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?


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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?

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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!





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We have a “guest” post today! Mrs. CF decided it was time to step up her game! She was asking herself the question: are we getting HOT? Or perhaps better “HOT-er”? H.O.T. stands for Happy, Opportunity rich, Time rich. This is what she was thinking.

Are We Getting HOT?

You all know Mr. CF as a person who can’t wait to be FIRE. He keeps a monthly score of everything in Excel, so that he knows exactly where we are in achieving this goal. He sometimes curses the day that he became aware of the whole FIRE movement, as he would rather be RE yesterday than today. So when we finally (!) picked a date that he would quit his job and start enjoying being RE something interesting happened.

Are We Getting HOT?

Are We Getting HOT?

What Was Happening?

I really thought this plan through. I gave him two options for a resignation date. I thought of goals that he needed to achieve and I even gave him a way out. If not-working isn’t his thing, he could always start working again in two to three years time. At that time, I have to opportunity to start working part-time and/or work more from home.

So what happened, you might ask yourself. Well I will tell you: he was looking for a job. Seriously?! I was thinking it was just a little phase. But then he already talked to two different potential companies in the last month! I asked him the question: why? Mr. CF couldn’t really come up with an answer. So even a person like Mr. CF, from whom you least except it, is living with a stigma that not working is just plain “wrong”.

It Just Isn’t Fair

Mr. CF’s biggest excuse of staying with his job (or finding a new one) is that he doesn’t think it is fair against myself, Mrs. CF. We haven’t reached our Cheesy Index goal, which means that currently only one of us is technically FI. But, he is forgetting two important things when making that conclusion.

The first thing is: I love my job! Mr. CF knows this but apparently this is not persuading him to stop looking for jobs.

The second item he is forgetting is the following. Half a year after we started the journey to become FI (over three years ago) he asked me what I wanted to do when we turned FI. To be honest, I didn’t know! It is not the sort of thing I had already thought about in detail at that time. However, I have also asked this question to Mr. CF in the past three years on several occasions with always the same answer: I will figure that out when I am FI (Mr. CF: hey, I’m being flexible!).

But for me, these goals have now become clearer. With Mr. CF quitting his job, we will actually accomplish 2 of my top goals and it perhaps brings us closer to a third goal that I have. Are we Getting HOT?

HOT and FIRE Goals

Most people have goals or make plans to travel to faraway countries or just golf all day when they are FIRE. Not me, Mrs. CF needs to do things differently, I need to be HOT!

The two main goals that Mr. CF will help me accomplish, after he quits his job, have to do with family. As a parent, being there when Miss CF comes home from school, is important to me. I want one of us to ask Miss CF how her day was, sit down with her to have something to drink and help her with homework. I want a strong relationship with our daughter. It would also be possible again to have family meals more than twice a week in the weekend (Mr. CF: our work schedules and avoiding traffic jams are hard to combine unfortunately).

Because Mr. CF will run the household, we would have much more free time in the weekends (and perhaps even some days during the week). This gives me, for example, more time to spend at my nephews and nieces birthday parties. Or take them out somewhere fun, to build better relationships with my family. I would love that! This for me is HOT!

Goal Nr 3: The Move

Ideally I would also like to move closer to my family. Mr. CF doesn’t always agree with this idea (Mr. CF: moving  to one of the most expensive areas of the Netherlands that is! And I prefer Thailand…..). We are still debating and figuring out how we would do this, but there are a few options that we are considering that might not break the bank. However, it would not give us all the options that we would like during FIRE, such as a big yard to grow more of our own food. But you can’t win them all! Becoming HOT is finding a balance.

Yes, I know, these goals/plans “may be cheesy”, but they are my own. Everybody is different and these are important to me. If Mr. CF wouldn’t stop working, I would have probably started to work part-time sooner. But now, I don’t have to! For me it’s the best of both worlds.


How about you, do you have different priorities than you spouse during (and before ) FIRE? How do you deal with this? How are you compromising skills?


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Another yearly overview? Yup, I’m afraid so. You may run away screaming if you want. However, I like statistics and watching data sets develop. So no wonder I actually like making this post. Here is a quick review of the blog statistics and revenue for 2017.

Blog Statistics and Revenue

As noted in this earlier blog post, we don’t have Google Analytics setup for this blog. I’m very lazy and use what is readily available to me, so I use the AWStats data (measured at the server) to figure what’s happening. It appears to be a slight overestimate of what happened in reality (see also explanation in the previous link).

