Thursday, 1 November 2018

FI37,94


The Financial Independence number of today, the first of November 2018, is 37,94.
It is the Freedom Independence number, as I no longer work.

With a limited budget, my assets hopefully will last me 37,94 years.  I don't include the value of my small studio as I always must have somewhere to live and I also do not include the state and pension rights I will have rights to in seventeen years as their value then, can not be estimated. Assets are also not to be evaluated and neither are budgets but I am banking on price increases to be covered by interests and dividends.

If not, I might be in trouble. I will get another half a monthly salary and a basic unemployment benefit eventually and it will last me the year out of so.
I may still work more, I also may not.
It will not be a rich life, but I have the benefit of already living within my frugal budget.

They days fly by and I have plenty of projects to keep my life interesting.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Baking


This is the result of my new hobby.

Alsassian ginger flavoured biscuits, vanilla Amarettos, a loaf of bread and a pie crust for the man to fill for his lunches next week.

With no stupid job to go to, a focus on my history thesis’s and a wonky hip limiting my running, baked goods is what I am left with.
I love it.

I spend my days in archives, virtual anD real, deciphering 16th century French.
I cook, clean, knit and read books.
It is really a wonderful life, post-work.

Sure, the sudden drop in world market economy is scary. This time not even caused by the cheeto, meaning there may be a reason behind it. Still, all the hard saving have left my with filled coffers, and I shouldn’t worry. Should’t.
Sure, the lump in my breast was scary but it has now been x-rayed, ultrasounded and the entirely natural and harmless cyst was drained with a needle. Completely harmless. May occur again, still harmless.
Sure, the future is uncertain, but now and the next year is fine.


P.S. All the baking was prepared and timed so when the oven went on, it was efficiently used and also made dinner.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Nothing

Nothing to worry about.
The lump in my breast is considered harmless and most certainly not a growth.
It will be photographed through mammography and possibly have the internal fluid analysed but it is not urgent.  It will not be today. We will give it a little more time. The lump is still shrinking.

I can not enough express my gratitude to free public health care. 
I am equally grateful for the rational thinking of the warm-hearted doctor I met. She left me with no uncertainly as to what it could be or what could have caused it, while she also made sure I expressed any worries that I had.
Together these two gifts enables me to just go on with my life.

So I will. 

Monday, 1 October 2018

FI40,08

We have survived the once-every-three years family gathering in our house. We came out of it with flying colours (a lot of "but this tastes gooood" in a surprised tone of voice! The man is a wizard in the kitchen and I am an excellent planner and cleaner; together we make a good host couple and there will always be enough forks. We are just not entirely fond of having people in our house...)

Anyway, the stock markets are flying and the financial independence number stands at 40,08; my assets excluding somewhere to live as well as private and state pensions which I cannot control, could last me over forty years.
It is almost imaginary numbers as it requires me to live on the existing annual budget and that the value increase (think compound interests) match or supersede the annual cost increases. Nobody will know but the hard work the last years, saving hard and spending as little as possible will have paid off, when I work my last paid day at my current job in two weeks.
A few more payments called salary and vacation expenses and then it will stop.
A step out into the unknown.
Of uncertainty.

Or rather - into my master thesis work and deep diving into archives containing documents from the 16th century around Europe. I have plenty to do and have no time for work. I feel very energetic and even the professor guiding my work, has caught the bug. He has dug out old unfinished work that he is now publishing in all sorts of fora. He was my first teacher of history and I am so happy he is the thesis counsellor.

I have given myself a year of no worry (ha - but that is the plan). An annual budget will be placed on a separate account to live off until September 2019 or graduation, whichever comes first. Then I will apply for something paid, within current or new work field and in the man's country of the Netherlands. Then, and only then will I leave the comforting arms of my mother's country.

(None of the above is more than a plan. I continue to apply to jobs that sounds good and have so far declined a good job in an awful work place, and declined an interview in what sounds like a good place but for a completely wrong position. All of that may be a waste of time, mine and theirs, but it makes me feel good. I also have a lump in my breast that will be checked out next week and unless that is all fine and nothing to worry about, all plans are off the table.)

The future is now - or rather in two weeks.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

FI39,86


I don't know what happened but the financial markets where my assets are invested went sky high the last weeks and only dropped a little before the monthly "counting of my money". As I work the last months of my notice period, without a new job in sight and with less than high ambitions for a new job - it is a relief.

