Why Consuming Less is More Important Than Politics

The other day we had a election for a new government in Denmark.

And I’m really pleased about the result.

It turns out that we get a new socialist government, which I think is good because they are the ones who focus most on the environment.

I voted for a party called Alternativet because they focus the most on the environment. Sadly they didn’t do to well.

Politics is Bullocks

Don’t get me wrong. I feel very privileged living in a society where I have the opportunity to vote in a democratic election. The alternative to a democratic system is often fatal.

But often I find politics hypocritical. Especial when it is about the environment.

Politicians and electors often say/vote something, and still have their airplane ticket to Thailand in their drawer.

And yes – I have three airplane trips planned this year. Which I don’t feel good about. In a couple of weeks I’m going to Italy, and I will go by train if it is possible.

Action > Politics

If you are concerned about the environment, how we act is way more important than what we are voting.

I think that everybody should vote, but voting doesn’t make a person an environmentalist. Action does.

If you however hate immigrants and want them out of the country, you can’t just start to throw people out because you feel like it. Then you have to vote. (But please don’t vote for people who hate immigrants).

But it is different about the environment.

$1 Spent = C02 Emissions

I don’t care how people spent their money. But if we spent less than we earn, we would be more environmental than if we would have spent all of our money.

I could go out and spent almost 3 times as many money as I’m currently doing. But I’m choosing not to in order to be environmental and financial independent.

Fortunately there is a direct correlation between being environmental and trying to cut back on our spending.

The picture below is from a presentation I made for the school I’m currently at.

Go Small. Go Far. Go Now.

After I started to sail a lot more than I use to. I have started to read some books about sailing and voyaging.

Back when I was a kid, I thought that “One day I’m going to have a huge boat, because that is a lot nicer than a small boat.”

When I read about people who has been sailing for many years, I think the story is way more appealing if they have done it in a small boat.

They said to themselves:

Go Small. Go Far. Go Now.

Larry Pardey, Cruising in Seraffyn

I have heard several stories of people saving up for the big boat for their retirement. And then they suddenly die.

Go Go Go and FIRE

I interact with several people in the FIRE community. And there is not many people who goes small, far and now in that community.

The 4 % rule is so conservative if you ask me.

By saving up 25 times your annual spending we are:

  • Going Big / Saving to much money or having to big of a budget
  • Not going anywhere / not taking up mini retirements
  • Waiting too long to “retire”

Going Big

There is three ways that we can attack our financial goals.

  1. Spending less
  2. Earn more
  3. How much we want to have saved

I’m the biggest fan of focusing on 1 & 3.

We can go pretty extreme and do as Jacob Lund Fisker.

But only spending 7.000 $/year and seem pretty extreme for many people.

But instead of focusing to much on hitting that magical number of having 25 times our annual spending (aka. the 4 % rule).

We could scale that down to something more “risky”. And take a mini retirement, and maybe work one day a week while we are having blast.

Not Going Anywhere

Even if we are responsible with our spending and saves 50 % of our salary. We are more likely to not go anywhere.

While we can’t travel to happiness it doesn’t make to much sense of staying at a job we hate in order to hit a certain number. By saying that our lives is going to be significant better when are able to “retire”, is the exact same things as believing that our new Iphone is going to make a great jump in our wellbeing.

It’s nice to have a lot of money, but you know, you don’t want to keep it around forever. I prefer buying things. Otherwise, it’s a little like saving sex for your old age.

Warren Buffett

Don’t get me wrong. Don’t go out and buy a lot of stupid stuff.

But I dream about sailing around the world. And I’m not going to wait till I finally can check of that “25 times my annual spending” tick box.

Waiting Too Long

If you start at age 22 to save and invest 50 % of your income, you are still going to be 35 or more years before you hit that 25 your annual spending mark.

If you are total happy about your current situation. Then just stay in the grind.

But if we dislike it. Then settle for less than 25 times your annual spending and find another job, start to study again or start a business.

Just try to ask yourself the following things.

  1. How can I go smaller?
  2. How can I go further?
  3. How can I go tomorrow?

School Project Video On FIRE

For a month ago I said yes to participate in two young boys school project about financial independence.

I said yes, because I know how important the youth is.

In every single rowing club I know, the future success of the clubs determines on how big (and good) of a youth department they have.

All of the rowing clubs who neglect the young ones, is slowly digging their own graves. As time past by, there will only be grumpy old men back at the club. And that is not to appealing to anyone (sorry old men).

