How to millennial

At 6, I wanted to be a firefighter.

At 12, I wanted to become a doctor.

At 16, I just wanted to quit school already.

At 20, I didn’t know what to do with my life but i knew i needed an education.

At 24, I graduated from said education with the most useless degree one could get: Art and Graphic Design.

Why? Because i liked drawing so much i thought i could easily make it into a successfull career. (Lol)

It was 2012 and the economy was stuck in the worst recession since decades. Needless to say i didn’t find a job ANYWHERE.

Sounds familiar?

Burn your degree

We’re Millennials, born in a innovative era, the world is changing faster than ever before. Still we’re being told we can face that challenging world the old-fashioned way.

The millennial generation is one of the few generations subjected to so many profound changes in such a short time. We started highschool barely having cellphones (nokia 3310…anyone?) and while doing homework on a typewriter. To graduating college on an ipad and stories about people dropping out of college and becoming millionaires.

Given recent developments in AI and technical advancement there are no signs these changes are slowing down, they’re just getting started.

The truth is that various certainties like ‘work hard and get a good degree’ and ‘hard work will get you anywhere’ just don’t seem right any longer, it just doesn’t cut it in today’s world.

But then what? What do you do? Just dig a hole in the ground and wait for it to blow over?

“if you just work hard and get a good degree/scholarship, it will all work out for you” -my dad

Me, Myself and I

I sent out resume after resume, but never recieved a call. I just wanted what everyone of us wanted; freedom to do what I want (and a car), why was that so hard?

I would be lying if i said it didn’t hurt or that it all went smoothly. Being an adult all of the sudden is hard! It came to me that my education didn’t -in ANY way- prepare me for the world I was shot into. I was educated in a field that barely even existed at the time I graduated.

Eventually i found myself a job doing nightshifts in a Customer Service Callcenter making barely minimum wage. Horrendous workinghours, stressfull, teamleaders on speed (no, really…), colleagues stuck in the same routine for YEARS…and the CUSTOMERS! Don’t get me started…and the list goes on and on.

If you’re currently working in a callcenter and you’re happy where you are, you’re awesome! You guys get me discounts every year! I can imagine there are callcenters where one can work happily ever after, unfortunately i had a completely different experience at the time.

For me, it took a year or two to realise that life wasn’t for me. I had enough. So i started to do what everyone does: updating my resume and writing letters to possible employers. I wrote more than 50 letters without ONE invitation for an interview.

Little did i know that in the two years i worked in Customer Service, the Graphic Design industry changed so much that i had less to offer than everyone fresh out of college. For example: I was the last year to graduate without coding lessons… and nowerdays, you need to be able to code.

Well i was completely stuck, my degree didn’t get me anywhere while it should’ve been my ticket to a good career! …Right? It felt as if i was condoned to a life in Customer Service forever. I was mad at everyone back then, especially the ones I loved most dearly.

So I just quit from one day to the other.

Needless to say: what followed was a rollercoaster from freelance gigs to part-time jobs with a detour at unemployed and a pitstop on welfare. It wasn’t pretty to be honest but it would be unfair if I were to leave my SO out of the equation. She really stood up to the test and provided some much needed emotional and financial stability, I’m still extremely grateful for all she did!

I manned up eventually, took some friends in high-earning positions out for a coffee to see how they got there and fast-forward 3 months later: I started working in the Financial sector and I’m working there still.

So what can you take from this?

  • Understand nobody is the same, everybody developed in their own way and pace. Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses.
  • Your fancy and costly degree doesn’t dictate your life, you can re-invent yourself at will.
  • Understand that EVERYBODY is looking for a place in this world, it’s no shame you haven’t found yours.
  • You have a network already, use them and hear out their story, we all like to share successes over a coffee.
  • Ready more books, a simple book about the basics of human psychology landed me a 25% raise!
  • Dare to question yourself and your truths.
  • Learn how to write a good resume and cover letter

I’ll cover more on these topics later on, if i can give you one last piece of advice it’s that Change. Will. Take. Time., don’t expect things to change overnight.

 

Life is a long-ass marathon, not a sprint.

