DutchGirl's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
DutchGirl
Posts: 1238
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Post by DutchGirl »

@m741, funny :-) Not my intention to imply that.
My new salary will be coming in, this Friday. I should be able to save more than 50% of it. That should feel good, but currently I'm feeling a bit... Sad. That is not an unusual state of mind for me. I need it to become spring :-) .
I was ill, too; which also affects my mood. I'm almost better now, will resume work tomorrow.
I need to lose some weight. I feel like I should shift some of my attention from "money things" to "healthy eating" and "getting some exercise". I am a bit afraid that if I take my attention off the money-thing, I will start losing money again. But I don't think that's a very realistic fear.
And I'll always have you guys to keep me steady there.
Maybe I'm good at focusing on one thing, and doing that (pretty) well; but I find it more difficult to pay attention to several "projects" at once. Things like: money, family, friends, weight/health, work. I have had periods were one or more suffered because I was focused on something else.
OK, that's enough philosophy for now. It's time to go to sleep, here.


rube
Posts: 632
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:54 pm
Location: Europe (NL)

Post by rube »

Hey DG, I fully agree with you that it is time it become spring again. It is affecting my mood also.
I'm sure you will be able to handle the the different topics and give them the attention they need. Nobody is perfect and able to pay 100% percent of their time and devotion to each subject. It's a live time learning proces, a journey.
When you can finish Phd, hopefully soon, you'll will probably also feel better.
Thanks for your yournal!


DutchGirl
Posts: 1238
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Post by DutchGirl »

The Dutch are a moody bunch, probably, these days. Except the ones who were smart (and rich) enough to take a winter holiday somewhere in the sun.
They predict more snow next week. Sigh.


DutchGirl
Posts: 1238
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Post by DutchGirl »

PS. I DID get a very cool income this month. Well, for me. I'm ok with earning 1500 euros/month. I'm used to earning 2000-2500 euros a month. This month, it was 3650 euros! All due to working hard and many hours in February; but I think it was worth it.
I'll be spending about 1400-1500, so that's a nice savings rate of 59%. On the other hand, this month I took a week off, and I'll also work less hours during the other weeks, so next month I'm expecting a paycheck of about 1500 euros. Eeeh, I still won't have to touch my savings account! (I'm currently building up a 5000-euro-buffer in my savings account, which I find very annoying because the interest rate on saving accounts is so low - high for current American standards, but yeah, interest rates are abysmal everywhere; still it is smart to have some money at hand... ).


DutchGirl
Posts: 1238
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Post by DutchGirl »

It's finally becoming spring. So welcome, hay fever... (ha).
In March, I made 3729 euros (salary 3627; interest/stock value growth 102 euros) and I spent 1363 euros. So a savings rate of 63%, which is exceptionally good for me, and both due to high income and low expenses.
On April 1st, my net worth was about 36,100 euros. So with a 4% SWR, if I could live on 120 euros per month, I'd be golden :-) . Still, compared to a few years ago, when my income from interest/stocks was about 0; now getting more than 1000 euros annually "for free" is really cool. And it does feel like it's going somewhere! I could still spend it all on (only) one very luxuruous car, but of course I'm not going to do that.
By the way, last month I did work enough hours so that I can expect a paycheck of 2000 euros, not 1500 euros, in a few weeks. Which means my savings rate will not go in the negative and will probably be something like 25%-30%. And this month, I'm working more hours again, so it should get better.


CarharttGuy
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:40 pm

Post by CarharttGuy »

Hi DutchGirl,
this Dutch calculation site might be of interrest

to you;
http://www.derentenier.nl/calculate.html
Keep doing what you are doing!


DutchGirl
Posts: 1238
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Post by DutchGirl »

@CarharttGuy: wow, this was your first message, cool that I was the receiver!
I actually already knew that website, and have been using it to make some calculations! But your post inspired me to look at it again.
I used to use it to calculate my own path towards retirement. But... My boyfriend has been stressing out lately about his chances on the job market. So this time I used it to calculate when one of us can retire. I put all our current assets in there, both of our possible contributions for the next several years, and... One of us could retire in 4 years time. The other then needs a few years more.
Very reassuring, and it shows the power of DINKs :-)


borisborisboris
Posts: 47
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:12 pm

Post by borisborisboris »

Wow, cool website - wish I had seen something comparable in English before I built my own spreadsheet.
I read through their 'over ons' page, and it made me wonder - what do people think of ERE in NL? I (an American) have family there but would never ask them such a question.
Part of the reason I ask was the recent coverage of DividendGuy et al in the national media here, and the predictably ignorant comments on those articles. But in my experience Dutch people treat money differently than Americans--they are more naturally frugal.
DutchGirl, what has your experience been?


