My Financial Independence Journey: Monthly Update #10 (October 2017)

Early retirement and financial independence

Friends,

I hope you have had a great September month!

Quite a few things have happened in the past month – and I have managed to get the highest savings rate ever, which I am super excited about!

Going forward, I have decided to divide this monthly financial independence journey update into five sections:

  1. Personal life: What has happened in my personal life
  2. Financials: How my savings and investments have been developing – and how I am tracking my early retirement goal
  3. Blogging: What has happened on the blog and how key metrics are developing
  4. Focus areas: How I did on delivering on my focus areas from last month and what I will focus on going forward
  5. Favorite posts of the month: Some good reads I have read during the past month

The idea is to make the updates a bit more structured. I hope you’ll like it!

Let’s get on with it 🙂

Personal life: What happened in September?

I have had a super month with good work-life balance (work has been a bit slower than usual, which is amazing) and a bit of traveling.

My girlfriend and I did a few weekend trips abroad in Europe. Most were prepaid or paid with loyalty points, but I was still afraid it could impact my savings rate for the month. Luckily, we managed to stay within our budget for the month.

I decided to post the first ‘real’ picture of me on the blog (or at least a real picture of me from behind). I am still trying to find out how public my journey should be or whether I should remain relatively anonymous. For now, I think it will be a gradual movement towards becoming more and more public.

I wrote a blog post about my life bucket list (that will go online next week), but one of my goals is to learn a new instrument. This month, I have started to learn playing the guitar, which has been a lot for fun, but it is super difficult. If you have any tips or tricks to become better, please let me know (I have already started using Yousician).

Financials: How am I tracking on my early retirement goal?

If you follow MoneyMow frequently, you know that one of the main financial metrics I track is my savings rate. This is one of the only numbers I use to calculate when I can retire.

In September I managed to increase my savings rate to 66%, which is the highest savings rate I have ever achieved!

Obviously, I was extremely thrilled to see that savings rate when I sat down to do the September numbers.

I knew that it would be good because I have stayed within my budget on all my accounts, but I did not expect it to be that high.

MoneyMow savings rate over time (%)

As you can see, the September savings rate is close to my previous all-time high of 65% from March this year. I really hope I can keep the high savings rates up going forward.

Let’s dive into the numbers:

My take-home income was 32,341 DKK (4,620 USD) and I managed to save 21,347 DKK (3,050 USD).

My current assets are:

Assets1 October 2017 (DKK)1 October 2017 (USD)1 September 2017 (DKK)1 September 2017 (USD)
Total assets270,66638,667240,88834,413
Cash49,4677,09240,0635,723
Stock indexes37,4585,35136,7265,247
Peer-to-peer lending15,6032,22915,4422,206
Home equity27,3603,90922,8003,257
Cryptocurrencies26,2643,75219,9082,844
Pension114,33416,333105,94915,136

My total assets including pension of 270,666 DKK (38,667 USD) was an increase of +12.4% up from last month.

I am 6.0% of the way towards my early retirement goal of a net worth of approximately 4,500,000 DKK (642,857 USD).

My total assets excluding pension of 156,332 DKK (22,333 USD) was an increase of +15.9% up from last month.

As you can see, my stock index investments have turned a positive result with an increase of +2.0% after six consecutive months of negative returns primarily due to the dollar falling relative to the Danish Krone (DKK) – finally!

My peer-to-peer lending investment is continuing the good trend of steady returns with an increase of +1.0% this month.

My pension followed the positive trends in the stock market (as it is also invested in stock indexes) and increased with +2.7% for the month.

The cryptocurrency markets took a big downturn during September, and I couldn’t resist the temptation of buying a bit more Ether while they were down (approximately 1,000 USD). It turned out to be a good decision (for now) and that particular investment has already increased with +30%, although my cryptocurrency portfolio decreased -4.3% for the month.

I have decided not to invest any more money in cryptocurrencies no matter what happens as it is simply too risky. I still consider it a lottery ticket – I might earn something, but I will most likely lose everything.

Blogging: How did key metrics develop on MoneyMow?

