DutchGirl's journal

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

Post by Jason » Mon Feb 06, 2017 8:30 am

DutchGirl wrote: 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).
This to me is key. At this point in your life, ERE is an option. But later on, you might not be able to work due to opportunity or God forbid, health. Then what?

I often have "Pretend" retirement days where I say, OK, I'm retired, what am I going to do. And I have found that I am very happy just reading and watching documentaries. If I'm solvent enough, I can go back to school. Its that simple. Just one/two things. I remind myself off all the people I don't have to talk to. Its bliss.

I work in an industry where no one gets fired. One guy was technically dead two months ago and now he's in the office looking like he's auditioning for Death in an Ingmar Bergman film. Everyday I remind myself, work to live and don't find my identity in this. One day, I'm just going to say "F-It" and no one is going to care except me and the Mrs.

Noedig
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by Noedig » Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:48 pm

Wotcher Dutch.
Good progress with the savings.
You sound like you recharge when alone: classic introvert, if so.
Keep on, keeping on.

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:45 pm

So, February... (I'm not spending any money tomorrow, no travel needed and I have groceries at home).

Income posttax 2567 euros, expenses 2249 euros. That's a pretty lousy savings rate of just a bit over 10%. However, 600 euros were an annual contribution to a charity (I will get 40% of that back at tax time) and I also paid 240 euros for a full course to become a personal financial planner in the Netherlands.

Becoming a personal financial planner could become my second career, perhaps, or studying the material would just make me more familiar with all aspects of personal finance for myself and those close to me. I'm not sure yet. I like helping other people, and I like personal finance. I would want to be an independent planner (not associated with a particular bank or institution). But I'm not sure whether I'd like to deal with for example people who don't listen to my advice, or people who are going through some nasty divorce or something like that and want to have advice on how to handle that financially. I don't know whether the job would be fun enough to do (especially when close to FI or FI). I am by the way thinking about contacting a financial planner or two and asking them whether they can tell me more about it, or have me sit in with a few sessions.

I'm almost ready to bring all the paperwork regarding our taxes to my boyfriend's CPA (he has a CPA because he has a company; and the CPA does the tax paperwork for the both of us for just a bit of extra money; worth it to my boyfriend to avoid the hassle). I'm waiting for the paperwork from my job, they are late but sent out a message to all employees that we'll get it in the first week of March. I think I'll owe roughly 200-300 euros, so I'm in no particular rush to file...

A few days ago I first sanded and then refinished two tables at home. I'm really happy about one table that looked really shabby before, and now again looks shiny new and tip top. With the other one, there were some stains in the wood, and they are still shining through in the finished product. But still, it looks much better than it did before.

I have several DIY-projects for March:

1. paint the area around the fireplace in the sitting room. Lots of soot accumulated (it's not a very good fireplace), so it needs a fresh coat of paint.
2. sand and refinish a few parquet boards upstairs, where in the past I dropped some turpentine on them (I'm sometimes clumsy) so that they are partially bare now.
3. we have a room full of boxes with stuff and more stuff. I want to organize it. Most of the stuff is my boyfriend's and he doesn't want to get rid of it. But at the very least, it can become more organized. And the stuff in there that is mine can be sorted, and some of it sold/donated/thrown away.

Other projects:
1. Sort out our pots and pans, throw away the ones that are flaking, and perhaps buy one or two new ones that are truly missing from the collection.
2. I am going on a skiing trip with my family for a week, looking forward to that, except to the eight-hour road trip to and back from the skiing area in Austria. Oh well.
3. There's a pile of roughly ten dvds that I still have to watch, and then sell or donate afterward.
4. Reading some of the personal finance course material, of course.

So... quite enough projects for just one month. Let's see how it goes.

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m741
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by m741 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:48 pm

Hi DutchGirl, glad to see you're making progress! Being a financial consultant could be a lot of fun :).

