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

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?

 

 

I Quit! No, not with the blog, I quit my job today. I will officially be unemployed as of the beginning of May. You have no idea how good this feels. But what is next? Well, there first will be the 9 week road trip, some home & rental property renovations and then I will start my new business!

I Quit!

Albeit we are getting close(r), we are not yet FI, so cannot RE either. However, we are more “free” than we sometimes realize. Mainly because we do now have a pretty decent cash-flow income from real estate and dividend. Plus we have a nice stash of cash. With all this wealth we are now able to “buy” ourselves some extra freedom. Both literally and figuratively.

The peace of mind you get from have a nice pile of money and investments is amazing! The other benefit is the luxury that you get in making life choices. Where Mrs CF loves her work, I don’t. Now having the ability to say “F-you” to my employer, because I have a safety net, is a luxury position I only now start to grasp.

The interesting thing is, that even with just Mrs CF’s job I could have made this decision sooner. But there is something strange about quitting your job if you always had one. There is this fear of losing that steady paycheck. Even if you technically can easily do without. Emotions are a strange phenomena!

I Quit!

I Quit!

What’s Next?

Beside the fund stuff of travelling and doing renovations. I’m getting really excited about the starting of my own business. The scary part of stepping into the unknown and doing something completely new is very thrilling. I’m loving that feeling! As crazy as that may sound.

I’m not about to reveal my new business plan and business name (yet?). Mainly because I would loose whatever “privacy” I have here at Cheesy Finance. I’m not comfortable with that much exposure, especially as a lot of financial details are available on the blog. Perhaps this changes in the future, but for now I’m going to (try) to keep the two apart.

I Quit! Next I start up

I Quit! Next I start up

As my new business is completely different from what I (still) do in my daily life, I have a very steep learning curve ahead. I’m going to make lots of mistake, but due to the type of business the failures will have a limited financial impact. However, to limit the amount of mistakes I have already reached out to several more experienced people that could help out. All of these folks have their own business, albeit in wildly different fields. Funnily enough, they have very similar tips and tricks, guess there must be something to it? 🙂

Things that are on the “to do list” include:

  • developing a business plan (actually revising it, as we already made one)
  • registering the company, arranging insurance and website (latter is already up and running in basic form)
  • developing of various products
  • marketing
  • getting my first paying gig.

How hard can it be? 😉

In future posts (as of Q3-ish) I will reveal more about how I’m going to start up my company, the mistakes I will make, the things that go well and if I actually will make any money at it. The plan is to make both passive and active income streams, the passive to pay “the bills”. The active because I actually enjoy doing it.

 

Any of you that are freelancers? What are the most important tips you have for me?

The last week has been a bit real estate themed. We first looked at our (and others) housing history, next we explored living on a boat. To continue this trend, here is the Real Estate Report – February 2018 edition.

Real Estate Report – February 2018

Rental Income

Our rental income for February 2018 was the same as for January, which means we are well over €3.600 in real estate related income.

The monthly income distribution is provided below:

Real Estate Report - February 2018 Income

Real Estate Report – February 2018 Income

Rental Expenses

The expense for February 2018 were quit high due to a one-off expense item. The expenses consisted of the following:

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

There were no insurance fees this month, no maintenance either (yay) and the taxes are not due until April. The major expenses were the property management fees due to a new tenant moving in in early February. The screening and contracting fees are expensive at one month rent + value added tax. We then also hope our new tenant sticks around for a while! The one upside, no vacancy between tenants and thus no additional expense here either.

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 February was €2.210. The net cash-flow was a bit lower at €1.157. The explanation lies in the fact that we provided a private real estate investment loan that does not pay out the monthly interest. We will get this once the loan matures in late 2020.

Real Estate Report - February 2018 Overview

Real Estate Report – February 2018 Overview

Real Estate Report – Forecast

Lots is going on the real estate front. We have been trying to get various quotations in for the paint removal and subsequent placement of stucco on two investment properties. It turned out that adding about 6 cm of insulation saved the costs for old paint removal and made installation of stucco easier. It was therefore only marginally more expensive, so we decided to go for this route.