DutchGirl
Posts: 1238
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Post by DutchGirl »

Hi borisborisboris, have you tried firecalc? http://firecalc.com/
We Dutch are famous for our frugality. You have the expressions "going Dutch" and "a Dutch treat". They are charicatures, though! In the last couple of years, the Dutch on average have 1500 euros consumer debt (about $2000). About 2 million people have a credit, from about 17 million in total (includes kids). 700,000 had problems paying their debt.
Most Dutch families have one car, or two. But gas is way more expensive than in the US, luckily distances are much shorter in the Netherlands. Most Dutch people have a bike, too, which is often used for shorter distances. Walking can be an option, too. Fast food is used a little less often, I think, and there are less drive-throughs (I visited Boston and saw three to five fast food chains per highway exit). I think people eat their meals at home more often, and bringing lunch to work (sandwiches, mostly) is seen as normal.
We have a mortgage problem, in that it has been possible for a long time to finance all, or part, of your house with a mortgage that you never had to pay back. All that was required of you, was paying the interest. As long as house prices went up like crazy, that was okay: you would sell your house and the extra money it would sell for was enough to cover your debt. Many people never paid down their mortgage debts, and now that house prices have fallen, many are underwater.
Also, over the last 15 years, insurance companies had offered financial plans based on investing. When they started, the market was going up and up and up. So people were told they could on average make >10% annually. On top of that, premiums often were >5% of whatever people put in. In the recent five years or so, when markets collapsed, these plans also collapsed, and people are often left with less than what they put in. People were greedy. Insurance companies were unethical. I am glad that I never bought one of these products, maybe just because I was too young when they were promoting them.
I don't think many Dutch people are planning on retiring early. About twenty years ago, there were many government-financed plans for people to retire early. After all, many young people didn't have work, so the old people should retire so that the new generation could get work. So many people could retire from age 55 and up with favorable conditions.However, currently there is a pension crisis, and the age at which we'll start receiving benefits will go up from 65 to 67, within a few years. Many, many people are complaining about having to retire later. This also shows, that these people apparently have zero money saved up to retire on their own conditions.


DutchGirl
Posts: 1238
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Post by DutchGirl »

Income in April: 2135 euros, of which 42 from investments (interest, dividend and increased value of stocks).
Expenses: 1802 euros.
Savings rate around 10-15% of my income, which is quite low.
Expenses included 340 euros on a new Iphone 3GS; which may or may not have been a good idea. My intentions were to be able to stop using my Samsung smartphone which has been a nuisance ever since buying, no, financing it into my payment plan, two years ago, and to be able to pick a sim-only or maybe even pay-as-you-go phone plan starting in July when my current contract ends (and by the way, if I want to end it early, I will still need to pay full contract price for every month I stop early, so no gain there). I'm currently paying 35 euros per month for my plan, and I hope to get to a plan that costs say 10-15 euros per month.
I hope that this iphone will stay functional for at least two years, hopefully even three. Then the costs-per-month will go down to 15-10 euros. While my boyfriend is doubtful because it may soon become impossible to update the software; I hope that the fact that I only use a few apps will save me from needing an update, anyway. (What I use: a public transport app, a keep-track-of-money app; both very useful for a person like me; and I use the internet for amusement). It is a pity that newer and newer phones come out with options I never use, but with prices to match all those options that I'll never use.
I hope my gamble was correct, but we'll see.
I was also accumulating money in my savings account for a bigger emergency fund, but I just can't do it. There's 2000 euros in an emergency account already, and now there were 3500 more euros just sitting there and earning almost no interest. So instead I bought shares from a bonds fund with it; general profit has been between 0 and 6% annually for the last 5 years, average 3.8%, and so if I never need the money, I'll just sell the bonds and probably will have made more profit than in my savings account. Another gamble that I hope works out for me.
(I bought bonds, not stocks, because A it is emergency fund money after all, could be needed sometime soon and B I have made a financial plan of how much bonds and how much stocks I want, and the balance had shifted too much towards stocks, so this was also a rebalancing act).
Next month, my income will be a bit higher again, and my expenses a bit lower (at least that's what I'm aiming and hoping for).


