Saturday, 1 June 2019


I leave my early retirement with a financial independence number of 40,42.

The number means that all my available assets divided with an annual budget needed to keep the simple life I have, would last me over 40 years. The prediction is that interests and dividends will keep up with price and cost increases (which nobody of course will know anything about for the future, FIRE or no FIRE data. Look it up, it is a thing.)

The number also means that I could live my life without further income until I turn ... 90.
With my family history, I have a life expectancy of over 85, so the assets will be needed and used up in full.

The calculation does not include current values of pensions (private or state) or the value of my home I will always need to live somewhere, I can not assess the value until the studio is sold and a replacement home has been acquired. I may be counting lean, but rather lean than over-reaching.

Anyway, so money isn't the reason why I leave early retirement.
I leave because I need to know that I can, because it makes emigration from my mother's country and immigration into the man's country so much easier, and because I need the challenge (apparently - it is as much a surprise to me as it is to anybody else. But I really do not like not working (or making plans and decisions with large investments).) So I am going back to work.

The calculations of the independence number in the future will have to be set up, as well as a new annual budget calculated. Setting up taxation, moving money between countries and generating savings in the new country will also take time. The future will have to sort itself out.

So far during this blog, since January 2015, I have gone from a financial independence number of 28,9 to over 40. The calculations have not changed, I have not received any major pay-outs but instead paid my tax debt from having sold my house already in 2014, and I have worked 80% the entire time, keeping two homes in two different countries the entire time. Size matters, and even small savings grow over the years. Small budgets help, making them smaller step by step makes the savings better. 

Monday, 27 May 2019


I have given up the early retirement and I am going back to work.

I applied for a job I was only half qualified for, in the country where the man lives, even in the town where he lives and where I have spent much time the past five to ten years, for a company I respect.
Of course I did not get the job, but they made me another.

The company made me a job that fits me.
A perfect fit and a perfect timing.
I start 1 June.

The process has been beyond belief. The experience almost incomprehensible.
I still find it difficult to believe.
But they made me a job, advertised it internally, warned everybody that they would have to match this external candidate they had found, gave me about 25% more in salary than I have ever made in my entire life and relocated me from my mother's country to the man's country within 18 hours.
Because I do not own very much and want to keep even less, it was packed up within an hour.
I start in a few days.

It shouldn't not happen. It doesn't happen to me. I very nearly did not even apply.
Actually, I actually did not even fully apply. I only sent my regular CV. No letter, nothing more.
The internal recruiter spotted it, called for an impromptu interview and brought me to the attention of the department. This is why internal recruiters are so much better for the company than any agency.

I met with the cynical leader of the department. We solved the world's problems in half an hour.
I met with the manager of the department. We became firm friends in twenty minutes.
I met with the head of the department. A very impressive person, highly admirable.
I met with the manager of the neighboring department. We made plans to solve the company issues.

I do not know what is wrong with them -
they love me, they want me and they told the recruiter to get me.
It may be appropriate to quote Groucho Marx: I do not want to belong to a club who wants me as a member except in this case; this is my dream company.

I will cycle to work.
I will live with the man full time.
I will make a shitload of money... and
I will have absolutely no time to spend the money as I will be working silly hours.
I will be Senior + my profession + list of abbreviations for my specialisation + position
at a company you will have heard of. I may not blog very often after this month.

Onnittelut Suomi!

Tuesday, 21 May 2019


We go on vacation to have it worse than we have at home, so that we enjoy what we have better.

Or at least, we go on vacation to live vastly different than we do at home.

With Flux moving into the consistency of pudding, we packed up tent and camping equipment.
Strapped it on our trekking bicycles, rolled onto the train and went to sleep outdoors with limited internet access for a few days.

Steam train
Six days filled with instant food and remote sacrificial burial places from the first millennia and a steam train. I like trains.

We then went home to clean and negotiate for a job.
And cleaned everything.

Waiting for response, we packed up again and repeated the procedure for the waterlandscaped areas. Pondering pumping equipment run with either steam or wind, enjoying long conversations with several fanatic members of local museums, we slept outside another three nights.
Empty camp sites, spacious bicycle roads, cheap prices.

Came home, negotiated salary for said job.
And cleaned everything.
Our tent
Now, we stay at home enjoying flushing toilets, sitting on upholstery and walking around naked. Coffee, fresh vegetables and warm feet are treats to be appreciated and cherished.