FIRE and Kids

Sometimes I feel frustrated about that I never got introduced to FIRE as kid. I’m quite sure that I would have been mature enough to see the benefits of that lifestyle, and probably be financial independent at my current age.

That’s why I would like to give my knowledge about FIRE to as many kids as I can.

They should know from very early age that we are able to shape the life we want, and not what society expect from us.

And that the road to happiness is not filled with mindless consuming.

I told the two boys that I was willing to come a make a presentation about FIRE on their school if they wanted to.

If you read this as a kid, and think it would be fun for your school to hear about FIRE. I’m willing to come and tell about it. For free.

Feel free to contact me on: Loui@wannabewalden.com

The Video

They told me they got an A for the this project.

Unfortunately it is in danish with no subtitles.


7 Benefits of Not Having a Mobile

https://www.dbphoto.dk/

I haven’t had a mobile for the last month. It happen by an “accident”.

For a month ago I got fired from my job. And when had to have a phone for my work, I decided to ditch my private one.

The last day I had to deliver the phone back.

So there I was. Without a phone.

A bit shocked about being fired from my job, I didn’t feel like going to town to shop for a new phone. I just wanted to take a some days off, relax a bit, and then shop for new phone.

A couple of days into my “I-have-no-phone-at-the-moment” life, I started to enjoy feeling unconnected.

From days, to weeks to now a month without a phone, I have no desire of rushing into buying a new phone anytime soon.

Here is the list of things I enjoy the most of not having a phone.

SPOILER ALERT!

There is one thing I hate by not having a phone.

1) Being More Present

This might be a obvious one.

But by not having a phone, and being with somebody. I force myself to interact with the person on a deeper level than what I normal would. If this person starts to bore me, it is the easiest thing to grab my phone, and start scrolling.

I have started to notice that some of my friends can take up their phone and start scrolling for a couple of minutes in the middle of our conversation. Which is so ignoring!

The most scariest thing is that I’m 100 % certain that I have done that way too often myself.

2) Less Stress

I could feel a vibrating item in my pocket for weeks after I got rid of my phone. But I had no vibrating item in my pocket.

It was like 5 % of my unconscious mind was alert about my phone.

That “alertness” is gone after a month of not having a phone.

3) Reaching Out More

When was the last time you asked someone:

“Excuse me, what time is it??”

The only wrist watch I have had for years, has been a heart rate watch I used for my rowing training. And I kept breaking them. So the last time I broke the watch, I didn’t feel like turning it in for a new one. Just like the mobile, days without a watch turned into weeks, and then months. And now I just like not having a wrist watch.

That means I constantly ask people what the time is.

And that act alone, has made me talk with 10+ people I wouldn’t have.

4) No Stress About Battery

The feeling of plugging an almost dead phone into the charger is so satisfying.

But why is it satisfying?

Because we have stressed about that we need to find a charger soon, because the world is coming to an end if I don’t have my precious phone.

5) JOMO

We all know the term FOMO.

Fear

Of

Missing

Out

I started to enjoy a new one.

Joy of missing out.

There is direct correlation of me being surprised about my friends telling me stuff they have been doing. And me not having a phone.

I spent less than 10 minutes a week now on instagram, which would be my main source of my friends “gossip”.

When I don’t get this gossip, and just don’t know what my friends are up to. Except if I meet with them. Which is an awesome feeling.

6) Doing Nothing

I have completely forgot the feeling about being bored.

The last time I remember being bored was back when I was a kid.

Sitting down, maybe waiting for the train and doing absolutely nothing.

Is super nice!

7) Saves Me Money

No need to think about cell phone deals.

Or worry about breaking the screen.

My Main Problem of Not Having a Phone

As the avid reader knows. I will be spending the next 3 months on a school where I’m going to sail, and just have a good time.

The “Just-have-a-good-time” part often involves beer.

And the only payment the bar accepts is through an app.

Not having a phone, means that I currently have no apps. So I can’t pay for my beers! Which is a pain in the ass!

Why I Love Going Backward

I have been told that rowing is the only Olympic sport where we cross the finish line backwards. I don’t know if it is true. But I like the idea of doing something different than anybody else.

Our “Normal” Lifecycle

A traditional life would look something like this:

  1. Get born
  2. Go to school
  3. Get an education
  4. Get a decent job (For the next 50 years)
  5. Meet a spouse
  6. Get some kids
  7. Buy a house (We can’t afford)
  8. Buy a car (We can’t afford)
  9. Going on expensive vacations or getting expensive hobbies (Because your kids left the nest)
  10. Retire
  11. Die

The main thing as the we get a ton of debt in our young years in order to pay for a vehicle and a place to live.