The financial independence number (FI) is currently 39,86. This means that the total assets in my name divided with my current annual budget, could last me over 39 years. I have roughly estimated another thirty five years to live and seventeen years until pension rights starts paying out with citizenship in one of the worlds socially secure countries - I think I will be all right even if it is scar. And even if I chose not to live in the country of my citizenship but in a safe but social security market oriented country.

My pension funds are not included in my FI-number because I have no control over most of them. They will pay out if and when they pay out. I have also not included the value of my apartment (although the neighbour apartment sold this summer for 1/3 more than I paid for mine). I have also not included a forthcoming inheritance as the value and the circumstances are still uncertain. It could be up to another five years annual budgets though (but not without some difficult work... Dang, if you are going to die, just get your own affairs in order, will you please!)

It is a relief to have this money available, but let us all be reminded of one thing:
Most of you do not live within my annual budget. Most of you are not motivated enough to live within my annual budget.

This FI-number is the result of some serious lifestyle choices and cost avoidances. It is the result of eight years serious savings and probably a lifetime of careful spending and budgeting before that. There are none or few "indulgences" in my life. Almost no take-out food, restaurant visits or luxuries involved. My life always involves planning each action and activity, always looking for a cheaper deal, always making the effort to save money and never paying to save time. My annual budget is below national average and touching the "poverty" income level for most European countries.
Don't be envious. You have a lot of things I do not have so be grateful for your own assets instead and value what you have.


Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Explosion

I had a new job. Bang! Just like that!
Explosion! Then I did not.

The recruiting agent for 'the good manager with the strange job' called me in for an interview in another country with one day's notice. On the day after the interview, I had a verbal offer. Salary accepted. I mentioned conditions (because the job is a bit strange and none were discussed) including asking for a visit to the office I was actually to work (not where I interviewed - or where the manager works). If the conditions would not alter the salary agreement, I would have a new job. A good manager and an even better corporate leader. Inspiring. Enthusiastic.
Starting soon. My notice for the old job was very timely.

Then started a very inept process with inert discussions and delayed communications about actual contract conditions and the arrangements for an office visit. I was basically doing the work of the recruiting agent and the contracting agency, and almost starting to do job assignments.

Eventually, a visit was set up in the new office. Just for a visit a few minutes to indulge the new employee, very friendly and welcoming on the day.
Except waking in, I was shocked. I was met with the most suicidal atmosphere possible. Hollow-eyed snearing people without hope or enthusiasm. And a physical space to match.
Grey, dead with people in booths and a coffee machine.
I have seen very many bad offices and work environments in my line of work. This was a burn-out machine. To work in that place was not an option. Physically or mentally.

My happiness turned into despair in a minute.

The office person saw my reaction. HR was called in. The day after the job offer was revoked.

It is really very sad. I wanted to do that job and to work in that team
That office would not be the place to do it. The company was not suitable for me - or humanity.
The manhandled recruitment process. The reaction to anything but complete obedience.
The revoking of the offer without discussions or alternatives or adaptations. (Although, to be fair, HR called to tell me directly. Not to listen, but to tell.)

I had a few days afterwards where I walked around first angry, then chocked and then sad.
I would have been so good for that team, I could walk into that job and be challenged for at least the first years and then have options to develop the tasks. It would have been so good.
But it was not to be. It took days to get over the drama. I may never fully recover. It is still sad.

The decision to revoke application and offer was ENTIRELY mutual.
I did not get to take the decision but in the end it does not matter.
With FIFTY years of life experience and with FI, financial independence, that was not to be for me.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Thresholds

Life includes thresholds and so does most homes.

They are practical to keep doors from dragging on the floor and keeping the outside out. They are impractical to stub toes against and to restrict access for people with physical limitations.

I have seven, not including the raised one into the shower room (the one I broke my foot against) and the thresholds of the front door and the balcony door.

Seven thresholds covered in black and grey laminate - except that I took ten minutes off my life and a rag with regular cleaning liquid and washed them.
Fifteen years of only having been mopped when the floors been mopped and they turned grey in the corners. After a scrub, they are now all black and only black.
We might be the only ones in the world who never cleaned thresholds with any particular attention.

Either way, I am not going back to just mopping the thresholds. Yes, there is yet another thing to clean - but a very rewarding result from ten minutes and some arm strength.

I am still leaving my job. Rubicon has been crossed.
I might project manage every little thing in our lives from now on. 

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Jeans for a fiver

I have bought jeans for a fiver. That is €5 per pair of perfect beige jeans in my size.