 

 

2017 was a good year.

I’m a little late to the party, but i’ve finally found a moment to gather all my data from 2017 to see how i did financially. So let’s dive right in!

But why?

For me, 2017 was the year i got really serious about finding Financial Freedom.
Being able to put my hard-earned money to work seemed awesome at the time, and honestly? It still excites me today!

We’re all stuck in a rat-race, we’re always late, hurrying and scrubbing from one place to another. Deadlines at work, social obligations, kids soccer practice, cooking, cleaning,..
We spend so much time running and yet we never arrive. There’s always a ‘next’ or ‘later’.

Financial Independence represents ‘a way out’ of the rat-race for me. It enables me to spend time where and how i wish to spend it. Whether it’s at work, sitting at home reading a book, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s intentional. I choose to be there. I want to be able to experience that kind of freedom as early as possible.

If you will live like nobody else, later you can live like nobody else.

-Dave Ramsey

Financial Independance is no sprint, it’s a marathon.
Long term planning is key. Mindblowing 20% Stock market corrections as occurred in ’08 dwarf in face of a 20 to 40 year timespan. If you can think about the long-term picture (the reeeeaaaally long term picture) you’ll come out on top.

And now the numbers!

So how did i do this last 12 months?

Well first of all i had a few setbacks. Me and my SO moved to another town setting us back quite a bit. And the new place had to be decorated of-course!

We started 2017 with a savings rate of 24%, went down as far as 11% in September (the month we moved) and back up to even 60% in November! I had a 80% rate in March, when I sold my excessive stuff (like my second Macbook and iPad) and added it to my ‘extra’ income for that month.

Schermafbeelding 2018-02-04 om 18.08.54(I’m a sucker for graphs)

Averaged annually, my Savings-rate hovered around 41%, that nearly half of my take-home pay i was able to save! In actual numbers this means i bumped up my savings this year with 12700 euro (15800 USD)

i didn’t just put it on a savings account, but invested the year through making the most out of the dollar-cost average principle. It’s basically investing every month with what you can spare, let the magic of compound interest do the rest!

Investments

I’ve also made a wrap-up of my investments’ performance in 2017.
My current portfolio consists of the following positions.

Alphabet
Apple
ATOS
Rolls Royce
Royal Dutch Shell
UCB

Crude Oil Index EFT
Vanguard S&P 500 EFT

As you might notice, it’s 100% stocks and 0% bonds, this because I work in the financial world and can spend my days trading stocks for clients as well as my own.
I would NOT advise you to invest 100% in stocks if your plan is to take in positions and never look at them again. A good rule of thumbs is to take your age (for example 40) and have that percentage in low-volatile options as bonds or options alike. For me, that would be 27% bonds and 73% Stocks.

If you’re planning on really diving into the wondrous world of stocks; go all for it but invest only in what you know.

A few of these pay dividends every year and i’m planning on pumping more in those positions such as Shell and Rolls Royce and reinvest the dividends every time. It’s a great way to expand your income sources!

Averaged I’ve closed the year with a return (pre-tax) of 75% which made my net-worth go over 10K for the first time in my life.

I’ve also had quite some success with Crypto currency.
I invested 4000 euro in the ‘Big 3’ (Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin in March 2017, and made a pact with myself to let it sit for 12 months. The deadline is looming on the horizon but the returns have been off the charts for 2017.

Because of this, i closed 2017 with almost 50% of my net worth allocated in Crypto, which is WAY above my risk tolerance. i’ll be adjusting soon.

Net Worth

No talk about closing a year without looking at your Net Worth!
It’s a simple equation; Assets – liabilities (loans,…) = Net Worth.
If you were to sell everything you own, what amount of cash would be in your hands?

I often hear people including their house worth, illiquid assets such as artworks and more in their calculations. But in my own calculations I keep non-liquid assets such as computers or my house out of the equation, nice and simple.

