My Financial Independence Journey: Monthly Update #8 (August 2017)

Early retirement and financial independence

Friends,

I hope you have all had a great past month!

After a month of summer vacation, I am now back at work. I could easily have used a few more months though! Good thing we are heading for early retirement 🙂

What happened in July?

In July, I enjoyed a long-awaited vacation with house projects and seeing friends.

On the blog, quite a few cool things happened:

  1. It was a very pleasant surprise, when I found out that Andrea Woroch wanted to feature me in her post on how FOMO can sabotage your finances on U.S. News & World Report. It was a great honor to be featured in such a big newspaper and the article generated quite a few visitors to the site
  2. I had long wanted to do a study on the fastest growing personal finance blog, so with time available in my holiday, I decided to gather data on 1,140 blogs. I ended up with 30 super cool blogs as winners. The feedback on the article was very overwhelming. My blog more or less exploded for a week with thousands of visitors. The article was shared widely on social media and I received so many kind messages and comments from the authors of the blogs and interested readers – thanks a lot for that!
  3. The number of visitors on the blog grew more than 200% and the newsletter subscriptions increased with roughly 20% – amazing! I’ll do my best to beat it next month 🙂

So how did it go with the three focus areas from last month? Somewhat ok.

I did not manage to get a savings rate above 50%, set up a Danish PF blogger meet-up or write posts ahead. However, I did succeed on writing the in-depth study on the fastest growing blogs and engage in the personal finance blogger sphere.

July was an amazing month for the blog and I feel really good with the progress and motivated, but as previously, my big Achilles’ heel is the savings rate that I still want to push above at least 40%.

The financials: How am I tracking on my early retirement goal?

My take-home income was 32,387 DKK (4,627 USD), and my savings rate was 27%.

My current assets are:

Assets1 August 2017 (DKK)1 August 2017 (USD)1 July 2017 (DKK)1 July 2017 (USD)
Total assets224,97032,139212,45730,351
Peer-to-peer lending15,2912,16615,1622,166
Stock indexes31,8434,54932,4574,637
Cash56,0718,01051,9397,420
Pension103,52514,78999,21914,174
Home equity18,2402,60613,6801,954

My total assets including pension of 224,970 DKK (32,139 USD) was an increase of 5.9% up from last month.

My total assets excluding pension of 121,445 DKK (17,349 USD) was an increase of 7.2% up from last month. This means that I managed to save 8,692 DKK out of my take-home pay of 32,387 DKK, which equals a savings rate of (8,692/32,387) = 27% (slightly down from 28% last month).

As you can see, my stock index investments have been really bad this month (again this month, and actually all of 2017). This is because of how the development in the USD/DKK exchange rate (the dollar is depreciating towards the euro) is negatively affecting my investments in Danish-administered US index funds despite the US stock index growing. My only investment yielding a positive return is currently in peer-to-peer lending with 11% annual return.

MoneyMow savings rate over time (%)

My savings rate of 27% is ok, but I must admit that I had expected it to be higher. As you know, one of my focus areas from last month was to push it above 50%, and I definitely did not manage to do that.

Sooo… What went wrong?

I decided to take a spontaneous summer vacation in Southern Europe with a friend, and we ended up spending much more money than I had expected. I expect that the trip in total costed approximately 6,000 DKK (857 USD). Of course my savings rate would have been better if I had not gone, but I also wouldn’t have been without the trip.

Just as the previous months, I still have to improve my savings rate to retire in 7 years when I am 33 years old. Looking at my budget, future salary and bonus, I am quite confident that it will be possible going forward.

Focus areas for the coming month

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

  1. Aim for a savings rate of more than 40% (I’ll be a bit more conservative than last month’s goal
  2. Increasingly engage in the personal finance blogger community – set a date for a Danish meet-up (this one is carried over from last month)
  3. Write posts for the months ahead to front-load some of the writing with one post per week

Favorite posts of the month

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

  • The Retirement Manifesto wrote a great post on how life can change in an instant. It serves as a great reminder to remember to be careful. The FI journey will not matter if you end up dead by taking risks. As an inspiration, I just bought a Hövding bicycle helmet (it is basically an airbag for bicyclists) to be safer when I commute on my bicycle everyday – oh, and by the way, pollen makes a roof slippery!
  • 10! Ten Factorial Rocks wrote a very interesting and well-documented article on investing and efficiency, namely the efficient frontier. I like how he shows that a 100% stock portfolio based on self-directed investing (as he does) compared to “blind index fund investing” (as I do) can have lower risk at similar return rates.
  • ESI Money published his one-year retirement anniversary update. I love reading retirement updates and believe it is a super interesting read for people pursuing early retirement and financial freedom.

Let me know if you have any thoughts or question in the comments – and feel free to shoot me an email if I can help you with anything 🙂

Thanks for following my journey this month!

Onwards,
Carl

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2 Comments

    1. Thanks a lot, Fritz! You definitely deserved the spot in top 10 – and I really enjoy following your blog, so keep up the great work too!

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