Fru Frihed's Journal (Mrs Freedom's Journal)

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FruFrihed
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:36 am

Fru Frihed's Journal (Mrs Freedom's Journal)

Post by FruFrihed » Fri Jun 09, 2017 6:45 am

Dear Early Retirement Extreme Forum,

I have been lurking around the forum the last half year and have found it very inspiring to read other people's private stories. Especially those that are similar to mine. So therefore I have decided to make my own journal. I hope it will be of value to some of you and I also hope it will provide me with an outlet for some of the feelings that are hard to share with friends, family and colleagues when aiming for financial independence.

First, a short introduction: I am a 26 year old Danish woman. I was married to my husband 3 years ago and we are expecting our first child this summer. We live in a 90 square metre apartment in Copenhagen that we own ourselves. That's all for now. I guess the rest will reveal itself in later posts.

Today I went to the office even though my head and throat were still killing me. I took the day off yesterday because of sickness. I felt I had to get in there for an assignment that had to be done today. Luckily I finished it fast and my manager sent me home. I guess I am quite lucky that my manager acts humanely most of the time.

Now I'm at home feeling a bit depressed. When I'm sick I always feel like I should be doing all sorts of things. Like building that bench in the bedroom. Or do some cleaning. But I'm too tired (and sick!) and therefore I often turn to sleeping or reading early retirement extreme blogs.

I am actually quite content with my job. It is challenging and well paid. And it provides a good starting point for a career within investment banking. The part I don't like is the lack of autonomy. The fact that I have to follow the strategy that management outlines no matter my own values. The fact that I have to sit at my office desk every Monday to Friday from at least 8am to 5pm. The fact that I act differently out of fear that it will harm my career if I don't. I actually don't want to not work, I guess. I just want to be able to support myself and my family for the rest of my life regardless of how my manager or colleagues assess my value.

Right now my husband and I have saved what corresponds to 3x our yearly expenses. As you probably know the usual magic number is 25x yearly expenses which corresponds to a safe withdrawal rate of 4%. I don't take into account our home equity. On the other hand, our expenses are artificially low since we don't pay down the principal on our mortgage. Right now the loan to value on our apartment is 65%. In ten years we have to start paying down the principal unless we can refinance to a new interest only mortgage. If our loan to value is less than 80% and our income is sufficient it should be no problem.

Our savings rate is at 55%. I think it will take us about ten years to get to financial independence. But it depends on how our expenses develop. With a new family member arriving this summer I am not sure how our expenses will be in the future. I hope it won't be too expensive to bring up a little one. But I also hope we will have more than one child which will also bring up expenses. Well, no matter what, we don't want to let financial independence influence how many kids we will have. So if expenses skyrocket it will just take a few more years. I am very excited to be a mom for the first time. It has taken us 2,5 years to get pregnant and in that time I found out how much having a family means to me. I'm not sure how I would be happy without it. My maternity leave will be 10 months long and I think it will be a good opportunity to assess how I live right now and whether I should stay in my job or find something else. I have been working there for four years now and I consider switching to some other job. My main doubt is whether I should go for a similarly demanding job which will provide a better pay or a less demanding job that will provide around the same pay as now. I think it is easier to determine after I give birth. Maybe I just don't want to be away from the little one for too long everyday or else I will be motivated to earn more... I'll see. No matter what, I look forward to having time as a family during maternity leave.

Thank you for reading this far. These were some random thoughts and I guess the rest of the journal will be equally random so read on if you like the messiness.

knap82
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon May 02, 2016 8:56 am

Re: Fru Frihed's Journal (Mrs Freedom's Journal)

Post by knap82 » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:21 am

Welcome.

Always great to see another Dane!

Congratulations on the little one coming in this summer. My son is now 9 months and is just getting better and better.

We have done the child stuff extremely frugal boring from friends and family, buying in "mødtehjælpen" etc.

Let me know if you want some input and a cup of coffee.

