Bloggers on FIRE – Fight to FIRE
In our Bloggers on FIRE series, we interview European FI bloggers to find out what makes them tick. Our aim is to build up a “who’s who” directory for the European FI blogging world. We hope you enjoy the series and discover some new blogs to follow. You can find a full list of our Bloggers on FIRE interviews here.
Please briefly introduce yourself to FIREhub.eu readers
Hi, all FIREhub readers! I’m Mr. FightToFIRE. A 29-year-old Belgian living at an undisclosed location in Belgium for my own good. You never know who’s reading. I started this journey a bit before I started the blog. Although, actually, without realizing it, probably a long time before. I was always a very good saver – thanks mom and dad! – and while I only started with investing later I was always busy with finances and budgeting. It was only when I started my job in IT for a financial institution that I was making enough money to invest. After saving enough of my income I started looking into retiring early more deeply.
What is your backstory?
Before I discovered FIRE – now over two years ago – I was already busy with finances and budgeting. The problem was I put a lot of money into highly speculative activities, mainly Forex. I actually want to write my backstory in full on my blog, but I’m deeply ashamed of this past due to the many costly mistakes I made. I will get there eventually, but I’ll already give the outline now.
I literally lost a year’s worth of salary (and then some) trying to get rich quick – spoiler! It didn’t happen – through Forex. It’s around the 50,000 EUR mark.
After I realized I would waste most of my 20s on something that was most likely not going to happen, and thus losing quite some compounded interest, I started looking into the tried and tested method of buy-and-hold. This wasn’t that long ago, actually. A year before I got into blogging, I discovered FIRE while browsing Reddit and the internet in general. I honestly don’t remember exactly how I got into it but I think I discovered some American bloggers through Reddit and through them a Belgian blogger which in turn made me think: “why can’t I start writing?”.
Why do you want to reach Financial Independence?
To retire at 40-ish. But after meeting my fiancée, this has become a bit more flexible. I’m secretly aiming for fat FIRE, but again, I’m more flexible now that I have met the woman of my dreams. I basically just want to be able to say fuck it to whatever I’m doing without having to worry about money.
How much is your “enough”?
On my blog, I put 650,000 EUR. That’s my target net worth which should give me a relatively comfortable life, i.e., the life I have now.
My stretched ambition is ~1 million though. The reason for this is that I’d like to have a few more luxuries that I don’t have right now, the biggest being able to travel in luxury at least twice a year. For me, this entails a good hotel in the 300 – 500 EUR/night range, dining out, numerous activities, all in a two to three week holiday.
Where are you on the road to Financial Independence?
14% of my initial target (650K), 9.1% of my stretched ambition (1M). Though it’s hard to say for sure since my expenses have changed quite a bit and will change more in the future. We want kids in the near future which obviously impacts our savings rate as well. On the plus side, once my fiancée finishes her studies she should be able to land a solid job so we will then have two jobs.
What do you want to do with your life once you reach Financial Independence?
As cliché as it sounds, it really is something I want to do: travel around the world but in a more luxurious way (hence the higher target of 1M).
What is your strategy for reaching Financial Independence?
I currently do the following:
- A core-satellite strategy: 80/20 split between trackers(/passive) and individual stocks(/active)
- Of these stocks, a minority provides a dividend which helps me mentally since I like to see money come into my account.
- Real estate: The apartment that I bought is the first step. I bought it with renting in mind so it’s actually not exactly what I’m looking for in a house but it’s what can be rented out in Brussels.
- Aiming for a strong savings rate of at least 50%. This was higher in the past but moving out and living with my girlfriend obviously changed this.
- I signed a flexi-job contract which basically allows me to earn tax-free income as long as I work at least 4/5th. I aim for 400-500 EUR per month extra though it remains to be seen how much I need to work for that and how hard it will impact my personal life since I already work full-time.
What will be your financial strategy after reaching FI?
The traditional SWR-rule of 4% though as described earlier. But I hope that I can build up a real estate portfolio in both Belgium and my fiancées home country. This could then bring in an additional income and at the same time prevent me from getting bored.
What was your biggest financial mistake?
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t start with Forex, invest in stocks right away. Get into the TESLA IPO!
What’s your wildest dream?
If I can really go nuts, being able to experience space flight.
What is your favourite just-for-fun activity that brings you joy?
Snowboarding, it’s a bit on the expensive side and who knows if it will be even possible 10 to 20 years from now. After that it’s martial arts. I’m a black belt in TKD and I love the exercise and flexibility it brings.