My Financial Freedom Journey: Monthly Update #3 (March 2017)

Early retirement and financial independence

Fellow MoneyMowers,

Woohoooo! February has been an awesome month for my financial freedom journey. Two major things happened – I managed to save quite some money and my blog was featured on ThinkSaveRetire.

What happened in February?

On the morning of the 17 February, I woke up to see a significant increase in traffic to MoneyMow. I traced the source to referral traffic from one of my favorite personal finance blogs, ThinkSaveRetire, who featured my article on why you don’t need things as their favorite post of the week. I was ecstatic! I hadn’t expected anyone to find my website or even read my articles. Suddenly, I had hundreds of visitors and people engaging in the comments – amazing!

ThinkSaveRetire is run by Steve who is also responsible for the amazing Rockstar Directory that is an incredibly useful list of great personal finance blogs.

Another highlight of my February, was the fact that I managed to increase my savings rate substantially. My savings rate soared from a disappointing 20-something last month to 65% in February. I still want it to be higher, but it was a great improvement. The primary reason for the improvement was a strong focus on my expenses despite my vacation being relatively costly – I did not buy anything that I didn’t need (no new things in any shape or form) and kept my entertainment expenses low (e.g. eating and drinking out).

Concerning my focus areas from the last month, I had to:

  1. Become accustomed to blogging
  2. Stay within my vacation budget
  3. Learn a new skill

To be honest, I believe I only succeeded with #2.

I have not yet found a good routine that will allow me to blog as frequently as I would like to (minimum 1-2 times per week). Part of the problem is a lack of time due to a busy job, but it is also that when I start writing I have a tendency to want a quite high level of detail. This obviously requires more effort per article.

I managed to stay within my vacation budget, but I did not learn a new skill – it might have been slightly optimistic to think that I could do this. Nonetheless, I wanted to start reading about something new and that I didn’t succeed with – this I’ll have to improve.

How am I tracking on my early retirement goal?

My take-home income was 29,524 DKK (4,217 USD) and my savings rate was 65%.

My current assets are:

Assets1 March 2017 (DKK)1 March 2017 (USD)1 February 2017 (DKK)1 February 2017 (USD)
Total assets98,58214,08378,98111,283
Cash75,48910,78456,1488,021
Peer-to-peer lending14,6212,08914,4762,068
Stock indexes8,4721,2108,3571,194

The cash assets of 75,489 DKK (10,784 USD) at February 1 means that I managed to save 19,341 DKK out of my take-home pay of 29,524 DKK, which equals a savings rate of (19,341/29,524) = 65%.

With a savings rate of 65%, I have roughly 10 years until retirement. This is slightly 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

For March, I have two focus areas:

  1. Blog frequently: Same as last month, I want to become better at blogging frequently (minimum 1 time per week) – I’ll do my best to stick to that
  2. Engage in the personal finance community: I would like to get to know more people in the personal finance space and contribute with my ideas to their blogs
  3. Don’t let moving costs go out of hand: I do expect a slightly smaller savings rate next month due to costs of moving houses, but I’ll do my best to keep those costs down

Favorite posts of the month

I read so many good articles in a given month that I feel it would be a shame not to share them. Here are my four favorite posts of March:

That’s it for this month!

Onwards,
Carl

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4 Comments

    1. Thanks, Steven! I’m doing my best and trying to stay on track, but I can definitely see a few potential bumps on the road (kids, economic cycles, geopolitical uncertainty etc.) that could come between me and being retired at 33, but you need to have a plan – then you can always adjust on the way!

      Onwards,
      Carl

  1. Congrats on the good month!

    While asset totals are important, I like that you’re focusing on the savings rate part of the equation. I think it’s the best measure of your habits, discipline, and daily decisions – there’s no confusion about whether you had a good month “because stocks went up” or you had a good month because you’ve developed a sustainable lifestyle that promotes wealth building.

    1. Thanks a lot, Matt!

      I very much agree with you. I only track net assets in relation to my savings rate. Since you need fewer assets if you are able to increase your savings rate. Thus, finding that savings rate at which you are able to live and save comfortably and sustainably is the key for me.

      Onwards,
      Carl

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