I'm curious, would you mind providing some insight into the political situation in the Netherlands? Do you think fears about Geert Wilders are overblown, or no?

halfmoon
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by halfmoon » Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:30 pm

DutchGirl wrote:But I'm not sure whether I'd like to deal with for example people who don't listen to my advice, or people who are going through some nasty divorce or something like that and want to have advice on how to handle that financially.
DutchGirl, one of the challenges for me as an accountant (often called on to offer financial advice) was dealing with people who did dumb things regardless of my guidance. This is a real struggle, and you need to decide whether you can act as a guide and yet let go of rancor (or guilt) when your clients insist on walking in the other direction and fall off a cliff. Trust me: they will still be calling you from the chasm. :(

You will also have clients who are looking for advice on how to screw their former spouse in a divorce, claim bankruptcy and discharge legitimate debt, escape child support, justify ridiculous expenditures, avoid taxes in creative ways...

You really need to decide if you can divorce your feelings and personal code from your (potential) job. If so, this could be a good path for you. If not, you might be consuming a lot of alcohol. ;)

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Eureka
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by Eureka » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:30 am

240 euros for a full course to become a personal financial planner?
This sounds crazy cheap to me. Or is it on top of something else? I guess for this amount there is no room for learning about the psychological aspects of dealing with clients which I would suppose is the most central aspect of being a personal planner of anything.

Good luck with your studies!

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:12 pm

Hi Eureka,

You're right. There's another 240 euro fee for a practical class on how to talk to clients. This is just the theory. Oh, and then I can pay 200 euros more for practice tests. And I would have to pay even more euros for the real exam. I just figured I would start with the theory and then do the rest later, if I wanted to.

@halfmoon, thanks for all the information :-) . I'll really have to think about it, I guess!

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:10 am

The room full of boxes is now an organized room full of boxes. Wew. I've found a staple or two of old books, so now I need to sort those, and probably sell some, too. Oh, and I put all tools (screwdrivers, saws etc) into one corner of the room. They still need to be sorted & organized. (This is apparently my 999th post, what to do for the 1000th one?)

NickHalden
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by NickHalden » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:08 am

DutchGirl wrote: (This is apparently my 999th post, what to do for the 1000th one?)
Apologize for saying 'staple of books' (stapel boeken? maar een staple is een nietje uit een nietapparaat) ;)

Anyways, good job on working on your DYI list. It gives a sense of peace when you can tick off something of the list. A room full of boxes are however maybe an indicator that you have to much stuff? Not saying I do not have any boxes but when I moved here I did get rid of most of the unneccesary ones.

1Vikinggirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by 1Vikinggirl » Sun Mar 12, 2017 2:36 pm

I'd love to take some Dutch financial advice from you in a couple of months.

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:07 am

I've done two out of the three DIY tasks last month. Here's the work on the area around the fireplace:


Image Image
Before ... and ....... After

So it's looking a lot better, and I'm pleased with the result. Just one coat of paint was needed. I also changed the bottom part (beneath the fireplace, you can see it in the bottom right corner of the pictures) from dark to light gray and I'm happy with that result as well.

I also finished organizing the room full of boxes and the bookcases. So that's two out of three done, but number three hasn't been done, yet.

For the other projects I mentioned, I did sort out the pots and pans, and I did go on holiday with the family (it was very nice), and I am working on seeing all those dvds (so far saw two). But I didn't do any reading/learning of financial information just yet. Must do that at some point in the future, but ... haven't taken the time just yet.

As for finances, in March I had a regular income of roughly 2600 euros, but also had side income of 400 euros. So total income roughly 3000 euros. Expenses were high at 2013 euros, but included in that figure is 820 euros of donations to charities (and I will get some of that back come tax time 2018). I've decided to simplify my charity spending and that's why I'm spending a lot in the beginning of the year, in a few big payments, and then only very little during the rest of the year.

I also had high travel costs (well, 143 euros) which are mostly work-related and will be reimbursed next month. And I also still spent too much on fun stuff (like books and candy and presents etc) for 207 euros, where I had hoped to keep that under 100 euros for the month.

At the beginning of March, I gave the bookkeeper all information for our tax return. However, he then always sends us his proposal for the return, and I haven't seen that yet (more than a month later). It's a busy time for bookkeepers, I guess. I will probably owe a few hundred euros because I had side income last year that I hadn't paid taxes on, yet. So I'm not in a rush to have this return finished up :-) . By the way, we have a bookkeeper do this, because he also does my boyfriend's books from his business.

