Financial Freedom Sloth

achieving financial freedom one lazy step at a time

Category: general (page 1 of 2)

Monthly Expense report: February and March

I normally can sit behind a computer for hours, and hours and hours. February was the exception to this rule. Between work and having more sick than healthy days in March. I had during the evening zero inclination to spend any more time behind the PC. Which explains the zero posts in all of March. So I’ll just put both the February and March expense report in this one post.

February

Income: 2 247,60 euro

Expenses: 1 764,30 euro

Savings: 483,30 or 21,50%

Income was a little bit higher as I am still experimenting with a side gig which made me an extra 53 euro. More on the side gig in a later post.

Expenses in February were also higher. But the 1 764 euro does include 331 euro for a Festival in Amsterdam in August, 26 euro a doctor’s visit. The only expense I really do not like is the 55 euro I spend on sandwiches at work. It’s a waste of money and mad for my weight (and thus my health). I really need to stop it! Anyway, 1 500 euro a month definitely is doable, I just do not seem to be able to get there!

March

Income: 7 280,70 euro

Expenses: 9 474,41 euro

Savings: -2 193,72

Yep, March is where I have some explaining to do.

If you want the short and fast version: I bought a car, paid cash for it and my parents gave me money.

On the income side I had:

2 218,20 euro from my pay check

5 050 euro gift from my parents

12,50 euro income from the side gig

On the expense side I had all the normal expenses.

And then I had 8 113 euro for the car. The car will get his own post but we bought a brand new Dacia Logan for almost 11 250 euro. Deduct the 5,000 euro my parents insistent of giving me to help buy the car left almost 6 250 euro. My half of this came to 3 113 euro. I could have put the 5,000 in our joint account but since I no longer report in detail on that one it wouldn’t have shown up anywhere so I put it here. Basically I out 3 113 euro out of pocket but now have a brand new car which should last us for another 12 to 14 years. Thank you mom and dad.

Annoyingly I am negative for the year by about a 1,000 euro and it will take me till May to get positive for the year. It is one of the reasons I would have preffered the 0% financing but that clusterfuck of a tale is also for another post.

On the buying sandwiches at work front I did not improve and spend 78 euro! Yes, I definitely went off the rails here and my wasteline is paying the price. No more in April!

The job situation

Back in July last year I posted a status update of my job situation. For those of you tl;dr people (no need to hide your laziness here, actually I encourage it! Consider this a safe space for all you lazy buggers out there!) I’ll give you a short recap:

  • The job is near Leuven.
  • My net wage is a bit higher than before (long live the Belgian Bicycle to work compensation! Tax free compensation is the best kind of compensation!).
  • I now work in the Fintech sector, combining Finance and IT
  • Part time not possible in my current job. But things are moving and changing fast here so who knows in a few more years?
  • And then the most important part: I like the new job!
  • The company is in the scale up phase at the moment. So insanely busy on all accounts. Part of me doing less posts here is because I am tired in the evening folks. And I really do not want to sit any more time behind the PC in the evening. But it is a good kind of tired. And the atmosphere is very much still start up rock and roll.

The present

Has anything changed since last July? Well, the last point in July already mentionned it was insanely busy. Management also knew this so we got two new hires!

Unfortunately, they are not really working out all that well. Sigh.

We are supposed to do about 50 tickets a day. My other co-worker more or less gets those done. One of the new hires is only now (after quiet a bit of help from me) getting there. And the other one sat arond 25 tickets. Have one guess who picked up the slack? Yep, me!

But we are also a fintech company in a scale up fase, so we are growing about 25% a year (or more, because we have a diabolicaly great marketing guy). Have another guess who absorbed all those extra tickets our growth brought with them? Yep, me again!

I sit around 70 to 80 tickets a day, some days topping the 100.

My own worst enemy

I achive this insane number by sprinting out of the gates first thing in the morning and then keeping that tempo up until the very last minute of my working day. Very often running two things at the same time.

