Quarterly update – just keep on swimming

and-breathe

Writing regularly on a blog takes some effort. One that clearly isn’t one of my best features. As this year has developed somewhat different than I imagined, time is one of those things that you always seem to have too little of.

On the other hand, we have accomplished such great things already. While we were busy with real estate, family & friends, the FIRE community and getting to that office job every day. Things are happening. Like really happening. It sometimes feels like we are building up towards a wonderful momentum and await the time when we can finally launch off the ground. Not always being aware that we launched already a long time ago.

Somewhere in the summer of 2014, we discovered dividend investing and it’s compounding powers. It was in that moment when we got a small notion of the big impact passive income could have on our lives. And the start of our very own FI path.

Over the years we progressed step by step over time. And in the last years, things really took off due to our real estate endeavors.

After our wedding and vacation time in June, our spending – and saving – levels are back to normal. The times of extensive catering budgets, driving through wine country or heavy cuts in the saving ratio are over. We have taken quite a hit as it comes to our savings ratio in June, which turned to a negative of -28%. Not a very pretty sight. Last month we got back to 38%. Which is still not as high as I prefer, but due to some expensive car maintenance, we had a minor setback. As long as our normal money behavior is quite alright, I don’t mind having this kind of one-time big spending.

Our Cash Flow Index is growing to new heights. We use this metric to monitor our progress towards financial independence. It’s a dynamic target that will automatically adapt to our spending pattern. So the more we spend, the more income we need to cover it. We do this so I know for sure that our investment income can cover our spending with a save margin. For this year I want to reach a target of 40% of our investment income covering our monthly spending.

CFI-september

Even 1 month above target!

Over 2018 our average Cash Flow Index is 11%. With every new rental unit time and money has been invested in order to get things going, causing a lower rental income stream at the start. With most of our rental units have matured a bit, our rental income will stabilize more over time.

One way of boosting our CFI is to increase our income, another is to decrease our spending. In the months May, June, and July our spending were a lot higher than average, pressing our results in a steady income flow.

On the income part, we are steadily expanding our portfolio and thus our income.
Since the start of August, property #4 has been rented out. It only took 2 viewings and the promise of a pool to be used by tenants. 

| Quick tip: renting out units with access to a pool works like a charm during a heat wave|

From start to finish? Including financing, remodeling and finding tenants: 3 months.

Just in time for the next project! In the first week of September, we have moved on to property #5. We have bought this property a while back. The expectation was that we needed a week for renovation purposes. Normally we would just hire anybody to do this for us. This time we searched far in advance since workers are hard to come by, and found someone with whom we hope to build a more steady and long-term relationship with.

The renovations took around 3 weeks due to unforeseen electricity problems (sigh). We learned a lot from our past mistakes. And our time is a well-appreciated concept after we had 4 consequent weeks where we had not even 1 night to relax at home. The good news is that all the work is now finished AND it’s all rented out.

Compared to passive dividend income, rental income is quite volatile. Besides the maintenance costs to consider, vacancy in multiple units at the same time is more common than you might think. At least this was the case for us. We had 6 units to fill in the past 3 months due to tenants leaving.

Because of this, we have missed some rental income over the months. And on top of it, we also had some further maintenance to deal with. This shows that real estate, although a solid moneymaker, is also having its downturns as it comes to a steady (and passive) investment income.

You know what they say: there is no high return without a high risk.

What else?

There are quite a few things that I am working on right now. We have launched our new business two months ago and started to reach out to potential clients. We keep on fine-tuning our business plan for the coming months and try out some things to see what works (and what not).

Oh yes, and property #6 is well on its way. We closed the deal in a few deals, back in September. And we will receive the keys in the mid of November. This will be our first property where a big amount of renovation needs to be done. The expectation is around 3-4 months for renovation, and then a refinance the property in order to get a part of the investment back as liquid assets.

Additionally, I have been interviewed for a national magazine, which will be published this week! The article/series is about 6 women who invest besides their day jobs, which also gave me the chance to hear the stories of other people.