There are a few benefits too, the insulation lowers the heating bill and also would allow higher rental rates to be charged. Because the Dutch government also plans to go without heating gas as of 2050, we will be making the first step to making these properties future proof too. It all seems a logical decision to us 🙂 We also already got the municipal approval to preform the works, which we are planning for  during the summer.

After some negotiations we selected a reputable company which will charge us €12.000 for the works. Because we will sell one of the properties to family (sale is now also delayed to this summer), we won’t pay for the full amount. The plan is to also replace two windows and paint the remaining window sills, so the property is in perfect condition. Remember that we will move into this property ourselves in the future, so it makes sense to invest some extra money into this property!

New Property?

We have also been looking at a new property last Friday. It’s a double unit that has been on the market for a while, but they just dropped the price (again). It’s promising, but we are awaiting a few clarifications on various questions that arose during the viewing. If we can come to an agreement (and no other party snatches it from under our noses), the sale is likely in Q3 of 2018. Bit excited about this opportunity to be honest!

I wrote this post already on Tuesday, had a call with the real estate agent Wednesday afternoon. He came with bad news as the property is as good as sold, it also had a few issues that we were afraid off. It would have made the conversion more expensive and we therefore could not compete with the other offer. Darn….

 

How did you do in February?

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?

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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

Purchase:

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).

Expenses

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 6 years (costs are about €3.500-4.000 + repairs). 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.

Practical?

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

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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).

Investment?

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 5 max). Let’s assume no one wants to say here during the three winter months. The fall and spring will have 60% vacancy and the summer only 20%. This is a yearly utilization of 40% (144 nights) as a base case. This should provide you with €18.000 gross income.

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

 

 

Have you ever lived or stayed on a boat?

 

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

Housing History

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

Housing History - Farm House

Housing History – Farm House

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!

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 - Condo

Housing History – 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).

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 😉

Housing History - McMansion

Housing History – McMansion

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).

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!

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.

Housing History - Tiny House

Housing History – Tiny House?

Other Bloggers

Fellow bloggers that posted about their housing history:

 

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

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

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary

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

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

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

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary - Rough Route

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary – Rough Route (thank you Google) 

Netherlands

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

Belgium

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

Luxembourg

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

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Luxembourg City

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Luxembourg City

France

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

Switzerland

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

Monaco

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

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Monaco

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Monaco

Italy

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

Croatia

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

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Dubrovnik

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Dubrovnik

Slovenia

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

Hungary

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

Slovakia

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

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Ljubljana city view from it castle

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Ljubljana city view from it castle

Austria

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

Czech Republic

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

Germany

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

Summary

In short the idea for this trip is:

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

 

Bring on all your tips, tricks and idea folks!

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

February 2018 Dividend Update

The following stocks were reduced or disappeared from the portfolio:

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

We made the following new purchases:

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

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

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

February Dividends

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

The stats for last month:

February 2018 Dividend Update - Dividend Income

February 2018 Dividend Update – Dividend Income

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

February 2018 Dividend Update - Yearly Dividend

February 2018 Dividend Update – Yearly Dividend

Dividend Stock Overview

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

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

The portfolio looks like this:

February 2018 Dividend Update - Dividend Overview

February 2018 Dividend Update – Dividend Overview

Dividend Sector Breakdown

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

February 2018 Dividend Update - Sector Allocation

February 2018 Dividend Update – Sector Allocation

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

 

How did you do in February?

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

February Finances

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

Savings Rate Update

Savings Rate Update

Financial Overview

Here is the usual short financial overview for the month:

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

February 2018 Savings Rate 

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

Here are the stats:

February 2018 Savings Rate - Overview

February 2018 Savings Rate – Overview

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

February 2018 Savings Rate - Expenses

February 2018 Savings Rate – Expenses

Forecast Coming Months

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

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

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

 

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

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

BENL FIRE Meetup – Utrecht Edition!

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

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

BENL FIRE Meetup - Utrecht Edition!

BENL FIRE Meetup – Utrecht Edition!

As per “usual”, the following applies:

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

What Are We planning?

The general program for Saturday looks something like this:

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

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

So, Do YOU Want To Join?

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

BENL FIRE Meetups - Financial Fun Since 2016