The 5-year plan

During our Holiday in Belgium, we had a fair number of discussions about what we want to do in the coming years. As mentioned before, we differ greatly in the way we think about the future. A compromise is essential for us. The time during the holiday in April was a great way to work out some of our ideas into a plan: The 5-year plan!

Jobs/Work

Mrs. CF loves her Job, Mr. CF……. not so much. The plan going forward includes Mr. CF quitting his day-time job by the end of 2017.

The idea for Mr. CF is to start to hustle a bit (besides running the household and preparing for a Olympic distance triathlon in 2018). I’m really looking forward to do things I actually like doing! Lost my passion for the “normal” work already too long ago.

The 5-year plan - Work

The 5-year plan – Work
Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/should-i-work-free-well-duh-martin-aleta-curry

Activities that are being considered include:

  • Start to coaching and organize workshops on how to become financialy stable, financially independent and/or retire early;
  • Up the blogging with more case-study posts regarding real estate, B&B’s, starting a franchise, etc. I simply don’t have enough time to write more content posts at the moment, which I’m not happy with; and,
  • Dog walking. Our current house does not really allow for a dog or dogs. Dog walking is a perfect combo, playing with dogs, bit of exercise, no expenses and potentially even making money on the side. A clear win-win if you’d ask me!

Mrs. CF will continue to work, but likely reduces to part-time work (32 hours) as of 2018 or 2019. This depends a bit on how her team is doing. She’s training several people and it they do well, she should have the time to work less.

Investments

On the investment front there will be a couple (small) changes. Primarily driven by our investment preferences (cash-flow heavy portfolio) and available time. That being said, if an opportunity presents itself, we might deviate from the below:

The 5-year plan - Investments

The 5-year plan – Investments
Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/10-top-alternative-investments-you-probably-didnt-know-kirk-chisholm

  • Phase out of crowdfunding. This investment style is not for us. Albeit we like the cash-flow of the investment, the yield only has downward potential (to the point of negative yield!). This due to the risk of defaults in projects, which are not uncommon as many people have no idea how to properly run (or grow) a business. In about 4 years all (still successful) projects should have been completed and the account will be closed;
  • Keep investing in dividend growth stock and expand the portfolio to about 60-75 different companies (currently at about 45);
  • Increase the rental units from 5 now to 7-8 in the future. As we don’t know how the real estate market will develop, we either have to renovate and increase the units within our current property. Or alternatively, we have to sell two of our existing properties and buy a larger building with more 3 or more units. Time will tell which option it is going to be (perhaps even both!);
  • Index funds are probably one of the best and easiest investment methods out there, but they are boring! I don’t like boring, but I probably should. Unfortunately is not in my nature. We therefore might sell the index funds and use to increase our dividend stock holdings and/or real estate holdings. However, for now we will continue with this investment method as it is a good diversification of our portfolio and it is easy to liquidate too; and,
  • Options trading/day trading. I would like to expand this a bit more, perhaps up to about 10% of our investment portfolio. Why would we do this? Because it is fun and can be lucrative too! It might also be a way to generate some additional income to offset the loss of income from the day-time job.

Just to be clear, as long as Mrs. CF is still working we don’t mind a more active approach to investing. But once she’s also leaving the company when we are fully FI, the passive in “passive income” is going to become more critical.

The key here is to find a balance between cash-flow, passive, fun and yield. What that exact balance will be is subject to the stage in our lives and the time we have available. Our portfolio will therefore be re-balanced a few more times, but the key components will remain real estate and dividend growth stocks.

Housing

We bought our last house with a different approach than most people do. When we bought our current house we were not looking for our “dream home”. We were looking for an investment opportunity, and we found it! The plan is to move out in about 4-10 years (depends a bit on Miss CF and how our family is doing health wise) and redevelop the building to house 5-6 units (currently it has 4, including the main one we are using).

The plan is to move out of the region and move closer to where lots of our family is living. We are keeping our eyes open for a small house (75-100m2 / 800-1100sft) with a large yard (ideally 2.000m2 or more) to be able to generate our own food and potentially sell some on the side too. Now this is going to be a struggle as finding such specific properties in the western part of the Netherlands is hard. It’s the plot size that makes it difficult to find/affordable.

Vacations/Travel

For 2018 we are planning a 9 week road trip through Europe (southern Europe to be exact). The timing will be around April-June. Main reason is the costs (not peak season yet), weather (not too hot), and our daughter does not have to go to school mandatorily yet (starts at age 5 here in the Netherlands).