Since we changed the site in early May of 2017 to have a secure SSL (https://) connection, blog traffic data is split into a secured and a non-secured connection set. Therefore the two graphs below:

  • Graph 1 show traffic via non-secured connections
  • Graph 2 shows traffic via a secured connection
Blog Statistics and Revenue - Non-secured Blog Stats

Blog Statistics and Revenue – Non-secured Blog Stats

Blog Statistics and Revenue - Secured Blog Stats

Blog Statistics and Revenue – Secured Blog Stats

If any of you know how to interpret the combined stats, please let me know! I don’t have enough knowledge to properly state if this data has overlap in terms of visitors/visits. I recon it does, but don’t know to what extent.

For sake of convenience, let’s assume it doesn’t. In that case we would have had a total of 577.525 page views in 2017. I find that a lot! Based on the secured connection data, we now regularly exceed 50.000 page views and have around 6.000-8.000 unique visitors per month. Not bad for this little “labor of love”, don’t you think?

Best Posts of 2017

Based on combined numbers for secured and non-secured sites, the following 10 posts were most popular in terms of page views:

But you guys also really like the following pages:

Blog Revenue (or Lack Thereof)

Now it get’s juicy….. neah, not really. Total revenue from our friends from Google was €64.5. Which does not even cover hosting and domain fees. Which are now about €82 (€6/month hosting en €10 per year domain name registration). Had to up the hosting package in early 2017 due to the volume of traffic. Was hitting the previous hosting package limits and it was affecting the blog load speed.

I had started with the affiliate program, but did not make this into a priority to set this up properly. No money here either.

There is one other item that potentially brought in some money, which was the referral link to the Combicoin. I say “potentially”, as we won’t be able to sell before February 8. A lot can happen between now and then. About 6 people apparently used the link, which provide us with about 1 more Combicoin token (current value at time of writing $42.77 = ~€35). Thank you for using that link, I hope it makes you and us some money!


If you have a blog, how did you do in 2017? Any comments on our stats? Suggestions?

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A couple of days ago I wrote my draft resignation letter. For those of you that have been paying attention, you know I don’t like what I do. I’ve been trying to shake things up with multiple career switches. But apparently didn’t shake this up hard enough….

I Wrote My Resignation Letter

It is time to take the plunge. It’s time to try the biggest shake up I’ve done in my working life: stop working. I’ve talked about my work ethics before and my lack of motivation, and it’s (finally….. according to Mrs. CF) gotten to the point I don’t want to continue. It simply does not feel right. It’s simply not worth it anymore (not even financially!). It’s time for a change.

I wrote my resignation letter - I Quit

I wrote my resignation letter – I Quit


There will be a lot of change once I quit and on the other side, not much is going to change. Huh? Allow me to elaborate a bit. On the changes front, I’m going to try to be multiple things at the same time:

  • part-time stay-at-home dad (Miss CF goes to school and will go to after-school care for one or two days per week);
  • being a contractor (for our own house to both upgrade and rebuild into two rental units – multi year plan!);
  • entrepreneur (starting my own little side business, fingers crossed & wish me luck!); and,
  • work out more (a lot more! Still want to try an Olympic distance triathlon at some point).

Keep It Steady

But there are also lots of things that won’t really change. Some of the key things that came to mind:

  • we will still try to work out ways to become FIRE (it will just take a bit longer);
  • I’ll continue to blog (perhaps even up the frequency, subject to how the above items will develop); and,
  • the way we live life won’t change either. The way we cook, do holidays (except for the major upcoming one) and how we spend our leisure time are expected to continue unchanged. In short, our expense should not really change much, they should in fact go down a bit due to lower after school care expenses.


So when is all of this supposed to happen, I hear you ask. The plan is to hand in the resignation letter somewhere in March. Considering we already arranged time off for April-June, and a replacement will be arranged at work, the timing will be right before we take off. Should be smooth sailing for the guys at work anyways.

Why then and not now? We are low on cash and need money for the long trip, upcoming renovation works at two of our properties and a general buffer. By having paid work until April, we should be in a good position. This also will mean that my life as an unemployed (but not early retired yet) will commence late June.

Am I mad?  No idea, but I’m sure looking forward to it!


Ideas? Suggestions? Comments?

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I like satire and sarcasm, I also like finance (you had not noticed I assume). But when you combine the two, I have a real blast. I love financial satire!

In the Netherlands there is a website called “De Speld” (translated: “the needle”). It’s the Dutch version of “The Union” (a US satirical news site). Their posts are generally clever, funny (sometime hilarious) and revolve around current news items.

Financial Satire

When I was browsing the web yesterday, I stumbled upon a new article in “De Speld”. It’s an instant winner in my mind, but it’s written in Dutch of course. Below is the freely translated version for your amusement.

Financial Satire - Bitcoin

Financial Satire – Bitcoin

Staying Rich Quick? Don’t Invest into Bitcoins.

Jasper put all his savings not in Bitcoins, and still has all of his money.

19 January 2018 by

Staying rich quick is no longer a dream. Since the market of cryptocurrencies collapsed more people don’t invest into Bitcoins to stay rich.