Vacation is for change, widening of horizons and spreading ones wings. It is for living primitively and knowing what is essential and what is not.
For example: I had to buy deodorant on the way.
Lesson: Using deodorant is good, even essential.
Using one that does not smell as a Friday night on the boat to Finland would be better.
Combining warm sweaty cycling with that deodorant, smelling as the Saturday morning on the boat back from Finland, made me thoroughly appreciate the windy outdoors.

I went on vacation and came home with a deep appreciation for no-fragrance deodorant.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019


I do not know exactly what happened.
My Financial Independence number (assets divided by annual budget) just ballooned in April.

I know it must have to do with the development on the markets where my assets are invested.
It is kind of ridiculous to go from 39 last month (and 37 three months ago) to over 42 years of available assets in such a short time. Ridiculous and high risk of course.
For once, it was my turn to score some of it.
Yes, I am taking home profits and solidifying assets.

No. I am still not making any money beyond my unemployment benefits (although they are minimal income, they are exceeding my monthly needs as they are slightly below my annual budget and I can keep wants low for at least the next year). I saved hard for years to be able to say "Nah, you know boys, this isn't fun any more, close the lid on my laptop and go home.
So I did. October 2018.

I am very grateful to my previous self to have saved diligently, invested carefully and learning about investments against my natural interest. I thank my old me for every magazine I never bought, each taxi I did not take and all take-out food I never paid for and instead stayed hungry for another half an hour until I was home and cooked for myself. Every scrap of leftover food saved and utilised. Every other saved piece of money over ten years adds up to a lifestyle to be kept on a low budget and savings available to bad times. I am grateful to my past me.

Today I wear red and white in honour of Ajax beating Tott'n'm Hotspurs yesterday in the first (away) match in the semi-finals of Champions League. (This is the finest European international football league for all you with interests otherwise. Ajax is the pride of Mokum (Amsterdam) and my new love. Spurs are from north London and I've only ever been to their nightclub. A story for another time).

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Project Office 2019 finished

I can say that Project Office 2019 is finished.

The project included emptying our office/library/largest bedroom where we do not sleep. This took over three months.
The aim of the project was to take out disgusting cat-friendly flooring and to put in people friendly floorboards. At the same time we were to repaint the entire room. For us this meant that we paint it exactly the same way it was before, as the project is not a redecoration, just a renovation.

The floor went in over one day, the painting took two days including drying time.
It then looked like this:
Left corner
Right corner

Then it took another day to erect the seven book-cases and the desk. Another week or two was used in order to focus on the correct replacement of all books and stuff (this is after having gone through everything in the previous months, culling a lot of not-any-more interesting books and stuff.

Curtains, floor-strips, a slight adjustment in one floor board and since the middle of April, we have been standing in the office being astonished that we did it. The total cost has been calculated and was equivalent of a month and a half of food. This was more than expected as we unexpectedly also had to change the under-flooring. It adds nothing to the value of the apartment as we rent and are responsible for floors and most things internally.

Since then the office has been in full use. The plan from over five years ago, had been completed and we could not say exactly how it happened. Many, many little steps over long time. We pat ourselves on the shoulder for a job well done and closed the window for annual house repairs. 2019 was done!

But I could not honestly say that the project was finished. There were still paint pots and tools in the kitchen, a left over book-case in the living room and the last stack of books on their way out of the house to the charity shop. It has been a ridiculously slow process to move each item into their right place.

However, now, now, now - it is done, almost The paint pots and tools are cleaned and stacked away neatly. The temporary book-case we have used for five years, is waiting for its new owner. There is a bag with books by the door for today's daily walk past the charity shop. Then it all will be done.


Tuesday, 23 April 2019


When evening has come, I return and go into my study. At the door I take off my clothes of the day, covered in mud and mire, and I put on my regal and courtly garments; and decently reclothed I enter the ancient courts of ancient men, where, received by them lovingly, I feed on the food that alone is mine and that I was born for. There I am not ashamed to speak with them and to ask them the reasons for their actions: and they in their humanity reply to me. And for the space of four hours I feel no boredom, I forget every pain, I do not fear poverty, death does not frighten me. I deliver myself entirely to them.
Printed in Frank Furedi Power of Reading (2015), p 52 note 72, referring to dead web link of the Catholic university of America from 2014.

