even volunteered in a woman’s shelter to help out with financial literacy. Show’s what kind of person she is (awesome, if I may says so myself. But I’m slightly biased 😉 ).

Podcast

Podcast
Source: https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/podcasts/

The Recording

Our host was pretty relaxed and even came to our house to do the recording. She actually was really good at interviewing! Smart questions, moving the whole interview along without pressuring and keeping the tempo up. Overall I enjoyed the experience, but I like talking about money and investing (go figure?!), so this was not a real surprise.

What I did  find frustrating about the podcast is that what comes out of your mouth is what is being broadcasted. When blogging you have time to think about what you write and how much. It’s hard to add a note once the topic has ended.  I only “really” figured this out halfway the recording. Where in the beginning I talk like I usually do (too much, too fast and all over the place topic wise), by the end I was trying to give more short and to the point answers.

The “annoying” thing about a podcast is that you can only scratch the surface, there is so much more to discuss and review! There are also so many boundary conditions and limitations to each subject discussed, you cannot point them all out in a podcast. For example, just giving only 3 blog (or book) recommendations (at the end of the Podcast) was way too little! For blogs we like and would recommend do check our blogroll!

Still, it was fun to do and I (we?) would do it again! No, this is not a hint, just saying.

The Final Result

Ok, I’m now probably going to disappoint about 75% of you. Because, and you probably guessed it already, the podcast is…… in Dutch. Sorry! So unless you already know Dutch, or want to get started, the podcast is likely rather useless.

Anyhow, you can find the final result here:

The interview and associated editing (down from about 50 min to “just” 37min!) was done by Meike van Zandvoort. She is an entrepreneur who gave up her 9-5 and started as a freelancer/one-woman company. She’s a pretty cool lady (and I’m not saying this only because she brought beer to the podcast!). Check her out at https://www.rijkerleven.nl/

 

For those Dutch among you that have taken the time to listing to us babble, what’d you think?

The Real Estate Report – March 2018 edition is a lot better then the Saving Rate report for March, which we posted earlier this week. Where we personally had a bit of a “rough” month financially (everything is relative!), the real estate investments happily continued along.

Real Estate Report – March 2018

Rental Income

Our rental income for March 2018 was the again the same as for January and February (love this boring stuff!), which means we received about €3.640 in real estate related income.

The monthly income distribution is provided below:

Real Estate Report - March 2018 Income

Real Estate Report – March 2018 Income

Rental Expenses

The expenses for March 2018 were low and consisted of the following:

  • Mortgage and loan payments; and,
  • Management fees.

Insurance payments are due again in April, no maintenance required this month either. Property taxes are coming in May. So not a whole lot of money disappeared  from the bank account in March.

We did get a bit of 2017 property tax back! We had gotten a wrong assessment and complained about it (about 12 months ago already). “They” thought we were right and gave some money back. Always nice and better late then never! Another positive note, the tax assessment for 2018 seemed right.

The expenses for the month are as follows:

Real Estate Report - February 2018 Expenses

Real Estate Report – February 2018 Expenses

Real Estate Report – Overview

The net rental and loan income for March was €3.082. The net cash-flow was a bit lower at €2.028. As noted earlier, we have a mortgage and we provided a private real estate investment loan that does not pay out the monthly interest (hence a lower net cash-flow). We will get this interest income once the loan matures in late 2020.

Total net YTD income is €8.030, net cash-flow is €4.873. Keep in mind that we will spend about €10.000 this summer on renovations, so this year will not be very lucrative investment wise! That being said, this should be the last large expense for the next decade or so. There will be small stuff, but no major work like this.

Real Estate Report - March 2018 Overview

Real Estate Report – March 2018 Overview

Real Estate Report – Forecast

Considering we are going on a long road trip later this month, we are no longer looking at new properties or other investments/renovation works. Everything that we needed to do is done, so we can go on holiday with a peaceful mind. We just need to hope that nothing strange happens, and if it does, it will be taken care of by the property manager.

 

How did you do in March?

I always like that a month-end wraps up in a weekend. All the time in the world to go through the various accounts and find out what the numbers are. Here is what our finances looked like: March 2018 Savings Rate and expenses.

March Finances

No cheesy top tip this month, other than keep steady and continue a winning battle with your finances. Albeit we did not win much this month. The car breaks almost seized (almost, figured it out on time fortunately), so a €180 repair bill here (which is dirt cheap!). The dishwasher broke earlier this month. After three weeks without having one, we finally got a new (used) one for only €100 last weekend. Works like a charm, hope it won’t turn out to be a “penny wise,  pound foolish” used buy. Time will tell! Oh, and we got our roof sorted, seems to work well. Happy with it so far!