But why do we do that?

Is it just because everyone else is doing it?

An “Optimized” Lifecycle

What if we turned our life around?

And started to go backward? Just like in rowing.

Yes – we might ending up being the only ones doing so. But what if it makes more sense?

An optimized lifecycle:

  1. Get borned
  2. Go to school
  3. Get an education
  4. Work (For the next 5 years)
  5. Semi Retire (Either work part time, or seasonal)
  6. Do whatever we like (Travel, start a business, etc)
  7. Meet a spouse and get some kids
  8. Have a 5 year maternity
  9. Buy a place to live (We now can afford)
  10. Buy a vehicle (We again now can afford)
  11. Keep working on projects we love
  12. Die

Can you see the difference?

Just Get To The First 100.000 $

Aim for the first 100.000 $ as fast as possible. Then compound interest is going to make sure that you are going to be more than all right.

From there we can do several things with the portfolio:

No Withdrawal

Work part time, or seasonal. And enjoy that you don’t have to work all day.

In 13 years your portfolio will grow to about 300.000 $, and you can now withdraw 5 % of it (15.000 $) which should would do for a semi frugal person.

Withdraw 3-4% Annual

If we feel like working just a bit less, then we can start withdraw a little bit of the portfolio.

3 % annual will make sure we have some passive income. And that we are more than likely to increase that amount every year.

In 30 years your withdrawals will go from 3.000 $/annual to 7.000 $/annual. (Adjusted for inflation).

And our portfolio will be about 230.000 $ instead. (Adjusted for inflation)

Withdraw 5-7% Annual

We can also withdraw even more. If we really don’t feel like working. Maybe because we are on the road travelling most of the time.

By doing so we are risking the whole portfolio is going to vanish within a couple of decades.

And our withdrawals are less likely to increase from year to year.

If we withdraw 5.5 % annual, we will keep up with inflation. And should be able to withdraw about 6.000 $ annual every single year.

Which can make you live like a king in asia for 6-10 months.

After 30 years our portfolio would still be around 100.000 $ adjusted for inflation.

Freedom When it Makes Sense

It makes sense that we have all (or most) of the time in the world to do whatever we like when we are young.

When there is no kids around we literally take the bag, and go for journey tomorrow. And stay away for the next 5 years. If we feel like it.

Being Around Your Kids When it Makes Sense

The only thing kids needs when they are small is attention from their parents.

When they start in school, their friends starts to be more exciting than the parents. Slowly and steadily the will become more and more independent. And in 18 years they will more or less handle things themselves.

Being around our kids when they are 0 to 5 years is not only nice. But a necessity. They can’t survive without their parents at this stage. So why not maximize the time we spent with them when they are small kids?

Buying Stuff When We Have the Money

If we wait to buy houses and vehicles to when we have the money (thanks to compound interest) makes so much more sense.

Our portfolio should grow at about 7 % annual, while the real estate market will grow the rate of inflation 2-3 %. That’s why we theoretically should come out ahead in the real estate market if we have a medium size portfolio as young.

Vehicles are also getting cheaper every year. And with the environmental problems we have at the moment, I personal don’t feel like contributing to that, by buying a gasoline fueled vehicle.

I Will Work Till I Die

There is a lot of talk in the danish media at the moment about retirement age.

It seems like nobody wants to work till they are 75 years old. (Not even the politicians who makes the rules, and they retire way younger than the rest of the population)

I don’t blame them. Neither do I.

I want work for the rest my life.

“Oh my god?! What did Loui just say?! I thought he wanted to quit as soon as possible?!”

Furious reader

I took part in a documentary where a clever fella named Svend Brinkmann commented on the whole concept of trying to “retire” as early as possible.

He said:

“I don’t think that any people is trying to live a life completely unbounded from everything”

Svend Brinkmann

And I think he has a good point.

I’m an extrovert person. I love being around people. And I love being in exciting projects. The most important thing is that they cannot drain me.

My work needs to be fulfilling, fun and making a difference. And I would like it to be that all the way till the day I die.

Rethinking Work

Why does work has to drain? The vast majority of people I know think work is exhausting, and they would rather be free.

Why can’t we find work that gives our life purpose but without the stress, and lack of energy when we arrive home.

I think one of the major reason of why work is draining us, because we do it to much. Elite sportsmen doesn’t train 8 hours everyday because it doesn’t make sense. If you had to workout for 8 hours a day, the intensity and focus would be so low, that you would have way better results by training 3-4 hours/day. Then we can throw in some interval work, while we are super sharp on the technique.

