Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Motivation and attitude in F.I.R.E.

For today i will point only two ideas.

First, it is something that i observed more and more in the last year, an that is that the real work begin when i finish work. Even if now the main work is seen as an important tool in reaching financial independence, the main effort is in trying to live making good, consistent choices and being aware of my life. In 2015 i learn about Seneca, stoicism, frugality, shares, bonds, side hustles, i helped in invention patents case, start three new blogs, published 4 books, visited 2 new countries, finished 2 courses (Nutrition and health + Harvard Justice, with Michael Sandel as teacher), i run a 5 kilometer race, did 149 Freeletics workouts, i read 287 books and the list can continue. Most amazing fact, the year is not finished yet.In theory. I cannot imagine what will be next.

One piece of Japanese wisdom, for all the perfectionists, me included. "Give up on your perfect image of yourself, be the best imperfect person you can be, and do what you always wanted to do before you die." Very interesting, as we often propose an image of ourselves that is not real, and then we suffer because we are not there. Instead, we can accept ourselves as we are, and try to improve realistically. More than this, we must stop to do what we do not like just because it is a habit, and create new habits, experiences and skills, in order to cross some of the goals from our bucket list. One per month and is still alright. One per week and your life will be amazing. Imagine that, 52 new experiences next year. Sound good, isn't it?

Happy new year!


Shares and bonds portfolio withdrawal strategy tip

I just read something interesting for you, the future early retired person. It is called Cyclically Adjusted Price to Earning - CAPE, one of the most studied and watched stock valuation indicators. And to withdraw efficiently, you need to use a CAPE median strategy. If CAPE is greater than its long median ('average' for normal people), than stocks are highly valued and you can withdraw from there, if CAPE is bellow average, withdraw entirely from bonds.
Using this strategy, you will reach a 12% more rate of success and on average 3 times more money in a 30 year period.
Want to find more, search about CAPE and Robert Schiller research, you gonna like this.

Monday, 28 December 2015


Today a friend asked me why i do not choose the most effective tactics and try a risky move in order to obtain 900%-1000%. If it will work i am set for life, if not i will start over, because i am not so old to not afford this. And, he point it out, i have like 66% chance of success. This come as my strategy is a bit over-defensive, me not being the type to like to risk too much. At the moment my portfolio is 50.93% low risk and 49.07% medium risk (maybe 1% high risk, or maybe less).  So i see his point, but somehow is not in my nature to act like this.
What to do? What to do?

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Christmas Eve

Motto:  “If you must play, decide on three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time.”
(Chinese proverb)

What this means? We all like to play, but sometimes we forget one of those three things. If we do not know the rules of the game, we have 2 options: learn them or if this will take too long, hire someone who already know them. Stakes: not less, not more than you can afford, if you put not enough, it will take much longer to reach the goal, if you put more than you can afford, and something catastrophic happen you gonna lose even more time and resources. An when too quit it is important too, i see often a lot of people who can afford to leave a job and go into retirement, but they still want to work for a while to create a buffer, just in case.

Applying Chinese knowledge to my retirement plan, isn't that funny? Or maybe is just the drinking on Christmas Eve. Who will ever know?

See you,

P.S. 1 mile run last midnight, around 12 pm. Best time ever. Romanian wine rules?

Thursday, 24 December 2015

End of the year

Surprisingly enough, my plan to use a piggy bank for my birthday was approved warmly by my friends, think like "we do not need to make the effort to go out to buy a gift" way. One worry out of the way.

Christmas seems to be a very interesting part of the month, i must to admit, as i am the one to do the first party of the next year, i was invited to different friends, and is good to not cook for a while. Because i am mostly guest next days, i left an empty fridge at home, not like in the past years when i use to buy a lot of food and even to throw 25-30% in the bin.

I am still to train twice for this week and is Friday, that's means one training per day for the weekend. I am doing it. Yes. In fact i will go for a run now, and i have one strength training left to be done.

Two Kindle books published, around 7000 in savings and investments,  33% income increase, a continuous fighting with my eating and drinking habits (partially success), 5k run achieved( i am thinking to aim for 10k next year, even if seems to be a big number), planning for 2 side hustle businesses, 6 books, 5 holidays and double the savings for the next year, but i will see this when i check the monthly and yearly report on 2nd on January.

Wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Birthday idea tip

As someone inspired me, i will be up to a little experiment. To get along with my friends, but to avoid useless gifts, to say it somehow, on my birthday party,at the beginning of January, i am thinking to put a piggy bank on the table for everyone to put there something towards my gift. Ha ha. I am preparing my message to my guests soon, to inform them about this. If only i could see their face when they read it.

Let's see how it will work out.


Sunday, 20 December 2015

Healthy ever after - why I want to become a Bruce Lee of financial independence

   Yes, we are aiming for financial independence, and i heard people eating only noodles or some other things like that. But in my opinion, because even me, at the beginning, i was temped to do everything in order to save x% more, we need to learn to enjoy life altogether, even if we want to be financially free. A Chinese saying tell us: Best time ever to plant a tree was 20 years ago, second best time is now. I am talking about the habit of living healthy, eating well and sleeping properly. While on short term some side hustle burst of extra-activity are welcomed, on long term we need to take care of us first, because will make no sense to have all the money and couldn't enjoy the benefit because poor health. I remember in 1979, one flight departing for New Zealand to sightseeing the Pole, and the route had 1.5 degree error, but somebody was thinking that this is irrelevant. They ended up crashing into a volcano - Mount Erebus. Small things, if not corrected, can lead to major catastrophes. 
   So, that's why, starting from now, i will add to my monthly report some health data. Today was a perfect day for this, as i had a yoga session in the morning, followed by a strength training in the afternoon, and 5 km/3.1 miles run (5k in 2015 Challenge achieved!!!). Probably will be something like:
Week 14-20.12
Weight - 81kg
Body Fat - 16%
Training session - 1
Running session - 2
Yoga session      - 1

I will see at the end of the month. Anyway, i feel good i started again, because in between 12.11-14.12.2015 i have not done too much except working and walking from and to work.

Sleep: Aiming for an average 8 hours/night. I always try to go to sleep early but something happen. Every day.

Eating: The idea is not to eat cheapest food, but to cook wisely and efficient with top ingredients.

That's all for today. Have a perfect week.


Thursday, 17 December 2015

Useful habits on your way to early retirement

Yesterday i was talking about mistakes. Today i will take that discussion even further, talking about useful habits i created or i want to create in order to avoid the previously mentioned mistakes.

1. Do not lose money
A lot of people focus on making money, but as well is very important to not lose them after you make it. Warren Buffer No.1 rule is "Never lose money!".

2. Take small risk for big rewards.
As we said, a good 5-10% of your investment should be allocated for risky, highly rewarding projects. Finding ways to make a lot investing only what you can afford to lose.

3. It is what you save, not what you earn that matter.
Again, we talk about this yesterday. If you save 50% on average wages, you will be there much faster than saving 0.01% on a highly paid job. Right?

4. Diversify to reduce risks and maximize returns.
But clever diversification not random selection of shares and bonds. Low fee index fund ring a bell?

5. Stop mindless and useless spending.
Tony Robbins use to say: "spend on things that dramatically enhance your quality of life and stop spending that doesn't add any value to your life.". You get the idea. But it is only up to you to find what to cross from the list.

6. Focus on results or themes instead of to-do lists.
Relevant research find that using to-do lists is counterproductive on long term. Worth a try, i would say!

7. Knowledge is not power, execution of what you know is.
It is not enough to learn, you need to put it into practice. Just make a little bit of progress every day, every week, and before you know it, your financial independence is achieved. Somebody told me a story, about a person who choose to put some money daily in a financial freedom account. And at the end of every month to invest all the money. Imagine that, 12 years later, financially free. Just doing that. Every day, for 12 years in a row. Now that's perseverance.( I am on day 42 right now.)

8. Notice what is working and what is not.
If something work, do not change it. If something is not working, look for a different approach. But do not forget: No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. (Einstein)

9. Do not sabotage you own success.
Sometime in order to become financially independent you need to change your core beliefs. You cannot be free with the same mindset that made you poor. It will help to see some of the video of T.H.Eker related to being rich mindset.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Retirement planning mistakes

Motto: “You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.” (Sam Levenson)

As i firmly believe that is easier to learn from other's mistakes than to learn it the hard way, by doing them, i want to say something, based on what i just read today. I will make a list of the most common mistakes i found (and i do not want to make).

