Mini Retirement and Passive Income

I’m starting a new job in January 2021. 

This means that my mini-retirement is coming to an end. 

It has been 20 months of traveling, learning, frustrations, life-changing happenings, and experiences. 

I thought I would never say this but I’m looking forward to having a normal 9-5 structure again. 

The normal way to do a Mini Retirement

In Denmark, it is quite normal to go for a sabbatical year or two, either before your studies or post your studies. 

While this seems like a convenient time to do so. It is the stupidest thing you can do.

Many will end up in debt by doing so, and it will give you a negative start on claiming your financial freedom later in life. 

Your first 100.000 $

The first 100.000 $ is a bitch, but you gotta do it.  

Charlie Munger

Do whatever it takes to get your fingers on the first 100.000 $ and then go for a mini-retirement. 

There are several reasons why this will help you: 

  1. You will earn money while traveling

If you leave your home country with 100.000 $ invested, chances are that you will come home richer than when you left. 

  1. It will give you flexibility

Do you remember the time where you got picked up in kindergarten by your parents, and the last thing you wanted to do was go home? That is exactly how a mini-retirement can be. 

You can stay away longer, or if a life-changing opportunity shows up, but requires either time or money then you can still do it. 

  1. A cushion when you come home 

Having 100.000 $ (or even 50) will give you a cushion to come home with no stress at all. You can take your time for job seeking and suck in all of the experiences you must have had. 

It can also make room for approaching a whole new career where you have your financials in check and ready to pursue your new career. 

How I did it 

I finished my building constructor studies in January 2016. For there I worked in two different companies for the next three years. 

Some of that period was part-time as a building constructor because I was rowing +15 hours a week. But I did earn about 1.000 $/month doing that, so there was close to no cut in my earnings.

For those three years, I saved and invested about 60 % of my earnings which was about 550.000 DKK. 

I got the opportunity to follow a dream by being a captain on a sailing boat for 10 months, which led me to the sailing school in Oure where I started in April 2019. 

I was 28 years with 550.000 DKK to my name before I went for my sabbatical years (aka mini-retirement). 

There was a misunderstanding between the owner of the boat and me, because of that I had to live in the Philippines for two months on my own. 

With all the money invested, I could make a quick trip to France to visit my girlfriend. 

The two months of living in the Philippines and my trip to France cost me about 40.000 DKK. 

Even with selling shares worth 40.000 DKK, my portfolio still made me 113.000 DKK.

That only happens because I have worked three years before I left. 

Coast FIRE and Mini Retirements

What do you want the most? 

  1. A sabbatical year or two once in your life, or.
  2. A mini-retirement every three years for the rest of your life?

My 12 months of sailing cost me less than 50.000 DKK.

Which is money I could earn in three months as a building constructor.

Working only three months as a building constructor is not an option, but as a Mason, it wouldn’t be a problem. 

I can finance one year of sailing by working for 3-4 months.

In the meantime, my portfolio will compound into +50 years of living expenses when I become 65 years. 

A Mini-Retirement is Cheap

Mini Retirements are way less expensive than a normal vacation. Just like everyday living, going on a trip can be broken down into three major expenses.

  1. Transport
  2. Food
  3. Housing 

Transportation includes flying and going around in the country. When you travel for an extended period, you can choose to go there when the airplane tickets are less expensive than in season.

And when you have several months of traveling you are not in the same hurry as a normal tourist so you can either walk or rent a cheap vehicle to get around. 

Food can be done ridiculously cheap in some countries. In the Philippines, it can be done for less than 100 $/month.

When I was leaving the Philippines I invited three of my local friends out for nice food and all the beer that they could drink. Even that cost less than 100 $. 

Housing can also be super cheap. What is cheap for many people from the west, can be expensive for the locals.

Getting an apartment in major cities can be done for less than 500 $/month. I did a private room in a hostel for the two months I was in the Philippines and paid 500 $/month. 

So if you go to a place cheaper than your home country it will be a lot cheaper being on the road, rather than living your everyday life back home. 

I never spent more than 1500 $/month the two months I lived in the Philippines. And I didn’t pay any attention to spending. 

Be Creative

When you have +3 months to travel another good way to decrease your living expenses is to get a job. 

There are several ways you can do this: 

  1. Get a fun job 

Get a job that does pay something, but the main reason you are doing it is that it is fun. 

It could be:

  • Bartending 
  • Cooking
  • Diving instructor
  • Ski instructor

This can also provide a please or even a free place to live. And if you are into beers, bartending is a great way to eliminate expenses. 

  • Volunteer

Volunteering might be one of the best solutions to cut your housing and food expenses to zero. While it can be the most fulfilling at the same time. 

Doing stuff for free to help other people is underrated. I would encourage you to try it. 