Financial Overview

Here is the usual (short) financial overview for the month:

  • Mr. CF’s Salary + Mrs. CF’s Salary – High business expenses for Mrs CF = relatively low income. Mrs. CF has been rather busy and will wrap up her expenses this month (finally). Should get about €2.100 deposited in April.
  • The crowdfunding income was normal at just over €191 in deposits (combined interest and principle);
  • Living and healthcare category was very high at a combined €2.332. This includes costs for mortgage interest, insurance premiums, healthcare premiums and utilities. It also includes the €1.178 bill for the roof and the €100 dishwasher buy;
  • Grocery costs were about normal with €325 in expenses;
  • The transport costs were above average €405 spent. Expenses include fuel, insurance, road tax, ferry fees and works on the breaks;
  • The kid category was normal with €455. This month only included daycare expenses (including after-school care benefits). No other expenses this time around;
  • Travel and Leisure was €0/ Not sure what we did, but time flew by and we did not spent one €. We did have a few birthday parties that were “free” (no gifts required) and we did do a lot around the house; and,
  • The other category was about €222. Money was spend on the gym for Mrs. CF. Domain names for the new business for Mr CF. A new anti-virus/firewall/etc. program for the PC. A photobook for 2017 and some minor items.

March 2018 Savings Rate 

After the high comes the fall! Very much applicable for our savings rate this month. We dropped to a yearly low of …….33.6%! Ouch. The lower income (due to business expenses) and the various house maintenance items killed us this month. Better luck in April! The last month with two full incomes. Still, the YTD numbers are very reasonable.

Here are the stats:

March 2018 Savings Rate - Overview

March 2018 Savings Rate – Overview

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

March 2018 Savings Rate - Expenses

March 2018 Savings Rate – Expenses

Forecast Coming Months

As noted earlier, we will have our last full double income in April. We will also pay property taxes and leave in the second half of this month on holidays, so not sure where this will leave us. In May we will be on the road/holiday, we will have only one income at this point. June will be very interesting as we will virtually have no income at all (outside some Airbnb rental income from our house). We will still be travelling for 3/4 of the month.  In short, the savings rate will likely drop like a brick and become negative in June. Funny note: I don’t care one bit!

We might still get our taxes back before July, this could save us a bit on the savings rate front. Not sure when this money will actually arrive. As noted we have put our house on Airbnb, so might have some income to cover the housing expenses during May and June. So not all hope is lost 😉

July and August we will have high expenses due to some home renovation works and only one income. Plus, we might get a dog again by August or September. In short, the heat is on to make my side hustle actually work and bring some income. On the other hand, we are fine financially and have time to make this new life work. Very much looking forward to our new life 🙂

 

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

First off, thank you all for the well wishes on my post/tweets of quitting my job. The feedback, congratulations and tips/tricks for starting up a company are really appreciated! With all the excitement I almost forgot to write an update on the Cheesy Index (almost). So, before March is finally over, here is the February 2018 Cheesy Index.

February 2018 Cheesy Index

You might already have forgotten, but February was rather choppy in terms of the stock market. This had its impact on the value of our portfolio and wealth. To make matters worse, the exchange rates of the Canadian $ versus the € went into the wrong direction (again!). It’s not really a surprise that the Cheesy Index also did not really move much, heck it even went down! Albeit not by much, only 0.2%.

Here are the latest stats:

February 2018 Cheesy Index

February 2018 Cheesy Index

Cheesy Index Forecast

What to expect in the (near) future? Well we had our roof fixed (finally!), the final expenses where slightly under the quoted amount at about €1.180. A lot of money, but al least the final product is looking very good (and more importantly, it seems to work)! In the mean time we did see a slight decline in dividend stock portfolio, with another worsening of the exchange rate (how low can we go?).

On the bright side, Mrs CF got he annual bonus in March, real estate is still doing well and other than a broken car break (€180) and a broken dishwasher (still to be replaced), we had no major expense. There might be a slight chance that we are actually getting ahead again for March.

But once we go on our 9 week road trip in May/June and have the rental units insulated/stucco-ed in July, the Cheesy Index will definitely drop. The anticipated expense of the aforementioned are around €20.000. That is a heck of a lot of money! It will be spend wisely (at least we think so). But in the mean time, there will be a limited income (none for me and reduced income for Mrs. CF, as June will be partially unpaid for her too). Curious where we will end this summer in terms of the Cheesy Index.

However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel, as we will have one of the rental units assessed because of the sale to family. We have a sneaky suspicion that it might be worth more than we have accounted for. The other rental property next door would likely also be worth more. To be continued!

 

How about you? Did you go forwards or backwards?