We spoke with Jasper van Baasbank. He didn’t invest 5000 euros into Bitcoins and still has that 5000 euros.

When a friend of mine told me about cryptocurrencies, I started to investigate the opportunity. I quickly discovered that not converting my money into Bitcoins would be a great and easy way to keep my hard earned cash. I also didn’t invest into Ethereum and ripple, that’s now also paying off handsomely.

Still, Jasper is not only driven by a desire to keep his money.

I’m staying away from the Bitcoins because I sincerely do not believe it works. I’m sure that dubious golden coins won’t be the currencies of the future. Mark my words: in a couple of years people still don’t pay with golden coins.

Original Post

The original post can be found here (in Dutch only). All credits go to the folks from “De Speld”.

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Our television decided to partially die, how does a television partially die? No idea, but it sometimes works, and sometimes it doesn’t. We even brought it to a repair guy, but he could not figure out what was wrong with the bloody thing. It refused to die in his repair shop, whereas it had no problems doing it at our house. The fight continues with the partially died television…….


Yes, we still have (a partially operational) television. But we dumped cable back in early 2009. We had cable in the Netherlands, so after arriving in Canada we tried cable for a short while too. However we got so fed up by the amount of commercials we got rid of it as soon as possible. Yes, commercials are annoying in the Netherlands, but Canada and US have brought annoying to a whole new level!


Netflix had just started in Canada in late 2010, so we gave that a try. Almost 7 years later and we still have Netflix. The relatively small monthly fee was worth it in terms of not having annoying commercials and a good selection.

Lately though we have been debating to also drop Netflix, especially now that the TV is also on it’s way out to the dodo’s. But we have not pulled the trigger yet. Miss CF does like to watch the occasional cartoons. Netflix is a far better option than using YouTube. No junk, no commercials but fewer options (so she gets bored an stops watching!!).

Television - Netflix

Television – Netflix

How Much?

How much television do we watch? Probably too much, but we primarily watch documentaries and movies. We occasionally watch a few series, but not nearly as much as we used to (no time, something with kids…). We don’t watch news, talk shows or sports (we rather DO sports). However, we are suckers for shows about real estate……(Grand Designs is awesome!).

Because the TV really didn’t want to turn on for more than 5 min, we were prevented from watching television for most of the month of December. In the beginning we didn’t mind too much, and even debated to ditch the television (and associated equipment/media) completely. However, by week 3 we started to miss it. We really enjoy watching movies and documentaries. It’s just great (low cost!) entertainment and gives you time to relax a bit. So be brought the TV in for repairs (which failed miserably as noted earlier).

The Old Television

We bought our current television back in 2007. At that time the whole concept of FIRE didn’t really exist for us. We were generally frugal, but had a lapse in judgement with this one…. I had been working internationally and was earning some very good money. As I have always been into watching movies, I wanted a big screen TV. We ended up buying a 46” LCD television, a Sony Bravia with glass and aluminum rim (very nice model). For that time it was huge and very expensive. We paid about €3.200 for it, ridiculous! As this television is now pretty much written off completely, the yearly depreciation costs are about €320…ouch.

Television - Sony Bravia 46X2000

Television – Sony Bravia 46X2000

A New Television?

So the hunt is on for a new television. But considering we have not been looking at new televisions for about a decade (ours was working fine till now, so had no desire to look around), it’s interesting. We actually found out we are a bunch of dinosaurs! We still have a VCR recorder (1998), a DVD player (2001) and a PS3 (2012 – Free!), neither of which is used regularly (and a vinyl jukebox and record player – perhaps we are fossils?!). Guess we still have all this because of sentimental reasons. The minimalist in us is still losing this battle.

But this begs the question, what does the new television need to adhere to in terms of specs? Are we going to look for SCART hookups? Or are we going to solely go for HDMI? How big do we want the screen to be? What screen resolution would we like? How much money do we want to spend on a new one? Heck, what do you pay for one these days? We had no idea!

After some digging around we noticed that TV’s are a lot less expensive then they used to be. LCD and Plasma TV’s pretty much disappeared and are replaced with LED TV’s. These are also a lot more energy efficient too. Our energy use would go down by about 60-80% depending on model and size, compared to what we use now. That’s a lot! Then again, the amount of energy it takes to make one is insane too. No TV is definitely better 😉


We still have not bought a new TV, the old one seems to hang in there for now (it miraculously started to work again, has not turned off in two weeks now???). If we buy something new (eventually), it will likely be a smaller model between 32” and 40”.  We will likely stick to HD and not 4k in terms of resolution. Reason is simple, older movies look extremely fake on high resolution TV’s, which takes some of the fun out of it for me. HD TV’s are also cheaper, so two reasons to keep it simple(r).