Go for a Mini Retirement in 2021 

If you are new to FIRE and you are still working on saving and investing your first 100.000 $, then continue on that journey. 

If you are a couple of years into claiming your freedom, I will encourage you to go for a couple of months in 2021. It doesn’t have to be outside of the borders of your home country. 

Attend a school where you can learn a new craft. Or if you are into sports, try going “pro” in that for a short period. 

Explore how it feels not to work. It will either make you hungry for more and speed up your FIRE process.

Or it will make you miss your colleague’s and your old work. Which will make your work more enjoyable. 

It’s a win-win! 

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26# My Monthly Financial Independence Update

12-month rolling expenses: 99.000 DKK (16.000 $)

My Coast FIRE number: 5.787.000 DKK (956.000 $) or 56 years of living expenses.

New Time High!!!

It has taken me 12 months to get a new time high in my networth.

And that has happened without a job. I have been on welfare (A-kasse) since I got back home from the Philippines.

542.000 DKK is the new record.

Mini Retirement is Over

My mini-retirement has been 20 months rollercoaster ride. It has been the most awesome and most frustrating period of my life.

The highest highs and lowest lows.

Sailing and living in South East Asia was the bomb, but I missed people from back home.

The coronavirus made me go home way too early, and it has been the most boring period of my life. Waiting here in Denmark to see if everything would go back to normal so I could leave again has not been a pleasure.

But I have decided to move on, and that is why I’m fortunate to find myself a new job, so I can continue where I left with my FIRE journey.

New Instagram Account

@Wannabewalden is now on Instagram!

I thought it would be fun to make more frequent posts with some fun and educational stuff there. 

Check it out. I think you will like it! 😉

If I Lived in a House Hack…

Photo Credit: baunkjaer.dk

I moved to Copenhagen in 2009, because I had to start as a mason apprentice. The first apartment I lived in was one of my parent’s friends. He told me that I could stay there for three months to two years. So I thought to myself: 

“It must be a bit more than three months, in the worst-case”.

I lived there for three months.

After those three months had passed, I packed everything I had in one of my parents’ car. And I was ready to go live at my parent’s place again. Which was the most horrible feeling.

I didn’t even get to unpack the car before my mama called me and told me that she has just found an apartment for me. First I thought it was a joke. But it was a 50 m2, apartment at Nørrebro (my favorite spot in Copenhagen) for 2200 DKK/month and I could stay there as long as I liked.

It was like winning the lottery.

Still to this day, I freaking love that apartment.

But what if have bought the place?

I have never been a big fan of people who buy their house/apartment, and call it “their best investment ever”. Because they have never done any investing besides buying a property. And they would have been but fucked if they got fired from their job.

But recently I got introduced to the term “House Hack”.

House hacking is where you either buy a house or an apartment, where you live it in yourself, and rent one part of the house out, or rent some rooms out if you have an apartment.

By doing so, we can live cheaper, maybe even for free. Because our tenants/roommates will pay a good chunk of your mortgage and rent.

Three types of returns by House Hacking

If you start to House Hack you will see three types of returns.

  • Saved rent
  • Mortgage payments
  • Appreciation

Saved Rent

If we are capable of living for free in our House Hack we will save some rent from where we previously lived.

By taking me as an example:

I pay 3.000 DKK (500$)/month or 36.000 DKK (6.000$)/year.

This far my biggest expense in my budget, and by eliminating that. I would have 36.000 DKK more every year to invest. My yearly expenses will go down from around 100.000 DKK (16.000 $) to about 63.000 DKK (10.000$).

mortgage payments

The primary reason that I don’t think owning a home is an investment, is because of the mortgage payments. There are two things I don’t like them.

First is that you have to pay them every month. Having such a huge “bill” every month is the same as being in prison if you ask me. There is no room for adventures if you have to pay +6.000 DKK every month. I want a life where I can go away for the next six months without worrying about mortgage payments.

But if you House Hack your tenants will help you pay the mortgage.

This will not only make room for adventure, it means that you will earn money while you are away on an adventure.

Appreciation

Real estate in Copenhagen (Nørrebro, where I’m living) has gone up about 7%/year since 1980.

But appreciation is a random thing. And it will not be the main factor to determine whether or not I’m going to buy a House Hack.

While this is the most powerful return of all because of leverage.

Imagine that you buy a 2.000.000 DKK apartment with 100.000 DKK (5 %) of your own money. If the apartment appreciates 3.5 % (half of what it normally has), the return will be 70.000 DKK and your ROI is 70 %.

Not bad compared to a 7 % ROI in Stock Index Funds.

What if have House Hacked my apartment?

Calculating how much money we could have made if we just had “insert your regret of not investing”, is one of the stupids things we can do.

That is one of the main purposes that this blog and the whole FIRE community exists. To have fewer regrets about how you are dealing with your money, and your future freedom.