I can also highly recommend a maternity travel with your husband - we have just had 6 weeks in the Philippines and it was amazing.

Well - welcome :-)

MDFIRE2024
Posts: 350
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:09 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Fru Frihed's Journal (Mrs Freedom's Journal)

Post by MDFIRE2024 » Sat Jun 10, 2017 12:08 am

Hi FruFrihed.

If you manage your saving rate well, I am sure that you will reach FI. I guess you have already learned about some ERE skills and frugal choices here already?

Is living in Copenhagen ERE-friendly?

FruFrihed
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:36 am

Re: Fru Frihed's Journal (Mrs Freedom's Journal)

Post by FruFrihed » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:03 am

Hi knap82,

Good to hear that you can do the baby thing frugally. We have talked about travelling but then we would have to both be on leave at the same time which means our son would have to start in daycare earlier which we would like to avoid. Do you live in Copenhagen too?

FruFrihed
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:36 am

Re: Fru Frihed's Journal (Mrs Freedom's Journal)

Post by FruFrihed » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:13 am

MDFIRE2024 wrote:
Sat Jun 10, 2017 12:08 am
Hi FruFrihed.

If you manage your saving rate well, I am sure that you will reach FI. I guess you have already learned about some ERE skills and frugal choices here already?

Is living in Copenhagen ERE-friendly?
Hi MDFIRE2024,

Yes, we have learned to live more frugally the last couple of years, but we have also just not increased our spendings that much after graduating. I believe it is much easier to choose not to increase your spending than to choose to lower your spending 😉.

Copenhagen is really great because of the many free public services as good public transportation, parks, playing grounds, libraries and museums. There are also so many free concerts and other cultural events so it will be amazing after FI when we have more time to take advantage of all this 😄. Besides, education and healthcare is top class and free. The only problem is the high tax rates but someone's got to pay for all of it 😝

FruFrihed
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:36 am

Re: Fru Frihed's Journal (Mrs Freedom's Journal)

Post by FruFrihed » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:19 am

================= OUR SAVINGS RATE ===============


As I wrote in the last post our savings rate is 55%. That is mainly because we do not pay back our mortgage. If we did that and if we had a fixed interest rate (we have a variable rate that is adjusted every three years), our savings rate would be around 35%. But it is also because we have decreased our expenses the last couple of years. We met when we were both students and our expenses were therefore naturally low but as my husband graduated and we moved in together our holidays slowly got more expensive and we went out to dine a lot more. I think my last year of university was when our expenses peaked. After I started working there suddenly wasn't that much time to go out and I must admit that money felt more precious to me since I knew exactly how much hard work that went in to generate it. And I must admit I was surprised how not being the master of my own time took a toll in me. I don't think it's the number of hours I have to spend working that makes it hard, it's more the feeling of being someone's puppet. It is so demotivating.

Well, in the beginning we just had a vague idea that setting aside a little money each month would be a good idea. Also, my husband got interested in stock investing which motivated him to set aside. Then seeing our savings grow motivated us to set aside even more. So we cut down on restaurants and clothes. When I finally learned of early retirement extreme I was even more motivated and we then cancelled our Netflix and HBO accounts, changed our mobile subscriptions to cheaper ones and quit going to the hairdresser (we cut each other's hair) among other things. Now we have sort of landed at our current expense level and we feel convenient at this level. We could lower them even more as we still eat out sometimes, travel once in a while and give ourselves a generous amount of monthly pocket money. I could choose to save my pocket money but I meet with a very good friend of mine every Wednesday who really likes to go out to restaurants. So I spend my pocket money on that. It also helps that we live very close to our jobs. My husband can walk there in 15 minutes and I in 45 minutes. And therefore we have no car.

