Financial Statement – May

Even though our savings rate was not great (48%) we managed to take care of many things related to Property #2. We will pay it completely over the next couple of days/weeks, therefore I have already excluded the cash we are about to pay from the Cash category.

Cash 600
Peer to Peer 863
Pensions 78,030
Security deposit for current house 4,000
Rental Property #1 100,000
Rental Property #2 133,000
Debt (Bank) -35,000
Total networth 281,493

Very soon I will update you on the real numbers of my first real estate investment which is yielding more than what I had previously calculated!

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You have 168 hours this week

Reading is one of my passions. I love reading about personal finance, behavioral economics, psychology and business in general. I literally cannot fall asleep if I don’t read, even if only for 5/10 minutes.

About 2 weeks ago, I had nothing to read and no ideas on what to read next. I found this post from Paula Afford Anything and the 168 hours book she recommended sounded interesting. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed trying to manage a full-time demanding job, a baby, buying property #2, a constant effort/research on how to save more and where to invest. A book on time management was exactly what I needed, in particular one tailored to families and written by a woman.

Laura is amazing (you can listen to her TED talk to understand what the book is about) and her book made me feel I really have more time than what I think I do.

Hours in a week 168
Sleep (8 hours/night) 52
Work (8 hours/weekday) 40
Commute and getting ready for work (1.5 hour/weekday) 7.5
Total time left 68.5

A week has 168 hours. After accounting for sleep, work, commuting and personal hygiene/getting ready to work, I still have 68 hours left to do whatever I want. The key is to use this time on what makes you happy, which for me is my family, exercising and my sidle hustle (my investments, this blog and my passion for personal finance).

Laura made me realise than I actually spend more time with my baby than at work! Even though I only see him 3 hours a day on weekdays, which feels too little, I have the whole weekend to be with him. Plus, I found strategies to maximise the 3 hours I am with him by outsourcing what I don’t prioritise in my life. I realised I was spending too much time going to the supermarket, cooking, some days I would also do some laundry and this was all done, of course, during these 3 hours I was supposed to be with him. Non-sense! I have decided to talk to my cleaning lady and double the time she comes every week. She will, not only clean the house, as she did before, but also cook and take care of our clothes. We have also started shopping online, which saves us at least 1 hour per week. Now, I am fully enjoying these 3 hours stress-free with my baby and it is so much better/easier for everyone.

On the other side, yes, I am spending more money than what I “should” which seems not to be in line with my financial independence goals. I gave a lot of thought to this, since I consider myself frugal, but I think I will try to be more easy going from now on and think about my core competences, where really I want to spend my time on. And, I have to admit, I don’t like home work, I hate cleaning, doing the laundry, I don’t mind cooking but also don’t love it. I do like: spending time with my family and friends, my work, my side hustle, doing exercise, in particular yoga, reading, thinking about where to invest next and how to help people having a healthier relationship with money. This is where I will spend my 68 hours per week that I have left, on the things I love, and not on the things I hate, which I was doing just to save money. Plus, I don’t plan to retire early, my goal is finance independence but not early retirement. I want to create passive income so I can feel free to pursue my passions, try my luck by starting my own company and hopefully make some money while helping others.

What I have changed in my life after reading 168 hours:

  • I now have a cleaning lady 6 hours every week instead of 3
  • I use my lunch hours very effectively, either to take care of something I need, or to go to the gym or to have lunch with friends (I schedule appointments to make sure I have lunch with people I care about and not just because they are my work colleagues)
  • I don’t feel bad about spending money on books, it is an investment towards my financial future and I love reading
  • I am more organised and I plan more, to make sure I am able to do everything I want during the week
  • I am more present, I try not to get distracted and enjoy the moment. If I am working, I try to focus and get things done as quickly as possible. If I am with my family, I don’t even look at my phone.

This book is of course tailored for people living in developed countries and who have their basic needs fully fulfilled. You have time for everything. You just need to define your priorities and organize your week around them. Time is more important than money. Do you agree?

Financial Statement – April

We had an increase of +6.6k in net worth which I am pretty happy about! Plus, this month we had an additional cost of 0.8k because my husband purchased the monthly transportation ticket and, even so, we managed to save a lot!