However, we are also considering an around the world trip. But with only 9 weeks of available time this might be a bit too ambitious. It certainly is possible, but we actually want to also enjoy our time and limit the amount of jetlag/”travel” time.

The 5-year plan - Holiday

The 5-year plan – Holiday
Source: http://weknowyourdreams.com/single/travel/travel-07

Another thing to consider is obviously cost. But this would be a “once in a life time” trip so spending some money on this is not a big problem.

A tentative itinerary could be something like this: Dubai, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, USA, Canada, Iceland. Most of our time would be spend in Australia and New Zealand.

In the near term we will do another holiday in September of this year, it will be something similar to our trip to Belgium (read: cheap, fun, close-by).

That being said, with the recent story on free castles in Italy, we might need to do a holiday there to do some research 🙂

From 2019 and onwards we are planning to have about 2 trips per year, primarily focusing on Europe. Once Miss CF gets a bit older and is able to really enjoy and remember the travels, we might expand our travels a bit further.

What about FIRE?

Well, this is really simple, we will still FIRE at some point but likely not in the timeframe we were initially envisaging (around 2023-2025). When our income drops substantially, the amount available to invest will also drop. It’s only to be seen how much can be offset with hustling by Mr. CF. it’s likely nowhere near the amount I’m earning now.

But that is fine, we rather both enjoy what we do on a day to day basis, then make the sprint to FI. Especially because I’ve been going work for years that I don’t really get any satisfaction out of. I really don’t what to continue this for another 5+ years!

That being said, you could also consider this as partial FI. As we do already have sufficient assets to offset more than 60% of what we spend (and plan to spend once FI). In line with this recent post by the financial freedom sloth, working part-time in combination with a stash is also a good way to enjoy more time now. Another benefit is the social interaction at work and perhaps even some fun experiences from less conventional/seasonal type work.

Do you ever think about your future? Do you have a “5-year plan”? What do you think about our musings?

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38 comments

  1. Nice to read your plan, and a lot going on. Definitely well thought out. However I do wonder, how did you find and buy an apartment building with 4 units where you can live in one yourself? I read about this all the time in American blogs, but how did you do that here in NL? I thought banks weren’t too happy giving you a mortgage if you plan to rent out parts of the property, plus the other way around most investor’s mortgages don’t allow you to live in the property? I’m curious to know, because I feel this makes it possible to live pretty cheap (tenants paying the entire mortgage) and accelerate the path to FI.

    1. If you have one building, with multiple living units (each with their own WOZ assessment/front door), you can buy the property with multiple mortgages. In that case you can use the investment mortgage for those you don’t use yourself and a regular mortgage for the one that you do. Alternatively, and I don’t recommend doing this, your can just get a normal residential mortgage and don’t tell the mortgage provider you are renting out the units. You probably get away with this as long as you keep paying the mortgage every month.
      Another options is to buy something large and split into units to rent out (same issue with mortgage provide of course, need to get approval; or start with an investment mortgage from day one). This might take more time and efforts, especially since municipal approval is required.
      So there are several ways to do it, and all depend on the type of property and willingness of lenders/government to help. It’s a puzzle for sure!

  2. That is a wonderful goal Mr CF – helping others achieve financial security is great and I can imagine that would be very fulfilling and wouldn’t really feel like a job at all – it would just feel like talking about your passion.

    We have been having similarly big plan thoughts (post coming soon 🙂 ). I think you have to do what makes you happy, as long as it isn’t illogical financially wise (ie you putting yourself in a worse position, which you wouldn’t if you make a success of it). You’re living your life right now right? Not just when you hit FI. Why not go part-FI, REALLY love it and enjoy life all the way to FI. Plus, if you save a little harder you won’t even notice the difference, maybe?

    Either way, good luck. Australia and New Zealand sound like great places to visit, I can tell you that!

    Mr DDU

    1. So true! It is really fortunate that Mrs. CF loves here job, give me the opportunity to play around a bit without having to worry about the finances. There is also another upside, little Miss CF will go to school by year end so daycare/after school care will disappear as I will be home. This alone would save about €12.000 per year.

  3. Daring plan but a sound plan as well. Good for you that you decide to quit being in a job that makes you miserable.

    I’m very interested in how your side hustles are going to work out for you. I’m also looking at something of a consulting gig for extra side income to use for investing (not investing related). Please let me know if I can help you out with your sidegig(s). If you have a new site coming up I can assist in alittle SEO stuff and have a place where you can be featured on the frontpage to get some exposure.