It is working very vast and very concentrated for the entiry day.

Now I have always worked this way because I am an all or nothing type of guy (I really should do something about that!). I either work very hard or not at all. Well actually, I work very hard because I want to be able to be lazy as quickly as possible. It is an approach that worked well at all my previous jobs because I just finished my work in about 6,5 hours and had 4 x 15 minutes of very lazy internet time build into my work day, Random internet time relaxes me. On occasion I even wrote a draft of a blog post at work! Ah, happy days …

But it is an apporach that is not working in an environment where there is an insane amount of work to be done. Because when there is still a lot of work to be done I do not allow myself those little breaks during the day. For a couple of weeks this is ok, but it has been over 4 months now and repercussions are starting to show:

  • I am as stress eater so enter the sandwishes during work days and exit the diet …
  • sport helped to relax up to a certain point. Beyond that point I am so tired I don’t even have enough mental energy to get to the swimming pool. So my exercising suffered …
  • In the evening I just want to zombie out and watch some random crap on tv. So my posting on the blog suffers. Hell, even my relationship suffers as the mental energy for the girlfriend is also all used up at work…

Overworked and annoyed

Management is aware. My evaluation was stellar! And there should even be a raise in my near future.

There should also be a new hire coming. The bad one has been moved to other duties. This has off course caused an even bigger flood of work at the moment. And working very hard and just about keeping up is one thing. Working very hard and falling more and more behind every day is another thing. I hate falling behind. Our customers and our company deserve better. So now I am overworked and annoyed, and being annoyed also costs me mental energy, grrr.

I have been here before when I worked support for the trading room of a big bank. I know I can handle it. And I am trying to protect me from myself. Communication with my boss in this regard is really good.

But it is a great example on how even one thing can seriously impact your work situation and sometimes that one thing can be out of your control.

Hope for the future

I know that this too will pass. And if I am completely honest part of me is getting some perverse sense of satisfaction out of the fact I can still do it! After the two years at the big bank keeping 4 different derivates products afloat during a major restructuration (and as a thank you losing that job once the restructuration was done) I was very much spend. The first year after those two years of ‘work hell’ I definitely reached my ‘red line’ a lot faster. I was convinced that work wise my ‘best’ years were behind me. The tank being so banged up it wasn’t big enough anymore for prolonged, hard runs. I had made my peace with that. Even looked for ‘easier’ ‘low-stress’ jobs. But hey, three years of easy jobs intersected by months of unemployement apparently got me right back into shape!

I am really happy to know this because even post fire I might have a project or two where I would need to put the pedal to the metal and just floor it. But at the moment I just hope the current insane workload would just light up a little bit.

Monthly Expense report: January

Nothing broke in January! After December, where almost everything broke I count this as a success! January, in my book, is the month where we, slowly, start to rebuild.

Income: 2 202,60 euro

Expenses: 1 661,30 euro

Savings: 541,30 euro or 24,6%

Income

The bonus unfortunately only comes once twice a year so it is back to the ‘normal’ income of around 2 200 euro. I have come to realize that getting to a higher savings rate is only acivable for me if I would increase my income. Then again, I usually am pretty close to savings 25% of my income which actual means I am allready financial free for 25% of my time without taking the stash into account since I only need to work three weeks to earn enought money to live four weeks. I find that a very comforting thought!

Expenses

Expenses stood at 1 660 euro. Part of me wants to say this is pretty good since it also covers 320 euro for a new motor vest and all weather motor pants. For the last year I have been making due with what I had but the broken zipper on my winter vest in December forced my hand and I finally purchased a decent motor vest. When (and that is a definite when, not if) I ever kiss the ground while going 90 km/h I will be very gratefull for the purchase. Meanwhile I am enjoying the added comfort during these winter months! The 1 660 euro also covers 100 euro in birthday gift for the godchild. Something I am happy to give and once our house is renovated am planning to greatly increase.