Cash 55,800
Peer to Peer 858
Pensions 76,540
Security deposit for current house 4,000
Rental Property #1 100,000
Rental Property #2 133,000
Debt (Rental Property #2) -94,000
Total networth 276,198

Savings rate = 53%

Our savings rate is not great and we could definitely improve it. It is amazing what you find out when you really start computing the figures! I would have guessed that my savings rate is around 60/70%.

Even though we are saving 6.6k, we are still spending 5.9k a month which sounds like a lot (and it is!). Almost 40% of that is on rent which we are not willing to compromise because 1) we love our apartment and it is quite cheap for the type of apartment/area in which we live 2) is it very convenient/time saving that both of us live close to work and to the creche 3) additional costs when moving into a different apartment.

My husband is not very keen on tracking expenses and for the sake of my marriage I have decided not to force him to 🙂 He is relatively frugal by nature and willing to engage in actions that allow us to save more money but he does not want to track every single expense. I get it and accept it. This month we have decided that from now on we will go to the cheaper/discounter supermarket at least twice a month. I am not really sure but I would say that our second most significant expense is groceries, as I think we spend more than 500 Euros in supermarket on a monthly basis. I hope we can go down by 100 or 200 Euros.

Very soon we will be buying Rental Property #2 and hopefully have it ready to rent it to tourists before August. Read more about our strategies in my previous post on Rental Property #1. I still cannot believe how much we have achieved in the last 3 years, from only slightly above 0 in net worth to almost 300k and from 0 properties to almost 2!

Total net worth or passive income: which metric to chase?

I have been thinking a lot on which metric shall I use to measure how close I am to financial independence. Both total net worth and passive income have as a basis my expected yearly expenses but whereas total net worth generally assumes a 4% net return rate, the passive income assumes that the amounts I am earning now can be replicated in the future. Both have flaws but both can be used as a guide.

In my specific case, I have invested mostly in real estate (on my way to buy property #2) and my investments yield more than 4%. Therefore, if I consider both properties and the passive income generated by them, 40-45% of my yearly expenses are already covered by these properties (potentially even more, because I can still decrease the amount of taxes I pay for both properties if I decide to create a company and deduct expenses and VAT, which I am planning to). On the other hand, if I use the total net worth metric, I am only 30% financial independent.

It is more conservative to target total net worth, which, in our case, is 870k EUR (my husband disagrees and think this is too low) but I will still celebrate when we reach 100% of expenses covered by passive income!

What about you? How do you keep up the motivation towards your goal?

30% Financial Independent

I am currently taking a sick leave from work the whole week and I have to admit that I am actually enjoying staying at home. I have a 1-year old baby and it’s been over 1 year I am not home alone! So, despite the pain in my body and throat pain, I am actually enjoying this “time-off” from work. It got me even more motivated and more into financial independence because it allowed me to have time to do things I really enjoy:

  • I read 2 books I have been wanting to read for a long time (Misbehaving and When, totally recommend both!)
  • I have been reading more blogs on financial independence, running and updating my numbers and learning new concepts, in particular the difference between Full FI and Lean FI. I have realized I am a bit over 30% Full FI, which sounds great, because the following 30% will be much faster to reach than the first.
  • I have been doing yoga by myself and realised I need to learn more/do more, even though it is very challenging to find the time when you work full time + have a baby. I will definitely do a yoga teacher training once I decide to “retire”.
  • I have also been thinking on how to combine my two passions which are personal finance + girls empowerment. I am not specifically talking about the new movement current out there, I would like to focus more on how to help poor girls get through, empower them and help them to make sound financial decisions. Again, very difficult to do it in the country where I am currently living – Germany – not only because of the lack of time but also because I do not speak German fluently (not even close!), so maybe I have to delay this till when I go back to my home country. Meanwhile, I have to think what could I do online related to these topics. Any suggestion?
  • I have convinced my husband to finally start saving first, i.e., every month both of us will put in a separate account 2.5k each so that we manage to save 5k a month. Let’s see if we manage to do it! We start this month!