And I can’t see why work should be any different from sports.

Imagine if you knew that you only had to work from 8 AM to 11 AM.

Would you work differently than you are today?

I think most of us would.

Rethinking Retirement

If you think about it.

Isn’t super weird that we work all of life, and then suddenly we don’t?

If we tell ourself that our work is so meaningful for our existence. That we need to do it for +40 years, why don’t we do till the day that we die?

As I said earlier. I can’t never imagine not being committed to something in my life.

I can still see myself as an 80 year old, fooling around in a rowing club (or something similar). Making sure that everything is ok.

How We Should Work

Let’s just take up work that makes us excited.

We don’t have to sit at desk for for 40 hours/week in order to make a change. In fact, every single one of us is replaceable. We don’t like to think it that way, but it is the truth.

So just take up work that sounds like fun. Do it for a couple of days each week. Or do it a couple of hours each day. And then leave the rest of the day with doing things you love to.

I look at the people who bring out food on their bike and admire their work. It looks like so much fun.

I really do think that we can have a work that we love. But I also think that doing the same thing year in and year out, for the vast majority of the day, can be killer to anything that we like.

In sports it is very acknowledged that in order to become better we need rest. And it needs to be good. The same goes for our working life. And there is no rest in working from 8-4, picking up kids, try not to argue with your spouse and then crash on the couch in front of the tv in order to “rest”, so that we can be ready for the next day.

Rest should be the majority of the time, not the 1 hour crash in front of the tv. In sports it is even normal to have a “rest season” after the olympics. I have never heard of someone who would take every 4th year off from work, just to have a nice time.

Let’s do that instead.

My Wife Doesn’t Like FIRE?! Answered by Jacob Lund Fisker

I love when people is hitting the head on the nail.

And I think that Jacob Lund Fisker really did that the other day in the FIREdanmark facebook group. And is worth sharing with the entire world.

FIREdanmark is a facebook group started by the danish blog Frinans.

That forum is a group of danish people who all have that in common that we would like to live our life to fullest. And claim our freedom from the rat race as fast as possible.

Jacob Lund Fisker is often answering questions in there, but this answer is really worth a blog post for it self.

People is asking a ton of different question, and the other day this question got posted in the group:

My wife doesn’t like the FIRE philosophy. How do I get her onboard with this idea??

And this is here Jacob Lund Fisker came with this awesome answer:

In general FIRE is about changing the mindset about being poor, which the middle class is borned and raised with. Where you income equals what you will be spending. Where social status is equal with how much money you make, and then connects consuming with happiness. Said in a different way, the middle class connects money with limitations. That’s why people is getting panic attacks/emotional whenever you talk about cutting back on spending, because they don’t see what things you are going to get by doing so.

It is a transition that can take many years before you resonate with it, because “You don’t know what you don’t know” when you only have the mindset of limitations. Especially when you are limited in thinking of freedom with what you can afford to buy and what you not can afford.

An example. I once walked by a car dealer and pointed out that I could buy the entire row of cars in cash. Most consumers buy their car on installment, so it was something that made an impression. That I had created an opportunity to buy a car in cash. A car bought with cash is more specific than the account number. Only few can imagine what a million is without having to translate it into something tangible such as 3-4 cars or 15 years without worrying about rent.

The example of the car works because it builds a bridge between poverty mentality and wealth mentality because one still connects a large savings into something that is consumption.

If you have come so far, then the next thing is to “install” a wealth mentality, where it is no longer about which plastic dimes or pleasures one can buy. But much larger “things” such as freedom from stress, freedom to stay where you want, freedom to work or leave, … a really good night’s sleep, time to make healthy food, etc. It is a whole different category than a larger TV or a house with three locks. It is a “mindset” where money is no longer a limitation. Instead, one’s limitation is what one simply has time and personal abilities to. And so it goes far beyond on what one can buy in a store, unless you are absolutely unimaginative. (Which most people are basically … but it can be changed …)

An example. Make one of the spreadsheets with lots of graphs showing how much your consumption is, how much you have saved, and how large your passive income is projected many months into the future from month to month. Highlight the dates when you can stop stressing over bills, downtime, start your own business, go down to zero time, travel constantly or just when you want (without waiting for vacation), stay at a beach hotel in Spain, volunteer in your union, buy houses in cash, change “career” to football judge or motorcycle mechanic, or take care of your children yourself instead of outsourcing. Do what you want with your life now.