So that was the good part. The bad part is 128 euro spend on sandwiches at work and snacks for in the evening. The relaunch of the diet is not going all that well. I kind of crash and burned in this regard. I need to write about it. But a big part is the work situation. Which I also need to write about. But actually, the work situation is also THE reason why I have been blogging a lot less the last months because I come home exhausted and have 0 interested in sitting behind a PC at home as well. I will dive deeper into it in the next post I promise.

I actually have a few intersting tid bits to post about:

The work situation.

Buying a car.

Not getting a loan for the car because some credit organization somehow decided I am no good for a 7,000 euro loan. Even if my net worth is close to 350,000 euro and I save 500 euro a month!

And the really interesting one: how last year I lost 90,000 euro in the stock market. I’ll give you a very short recap of that one: leverage can be a bitch and yes it really hurts. Keep your questions for the actual post, even though most of it happened in February last year the wound is still a open hole of pain and misery. But also do not worry, I am fine!

Monthly expense report: December

Stuff broke in December. Actually a lot of stuff broke in December. Like our PC, our car, the zipper on my coat and part of my sanity … For the moment this has had little repercussions on my spending but the big ticket item
(a new car) is coming …

Income: 3 489,83 euro

Expenses: 1 551,50 euro

Savings: 1 938,33 euro of a whopping 55,5%

Income

The much higher income is due to my job paying a Christmas bonus or 13th month as it is often referred to in Belgium.

In April/May we are also eligible for a bonus if we meet certain goals (we will) which will also be close to an extra month of wages. And since I have worked all off 2018 for this company I will have 30 holiday days that year. So in 2019 I will get paid close to 14 months of wages for 10,5 months of work. Ok, why the hell am I striving for early retirment again? O right, I am a lazy weirdo.,,

Expenses

Expenses are 1 551,50 euro and I am particulary proud of this as they also entail 300 euro I personally chipped in to but the new computer. The rest of the purchase is paid from our joint account but I wanted a decent graphics card the gilfriend has absolutely no need for so I paid it myself. So minus this purchase I only spend 250 euro and 45 euro of those went to excellent videosoftware via a humble bundle (25 euro for Movie studio 15 is a steal! ) and a game I have been drooling over for a year but couldn’t play on the old computer. PC gaming wise I am set for the next year as i have some older games on Steam I haven’t played in the last year or two because the old computer was getting so slow …

All in all we end the year with good buffers in the checking and savings account. The car purchase will oblitarate those in the new year and the full year recap for 2018 will tell you how my stash was decimated during 2018. It’s a tale of overleverage and greed that left me battered and bruised at the side of the road but I will try to make it a fun read for you my loyal followers!

Monthly expense report: November

Income:  2 167 euro

Expenses:  1 583,50 euro

Savings:  583,50 euro

November was a pretty standard month form an income and expense point of view.

Income was only the job income. November 15 I was one year at the current company so an update is needed on that front but work has been so insanely busy the last weeks that I really didn’t feel like starting up the old desktop at home. It also explains the lack of posts over the last month. This sloth is tired in the evening.

Expenses

Didn’t buy a new laser, still want to! I did buy some new graphic novels so the itch to buy something ‘fun’ is satisfied for the time being. The graphic novels came to 88 euro.

We also visited a friend in Brussels, The friend is a big Asia nut so we visited a -cheap- Japanese restaurant. I went to talk about an online side gig idea I have tumbling around in my head for some time now. Turns out the friend is even more skilled than I thought! I tried to nudge him into starting his own thing as he could do all the work himself and he does like to travel Asia for months on end. I wasn’t really successful as he has witnessed in his immediately family the high price that comes with building out a business empire. He is part too smart and part too lazy (there is a reason I get along with him!) to go down that rabbit hole …I would still over to convince him that there is a middle ground. Anyway, the visit did cost me 43 euro but was money well spend.

