Finally, Dutch Personal Finance Apps Are Coming

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Photo byRodion Kutsaev

There are numerous tools and apps that help you get insight into your finances, help you with investing or even in saving more money. The only downside is that most of them, like Capital One, Acorns, and Mint, are only directed to the US markets. It looks like most financial innovations are happening overseas, at least for the convenience of the regular consumer. 

We are a country that makes a lot of use of online banking (namely 83% of the Dutch population), have several companies that are disrupting the markets – Bunq, MoneYou, Knab, one new investing app called Bux, but limited availability of financial apps and digital services as it comes to our personal finances. How could this be in a country where digital innovation is so highly regarded? And where FinTech is a booming business? 

Well, I don’t know. I’ve waited months and years to see similar platforms from the US blowing right over the ocean. Nonetheless, when the results of the survey from Rockstar Finance on financial apps came out, I felt a sting of jealousy. I did try out You Need A Budget earlier, but then found out that I didn’t need a budget. So, I’m sticking to excel instead for tracking everything. Many of the app being named there, are not available in Europe. 

But now there is a new guy (or gal) in town, called Peaks. I didn’t know about its existence until last Monday when my eyes fell on an advertisement in a newspaper read by the guy sitting across of me. I instantly started to Google it and felt only a little bit excited (okay, a lot) to see that it’s a helping-you-save app. As far as I know, there wasn’t yet something like this on the Dutch market. 

Additionally, I can assure you this will be no review post and you’ll find no affiliate link.  I haven’t even used the app (yet), but am just too excited that I had to tell you about this.

 I hoped it was an all new and start-up thingy that would enter the market and boom, everyone else would follow. Apparently, Peak is a product made with support from the Rabobank, one of the bigger banks of the Netherlands – someone had to finance it. It shouldn’t be a problem though. It’s actually very smart, you’ll probably need a bank account from them in order to make use of it. And fortunately, we do. 

Peaks is very similar to Acorns, where the app rounds up your payments and add your spare change to an investment account. What they say themselves is this: 

In Dutch: Met Peaks kan iedereen beleggen. Het enige dat je nodig hebt is een bankrekening. Oké, en een beetje geduld.

In English: With Peaks, anyone can invest. The only thing you’ll need is a bank account. Ok, and a little patience.

With the low interests rate on savings, which becomes more of a ‘we have to get used to it feel’ than an ‘it might go back to the old days feel’. Also a lot of youngsters, millennials, twenty-somethings, whatever you want to call them are all digital natives and are eager to get some more money aside from their working wage.

 It’s no surprise the big banks are getting in on this business by developing products to help us save and/or invest, attract new customers and increase their revenues. The start-up behind the product wants to make investing available for everyone instead of just a happy few (is that the case?) and trying to attract the type of person that can’t (yet) save hundreds of euro’s per month easily.

Their product is simple, flexible and aimed at a specific target group: young folks. When you already have a bank account, you can start in a minute. If not, you can start by saving 1 euro per day, but they’re hinting that in a short while other bank accounts will be integrated as well. 

Then you can choose how to invest, by selecting one of their risk portfolio’s, consisting of stocks and bonds where the balance differs per risk profile. Depending on which you choose, they expect a return between 2.6% and 6.1% per year. And for the more ethical investor, you’ll only invest in the most sustainable business per sector, some are completely left out entirely like the weapon industry.

As for the costs, the first 3 months are free of use, then you pay 1 euro per month for the use of the app. Transaction fees are additional, and they claim it to be 0.2% – 0.4% of your invested money per year. If your portfolio grows over the 2500 euro, you’ll start paying 0.5%. That seems not too much, but for low amount transactions… I’m not really sure how much you’ll pay on every euro invested.

Apparently, this app went live last month already and is (hopefully) off to a good start.

And although we are not the type of persons who personally need this, we already save a steady amount every month by paying ourselves first. I can not think of not trying something that is finally available for us Dutchies. And because the first three months are free of course. 

In a time of long-term low-interest rates, and where lots of young people haven’t seen a market crash yet (including myself). Where bitcoin crazes drive the search for higher yields, and with all the digital possibilities this will make it easier and easier for people to save a little extra. In small amounts at a time, but with a long way to go, it will grow over twill it work as it promises? I don’t know. But I’m eager to find out!