  4. Nice insight in your plans! Very good idea to live in the moment and stop working in such an unfulfilling job. I am sure you will hustle your way from partial FIRE to full FIRE, enjoying the challenges on the trip!

    1. That combo would be really sweet (or sweaty, pretty humid….). Been to Maui and Hawaii so far, Kuaui is actually the next one on the list. Good hiking!

  5. Great site and plans.
    My partner and myself live debtfree in the Netherlands and Italy. And happy with it.
    You mentioned some oportunities in Italy you might want to check.
    Like they say : Be ware of Greeks bringing gifts.
    In case you come to Italy you are very welcome to stay with us. Of we can meet in NL.
    We might swap information. We know a lot about living in Italy, houses and renovating a house in Italy. You know a lot about FI and making real estate work for you.
    Send us a private mail.
    Ciao en groet,
    Hanrico

    1. Hello Hanrico,
      Thanks for the note! I’m one of these crazy folks that would actually give the idea of renovating a Castle a go and would move to Italy. Mrs CF on the other hand is more bound this country. Don’t see it happening soon. But if/when I can convince her, you’d be the first people I’ll send and email!
      Talking about meeting, want to join us on the 17th of June? Would love to have you over.
      P.s. nice plan you have!

  6. Cool insight in your plans!

    I’m not a fan of the crowdfunding either. There might be some winners but eventually someone will fuck up, erasing most of your other earnings…

    Love the travel plans!!

    1. I’m actually most excited about the travel plans and the new side hustles. Really curious if I can make money by starting from nothing. Love the challenge!
      Cheers mate, see you soon.

  7. Nice that you are in the position financially to leave your job and still be fine. I’m not one for crowdfunding either so putting that money to better passive use would help. Dividends/ funds are the way to go for truly passive income. Rentals are big for cash flow as long as you can keep tenants in the house. That is subject to change. But as long as you keep everything diversified and monitor spending/ savings, you will be fine. Good 5 year plan.

    1. The rental’s we have are surprisingly passive actually. And the work that we do ourselves I actually enjoy, double win 🙂 If you want to make it truly passive you just get contractors in.
      Glad to see we are not the only ones not liking crowdfunding. Fortunately we only have about 2.4% in crowdfunding and it is going down rapidly. Don’t need to do much, other than reinvest it into other assets.
      Thanks for the comments DD, appreciate the feedback.

  8. You both have side income already, just need to double it. I think you can achieve this way before the 5 years mark. I’d say as long as Mrs.C loves working, you’re in great shape!

    As for us, even when all the numbers are favoring right now, we don’t have universal healthcare. With the GOP is threatening to take pre-existence coverage off of ObamaCare, insurance company will deny us coverage. Mr.W has a chronic health problem, I just don’t want us to pre-maturely call it quit without adequate insurance. I can’t go from middle class, to poverty due to healthcare bill. That’s why I’m still working, to buy that extra leverage.

    1. Perhaps you are right, we might be able to double it in 5 years (would really be impressive if we did…).
      Best of luck with you healthcare issues and challenges!

  9. If you stop having a job, are you not automatically transitioning into semi-retirement already? Of course you’re still dependent on working for money, but if the true goal is happiness and FI is just a way to get there…

    Interesting plans you guys got! Very curious how everything will work out and how you experience it all. And respect that you’re getting ready to make that jump. Best of luck!

    1. You have no idea how I’m looking forward to quite my job in about 6 months. So many ideas that I’d like to try. If all fails, I’ll just get another job and work our way to complete FIRE. Flexibility is really key if you want to be happy in life (albeit some money will make it easier!).
      Thanks for the best wishes.

  10. Wow, very structured, but also good to see you’re happy to change direction. Hope you’ll spend more time on blogging because we’re learning a lot from you on our own road to FIRE. Definitely come to ANZ, we’ve been down under for 2 years now and are loving it! No plans for a 2nd MissCF in the coming 5 years then? 🙂

    1. Eh no, no second Miss CF. One is fine for us. She is a handfull anyways. And thank you for the compliment!
      We will end up in ANZ at some point, be cool to meetup with some folks that try to (or are) FIRE downunder during a trip 🙂

  11. Looks like you really thought it through; well detailed plan! How would you do the consulting part? Via a BV?
    It’s good to see that even though you guys haven’t reached FIRE yet, you already have so much flexibility and you don’t have to do something you don’t like, just because of the money.