bulgaria
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 5:28 pm

Post by bulgaria »

I also have an iphone 3gs for 3.5 years.
some tips: get yourself a protector ASAP! If it falls, chance is very big that it is gone since the casing is very fragile. I have one with a build in battery which doubles the battery time. I don't use it much, although it is always on, and I have the impression that the battery is not getting bad. So that is good :)
I have not always been as careful with it.. but the phone is still doing fine. The only thing that went bust is the silver volume button on the side.. it fell off after 2.5 years.
The glass is very good.. I often have it in my pocket with all kinds of junk (e.g. keys) and the damage to the screen is very little.
The software: you can always jailbreak it (I have done that to get rid of mobile operator restrictions). Perhaps the jailbreak will also help you install software otherwise not available.
I'm sure the telephone will survive another 1.5 years.. maybe even longer.
PS: Next time buy a second hand one :) A lot cheaper.. let someone else deal with the depreciated value first..


DutchGirl
Posts: 1238
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Post by DutchGirl »

@bulgaria: I was too afraid to just use ebay. What if I pay 100 euros and the thing immediately falls apart? Well, maybe next time :-) . I did buy a cover for it and am using that.
Fun moment with the boyfriend: I recently told him that I estimate that together we have 175000 euros. Most of it is his. He hates talking about money, so he shrugged it off. Then, four days later or so, he says: "So we have 175k, ey? That's actually pretty cool." I believe it is a comforting idea to him; even when he claims not to care much about money.


DutchGirl
Posts: 1238
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Post by DutchGirl »

Money's running away from me quickly these days. I sponsored a bike ride against cancer (the money is going to the Dutch Organisation against Cancer, and from my work I know they do a great job paying for good scientific research). From my personal life, there are just too many people I know suffering from cancer, so that was my motivation for this charity over others. I also combined doing volunteer work for them with treating my mum on a weekend away for Mother's Day, costing me some bucks for travel and a place to stay. But to be fair, Mum picked up the tab for our restaurant meal on Saturday evening. And it was great to spend some time together! I see my savings account dwindle though, and I don't like it. Time to stop (discretionary) spending for this month of May.
We are saving on our grocery budget though, because we are dieting. The boyfriend and me both definitely could stand to lose some weight, and after some failed attempts, he found the key to my motivation: money. I'm blushing as I write this, because isn't that a bit low of me? But it is truly working. The deal is, that I pay him 500 euros (being 1/5th of a normal salary for me, equal to an "ouch" amount of money) if he loses xx kilos before July 1st, and that he'll pay me the same amount if I lose yy kilos before July 1st. So if we both reach our goal, no money is lost. If we both fail, ditto (which is a weak point in this system, anyone has a better idea?). The most painful experience for me would be him succeeding and me failing, because then I'll really lose 500 euros. The weight loss-amounts are between doable and hard, certainly not impossible. We started on May 1st, and it's going so well that we're both about 40% of the way (at 1/4th of the time). We're not sabotaging each other, because we know we are both susceptible to it... So far so good!
That's it for now. Salary coming in in about a week, should be about 2500 euros. Next month the salary will be bigger again, because I'm working my butt of this month, in between all national holidays that are happening (Ascencion day etc).


bigato
Posts: 2644
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:43 pm
Location: Brazil

Post by bigato »

Give the money to a trustworthy friend. If you both succeed, you both receive the money back. If one succeed alone, he receives all the money. If both fail, the friend of yours keep all the money.


DutchGirl
Posts: 1238
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Post by DutchGirl »

Salary was indeed 2500 euros, expenses were 2200 euros, so a very small savings rate this time. But next month should be better, as expenses will be down again (there were some annual bills in May) and income should be way up. When my salary comes in, I'll also hit 40.000 (euros) in savings, for a short while at least, during July it will drop down to 39.x k again, but it will be fun to see the 40k+ for the first time. And onwards to 50k+ of course!
Losing weight is a struggle at the moment. After a very rainy May I have started biking again, which has already saved me some euros in transport costs, but my weight hardly goes down. I'm probably growing muscle (?). Sigh. I'm not a very patient person by nature, but I'll stick with it and hope for a reward in the end.


