Bloggers on FIRE – Freaky Finance
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
My name is Vincent (born 1976). I live in Hamburg, Germany, and am the proud father of an adult daughter. Since 1993, I’ve worked as a technician for the same company in the aerospace industry.
What is your backstory?
From the beginning of my working life I wanted to be FI as early as possible even though I didn’t know the term and the concept. I also didn’t have a real plan but a high savings rate, and I used every opportunity to grow professionally and be promoted, worked extra hours, special shifts (late, nights, weekends, and bank holidays), and worked abroad to grow my income. On top of that, I stayed curious and tried new opportunities of making money. The compounding effect did the rest over the time.
Why did you want to reach Financial Independence?
I want(ed) to have options. The options:
- to work or not
- to do work I like
- from where I want
- to travel when I feel it’s time to
- to enjoy travelling longer than the usual few weeks of annual leave
Furthermore I like the certainty that, given normal circumstances, I will never run out of money. It is a great feeling that I don’t need to focus on how to finance my daily life anymore, or be afraid of the (financial) future.
How much is your “enough”?
Realistically I have reached my enough. I live a modest lifestyle, have almost everything I want, and will thus hardly ever eat up my savings. What remains are horror scenarios and doomsday theories, either of which could severely affect my health or my assets. A serious illness or disability or a financial meltdown of any kind could ultimately lead to the fact that what has been achieved is not enough after all.
Where are you on the road to Financial Independence?
With my modest lifestyle I can be considered FI. Three years ago I reached the first million (Euros), started to reduce my working hours, and took a sabbatical. I would say from there on FI was present for me.
What do you do all day now that you’re FI?
I am still working part time (60 %), I manage several rental properties and my other assets, I run a blog (https://www.freakyfinance.net) which needs lots of writing, producing interviews, videos, podcasts, community care and much more, so that keeps me quite busy.
I also travel as much as possible, and try to escape the cold and wet German winters.
What was your strategy for reaching Financial Independence?
Fortunately I early on had the idea to work hard and plenty as long as I’m young to gain as much as capital as possible. Different from most other people I invested nearly all the money I earned. On top of my salary, I wanted my money to work for me to be able to reduce paid work much earlier than usual. I started investing in the stock market and shortly after that also in the real estate field. Later I added P2P lending, precious metals and I also tried crypto. To increase my income I started renting out my car and Airbnb. I have always been curious and explored new opportunities. Diversification in terms of income and investing became key to my strategy.
What is your financial strategy after reaching FI?
As my income is much higher than what I need for a living, I can still invest a reasonable amount every month. I really like that, and it is fun for me to manage and track my assets.
What was your biggest financial mistake?
I once invested in some closed-end funds. Most of them went broke due to the recession beginning in 2008, and others turned out being fraud. This ended in losing a total amount of 200k Euros.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Avoid lifestyle inflation.
Let the assets compound.
Understand the product that you want to invest in – the risks and the costs!
What’s your wildest dream?
It’s maybe not that wild but I would like to spend the wet, grey and cold German winter months somewhere in the sun. Even more so than I already do.
What is your favourite just-for-fun activity that brings you joy?
I love to chill in a park on a sunny day, reading a book, magazine or newspaper…
I love mountain views, but I also love the view from a mountain…
I love the view of big city skylines – even more so at night with all the lights…
I love what mother nature gave us. The many different scenic spots all over the world…
I love mild summer nights with a cold drink…
All that can be even better in good company ☺
In any case… these are the moments I wind down, forget everything else for a while, and feel freedom and happiness.