Seppia's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Seppia
Posts: 1199
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:34 am
Location: Italy

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Seppia »

August update

Vacation

My wife's parents own a small apartment in the french alps that they use mostly during ski season.
It was empty and we love summer in the mountains (more peaceful, fresher, less people), so we jumped on the opportunity and went hiking for 10 days.

DW and I are always grateful for the life we have.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Work

It looks like I'll be getting the chance to expand my role. This should happen any day now, and the move to asia is now 99% likely. I'd like some official confirmation but nothing still.
The end result should be more work, more money and more stress, but also the chance to learn something completely new.
Overall positive, especially because I'm very happy at work in spite of the long hours and incessant travel.

Health

Unfortunately, work is absorbing a lot of my energy, and as a result weight is out of control. I'm now 203lbs (92 kg).
I don't seem to be able to be 100% disciplined/focused in multiple aspects of my life: when work takes center stage, I let go on the eating/exercising.
I know it's 100% stress related as I consistently lose weight when on vacation

Money

Another decent month with 70% savings rate in spite of some vacation expenses.
YTD SR is at 79%, end year goal is still to be at 70% and stretch goal at 75%. It may be feasible if I have no unexpected exenses.
Dividends YTD have covered almost 85% of expenses. I expect this number to be lower at year end.

I am continuing my slow move towards defensive.
Cash stash is the highest it has been in two years (absolute value) and is now up to 17.5% of NW (excluding my small apartment).
All the stocks I've bought in the last 4 months are considered "defensive" stocks.

anesde
Posts: 107
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:32 am

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by anesde »

Breathtaking pictures!

I work stupid hours and travel quite a bit for work as well. One thing that’s helped me is setting up fitness challenges with my childhood friends who I’m still close to. We don’t live on the same continents, much less the same cities, but I’ve found it to be a great way to keep in touch plus provide a competitive atmosphere that helps in staying in shape.

Our first challenge was 50 burpees a day for 100 days. It’s easy, quick and can be done anywhere. The added bonus of being spread over the globe is that our group chats come in at all hours. So sometimes I would wake up in the UK and see that my friend in LA did his challenge while I was sleeping so it provided some motivation to get off my ass and do them.

Current challenge is a daily 6 min of kettlebell workout, 40 pull-ups, and 1 mile run. We use a google spreadsheet to track and send ridiculous messages to each other whenever someone is falling behind. Perhaps something similar would help you stay on track?

classical_Liberal
Posts: 1246
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

I'm not sure if it's your personality (ie very optimistic?) or if you have simply crafted a great lifestyle, but I love all of your updates and pictures. Do you really ever want to retire for what you've got going on? I mean, I'm not suggesting you start spending more money or anything, it just seems like you're so happy in your current situation.

Seppia
Posts: 1199
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:34 am
Location: Italy

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Seppia »

@anesde: that's a great idea thanks for the suggestion!

@c_L: when planning ahead I tend to be very conservative/pessimistic, but when looking back and "in the moment" I'm definitely a half glass full kind of person.
This said I am very happy now, a great 180 turn compared to a couple years ago where I really did not enjoy my job for a few different reasons.
I know this could change any time though, as there are many factors outside of your control.
Right now I have everything going for me:

a boss that trusts me/respects me and that doesn't micro manage too much
I am responsible for an area with great potential for growth that remained untapped for many years prior to my arrival, and I like the guys on my team
Said area happens to be beautiful
A great brand
I am handsomely paid and travel policy is generous

Some of the above are things that will not change, but a change of boss for the worse could have immediate negative effects.

So long story short, it's clear to me that I'm not going to quit anytime soon should things remain as-is, but I'm happy I'm saving north of 2/3 of my income anyway, just in case.
I am not exactly wired as an hardcore ERE practitioner. I could "retire" in a few months on a barebone expense plan, with a reasonable margin of safety (below 2.5% WR*), but I have expensive hobbies if measured by the standards of this forum. Mostly scuba diving and international travel.