It will likely still come with a SCART connection (not yet ready to ditch the DVD collection, call us weak if you will) and will not cost more than €300-350. About what we paid per year for our first big flat-screen television!

Oh, we did check out second hand stores and ebay/marktplaats/kijiji/etc., but the prices for a used ones are the same as for a new one. People have not realized their used TV’s are not worth more than about €50-100. So this option is out for financial reasons (environmentally it would be smarter move thou….).


What’s up with your Telly? Still have one?

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Hi, I’m Cheesy Finance and I’m NOT an alcoholic. If you look at “our” twitter feed (ok, it’s just mine) you’d think differently. But really, I’m not an alcoholic, I just like beer 🙂 Or am I now in denial, really can’t tell.

We really love beer - we really do

We really love beer – we really do

Hi, I’m Cheesy Finance and I’m NOT an alcoholic

Yes, I really do like beer. But in 2017 I made the decision to only damage my body with alcohol if it is actually worth it. In short, no more cheap beer or “regular” stuff. Taste matters, quality matters, really good beer matters.

To prove my point, see below for several exhibits on me not being an alcoholic, but a genuine beer lover.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Exhibit C (Ok, this might be the right one……what was I saying about being a non-alcoholic again… Oh right 0% beer, see alcohol is bad for the memory 😉 )

Exhibit D

Money and Beer

Beer is cheap, good beer not so much. Some people are not going to agree on this, but you could also considering drinking less beer, good beer that is. Most good beer has a lot of alcohol in it anyways, it’s much heavier and really deserves to be enjoyed slowly. That’s what I’m doing, I drink good beer, just not a whole lot of it, no really.

Where to get your beer and when? I’ve noticed that around year end many beers go on sale, so stocking up is always a good option. That is obviously what I have been doing over the Christmas break. Should have enough to last me a few months. Most of my beer is coming from the supermarket at this stage, I’ll move into the specialty stores when I’m out of new options. I’ve already been scouting 😉

Twitter and Beer

A special thanks goes out to my fellow non-alcoholics, aka beer lovers and (former) beer brewers!. Folks, please keep the inspiration coming and the beers flowing! One special thanks goes out to  Waffles on Wednesday: the #drunkonfire mastermind! Make sure to visit and please add some good stuff yourself too!

Roadmap2Retire is also good at joining the party!

My fellow countrywoman and former beer brewer is also truly inspirational

And Carl, what’s to say about Mr. 1500 himself?


Gosh, I’m thirsty now! Might need to get myself a beer.



What is your favorite beer and what is your financial strategy for your beer collection?

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Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and all the best wishes for 2018. We hope that your 2017 was awesome for you (and your family) and that you can continue this trend in 2018.

We also wanted to thank all of our readers for the support and feedback we have received over the past year. It’s been very rewarding to have been able to make this FIRE journey with you al, both online and in person. We hope that we are able to meet many of you in real life at some point (perhaps already in 2018?). On that note, looking forward to next Saturday for some stroopwafels, cheese and beer. Until that time, enjoy the food, fun, family and friends!

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

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We thought we had bought our first bond a couple weeks ago. But after some digging this turned out to not be (completely) true. The Dutch term for the product we bought is an “obligatielening”. An “obligatie” is a bond.  A “lening” is a loan. So what did we get, a bond or a loan? Either way, we did some ethical investing!

Sustainable Bonds vs. Loans

When I started to write this post I did not have much knowledge about bonds. Why not, because we don’t own any. Why don’t we own any, because the return on investment is usually too low for us. We are happy to take on more risk and in return have the chance of a higher reward. We have time on our hands, so let’s use that. That is why we are primarily invested into dividend stocks, index funds and real estate.

But what is a bond? The picture below gives a nice simple overview of the difference between a bond and a loan.

Sustainable Loans - Bonds vs Loans

Sustainable Loans – Bonds vs Loans

Reading the prospectus of the financial product we were invested in, it appears that it is transferable (with limits), but it won’t be traded on any financial market. In short, it looks to be more like a loan than a real bond. For those interested, there are various sustainable bonds out there in the market. The post give you some examples.

Sustainable Investment Loans/Bonds

All this talk about FIRE and Investment Ethics a couple weeks ago, and than this came by (Karma anyone?). Our energy provider is one of the more sustainable in the Netherlands, and they regularly come up with sustainable projects to invest in. If we can make a (small) environmental difference and invest some money at the same time, we might be interested! It all depends on the project specifics and the projected return on investment.

A couple of weeks ago we purchased 8 “wind” participations  (€55 each) with our energy provider. They will be using the proceeds to construct a new wind turbine. These wind participations will “generate” a minimum guaranteed 250kWh each for the next 5 year. The power production is taken from our usage and if we use less then we get the difference paid out. Return on investment is up to about 5% per year on average, not too bad eh? And we now know that every kWh we use will be sustainably produced. Nice win-win here.

