My Financial Independence Journey: Monthly Update #15 (March 2018)

Financial independence


I hope you have had a great February.

Mine was very relaxing. After a period with a lot of work, my girlfriend and I had a two-week vacation on an exotic island.

It was amazing to have some time away to read books, think and talk about life. We have become even more certain that we want a different lifestyle than the busy consulting lifestyle we have today. We constantly talk about what we should do different in the future at the moment. We have no concrete plans yet, but something will come out of this.

Financials took a hit due to vacation expenses, but also nearly all of my investments had a negative return in February.

Personal life: What happened in February?

Apart from being on a great vacation, I also started a new project at work. Starting new projects often requires quite some time, but so far I have managed to have a decent work-life balance.

More time means that I have been able to read a few books. I read “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari, which I can highly recommend.

My girlfriend and I also spent quite some time planning our wedding. You wouldn’t believe how many things you have to plan for a wedding if you haven’t done it before.

I also managed to spend some more time programming this month. I can highly recommend DataCamp’s free courses to get started with learning programming languages – it is a lot of fun. I have found that I need to use it on actual projects as well to really learn it, but it has been a great starting point.

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

This month’s savings rate is slightly up from previous month. I managed to get a savings rate of 35% in February (32% in January), which is still below the 50% that I would like to get above. I guess with our wedding savings, I won’t be able to get above 50% before the wedding is over (crazy to spend so much money on a wedding, I know).

Looking at my savings rate, I feel like this:

35% is still OK, but not really if I want to retire as early as I would like.

MoneyMow savings rate over time (%)

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My take-home income was 32,741 DKK (4,677 USD) and I managed to save 11,386 DKK (1,627 USD) resulting in the 35% savings rate.

My 12-month rolling average is a savings rate at 38%, so I’ll have to push that even higher.

My assets grew 1% in February:

My total assets including pension of 464,402 DKK (66,343 USD) was an increase of +1.1% up from last month.

I am 10.3% of the way towards my early retirement goal of a net worth of approximately 4,500,000 DKK (642,857 USD) up from 10.2% last month (not the biggest growth, I know).

The primary reason for the slow growth in this month has been very weak returns.

As you can see, only peer-to-peer lending yielded positive returns last month. The rest of the investments declined.

Stock indexes declined by 2.3% following the global market correction that originated in the US. I am still positive for 2018, but eventually rising interest rates might hit the returns negatively.

Peer-to-peer lending grew with 1.0% once again. It is by far the most consistent returns I have at the moment, and even though the risk is relatively high, I feel very strongly for this particular investment.

Pension also gave a negative investment return this month at -1.7%.

Cryptocurrencies also had a slow month. I had gotten used to the high growth increases, but somehow this past months it has been fairly stable and less volatile than it used to be. My total portfolio declined with -6.5%, but I am not going to cash out anytime soon. I hope we’ll return to some good old gold rush times again.

Blogging: How did income and key metrics develop on MoneyMow?

As some of you know, I was nominated for the best money post of 2017 by Rockstar Finance. I was up against the legendary Physician on FIRE in the rumble, and unfortunately I lost with 42 against 23 votes. It was a lot of fun and a big honor to be part of though!

This month I have decided to start including my financials for MoneyMow. I have slowly started to monetize the blog, and I would like to be fully transparent about how much I earn from the blog. I always disclose on all posts and pages if there’s any sponsored content or affiliate links. The blog income for February was:

  • Affiliate programs: 766 DKK (109 USD)
  • Sponsored posts: 605 DKK (86 USD)
  • AdSense: 15 DKK (2 USD)

The total blog income for February was 1,386 DKK (198 USD).

I believe this is fairly good considering that I haven’t done much to push any affiliate programs or similar. I am, however, quite disappointed with AdSense and the monetization potential in that. You will need millions of visitors for that to become a decent income stream.

For March, I have a few potential sponsored opportunities that will increase this number a bit.

For the first time since I started blogging in late 2016, the blog did not grow in February. Number of visitors actually declined slightly. Why is this? I had a really strong January month with the yearly update, and some of my 2017-relevant posts have started to receive fewer visitors.

The metrics for February developed like this:

  • Visitors: Visitors are still in four figures and decreased with 11%
  • Page views: Page views are still on the way to 10,000 per month, but decreased with 11%
  • Facebook likes: Facebook likes are at 1,734 up from 1,601 last month
  • Twitter followers: Twitter followers are at 710 compared to 670 last month
  • Newsletter growth: The number of people following my newsletter continued rising this month with 16%

I am still very satisfied with the activity on the blog, although I wish I had more time to promote it during the week. I’m not getting nervous or losing motivation just because I don’t grow on all metrics every month.

Focus areas for the previous and coming month

In February, I had three things I wanted to succeed in:

  1. I wanted to get close to 50% in savings rate
  2. I wanted to keep a good track record of working out twice weekly
  3. I wanted to keep on writing weekly articles and do my best to push the site above 10,000 page views

To be honest, number 1 and 2 didn’t happen. I succeeded in number 3.

I have decided to skip the focus area section in coming monthly updates, and just mention things I want to focus on as a sort of outro instead.

Favorite posts of the month

On my vacation, I had great time to read blogs and I can recommend taking a look at these posts from the past month:

  • Fritz from The Retirement Manifesto wrote a post about his upcoming FIRE/freedom in 100 days. It is amazing to follow people who actually achieve financial independence, and it makes me so motivated to continue my own journey.
  • The Escape Artist wrote about enjoying the ride towards FI and not setting specific goals. It is argued that you shouldn’t focus on the outcome, but rather find ways to enjoy the process and get started in the first place.
  • Frugasaurus wrote a great post about taxes and social responsibility from a Nordic perspective. I, like her, love to pay my monthly taxes.

That’s it for the month of February. For the coming month, I will try to get my savings rate above 40% and continue the good writing streak.

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

Thanks for following my journey and reading all the way down to the end – and enjoy your March!




Anca June 26, 2018 - 13:30

How do you calculate pension?

Carl July 5, 2018 - 17:36

I get a monthly overview from my pension company. Then I calculate the investment return based on (end of month balance – monthly deposit – start of month balance)/(start of month balance).


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