Over the next year our expenses may increase due to having a baby but so far we have bought a lot of things used and friends and family have been happy to give us their old stuff. I suspect it will only get really expensive when we have to pay for daycare. That in isolation will increase our expenses with around 15%. Our income will stay the same as now for the largest part of next year since our employers pay for the majority of our maternity leaves (I will have one month before birth and nine months after and my husband will then have three months). Out of those 13 months we will only receive reduced pay for about 1 month thanks to the generous Danish state.

We plan to set aside all wage raises that may come. We should both be able to increase our wages over the next years but it also depends on which kinds of jobs we want to have. I am not super stressed about becoming FI if for example we can have a better life until FI with less stressful jobs and more time with the family. If we choose less stressful careers, I suspect we will be able to maintain a savings rate around 50-55% over the next 10 years with moderate wage increases and increased expenses due to daycare. However, if we choose more ambitious careers, I could see a savings rate around 60-65%. With our current savings (3x yearly expenses) and a savings rate at 55% we should have about 10 years until FI.

knap82
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon May 02, 2016 8:56 am

Re: Fru Frihed's Journal (Mrs Freedom's Journal)

Post by knap82 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:24 pm

'Allo!

Yes - I am living in Copenhagen in Nørrebro.

Regarding the travel - I understand the dilemma with taking double leave and have your kid start earlier in day care. I will still urge to consider the possibility and see if you figure something out. Perhaps taking a month with a nonpaid leave or something - for me the expenses in taking a tour with my girlfriend and son was absolutely worth it - the family is well rewarded with a trip away from the normal everyday life.

Let me know again if you want some input on that - we got a lot of experience on what to focus on, what to pack and what not to pack etc. Travel - as well - changes quite a lot with a little one joining the family.

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Eureka
Posts: 281
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2016 11:03 am
Location: Denmark

Re: Fru Frihed's Journal (Mrs Freedom's Journal)

Post by Eureka » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:08 pm

Welcome from another Dane! I enjoy your journal and hope you will keep it up also once baby has entered this world.

FruFrihed
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:36 am

Re: Fru Frihed's Journal (Mrs Freedom's Journal)

Post by FruFrihed » Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:51 am

Eureka wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:08 pm
Welcome from another Dane! I enjoy your journal and hope you will keep it up also once baby has entered this world.
Thank you Eureka!

FruFrihed
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:36 am

Re: Fru Frihed's Journal (Mrs Freedom's Journal)

Post by FruFrihed » Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:54 am

=================== MY FI DREAM ===================

Lately I have been thinking about what I would actually like to do after FI. I think I will only be sure once I am really FI but it's also fun and motivating to imagine life after FI now. I suspect my FI dream will change after I have kids. Therefore, I think it will be fun to see how this list changes a year from now or five years from now. Well, my list of things I imagine I would like to do post FI is:
- Learn to design and craft my own clothes and furniture
- Work as a self-employed independent financial advisor
- Read as many books as enjoyable
- Practice my drawing
- Study philosophy
- Be an active part of my local community
- Go to church more often
- Go for a long walk every sunny day (which isn't so often in Denmark)
Even though I would not want to have a job like the one I have now post FI, I think I would like to have something in my life that is a duty or an obligation to someone (besides my family of course). I don't think I would be happy being completely free from some kind of duty. I just want to be able to shape this duty in my own way. I hope it makes sense.

FruFrihed
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:36 am

Re: Fru Frihed's Journal (Mrs Freedom's Journal)

Post by FruFrihed » Sat Jul 01, 2017 7:27 am

====== OUR INCOME AND EXPENSES JUNE 2017 ======
Image
This graph shows our income and expenses over the last couple of years. Because the actual numbers fluctuate so much I decided to do it on a last twelve months basis. The savings from this period have gone into repayments of mortgage debt, renovations and investments. Some of it has also gone to paying a higher interest rate on our mortgage than we do now because we had a fixed interest rate on 2.5% for 30 years which we have converted into a 3 year fixed interest rate of about 0%. I decided to exclude this difference in order to get expense figures that are comparable over time. This also means that our expenses may rise if interest rates rise. But choosing the right mortgage is a topic on its own so I will not say more about this now. As I do not wish to disclose our actual numbers, I have calculated the numbers as index numbers where 100 is our goal for expenses. We should be able to live a comfortable life with this expense level. However, I may change this goal when we have kids. I'll see about this later. At least, index 100 is the goal for now.