1. No plan
According to the Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefits Research Institute, 48% of workers haven’t calculated how much money they need to save for retirement. What? If you are in this category, here is a link to a one-minute plan. Use it! No, really, i mean it, use it! Similarly, Harvard Business School published a study on goal setting and found:
- 83% don’t have clearly defined goals
- 14% have goals but they aren’t written down
- Only 3% have goals committed in writing. After a 30 year follow up, the conclusion was the 3% with written goals earned an astounding 10 times the amount of the 83% group. Shall i say more?

2. Not saving enough
Here’s a shocking set of statistics for you:
- According to the Federal Reserve, the median balance of retirement savings for Americans is $60,000.
- The median retirement savings balance for those aged 35-44 is $42,700.
- The median retirement savings balance in the 55-64 age category (people near retirement) is $103,000.
In a PBS interview, Jack Vanderhei of the Employee Benefit Research Institute said you need to save 13.3% of your total income if you’re a male who works for 30 years, retires at 65, and only relies on Social Security and his retirement plan. A female needs to save 14.1% – employer and employee contribution combined – because of longer life expectancy. If you want to retire 5 years earlier at age 60, then contribution rates rise to 14.5% and 15.3% respectively. Vanderhei isn’t a lone wolf in these seemingly aggressive calculations. Brooks Hamilton calculates retirement savings contribution rates between 15% and 18% of earned income depending on assumptions. This is greatly in excess of average savings rates for most employees. And if that weren’t enough to shock you, Jack Bogle of Vanguard Mutual Funds fame points out people who don’t start saving until age 40 should contribute 25% of their income to retirement savings because they need to make up for lost time. Of course, there are some who save more than 50% of what they earn (What? And no, they are not millionaires, but average people on average wages, the word stoic say something to you? Frugal? Not spending on silly things?)

3. Not starting to save early enough
The most valuable asset you have when saving for retirement is time. Not yet, it is not the right time, you will say. The reality is there will never be a “right” or convenient time to start building toward a secure retirement. It will never be easier than today. It will only get harder because there’s less time. Do not delay it.

4. Not maximizing tax deferral
 Or as John Maynard Keynes said: “The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that carries any reward.” It is good, it is free, result in extra money towards your retirement plan. Why not use it?

5. Spending too much or too little.
Again with a quote: “We have some control over when we retire. However, we have very little control over how long we live.” (Gordon Smith) Make no sense to spend more than we can possible earn, Also, make no sense to become saving hunters, even if "challenge everything" is a good habit when we talk about money, we need not to live a miserable unfulfilled life. See this post about money allocation for an example. And remember, you can play with the percentages.

6. Investing too aggressively or not aggressive enough.
Controlled risks, that's the word. Set a percentage of your money that you are comfortable to lose and experiment with it. Mine is somewhere between 5% and 10%. Use that money for investments that will have 100%-1000% profit. If is good you will have a lot of money, if not, you afford to lose it. But if only 1 out of 5 of this experiments succeeds, you get more money than all 5 sums invested traditionally. That's the idea. If you invest too much you can lose a significant amount, but if you do not risk at all, you will not have enough return on investments to do it faster.

7. Paying too much investment expenses.
Really, you need too research a bit, the internet is free. Do not believe your bank just because they said they will do it for you. Look around for better offers. Learn about compounding. See if you can teach yourself to do it. Premium rates are often not justified in a financial world.In the end, when we talk about shares, everyone is guessing. So why to pay somebody else to guess for you? Educate yourself, is much more rewarding. And doable.

Good luck and a good week!

Monday, 14 December 2015

Help to buy ISA - 3000 pounds bonus.

I know the general trend is to rent instead of buy. Or maybe i am wrong. But here is something good, if you are decided to do it. The new Help to buy ISA is good to go.
What you need to know:
-You can only have one ISA on your name.
-If you chose Help to Buy you cannot have another cash ISA
-You can put 200 pounds each month, and you will get 50 from Government, but anything more than this will not increase the 50 bonus.
-You can get maximum 3000, meaning 60 months (5 years) x 200/month.
-Some companies like for example Virgin, give 3% interest, so that is 25%+3%=28% on your money. Seems good enough for me. Halifax give 4%. Probably more offers will come soon.