As the man has the same size in jeans as I, together we bought four pairs of identical jeans.
We were on a walk when we dropped into the neighbourhood outlet/left-over/damaged goods shop.

I have rarely bought anything there but it is an excellent shop to visit when retail therapy is needed. Allowed to buy anything I want, as long as I really want it, spending an hour looking through everything usually cures any retail needs and rarely cost much or even anything (I rarely really really want anything from there but that is mostly not the point when the shopping bug hits. The wanting I mean.)

This time we walked onto a pallet of odd coloured and odd sized jeans, including our odd size. The man wanted yellow, green, red, blue jeans but our size were only available in beige which I preferred anyway. The shop provides no opportunity to try things on, but I pulled one pair over my shorts and declared them perfectly sized. We bought two pairs, went home, tried them on, looked for any faulty sewing or fabric damage and then promptly went back to buy all the other available pairs in our size.

All fitted even better after being washed. Only one seam had a loose thread needing a few stitches.
A three minute job.

I put one pair in my storage while I start using one pair normally. (This way in three years, I will have one good pair and one used pair instead of two worn pairs.) The man will probably dye one of his pairs when cheap fabric dye comes up. I struck the task of finding right sized trousers off my wish list and the man took the urgent need to find summer clothes off his.

We are very happy with four pairs of jeans for €20. An unexpected cost but a much needed wardrobe addition for whatever the future contains.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Vertigo

I have vertigo (mentally) and I have to remind myself that I have solid ground around me.

My financial independence number is over thirty, meaning I have assets worth over thirty years of my current annual budget. I have pension rights that will pay out at least something in fifteen years. I have a small apartment that is also worth something and cost very little. It could be generating a few more years worth of financial independence while reducing the annual budget.

Normally I only count my financial independence number at the beginning of the month.
Now, I count it again.

I have just given notice to my current job and will leave after a vacation. The vacation started immediately. I actually just walked out (or logged off as I work remotely on-line.)

It was dramatic yesterday but after having complained about the decreasing quality of  the product the company delivers as well as the quality of support the employees receives, an invite to a meeting to go through the entire system to look for things that could be improved, pushed me over the limit. Every report I have made over the past years when noticing something wrong, has been clubbed down, hard. Anybody else reporting the same thing is thanked for bringing attention to the issue - I get a lecture on why it has to be as it is until it can be fixed in half a year.

So I've had it.
They can replace me.
I've got money to safeguard me.

I have been to two interviews for two different new positions in the last weeks but nothing has come of it, and while one manager was great, that job is a bit strange. The good job has a strange manager.

Deep breath, it will sort itself out.
I have thirty years to make more money.

Now I will enjoy my vacation.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Cat

I have not adopted a cat.
I will not adopt a cat. The man will not adopt a cat. We have been without cat for five years now and although we miss the last grumpy fat cat terribly, it is nice to go away for the weekend without a cat sitter.

We said we would not adopt a cat. I said we would wait until we got adopted.

We have not been adopted but oh my - it was so close.

Kitty was what I called the scared cat who occasionally came to the back area of our apartment building. She had a collar that mostly looks like a flea collar. Kitty used to be very shy and never wanted to cuddle.

A few weeks ago, Kitty became sociable to me. Very sociable.
Kitty came when called and always very sweet. She started to lie under our balcony on the downstairs neighbours outdoor space every day and talk to us when we were outside.
It was very hard not to scoop her up and take her in.
Except that it is not my cat.
But she had what looked like a bad eye infection. Should I scoop her up and take her to a vet? After several weeks of agony and googling all lost cat registries in town to see if somebody was looking for her, I put a piece of tape on her collar asking if there was an owner. Do I have a home?

Within two days there were two identification tags on her. With two different phone numbers.
And the downstairs neighbour had started feeding her and was willing to take her to the vet AND to adopt her permanently.
Everybody in the area was ready to be the owner of Kitty.

Kitty had cuddled her way into at least two homes, and was well on her way into the third. The owner who spent the most money on the cat identification tag, lives around the corner and has three other cats. The damaged eye happened when Kitty was a kitten and is not an eye infection.

I am now safely down to fourth in line to be adopted by Kitty.

She still comes when I call but I think she knows I am on to her tarty tricks. I also do not feed her so I am only her fourth best friend. We still cuddle well together though and she licks her lady parts while I stretch outside after running.

It is nice to have a cat of ones own who comes when being called for but goes to hair on the sofa of somebody else.