My Financial Freedom Journey: Monthly Update #2 (February 2017)

Fellow MoneyMowers,

The first month of my early retirement journey has been a mixed experience. I have managed to save some money, but not as much as I had expected.

My savings rate has taken a hit and is not on the level I had imagined. This is because of three reasons:

  • I have had one-off expenses for our new house that will not reoccur
  • I have made a few extra vacation plans and paid for the trip in advance
  • I made a small error in calculating my total assets last month, which made them appear higher than they were (i.e. I had received a refund for corporate expenses before the expenses had been deducted from my account)

What happened in January?

I had three goals for for January:

  1. Follow my budget strictly
  2. Start becoming accustomed to blogging
  3. Watch out for costs related to moving houses and taking on a loan

Regarding following my budget strictly, I have monitored my expenses on a daily basis and I have really tried to apply the ‘need to have vs. nice to have’ mindset every time I have had to make a purchasing decision. All of my allocated accounts (i.e. food, entertainment, gifts, vacation etc.) have been in plus by the end of the month, so I have not been overspending.

I have not yet become accustomed to blogging. I have had a really busy month and have not found the time to do it, although I really wanted to. I know it is just a matter of prioritization, so this one will definitely continue into February. My goal is to set a plan and make an editorial calendar that I will stick to religiously.

Regarding costs for moving houses and taking on a loan, I managed to negotiate the fees for our housing loan significantly down. However, there are costs that you cannot remove once you take on a loan, so I did have some expenses to take on the loan. I know that we will have some more once we actually move. My girlfriend and I have also decided to use 13,500 DKK (1,928 USD) each on new furniture when we move, since we are moving from a 2-room house to a 5-room house.

In general, I believe January was a very interesting first month of trying to retire early and achieve financial independence, but I still have much to learn. I will share those learnings on the blog as we go.

How am I tracking on my early retirement goal?

My take-home income was 28,985 DKK (4,141 USD) and my savings rate was 27%.

My current assets are:

Assets1 February 2017 (DKK)1 February 2017 (USD)1 January 2017 (DKK)1 January 2017 (USD)
Total assets78,98111,28371,04810,149
Cash56,1488,02148,3806,911
Peer-to-peer lending14,4762,06814,3292,047
Stock indexes8,3571,1948,3391,191

The cash assets of 56,148 DKK at February 1 means that I managed to save 7,768 DKK out of my take-home pay of 28,985 DKK, which equals a savings rate of (7,768/28,985) = 27%.

With a savings rate of 27%, I have 30.3 years until retirement. This is obviously far longer than I am willing to wait. My target savings rate is 75%, which will enable me to retire in 7.1 years and being financially independent.

Focus areas for the coming month

I still have many things to learn, but I have decided on three focus areas for the coming month:

  1. As last month, spend time on becoming accustomed to blogging and set up a strict plan to follow
  2. I am going on vacation in February for two weeks, so I will make sure to stay within the vacation budget
  3. Learn a new skill (I have for a long time wanted to learn more about Big Data, Advanced Analytics, AI, Machine Learning etc., so I will try to read a few books on the subject

Thanks for following my journey!

/Carl

Do you have any comments, questions or tips for me? Please let me know in the comments!

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6 Comments

    1. Hi Lasse,

      Great to hear from you! Yes, we are actually a few FIRE people in Denmark. I am considering setting up a meet-up in the near future. Let me know if you are interested in joining! 🙂

      Onwards,
      Carl

  1. I know it’s fun to furnish a new place and get to ‘our ‘ couch, table etc. Consider what you have, what can be repurposed (if you have 2 kitchen tables can 1 become a desk instead of buying a new one?), and what you can wait to buy. I moved from a 1 to a 2 bedroom apt and never got a guest bed. I thought omg I need one, but after a while I realized not that many people visited. In my current place I did get the guest bed. (My mom does visit enough a guest bed makes sense now.) I got the base for ~$80 (usd) and the mattress from ikea for ~$200. I had the dresser and lamps.
    Especially if you are renting out 1 room, the renter may have furniture too.
    There are also things you do need in a new place, so it’s great you have both budgeted and won’t be surprised.

    1. Hi Jacq,

      Thanks a lot for your comment! I fully agree that you should be very pragmatic when moving places – and I’ll also try to use the cheaper options from e.g. IKEA. We are going to take all of our furniture and furnish the apartment with, but we still have some new (larger) rooms to furnish. We are going to rent out a room to get some extra income, so that we will also have to furnish (in Denmark, you can take a higher rent if it is furnished by law).

      I think the biggest challenge might be to agree on what is needed and what is not. We have tried to make a list of ‘need to haves’ and allocated some money for that list. What we cannot afford now, we will have to save up based on the monthly budget we have set for furniture.

      All the best,
      Carl

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