But to prove the power of House Hacking, I will calculate how much money I would have made if I have bought a similar apartment, and rented out a room.

Back in 2009, the average price of one square meter apartment in Nørrebro was 19.802 DKK. 

And my apartment is 50 m2, with a living room, bedroom, and a kitchen. You could live with two people there, in your own room.

The price of an apartment like that in 2009 would be:

50 m2 x 19.802 DKK = 990.100 DKK

A quick mortgage calculator will tell me that my mortgage payments with a 5 % downpayment (about 50.000 DKK) would be:

3600 DKK/month after taxes.

Where 2.700 DKK would be the down payment on the mortgage and the remaining will be the interest.

Taxes and similar on an apartment like that will probably be around 2500 DKK/month, which is similar to the average of my monthly rent in the apartment.

You can earn 4.000 DKK/month on a room in Nørrebro post taxes.

Let’s Sum it up

Ingoing: 

Roommate 4.000 DKK

Outgoing

Mortgage: 3.600 DKK

Taxes: 2.500 DKK

Total: 6.100 DKK/month

Outgoing – Ingoing: 2.100 DKK/month

It would cost me 2.100 DKK/month to live there. Which is 900 DKK less than what I pay now. But every month I will earn 2.700 DKK because of the down payment on the mortgage my roommate is helping me to pay off.

So the first year of having a roommate would look something like this.

  1. Saved rent: 900 DKK x 12 months = 10.800 DKK
  2. Mortgage payments: 2700 DKK x 12 months = 32.400 DKK

A total of = 43.200 DKK

And with a 50.000 DKK payment my ROI would look like this:

(42.300 DKK / 50.000 DKK) x 100 = 86.4 % 

Holy smokes! 86,4 % rate of return on your 50.000 DKK. That is more than 10 times the 7 % ROI we calculate with on our index funds.

But it gets better!

What about the appreciation?

From 2009 to 2010 at Nørrebro

Exactly one year later the average square meter for an apartment in Nørrebro has raised from 19.802 to 20.918.

Let’s have a look at what that means in my apartment.

(20.918 DKK – 19.802 DKK) x 50 m2 = 55.800 DKK

So if I sold the apartment the following year I would have made another 55.800 DKK.

So the total return would be:

42.300 DKK + 55.800 DKK = 98.100 DKK

And the ROI will be:

98.100 DKK / 50.000 DKK = 196 %

That’s an insane return! That would take almost 10 years to do with an index fund.

But it gets even better!!!!!

From 2009 till now

It has been 11 years since I moved into my apartment.

And we have calculated how much I would have earned in saved rent, and mortgage payments. Which was 43.200 DKK/year.

In 11 years I would have made:

43.200 DKK x 11 Years = 475.200 DKK

Not bad!

But the square meter on Nørrebro has appreciated too.

The average price on Nørrebro is now 42.942 DKK/m2. And I have paid 19.802 back in 2009. That means the appreciation would be:

(42.942 DKK – 19.802 DKK) x 50 m2 = 1.157.000 DKK

And my total return would be:

475.200 DKK + 1.157.000 DKK = 1.632.200 DKK

Or an ROI on:

50.000 DKK / 1.632.200 DKK = 3.164 %

With a stock index fund returning 7 %/year it will take 52 years to go from 50.000 DKK to 1.632.200 DKK which was made by House Hacking.

And yes. There will be some expenses by having an apartment. But even with 100.000 DKK allocated to refurbishing. And another 100.000 DKK allocated to the real estate agent to sell it. It is still an insane deal, that we all should consider doing.

Is it IMMORAL to house hack?

This is a thing that has been going on my mind. Is it immoral to let someone else help you pay off your mortgage?

And my conclusion is NO.

By House Hacking, you provide with several good stuff to your roommates.

Difficult to find a place in Copenhagen

It is super difficult to find a place where it is affordable to live in. When you arrive at the city, ready to start your studies at 20 something years old. You will probably be like most of us where you can’t afford to buy something.

If we share a room in our apartment we can live more people in the city. Without occupying a ton of space.

Is your boss immoral?

House Hacking is no different from your boss hiring you.

You are probably glad that you get paid every month from your boss. But we are hired to make our boss money. Which we don’t find immoral.

Renting out a room is no different from getting hired at a job.

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25# My Monthly Financial Independence Update

12-month rolling expenses: 100.000 DKK (16.000 $)

My Coast FIRE number: 5.566.000 DKK (907.000 $) or 56 years of living expenses.

Coast FIRE Number is Dropping

Even though I’m nearing a new high in my networth, my Coast FIRE number is dropping. In June 2019 my Coast FIRE number is higher than it is today. Even though my net worth is higher.

Can you guess why? I’m getting older.

In October I turned 30 years old. Which means that I have one year less to let my portfolio compound. I calculate my Coast FIRE number of what my net worth will be when I’m 65 years old, with an annual return of 7 %.