Anyhow, what about that other investment we were looking at? This sustainable energy project involved the placement of close to 9.000 solar panels on the top of the Nissan production facility at the Port of Amsterdam. For this investment, they needed money. Part of this money is collected via a crowdfunding platform dedicated to sustainable energy projects. The remainder is financed by a “green projects” funds from a Dutch Bank (ASN Bank for those interested).

Sustainable Loans - Solar Panels

Sustainable Loans – Solar Panels
Source: REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

We looked that terms, the return on investment and decided to invest a total of €1.000 into this project for the next 15 years. Making this the first sustainable loan (not bond!) we own (or the second? technically the earlier mentioned wind participations are a loan too).

Return on Investment

Now, because this is an investment into solar power, the return on investment will fluctuate. This is the result of environmental factors (power production) and economic factors (electricity price, system performance/maintenance). Based on the provided summary and prospectus this is what we can expect (we get a “bonus rate” because we are also a client of the energy provider associated with this project).

Sustainable Loans - Return on Investment

Sustainable Loans – Return on Investment

In short, is the electricity price stays about the same at round €0.058 per kWh (the core energy price before taxes) and we have an average amount of sunshine, we should get about 4.2% over a 15 year period. That’s not bad actually. “Worst case” (low sunshine hours and low energy price) we still make 3.4%. For a sustainable project, this is pretty good! Most sustainable projects make a whole lot less (there are a few notable exceptions).

However, there are more risks, like default of the main user (Nissan) or solar operator, storm of fire damage, equipment malfunction, etc. All of this will result in risks to the project, and in lesser amount to you as the loan provider. Insurance is included for the project, but I could not quickly find it production losses are included here as well. As with ANY investment, there are risks.

Process and Maturity

What are the next steps. Well the crowdfunding project raised over €0.5M within a couple of days. That’s impressive! We also already transferred the funds. The plan for the future is as follows.

Sustainable Loans - Time Sequence

Sustainable Loans – Time Sequence

In short, the construction of the solar project will commence on February 2018 (funds will formally be transferred too). First power production is scheduled for late April 2018. The first (combined) interest payment is scheduled for July 21, 2019. Then we get paid every year around February 22 and we receive the original deposit back in early 2033.


Do you own bonds (the real deal!)? Or do you also have invested some of your money into sustainable projects? How well is that going?

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The journey to FIRE is horrible, no really! All the choices, things you have to discover and find out. it takes an enormous amount of time and what do you get in return, money. Lovely….

The Journey to FIRE is Horrible

I remember it as if it was yesterday, the day I discovered the principles of FIRE. Thank you ERE, and that guy with a Mustache, for making my life overly complicated and difficult. Ever since that one day in the summer of 2014 our lives have revolved around the journey to FIRE, and it has been a emotional disaster.

The journey to FIRE is horrible - Horrible Day

The journey to FIRE is horrible – Horrible Day


When you first find one of those so-called FIRE blogs your brain starts to process this new information. In most cases one of these light bulbs turns on and you become enlightened, whatever that might be. Suddenly you find yourself craving for more of these blogs, and books, and podcasts, heck even meeting up with others who have the same interest. It’s all just such a waste of time, time you could be spending on spending money! Or watching TV or any other way of not making yourself useful. Think of all the reductions in wasting time, it’s horrible.


Apparently the major thing you need to do on the road to FIRE is spent as little as possible. Something to do with a high savings rate and the ability to shorten this horrible journey. OK, so no more sports cars, exotic all-inclusive 5 star holidays and no new fancy label cloths. Where’s the fun in that? You only live once! Why on earth do you want more money? An empty wallet is just so much less confusing, no opportunities to spend money at all! Now that is a stress free life if you’d ask me.

The journey to FIRE is horrible - AAAAHHHH

The journey to FIRE is horrible – AAAAHHHH


Since you suddenly have money to spare, there seems to be this thing about making money with money. Right, as if money can duplicate itself? Ever seen mating euros or dollars? Thought so.

But you start looking at investments anyways (despite knowing better), and then you find out that there are so many! First there are these things called stocks, that seem to just go up over time, albeit with the occasional hiccup. But there are so many, it’s like trying to figure out which candy is the best? Just buy the bloody candy store!

Then there are those wooden and concrete boxes that you live in. There are entire movements of people spending money on these and then not live in them? What’s the point? No, they let other people live in those boxes, who even pay for this! Strange world.

Then there are those companies that pay you money regularly, just for being an owner of the place. Shouldn’t they just spend that money on Christmas bonuses for their worker bees? But no, that would make too much sense, wouldn’t it.

Just the sheer volume of options gives me stress. Heck, Options give me stress. Investments, they are really bad for you health, seriously!