When evening comes, I return home and enter my study; on the threshold I take off my workday clothes, covered in mud and dirt, and take on the garments of court and palace. Fitted out appropriately, I step inside the venerable courts of the ancients, where, solicitously received by them, I nourish myself on that food that alone is mine and for which I was born; where I am unashamed to converse with them and to question them about the motives for their actions, and they, out of their human kindness, answer me. And for four hours at a time I feel no boredom, I forget my troubles, I do not dread poverty, and I am not terrified of death. I absorb myself into them completely.
Machiavelli and his friends: Their personal correspondence, Northern Illinois University Press, 1996, p 262-65- Translation: J.B. Atkinson, David Sices

On the coming of evening, I return to my house and enter my study; and at the door I take off the day's clothing, covered with mud and dust, and put on garments regal and courtly; and reclothed appropriately, I enter the ancient cours of ancient men, where received by them with affection, I feed on that food which only is mine and which I was born for, where I am not ashamed to speak with tehm and to ask them the reason for their actions; and they in their kindness answer me; and for four hours of time I do not feel boredom, I forget every trouble, I do not dread poverty, I am not frightened of death; entirely I give myself over to them.
Quoted from University of Washington (no source given)

Als het avond wordt, ga ik naar huis terug en begeef me naar mijn sudeervertek. Zodra ik over de drempel ben, ontdoe ik me van mijn vuile en beslijkte plunje van alledag en trek een koninklijk en ceremonieel gewaad aan. Wanneer ik me aldus passend gekleed heb, treed ik de hoven van de grote mannen uit de Oudheid binnen. Ze ontvangen me hartelijk en ik voed me daar met de spijs die de enige is waarvoor ik geboren ben. Ik schaam me dan niet hen aan te spreken en hen naar de drijfveren van hun daden te vragen. Zij antwoorden mij welwillend, en vier uur lang voel ik geen ellende, vergeet ik alles wat mij terneerdrukt, vrees ik geen armoede, jaagt zelfs de dood me geen angst aan. I word één van hen.
Tijdschrift De Tweede Ronde 7/1986. Transl to Dutch: Frans Denissen

This is from a letter dated 10 December 1513, from Niccolo Machiavelli to Francesco Vettori.
It is one of the world most spread private letter and available in numerous translations.
All slightly different. Which one do you prefer? Do you have another version?
I prefer "courtly garments" but "unashamed", "forget my troubles" and the Dutch ending where he becomes one of them.
I now wear an old gentleman's pyjama jacket with silk collar when sitting reading in the sofa.

Friday, 12 April 2019


I live in a state of constant flux and it is tiring.

My focus is on short term projects, this day and possibly this weekend.
No longer and not often more than right now.
Baking is a relief.
Tomato bread. brown bread and a huge frangipane (Bakewell) tart.
I try keep the long term projects in vision, the five-year dreams and the twenty year ambitions. 
Long term ambition is to not eat too much cake.
All our medium-term projects are all up in the air. This summer, the rest of the year, the next one to three years are undecided.
The plan to leave work, study and live happily ever after, was realised last year but it has turned out to not sit very well with me.

I like having a lot to do and although I can keep myself busy, I miss my job.
So I am looking for a job. A good one and a long-term one.
My job search is laborious and although not successful, not without its accomplishments.

There has been a number of high-level interviews in the past few months.

Each job interview invitation triggers a new medium-term project for our lives.
A lot of strategic questions have to be discussed.
How we could live, where we could live, which country or countries we could live in, if the salary would be worth it, and what other consequences are.

It has been tiring and straining. Dedication costs energy.

After each job interview, either the project (aka the job) peters out or is declined - from their side or mine. So far, only one interview has presented a job similar to the advertised position. In that process I was vastly out-merited by another candidate. Disappointing but good for the company to be able to hire a real gem. Simultaneously, somewhat a relief as the personal life-style consequences were high, possibly too high. Some career moves are just not worth doing even if they are possible and have benefits. It is all chess; it is all a cost-benefit analysis.

All these medium-term projects proposals, have had a few constant requirements. Very few as our lives are quite flexible.
Location can be any EU/EEA/candidate country/CH except the UK.
The man only moves from his country if he wants to.
I only move from my mother's country to the man's country, otherwise the company must 'expat' me.
The new housing situation is paid by me.
The job is at a company with professionalism and sound work-place values.
and most importantly, a company needing my marginal work specialisation.
Moving is easy as I do not own much beyond books and clothes.

I am going at it again this afternoon with another interview.
Shoes are polished. Suit ironed. Meditation done. Peace, harmony and personal drive.