This is a real-life example of why it is super important to start early.

Back to Work

Since I got home from my Mini Retirement in Asia in March 2019. I have been living on my boat, and couch surfing.

But I have concluded that I won’t be going back to Asia to finished what I have started.

There will be a couple of months more with couch surfing, but from January 2021 I’m going back to the office as a building constructor, which I look forward to. It is tough to be in a waiting position.

Mini Meet-Up in Copenhagen

I have been waiting for this pandemic to stop. So I could invite you to a big FIRE meetup. But it looks like that too will last a bit longer than what we like.

That is why I have decided to make a Mini Meetup the 11/12 at 19:00.

We will be grabbing a pizza somewhere in Copenhagen, and maybe drinking a beer afterward.

Write or text me at Loui@wannabewalden.com or at +4571792322 if you want to participate. Looking forward to meeting you!

My 7 Favorite Quotes from Walden

I love old books. And I love timeless books. Walden is both old and is more relevant than ever. Henry embraces solitude, simple living, and nature. And living in a society where we compare ourselves with the biggest and most beautiful houses and the fastest cars. Just one cm behind that façade where everything seems so beautiful, we find stress and pain.

Except for the “Start Here”, I have never mentioned the book Walden too much. It is one of my favorite books. And this article will contain my favorite quotes from it, and why I love them so much.

Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.

The first time I completed a book was when I was 23 years old. I did try to read Harry Potter and all the other “must-read” fiction books. That everybody seemed to love. But still, to this date, I have never finished a fiction book. As lame as it seems. No one told me that I could learn whatever I wanted from books. Or maybe I didn’t listen at that time. 99.9 % of the stuff we want to do, has been done and the chances that somebody has written a book about their doing or achievement is pretty big.

I loved being a mason apprentice. Because I could just show up and learn from the best. The best ones were expected to teach their craft. And I feel the same way about reading. I can read books from the very best people in their fields, and learn from their mistakes. And books will tell you that stuff is possible because they have done it. No need to worry about your friends or mom who will tell you your idea is insane. Just go and read another book that will tell you it possible.

The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.

I believe that in the western world we are addicts to consumption. We keep buying stuff while we complain about not having enough time during the week. We never ask how we can get more time. And I believe the answer is in our consumption.

Your life can also be exchanged with the maintenance of the thing we buy. And on a big scale, it can be the difference between living a free life or struggling 30 years to pay off your mortgage.

Whenever we choose to go in one direction, we also reject the other path.

When I bought a boat, I also bought into the idea of spending some days of my life maintaining this boat. And if I had three kids, a wife, and a demanding job, it would probably be hard to find time to do it. And not disappointing anyone by choosing to repair on the boat instead of spending time with the family or job would be hard.

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.

I believe that this quote could be the very start of the FIRE movement. When we are kids we are told that to be “rich” we have to make an insane amount of money. Which is the biggest lie we could ever be told.

In western society (especially in Denmark) it doesn’t need much education before you have a salary of +20.000 DKK post-tax salary. And that education is free, paid for by the government.

If we can afford to “let things alone”, it is quite easy to live off 10.000 DKK/month. And before you know it, you are financially independent.

Every generation laughs at the old fashions but follows religiously the new.

This quoted has saved me a lot of time, money, and frustrations. Fashion is one of the weirdest things I don’t get. The one thing I hate the most is the feeling of being in a hurdle where we just do what everybody else is doing. Just because that is what we are doing. And that is the fashion in a nutshell.

I try to wear clothes that I can wear on every occasion. I want to go directly from my work to a 50-year-old birthday and on a date with my girlfriend in the same outfit.

I want it to be timeless. The outfit that I’m wearing now is something that I can wear 10 or 20 years from now.

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

Action > dreaming.

Financial independence can seem like a distant goal. If you save 50 % of your income, you will be financially independent in 12-15 years. Even though it is less than half of the period you normally had to work it can seem like forever.

So take action. I don’t care how small steps you will take. Just take it. Even though you are unsure about the direction. We will never know that we have chosen the wrong path if we haven’t started walking.

However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.

Happiness comes from within. And no money will make our lives any sweeter. Financial independence is a worthy goal. But don’t expect that every problem of yours is going to vanish.

It will bring us more flexibility and maybe a less stressful life.

But being miserable on the journey and expect everything to be okay on the other side is not worth it.

No matter how bad you are doing, remember that too is going to pass. Everything is.

Stay cheerful.

Things do not change; we change

This very similar to a Stoic and Buddhist quote, that goes like this:

“We cannot control what is happening to us, what we can control is how we respond to the event”.

Which is something that I remind myself about often. In Denmark, we have this thing called the “pyt knappen” which could be translated into “the nevermind button”. It is easy to get pissed when something “bad” happens to us. But the only thing that we can control is how we respond to the event.

