Henk's journey thru life

Where are you and where are you going?
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Hankaroundtheworld
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Henk's journey thru life

Post by Hankaroundtheworld » Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:36 am

Hi all,

As you might have read in my introduction, I am about to take the jump into the ERE lifestyle, probably in a few Months time, and I am already preparing. I am 47, so perhaps a bit late, but better than 67 (the new retirement age in the Netherlands).

Like many, I have been making (complex) Excel calculations, just to be sure that I can really stop my Corporate life and have enough to live on till 90+ of age. Talking abt age, I expect healthcare to improve dramatically the coming 10-20 years, so 90+ is not a crazy planning.

I must say, I still have fears about stopping work, some of the thoughts into my head:
* am I not too young? if I stop, i still have 40 years or more to go, do I not throw away my capabilities? Should I not do something productive...etc....?
* i calculated that I have around 4000 USD per Month to live on (no pension or AOW to be expected, as I have lived and worked abroad, so this comes from funds and renting out apartments), is this enough for 2 persons? We want to travel, but do not have crazy consumer lifestyles, just reading books, swimming in the sea, some sports, studying new things (via online courses on Internet), etc...
* What if life changes dramatically, life hyper-inflation, wars, major health changes, etc..If you work, you can cope, but if you live on savings....there is not an easy way back to a Monthly salary...

Those fears will not stop me, because I have enough of Corporate life - the Cubicle way, but it probably takes time for me to get rid of the System lock-in mechanism's, perhaps when I am free, I will regret not have taking the step sooner.

Once I have made the step, I am planning to find some "work" to create some extra cash, but I have no clue what yet. But first, I want to get really free in my mind, so the 1st year, no thinking about work or income generation, first get rid of the rat-race programming and also get back on track with my weight (yes, also for me, the Corporate lifestyle has killed a bit of my health, but I can repair, I am 100 kilo's, I want to go back to 85 kilos)

Allright, this was the 1st writing of my Journal, hope you will enjoy and feel free to respond
cheers
Henk (Hank)

saving-10-years
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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by saving-10-years » Fri Mar 07, 2014 6:17 am

Just to pick up some points from what you have written:
Hankaroundtheworld wrote:As you might have read in my introduction, I am about to take the jump into the ERE lifestyle, probably in a few Months time, and I am already preparing. I am 47, so perhaps a bit late, but better than 67 (the new retirement age in the Netherlands).
You are taking this step 20 years before official retirement age. I am doing it barely 10 years early (hence my name on this board). So welcome fellow 'not-so-late' comer.

From the sound of things you and your wife have also taken the scenic route to this point. So not working only for money but garnishing other benefits too (world travel for one) which means that you have ticked off some things that people do post-ERE. Good forward-planning!
I am planning to find some "work" to create some extra cash, but I have no clue what yet. But first, I want to get really free in my mind, so the 1st year, no thinking about work or income generation, first get rid of the rat-race programming and also get back on track with my weight (yes, also for me, the Corporate lifestyle has killed a bit of my health, but I can repair, I am 100 kilo's, I want to go back to 85 kilos)
I am going for the fitness, home de-clutter, try new things, learn new skills tack for the next six months (trying to catch up quickly as I really am so late starting). Beyond that I have no clue either. So I will read your journal with exceptional interest to see how your journey progresses.

Good luck. It all sounds a great idea.

Hankaroundtheworld
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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by Hankaroundtheworld » Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:03 am

Dear "saving-10 years",

Thanks for being the 1st to respond, and it seems you are still in time as well, 10 years is still 10 years! Do you also have a journal, would be happy to read it (but I could not find it).

To be honest: I do feel a bit nervous now that I am close to the ERE period. In a way, I am still discussing with my Company if I should extend my Contract for another 2 years, and then you think "I can earn some icing on the cake", then we can get a nice house during retirement....but at the same time, I am sooo tired of working in a big company. 10 years ago, it was fun, still exploring, trying out to develop yourself, play the corporate games as well, travel around the world.....but now I feel there is no value anymore in this Corporate life (except extra money). I am not materialistic or money-focused, but if you make the step, it feels so definitive. Anyway, my wife says, you need to go thru the process, free yourself, get the poison out of your blood and mind, and start living in a more mental free way....

