My Financial Independence Journey: Monthly Update #12 (December 2017)

Early retirement and financial independence


I hope November was good to you – it was to me!

The past month turned out to be more busy than expected. I had less time to blog, but I managed to stay on track with my finances and the blog grew quite a bit too.

Remember that I got the lowest savings rate ever on MoneyMow last month? I’m back on track with a fine savings rate this month 🙂

Personal life: What happened in November?

November was more busy than expected. I ended up working quite a bit on my current project. The client is great, but relatively demanding, which means that more evenings than I would have liked are spent working rather than seeing my girlfriend and friends or blogging.

In November, I was also told that I am progressing towards a promotion at my current job in a year from now. I also received a 5% salary increase and an above-average bonus, which will show up as a great paycheck in December.

Despite working a lot, I decided this month that I want to bring music back into my life. I have started guitar lessons once a week. I really enjoy playing the guitar. For me, it works like meditation and is a great way to my mind off work and to do lists.

I also started experimenting with meditation for 10 minutes per day (I use an app called Headspace – so far it is a quite interesting journey and highly recommendable).

I spent the first few days of December being sick (for the second time in a month!), which also explains the late arrival of this status update 🙂

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

After last month’s disaster savings rate, I have followed my spending and savings rate closely this month.

In November, I went from a -3% savings rate in October to a savings rate of 44%. In the light of last month’s all time low, I consider it a good savings rate. However, it is still not high enough if I want to stay on track towards retiring in six years.

44% still feels good, and I am confident that I am cruising towards better times and higher savings rates.


I still spend a bit too much every month, and it is mostly money spent with my friends or girlfriend (like eating out, partying etc.). I find this the hardest part of my budget to control.

MoneyMow savings rate over time (%)

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As you can see, my November savings rate is the third highest in the past 12 months. I’m inclined to say that it rather shows a somewhat bad first year of savings rates rather than a good November month 🙂

Let’s have a look at the numbers:

My take-home income was 32,341 DKK (4,620 USD) and I managed to save 14,289 DKK (2,041 USD) resulting in the 44% savings rate.

My current assets are:

Assets1 December 2017 (DKK)1 December 2017 (USD)1 November 2017 (DKK)1 November 2017 (USD)
Stock indexes38,9495,56439,2095,601
Peer-to-peer lending15,9232,27515,7672,252
Home equity36,4805,21131,9204,560
Total assets307,79743,971279,73839,963

My total assets including pension of 307,797 DKK (43,971 USD) was an increase of +10% up from last month.

I am 6.8% of the way towards my early retirement goal of a net worth of approximately 4,500,000 DKK (642,857 USD) up from 6.2% last month.

My total assets excluding pension of 180,987 DKK (25,855 USD) was an increase of 15.9% from last month (which I think is a pretty cool growth rate!).

Next month, I am expecting an even bigger increase in net worth of approximately 20% due to my yearly bonus being paid out.

As you can see in the table, my stock index investments fell slightly with -0.7%.

My peer-to-peer lending investment is still on the same positive trend with steady returns showing an increase of +1.0% again this month – I really like these stable returns that are being re-invested each month.

My pension decreased slightly due to the trends on the stock market with -1.9% for the month.

My cryptocurrency had a hell of a ride this month increasing 42.3% (!!). I still consider cryptocurrency investments a big lottery ticket where I will most likely lose everything, but so far, I have made a decent return in just a few months.

Blogging: How did key metrics develop on MoneyMow?

This month, the blog grew once again. Especially on organic search, I can see that the blog is starting to show up in more and more places.

I have not been good a writing posts ahead of time this month, so I have some catching up to do in the upcoming Christmas holiday.

The numbers for November were good:

  • Visitors: Visitors are still in four figures and increased with 18%
  • Page views: Page views are also in four figures, but only increased with 5% – meaning that people visit fewer pages per visit than previously. There’s still some way to go, but I am tracking towards 10,000 page views per month
  • Facebook likes: Facebook likes are at 1,366 up from 1,227 last month
  • Twitter followers: Twitter followers are at 489 compared to 455 last month
  • Newsletter growth: The number of people following my newsletter increased significantly this month with 48%

I am still very satisfied with the growth on the blog, but I still have a feeling that I could have done even more to grow it if I hadn’t been as busy at work (for example engaging on social media, writing more posts etc.).

I am getting a lot of emails about collaborations and paid contributions, and this month I have started accepting the very best of them. This means that I am becoming part of networks with potential advertisers.

This month, I had some income on the blog amounting to roughly $150 for paid guest posts (always marked as “contributed posts”).