Book number 2 -The complete vitamins and minerals pocket guide (Nutrients Book 1)- links

As i promised, here it is.
The complete vitamins and minerals pocket guide (Nutrients Book 1)
On Amazon.
On Kindle.

Special offer until my birthday in January. He he!

Friday, 11 December 2015

Number 2

At last. I managed to finish it before my deadline, estimated by the end of the year. I will publish it in few days from now, after i will do the formatting and final check. This time it is in English - Vitamins and minerals pocket guide, and even if it is not a thick book, i needed a considerable amount of time and some sustained effort, especially to collect, analyse and gather the data. Like the previous one, took longer than expected and implied double the estimated amount of work. But, after this experience, i trust myself and aim to publish at least 6 new titles next year. We will see.

I will post the links when it is published, and like a novelty, will be available on Kindle too.

I wish you a perfect end of the year, and a merry Christmas!

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Is December a busy month?

What to talk about? December. What a month! Extra expenses, Planning the next year. Trying to find some hints about good and cheap shares to buy (Tesco anyone?). Trying to finish my Kindle book (despite my idea that i can finish it very quickly, seems that the time needed is at least double than allocated, and with all this work around the clock, i did not have enough time for it. But i still hope to finish it until the end of the year.). Buying gifts or just give money? (Still thinking at this idea, for my nephew definitely money, after i got him some nice 6 months clothes, only to find that he is much bigger at 4 months) Put finances and documents in order. Extra bill coming out of nowhere, almost getting my bills account in overdraft. Wondering at all the people around me buying like there is no tomorrow. (Stoic attitude anyone?) Thinking about some meditation to deal with extra stress (Real life version: i will just watch some of my favorite movies instead.). The good news today: only 806 pounds spend until now - 350 being rent.  The bad news: 4416 spent in November (i think that half of it was invested, but this is still an all time high. Aiming to be under 1500 in December. We will see.

Good habits training
After November being No Fast Food month, December will be No Bus To Work month. Hopefully. If we will not have snow.

Any good idea to deal with huge amounts of stress?

See you soon.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Kindle - yes or not?

Inspired by the Jedi Master Huw Davies and his awesome blog, i decided that my side hustle for 2016 will be Kindle Publishing. I am starting from Zero, and i am hoping to go to Hero Level, with my first kindle publishing book very soon. I am working on it, is 20-30% done. I also started the second one, to continue with, at the moment is 5% done. I also set up account on CreateSpace, on Amazon, and i found some very good freelance websites, just in case i need a cover for the book or something similar. Seems to have a huge potential, the only thing is that some complicated books i use to work at will take a lot of time to publish. Meanwhile i will do some different projects which will need less time, being easier to finish.

I will keep you updated.
Have a nice week!

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Tips and tricks - 6% interest on savings, cashback and Apple Pay

For those who do not know yet, M&S start a current account which can give option of one savings account, limited at 250 pounds/monthly, for one year, with 6% interest. This is slightly better than TSB offer, which despite 5% interest and 250 pounds monthly, you can used only once, for one year. M&S one, you can make a new one after the older one is finished, every 12 months. It is not much, only 100 per year, but i like M&S, and i can use the debit card for cashback too.

I plan to use this on top of TSB one, having 250+250 in savings each month, one with 5%, one with 6%, as super secret emergency fund, just in case. If you need you can take the money right away. Of course, if you closed early, no interest for you and no savings account at preferential interest rate until the 12 months term is finished.

Speaking about banks, 5% cashback if i use Apple Pay for TSB and Santander, up to 100 pounds monthly. TSB use contactless card cashback 5% up to100 pounds too.

I hope it will help.

P.S. TSB and M&S current account are free, Santander is 2/month, going to 5/month in January 2016.

P.S.2 The IMF voted ‘yes’ to adding the Chinese currency to a VIP group of reserve currencies. A nice thing to follow up, but i will not invest in Chinese finance yet.