We can’t affect it.

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You Want to be Rich? Become a Craftsman

This will go against everything you know about becoming wealthy and your education choice. But if you are just about to leave school. And you don’t know what you want to be. Becoming a craftsman is superior if you want to be wealthy. 

The normal advice would be to have one of the following educations if you want to be rich: 

  • Doctor
  • Lawyer 
  • Engineer 
  • Banker 

These are all high paying jobs. But they are still not superior to be a craftsman and here is why.

It only Takes 3.5 years 

Going directly from primary school to a mason apprentice means that I was done when I was 20 years old. 

At the age of 20, I had a take-home pay of about 20.000 DKK/month and no student debt. 

Because I was a part of the national rowing team I decided to study as a building constructor because it was to tough being a mason and a rower at the same time. 

I finished my building constructor studies when I was 26 years old. Which is a normal age of being done with a normal high paying education. 

If I had Continued as a Mason

As I’m writing this my net worth is about 500.000 DKK but I do have 100.000 DKK of student debt from building constructor studies. My entire net worth is from working as a building constructor. I have never heard of FIRE when I was a mason. 

If I had heard about FIRE as a mason I would have had a 6-year advantage on the constructor me. Which could be a networth of 858.000 DKK, compared to my 100.000 DKK of student debt as a constructor. 

Said in another way, I would almost be 1.000.000 DKK ahead. 

As I’m turning 30 years old in a couple of weeks means that I would have been working as a mason for 10 years. Even though I spend every dime I had. My spending could have been just the same as today. I lived in the same cheap apartment and would eat the same way as I do now. 

If I had managed to save 60 % of my 20.000 DKK/month for the last ten years with a 7 % return on my investments I would have a net worth of 1.700.000 DKK and no student debt. 

Or 3.4 times as much money invested as I’m currently having.

I Will Never Catch Up

On top of my 12.000 DKK/month savings from my work as a mason, I would have a 7 % ROI on my 1.700.000 DKK which is 120.000 DKK. 

144.000 + 120.000 = 266.000 DKK/year

My take-home pay as a building constructor is about 300.000 DKK year. That means my savings rate should be 89 % just to have the same investment as the “mason me”.

With an 89% savings rate, I would only have 2700 DKK/month to live off. I don’t know about you. But I would find it very difficult to live in a big city on 2700 DKK. 

2021 The Mason and Constructor 

This how my 2021 could look like as a mason:

Invested: 1.700.000 DKK
Return on investments: 122.000 DKK 
Saved from salary: 144.000 DKK 
Total networth: 1.966.000 DKK 

And this is how my 2021 could look like as a building constructor: 

Invested: 500.000 DKK 
Return on investments: 35.000 DKK 
Saved from salary: 200.000 DKK 
Student debt: 100.000 DKK 
Total networth: 625.000 DKk 

The mason me is increasing his networth with 266.000 DKK/year and the constructor me is only increasing with 235.000 DKK/year.

Let’s have a look at what my networth would be in 2055 where I will be close to my normal retirement to see if I will catch up. (Both get a 7 % ROI.)

Constructor: 31.800.000 DKK 

Mason: 34.800.000 DKK 

Yep, I was right. I will never catch up.

No Student Debt 

The superior thing to be an apprentice compared to studying is that your pay increases as the year goes. 

When you start as an apprentice you will have similar pay as a student. (If you are Danish, it is even more superior if you have to pay for your education) 

If you come from primary school to an apprentice job, you are probably still living at your parent’s place because you are young. 

But if you are an adult. You will have a higher starting wage due to the reason that you are an adult and have more expenses than a kid. 

But almost everyone I know from my mason school didn’t have a student debt when they were done. 

Compared to my building constructor friends where it was normal to have +200.000 DKK in student debt. 

Not having a student debt to pay is a super advantage to build wealth, but it is also a super nice feeling being debt-free. 

Coast to The 1 % Wealthiest in Years 5

What if I told you that you can become a part of the wealthiest Danish people in just 5 years as a 25-year-old?

The wealthiest Danish people is about 70 years old and have a networth of 14.000.000 DKK.

If you are like me and finished your apprentice when you are 20 years old. You will likely have 20.000 DKK/month. 

If you save and invest 50 % of your salary for five years with a 7 % ROI you will have: 

690.000 DKK 

Not too bad. But it gets better. 

If you just leave that money invested (7 % ROI) from age 25 to 70 you will have no less than: 

14.500.000 DKK 

And you have only worked five years to get there. From that point on you can work part-time, or seasonal for the rest of your life. 

You can only do that because you started early. At age 30 you need to have 1.000.000 DKK invested to have the same results. And I currently only have half of that.

You Can Do Maintenance Yourself 

We are more than likely the end up living in an apartment or a house. And I can’t tell you how much money I have saved on doing stuff myself. 