BlueNote
Posts: 493
Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2013 6:26 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Post by BlueNote »

@ Dutchgirl. You give a comparably large % of your money to charity. Have you considered putting the money you want to give aside into a trust or separate account, then investing it in a balanced portfolio of stocks, bonds, real estate etc. and letting it compound until you die? Upon your death the charitable donation would be virtually guaranteed to be way more, even with inflation, then it would be by giving it now.
Kiva/microlending is my favourite type of charity because the money is loaned and gives people a hand up rather then a hand out.
I like your journal and in terms of losing weight I am right there with you, its tough but you can do it!


DutchGirl
Posts: 1238
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Post by DutchGirl »

@BlueNote: thanks. :-) . The recent charity expenses are a bit misleading, I think all in all, charities are about 7% of my annual expenses (and thus about 4% of my income). I guess I could wait till age 80+ (I hope to live that long), but I want the world to be a better place, starting now, not when I'm dead.
And oh, by the way, the weight loss finally happened. Didn't lose anything for a whole week, then dropped a whole kilo in one day. Go figure... Since then, it's been an ounce or so every day. This morning I was only 1.3 kilos from my goal for the first of July, I hope that that's manageable in two weeks.
PS. i just got my refund from my taxes. 800 euros, now I'll definitely get past the €40k mark (and the $50k mark) when my salary comes in, a week from now. It will be:
-1000 in checking

-7000 in savings (emergency fund plus saving for expected expenses)

-15000 in CDs (avg interest is 3.8%; unfortunately rates for new CDs have dropped since then)

-17000 in investments


DutchGirl
Posts: 1238
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Post by DutchGirl »

I reached my weight loss goal on Saturday morning. So a week before I had to. Hurray! Now for the next two months, I will try to lose 6 more kilos. (Yeah, I really am overweight, need to lose quite some weight...).
My salary came in today, it was quite high for me (I did work a lot of hours in May), and my total assets are now €40,200, so over €40k. Woot! This amount will go down again, since I need to pay my rent and groceries, but after next month's salary I should stay above €40k and indeed then I'll be on my way to the next big number :-) .
At my work, I'm a bit worried about the hours I'll get from September onwards (July and August are fine). So far, they've booked me for maybe 36 hours in September, which is enough to live on, but not enough to save. Working less hours does give me more time to finish up my PhD, though. After which I might be able to find a better job that pays even more. However, I do like my current job and one option for me was to just continue doing it, also after finishing up the PhD. But of course that doesn't work if they're downsizing too much.


m741
Posts: 1171
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:31 am
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by m741 »

Wow! Great job on the weight loss and the extra cash. Sounds like you're on a roll!


DutchGirl
Posts: 1238
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl »

Damn... I overspent quite a bit these last few months. Making my average, since I started tracking 1.5 years ago, €1772 per month. Most of it is charities (annual gifts) and a new, much-needed, laptop. And the overspending isn't going to end, yet. My mum and dad are going to have their wedding anniversary this month, and we (the three kids) are going to give an expensive gift. Considering I am glad they raised me well, and they paid my full education and I would gladly pay a few hundred bucks every month for them if their retirement money ran short (so far, things are looking okay), I shouldn't be too worried about a one-time €400 gift, but I am, just a bit. I feel a little sick to my stomach about it, since I was hoping this could be one of the cheaper months. The €1200 total is going to buy them a set of table+chairs for the garden, high quality I'm sure but quite expensive. It's an idea from my sister who bought the same set, and I'm not sure whether mum and dad really want it, or just were polite when they said they liked it. I don't know very well what to do. Sometimes fondness is expressed with money in our family, and there was a recent big fight in my boyfriend's family on the same topic; I don't want to cause one in mine :-) . That's not worth it. Still, I had a nice €50-gift in mind, not a €400 one.

How does one change this gift-giving thing from growing bigger and bigger every year (with perhaps gifts that are not quite right) back to a "normal" bunch of flowers or a couple of quality beers?

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