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Tyler9000
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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by Tyler9000 » Fri Mar 07, 2014 12:41 pm

Hankaroundtheworld wrote: am I not too young? if I stop, i still have 40 years or more to go, do I not throw away my capabilities? Should I not do something productive...etc....?
Productivity is so much better measured in personal terms rather than corporate terms. Working 40 hours a week earning a salary is generally not at all productive to a neutral observer. Produce your own value.
Hankaroundtheworld wrote: What if life changes dramatically, life hyper-inflation, wars, major health changes, etc..If you work, you can cope, but if you live on savings....there is not an easy way back to a Monthly salary...
I'd argue that in times of hyperinflation and war, those dependent on a monthly salary to get by are screwed. ERE types will be much better positioned than those who don't know how to survive without regular bi-weekly paychecks. And health insurance will cover medical issues without requiring you to work a full job while very sick.

I understand your questions and hesitation, though. It's totally normal.

George the original one
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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by George the original one » Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:17 pm

Your wife is very smart :-)

Hankaroundtheworld
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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by Hankaroundtheworld » Sat Mar 08, 2014 5:41 am

Haha, yeah true, I am the complete opposite of my wife, but that keeps us in balance in life!

I am currently reading a lot of books on Investing, and they all say the same: take a world-index fund, low-cost, balance Equity/Bonds (and keep re-balancing annually), and do not try to time the market. It seems Vanguard LifeStrategy Indexfund is perfect, but you cannot get them in Europe.

Hankaroundtheworld
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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by Hankaroundtheworld » Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:40 am

As was requested elsewhere in this forum, hereby a story how I became FI (at least, I like to call it that way, I am still not 100% convinced it is true, you cannot predict the future):

When I left the Netherlands 15 years ago, I did not have much savings, and I had an Apartment with 150k Euro mortgage. Good thing, both my wife and myself, we are reasonable frugal, at least, we are not big spenders on the latest and greatest from the Consumerism society. Basically the reason why we wanted to travel around the world was (a) we liked the adventure, (b) we did not see any value in the common cycle of working for getting a bigger car, bigger house, etc.. (c) we also choose not to take kids (nothing against kids btw, just a choice of life). The only thing was: i was early in my career, so i did not want to give up, so luckily I found a way to start working for a few international companies. In the beginning on local contracts (I did not know about expat contracts, a bit naive in the beginning), but later on, I became better in playing the Corporate game, and i got access to Expat contracts that included house benefits, car benefits, risk allowances for certain locations, etc.. It meant that for the last 9 years of the 15 years traveling, I was able to save on avg 100k Euro per year. Stupidly, i made a lot of mistakes, so I lost on several investments that could have been prevented if I knew about these forums and related books before. Anyway, in the end, I got my apartment in Netherlands paid off (and rented out), I bought another Apartment off-plan elsewhere (also rented out finally), and I saved abt 900k Euro, partially in funds (but conservatively) by the age of 47. So, I guess my luck was to have lived on Expat contracts for 9 years, not that I have been clever in being saving and investing in the right way. I so much respect people on this forum that I have been much better in control than me. If I would have followed that, my situation would have been much better. However, I will not complain, I have a positive mindset, I learned from my mistakes, i had a great journey around the world, and I am learning a lot know on investing, so thanks all to you.

rube
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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by rube » Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:38 pm

Wooha! Great story. Sounds like some great experiences and did I understood it correct you will have 900K + 2 appartments? Even alone with the 900K you will have more then enough (if your lifestyle is adjusted to that, but well possible if you ask me).

Please tell us more!

DutchGirl
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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by DutchGirl » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:54 am

You can get some access to Vanguard's funds through brandnewday.nl and I believe also through errr.... meesman.nl . snsfundcoach.nl could be another option. They're not the lifecycle funds, you'd have to create your own mix and then rebalance every year or so by yourself. I trust that you will have enough time to do that :-)

When you don't work anymore, you could consider moving somewhere cheaper - you will get a bigger house for the same money. Outside of the big cities, house prices are much lower. Or you could rent out your current house for a year or so, and use the rent coming in to rent a much bigger and cheaper house in a nice area somewhere during that year while you recover from company work. Re-evaluate after that year...

I'm only roughly 15% towards ERE, and for now we are stuck in the big city or its direct surroundings since that's where my boyfriend finds his jobs.