So I'll probably hit "my number" somewhere between 5 and 7 years from now (even if I keep moving the goal posts further every year, in perfect OMY syndrome style), but my situation gives me the added EFF-YOU attitude to be able to fight any stressful situation

*In italy, we have a 0.2% wealth tax on all financial assets, plus dividends are taxed at 26%. So an american "4% WR" really corresponds to 2.8% for us.

wolf
Posts: 985
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:09 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by wolf »

There is luckily (not yet) a wealth tax in Germany.
We do also have a tax on investment income (either dividends or on the profit when selling). The tax is also around 26%.
And isn't there already a financial transaction tax in Italy? Probably there will be one in Germany as well.
Due to the progressive tax on any income there is an income level, on which you do not have to pay taxes. It's around 9k€ in Germany. And if you add (assert) expenses on health insurance on that you can earn around 12k€ income tax free (including investment). Is there something like that also in Italy? Or do you have to pay the same tax rate on investment (dividend?) income regardless the amount of your annual income?

Seppia
Posts: 1199
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:34 am
Location: Italy

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Seppia »

Dividends are taxed 26% regardless of income.
One of the 1737737373728292938 injustices of the worst tax system I've ever known (another great one: ETF sales don't generate plus and minuses that can be compensated with plus and minuses from stocks).

henrik
Posts: 766
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:58 pm
Location: EE

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by henrik »

Is your tax situation going to improve by moving to wherever it's going to be in Asia?

Seppia
Posts: 1199
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:34 am
Location: Italy

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Seppia »

:P It definitely should

anesde
Posts: 107
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:32 am

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by anesde »

Seppia wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:04 am
Dividends are taxed 26% regardless of income.
One of the 1737737373728292938 injustices of the worst tax system I've ever known (another great one: ETF sales don't generate plus and minuses that can be compensated with plus and minuses from stocks).

Ouch, that sucks. I thought the US was bad by not letting you combine “passive” gains/losses (from rental income) with “investment” gains/losses (from stocks, ETFs, etc). Word choice always irked me because the revenue stream I derive from my “passive” rental was a hell of a lot more active then the “investment” income from dividends. One was a few hours of research on the internet in my pajamas whilst the other was 4 months of project managing the renovation of a house.

I also hate the US citizen tax on worldwide income which falls under the category of “we do it because we can” and ex-pats don’t get any sympathy from anyone. The worst however is that your non-US citizen spouse (or green card holder, or even visa holder) is subject to US tax if you declare “married filing jointly”. Granted it doesn’t apply if you don’t but still - getting taxed from a foreign government without having any say or benefit from said government is beyond crazy to me.

Asia should be much better for you. Effective tax rates in both Singapore and HK are less than 15%.

Seppia
Posts: 1199
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:34 am
Location: Italy

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Seppia »

anesde wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:18 pm
I also hate the US citizen tax on worldwide income which falls under the category of “we do it because we can” and ex-pats don’t get any sympathy from anyone.
IIRC the first $90k earned abroad will not be subject to tax, so not too bad.
anesde wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:18 pm
Asia should be much better for you. Effective tax rates in both Singapore and HK are less than 15%.
8-)

slowtraveler
Posts: 797
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:06 pm

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by slowtraveler »

$103,900 free of federal taxes. *

Including a full 401k: 19,000** excluding any match, Standard deduction: 12,000
Dividends/long term capital gains: 38,600***
Total: 173,500 tax free for a single filer

You can push this to 210,500 if you are maxing the 401k limits that include matching as the maximum total is 56,000, plus 6,000 to 62,000 if you're over 50**. Dont forget a defined benefit plan for further tax free income.

Unfortunately, you will still be paying social security on some income and medicare on all your income.

* https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p54.pdf
** https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/pl ... ion-limits
*** https://www.irs.gov/instructions/i8615

henrik
Posts: 766
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:58 pm
Location: EE

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by henrik »

Seppia wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:04 am
(another great one: ETF sales don't generate plus and minuses that can be compensated with plus and minuses from stocks).
anesde wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:18 pm
Ouch, that sucks. I thought the US was bad by not letting you combine “passive” gains/losses (from rental income) with “investment” gains/losses (from stocks, ETFs, etc).
A common way around this is to do your investing in a holding company. Whether it makes sense obviously depends on personal circumstances and local tax rules. Using a holding company can also give you more flexibility in terms of residence - the company can "stay behind" or be established in another state/country in the first place.

