Bloggers on FIRE – The Poor Swiss
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 FIRE friends, I am Mr. The Poor Swiss. I am Swiss guy of 31, living in Switzerland. I am married, without children for now. I am a software developer. I am anonymously blogging at The Poor Swiss.
What is your backstory?
When I started working, I directly started with a budget. However, I budgeted for my whole income. At the end of the month, I was happy when I had something saved. And my savings were increasing slowly month after month.
However, as my salary increased, so did my spending. Since I was budgeting for my entire income, I was also increasing my budget and hence my spending. I was a victim of lifestyle inflation.
At some point, I realized this and started to look on the internet for a better budget. And I discovered about the savings rate. I added the savings rate onto my budget and I discovered that it was terrible. I was saving between 5 and 10% of my income each month. The discovery of savings rate was really important for me.
After this, I read more and more about personal finance and discovered the concept of Financial Independence. I was directly hooked!
Why do you want to reach Financial Independence?
I want to become Financially Independent for several reasons.
First of all, I really like the security that this would bring me and my family. If I was FI, I would not have to worry about losing my job or being unable to perform this job for health reasons. Since I am the provider in our household, this is very important for me.
The second reason is that I have an exit door out of the corporate world. For now, I do not really want to retire, I really like my job. But who knows what the future holds for me. I would like to have the choice of retiring if I want or continuing to work. I do not want to be forced to work because I have to.
Finally, I do not really trust official retirement age. It has been increasing consistently over time. I do not want it to go too high before I reach it. I would rather be financially independent by myself rather than having to depend on a state pension.
How much is your “enough”?
My current FI number is 1.80 million CHF (almost the same in USD).
I am computing my FI number based on my current expenses and updating it year after year. Currently, our FI number is a bit too high compared to what we aim for. We want to try to keep our expenses below 5000 CHF per month but it is a bit difficult in these last months.
Where are you on the road to Financial Independence?
We are pretty far from it unfortunately! Currently, we sit at 10.40% FI ratio. This is with our net worth of about 170K CHF. My current goal is to become financially free by the age of 50. That means in 19 years time. My current prediction if we keep saving our current amount of money per month is that we should reach FI in 17 years.
But many things will change. We plan to have children. We want to have our house. All this will make our FI number change and will make our capacity to save different. That is why it is important to reconsider each situation at least once a year.
What do you want to do with your life once you reach Financial Independence?
At the beginning, I think I will continue working. But since I am so far from Financial Independence, it is very difficult to say if I will continue or not. After a few years, I think I will stop working.
There are no big changes I want to do in my life once I am FI. However, there are many things I want to do more. I want to hike much more and be outside much more. I have many programming projects I would like to continue. It is also possible that I will blog more (but I cannot say I will still blog in more than 15 years).
What is your strategy for reaching Financial Independence?
My strategy is pretty simple: I am trying to save as much money as possible every month and invest it in the stock market. I am investing directly in ETFs. I am also doing a bit of P2P Lending but that represents less than 5% of my net worth. I may invest in real estate in the future but I am not yet sure about that.
What will be your financial strategy after reaching FI?
Once again, my strategy is pretty simple and common. I plan on using the dividends from my net worth to cover about half of my expenses. And the other half of my expenses should be covered by withdrawing from the principal. Currently, I am counting on a 3.5% SWR. But since I am very far from being FI, this could still change a lot.
What was your biggest financial mistake?
I made many financial mistakes, but my biggest financial mistake is a bit of a double mistake. I started investing early in my twenties. Which is great. However, I also pulled out very early because I was scared of the risks. And after this, I did not invest for almost ten years.
So I would say not investing early and pulling out early by letting my emotions take control of my decisions.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Invest early and be more frugal!
If I had not pulled out of my investments when I was young and I had continued to invest, I would be much better off now. It is really important to start investing early. That is the point where the compound interest makes it the best.
What’s your favourite just-for-fun activity that brings you joy?
Last year, I started building my own pieces of furniture. I found out it was a lot of fun! Since that time I have built three pieces of furniture myself: a bookshelf, a shoe rack and very recently a small kitchen cabinet.
I have many such projects now but I do not have any room to build them. So it is not really practical. Once we have a house, I will definitely do more of that.
From a financial point of view, it is not really cheap since I have to buy new wood. It is still a bit cheaper than at the shop. But it is more expensive than buying second-hand! But I still like doing it!