So that's a relatively short update for March.
Last edited by DutchGirl on Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Eureka
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by Eureka » Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:56 am

Nice job on the fireplace!

Do you plan to keep on paying to charity after you retire? Maybe you could donate time instead of money?

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:02 am

Hi Eureka, it's possible that I'll do that instead. My plans aren't completely fixed, yet.

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Sun May 14, 2017 11:32 pm

We finally got the tax info from the accountant. For me it was a relief to see that I only owe 113 euros. I thought it would be more like 300 euros. And yes, I made sure that the numbers that the accountant filled in are correct; my estimate apparently was a bit off. I owed 113 euros because I worked a small job on the side in 2016, for which I hadn't paid taxes yet.

April was a reasonable month financially. Income was just the regular income at 2600 euros (the amount varies a bit depending on the travel allowance and how many hours I worked after 6 PM during that month). Expenses were 2500 euros, of which almost 900 euros went to charity, 250 euros to a niece for her study fund, 100 euros to traveling (we were in London for a long weekend, it was fun!). I spent over 200 euros on transport for the month, roughly 110 euros of that were bike repair costs (new saddle, new chain, etc). I feel like the bike is now ready for the spring/summer/autumn during which I'll use it more often.

I'm looking forward to May, during which I'll have more money to put towards investments, as I get my vacation money in May, which should be another 1400 euros or so on top of my regular salary.

In very recent developments: we've talked to a realtor about selling our house. He also came and checked the house. We prepared for that by cleaning the whole place. The fact that I had already painted the fireplace and sorted the boxes really helped speed that up! The realtor also advised my boyfriend to have some more painting done. Mostly areas that were painted bright red or bright blue before my boyfriend even bought the house. The realtor thinks it's a bit off-putting (which was my suspicion all along as well). We've also seen a possible new house to buy that looks promising. It came on the market this Saturday, and we'll hear more about that today. The boyfriend is casually optimistic about this one, which is quite something. But we'll see.

Cornerman
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by Cornerman » Mon May 15, 2017 11:57 am

Good luck on the house hunt, it can be a tricky time for buying a house. But coming from a good financial position it can actually save you money at the moment. We ended up moving to a slightly bigger place and now pay less for housing and energy than before.

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:53 am

May income was 4160 euros, due to getting the vacation money. I've spent roughly 1700 euros in May, of which 800 to rent&food, almost 600 euros on charity (the contribution for one full year to one charity, plus a few other small monthly donations - amounts will be lower for the rest of the year), 130 euros to travel/transport, close to a 100 euros for the annual fee for a term life insurance, and 70 euros or so on fun.

My total savings rate for this year isn't were I want it to be, yet: 10,300 euros spent of 15,100 euros of income, so a savings rate of only 32%. However, these numbers should go up in the rest of the year as I've done most of my planned charitable giving for this year.

I'm happy with "only" spending 70 euros of fun/unexpected expenses, as it will help me get my average budget on that below 200 euros/month. I'm trying to keep spending down again in June, so far so good.

My mother-in-law is recovering nicely at home. She has always loved the summer and sitting outside in the shade, and the last 10 days or so she had recovered enough to be able to do that again. She'll have to build up some stamina to walk to closeby shops and stuff like that, but it'll come. We have a bit more worries about my boyfriend's father and mother these days, but it is true, they are really getting older and you know that things can happen then. I'm glad that my father and mother (still in their late 60s) have been doing fine these last couple of months. We've been visiting the in-laws a couple of times these lasts months, and will do so again tomorrow. Last week we were there on a Monday to go to the doctor's appointment with my mother-in-law; it's really nice that my parttime work (28 hours/week) and my boyfriend's business allowed us to be flexible like that.

We have been looking at possible houses to live in. But the boyfriend won't budge on his long list of requirements, and the housing market is growing more and more expensive every month. So for the time being we'll just stay where we are and I'm definitely enjoying living here and having relatively low housing costs (400 euros/month including utilities). Maybe we can buy during the next house market crash :lol: . By that time the boyfriend and I will be able to pay for a house in cash :roll: .

Cornerman
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by Cornerman » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:31 am

400 euro's including utilities a month is very cheap , considering social housing nowadays starts around 650 - max 710 euro's a month without utilities.
Funny how our society works. Hopefully your in laws keep their health. After all that's the most important.

