Every day when I eat my plain and simple meal at work, I have to endure funny looks from co-workers. They say things like "That doesn't look very good, mate. What's the gooey stuff you got there?" or "It is better to eat a wide variety of foods than every day the same thing, you know." Yeah right, overpriced pizza's, hamburgers and kebabs and then hoping by mixing them in a certain order you will get all the required vitamins :) Over time you will not only have paid more for the service of having your food made for you instead of doing it yourself (multiply by 25 to see what it really costed you), you'll also see your medical expenses exploding. Good luck to you all, my dear colleagues...
I just sit there, tell them it's cheap and nutritious and think of Emerson: "For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure. And therefore a man must know how to estimate a sour face."
After discovering the ERE website (haven't read the book) a little over a month ago and learning that I was already doing quite a few things mentioned but could learn tons more, I decided to join the forum. There are a lot of things I can learn here and I would like to give back some of my own experiences as well. Perhaps we can keep each other motivated this way. You can count on my cheerful enthusiasm. Though I agree a job that is dull, degrading or downright dehumanizing is the best motivation for escaping the rat race. As Jacob writes: "Remember being unhappy about your corporate mission statement is a disorder that can be treated." I couldn't agree more. In this post I would like to thank him for showing all of us that it can be done. Thank you, Jacob!
Let's see here. As part of my introduction, these are the facts regarding my treatment:
-30 year old expat. Located in the South of Europe.
-INTJ. 78 introverted. 94 intuitive. 88 thinking. 56 judging. I got interested to have it checked after reading about it on the forums. Surprise surprise :)
-Master of Arts Degree (Humanities field). Graduated 2009 Q1.
-I make about 28k EUR per year before taxes. ($39k for reference.)
-Keeping accounts in GNUcash. Recommended!
-My monthly expenses are 90 EUR for rent (I live with 4 fantastic people in a big apartment--recommended!), 40 EUR for bills (incl. internet), about 160 EUR for living expenses (food, hygiene etc.), 25 EUR for transportation (riding a bike will kill me in traffic here, unfortunately, so I take the bus -- I could try to walk more often, though).
-No drivers license, so no risk of buying a vehicle that is expensive to buy, feed, maintain and replace in case of accidents. Besides, I would kill people if I were driving, so there's another risk I don't have. If you're in jail you can't generate income very well (legally).
-Medical insurance is paid for through work. It doesn't cost me a cent.
-Sometimes I fly (using budget airllines and special offers) to meet family and friends.
-The rest of my income goes towards income tax (the biggest chunk of the expense column by far... damn you government) and towards knocking down a 23k EUR liability (student loan @ 3.58%), which is the biggest drainer of all. It's keeping me from building assets.
-Student loan on target to be paid off in 2012.
-Emergency fund of about 2k, which covers 3-6 months of expenses.
-Net worth is negative by about 20k, due to aforementioned liability.
So yeah, all of this is probably different from all the asset building that is going on by all of you guys and ladies here. I'm going slowly but I'll get there eventually. My savings rate of around 80% of net income is happily enough in line with ERE principles. If only I wouldn't have to pay for my stupid and wasteful former self, who used his student loan mostly to fund a lifestyle of decadence... :-(
It's true that, due to bad choices I made in the past, I won't be able to reach ERE at 35, by the looks of it not even at 40. I grew up with the idea that one has to work till 65, that a student loan and being a mindless consumer were part of the game and I lived my life accordingly. Ah well, the stories on the forum are inspiring, regardless of whether I make a semi-early retirement or not, and I will applaud all of you who make it within the time frames you set for yourselves.
I feel I've reached a point in my personal financial regime where the potential benefits of further cutting down costs are lower than the potential benefits of pursuing a higher income. Right now I hold one of the lowest paying positions (on paper) in the industry I work in. Really, I should be looking into ways of trading my time more efficiently in order to improve cash flow right now, while keeping my expenses at the same level! Of course, I will be keeping my eyes open for promotion opportunities in the near future.
Does anyone have experience in translation gigs on the side? I'm decent when it comes to languages and juggling with words, but I'm not sure how to get into translating from home.
All the best,