Seppia
Posts: 1199
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:34 am
Location: Italy

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Seppia »

September Update

September started off with a fairly irresponsible purchase, but when I saw this picture from a trusted guy and saw the asking price (below market) I simply could not resist:

Image

I'm a sucker for knives (mostly kitchen knives), and it's the only area (together with watches) where I must admit I own significantly more stuff than I really need.
1 good kitchen knife and maybe 1 folding/survival/whatever knife is enough, instead I own:
- 3 main kitchen knives: a large and midsize Zwilling chef knives, ad a small japanese paring knife (moki long hunter)
- 3 outdoor knives: this Hinderer, a large Sebenza Insingo and a Fallkniven A1 for those who like these kind of things

Still, September was a good month financially, with a 70% SR (78% YTD) in spite of the fact that for the first time in 2019 I collected no passive income.
YTD dividends have covered about 2/3 of this year's living expenses, and about 50% of the average expenses of the last 4 years.
This has been an unexpectedly frugal year so far, mostly due to the absence of one offs and a renewed focus on reducing expenses.

Asset Snapshot

I figured I'll put down a couple info on my AA so that I can come back here in the future and check how stupid or smart I have been, for a textbook "outcome over process" analysis. :lol:

Split as of today is stocks 85%, cash/CD 15%. No bonds as I live in europe. I don't like the idea of foreign currency denominated bonds, and I think Euro yields are insane.

Stocks are 43% in Index ETFs, 57% in individual stocks.
Indexes are split about 70/30 Europe/Emerging
Individual stocks are tilted towards safe dividends (RDSA, BAT, French utilities, GSK, etc) but overall diversified by sector and geography across Europe (for tax reasons).

Total assets value is around 20 years of expenses (average of last 4 years).

I do not include the value of my small apartment in the NW calculation.

Work/Travels

My work travels brought me to Japan and Vietnam this month.
Wasn't able to do much visiting in Japan, but while in Osaka I managed to meet a friend of mine in a pork skewer restaurant that looked fantastic.

Image

Image

We decided to order randomly as the menu wasn't exactly gaijin-friendly :lol:

Image

Reminder: the japanese eat EVERYTHING

Image

While in Vietnam, I spent a couple days in Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon), again without much time for tourism.
It is incredible how different the cost of living is between the locals and the westernized areas.
I stayed at *random american hotel chain*, and prices for food were about the same as you would get in europe.
Then you head out, and this costs 30000 Vietnamese Dong (about $1.30), and it is DELICIOUS! (name is Pho Bo)

Image

Of course, the looks of the place aren't exactly up to the standards of average tourist:

Image

Last but not least, I had to spend a couple days in Hanoi, where I finally had a little time to decompress.
First, we had a fantastic mini-ERE meetup with fellow forumite slowtraveler and GF.
We had a great time and ate some fairly spectacular pizza (yes, pizza! One of my best friends is a pizzaiolo in Hanoi and we met at his place).

We had some great discussions, one in particular stuck in my mind for a while.
While I was raving about how it must be great for slowtraveler to be able to, well, slow travel across the globe thanks to having pulled the plug, he made a great observation about how, on the flipside, I'm being paid to do what I do.

So the takeaways for me were:
1- I must stop whining as I'm a lucky bastard
2- One of my best achievements in life has probably been to design a work path / career that matched very well with my personal interest.
Of course most of it was due to luck, as it almost always is the case with white males from a western democracy.

Then I was able to sneak a half day visit in the Ninh Binh area.
Pretty spectacular and made me want to come back for a vacation.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Have a great weekend everyone!
Last edited by Seppia on Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:16 am, edited 2 times in total.

slowtraveler
Posts: 797
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:06 pm

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by slowtraveler »

That was a wonderful night, one of the highlights of Hanoi.