    1. Now this is something we have been thinking about, but not made the decision yet (to incorporate or not). From a legal perspective it might not be a bad idea, especially when found liable!There is lots of money to be found in our household……Perhaps a future post on this. Need to do some digging

  12. Go for it! Honestly with the cashflow from your rentals I was thinking for some time already that one off you at least could quit … This being said, working a few months in 2018 might be more interesting tax wise? I do not know the Dutch tax system but best check it out .. That one, two or three months in 2018 could be your best paid ever!

    For the big garden, I must warn you. Big garden = lots of work to maintain. 2.700 square meters here and each year we give the pigs a bit more area so I do not have to do the maintenance! But once you have animals to take care of, travel plans become more difficult …

    For the real estate, I can see the benefits of having a bigger property with more units but perhaps go 50/50 with another person on the FI journey and avoid having to sell the two properties you already own?
    I think 9 weeks is too short for world trip. Friends of us did a 9 weeks trip in Asia alone and said they could have used more time so world trip, better do that when you have no time constraints … Slow travel is also much cheaper than the fast route.

    1. Don’t think I need any paid work for 2018 from a tax perspective, but you do strike a good point. Do need to check the tax implications (if any) for 2018.
      Every heard of permaculture? Engineering your yard for maximum yield but minimum work? Completely up your alley! We plan to do some of this with the yard, but this will take about 5-10 years before fully implemented.
      Thanks for the comments! Food for thought.

  13. You covered a lot of territory there!

    I can relate to many things that you touch on.

    The more shallow ascent toward FI in order to improve the quality of the journey. For me, NL and the Nordics, where I have direct experience living and working, have comparatively sustainable work/life situations, so the press for FI isn’t as severe as in other parts of the world.

    I agree about index investing being boring. I’d add to this that it lacks sophistication, and I can’t reconcile the idea that the best way to become and remain FI is by this vehicle and ultra-low safe-withdrawal rates. At it’s most simple, there must be ways to avoid needing to go over the cliff with all the other lemmings when a big correction hits. If you can do that then your long term rate-of-return will go up. Even if by a small amount then you can start hacking the 4-, no 3-, no 2.5% rule.

    By trading options you’re learning a whole new paradigm of money management and psychology. The latter being by far the most difficult to master. Expectancy, losing streaks, risk-of-ruin. It’s not co-incidence that the terminology of traders is like gamblers. It’s good that you’re limiting the amount you speculate with to 10%. Your 10,000 hours/10 years to proficiency starts now 😉

    1. Agree, most of Europe does lend itself rather well for a smoother transition into FI.
      As to the 10 years/10.000 hours. Definitely not there yet, bit more practise required 🙂

  14. Wonderful! You are not postponing your happiness for another 5 years by staying in a job without fulfillment! I am sure you will be good at hustling and you’ll enjoy it!

    1. I’m very curious how the hustling is going to work out, not really the entrepreneurial type. But perhaps I might be good at it? how knows! In the worst case I’ll get a normal job again and still work my way to FIRE. There are so many options out there, you just got to be flexible. But who am I kidding, you already know this and are way ahead of me!

  15. That is a great plan MR CF… I like that you use the term partial FI… That is exactly what I plan to do as well (and wrote about in today’s post)

    Kudos that you dare to jump. You have build a great cash flow generating portfolio in real estate and dividends. I do see the power when it is a style that fits your needs.

    The equivalent for us would be to work partially so that we can reach a cash flow neutral life (A 0%SR) and have the stash grow until we are FI or beyond.

    I look forward to your trip stories and images. And feel free to come and visit our house/city next time you come to Belgium. I know a good place to taste some special beers!

    1. What can I say, I have a good role model 😉
      We will take you up on the visit to Belgium. Now got to read your post of today….did not have time for that yet.

  16. Very, very nice plans Mr. CF!

    On this moment on vacation shaping the 1 to 2 year plan. Did this kind of planning last vacation for the first time and I’m content with the results. It seems that more and more FIRE addepts (FFS and you) trying to go semi-FIRE already and hussling with day trading, workshops etc. digital nomad style. Very inquisitive about the discussion on 17/6

    1. Think you are missing the point, there is no “change” in jobs. There is no more job, period. The side income (if any) is a bonus. See it as a hobby that you perhaps get a little bit of money for. It pretty much boils down to getting to FIRE on one income. We will still reach FI, it is just going to take a lot longer. But we will have much more time on our hands. It’s the trade off: time now vs time later.

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