Personal Development

Once you have finally overcome the many doses of Prozac and other stress mitigating drugs, there is this thing called personal development. For Pete’s sake, does this FIRE journey never end? Now I suddenly have to figure out what I’m going to do with all this money, sorry, I mean time. Time is money, so money must mean time? I’m confused.

Ok, so you suddenly have time. Since you apparently are no longer allowed to waste time (or was it money?),  you have to think of ways to make  yourself useful. Right, so I’m finally of the Prozac and I again get too many options what to do with my life. This thing just never ends, does it? It’s just one long and tiring emotional rollercoaster, without seatbelts and many loops. The journey to FIRE is horrible, period! Don’t recommend doing any of this nonsense.


End Rant 😉


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This is a bit of a bonus post and something that I don’t do often. Actually, I’ve never done this before! Today a quick book review: financial freedom, conversations with people how don’t have to work anymore.

Book Review: Financial Freedom

For those people who know me, I don’t read books. I’m too much a millennial with focusing issues. I can read articles and short pieces (blog posts included), but I get bored when I read a book. I don’t seem to be able to sit still long enough to focus. Going to University was a challenge from this perspective :-).

So to be brutally honest, I did not completely read this book either, but I did read several of the chapters and scanned through most of the rest (all 122 pages of it).

Book Review - Financial Freedom

Book Review – Financial Freedom: conversations with people who don’t have to work anymore

The book consists of two “parts”. The first half is related to some of the practical and emotional aspects of FIRE. Including the more philosophical questions of the drivers behind FIRE. It’s definitely NOT a self-help book in “how to get invest to get to FIRE”. However, it does provide the basics in terms of savings and investing.

The second part of the book is showcasing several different interviews with people who are FIRE. How they got there, why they did it and how they are doing. Due to the variety it’s really quite interesting. I’ve actually enjoyed this part of the book the most. It’s been inspiring and given some nice insights into others that are bit ahead of us in terms of this “I don’t need to work anymore” thing.

Where and how much?

More details about the author (Gisela Enders) and the book can be found here:

On this page you can also find the link to where you can order the book. But please pay attention, the book should be available for the reduced price of €2.99 (regular price is €14.99) between November 24 – 26, 2017.

The book was translated into English for free and all the proceeds of the English version of the book will be donated to a children’s home in Romania. That’s a clear win-win if you ask me!


Full disclaimer: I don’t get AHY money or other rewards/reimbursements for this and nor do I want any. This really just has been a “pay if forward” effort.


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How do Ethics and FIRE mingle? This appears to be a topic that a lot of people struggle with, at least that is the feedback that we received after the last Meetup in Eindhoven. For the next meet up we will likely add a discussion on this topic. This development also caused us to rethink various question(s). What do we think and why? How does it affect our investment decisions? Today we look at Part 2.

Ethics and FIRE

For sake of clarity I’d split the Ethics and FIRE discussion into two main components:

  • Ethics of FIRE itself (i.e. “living off the system”, while paying relatively little taxes and social security premiums), as discussed earlier this week; and,
  • Investment ethics (e.g. investment in oil, weapons, energy, real estate, cigarettes, etc.).

Today I’ll focus on the second part: Ethics of Investments.

The Ethics of Investments

This one is bound to really stir up some opinions 🙂 Please don’t hold back! Let’s have a look at a few of the industries/sectors and discuss, shall we?


Stating the obvious here: smoking is really bad for you, period. But it is one’s own decision to start smoking, so is to quit smoking. It’s a personal responsibility. From a health perspective I don’t mind that it is discouraged via taxation. Heck, if it was me the taxes would go way up, or better abolish smoking by law. There are simply no positives about smoking.

Ethics of Investments - Cigarettes

Ethics of Investments – Cigarettes

That being said, investing in cigarette companies appears to be very lucrative. Companies such as Phillip Morris have proved to be a very good investment decision over the past decades. They are great dividend stocks. But would buying it be unethical? Would you stimulate smoking by owning shares in a company that produces cigarettes? I personally don’t believe so. Yet we don’t invest into this sector either. I don’t want my money to facilitate a habit that is so disgusting. Perhaps we are loosing some ROI and diversification in the process, but we are OK with this.


I’m going to group small guns and all the way to army weapon systems into one sector here for sake of convenience. Contrary to cigarettes (where you make the choice), it’s the government that has the biggest impact on this industry (or lack thereof due to influential lobbying).

Ethics of Investments - Weapons

Ethics of Investments – Weapons

It’s an industry that is driven only in a small part by private consumers, the majority of the buyers are governments (especially on the “commercial” side of things). In short, my wallet does have little to no impact on this sector (but my voting rights may!).

