Bloggers on FIRE – Veel voor Minder
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
Veel voor minder, a blogger from the Netherlands. I am currently 41, male, divorced and have two kids (daughters). The kids are living partly with me and partly with my ex-wife (one week with me, one week with my ex-wife, one week with me, etc…).
I am a consultant in “the IT” and work for a small specialized company where we do awesome projects across the NEMEA region.
I started blogging on www.veelvoorminder.nl in 2018 where I keep track of my FI journey, experiences and pitfalls.
What is your backstory?
I have lived a few lives. Being a student. Being a husband. Working and doing a lot of projects with companies with different backgrounds, travelled around. And also having the troubles of being human (nothing exists in 100% happiness all the time).
I have had no financial education and was brought up with the notion of working hard your whole life and retiring at 67 to live off state pension and eat your house (which is hopefully mortgage free) till you die. Have a big house, car, family, three vacations a year and so on in a “spend your monthly paycheck by never checking what comes in and goes out” strategy.
I always had a good, more than modest, income, but spent it all and had a meagre cash reserve. If something broke, we could cope with that. But several things breaking at the same time would have produced problems.
Two years after my divorce, I had my rite of passage to get my finances in a structure when we finally sold the old house we had been living in together. The divorce had some impact financially, there where my shares in debts such as mortgage, credit card and personal loans. I had to basically start from scratch in a new house, and with that also filling the house with something and getting used to living on my own with the kids.
I discovered the FI blogging universe, and created some form of plan to do a 180 on the current situation, pay off my debts, start building the foundation, strategy, and a way to keep track of my progress and experiences (main reason of my blog).
Why do you want to reach Financial Independence?
From close up I have seen people working hard, not enjoying life, not having the financial means to do what they want, and getting a terminal disease before their retirement.
Not for me. I want to have possibilities in life, and to be honest, assets/money is the main source here. I want to work because I like to work, as I do at this time, but when I want. And with less thinking about consequences when I want to quit for example. Not just because I need part of the money for housing and living, but some more “air”.
I want to teach my kids (and possibly also others) the financial lessons that I lacked in my upbringing/schooling, and provide a good foundation for them as well. They have separate investment and saving accounts of their own. When the time is right, the funds will be released (not all at once, and with some lessons around them) to them (somewhere around 18-21). As they are 8 and 10 now, we have time :).
To sum up, for freedom, a sturdy safety net, and to have options in life.
How much is your “enough”?
To have a good assets column and no liabilities. To be able to pay my monthly expenses without any (or a very small percentage) of active income gathering.
I have an Excel sheet for my net worth progress, and I have several goals for the near and later future. Goals include growth of my net worth, emergency fund, FU budget (1 year monthly expenses), FI target (20 yrs monthly expenses). In the end this would probably be something in the range of a Barista FIRE at 50.
Where are you on the road to Financial Independence?
As I just (re-)started a couple of years ago, I would say I am at the beginning. If I look at the spreadsheet I use, I am currently at approximately 5% FI with an average savings rate of about 40-45%. The goal is, to put it in easy words, 20 times my current monthly expense rate to bridge the gap from early retirement at 50 to my pension date in my early 70s. I currently set the target at 20 times my expenses, as I rather set my targets higher. With this target, I will not reach it completely as I strive to reach some form of early retirement at 50.
If I have a job at that time, it will be because I like it and not because I will need it.
What do you want to do with your life once you reach Financial Independence?
See more of the world, give my children a good education and a nest-egg.
What is your strategy for reaching Financial Independence?
My strategy is to work in the job I like and get paid a good salary. Secondly, to grow my passive income. The way I am reaching this is to pay myself first automatically, with a savings rate of 40-45%. This part is divided in 50% to savings (cash reserve and budgets), 40% to stocks (mainly ETFs and some DGI), and I have 10% allocated to high risk investments (P2P lending and crypto). I occasionally change the percentages, for example when my cash reserve is at its yearly goal, or investments are below a certain goal (due to Trump tweets).
I set goals for the year at the beginning, check them every quarter/half year, and do a retrospective at the end. Goals include passive income, investment portfolio size, percentage of net worth versus investments, percentage of net worth versus cash, and percentage of net worth versus high risk.
Being a janitor in my portfolio happens from time to time ;).
What will be your financial strategy after reaching FI?
Continuing with the strategy that helped me get closer to FI, probably passive income with dividends, P2P (if these still exist), real estate and so on.
What was your biggest financial mistake?
There are many ;).
Wasting probably 25K Euros on parties during a sabbatical after college without doing anything. No travels, no museums, no whatsoever…And of course seeing the light from the FIRE at a late age…
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Pay yourself! This doesn’t mean you have to stop living. Start investing when you can, don’t wait as long as your older self. Enjoy life and the journey.
What’s your wildest dream?
Realistically, own a farm with some small livestock and partly be self-sustainable. The not so realistic one: to literally go to the moon.
What is your favourite just-for-fun activity that brings you joy?
Riding around on my motorcycle, playing guitar, going to music concerts and playing board games.