A small renovation of a bathroom can cost a fortune if you let somebody else do it. But the materials can be bought for a bargain. 

Even if you want to live one a boat. It becomes handy to know the basics of any craftsmanship. 

Easier to Invest In Real Estate

As I’m writing this I’m about to do my first real estate business. Even with my background as a mason and building constructor, I find it terrifying to take out all of my hard earned money into a real estate deal like that. 

I can’t imagine how it would be to do a real estate investment with no knowledge at all. 

You Will Always Have Work 

Look around you. 

Everybody lives in a building that someday needs some sort of renovation. You will NEVER become unemployed for more than a couple of months. There is no pseudo work here.

And it is one of the easiest places to become self-employed. 

And it is something you can do all over the world. Even philanthropic.

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How I’m Retiring in 5 Years or Less, and How You Can Too

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A fellow danish money blogger is this post sponsor. His name is John, and he writes in danish about hands-on money-saving tips and other money/finance related stuff at vilebo.dk

How I Write Articles from my Phone, And Why You Should Too.

For a year I chose not to have a phone. It all started because I only had a phone which my previous work had provided. And when I stopped there I had to turn it in. I thought to myself that I would be nice without a phone for a couple of days. So I decided to look for a private phone next week.

When next week arrived, I realized have awesome it was not to have a phone. I had no idea that there was so much stress related to that little thing.

For the first time in a very long time, I felt it could be boring to wait for the train. But it felt good. I had nothing to do other than waiting for my train. Just standing there. And look out looking at other busy people.

How I do It

I like to keep as simple as possible:

  • Do five lines of writing a day (which is the equivalent of 50 words)
  • Do it in the note app (it is simple but effective)
  • Send that to myself through messenger or an e-mail.
  • Proofreading in Grammarly.
  • Publish.

Set Pathetic Writing Goals

My “5-lines-day-goal” will seem insignificant for most people. But it is a goal that makes it easy to do. Just grab the phone. Skip social media for 2 minutes and write whatever I feel like. Writing 50 words a day will turn into a 700-word blog post every 14th day.

Often I write more than the five lines. Because I feel like it when I first have started. But the hard part for me is to start. Some days I feel like writing by the computer. But I know that I will never be the writer that I would like to be if I have to sit down at a desk.

3 hours and 15 minutes

That is the average screen time for a smartphone user. Writing on the phone is by no means fast. I write the five lines in 2-3 minutes. Which I could do in 1 minute on my computer.

But I know from myself that if I had to sit in front of the computer to write. I would write much less.

On The Move

Often I get good ideas when I’m on the move. It can be on my bike. Going up some stairs or another thing. When that happens, I can just grab my phone. Start a headline, write a couple of lines on the new idea.

Deadtime = Productive time

It’s normal to see people stand in line, waiting in the waiting room or waiting for your public transportation with their smartphone in the hand. This could be a productive time. But often people just scroll mindlessly through their social media platforms (I do this as well).

But if I instead open the “Note” app on my smartphone. Write a couple of sentences that we have on our minds. And then go on with our lives. I believe that habit can turn your life around. You can start publishing articles on whatever topic you like. And maybe eventually you will be the expert in that field.

Embrace Imperfectionism

I do have days where I don’t meet my pathetic goal of five lines. But that is okay. I would lie if I told you that I hate when I don’t meet my goal.

But instead of getting too pissed. I focus on the goal for the next day. I move on. It is human and inevitable not to fail on your goals. It will be the people who continue to grind who will be what they want.

The avid reader might notice that I do have long periods where I don’t post anything. And that is because I’m human. Everyday life gets in the way.

And don’t be afraid of mipsellings. I use a software called Grammarly. I use that one time. And then publish. Misspellings will occur. But your message will still be there. Don’t worry about the people who can’t see through your tiny mistakes. They are the ones who fear the judgment of their own mistakes the most.

The Inner Resistance

I get many emails from people who wants to start writing but they fear what could happen if they started to do so. The be honest the inner resistance never goes away.

At this moment I’m starting to approach the 100th blog post. And I still feel a bit of resistance whenever I start a new post. I do not expect this feeling to ever go away. And instead, I have started to embrace this inner resistance. And the bigger it is, the more I need to do the thing I fear.

Become An Expert in Anything

By studying 20 hours you will know the basics in any field. 20 hours of studying equals to 2-4 books. Now you know more than 80 % of people. And from this point on you can start to teach others about the basics. You can become a known local expert in any given thing by studying an hour a day in three years or less.

Imagine that you attended a school where you decided what to study and which authors you should read. No one is going to determine that this is the right author to read about. You decide it, and you decide whether or not you liked what you have read. That is a super powerful tool.