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 got very close to achieving a savings rate of 50%, but I didn’t quite get there
  2. I did not manage to write three comments on other PF blogs per week
  3. I succeeded in writing a few seasonal posts (for example about Black Friday)

Can we agree that I got 1½ out of 3? 🙂

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

  1. Aim for a savings rate of more than 75% (this will be most likely be possible due to my bonus coming in)
  2. I will try to write at least three comments on other PF blogs per week (let’s try this one again!)
  3. I will continue writing a few seasonal posts for Christmas – and get ahead of the publishing schedule again

Favorite posts of the month

Once again this month, I had the pleasure of reading many great PF posts – these were my favorite:

That’s it for this month. If you haven’t checked out my early retirement calculator, you should try it out!

As always, please make sure to let me know if you have any questions or comments for my blog.

Thanks for following!




Laurids December 13, 2017 - 14:39

Once again Carl…You’re doing a fantastic job!

Well done

Keep hustling towards financial indepence
// Laurids

Carl @ MoneyMow December 17, 2017 - 18:55

Thanks, Laurids! Much appreciated 🙂

.. and you too!

Mikael Laursen December 11, 2017 - 13:03

Great comeback !

Interesting to see the new income source from the blog. Maybe in a few years this could be a significant part of your income.

Carl @ MoneyMow December 11, 2017 - 21:41

Thanks, Mikael! Yes, I also find it quite interesting. I am getting a lot of requests for guests posts and being part of different advertising networks. I am still thinking about how to find a balance between posting relevant, quality articles and monetizing these opportunities – I don’t want to post irrelevant stuff just for the sake of making money.

Thomas December 11, 2017 - 11:45

Hi Carl,

Very interesting blog to follow!

I assume your pension savings are employer paid. Do you include them in your take-home and savings rate totals?`

Also, if I may ask, do you have any budget posts where you continually out-spend, or do you not follow your budget that closely?

Carl @ MoneyMow December 11, 2017 - 21:39

Hi Thomas,

Thanks for the good questions – and thanks for following!

My pension savings are paid by my employer, and I do not include them in take-home or savings rate totals. I know there are many different ways to calculate savings rates (and I’m writing a post about that for later this month). I calculate mine as:

+ Take-home income
– expenditures for everything
+ principal payments on my housing loan (not interest)
= savings

Savings/take home income = savings rate

This means that I consider my principal payments some sort of savings that is kept in the value of my house.

And yes, I definitely have two budget posts that I continually struggle with:

1) I never manage to save enough up for vacation (and I always spend ahead of those savings).
2) I also have a hard time keeping restaurant/bar bills in line, since my friends are quite big spenders in that regard. I’m trying to convince to go to less fancy places or eat at home, but I’m not always succesful – and in that case I decide that spending time with my friends is more important 🙂

Are you on a FIRE journey yourself?


Thomas December 12, 2017 - 17:02

Hi Carl,

Thanks for the reply. I had not though about including principal payments on home loans, in my own calculations. I can see why that makes sense.

Myself, I’m more on a FI-related journey, where I try to minimize meaningless spending and maximizing my savings rate. From your blog I can see that we’re pretty much in the same situation financially, so I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one having trouble with the restaurant/entertainment bills in particular. Budgeting is defiantly an ongoing process that one is never really finished with.

Carl @ MoneyMow December 17, 2017 - 18:56

It might make sense – depending on your situation 🙂 I just wrote a post about why I include it in my savings rate.

Sounds exciting with your FI-journey. When I say that I am going to retire early, I am still going to work, but just only on things that I really want to spend time on.

Mikael N December 11, 2017 - 10:43

I assume your take-home income is stated before taxes? Since taxes sadly are hard to avoid, what would your savings rate be, if measured against the amount you actually has at your disposal?

Oliver December 11, 2017 - 16:57

Take-home income is normally defined as the income you have at your disposal after taxes and retirement contributions.

Carl @ MoneyMow December 11, 2017 - 21:30

Hi Mikael,

My take-home income is after taxes. It is the amount that hits my bank account every month. I am fortunate enough to have a job that is relatively well paid – at least for now.

I’m actually working on a post about how I calculate my savings rate that will be published later this month 🙂

All the best,

Oliver December 9, 2017 - 16:26

Very interesting post! What cryptocurrenies are you currently invested in? And how diversed are you?

Carl @ MoneyMow December 9, 2017 - 18:18

Thanks, Oliver! I am currently invested in Bitcoin and Ethereum (by far the biggest share), and then a small share in NEO. I considered adding a few other coins, but I have decided not to put more money into it (at least for now). Do you invest in crypto?

Oliver December 10, 2017 - 12:39

I’m also a bit invested in ETH, but have recently started to throw a bit of money into Stellar, simply because I believe in what they are trying to accomplish.

Carl @ MoneyMow December 11, 2017 - 21:42

Cool! I also find Stellar quite interesting. I find it fun to follow Bitcoin these days – it is absolutely crazy with the media attention and growth.


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