DutchGirl's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
steveo73
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by steveo73 » Sat Oct 29, 2016 4:24 pm

Just to add in - 100k is great.

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Dragline
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by Dragline » Sat Oct 29, 2016 4:27 pm

DutchGirl wrote: it took me roughly ten years to go from -5000 euros to +100,000 euros. I hope to reach 200k four years from now, due to a combination of more experience with saving and personal finance, higher salary, and compound interest. So yes, hopefully it will be easier.
That's great! And yes, it does get easier as the pot grows.

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Tue Nov 01, 2016 9:24 am

Thank you all. I'm verry happy with it :-)

For October, my savings rate is 57%! Wow! But that only could happen because none of the big irregular expenses happened in this month. And because I got a bit of overtime paid out. November is going to be a bit similar, though. No overtime payments this month, but also no big expenses planned. Well, let's hope it really happens that way. We'll see. It seems like I might end up with a 40% savings rate over the year, even with the expensive holiday which was a few percent of my annual spending.

This week I'm taking things easy after working hard in the previous two weeks. My boyfriend's got a severe cold and I have the milder version, so I'm giving myself permission to do almost nothing when I'm not at work. (I try to keep doing the dishes and the grocery shopping, as things get a lot harder when you run out of clean plates and stuff to eat and so on).

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:19 am

The cold caught up with me, so I've been officially ill these last two days and taking a lot of naps to get it out of my system, hopefully.

In the last week, we've also been looking at a specific house to buy. We found it online on the Dutch "house for sale"-database website, funda.nl, and explored the option a lot. (Went there to visit with the realtor, asked the local city government about the laws and building options, asked an architect friend about building options and costs, etc). House would cost 395k euros, renovations could cost another 150k euros... We would both "contribute" half, meaning that I would probably need to take on a 225k mortgage and also have a downpayment of 50k.

Over the last week, it became clear that while the house is in a very nice location, there are all kinds of problems with it. It's small and it may not be allowed by law to add an attachment to it. The ground may be contaminated and then should be cleaned (costing tens of thousands of euros or more). So while it looked promising at first, now it looks more like we won't be buying after all.

Buying this house would postpone my ERE date by at least five years, according to my calculations. The new house and its utilities etc would cost at least 400 euros more per month to just maintain, so that would mean saving 5k less per year AND adding 125k at least to the necessary stash before I could call myself retired... My boyfriend was also more and more hesitant to put so much of his money into this one object. Now I'm actually quite glad it is looking more like a "no" to us. We can still keep our options open for a nicer place to live in at some point, while at the same time having a pretty good life in our current working-class row house.

NickHalden
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by NickHalden » Mon Nov 14, 2016 3:54 am

DutchGirl wrote:The cold caught up with me, so I've been officially ill these last two days and taking a lot of naps to get it out of my system, hopefully.

In the last week, we've also been looking at a specific house to buy. We found it online on the Dutch "house for sale"-database website, funda.nl, and explored the option a lot. (Went there to visit with the realtor, asked the local city government about the laws and building options, asked an architect friend about building options and costs, etc). House would cost 395k euros, renovations could cost another 150k euros... We would both "contribute" half, meaning that I would probably need to take on a 225k mortgage and also have a downpayment of 50k.

Over the last week, it became clear that while the house is in a very nice location, there are all kinds of problems with it. It's small and it may not be allowed by law to add an attachment to it. The ground may be contaminated and then should be cleaned (costing tens of thousands of euros or more). So while it looked promising at first, now it looks more like we won't be buying after all.

Buying this house would postpone my ERE date by at least five years, according to my calculations. The new house and its utilities etc would cost at least 400 euros more per month to just maintain, so that would mean saving 5k less per year AND adding 125k at least to the necessary stash before I could call myself retired... My boyfriend was also more and more hesitant to put so much of his money into this one object. Now I'm actually quite glad it is looking more like a "no" to us. We can still keep our options open for a nicer place to live in at some point, while at the same time having a pretty good life in our current working-class row house.
Heya DutchGirl,

I am sort of glad for you that this didn't fall through. A house of 550k in the Netherlands is a pretty extravagant mansion (at least in some parts of the country), and in my honest opinion you could find something half the price that is much more in line with the ERE-principles.