This is also why we don’t own any shares in companies that produce weapons. It’s the only way to have an impact (if any). Again, we will lack some diversification and yield as a result. But that is a trade-off that we happily live with. At least our money is not used to destroy each other.


Again, for sake of convenience, I’m going to combine both oil & gas and utility companies together. Both are sectors that concern energy production, distribution and usage. Whether this be for your car, your holiday flights or the heating of your house.

As noted earlier, I don’t think I have much impact as an investor. But I do have a “major” impact as a consumer. When I use less fuel, electricity or gas, I directly affect the core business of these companies. If I actively purchase “green” energy, companies will see new business opportunities and modify their business models to capture this “new” market. Prices go down and we have a global win-win.

Ethics and Investments - Oil & Gas

Ethics and Investments – Oil & Gas Source:

Furthermore, these companies operate under environmental licenses (or lack thereof) issued by governments. So if I really want to have an impact, my voting should do the trick. By voting green parties you could have some impact on legislation, which in return could affect how these companies do their business.


For mining companies the same applies as for the Energy sector. By consuming less “stuff”, you need fewer resources, this less demand on products thus fewer unethical practices. You vote with you wallet! Same as with the energy industry, governments and legislation (and verifying that legislation is followed!) also have a direct major impact. If you want change, you have to vote.

Sure, there is something to be said that you don’t wan to support companies that are knowingly not adhering to environmental and ethical standards and policies. Some of this misconduct finds it’s way out in the open via the main stream media. In that case you can make the decision not to invest into that specific company.

In short, we invest in the mining (and energy and utility) sectors, we have no (major) ethical issues with it as we do try to affect their business model via different routes. We do try to select companies that have a reasonable track record from an environmental stand point.

Ethics and Investments - Oilsands Mining

Ethics and Investments – Oilsands Mining


We actually own shares in airlines. It was part of a diversification strategy to include this sector as well. However, the airline industry is one of the most heavily subsidized industries on the planet (after the agricultural sector). Which makes sense once you realize that a flight within Europe can be cheaper than driving with your car. With “normal” economics that should never be possible. This is obviously driving major growth in this sector (and associated sectors like tourism and trade). The downside is a significant environmental impact, considering flying is the most polluting form of transport.

Ethics and Investments - Airlines

Ethics and Investments – Airlines

Is it therefore unethical to invest into this industry? In my opinion it is not. Ultimately the responsibility of whether to fly lies with you. You might be able to drive, bus, train, boat, cycle or even walk to your holiday destination. It might not go as fast, but it is often a possibility (notable exception is if you need to cross the big ponds, a boat will take a while). Same with business meetings, a telecon might work just as well.

If the government starts to get real on conservation and sustainability, the subsidies will be reduced and the sector might become less profitable. By that time we will have moved away from this investment sector and deploy the cash elsewhere. In the mean time, we try to limit our travel by air and offset some of the damage where possible.

Real Estate

Ethics of Investment - Real Estate

Ethics of Investment – Real Estate

As you are likely aware we are real estate investors. Is this ethical? I would say yes, assuming you are sticking to applicable laws and regulations. In fact we are providing housing solutions to people that need a temporary place to live (before buying their own or moving in with someone else).

We do make a good profit at the end of the day on these investments. But we also accept the risk and obligations that come with this investment form. The latter is the reason why we also think this is an ethical investment, it’s not a free for all. It’s also a voluntary decision by the tenant to sign the binding contract to use your (living/working) space.


There are obviously many more industries that have ethical aspects to it. The agricultural sector also springs to mind, specifically the livestock production. When ranking environmentally damaging industries, this one comes in close to the top. Especially when combining the effects of methane, CO2, air & water & soil pollution, antibiotics and animal cruelty.

But as mentioned before, we as consumers have the biggest impact. Just eat less or no meat and you will be doing yourself and mother nature a big favor. But is investing in this industry unethical? I would again say no, but there is one company we will never invest in, which is Monsanto. Their way of lobbying and doing business (treatment of (organic) farmers) is just too unethical for my taste.

Ethics and Investments - Lifestock Agriculture

Ethics and Investments – Life stock Agriculture


Another interesting sector is the pharmaceutical industry (in combination with the medical profession). I would love to make it my personal mission to spend little to no money here by living healthy. There are obviously many products they provide that are either convenient (think painkillers, cold medication, etc.) or very useful (cancer treatments, medical equipment, vaccinations, etc.).

However, the pharmaceutical lobby is very powerful and has a major impact on government politics (and doctors!). They are very good at selling their products. To be brutally honest, they don’t benefit from a healthy population! It’s actually best for them to just have you be slightly ill (read chronically ill) so they can keep selling your medication (think diabetes type 2, high blood pressure, blood thinners, cholesterol lowering, etc.). Simple fact is that you can get avoid or eliminate most of these with dietary changes (it takes an hour, but it’s worth watching this video).

