Europeans on FIRE – Silvia

In our Europeans on FIRE series, we interview people living in Europe who don’t blog to find out what makes them tick. Our aim is to give non-bloggers a voice and hear what they have to say. We hope you enjoy hearing from people you’ve never heard of before!

If you’d like to take part in Europeans on FIRE, contact us at hello[at]firehub[dot]eu and we’ll send you the details.

You can find a full list of our Europeans on FIRE interviews here.

A Spanish version of Silvia’s interview is available here.

Europeans on FIRE Profile Card Silvia exp

Please briefly introduce yourself to readers

I am Silvia, 32 years old, from Madrid (Spain). Happily married and still no children. After five years of living in Germany, we just came back to Spain. I am currently working as a chemical engineer near Madrid. 

What is your backstory?

We are a couple of engineers, and we decided to accept an offer for my husband to work abroad in order to have an international experience, learn a new language and be able to buy a house in Spain in cash, to live rent free and begin our journey towards FI.

After attending the FIWE Madrid 2019 I started writing a short guide about how to increase the savings rate.

Why do you want to reach Financial Independence?

Because I do not want to count the remaining minutes to leave the office, I want to volunteer, be helpful for my community without thinking of the money needed to cover our needs. During the last five years abroad I had the opportunity to reflect on the essence of life and the things that make us happy. I want to spend my limited time on earth doing meaningful tasks, without expecting anything in return.

How much is your “enough”?

We are quite a frugal couple. I consider an income of 2,000 € per month more than enough for two people. However, if we have kids, we should reconsider this number.

Where are you on the road to Financial Independence?

We are just at the beginning of our journey. However, now that we achieved our goal of living rent and mortgage free, our savings rate has considerably increased and our net worth will escalate. Considering our current savings rate and income, we could reach FI in less than seven years, for my 40th birthday.

What do you want to do with your life once you reach Financial Independence?

Once FI is achieved, I would like to volunteer as an environmental activist, tutor kids with learning difficulties in the area of sciences, travel to many countries, learn and practice foreign languages,  continue with my music studies, play the violin and the transverse flute for my community and spend more time with my family.   

What is your strategy for reaching FI?

A combination of real estate with dividends and ETFs. However, we are still focusing ourselves on increasing our savings rate without compromising our standard of living.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

Thinking about the possibility of buying our house of a size or in an area where we would have needed to ask for a mortgage.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Do not care about what people think about your spending habits. Not everyone fully understands the real meaning of delayed gratification. To live below your means is a valid option.

What is your favourite just-for-fun activity that brings you joy?

I love to sing in our community choir, play the violin for our piano-violin-duo, organise clothes swap parties, read a novel near the fire, play with our niece and nephew, learn how to play new music instruments like the transverse flute, and take nice photographs of the beautiful landscapes we have in Europe.