Any luck on the career change ?

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:17 pm

We found a new house! And signed the buying contract! The house is NOT in the countryside, but does have easy access to public transport, a small garden, and a garage for the BF's car. It costs 300k euros, and I'll be responsible for half of that. It looks like housing costs will actually only increase a little bit for me, due to the very low interest rates these days. (My estimate: per month 200 euros of mortgage interest (after tax cuts and going down over time as I pay down the mortgage), 150 euros of potential repair costs on average, 75 euros of utilities, 40 euros of home insurance + life insurance, 50 euros of local taxes (for each of these that would be my half). That would be 515 euros/month compared to 425 euros now.

Right now, there are a lot of one-time costs as well, such as for the paperwork, the buying tax, and the necessary repairs. Of course, I should add those to the costs as well (my share would be roughly 5000 euros), but if you do spread them out over many years to come, it won't add too much to the average monthly costs.

The house will actually be transferred to us at the beginning of October, and we hope to move in in November or so. The boyfriend is going to sell our current house in September/October probably, with a move-out date of November or December. Busy times, but fun (mostly).

One thing that worries me a little is that the boyfriend wants to buy a lot of new furniture, while we still have furniture that isn't falling apart yet. (Also, he wants to leave behind the two tables that I just repainted this year - my blood, sweat and tears are in those tables!). However, over the last 9 years that I've lived with him, we have only bought one piece of furniture: one office chair, so my guess is that we will buy some new stuff now and then keep it for many years to come.

Noedig
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by Noedig » Sat Jul 22, 2017 11:37 pm

Super news, Dutch!

I have slowly learned from making budgets, is that there is often a big difference between all the things you can anticipate, and what happens in reality.

Life is full of one-off costs, unexpected events and opportunities. Roofs must be fixed, weddings attended, medical expenses found, family members and friends helped, it goes on.

You seem to have factored that in, and still be saving at ERE levels. Good for you!

Glad you will have a garden. Exciting times ahead, an adventure in making a home. Best wishes with all that, and with selling your current home.

rube
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by rube » Sun Jul 23, 2017 2:10 am

Congrats DG!
300K might sound a lot for ERE style but I think for the current situation in the netherlands and your situation it is pretty good.
Is it in the region where you are living now?

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:28 pm

Hi Rube, it's indeed only a few miles from where I live now. These last few days have been a whirlwind of making sure all the different parts will fall into place: money/mortgage, renting a bigger car to move stuff, finding people who will come and work on the roof of the new house, a photographer to make pictures of the old house, etc. Even though we can't start moving before the end of September, lots of stuff already needs to start happening. I hope we won't forget anything major, but I guess we can just do our best and we'll see.

DutchGirl
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:13 am

Today I transferred 29.800 euros to the notary as a 10% downpayment on the house. I think it is the largest transaction that I ever made in one go, and I let my boyfriend check all the details before I pressed "send" on the order.

Things are progressing nicely with the house. We'll meet the notary next week to discuss all the details. We are cleaning our current house, donating stuff, packing up stuff, etc. My boyfriend wants the old house on the market by half September, so it needs to be clean and minimalistic by then. My collection of elephants has to be packed away for example, and the realtor also suggested that we should get rid of some of the books. Blasphemy!

But anyway...

Moneywise, July was a pretty good month. Income was quite reasonable at 3000 euros posttax, and expenses were 1670 euros, of which a bit over 300 euros is the new annual term life insurance premium that I already got to cover the risks while I have a mortgage. (If I were to die, this money could completely pay off my half of the mortgage, and then some). 400 euros went to charitable donations, but that's the last time this year that this amount is so high. I spent very little on "fun", and now finally I'm back in the green there for this year; I overspent a lot at the beginning of the year. Also my travel costs went down sharply, with only 40 euros spent on public transport. The one-week holiday and the nice weather (biking!) helped me. Hopefully August will be the same.

So a nice savings rate of 44% this month, and the average total for the year is 37% so far...

Rouva
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Re: DutchGirl's journal

Post by Rouva » Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:10 am

Congratulations on finding a house!

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