My Financial Independence Journey: Monthly Update #11 (November 2017)

Early retirement and financial independence

Friends,

I hope you have had an absolutely amazing October month!

Lots of things have happened in the past month – especially on the blog that has grown a lot.

Last month, I got the highest savings rate ever on MoneyMow, but I have bad news for this month’s savings rate! 🙁

Personal life: What happened in October?

October flew by so quickly.

My girlfriend and I have been on holiday for a week in Southern Europe. We mostly relaxed by the pool and didn’t do (or spend) a lot. However, one week definitely wasn’t enough, and I could have easily taken a few more days/weeks.

Getting some time off really makes you think about life, which you might see reflected in some of November’s posts. The feeling on the last day of my vacation having to go back to work was a great reminder that pursuing financial independence is exactly the right thing for me.

I have managed to have a decent work-life balance (with less than 50 hours work per week), see friends and family in the evenings, and squeeze in exercise at least a few days per week.

Towards the end of the month, I spent some days being sick, which is always boring – not sure if it is my body that tells me I need more vacation 🙂

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

You know that the main metric I follow is my savings rate. In fact, every month I use my trailing 12-month savings rate to calculate when I can retire.

In September, I managed to achieve my highest savings rate ever at 66%.

In October, however, I managed to get my lowest savings rate ever at a negative -3% (!!!).

From the highest savings rate ever to the lowest savings rate ever (and my first ever negative savings rate). The. Lowest. Savings. Rate. Ever

I know, it sucks.

What the hell happened?!

The primary reason was that I decided to pre-pay a vacation for next year that my girlfriend and I have long been wanting to go on. It was one of those decisions where we could save up and wait, but then the vacation would be even more expensive, so we decided to go all-out and pre-pay everything.

I know it is a bad excuse, but if I had not pre-paid the vacation (and saved up over the coming months instead), my savings rate would have been 20-something.

Still not impressed? Me neither. Although we did not spend a lot on our vacation in October, it is always more expensive than you think which explains the rest of the spending combined with a few additional restaurant dinners last month, I simply did not manage to keep up with September’s strict spending and high savings rate.

I guess all of this vacationing needs to be controlled better. I need to stick to a budget and save up for my vacations. My girlfriend really prioritizes these vacations, and it is one of the few areas where I actually like to spend money. In the future, I’ll have to deal with this somehow if I want to achieve financial independence.

MoneyMow savings rate over time (%)

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As you can see, the October savings rate of -3% is at the rock bottom of the chart. The only good thing is that it can only improve next month!

Let’s dive into the numbers:

My take-home income was 32,341 DKK (4,620 USD) and I managed to spend 33,462 DKK (4,780 USD) exceeding my income with 1,121 DKK (160 USD).

My current assets are:

Assets1 November 2017 (DKK)1 November 2017 (USD)1 October 2017 (DKK)1 October 2017 (USD)
Cash43,9666,28149,4677,092
Stock indexes39,2095,60137,4585,351
Peer-to-peer lending15,7672,25215,6032,229
Home equity31,9204,56027,3603,909
Cryptocurrencies25,2633,60926,2643,752
Pension123,61317,659114,33416,333
Total assets279,73839,963270,66638,667

My total assets including pension of 279,738 DKK (39,963USD) was an increase of +3.4% up from last month.

I am 6.2% of the way towards my early retirement goal of a net worth of approximately 4,500,000 DKK (642,857 USD) up from 6.0% last month.

My total assets excluding pension of 156,125 DKK (17,659 USD) was a decrease of -0.1% from last month (I hope I’ll never have to report a negative rate here again!).

In the next six months, I am expecting a big increase in net worth, since my yearly bonus (in December), stock dividends (in February) and tax returns (in May) will be coming up! I expect them all to have a quite positive impact on my net worth. The bonus might add up to 25% of my current net worth on top.

As you can see, my stock index investments have turned an extremely positive result with an increase of +4.7% after last month being the first positive growth month in half a year, this is definitely an interesting development!

My peer-to-peer lending investment is continuing the good trend of steady returns with an increase of +1.0% this month – keep it coming!

My pension followed (again this month) the positive trends in the stock market and increased with +3.3% for the month.

My cryptocurrency investments decreased with -3.8% slightly during October despite Bitcoin growing a lot.

Blogging: How did key metrics develop on MoneyMow?

This month, the blog has had really good growth. I recently changed my shared web hosting provider, and it has been the best thing I’ve done for the blog so far. It is much faster than it used to be!

I have managed to write an article per week once again which is my goal of the month.

If we look at the numbers, it has been a really good month:

  • Visitors: Visitors are still in four figures, but has had an increase of 48%
  • Page views: Page views are also in four figures and had an increase of 53% (!) – I’m getting closer to 10,000 page views per month
  • Facebook likes: Facebook likes are at 1,227 up from 1,027 last month – that’s 200 likes in one month!
  • Twitter followers: Twitter followers are at 455 compared to 426 last month – it is turning into one of my favorite social media sites
  • Newsletter growth: Number of people following my newsletter increased with 25% once again this month

I am extremely satisfied with the growth on the blog recently. I still want to push the blog into page views of five figures, but I am not sure I will be able to do it before the end of 2017.

I am still getting quite many emails about collaborations and paid contributions – I roughly get one per day, but most are just out for a quick link with low quality content, which is not of any interest to me.

This month, just as last 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 only managed to deliver on one of them:

  1. I failed miserably on delivering a savings rate higher than 50%
  2. I did not manage to comment on at least one PF article on another blog per day, although I might have managed to comment on Twitter
  3. I nearly managed to write articles for all of November before October finished, so I would say I got that one 🙂

Again, a bit disappointing compared to last month’s results.

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

  1. Aim for a savings rate of more than 50% (this I will do my very best to focus on – I simply will not allow myself a bad savings rate again)
  2. I will try to write at least three comments on other PF blogs per week
  3. I will write a few seasonal blog posts to be published during November (I’m thinking a Black Friday special and a few Christmas specials for December)

Favorite posts of the month

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

That’s it for October.

I love to hear from you guys, so please let me know if you have any questions or comments – and make sure to follow my journey on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for following!

Onwards,
Carl

2 comments

2 comments

Finore November 7, 2017 - 09:08

Which savingsrate are you computing?
(See: https://earlyretirementnow.com/2017/04/05/savings-rate/)

Reply
Carl @ MoneyMow November 13, 2017 - 22:56

Hi Finore,

Great question! Actually, I don’t compute any of those. If we use ERN’s terminology, I calculate my savings rate like this:

S3/C+S3

It is basically my “other savings” excluding pension and employee benefits over my net income.

Let me know if you have any questions!

All the best,
Carl

Reply

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