Hankaroundtheworld
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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by Hankaroundtheworld » Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:00 am

Hi, thanks for the responses, and yes, at least I feel that I have enough FI foundation to quite Corporate life (planning May-June), and then explore new routes. I am still full of energy and the idea of ERE only increases my Energy level, so for sure, I will start exploring what are my unique skills and how to turn them into something I really like (and perhaps also create some cash-flow, no big ambition, just set the target on 1000 Euro per Month). I know that I need to give it time, like many, I have been conditioned as a Corporate citizen, so I need to unchain first, but that does not stop me now to already create many ideas.
Let me be clear, I do not pity anyone that also has chosen Corporate life and Monthly salary, it is what Societies has learnt us (at least in the 80s when I was studying), and it seems after University that it was the easy way to generate Cash. It is also clear that the new generations are much more willing to be an entrepreneur and create their own business (full respect!!), and they are also more flexible to try out their luck abroad.
So if you choose the Corporate life, try to choose smaller and newer type of Companies. I am in a 100k+ employees international company, and if I look around (from my cubicle at the moment), at least 50% is browsing on Facebook or similar (so they clearly are not motivated or inspired), and that saddens me a bit. So much time and energy of people are wasted in this way, just by sitting in a Cubicle, and believe me, i have seen this around the world, in every region. Of course, nothing against people browsing on FB or similar, but I am a strong believer that people should try to maximize their potential, so use your time on this Earth, and I am sure there is more in everyone that just updating their FB status every hour (unless it makes you happy and satisfied in life).
Nothing is new to everyone on this forum, otherwise you would not be here, it is just a few last observations from my cubicle before I say goodbye to this. One of my ideas is to become a life coach to others, and perhaps help people with their choices, but not sure yet...may be in time

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Tyler9000
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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by Tyler9000 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:52 am

Hankaroundtheworld wrote: So if you choose the Corporate life, try to choose smaller and newer type of Companies. I am in a 100k+ employees international company, and if I look around (from my cubicle at the moment), at least 50% is browsing on Facebook or similar (so they clearly are not motivated or inspired), and that saddens me a bit. So much time and energy of people are wasted in this way, just by sitting in a Cubicle, and believe me, i have seen this around the world, in every region.
I sometimes have a similar self-aware moment when I'm sitting in a cubicle for hours reading ERE. ;) Escapism only takes you so far. I look forward to walking the walk.

Welcome to the forums, Hank. And thanks for sharing your story.

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Chad
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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by Chad » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:26 am

Tyler9000 wrote:
Hankaroundtheworld wrote: So if you choose the Corporate life, try to choose smaller and newer type of Companies. I am in a 100k+ employees international company, and if I look around (from my cubicle at the moment), at least 50% is browsing on Facebook or similar (so they clearly are not motivated or inspired), and that saddens me a bit. So much time and energy of people are wasted in this way, just by sitting in a Cubicle, and believe me, i have seen this around the world, in every region.
I sometimes have a similar self-aware moment when I'm sitting in a cubicle for hours reading ERE. ;) Escapism only takes you so far. I look forward to walking the walk.

Welcome to the forums, Hank. And thanks for sharing your story.
Agreed.

Hankaroundtheworld
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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by Hankaroundtheworld » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:15 pm

Tyler9000 wrote:
Hankaroundtheworld wrote: I sometimes have a similar self-aware moment when I'm sitting in a cubicle for hours reading ERE. ;) Escapism only takes you so far. I look forward to walking the walk.
.
Haha, yeah, but reading ERE is at least giving inspiration ! But true, lets start walking, 2 more Months of reading before taking off

Hankaroundtheworld
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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by Hankaroundtheworld » Fri Mar 14, 2014 5:13 am

Hi, almost using this journal like a diary, some reflections.
I am currently going thru the process of saying goodbye to Corporate life, and it is somewhat emotional, I am constantly going from enthusiastic mood by thinking of the new chances of our life ahead, versus the fear of cutting the chain of Monthly salaries. Some friends of us that already took off 5 years ago, they replied today that they are feeling great, they live in low-cost Asia from their rental income and dividends, and so far without losing their net wealth. They told me that it is good that we are now going "to swap money for time", so that gave me some trust that we are going to do the right thing.....

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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by DutchGirl » Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:30 pm

I can imagine that it's scary. I'm nowhere near ready to quit my job, and I imagine that by the time I am, I'll also have my hesitations. I am part of some pension plans, but you know that those are also a bit insecure (as to how much they'll pay me, roughly 30 years from now!).

I however do think that you can make a big success of this. But the jump surely needs some courage...