This month, I have had good time to work on the blog.

I have managed to write a weekly article (and prepare a few articles into the future as well), and I have done a few updates as well on the front- and back-end.

I have added a potentially irritating modal pop-up upon site exit intent to increase newsletter sign-ups, which has already worked. Once you close it, you shouldn’t see it for a couple of months.

Looking at the numbers, it has been a fairly good month:

  • Visitors: Visitors are in four figures and had an increase of 4.4%
  • Page views: Page views are in four figures and had an increase of 36.6%
  • Facebook likes: Facebook likes are at 1,027 up from 912 last month – finally crossed 1,000 likes!
  • Twitter followers: Twitter followers are at 426 which is the same amount as last month – I think it is mostly due to me unfollowing a number of irrelevant people who are now unfollowing me too
  • Newsletter growth: Number of people following my newsletter increased with 25%

All in all, I am happy with the growth on the blog in September. I believe the high increase in page views is primarily due to a much faster website (people stick around for longer) and better internal linking enabling more page views.

I really want to push the page views into five figures before the end of 2017.

I am increasingly getting various offers for potential collaborations and paid contributions. I am still a bit unsure as to how to proceed with these. For now, I am accepting some paid guests posts (while clearly disclosing it) if they add value to the blog, but I am refusing to write paid reviews for products that I am not interested in myself.

This month, I had no income on the blog.

Focus areas for the previous and coming month

Last month, I decided to pursue three objectives, and I managed to deliver on all three of them:

  1. I successfully managed to get a savings rate of more than 50%
  2. I set up a Danish PF meetup for the month of October (super excited to meet fellow PF people!)
  3. I managed to write posts ahead of time

I think it is the first time in the 10 month history of MoneyMow that I have delivered on all of the focus areas.

For the month of October, I have three focus areas:

  1. Aim for a savings rate of more than 50% (I’ll do this one again – with vacation coming up I think 66% would be unrealistic)
  2. I will try to comment on at least one PF article on another blog per day in the coming month
  3. I will try to have articles written for all of November when October is finished

Favorite posts of the month

Once again this month, I had the pleasure of reading great posts by FIRE bloggers:

  • BuddhaMoney did an interview with me on my home country, Denmark, which I think is worth a read if you want to know how the hell Danish citizens can be the happiest people in the world while paying the highest taxes
  • I absolutely love Bitches Get Riches, and this month they wrote a hilarious post on the economic strategies of Disney princesses. I don’t even know how you come up with a topic like that, but I laughed a lot reading it!
  • I also really like following Adventure Rich, and this month I liked Mrs. Adventure Rich’s post on the perks of working remote. It made me want to have a job where I could work remotely to avoid wasting time on commuting and not having to do only practical things in the weekends (doing laundry in the evenings or weekends is the worst!)

That’s it for September. Mostly good news – let’s see if it continues…

As always, let me know if you have any questions or comments – and remember to follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for following my journey!

Onwards,
Carl

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2 Comments

  1. Carl – great blog – rare to see these outside of the US/UK. Well written, good content and very professional looking – well done.
    2 questions –

    you mention travelling using points – any advice on the best way to accumulate travel rewards – best credit card? It’s a big deal on the US blogs but there’s not much out there for nordic based FI’ers.

    Where on earth do you get 5% on a cash deposit. I am based in the Nordics and would be interested in that option if available.

    Keep up the good work

    1. Hi Drew,

      Thanks a lot for following! 🙂

      The Nordics is not that developed on the use of credit cards and rewards. I travel quite a bit with work, which is how I generate most of my points, but I also have the Eurobonus Mastercard to get points. In my experience, it is better to accumulate your points in one place, so I try to get all of my flight and spending rewards in the EuroBonus program (for SAS), and get all my hotel rewards through hotels.com (1 free night per 10 nights).

      I get a 5% cash deposit account up to 50,000 DKK at LSB (lsb.dk), but that is because I am a member of DJØF (a union-ish association).

      Let me know if there’s anything else!

      Onwards,
      Carl

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