The Past & The Future – The Beginning of a New Year

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With the holidays behind us, our lives slowly return to our regular daily routines. Some of you might have had some time off while others were working in quiet offices. Nonetheless, it’s always a different vibe around Christmas and New Years.

Our habit to reflect on the past and make plans for the future around new years might be a whole lot older than we think.

The month of January is named after the Roman god Janus. He had two faces – one looking to the future and one to the past at the same time – is one of the oldest god known to man and one of the most famous one as well, back in the day. Many referred to him as the god of beginnings, the light, movement, transitions, change, or the passing of time. His resemblance was used to portray doors, entrances, banners and of course: money.

In essence, he became a symbol of the progress from past to future.

And as we enter January goals and resolutions are being set for a new year. That what we have learned from our reflection is turned into plans to make it an even better year to come. It’s an old habit we can’t get rid off, apparently. 

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Becoming A Thirty-Something

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Most of the times we celebrate things, it’s about major milestones. Like a 30th birthday, or maybe a new job, getting married or reaching 100k of portfolio worth. On the other side, we never forget the major downfalls either, like the 1987 market crash, breaking up with someone or getting fired.

The crash of 1987 was the latest real depression so you could say. It also happened to be my birth year. As you can guess, today is my 30th birthday. And turning 30 is what many calls, the point of no return. You’re officially a responsible adult (or you should be) and you’re officially old. When you’re are actually 30 (or past it) you probably know it’s not that black and white. And instead of celebrating it big, I do something different.

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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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Minimalism: It Is All About Simplicity

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As we are making progress and reaching out to others we notice a lot of people who are decluttering, for several reasons. It will clear up space in your home, you can sell the items for money and it will help you let go the feeling of ownership more.

Either you do it out of frugal reason, or a minimalist approach, it fits perfectly in a lifestyle where consumerism isn’t the biggest driver to make you feel happy.

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Procrastinating on Your Job? Bad Idea

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When we started invested almost 3 years ago, our first objective was to get rich(er). We started buying stocks of which we believed would reach up to great heights so we would be able to cash in.  Of course, this wasn’t build to last. By researching more and more about investment strategies and how to deal with money, I stumbled on some PF blogs that were talking about a whole different way of thinking than we had at that time.

So, we shifted our focus to the long haul and started investing in dividend stocks. Aiming for a more meaningful and happy life by reaching financial independence, and the freedom to do whatever we choose. In other words, being opportunity-rich and time rich.

I can tell you, that it’s working. And over the years we’ve built up a small portfolio providing us with some passive income. We’re still far from reaching financial independence and it will take over ten years before we get there. The thing is, my objective that motivated me on this journey was the promise that one day I would be able to stop working my day job and could ‘finally’ pursue what I really wanted and when I wanted it. But I’m not that willing to wait until then, in order to pursue the things I like to do now.

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Going Minimal – How Less Can Mean More

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We’re all downsizing, saving and living frugally. The reason for this is to live a life without too much consumerism and building wealth for the long term. We’re at it for about 2 years now, but in the meantime, our mindset has shifted 360 degrees around. We’re not saving money only because we want to get more of it… But because we have certain values that just don’t fit with owning lots of stuff anymore.

If you want to become happier, you don’t need all those extra things in your life. Better yet, you need to get rid of them. It can clear up space, remove worries and move you forward.

The big change is that we don’t feel the urge to save money. We just think of how we can live a better life, and additionally, we save the money we don’t spend.

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What’s The Deal With FIRE in Europe?

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When I started this blog in September last year, I did so with the thought there weren’t much Dutch or even European finance bloggers out there. Little did I know.

I’ve connected with the world of #FIRE through 2 top-notch bloggers out there, Jason Fieber (formerly known as Dividend Mantra) and MMM. When Dividend Mantra was no more, I quickly ended up looking for other blogs and found sites like Dividend Diplomats and later on some others as well. But it wasn’t for after I started Divnomics when I learned how big this community really was.

Still, it looks like the growing flow of FIRE and personal finance blogs has much more ground in the US than in Europe. How could that be, and is it really the case?

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King’s Day: Orange, Festivals, and Flea Markets

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The Netherlands is a rather small country. And also one of the 43 sovereign monarchies that we have in this world.

Every year on this day, we celebrate the birthday of our King. It’s a national holiday, where nobody has to work (yes!) and goes out on the streets. The festive holiday is well known in foreign countries and lot’s of tourists know how to find this little country when it’s the 27th of April. In the big cities, there are all kinds of paid and free music festivals, food stands on the streets and usually, a lot of beer is also involved. For the ones that don’t know it that well, it’s quite a unique happening.

What does this have to do with money? Well, besides some people complaining that having a king is expensive, this day is also the day you can earn some cash on flea markets.

The royal celebrations were first held on 31 August 1885, in honor of the birth of Queen Wilhelmina. Throughout the years it’s been celebrated ever since. Today is in the honor of Willem-Alexander, who is actually the first male monarch in 123 years.

It’s a busy day of the year for some. In Amsterdam, the crowd can go up to 600.000 or sometimes a million people who decide to go out on the streets and canals. Some others, like myself nowadays, are avoiding the big city and take it a bit calmer and closer to home. But it’s a happening like no others, and if you just go with the flow and care to enjoy, it can be a celebration of a lifetime.

Orange is the new black

There is one thing on this day that is perfectly normal to us (well kinda) but not for so many others. Orange is our national color, and a lot of people literally turn orange for this day as a show of pride for the Dutch royal family. Yes, it looks crazy, but so does the rest of the people. There are even all kinds of special merchandising products to fill in on the festivities, like orange beer, hats, wigs, orange pastries and even chocolates in the shape of the king’s head (no joke).

To get an image of how it can look like, I’ve found a rather good video that illustrates a King’s Day in Amsterdam.

Why the orange?

The origins of our national color go back to the 1550’s or just before the start of the 80-year war. Willem of Nassau inherited the French princedom Orange, which was later added to his name as Prince of Orange. During the 80 year war, he needed a national flag, in which he used the colors orange, white and blue. In 1596 the orange turned red, and orange became the one and only national color.

Earning the money

One other thing that is related to this big day, are flea markets. They are happening in almost every city. So there is something with (earning) money involved? Well yes, but I stopped going to flea markets a long time ago. When I was a kid I had my own very spot on a market selling my old toys. At the end of the day, I had a little profit, which made me feel like a little entrepreneur and keep it for who knows what.

But it always a good time of the year to clean up the house and sell the items that are unnecessary. There are some people that are really earning some big money on this day. Where it turns out the average street-seller makes a 90 euro on King’s Day.

When the book of Marie Kondo was published: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a new trend was born. Decluttering and organizing your home. Along with it, the minimalism movement grew worldwide to a new and embraced lifestyle by many. We aim to be partly minimalistic and only to buy items that have their worth. But are not near as minimalistic as how it could be. Still, we too have items lying around that we haven’t used for months or even years.

So today when many others are wandering around at flea markets, I thought to use it as a way to start decluttering and place some items for sale online. I already placed a small figurine last weekend to check out how fast it would be sold. And it just so happened that it was sold in 1 day for 30 euro. Sweet! I have found enough other items we no longer need or are lying in the back of a closet for years, which we can use to make others happy with it instead. So today, I use my free time of work, amongst other things, to list these items for sale and check out how much it can bring us.

Have you ever sold items in flea markets or garage sales, or on online listings? Or are you rather willing to give it away for free?