It’s not uncommon for the pharmaceutical industry to produce research (highly recommend watching this video, very good) that confirms the “need” for their products. This is obviously far from ethical behavior! Unfortunately, the only way to control this industry is by government regulation, which is nearly non-existing due to strong lobbying. A catch 22….

Discussion and Conclusions

As mentioned in the previous post, ethics will mean a different thing to everyone, which makes for interesting discussions and decisions. Same as “personal” finance, ethics is very much personal too. Ultimately you have to do what feels right to you. That being said, it might not be such a bad thing to also look at how your decisions impact others, directly and indirectly.

I believe it is the governments responsibility to limit sectors that have a negative impact on humanity and stimulate sectors that have a positive impact. I also believe that we as consumers can have a far larger impact with our wallets than with our investments. By not buying certain products, or buying less of them, we affect the business models of many companies. Thereby we stimulate change in certain sectors.

That being said, you as a shareholder have “some” impact on a company. You have voting rights. But considering most people and institutions invest to make money, very few will use their right to make businesses noticeably more sustainable or force them to change their core business model. But it does occasionally happen (think Shell).

Personally, I rather keep voting with my wallet and change our investment strategy depending on how businesses are doing, rather than what they are doing (with a few notable exceptions). It is also key to make sure your investments make good yields or capital gains, especially is you want to become and remain FI. Finding the right investments that combine this trait, but still adhere to your ethics can be a challenge indeed.


What’s your strategy to combine ethics with investing?

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How do Ethics and FIRE mingle? This appears to be a topic that a lot of people struggle with, at least that is the feedback that we received after the last Meetup in Eindhoven. For the next meet up we will likely add a discussion on this topic. This development also caused us to rethink various question(s). What do we think and why? How does it affect our investment decisions? This poat could easily turninto an PhD thesis, so I’m going to try to keep it limited 🙂 Or better, a two post series! Today we start with part 1, will do part 2 later this week.

Ethics and FIRE

For sake of clarity I’m going to split the Ethics and FIRE discussion into two main components:

  • Ethics of FIRE itself (i.e. “living off the system”, while paying relatively little taxes and social security premiums); and,
  • Investment ethics (e.g. investment in oil, weapons, energy, real estate, cigarettes, etc.).

Today we look at Part 1: Ethics and FIRE.

The Ethics of FIRE

I have mentioned once to a colleague that I was planning to become Financially Independent and Retire Early (FIRE). Her first response was that it was unethical because I would not longer pay any taxes (funny note, most people first ask “how” to become FIRE).

Now, for the Netherlands this is far from true, as we are taxed on an assumed ROI of our wealth (the latter is defined as “assets minus liabilities” in tax Box 3). It is however true that we will be paying a lot less taxes and no more social security premiums when we stop working when we are FI. Obviously, we will continue paying taxes on our properties and fees for local water management and for garbage removal.

However, we recon that our overall tax burden (including social premiums) would drop by about a factor 7-8 once we are FIRE-d. But we will still be using public roads, the medical system, police and fire services, and perhaps even qualify for certain benefits and/or subsidies (albeit very few).



Ethics Discussion

This begs the question is this ethical? Paying less into the system, but still using it (both directly and indirectly). From a pure social perspective, it is not. However, we would have a lot of time to volunteer (and will likely do so). Albeit this does not directly mean anything in financial terms for the government. It does have a positive social and perhaps even economic impact. Would it offset the loss in taxes, I’m not sure, but it does make me feel better.

Does it feel selfish to FIRE? To a degree is does. Is it going to stop us, eh, nope. By the time we reach FIRE we would have worked about 40-50% of our “normal” working life. Due to our above average education and associated income, we pay well above average amounts of taxes. Does this make it right, probably not, but it does make it feel more acceptable.

Plus, we will continue to pay taxes, as mentioned earlier, on our investments. This amount will likely be more than some people pay with little to no income (ignoring people on benefits here too). There is the caveat that we are not contributing to the social system (we would not pay social premiums when FIRE), but are not allowed to use the system either (due to our wealth), with the exception of old age security (AOW) and the medical system.


Ethics will mean a different thing to everyone, which makes for interesting discussions and decisions. Same as “personal” finance, ethics is very much personal too. Ultimately you have to do what feels right to you. That being said, it might not be such a bad thing to also look at how your decisions impact others, directly and indirectly.

Is striving and becoming FIRE ethical? Depending on your opinions, country where you live, the local tax system and what you are going to be doing once you are FI, the answer may be different. There certainly is a selfish component to becoming FI and RE, but to say it is unethical is a bit much for my taste. As long as you stick to the rules of the system, “legally” there is nothing “wrong” with becoming FIRE.


What’s your strategy to combine ethics and FIRE?

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