Try to create it with different savings rates.

When you have talked enthusiastically about it for a few months … Then do the same for your partner with their numbers and some scenarios: if they save 10%, 50%, …

It is much more convincing to have a specific date in the head (their head) and a dream of traveling around the world or becoming the first Dan in Go … If they take it with poverty mentality, then they hear the limitations of how much / little they must shop, etc. instead of the enormous opportunities that open up in after April 2026.

The only way to “convert” people is simply “show, don’t tell” because otherwise you talk past each other, because of the difference in mentality. And do it quietly.

The biggest challenge is that people who are educated as consumers is not used to dream big enough. That’s what you can try to help them learn.

But remember that they have to dream their own dreams … not just take over.

Thank you Jacob Lund Fisker for such an AWESOME answer.

3# and Final Update: Sub 1000 $

As everything else will pass.

So has January.

Read about the challenge here.

And read about the 1# here

And the 2# update here.

And it is time to reveal if I have accomplished my challenge to live below 1000 $ for one month.

And you know what?

I failed.

I didn’t accomplish to spent less than 1000 $. I managed to spent WAY more than a 1000 $ to be honest.

My Spending

I’m sad that I didn’t manage to complete the challenge. But what I spent my money on was worth it.

My mom turned 60 years old this month. And because of that we made her a surprise party lasting almost a whole day. We started out with surprising her at home, where we maked a potluck brunch, I broad super delicious (but expensive) bread from a baker called Meyers. From my mom’s apartment, we all biked to my rowing club where we had champagne in the sauna, and went swimming in the harbour. My mom and her boyfriend has this tradition where they invite each other out on a traditional danish lunch (smørrebrød). So this time the whole family went out for lunch. From there we visited my cousins old workplace (she is a pastry chef). Bought some cake, and went home for cake coffee and rum. All in all, it was a LOVELY day. I wish my 60 year old birthday will be similar to hers.

But I managed to spent a pretty sum of money on that event.

  • 170 DKK (28 $) on bread for the brunch.
  • 430 DKK (70 $) on the lunch
  • 600 DKK (90 $) on a gift for my mom

1200 DKK (200 $) in total.

I was a lot of money. But it didn’t bother me to spent it. It was a really great day. And it is not to often I spoil my dear mom. She deserved every single spending on that day.

Father+Son Weekend

One day my dad invited me to go Statens Museum for Kunst. I can’t remember the name of the artist. But she had a made three pears out of bricks.

We walked out of there super disappointed. And agreed to visit Fjordenhus in Vejle a couple of weeks afterwards. It is a super awesome building designed Olaf Eliasson. A danish-icelandic artist. Magnificent building. He is bending the laws of how a brick house should look like.

My dad picked me up at the European Indoor Championships. Where I was a part of the four person relay team, and we ended up with a silver medal. I really love that rowing club. It is like a second family to me.

Directly from podium and out in the car we drove away. I didn’t have time to change, because we had to reach a ferry from Odden to Århus. And it was the very last one. So no time to miss it.

We had a sleepover at my highly loved aunt in Brabrand. Where I always get spoiled. And so did my dad all along that weekend. And I couldn’t stand the thought just to get spoiled all weekend, without spoiling them. Sunday we went out for a lunch, at a lovely place in the woods. That ended up costing me 835 DKK (130 $) for us three.

But the money was well spent. The food was lovely (Stjerneskud). And the vibes were even better.

Summing It Up

  • 1200 DKK (200 $) at my moms birthday
  • 835 DKK (130$) Father/Son weekend
  • 767 DKK (120$) Food and eating out
  • 128 DKK (20$) Cinema with my ex
  • 50 DKK (8 $) New sheet for my bed (Woke up with a huge hole in it)

In total: 2852 DKK (450 $)

And if we look at the last update. I had 640 DKK (100 $) left for this month.

640 DKK – 2852 DKK = – 2212 DKK (380 $)

So I managed to spent 1380 $ this month.

Which is like 40 % above my target of 1000 $.

What ended up like an average month for me, could have been a really bad one (according to my savings rate) if I have been more sluggish about my spending. I have learned that I can live 20 days on way less that I normal would without sacrificing my happiness. But I would have loved to start this new year spending less, because then I would be closer to have 20 times annual spending saved up.

But if we subtract my mom’s birthday and the weekend with my dad, I would be quiet close to the 1000 $ goal. I do not think it will be a difficult goal for me in the future.

I will proceed to try to live on way less than I do now.