On a more practical front I also spend 72 for some new underwear and 21 euro on new swimshorts. Both things desperately needed. Well, desperately needed according to the misses, a sloth knows no shame …

On the’ bad’front: also spend some money on sandwiches at work. The diet is still not going that good. I actually even started skipping some of my swimming!! It merits its own post. But I am a stress eater and did I mention that work has been insanely busy? I am recognizing the signs from my time at the back office for the trading floor of the big bank. Luckily management is aware that there is a ‘support-situation’ at the moment. Management also knows that I have been putting the pedal to the metal for the last couple of months. So I have told them that this will only last until after new year. And to not take my current productivity as something to count on long term. I’ll see how it goes.

I do not envy them as some tough decisions will need to be made. I also need to bite the bullet and not only keep up the insane work volume at work but in my free time actually start working on one of those ‘fun-to me’ work projects that needs to be done but nobody at work has the time to do. For once in my life I want to be strategic about it and leverage my current strong position into something that has long term benefits for me. Fortune favors the well prepared…

On a totally unrelated note. Cheesy finance and geldnerd have a very different definition of a backyard. To parafrase an old australian saying: that’s not a backyard, this is a backyard …

Our backyard, and yes that is a pig on the right …

The job evolution

So I noticed I didn’t post anything about my job situation since August last year. Which is a bit of a shame because a lot changed since then! All for the better. There even is some juice stuff to tell!

Now I wasn’t really exhuming a lot of enthusiasm for that job in this three month recap. Hell, I even ended the post saying I was actually looking for a new job again.

Guess what? My employer at the time noticed it too. And do you know what a company does with a guy working interim that does an ok’ish job but isn’t really motivated? They don’t give him a full time contract!

My contract was up for renewal the end of September and well, that didn’t happen.

We will not extend your contract with us

I saw it coming so when called into my supervisors office it was no surprise. But my supervisor was in for a surprise! You see, she was nervous as hell because:

  1. she was going on holiday for two weeks and I left on holiday the last week of September. So there she was, having to tell a guy in early September that his contract is not going to get renewed but could you please continue to work here for two more weeks? Without any boss being present?
  2. I transferred millions of euro on a weekly basis as part of my job and
  3. the last guy she let go was so pissed at her that he threatened her outside the office and cops actually showed up at our office to take her statement about the whole incident. I think her being nervous is actually an understatement. There were visible tension lines on her face and on the face of the interim office representant (the last one definitely was not present when they ‘terminated’ the last employee).

So what happens when you say to a guy with a sizable stash who really doesn’t like the current job that you will not be renewing his contract?

Well, in my case, said guy is actually pretty fucking happy. I literally could not hold in a big fucking smile when she told me! I was, ‘Oof, yes, I am out of here!!’

I should have filmed their face! It was priceless!

They went from all tensed up to wary: is this guy for real, is he actually happy to be let go?!

And then they relaxed and started smiling themselves (probably thinking: this is going SO MUCH BETTER!). I think we were the happiest people to ever leave a meeting like that. We all left with smiles on our faxes and everybody visibly relaxed. Half the meeting was my boss saying to the interim representant that she was happy with the quality of my work and the interim representant almost apologizing to me for finding me a job that did not meet my expectations. And assuring me that they would find a better job after this one ended …

Time to party

Honestly, I was looking forward to some quality time at home. Did I say I really enjoy relaxing at home?! Alas I wasn’t that lucky …

I had already starting looking for work beforehand and one of those applications was successful. And they wanted me to start as soon as possible. I did manage to push back my start date a bit but alas, on 15 November I was back at work. Only 1,5 months of being a lazy bum. Sigh, I guess you can’t have everything in life.

Scoring a hatrick

In that 3 month recap I posted what I was looking for in a new job:

1)      Closer to home (30 min by Vespa of 1 hour by decent e-bike). Basically Leuven.