E.g. We bought an old house for 160k, renovated it completely for 40k, and it is easily worth over 200k now. Ah and yes it is also a working class row corner house, but I do not feel we need anything classier or fancier just because we can afford it.

I hope you don't take this too personally, but a house that is almost 3 times the price of mine (and I live there happily with my wife and two kids)... it really can't be worth it if you have your ERE glasses on. Maybe if it was some sort of self-sustaining farm, or something.. anyways keep searching, I would say :D

Hankaroundtheworld
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by Hankaroundtheworld » Mon Nov 14, 2016 6:54 am

Hi Dutchgirl, perfect news, 100k in savings! Like Nick says, I would be careful to dive into a 550k housing adventure (unless it is a "dream comes true" situation / like the perfect location and perfect house). Money in a house does not really "work" for you, but you could invest in rental real estate opportunities, and make it work. If you like to buy for "a roof above your head", I would go for max of 250k Euro (a bit depending where, of course in A'dam almost impossible). I would even be careful in investing too much in the Netherlands, if you consider future situation (climate change, air-quality, self-sustainability with green energy, land for vegetables, etc...). So, a more strategic choice where you like to end in the future.

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Mon Nov 14, 2016 7:05 am

DutchGirl wrote:Now I'm actually quite glad it is looking more like a "no" to us. We can still keep our options open for a nicer place to live in at some point, while at the same time having a pretty good life in our current working-class row house.
So yes, I'm actually quite relieved that it's not happening, for now. And yes, it's not in line with ERE-principles, indeed. I know, I know. :D

My reasons for participating in this house would be:

1. For the area of the country that we have to live in for my boyfriend's business, it's actually a reasonable price for this type of house.
2. It would improve the quality of our lives. And the garden of this house could provide us with some healthy veggies and fruit.
3. To compromise with my boyfriend, who is not intending to ERE, but instead to build his business, enjoy his current life, and at the same time to not take huge risks or spend it all. (His savings grow every year).

But I can't say I'm very sorry that we'll stay in our 200k row house for a while longer...

NickHalden
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by NickHalden » Fri Nov 18, 2016 4:42 am

DutchGirl wrote:
DutchGirl wrote:Now I'm actually quite glad it is looking more like a "no" to us. We can still keep our options open for a nicer place to live in at some point, while at the same time having a pretty good life in our current working-class row house.
So yes, I'm actually quite relieved that it's not happening, for now. And yes, it's not in line with ERE-principles, indeed. I know, I know. :D

My reasons for participating in this house would be:

1. For the area of the country that we have to live in for my boyfriend's business, it's actually a reasonable price for this type of house.
2. It would improve the quality of our lives. And the garden of this house could provide us with some healthy veggies and fruit.
3. To compromise with my boyfriend, who is not intending to ERE, but instead to build his business, enjoy his current life, and at the same time to not take huge risks or spend it all. (His savings grow every year).

But I can't say I'm very sorry that we'll stay in our 200k row house for a while longer...
Glad that you feel relieved, also I guess you knew you would get some feedback in this forum when you posted this. It just surprises me to see these typical excuses from you - after reading all your posts here ;)

1. Buying something very expensive at a 10% discount does not make it reasonable in general. Unless you intend to sell it immediately after.
2. Yeah, I bet it improves quality of life. So does a seat-heated 600hp BMW M3. (Oh how much I want that one :( )
3. Well I guess this proves how important it is to be on the same page with your significant other concerning finances. In fact if you love your own business/work, he is probably right in not wanting to RE. It might not be a wrong path, just a different one.

1Vikinggirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by 1Vikinggirl » Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:15 am

It is the struggle between having it all now and making sacrifices for having some for eternity, isn't it.
I too look at houses dreaming about owning and then have nightmares about being a property owner again. While we have a rent controlled 'social-huur woning' in the capital centre and it is a better long-term option on all accounts - but still, it would be nice to have a house, and a garden and a property ladder... (sigh)

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:53 pm

November: we bought 0 houses in November (this forum will be pleased). I had a savings rate of 53% in November, and that with just a normal income. December will see a much higher income (extra salary at the end of the year) and hopefully not a lot more expenses, although it's possible that I'll pay my health insurance premium for 2017 by the end of December in one fell swoop - it's roughly 1200 euros, resulting in having all healthcare covered with a 385 euro deductible for all of 2017...

I might end December with roughly 104k - 105k in the bank, which will be nice to see. We'll see.

fog_tree
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by fog_tree » Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:40 am

I wonder if living the frugal way in NL is frequent attitude these days. Dutch people has the 'thrifty ones' opinion, but is it current in XXI century. Do present generation still live this way? I like to read about other countries (history, traditions, people) and found that many Dutch generations counted each guilder. Has anything changed about it? Did consumerism defeated Dutch style of live?

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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by Cornerman » Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:23 am

fog_tree wrote:I wonder if living the frugal way in NL is frequent attitude these days. Dutch people has the 'thrifty ones' opinion, but is it current in XXI century. Do present generation still live this way? I like to read about other countries (history, traditions, people) and found that many Dutch generations counted each guilder. Has anything changed about it? Did consumerism defeated Dutch style of live?
The generations before my generation had to make every guilder (those were the days) count, simply because at the end of the 70's and the beginning of the 80's there was a high rate of unemployment and high interest rates. Generations before a lot of people had cone through the great depression and two world wars. The 50's and 60's were a time of rebuilding the country but by no means people where affluent. These generations knew poverty and wanted to avoid it by all means. Saved as much as possible for times of need.

To stop this and the lack of good housing the government made all sorts of tax breaks for builders and people who wanted to buy a house, most well known is the refund we get of our mortgage interest through our taxes. Just to promote house ownership. House prices went up but at a steady pace.

Most of this started to change in the mid 80's , and continued through the 90's (big boom in housing) and early 2000's. House prices rocketed and people had excess money in their house. Banks gave out easy loans , added mortgages basically and people started using this for cars, computers , new kitchens, holidays etc. Younger generations grew up with more of a buy it now pay it later mentality. Not everyone I must add, but more and more people did.

Then the first cracks in the housing boom started to show. And the recent crisis which made housing prices go down pretty fast instead of up. Which shouldn't have been a problem if people didn't take all that money against their house. Or crazy rent only mortgages to make the most of the tax brakes.

Now there is a bit more of the old school financial awareness that's been back. Younger people see they need 20% or more in cash to stand a change to get a mortgage on a house. So they need to get more frugal. Also because of student loans they end up with.

This necessity wasn't there when they were growing up. This is just a quick overview and there are a few more factors that have contributed but I think this is the most important.

fog_tree
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by fog_tree » Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:04 pm

Thanks @Cornerman
I hope DutchGirl has nothing agains this discussion in her's journal. Why did I ask this?
From my point of view (poor eu country citizen) Dutch people are very wealthy but DutchGirl started his diary 5 years ago with only 13,000 euro at the age 32 (sorry for this). This didn't match for me. So little savings, ~ 7 years after graduation, in the third reachest country in the world? No, I'm not nosy; but how could it be? Is DutchGirl not native Dutch, or did people in the NL changed completly. If so - how could other people be frugal while frugal-known Dutch are not longer any more. DutchGirl were considering buying 550,000 euro house, and this didn't seem for me as a Dutch style, rather American style. Are there no Dutch living on a boat? How can I learn/convince my kids about money attitude If i can't show a role model?
Last edited by fog_tree on Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Cornerman
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by Cornerman » Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:21 pm

Well , it's also a story of declining wages for the average job and rising costs there are so many factors chipping away at our expendable income (and therefore savings capacity) for a lot of people. But in general it's because people over the last 25 years simply spend more and borrow more for everything. And as we all know interest payments tend to bite hard in the long run. People forgot about time value of money and compounding.