Have you ever heard of Peaks before? Give it a try already? Any other tools that look alike? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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Monthly Update November 2017 – The Portfolio & Big Life Changes

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With the Christmas carols already jingling from the radio stations, and the cold freezing your fingers in the morning. You know the end of the year is very close.

With only one month to go, we will mark this year in many different ways. The biggest one – investment wise – has been our sell-off of the stock portfolio. We’ve changed our vision and strategy on investing completely, and therefore made some choices that will have a big impact on our lives moving forward. Instead of turning our savings towards dividend investing, we are now committed to real estate investing.

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From Dividend Investor to Real Estate Mogul

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We’ve been growing, nurturing and analyzing our dividend stock portfolio since 2014. And the results have far than exceeded the expectations we had at the start of this journey a little over 3 years ago. But to all good things has to come to an end sooner or later. And in this case, it’s definitely sooner. Our dividend stocks are no more. We’ve sold the whole bunch 3 days ago. I want to give all of you an update on what exactly happened, but even more than that. Our whole vision and strategy of investing, FIRE and life have been transformed at such a fast pace, now would be the best time to present our new plans.

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Cutting the cord

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Do you know those moments? Where you sit on the couch, maybe a blanket and some hot tea with you, and your eyes staring thoughtlessly at the screen in front of you. Enjoying the battles of Game of Thrones, enjoying a romantic love story or stay updated on the daily news.

But what to do if that subscription keeps costing you more and more every year. And those nights of sitting on the coach are happening less and less? Well, we did nothing for a very, very long time. But as of this week, we have officially ended our television subscription. 

Additionally, we have found two other household topics on which we could save money on. In the journey of financial independence, there is a whole spectrum on how to deal with saving and generating income. In previous posts, I’ve often mentioned that, for us, income generating assets are more important than cost reductions, due to the bigger impact. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t care what we spend our precious money!

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Monthly Dividend & Real Estate Update – October 2017

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October has always been an interesting month. Winter time is officially upon us, as the clock has been set back one hour on this side of the pond. And gradually, we transition into darker evenings and colder weather. And you just know that the biggest festive season is shortly upon us.

On the financial side, our last month has been quite steady. We signed the deed for our HELOC loan, which we will use (partially) for our first real estate deal. We also received the definitive offer on the mortgage for our second RE deal. And we’re setting up some things for the months to come, like a small renovation for unit #2, finding tenants and broadening our real estate network.  Continue reading

Becoming a Landlord – Rental Property #1

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Seasoned real estate investors always say that you never forget your first deal. I hope this will be no different for us.

You’ll hope you have done everything right, didn’t overlook a small yet critical flaw or if you have used the right calculations. The practical side of things in real estate is not a mere waiting game. Getting in touch with a party to finalize a mortgage or another type of loan to fund the property. Finding a tenant that will move in as quick as possible and in doing so, reduce the time of vacancy. Make all the contracts in order. And if you want to, finding a trusting partner that manages everything for you. It’s this, and much more than you’ll face within real estate investing. Which is all part of the fun of course. 

In the past few weeks, months even, you have all been reading along on the journey we took buying our very first rental property, also known as unit #1. 

We’ve dropping some progress here and there in our monthly reports, and promising a full detailed report later on. Well, here it is. Today is the day I’m letting you in on how this deal has taken form. With all facts and figures, going the full monty.

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Monthly Portfolio Update – September 2017

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Yet again the month has come to an end. In the last update, I was pleased with the enormous progress we’ve made in such little time. Well, apparently we have surpassed our expectations again. Not only did we move a little closer to us owning our first rental property. We stepped up the game even more and actually bought a second rental property in the last few weeks!

Our dividends keep on flowing in, not much has changed there. Although our portfolio took a dive when we decided to sell 2 holdings in favor of our real estate ventures.

But the best thing and one that has the biggest impact of all, was me getting a new job!

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A Change in Course – Quitting my Job and on to The Next

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In the past few weeks, I hadn’t had much focus on writing blog posts anymore. I had to focus on some new possibilities which would make a far greater impact on my way of living. One of them was the search for a new job, a pretty time-consuming thing to do. Since a few months, I have been focusing more on a new career move.

Finding the next step would mean 2 things: I would have the opportunity to find something I find more challenging and worthwhile (more than I do now) and changing jobs mostly entails a bigger increase in a paycheck as well!
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