Even though there are many things I love about my work, to name a few being an international environment, my manager is an amazing coacher, my organization is very flexible in terms of working hours, the high salary, etc., working is definitely killing my creativity and separating myself from my true passions. I feel I would be of so much more use to the society if I could focus my time on helping others to achieve their own freedom and to thrive, either through personal finance or yoga/meditation practices. However, on the other hand, I feel I still do not know enough of personal finance or meditation to be able to teach. And because I work full time I cannot find the time to get better, or at least not as much as I would like to. I guess I still need to wait a couple of years and meanwhile I will try as hard as I can do improve my skills on the topics I passionate about, without being hard on myself for not being able to do it full time.

Financial Statement – February

February was a very bad month in terms of savings because my husband took unpaid parental leave and we have decided to go on holidays before he started a new job. However, personally it was very rewarding 🙂

Still, our net worth has increase by 2.5k when compared to January due to the increase in my pension amount and plus a bit of cash we managed to save. We have a lot of cash not invested because we will soon need it to pay Property #2 (and we will still need to ask for a loan because we will not have enough available). We will officially buy it once it is built, which should be in the following 2 months, hopefully! I am so looking forward to start cashing in!

Cash 45,700
Peer to Peer 854
Pensions 73,480
Security deposit for current house 4,000
Rental Property #1 100,000
Rental Property #2 133,000
Debt (Rental Property #2) -94,000
Total networth 263,034

Savings rate = 21%. My husband took parental leave the whole month so we were living on one income. Next month hopefully this value will skyrocket to at least 50%!

Rental property #1

As I have told you before, at the end of 2016, I have invested 100k in my first real estate property in the beautiful city center of Porto, Portugal. I bought it before it was built, so we were finally able to start cashing-in in the beginning of September 2017. We have decided to hire a property manager specialized in short-term rentals and until now it has been going great. Check out my property in Airbnb!

Here is a quick summary of the current situation, with actual values until January 2018 and estimated values for the future months:

net profit

I will have around 6400 Euros net per year which represents a yield of 5.9% on my initial investment (my initial investment includes not only the cost of the apartment, but also taxes, furniture, etc. anything I had to pay before the apartment was ready). It sounds like a pretty good investment to me! However, I can still improve it, as I do not have the most efficient situation in terms of taxes and I can maybe still negotiate the cost of the property manager.

This experience has been very exciting! At first, we were concerned and a bit annoyed because there were some delays in furnishing the apartment, so could not start cashing-in in August 2017 which is a pretty good month for tourism. But, once everything was settled, there is not much you have to do, apart from seeing the money coming in into our account every month! With so much free time, we have decided to do a quick analysis on the strengths and risks/weaknesses of our investment.

 

Strengths:

  • New apartment in the city center (my opinion is that the city center hardly ever devaluates, in particular in Portugal where prices are still low and the reconstruction of the city centers in big cities started very recently)
  • Perfect for tourism but also can be rented long-term (we were contacted by an agency with an offer for our furnished apartment which would yield us 5500 Euros net per year)
  • Tourism is growing at very high rates in Portugal and this growth is expected to continue in the future

 

Risks/weaknesses:

  • Legal changes in short-term rental laws in Portugal (tourism has been the main driver of growth so I think this risk is small but it should be considered)
  • Small apartment with no parking space

 

We have weighted the pros and cons and we have decided that it is a really good investment and a niche that we would like to focus on: small apartments in premium areas in cities we are familiar with. This is why,  a few days ago, we have decided to buy property #2, a very similar apartment to property #1, for the same purposes: short-term rental. We were a bit unlucky this time (or lucky in the first time) as the prices are quickly increasing, therefore the price of this property is 35k higher than the first one (auch!). But, whereas in the rental property #1 we had to wait 1 year until we started cashing in because the apartment was not built when we bought it, rental property #2 is almost built and we hope to start cashing-in before July. All the same, instead of a 5.9% annual return, we are expecting around 4.5%.

Our following steps are to check with a tax adviser if we can/should create a commercial company for our real estate investments so we can deduct the costs of the investment for tax purposes. Currently, we are paying a significant amount of taxes because we cannot deduct the costs that we have on the investment. At the same time, with 2 apartments, we hope to be able to negotiate the cost of the property manager.

I am so excited about this project! Not only it is profitable but also I am learning so much about real state, Portuguese laws and about taxation. I fell I am an expert by now, so feel free to ask me any questions related to these topics!