Sorry Dutchgirl for hijacking your topic. Will see if we can discuss this in another one.

fog_tree
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by fog_tree » Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:42 pm

@DutchGirl sorry for off topic.
I see you are a hardworking women describing you life month after month, but I didn't find any clearly set target of that.
It is so easy to spend money and so hard to earn. Being 30-40 is hardly the best period of one's life.
Tons of money, no health issue but it never last for ever. Taking big loan driven by house-owning adrenaline is easy, but paying mortgage 15 years later is not. I'm not a pessimist, but see 500k euro house is tempting you.
Rethink it more than twice, maybe define your target. Do you have any?
--
I didn't read all 17 pages, maybe you defined your target, but, did you place it on the first place in your thoughts?

halfmoon
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by halfmoon » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:44 pm

DutchGirl,

I just went back and read your entire journal (Whew. Lots there.) It was so inspiring to follow your journey! The important factors for me personally:

1. Sheer dedication to keeping the journal over time. Impressive.

2. Self-appreciation of your forward progress.

3. Acknowledgment of the partner factor in your plans.

4. Honest expression of the emotional challenges in considering options.

5. Upbeat attitude!

This might come out as sort of dry or vague, but the bottom line is that I learned a lot from your story. Please continue; I am officially stalking you now! :lol:

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:21 am

Ooooh dear :?

radamfi
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by radamfi » Sun Dec 04, 2016 6:30 am

I have also been taking particular interest in this journal for a long time so it did come as a shock to read about the 550k house. I thought about commenting soon after reading the post but I thought maybe I had got out of touch with Dutch house prices. Some people here will know that I've been dreaming of retiring to the Netherlands from the UK. David Hembrow made a similar move 10 years ago, moving from Cambridge (an expensive part of the UK) to Assen.

http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/20 ... e-now.html

From what I've seen on http://www.funda.nl/ it is easy to get a small apartment in Assen for under 100k euros, adequate for a couple with no kids. In the UK such prices only exist in remote areas of Wales or Scotland or high crime areas of northern England. Whilst Assen is some distance from the Randstad, it has a good train line to Amsterdam/Rotterdam (albeit taking over 2 hours) and seems to be a safe area. Our tiny flat 50 km from London is worth twice that.

As an aside, David Hembrow is trying to get Dutch citizenship because of Brexit but has come up against an unexpected problem.

http://davidhembrow.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/brexit

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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by message » Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:21 am

Another Dutchie here... You are totally right about the cheap appartments in, for example, Assen.
The north and east of the Netherlands has quite some low priced houses.
Although the work oppertunities are a LOT less there, compared to the south and the west.
Also travel in the Netherlands is not that great. Traveling by car or train takes a lot of time, especially during rush hours.
So that time can be spent a lot better on other stuff.

So buying a house (near) the west/south is in the end a better idea.
Looking for a good deal there requires some patients and luck, as they are gone pretty fast.

@Dutchgirl: keep it going! :)

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Mon Dec 12, 2016 2:49 am

I use public transport. For short distances (< 40km) it's generally ok. Generally speaking, the train ( / bus / metro) will run, and even if you have to stand: it's only for a couple of minutes. My personal luck is also that I work very irregular hours and often can travel outside of rush hours. But if you go long-distance and need to switch trains in the meantime, there can be trouble.

Also, if you would use a car instead: gas is very expensive here, compared to the US. Gas prices are 1,64 euro per liter, so that's $1,73 dollar per liter, so that's $6.60 per gallon. I understand that's about three times what it is in the US. So moving further away from your job costs a lot of time and a boatload of money.

My boyfriend's company is in Delft, and he wants to live nearby so that he can easily travel to his company and to his clients (who are also located in the south west of the Netherlands where many of the high-tech companies are). For my job I need to travel to several locations that are most often 1-10 km from our house, sometimes a bit further away. I currently live a walkable distance from the train station, and I'd like to keep it that way (although I'm a bit more flexible as to what train station to live closeby to). I also bike to the job locations that are closest to my house.