Monday, 1 April 2019


Spring is here, 
Tom Lehrer

And 1 April came as a joke; it came fast, unexpected and changed my world.

Financial independence number is 39,77: A remarkable number for a person without a job.
It is a calculation of an accumulation of all assets (except pension rights and the value of my small apartment as I will always have to live somewhere), divided by my annual budget. The number indicates the number of years my assets will last me if price increases are covered by interests and dividends (which nobody will be able to know anything about). I do not expect to have any assets left when my life comes to an end.

April is the end of March when we renovated our office (or second bedroom), established seven bookcases and filled them up.
We have entered modern style and fine interior. Although nothing has changed, this being a restoration rather than a re-decoration, everything has changed and is now of a quality to last us 15 years (the previous hurried works did not last the thirteen years that has passed since they were done).
We have patted ourselves on the back several times and spent a lot of time just standing in the office looking around amazed at what we managed to do. The annual project renovation is closed.

March has been a month with several different futures. Each job interview generated preparations with studies into a new technology, a different company and assessment of a new life style, often in a different country. After three such projects with two disappointments and one flat out refusal on my behalf (there are life styles no amount of money can compensate), the decision was not to make any more plans. The next project was not planned and also cost nothing - and will come of nothing. Again, the life offered by the job is not worth the price we would have to pay for it.

Life goes on, new projects, new days. All is well. The baking and the running are advancing.
The baking included a honey sponge cake (it looks pretty but didn't rise properly) and Yorkshire puddings which were simple, filling and absolutely lovely.

Spring is here and there are pigeons in the park.

Sunday, 10 March 2019


We currently live with one room less.
Normally, we think we have a small apartment. Two small bedrooms, one single, one double. One narrow kitchen, with no room for a table. One living room. And six meter hallway, one walk in closet, one heating closet, one toilet and one shower room.
(We sleep in the single bedroom where we have squeezed in a large bed between three walls.)

The double bedroom, that we use as an office/ study/ library, has been emptied into the living room.
Seven book cases have been dismantled into the heating closet and kitchen. Desk and chair into bedroom and hallway. All books and stuff, including two chests of drawers, decorate our living room.

Every thing we do requires planning. That goes there, this here and that can stand in front of the fridge for a while. The bicycle storage is filled with old carpet and under flooring. Bicycles stand outside, double locked of course. (It is Amsterdam after all.) We even have some in the hallway until the city comes to collect Tuesday (sorry, neighbors).

However, we have reached phase two. We are now done dismantling and are working to put good things in. Almost everything is painted, the building manager has been here too look at the wet/rusting wall, and we’ll live with the non-sticking poster paint (we have a great housing corporation but it is a repurposed building, and it is Amsterdam after all. Standard of living isn’t as high here as in Scandinavia. We’ll survive.)

So now new under flooring go in, the new floor start going in tomorrow and by the weekend, we can slowly start the chaos of assembling seven book cases, two chests of drawers and trying to restructure some type of order again. I think we will find stuff in unexpected corners and keep moving things a round for a long time.

Interesting timing. I have an interview for a cool job later this week, only two hours away.

Friday, 1 March 2019


Holy camoly; my financial Independence number has come back up and is today at 39,31.

That means that when all my assets available to me (so not pension rights or apartment value f.ex.) are summarised and divided by my annual budget, it would last me over 39 years. Presuming the value of the assets doesn't crash again or that the dividends and interests cover price increases - and presuming that I never make another øre in my life (read: penny, cent, kopek, groschen, centime or which ever your financial references are).

So Jeez Louize - although I left my job in October and have not have had any salary income since November and although no inheritance has been paid out yet (because I am related to imbeciles), and although my unemployment benefits are less than my monthly budget; although everything:
interest, value increases and dividends have covered the rest and kept the assets at a level for FIRE. (Google the term if you are not ERE - Extreme Early Retirement or belongs to the Mustachioed group or the Money or your life-generation.)

I am also eating lots of iron and vitamins and have finally kicked the coughing. Healthy and energetic again, finally. Liver sausage and oranges together are a great pick-me-up for the north hemisphere in the winter. So what if I am a vegetarian by choice - I like liver sausage - especially with pickled cucumbers. Together they increase ability to be absorbed and usually within a day or to, the pale Scandi's look almost healthy again. I hope the weekend will include a re-start of the running.

It is Friday and we are sharing a bottle of wine and watching this weeks episode of the Great British Sewing Bee. So lame, so camp, so lovely.