No Matter How Old You Are

This how your to-do list would look like to become an expert in any field:

  • Go the library and get 2-4 books on your new topic
  • Start a webpage where you write from your phone 3+ minutes a day
  • Keep reading and teaching about it, and in 100-200 books you will be the expert

No more no less.

The Workshop

I have just made a brand new workshop.

It is for you, if you feel like investing is complicated and overwhelming. It is not.

Check it out here, the early bird tickets are still available!

24# My Monthly Financial Independence Update

This month savings rate: 60 %

12-month rolling expenses: 101.000 DKK (16.000 $)

My Coast FIRE number: 5.598.000 DKK (890.000$) or 56 years of living expenses.

Speaking At Three Schools

The previous month I have been speaking at:

Oure Højskole

Egå Ungdomshøjskole

Brandbjerg Højskole

And it has been super awesome! At every single school, I had to be there an hour or more, because of the curious questions they got.

I do this because I want the danish youth to know that there is an alternative way to life. And there is no one teaching us this stuff at school.

So feel free to write to me, if you want me to come to your school too.

Two Years of Blogging

I hate the word blogging. I don’t see myself as a “blogger”. It has become a negative word of people who are hungry for attention. I think it’s sad.

I think that way more people should start to produce their own content. I don’t care if it is video, recordings, or writing. Just producing stuff is super nice. You get to meet/start a new community of people.

I enjoy it.

Back at Brewing

Today I’m starting as an intern at Bøgedal Bryggeri again.

This time it will be for four weeks. And we will be doing nothing but brewing. The last couple of days we brewed 800 L of and IPA ish beer, and 800 L of what they call a “New Year Nectar”.

The feeling of starting here is just like being a mason apprentice again. And I enjoy the feeling of being with somebody who is super good at what they are doing. But it is hard to learn and listen for 10+ hours. Meanwhile, you are working your ass off with 800 L of boiling water. But it is fun!

My New Workshop

After a long time thinking and hesitating to do a workshop. I have finally made it.

The workshop is for you, if you are into the whole FIRE philosophy, but is intimidated or confused about the investing.

Check it out here. 

23# My Monthly Financial Independence Update

Stocks & Coast FIRE ('000)

This month savings rate: 77 %

12-month rolling expenses: 96.000 DKK (15.200 $)

My Coast FIRE number: 5.438.000 DKK (751.000$) or 57 years of living expenses.

7 Speaking Gigs

Here is the update. Better late than never. It is late because I’m working hard on a presentation for 7 speaking jobs in the next couple of months.

The majority of the speaking will be on schools. Which I look forward to. I would have loved as a young adult to get all of the FIRE knowledge as soon as possible. I know it would have been a game changer for my FIRE journey if someone has taught it to me as a teenager.

I got all this information as a 25 year old. And I’m super glad I didn’t get to know it as a 60 year old.

So that is why I have made a mission to teach young kids the philosophy and math lesson that every kid should have in school about finances, investing and environmental consuming.

For the next two weeks I will be sailing around in Denmark to the different speeches.

You can write me at Loui@wannabewalden.com, if you would like me to come and speak at your place too.

Looking Into Buying a Vacation House

Without going too much in details about my researching. I’m about to buy a vacation house. Not for pleasure, but business.

This vacation house is a hidden gem. The owner has not used it for 15+ years and it looks miserable. But it is the perfect buy for a guy like me, with a background in the construction business.

The owner is willing to sell for around 100.000 DKK (15.000$), and the neighbor house has just been sold for 800.000 DKK (126.000 $). So with a bit of renovation I might be able to sell a brand new vacation house for +900.000 DKK (140.000$).

Stay tuned.

Workshops

Ready for the WWW?

Slowly I have started to make some progress on the:

Wannabe Walden Workshop.

It will be for you who would like to get started with investing and simplifying your life. But has a hard time to start doing so.

And! The first couple of workshops will come at a starting price of 100 DKK (15 $).

It will include:

  • Insights in my portfolio and investment Philosophy
  • A private Facebook group
  • Invitations for yearly meet-ups
  • A forum where there is room for “stupid” questions
  • You will make your first investment

Stay tuned.

Thanks To My Sponsor

Again again again.

Thanks to my sponsor Vilebo.dk for sponsoring!

Why Living On a Boat Is One Of The Cheapest (and Awesome) Way To Live

Last month I did my biggest purchase in years. It might even be my most expensive purchase ever.

I bought a boat. 

The book I named this blog after (hint: its Walden), made a huge impression on me. The part of building a small cabin and living in the woods was super appealing to me. But I must be honest. I like water more than the woods.

But buying a boat has always been scary for me. Boats are expensive and need constant repair. But. If you buy a small boat, it’s easier to fix things. And they not just cheaper. They are WAY cheaper.

Spare parts on boats cost exponential more as they increase in size. And smaller boats just need fewer spare parts. So there is not too often something to fix.