Sometimes in a relationship you have to compromise. I'm perfectly fine living here, the boyfriend wants to move on. I want to retire early, he doesn't want to. So we keep our incomes separately, contribute equally to our shared expenses (for me they are in total still lower than when I lived on my own), and work towards our respective goals. (His are to grow his company, mine is to grow my stash - by the way, his stash is also growing). I definitely could reach my goal much faster if my boyfriend was completely on board, but I can't convince him. Something to do with our calvinistic work ethic, I guess, and perhaps also because of his childhood. There has been a change, though. In the beginning he couldn't even believe that it was possible in the Netherlands to save up so much money. Now he sees that working towards FI is possible. He still doesn't want it for himself, though.

Cornerman
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by Cornerman » Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:24 am

It's a very personal thing, I can understand your boyfriend doesn't want to do it. I started out simply minimizing my debt , and therefore risks when my income should drop significantly. Once I got to a comfortable level with that I was wondering what is more valuable time or money.

Turned out it's the time you spent activities that add value to your life. In my case that wasn't the job I had , working long hours and making lots of money. Money became a way to keep score. Bit ridiculous. I never got the real change to switch career paths as I became ill. That was a turning point and I knew the road to FI was the right choice.

After my recovery I will only spend time on projects that add value to my life, and hopefully others. FI is a great way to get away from the rat race and focus on those projects.

If you work on a project that adds lots of value to your life , you will continue to do that. In your boyfriends case his company. Which is great, because you're doing something you love. And if that makes you enough money to live comfortably why not. There is not one set way to reach your life goals.

Although I can imagine it might cause some friction in a relationship. Especially when it's just coming from a notion that you have to work hard. Which is largely ingrained in our upbringing. And stems from times which were a lot harder. It's real hard to let that go. I had to let the 80 hour weeks go because I couldn't do it any more, but I sometimes wonder if I would have done it when I reached FI and being healthy. I am not sure.

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Wed Feb 01, 2017 7:11 am

Net worth now slightly over 105k, thanks to the bonus (13th month) and a reasonably good January salary. I saved 32% of my income in December (13th month, but I prepaid my annual health insurance premium for 2017 which was roughly 1200 euros for the year) and I saved 33% in January.

I am glad to report that everyone's healthy now, after that health scare for my father, and also a lot of flu for everyone in my nearest family. Given that, I think my three weeks of having a cold were merely annoying. Let's hope this was it for this winter. The weather has been warming up these last couple of days, and I feel ready for spring. (Hayfever, jay!).

We've not been househunting recently. My boyfriend's business took up most of his time. It's developing nicely; and it's interesting to work on that (for him) and to see it (for me).

I have been thinking on and off about how many hours per week to work (I can more or less choose how many). I took a much-needed holiday two weeks ago for one week. That helped a lot, and I've decided to keep work hours the same, but to really stick to them and not work or think about work outside of work hours. Working on that...

During the week off, I also really noticed how I kind of need to work. It gives aim and purpose to my days. So that is something else to work on over the next couple of years. I am still hoping to not have to work at some point, but I should really come up with other useful stuff to do, then. (And "useful" meaning something that I find useful - others may have different ideas about what is useful; but to me it should be interesting/valuable etc).

rube
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by rube » Wed Feb 01, 2017 2:29 pm

Keep going! Stash is increasing nicely and almost 1000 posts!

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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by message » Fri Feb 03, 2017 2:37 pm

Not want to kill your spring-vibe... But the (real!) cold is coming to The Netherlands next week.
Depending on where you live... Snow! (north + perhaps east also)

And it will get COLD.
High pressure above Scandinavia... Pack some extra blankets ;-)

Hankaroundtheworld
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by Hankaroundtheworld » Mon Feb 06, 2017 3:04 am

He @Dutchgirl, good to see the progress. And about yr bf, he might be sooner FI than you if his company works out :-) If I were him, I would do the same on focusing on building up the company (almost jealous / I always wanted this, but never had the guts). Looks like a good balance that you are FI focused though!!

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