2)      About the same wage as my current wage

3)      In a field that actually interests me (finance, IT, entertainment)

4)      Hopefully also a job I could transform into ‘less than part time’ once I have achieved financial freedom and I only need to earn the tax free sum of 7.400 euro.

So how did I do?

  • The job is near Leuven. Check!
  • My net wage is a bit higher than before (long live the Belgian Bicycle to work compensation! Tax free compensation is the best kind of compensation!). Check!
  • I now work in the Fintech sector, combining Finance and IT. Check!
  • Not possible in my current job. But things are moving and changing fast here so who knows in a few more years?

And then the most important part: do I like the new job?

Big check there!

The company is in the scale up phase at the moment. So insanely busy on all accounts. Part of me doing less posts here is because I am tired in the evening folks. And I really do not want to sit any more time behind the PC in the evening. But it is a good kind of tired. And the atmosphere is very much still start up rock and roll.

I knew I would be a good fit when  the CTO during my interview showed up and his wardrobe was even worse then mine is. I had dressed up but he showed up to the interview dressed as a street bum. I knew I was going to like this place immediately!

It wasn’t a typical interview either.

Some of the questions and my answers.

Q: How much importance do you attach to your job title?

A: zero

Q: What do you do when there is an insane amount of work to be done?

A: I work like a crazy person

Q: What do you do when there is no work to be done?

A: I get lazy. I work best under pressure. His reply: good, we’ve got heaps of pressure here.

Q: do you find it important to get credit for improving stuff

A: If it makes my work easier I don’t care who gets the credit. I have even in the past made sure my Boss got the credit so I could finally get my hands on that shiny new application that made my day to day work a lot easier!

Those answers got me hired! Which really shows the culture of this place. Also, the CTO left a month ago without any new job lined up. His plan: bum around in Portugal for a few months and then see what he feels like doing. I guess I got hired by a Moustachian!

Also, our CEO is transitioning into a new position at the big finance company that bought us and is on holiday now. So we are flying without a CEO or CTO at the moment. Rock and roll, baby!

It probably won’t last because, as a big finance corporation bought us. Some corporate stuff is already starting to seep in! But that is a gradual process. So by the time our atmosphere gets all corporate and stuffy I won’t be needing a job anymore … But for the time being, I do not mind working all that much!

 

Back to work: a three month recap

I just got a phone call from the temp agency that placed me at my current job to ask how everything went. The classic ‘how is it going?’, ‘you like it?’ blablabla.

You could see it as a nice gesture or them checking that the temporary placement will lead to a fix contract which means a few more months of making a profit on me and then getting a bonus from my employer for finding such a good match without them having to do any additional work (but that might just be my cynical side).

I saw it as a sign to write this three month recap.

So the job. What can I say. Well, it’s work. And a steady paycheck that has done wonders for my cash position on my checking and savings account. I was down to 900 euro available cash when I started this job (another limit I tested).

I start to know enough so it isn’t as boring as the first month when I could only do the most simple tasks. But it’s still pretty boring work (long live podcasts!). Then again, I find most things pretty boring after a couple of months.

The co-workers are also pretty boring. Perhaps it is the job. I can imagine that doing this job for years and years on end could crush anybody’s spirit. It could be me. I like investing and options, reading weird stuff on line and classic trance (although dark wave horror synth and old school goa aren’t bad either) and I have got two pet pigs. It’s not easy to build a report with people if you have to lie about what you did on your three day weekend (Friday 21 st July was a holiday in Belgium). I mean, that Friday I did some day trading and sold a put on AB Inbev, earning about one month in wages in three hours. I am NOT going to say THAT to any of my co-workers! And I am not even going to start about Saturday … Basically, I am a weird dude. And my co-workers aren’t.