This interview and a few talks with friends helped me decide what to do with this blog. Some of you know that I am thinking of changing the blog name, or start up a new one since dividends are no longer part of our FIRE journey. I kept postponing to do something about this and had to wrap my mind about some decisions I had to make first.

With the blog being somewhat unattended in the past months, I also noticed a lack of attention to the whole of the FIRE community from my side. And to my surprise, it is actually something I really miss. All of you guys (bloggers & readers) keep me grounded and very conscious about why we do things the way we do.

Luckily there was a meet-up end of September, which was great as always. And with the community growing and growing, there will be more activity on meet-ups and planning for future events. These are exciting times and there are some changes coming up in the very near future. For real though.

Real Estate Introduction Course

By the way, if you want to learn more about real estate. We are holding an introduction training together with GeenBaanMeer. It will take place in Utrecht on the 9th of March.

Wanna join? You can sign up here.

Hopefully till then!

Back in business

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Aah, it feels good to be back again. It’s been… how long? Around three months since I’ve posted on Divnomics… How that could happen?

Simple. I needed the time for other things (and myself).

The job became somewhat stressful, I had a wedding to plan and we were making big steps in our real estate business. It was a classic case of having too much going on. Blogging quickly became a must instead of something of pleasure. So I decided to cut in a short blogging break, which lasted a bit longer than expected.

And it felt gooood. It gave me the opportunity to free up my thoughts on other things that were important to me. And now, it is about time to share again. And better later then never, there were quite a few things that happened while Divnomics was on radio silence.

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Rapid Real Estate Expansion

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Although we sometimes find new ways to save some money, like canceling our television subscription, or renegotiating our life insurance, they become rare. We can only save so much. With the creation of additional cash flow, growing your wealth can be accelerated. Which is why, in our quest for financial freedom, we focus on real estate to make things work. Okay that, and because we like the business. It’s our little project which helps us get to where we want, and where we first realized how it feels to be fully in control of your own path, and have total freedom in how you work.

It’s one way of many, and it works for us. We notice that a lot of people we talk to are interested in how we manage things, and not necessarily in how much we get out of it. Which is a good thing though. Although we aim to get rich in real estate, it isn’t our end goal. But rather a means to an end. If you want to grow, explore and get the most out of life, it will cost you money. Financial independence will let us receive more money and more importantly, more time as well. 

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Bigger Profits – It All Comes With A Cost

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If I would have to select one asset to invest in and where you could earn the most money from, it would be real estate, hands down. With a (mostly) stable rental income, a leveraged buying position and using ‘other peoples money’, the possibilities for exponential growing your wealth with this particular asset class are endless.

However, as we all know so well: the higher the returns, the higher the risks involved.

This blog is partly a documentation of our journey, with the good and the bad. So, it’s about time you’ll hear about the counterpart of our fortunate journey in real estate.

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Monthly Update – Real Estate Rumble & The Cash Flow Index

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Many who seek the freedom through FIRE are loving the way of slow life. Not having the urge to tick every box, the hassle when you go out, or the need to plan everything due the limited time you have available. January is one of those months where it feels like the daily life is getting by slowly. Then again, after the speed lane called December.  Everything feels like a slow month. It’s just getting back to normal.

You could question how normal our lives really are. Everybody working their way to financial independence aren’t doing the ‘normal stuff’. They take side-routes, alternative ways and think of new methods to ditch the 9-to-5 route a lot of ‘normal’ people are taking.

Three years ago that side-route opened up for us as well. Starting with index trackers, then entering dividend growth investing. And now… Real estate investors working on growing that not so passive income.

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Monthly Dividend and Real Estate Update – December 2017

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The motivation that drives us to financial independence is the will to create a different life for ourselves. Different from the status quo, and one where we are in better control of how and on what we spend our time. To pursue total freedom and independence of somebody you have to work for in order to get money. And one of the most important question for many FIRE seekers is: what are you going to do post-FIRE? Since that is where you’ll path will lead you. 

This question has kept me busy for a while, and so far the best answer I got is: doing more of whatever we want to. It could literally be anything, as long as it is of value to us. Not very concrete, but then again we would just do more of the things we love and less of the things we don’t.


“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old,
but on building the new”

– Socrates 


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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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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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