Hankaroundtheworld
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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by Hankaroundtheworld » Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:01 pm

Hi Dutchgirl, thanks for the support! I am actually torturing myself, because I am also still talking to some headhunters for other jobs, somehow I guess, to proof myself somehow or may be it is that feeling of power to say "no" after all, but i will stop this process soon and also the whining. Everything looks good to start ERE life, so I should celebrate!, at least rationally speaking, only my feelings need to catch up :-)

Hankaroundtheworld
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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by Hankaroundtheworld » Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:05 pm

By the way, but I am guessing you already do, do not trust those pension plans too much, and build your own pension funds, the sooner the better !

DutchGirl
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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by DutchGirl » Sat Mar 15, 2014 1:49 am

Indeed, Henk, I am working on my own pension plan :-) . Any extra money from the government pension plan or from the job pension plan thirty years from now will mean I'll have cream on my strawberries instead of just plain strawberries :-) .

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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by DutchGirl » Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:41 am

This guy had an article about the fear of running out of money: http://rootofgood.com/running-out-of-mo ... etirement/ . He retired at age 33 or so...

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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by RootofGood » Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:23 am

DutchGirl wrote:This guy had an article about the fear of running out of money: http://rootofgood.com/running-out-of-mo ... etirement/ . He retired at age 33 or so...

Thanks for sharing that link, DutchGirl! Now for me to de-lurk and make my first post! :)

To the OP Hank, It sounds like you'll be pretty well prepared to make it just fine in early retirement. And since you are open to finding a way to hustle and make a little money, you have an even better chance to succeed (financially) in early retirement. Since I retired at 33, I have quite a few decades of living expenses to fund from our portfolio. If we need a little supplemental income at some point in the future, I'm not averse to making money (in fact I already make a small amount right now). The key is to remain flexible with spending and earning.

As long as your expenses are somewhat low, it's pretty easy to cover portfolio shortfalls from a little side income without having to return to full time work.

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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by DutchGirl » Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:19 pm

Hey RootofGood: I like your blog. I'm not sure whether MrMoneyMustache (for example) ever talked about possible dangers of retiring early (... except perhaps: "Arrr! Get over yourself, wussy! Grow a Mustache!"). I like his blog, too, by the way; but his persona has little patience with people who are less courageous :-)

So I thought this post of yours was appropriate as it explores some of the possible pitfalls of retiring early and how to avoid them.

Hankaroundtheworld
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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by Hankaroundtheworld » Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:07 pm

He RootofGood, wow, 33 in ERE mode, that proves again how fast the new generation is. When I was 33, I just started to explore the world by work/travel, and certainly I was not so mature and aware as you are on that age, so I am impressed. I will start reading your blog as well.

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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by RootofGood » Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:54 pm

DutchGirl wrote:Hey RootofGood: I like your blog. I'm not sure whether MrMoneyMustache (for example) ever talked about possible dangers of retiring early (... except perhaps: "Arrr! Get over yourself, wussy! Grow a Mustache!"). I like his blog, too, by the way; but his persona has little patience with people who are less courageous :-)

So I thought this post of yours was appropriate as it explores some of the possible pitfalls of retiring early and how to avoid them.

I tried to quantify exactly what the risks are so that I could determine whether those quantified risks are something I can deal with (by earning some income or reducing spending, for example). Because there certainly are risks from retiring early.

It's just that I think most are way overblown. Inability to ever get a decent paying job ever again being a key overblown risk - look at Jacob, for example, to see a textbook example of un-retiring!

I feel like I should be polite and go introduce myself here!

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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by RootofGood » Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:58 pm

Hankaroundtheworld wrote:He RootofGood, wow, 33 in ERE mode, that proves again how fast the new generation is. When I was 33, I just started to explore the world by work/travel, and certainly I was not so mature and aware as you are on that age, so I am impressed. I will start reading your blog as well.
I never managed to do the work/travel thing (just the two independently!). Looking forward to more travel soon though. We're taking 5 weeks off this summer and going north along the east coast and hitting DC, Philly, NYC, and then visiting Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto, before returning to the US with a stop in Niagara Falls. It'll be interesting with our 3 young kids in tow! :)

I started saving pretty early on, before I even knew about early retirement as a well-defined concept. After 9 years of full time work, here we are! Pretty amazing.

Hankaroundtheworld
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Re: Henk's journey thru life

Post by Hankaroundtheworld » Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:21 pm

Amazing indeed, it took me 21 years, but luckily 15 years of that by living in every region of the world.
I saw that you also had quite some pension nest egg size, because you had swings of 65k USD (minus) and around 85k USD (positive) in just 2 Months because of market values of your funds in 2014, that means a nice size of funds -)

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