And the job is in Brussels. So that is a long commute. Leave home at 7:15, only back at 18:15 except when I go swimming. Those days I am only home at 20h. Which means that a lot of practical stuff needs to be crammed into the weekend. So you have to live a much more planned life. When can you do practical stuff A, B and C, When do you have time to see a friend or visit family? Do they have time in their schedule to see you … I don’t really care for having my life dictated by google calendar…

I should actually exercise more if I ever want a change of actually losing some weight (almost 5 months of swimming, 3 x 2 km a week and net result is I gained two kilo, hoping it’s muscles …). I should also put more time in meal planning AND preparing. Both things that would be a lot easier to do without the current job.

I don’t want this post to turn into a complain post. Truth is I am pretty happy with the job. The pay is decent and as far as the work goes, I have worked under much harsh conditions for many years in the past. The boss is pretty relaxed and does not micro-manage (I hate micromanagement). A decent job was also the final puzzle piece missing for my last five years leading to financial freedom. But even if I could transform this job in a ‘less than part time’ job 5 years from now, I would not want to keep doing this job.

Truth be told, I found live to be a whole lot more pleasant when I didn’t need to work or even when I did the temp job near Leuven (and that job and co-workers also were boring). The closer location saved me 2 hours in commute. Only one hour when I went with the bike, but I liked biking to work a lot. I found it to be pretty relaxing. I just had a lot more hours in the week where I had control over as where now my time from 7:15 till 18:15 is pretty much outside of my control.

So the plan is to stick with the current job, hoping the work from home option becomes available as soon as I have a fix contract. And that I can stretch it to 2 days a week. If working two days from home is not possible I’ll work full time for the first year of my fix contract and then ask for a 4/5th contract. This should give me an extra free day every week. If I go to Brussels via e-bike the remaining three days, my take home pay should stay the same as now. I can see me doing that arrangement for the remaining years I need to achieve financial freedom.

In the meantime I will start looking for a good job closer to home. This is going to take a lot of time. I will be looking for a job that is:

1)      Closer to home (30 min by Vespa of 1 hour by decent e-bike). Basically Leuven.

2)      about the same wage as my current wage

3)      in a field that actually interests me (finance, IT, entertainment)

4)      hopefully also a job I could transform into ‘less than part time’ once I have achieved financial freedom and I only need to earn the tax free sum of 7.400 euro.

I’ll settle for 1 + 2 + 3. But getting 4 would be nice.

Off course, this means that job hunting is one more practical thing I need to put in my google calendar …

The new job

This short post had some people thinking the new job was horrible. Which it isn’t. Like I explained in the comments, it’s more like returning from a blue sky, 25 degrees (Celsius, for the Fahrenheit using people) vacation in October. Even if the weather in Belgium is ok-ish, it’s going to be gray and rainy. And even if you know the weather is actually ok-ish your brain is going to be saying: well this sucks. Because, during those first days it will suck. Not because of how the weather actually is but to what you are comparing it: a near idyllic, paradise situation. And compared to that, almost everything sucks. There is a valuable lesson here: a lot of the time we do not see the things as they are but how they compare to something else. Change your base of reference and all of a sudden things look or actually are something completely different!

It was a bit the same for me, I really enjoyed the three months at home. Really, really enjoyed it. So those first days adjusting to the work life were, ahum, ‘challenging’. The fact that google has been going higher and higher doesn’t help as I know I would have made more by day trading a few hours a day than working 8 hours like I have to do now. I really need to stop thinking that way. Or grow the balls to call it quits now and go the early retirement route/day trading route. Which I am not going to do, so brain: stop thinking this way!

So a little overview of the positive and negative sides of the job might be in order.

The positive:

Steady paycheck

And a nice paycheck at that. I am right back at making the average wage for Belgium. It’s more than the interim I worked at for 9 months, but that one did pay out an untaxed bicycle allowance. So in regards to net wages the difference will not be big.