That may have been the best pizza of my life- literally the only pizza I ever had without the temptation to add a centimeter layer of parmesan. We waddled home so full and happy from the great company and food. Thank you Seppia.

Your life is pretty good though I have to acknowledge the price as well, I see 2 big ones:
1) You're far away from your sweetheart.
2) You find somewhere you love and you can't settle there as long as your heart wants.

I understand your frustrations and I still think it's as sweet a gig as anyone could have. You earned it man, luck is a factor for us all here but many people had your opportunities and didn't build the life you have.

Ps-What was the name of that last pizza? It was made for my taste buds.

Seppia
Posts: 1199
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:34 am
Location: Italy

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Seppia »

The last pizza is not a standard recipe, it's Danilo's invention, combining the recipe of Amatriciana pasta sauce with pizza.

Should you want to replicate it, you need to start from a Margherita Pizza, then add some guanciale, grated pecorino romano cheese and some sundried tomatoes.

Here's the result for everyone to see. It was fantastic.

Image

cimorene12
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:10 am

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by cimorene12 »

Your photos from your trips to Japan and Vietnam are fabulous. I know that there are some (non-financial) costs associated with traveling so much. Nonetheless, it looks like it's mostly working at the moment.

horsewoman
Posts: 257
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:11 am

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by horsewoman »

cimorene12 wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 1:28 pm
Your photos from your trips to Japan and Vietnam are fabulous. I know that there are some (non-financial) costs associated with traveling so much. Nonetheless, it looks like it's mostly working at the moment.
What does it say about me that I preferred the picture of the pizza to the travel photos? :) We LOVE pizza in this house, and this one looks very delicious! :)

cimorene12
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:10 am

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by cimorene12 »

I love the pizza too, but I have never been to those two countries.

Seppia
Posts: 1199
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:34 am
Location: Italy

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by Seppia »

October Update

A couple big changes should be coming in the next few months.
It looks like finally I have a date for my move to Hong Kong, should be April 1st 2020!
I am slightly worried by the ongoing unrest, but having been there many times in the last few months I know the situation is not as bad as it seems.
Still waiting for the package offer, but while I obviously hope it will be as high as possible, at this point in life the money aspect is not so important any more.

We will have much more than we need, and when the question is "how much more than 50% will we be able to save all while living with great standards", who cares?
Both DW and I really want to have this life experience of living in Asia for a few years, being able to do so on while being paid is such a blessing that I'm not going to ruin my life negotiating hard for a few bucks.
Having little wants and being already financially safe really has a huge impact on quality of life.

I am so thankful to Jacob (and the other FIRE OGs as well) for all they've done for me.

I am stashing away miles and hotel points so that we should be able to travel on the cheap for a while (I did more than 100 hotel nights this year alone)

Work is going great, my area should end 2019 among the best performing in the whole company, so everybody's happy about the team I lead, and this makes corporate life easier.

October is one of my biggest months in terms of revenues from assets, with Index Funds and Royal Dutch (my biggest individual holding) paying dividends.
YTD, revenue from assets has covered 76% of living expenses, which is pretty cool although unsustainable.
2019 is shaping up to be an unusually frugal year thanks to the absence of one-offs + we spent almost zero on vacation time (we squatted DW parent's apartment in the Alps).

The last month has been a great reminder of why I like the strategy of making investment changes slowly.
While I've thought the markets to be overvalued for a while now, I did not sell any huge chunks or go all-in on different strategies. I've instead slowly accumulated a bit more dry powder.
Had I done anything more extreme, I would have missed on about 10% gains in the last 45 days.

Last work trip was in Australia and Hong Kong, did not take any pictures in Sydney and Melbourne as I had zero time for play, but in HK, during the weekend, I went to Sai Kung with a friend who's been living there for a few years.
We took a boat to Half Moon Bay.

It's incredible how one can be in an entirely different world in just 45 minutes.

HK:
Image

Half Moon Bay:
Image

Image

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 852
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am
Location: Earth

Re: Seppia's journal

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Beautiful pictures and exciting news on the move. I'm sad you won't be in Italy when we arrive in April :(

Need anyone to house sit in Como? =D

Post Reply