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FBeyer
Posts: 750
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 3:25 am

Re: Fru Frihed's Journal (Mrs Freedom's Journal)

Post by FBeyer » Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:47 pm

FruFrihed wrote:
Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:54 am
=================== MY FI DREAM ===================

Lately I have been thinking about what I would actually like to do after FI...
By now this is becoming my standard response to these kinds of posts. What on earth is keeping you from reprioritizing in order to do some of those FI-things before you're FI?

FruFrihed
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:36 am

Re: Fru Frihed's Journal (Mrs Freedom's Journal)

Post by FruFrihed » Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:46 pm

FBeyer wrote:
Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:47 pm
FruFrihed wrote:
Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:54 am
=================== MY FI DREAM ===================

Lately I have been thinking about what I would actually like to do after FI...
By now this is becoming my standard response to these kinds of posts. What on earth is keeping you from reprioritizing in order to do some of those FI-things before you're FI?
Mostly that between work, social life and sleep I don't feel I have the time or energy. I guess I could set time aside to do some of the things but then I would have to cut down on things that I value too much. Also, many of the projects would require me to be more committed than just setting aside a couple of hours every other weekend in order for me to enjoy it.

FruFrihed
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:36 am

Re: Fru Frihed's Journal (Mrs Freedom's Journal)

Post by FruFrihed » Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:49 pm

FruFrihed wrote:
Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:46 pm
FBeyer wrote:
Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:47 pm
FruFrihed wrote:
Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:54 am
=================== MY FI DREAM ===================

Lately I have been thinking about what I would actually like to do after FI...
By now this is becoming my standard response to these kinds of posts. What on earth is keeping you from reprioritizing in order to do some of those FI-things before you're FI?
Mostly that between work, social life and sleep I don't feel I have the time or energy. I guess I could set time aside to do some of the things but then I would have to cut down on things that I value too much. Also, many of the projects would require me to be more committed than just setting aside a couple of hours every other weekend in order for me to enjoy it.
But of course I do some of the things now, as reading books and going for walks - I would just like to do it more often ;)

Evita
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 8:18 am

Re: Fru Frihed's Journal (Mrs Freedom's Journal)

Post by Evita » Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:21 pm

Hej Fru Frihed.

Jeg er tv-journalist og har i nogen tid researchet en dokumentar til Danmarks Radio om Jacob, vejen til finansiel uafhængighed og om danskere, der vælger at styre deres forbrug og økonomi, så der er rum til at investere, så man på et tidspunkt midt i livet har penge nok til at kunne uafhængig af et fast arbejde.
I min research har jeg talt med en del af de gode folk i forummet men også andre danskere, der er godt på vej.

Jeg vil også gerne tale med dig, hvis du har tid og lyst til det. Jeg vil gerne tale med dig om at være på vej med et lille barn - men også om dine tanker om arbejdslivet, lysten til at bruge kræfter på frivilligt arbejde, at lave ting selv osv. Noget som jeg tror mange andre også drømmer om - men har svært ved at realisere.
Har du evt lyst til en snak i telefonen? Det vil bare være til research, og så du kan høre, hvad jeg pusler med, og jeg kan høre, hvordan I griber det her an. Tanken er også, at du måske kan have lyst til at medvirke, men den del kan vi tage senere. Hvad siger du til en snak?

Meget tyder på, at jeg får mulighed for at lave et DR2 tema om vejen til finansiel frihed. Jeg skal mødes med redaktøren i næste uge. Bliver han og jeg enige, skal programmet nok produceres hen over vinteren.

Mange hilsner

Eva Bejder
Journalist
M: 23 61 55 01

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