So if i look at my Net Worth, the spike caused by my Crypto assets is immediately visible. While many disagree with Cryptocurrency, being liked to criminality and said to have no ‘real value’ I’d like to offer my two cents; I do believe it can have a place in an investment strategy albeit at a very very high risk. (it really is the wild west out there)

 

Schermafbeelding 2018-02-04 om 17.37.58.png
2016 was a dull year because i listened to the advice everybody got; save 10% of your income. i also never heard about FIRE back then 🙂

So that pretty much rounds it up for now!
What were your financial WINS for 2017?
let me know in the comment section, i love to hear from you 🙂

Disclaimer: this post is purely informative, not intended as advice nor investment guidelines.

5 easy steps to save $10 000

In-terms-of-money-we-have-no-money-Money-Memes.jpg

Boom.

The money question, who doesn’t want to have that amount?
Imagine what you could do with 10 000 bucks…or don’t because you’re a responsible person and you would invest it in stocks or your pension investments. 🙂

See, the trick with working towards large amounts of money, is that they also require sacrifice of some kind. There’s always something you have to be willing to give up in order to achieve it. So here are my 5 steps to get you going!

1: Set a goal

The first goal i set for myself was 10 000 Euro (around 12 000 USD)
At the time, that was astronomically high, i’ve NEVER had more than a few hundreds in my entire life! How was i going to do that?!

Well, turns out that just determining a goal was actually a big help, it helps channel your focus towards something positive in the long term. The goal you put for yourself has to be high enough to challenge you, but also achievable enough so you don’t have to economically suffocate yourself in order to make it.

2: Keep track of your progress

Ok, awesome, you’ve got your goal. So now what?
Just carry on as usual while hoping that number magically appears in your bankaccount? I don’t think you’d be reading this if it was that easy.

The only thing you should be worrying about is what Paula from Affordanything.com likes to call ‘The gap’. It refers to the space between your income and your expenses.

The wider the gap (the less expenses and the higher your income) the sooner you’ll reach your goal, simple right?

Your main effort should be focussed on widening that gap.
How, you ask? Well by looking at your expenses with a looking glass.
Do you need a TV subscription of several hundreds of dollars? Could you find an alternative? Maybe a bit less eating out? Dig deep and be honest with yourself.

3: Use a budget

Hurray! Budgets!
Spending money is natural for us, it almost seems like that’s what society wants us to do.
Just turn on the TV and there are literally 50 ads screaming for your attention to buy their amazing product that will ‘change your life’.

But honestly, is there ever a product that truly ‘changes’ our life for the better? I certainly thought my second Macbook would change my life, now i was able to work faster!
But after a few months, the excitement from the purchase went away and life went back to normal. (I never worked noticeably faster though…)

Living on a budget isn’t necessarily ‘fun’, but it does the trick amazingly well!
Start by tracking your expenses for a month or two. Where does your money go? Are there certain areas that you can downsize or cut completely?

Coming to terms with your own expenses like that can be shocking, it certainly was for me. But be brave and face the fact that you’re spending more than 100 bucks on espresso’s every month! (Guilty)

To help you start your budget, i’ve prepared an elaborate excel file for you to track everything. Just drop me a line at millennial-fire@hotmail.com to receive it!

4: Automate what you can

If you can’t see it, you can’t spend it.
From your budget you should be able to tell how much you need every month to cover the bills and how much you can save.

Pay yourself first, pay your bills and groceries with what’s left and stick to your budget!

By automating as much as you can, you can relax because now your bills are on auto-pay, your savings are automated and if no unforeseen-able event takes place; you’re set to achieve your goal!

5: Start Investing

Awesome, you’ve done everything right and your gap is widening, well done!
So you’re well on your way towards your goal, but can you speed it up?

Investing your hard earned cash into stocks/bonds/Funds/FTE’s/… gives you a higher interest rate than an online savings account, but with greater profit comes greater risks.

more on that in later posts!

Conclusion

Starting to save and face your expenses can be hard, i know that first-hand. But it’s a small sacrifice to get to that awesome goal in your future, your futur self will thank you!

I know this article is just a global set-out. I will explore the different subjects later on and link back to them here.

So now it’s your turn! What do you find hard to incorperate in your saving-habits? What’s that one splurge you can’t go without? How did you start saving?

Tell me all about it in the comments!