Sunday, 20 October 2019

First step

In 2010, when I stopped buying, this was the first step.

The handle on my hairbrush broke. A new one could have cost anything from € 1 to 10 (or unlimited amounts but that is of course not alternative when I am involved). 
I consciously decided to repair the handle instead. 
A piece of woven tape (gaffa or duct tape) around the handle sorted the issue in a minute.
It is now 2019 and the hairbrush is still here.
It has moved three countries, lost seven pegs and has got a new ribbon to honour my new country.

I saved 1€ nine years ago. 
Interest and inflation will not have made any great financial saving or gain of assets. 
The attitude is was the change and the opportunity for dramatic financial change
This is where the savings, the asset gains and the lifestyle changes happened. 
That is what created financial independence today.
I do not need to indulge myself.
I chose saving over image.
I chose function over style.
I don’t replace what already works.
I keep things until they break, then I repair them every time they break until they cannot be repaired again. Then I live without if I can. I will replace if I need to, but with either cheapest or best.

The hairbrush still have months, possibly even years left of use in it.
When the pegs all give out and it doesn’t brush my hair any more,
the spare brush in the spare box is waiting its turn (a hotel gift from a business trip).

I have my hairbrush needs covered for the next ten years and no expenses are budgeted. 

I have hairbrush financial freedom.
It was the first step.
What do you have that will cover your needs for the rest of your life?

Tuesday, 1 October 2019


Today on the first day of the month my financial independence number is 43,59 (+).

It means that I can live on my annual budget for 43 and a half year on my current assets without income. In my assets I do not include pension rights that I cannot currently access, assets in my new country or the value of my little apartment (because I will always have to live somewhere). I do not have any debt so I do not deduct them. This year I do not even have a tax debt.

However, as of next month the sale of my little apartment will close and I will be paid the remainder of the sale price. After that, this asset will be included and my FI number will increase by another four years. I will then not have anywhere to live. I will no longer own any property and I will hold no rent contract in my own name. It is slightly scary. It is the first time in over thirty years and I try not to think about it too much. I live in my partners apartment, I am registered, a legal resident and I can claim the rent contract if he dies. I will go on the contract by law in the summer of 2021. Until then, I will hold on to money enough to buy an apartment quickly if anything goes sour. (yeah, no, but you know, one never knows and I am not stupid like that..., not like that.)

So, I hold on to my assets and my money and I save and rationalise just as always. My new savings are the + to the financial independence number. I have until now saved one year in my new country and in my new currency, and I have paid rent for the next two months.

This month, we will pay for a new fridge. The door of the old fridge broke in February 2018, we fixed it our selves. The fix lasted a very long time. Possibly a little too long.
Now was the time to invest in a new fridge. Months of research and discussions over wants, needs and wishes. Estimating costs, counting energy use, calling manufacturers asking when their next model would be presented. Nothing was right, nothing was us.
One morning after two hours of searching on-line we made a decision. Not the highest energy efficiency, but the current size, current needs and lower total energy cost than the fridges with the highest energy efficiency as they were all bigger than we needed.
About to order, I saved us €80 in three minutes. The same fridge, slightly dented, bought will full warranty, was purchased instead.
We laughed astonished at our luck.
It will be delivered for free, with full environmental recycling of the old fridge for free, and installed for free tomorrow.
We'll pay later this month.

This month, I will also go to my new dentist in my new country. It will cost me at least €250 for the initial pleasure. I cut my own hair rather than doing my own denstistry. I am happy to invest in my teeth. It will be the only set I will ever own, I hope.

This month, I will also continue to work my new job in my new country. I still love it, I feel proud walking in to it. I like the people and the people call me crazy but I work with diversity so there is nothing much they can do. And some of them like me. The company pays me money. I am not complaining. I left early retirement for them but they still will only get 40 hours work out of me per week.

It is nice to know that with a bit of luck, some common sense, some good planning and no champagne, I will have assets enough to cover a simple lifestyle until I turn 95.
Work or no work.
That makes me sleep at night.