Our Financial Independence Journey: Monthly Update #30 (June 2019)

Update 30

Friends,

It’s time for another monthly update.

In this update, we’ll be looking back at the first six months of the year.

Personal life: What happened in June?

The first six months of the year are now over. Can you believe we are halfway through 2019?

The first part of the year has been quite eventful.

Our family has grown from two to three. It has been a crazy experience becoming a father and amazing to watch my wife becoming a caring and loving mother.

We have been extremely lucky getting a calm child that is healthy and happy. We are still in love with her and it’s amazing to see her grow every day.

On the financial side, we have managed to grow our net worth more than 250,000 DKK (38,000 USD) in the first six months of the year. Some of it has come from investment returns, but we have consistently invested 30,000 DKK (4,600 USD) each month, which adds up to 180,000 DKK (27,000 USD) for the first six months.

Now we are looking forward to a month of summer holiday. We will spent most of the time in Denmark.

Without saying too much, we expect some rather big changes to our job situations in the coming months. We will spent parts of the summer figuring out how the future should look like. More to come on this after summer 🙂

Financials: How are we tracking on our FI goal?

Financially, June turned out to be one of our best months so far.

We managed to get a savings rate of 59%, which is a record month for the first half of 2019. Actually, we found out we had paid too much to our housing account this year. We added this to our net worth driving up the savings rate a bit for June. The real savings rate without this hidden gem would have been closer to 40%.

As you might notice, I have added new visuals to the blog this month. Not because they are prettier, but because they are now easier to make automatically each month. Who doesn’t love a few minutes of life energy saved? 😉

Our combined take-home income was at 74,994 DKK (11,538 USD) and we managed to save 44,353 DKK (6,824 USD) resulting in the 59% savings rate excluding income from the blog.

Our net worth increased significantly this month. First, we managed to save a bit. Second, investment returns for the month were positive across assets:

Our total combined net worth is 2,589,445 DKK (398,376 USD), which is 4.0% higher than last month. Our assets are mostly illiquid, but our liquid assets are growing faster:

Investment returns for the month were really good.

Pension increased with 2.3% (excl. employer contributions).

Stock indexes increased with astonishing 7.5% after decreasing last month. For now, I am just enjoying the returns until the next financial crisis hits.

Bonds remained flat with 0.0% growth and continues to be my most boring investment.

Crowdlending increased with 1.1% with average rates having increased quite a bit again.

Cryptocurrencies are back on track and increased with 16% last month. I don’t have too high long-term hopes for them, but at least they are fun to watch.

My wife and I are considering expanding our ways to build passive income. Specifically, we are looking into investing in cash flow generating real estate (as opposed to speculative investments).

All our three financial independence goals increased this month.

For the first goal, we are now more than halfway with 53.6% (up from 48.9% last month) of the way towards having three years’ expenses in savings.

For the second and third goal, we are 36.0% (up from 33.4% last month) of the way towards reaching our optimistic financial independence goal and 9.2% (up from 8.6% last month) of the way towards reaching traditional financial independence.

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

This month was a bad month for the blog in terms of traffic. I started noticing hundreds of links from Russian spam sites being directed to my site, and suddenly my traffic started decreasing sharply with roughly 60%.

I have hired an agency that are now investigating the source of the links for potentially confronting the people behind the “attack”.

Luckily, they have now cleaned up, and the traffic is slowly starting to come back.

The traffic data was a bit of an outlier this June. The metrics were:

  • Visitors: Number of visitors were 8,489 and decreased with 66% compared to last month
  • Pageviews: Pageviews were 12,878 and decreased with 58% compared to last month

It was interesting to see how little things had a big impact on the blog this month, but I have high hopes that things will return to normal again 🙂

Favorite posts of the month

My favorite posts of the month were:

  • Mr. Hobo Millionaire writes about his 7-hour workweek and how he achieved FIRE in another way than simply saving and investing in index funds. It’s interesting to read how his software company makes him a lot of money with very little maintenance, but it requires a lot of work to begin with.
  • Fiery Millennials writes about the four stages of FIRE. I can very much relate to those stages even though I am not close to achieving FI yet. I like how it ends with optimizing for happiness instead of money, but I also feel like being happy should be part of the journey towards FI.
  • Humble Dollar shares his 10 learnings from a decade of being retired. In fact, it’s 10 learnings about what is different from what he expected when retiring.