And let’s face it, the steady pay check is the main reason why I took the job. Emphasis on steady. My day trading did fill the gap between unemployment and the average wage I was used to making. But day trading is fickle. Good months will be followed by bad months. The way I did it, it’s good as a little side hustle to make a bit extra money. The unemployment benefits would also diminish over time (this deserves its own post as the Belgian social security system is neither social nor offers it a lot of security). And after some time the government would start wondering why I was still unemployed and start asking proof that I was still actively looking for work. Dealing with government bureaucracy is not something I particularly enjoy … No, a steady pay check is the final puzzle piece I need for this last leg of my journey to financial freedom!

12 extra holidays

Once my interim period is over I will work 2 hours extra each week which translates into 1 extra holiday per month. I like that. That is two whole weeks I do not have to go to work! The normal amount of holidays is 20, so this is a 60% increase!

Work from home.

Again, once the interim period, is finished I will be able to work from home one day a week. A big win in my book and it should help to keep up with my swimming regime!

 The negative

The job is in Brussels.

That’s a total commute of three hour each and every day. By train. And the train in Belgium isn’t very punctual. So there are delays, a lot of them, almost every day. The work from home will help with this. It is also the reason why I am really happy with those twelve extra holidays. Those are not only 12 days I do not have to work, but also 12 days I do not have to go to work. It will save me 36 hours of commuting in total. The interim I did before this job was near Leuven, I even went by bicycle most of the days! I loved it! I looked for a new job closer by home, but the bulk of the companies that need somebody with my experience are located in Brussels. My present plan is to stay here for at least 2 years (this will also put the ‘patchy’ part of my Curriculum more in the past, which will help in getting interviews) and then very selectively start looking for a job closer to home.

I also try to look at the train ride in another way. I try to see it as a chance to catch up on some quality series. Believe it or not, but even after three months of being unemployed I still have a huge back log in series I want to watch! I thought I would totally eliminate that back log, but I actually didn’t watch that many series when I was home. There were only a handful of days where I did nothing except watching series. Most days I had other more fun things to do. By the way: Westworld is f*ing brilliant!

My 10 minute walk from the central station to my workplace I try to view as my healthy morning walk. It is through some touristy area of Brussels so people travel thousands of km’s to snap a picture of buildings I walk past every day!

But even with trying to look with a positive attitude to a big part of my commute, the fact remains I leave home at 7:15 in the morning and am back at 18:15, except Tuesday and Thursday when I go swimming: then it is closer to 20:00 when I am back home. Two days of teleworking from home would be ideal. We’ll see if I can arrange that in the future (= extra motivation to do a good job!)

The work

Well, it’s work. It is sitting behind a computer doing stuff for around 8 hours. There is a lot I need to learn but there will be enough variety in my day. Which is good. I like variety, it makes the day go by faster. I actually did spend a lot of time behind my computer when I was home also. I like surfing the net, reading about interesting stuff, figuring stuff out or go on the hunt for classic techno tracks from my youth (spend the bulk of my last weeks at home doing this, still haven’t finished!). The difference is, now I have to do work stuff. Which I find a lot less interesting than all the stuff I did when home. But that is ok. I did it before: usually I build in some rewards during my day. Finish task A, then read a blogpost. Finish task B, then take a little break. Finish task C, time for lunch! … It breaks the work day into 4 blocks or more and makes the day go faster. When I am able to do this system it actually improves my productivity!

 Conclusion

Although at 42 I am in a way better position than most of my peers in the ‘having to work’-department the fact remains I am on a course to achieve financial freedom (even with some work once this is achieved) when I am 47 or 48. Although this is 20 years less than the official age I find this pretty, pretty old. Hell, I find 42 pretty old. I now know 35 (or perhaps even 32) should be possible if one starts young enough on this path. The solution for this is part letting go of the fact I did not follow the optimal route and part of the solution is getting in better shape. I know for a fact that improving my physique and losing weight will make me feel younger again (I have a very interesting story about that 5 month window where I lost a lot of weight and experimented with a testosterone booster, it sure made me feel a lot younger!).