Hedonic Adaptation on Boats

I don’t have a toilet onboard. That will scare a lot of people because they don’t know where to take a shit. People I have onboard are often relieved when I tell them how often they break and it is not fun to fix a toilet in +2m waves and there is shit all over the floor.

To be honest. It is sort of nice just to take a shit in the ocean. And when you do get back to an ordinary toilet. You will appreciate much more than you normally would. Essential stuff as cooking becomes a bit of a project. But I like that. It involves everyone on the boat.

Living on a boat is the highest highs and lowest lows. That is what I love about it. What we are taking for granted in our normal lives becomes a huge luxury. Having a fridge packed with delicious foods is not something we truly enjoy. But when you have been on a boat for a couple of weeks. That is a huge luxury. But it is also nice to come back to the boat where everything is super simple.

The Economy

There are several reasons why a small boat is preferable to a big boat.

  • Cheaper to buy
  • Easier to sell
  • Doesn’t drop in price
  • Cheap maintenance
  • Easier and cheaper to find a harbor
  • Cheap Insurance

This the breakdown of what I have bought my boat for.

The cost of the boat was 29.000 DKK.

Then I needed to buy some miscellaneous stuff like tools, life jackets, and similar. That costs me 2.000 DKK. 

As a rule of thumb. It will cost you 20 % of the purchasing price in maintenance. Which will be 6.000 DKK. That is a pretty high number. Basic maintenance will cost me no more than 2000 DKK. But if I keep it for years I must eventually buy a new motor, sails, and similar. And each of that item is in the “pricey” end of about 6-7000 DKK.

A base harbor place is super cheap when you have a small boat. My boat has received a spot in Ærøskøbing at the moment. And a spot in that harbor costs 3000 DKK annually. That is utilities included. I know that in Copenhagen it is around 4000 DKK annually. So just let’s go with an average of about 3500 DKK. 

The insurance as shall have by law. Comes at the ridiculous price of 240 DKK annually. Which I gladly pay.

To Sum It Up

  • Cost of the boat = 29.000 DKK
  • Miscellaneous stuff = 2.000 DKK
  • Maintenance = 5.000 DKK
  • Harbour fee = 3.000 DKK
  • Insurance = 240 DKK
  • Total = 39.240 DKK

The price of buying a ready sailboat will be about 40.000 DKK. It could probably be done cheaper. But this boat was a bargain at that price. Someday I will be selling it again. The cost of the boat and miscellaneous shopping is money I will get back again.

So the annual cost of having a boat is only:

  • Maintenance
  • Harbour fee
  • Insurance

Which is = 8.240 DKK annual or 686 DKK/month.

My Monthly Finances the Apartment

Is something like this.

  • Rent 3300 DKK
  • Insurance 300 DKK
  • Utilities 300 DKK

Total = 3.900 DKK 

Living in a small boat compared to living in a really cheap Copenhagen apartment is almost 6:1. 

For months of rent in the apartment, I can live the whole summer on my boat. What about winter? Living on a small boat is probably not for everyone. And I might think that it won’t be for me either in the cold Danish winter months.

That is why I’m thinking of the perfect mix of living on a boat in the summer. And having a vacation house (sommerhus) during the winter. Renting out a vacation house in Denmark has a lot of tax benefits. And I would get the best rate when the weather is best here in Denmark. But that doesn’t matter. That is where I prefer to be on a boat. So I could rent out the vacation house during the summer. And living in it myself for free during the winter. And in 20 years-ish I would have a vacation house that has been paid off by the tourist.

Another thing I’m considering is to sail the boat to the Mediterranean sea. I love every single country down there and the sailing season is just much longer (and probably) nicer because of the warmer weather. During the winters I could put the boat on land and go home to Denmark to earn some money and hang out with friends and family.

Coast FIRE and Living On a Boat

If you read this at 20 something years I would really encourage you to live on a boat for a short period of your life. It is filled with adventures, and you will save a lot of money which can compound into a fortune.

If we compare living on a boat and living in a cheap apartment. With my finances as an example.

Living on a boat costs 700 DKK/Month

Living in cheap apartment costs 3.900 DKK/Month

You will save 3.200 DKK/month or 38.400 DKK/year. 

If you are 25 years old and you invest those 38.400 DKK, they could compound into:

626.358 DKK when you are 65 years old with a 7 % ROI.

So go ahead, live on a small boat, while you are working a year or two. Sail out in the evenings with some of your friends with some pizza onboard. Dump the anchor in and have a blast.

You will get an enormous amount of street credit from your friends and it is a perfect spot for a date as well.

Do that for two years and I have made you rich.

Blog Sponsor

A fellow danish money blogger is this post sponsor. His name is John, and he writes in danish about hands-on money-saving tips and other money/finance related stuff at vilebo.dk