That’s it for the first half year of 2019. See you in the second half! 🙂

Onwards,
Carl

14 comments

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14 comments

European Dividend July 5, 2019 - 08:49

Nice update! Excited to hear what the outcome of the job situation change will be! You know I’m rooting for fewer working hours and more family time even though it may postpone FIRE.
We are spending time in Denmark this summer as well.
Sorry to hear about the spam – I guess it is a part of owning a website nowadays.
All the best

Reply
Carl Jensen July 5, 2019 - 10:42

Thanks, ED! If the whole job thing goes through, it will definitely be fewer hours and more family time 🙂

Sounds like a good idea to be spending time in Denmark this summer. The weather will hopefully get a bit better, but regardless I really enjoy vacations in Denmark. You don’t have all the usual travel hassle.

Have a great summer!

Reply
ThePoorInvestor July 5, 2019 - 00:55

What are your considerations in terms of real estate investing. Are you going to cash out stocks, p2p, and a like to purchase a lot of real estate, or are you looking for a simple small buy to learn how to operate such investments?

Reply
Carl Jensen July 5, 2019 - 08:17

Good question. We are going to start with small properties and use leverage to buy them through a company. In essence, we would only need from 25,000 DKK (3,800 USD) and upwards to get started 🙂

Practically, we would just be investing in real estate rather than index funds each month. Over time we would use the rental income from those small properties to buy more (and perhaps larger) properties. That’s at least the plan for now.

Reply
Lifelong Rentier July 8, 2019 - 22:44

Hi Carl,

cool Idea with the real estate, I had the same one 6 month ago and this month we purchase already 2nd small flat it bigger city. If you can do the smallest down-payment possible, your P/L profit will be far way bigger than with investing into stocks (at least I hope so). Do you plan to rent it on your own or use an agency for it in order not to spend time with it?

Reply
Carl Jensen July 10, 2019 - 22:40

Cool you are investing in real estate! I also believe there’s more to gain from that than stocks, but it might also take a bit more time than investing in index funds. I’m planning on getting an agency to do all the administrative stuff if the business case holds. What have you done with this?

Reply
Lifelong rentier July 11, 2019 - 13:54

I have rented the flat directly to the agency and they “sub-rent” the flat to tenants… It means no time spent with the property, guaranteed state of the flat, continuous income for upcoming years. The downside is that I do not get EUR 600, but EUR 520 per month (EUR 80 is their margin) on the rent. I think it is good trade-off.

It pays of better than investments in case you use a leverage (the higher the mortgage the better), I should be on approximatelly 50% profit p.a. over first 10 years and my plan is to own 4 flats till end of the next year.

Carl Jensen July 12, 2019 - 22:26

Very interesting – I would definitely also prefer a setup like that. 50% profit p.a. of your investment? That sounds crazy! How is that possible?

Lifelong July 13, 2019 - 15:45

Given the fact, that I have free another property (e.g. own house or weekend house) which I can use for pledging. Send me an e-mail & I can share the excel with the calculation with you…

Carl Jensen July 14, 2019 - 19:01

Would be cool! Thanks 🙂

FinanceFreedom.eu July 4, 2019 - 22:44

You were attacked too?
I had the same problem like 1 month ago.
I have a plugin called wordfence installed on my site and it constantly sent me warnings about the site being down.
Contacted few of my IT buddies and two of them told me that the “hackers” overwhelmed the site with SQL injections and I had to remove the subscription pop-up, contact me box and other fillable boxes.
Having them removed the attacks stopped and the site is functioning properly once again.

Reply
ThePoorInvestor July 5, 2019 - 00:59

I guess there are both good and bad being a newer “blogger”. I haven’t had any attacks like this, and I am very unfortunate to hear that you have these problems. Is it related to the visitor “size” of the webpage, or is it completely random. Would like to know if I should be worried, or just keep my subscription boxes 🙂

Reply
Carl Jensen July 5, 2019 - 08:14

The larger your site is the higher your risk of an attack is I would say. However, you should probably still install plugins like Wordfence and Sucuri regardless because sites are “attacked” all the time. This month Wordfence has defended my site against 35,000 attacks (!). I have activated two-factor authentication and recaptcha for logging in on my blog too, which I highly recommend.

Reply
Carl Jensen July 5, 2019 - 08:07

Yes, unfortunately. I’m sorry to hear you have also been attacked. It also started a month ago for me. I now use Wordfence and Sucuri as my security plugins – I should probably consider removing those other plugins too. On top of this, I had to disavow many links coming from Russian sites in Google. Now things are looking like they have settled down. Hopefully they will return to normal again 🙂

Reply

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