So even if I did enjoy the 3 month test run of early retirement immensely, the reality of life is that I still have some work to do. Work in the house (finish the home renovations), work on my health (lose weight, build muscles) and work on the stash (it needs to be bigger).

I guess it is time to get to work again!

Important public announcement

After being home for three months and having worked for a week I can with certainty say that life is a hell of a lot better when you do not have to work.

That is all.*

 

 

*Brevity is the soul of wit

Buying a vespa 125cc

Two weeks ago I bought myself a Vespa GTI 125cc

If I am totally honest about it, I bought it because I wanted one. They’re great looking scooters and even driving it around our block I was immediately transported back to my youth. I had some of the best moments of my life being 16, 17 years old. Totally worry free and just cruising the scooter I had back then (a Honda Camino 50cc that legally only could go 45 km/h but i off course had it souped up to around 75 km/h, yes I was that type of guy …). I still remember one summer where Belgium had one of our rare heat waves of + 30 degrees celcius, cruising down the streets of my home town to meet up with some friends and then go swimming in a fishing pond my parents rented. The fact that a few nice looking girls decided to join us for a swim was a fact that made those days all the more enjoyable for my teenage self …

The frugal part

But was it also a frugal purchase? In some ways it was.

I bought it second hand for 2.750 euro and it was very well taken care of, with less than 11.000 km of use. New they cost around 4.300 to 4.800 euro’s.

It’s a 125cc, which means that I can drive it with the my current driver license. When you have a car driver license for over a year you can drive motorcycles up to 125 cc in Belgium (this apparently does not apply for the Netherlands).

Insurance is very cheap since we can add it to our car insurance: it will only cost 93 euro for one year.

The fuel economy is a lot better than our car (we have a Opel Combo) so I will probably save more than the insurance cost on car fuel.

It will avoid us from needing a second car with all the costs that entails while still giving us a lot more mobility options: I am in the centre of Leuven (20 km distance) in about 30 minutes. Going to the swimming pool only takes 10 minutes and no more worrying about parking space.

A friend of mine has the exact same one, he is a trained mechanic and is part of a Vespa Scooter club: maintenance will be cheap.

The not so frugal part

We already own an excellent electric bicycle. I could use that. I did use that bicycle to go to my temp work for about 9 months (distance also around 20 km). But I did also use the car when the girlfriend did not have to work. Not having to go to work with the bicycle every single day was really, really nice. Having to cycle home, after swimming was really, really annoying. I am just not in good enough shape for that!

Continuing to use the electric bicycle would have saved me all of the money.

I could have bought a cheaper model. You can find nice, good running 125 cc scooters for 1.500 euro or even less. Most other Vespa models are even cheaper than this one. I definitely could have saved 1.000 euro on the purchase price and gotten all the same advantages of owning a 125cc scooter I have now. I went for the nicest model.

Conclusion

I know my most hard core frugal days are behind me. I am getting soft in my old age. And there even is a pattern to detect. I didn’t own a bed until I was 38 years old. But when I bought one, I bought a very nice full oak one. It’s fantastic! In the dilemma between buy cheap or buy once for the rest of your life I usually advocate for buying cheap so you can get more of your money working for you. But one some things I appear to fall in the buy once for the rest of your life. I will probably never buy another scooter in my life. And I know for a fact I will never buy another bed in my life time. And I wanted a nice looking, great scooter for the rest of my life!

It is also only around 1% of my stash, so for the young people reading this and still building their stash: use your bicycle or buy a cheap scooter and use it until it falls apart and build your stash! And then buy a nice scooter!!

Ps. For those of you wondering, yes that is my drive way and no, the building in the back is not my house. It’s a barn (which we don’t really use). And yes, to the right there is an old green house (we don’t use that either).  I’ll do a post or two about our house in the future. Not buying it would have brought me really close to FI right about now, so the house probably added about 5 years of working. Well worth it in my opinion.

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