Journal of my journey towards Financial Independence in Switzerland (#4)

Finally! I've been wanting to share this with you for more than a month, but I had other articles to publish first.

But that's it: we are three quarters of a millionaire in CHF, and we have exceeded the CHF 300'000 invested in the stock market!

I'll let you read on for all the details.

For the newcomers here: I like this journal format, because it allows me to deal with subjects quickly without having to wait for me to reach the said subject in my (very) long list of articles to write.
It's a bit like we're going for a walk together, on a sunny Sunday afternoon in autumn, in one of our forests in the canton of Vaud, and I'd give you an overview of my life as a FIRE wannabe.

Net worth > CHF 750'000!

This time it's a done deal, we've passed the CHF 750'000 net worth mark (just a reminder, you can use my method to calculate yours).

I was predicted, but until you experience it, it's hard to believe. But it's true that compound interest has an incredible snowball effect.

So, well, nothing more to say except that the next stop will be for the million CHF!

Less expenses, or more income?

For the past few months, I've been more in a mode of "income increase" rather than in an "absolute frugality" mode.

The good news is that it's allowed Mrs. MP and myself to get a raise!

But I was struggling with this a while back. I was feeling guilty about not being able to manage both focuses at the same time.

Then, about a year ago, I discussed this with Philip Taylor (the guy who organizes FinCon in the US) when I interviewed him for my book. He's a little older than I am, so he has more experience with a lot of things. He was explaining to me that he too, works in cycles. And that it was totally okay.

Focus on increasing his income for a year. Then, full-on frugality for 3-6 months going through all his budget optimizations again. And so on.

Like many topics in life, it reassured me that I wasn't alone with this issue. And now I accept it — without squandering all of our cash when I'm focused on increasing our income either — because in the end, all that matters is widening the gap in our savings rate between expenses and income.

Speaking of which, just don't think I don't keep a budget anymore: I still do my monthly tracking to make sure we're staying within the 8.5kCHF average spending per month.
Except that lately, we've had quite a few big expenses. But at least, thanks to our budget, we are aware of it, and we can act on it to rectify the situation.

Investments

We have exceeded CHF 300'000 invested in the stock market!!!

That's the second big announcement of the day!

What's really weird is that when I open my Interactive Brokers mobile app, I don't feel anything special about it...

I don't think to myself: "Oh my God, this is so cool, imagine, I could go to a Lamborghini garage and buy 2 or 3 cars (used, don't kid yourself)!"

So the saying that "you get used to everything" is true.

Nevertheless, it's a nice step in terms of savings invested in the stock market so far. Especially that, when you think about it, we went from about CHF 0 of savings invested in the stock market in 2014, to CHF 300'000 in 2021. That makes me smile more than thinking about a Lamborghini or a Ferrari :D

A new milestone has been reached with our stock market investments!

Real estate investment in Switzerland

We FINALLY invested in a new real estate project in Switzerland in a very interesting way.

Teaser before a detailed article: we invested CHF 70'000 at 7% guaranteed return. This is much less than 55% (see this article), but still not so bad!

Real estate investment in France

Otherwise, our investment in France is going strong with a building full of tenants that is doing well. And yes, I know, I still owe you more details on this... it's coming, it's coming ;)

LLC Switzerland

My LLC is also running smoothly in terms of paperwork and accounting (I use Bexio and am fully satisfied with it — if you're thinking of opening an account with them, let me know because I think I can get an affiliate code with the blog, that always helps ;)).

As someone who loves to always learn new things in new areas, I am served! Especially with the Swiss commercial register, the Swiss VAT system, and lots of other goodies. It's really interesting.

FIRE psychology

I have discussed this topic at length with a reader who is a psychologist, as well as with Liz from Frugalwoods during her interview for my book.

The further I get into my FIRE journey, the more I realize that the "math and budgeting" aspect is actually the easiest. And also the most covered on all the FIRE blogs.

On the other hand, there is very little coverage of what goes on in our brains. Because it's much more complex to grasp — for me included! But between high and low regarding expenses and income, then depression and mourning of one's old pre-FIRE life when one passes the cape, until the experience of the post-FIRE life, well, all that, it needs to be prepared!

And it happens to everyone. For example, J.D. Roth (the famous "Get Rich Slowly" blogger) explained to me that he was subject to a lot of soul-searching about what to do with his life. So yes, it's a rich person's problem, but it's still a problem to deal with, and one that can be very hard to get over if it makes you fall into depression.

For me, the confinement also made me ask myself a lot of questions.

"Will I really quit my job overnight when I reach my 'Fuck-You Number'?"

"What about the blog where, finally, I only have virtual interactions most of the time (voluntary, for anonymity reasons)? Will it really fill the void of social interaction left by my old job?"

In short, a lot of open questions, and few answers for the moment. Anyway, I'm preparing myself for this because I know that the psychological aspect is just as important as the monetary aspect of the FIRE movement.

And during all these reflections, I live my life more and more in the mode: enjoy life now, keeping the same frugal level of spending, and seeing it all as an adventure.
I'm trying to apply the saying that in many areas, it's the journey that's most interesting, not the final destination.

Which reminds me of a story.

The other day, I was at the Eni/Agip station in Mont-sur-Lausanne. I was in line to pay for my gas. And there was a young man in front of me who, in addition to his bread, asked for a EuroMillions ticket.

I said to myself: "In fact, I think I would be disappointed if I won the EuroMillions today. First, I wouldn't have the satisfaction of winning my first million myself. And secondly, I wouldn't be able to share my adventure on the blog anymore, because it would be so biased and irreproducible..."

In the end, it doesn't change much, because I never play the EuroMillions :D

So, here I am, oscillating between FIRE and "Coast FIRE" as they say in our realm. That is to say that yes, I have my deadline to stop working at 40, but it's much less "deadline" than in the past, because I've created the conditions now so that if it's at 43, well that'll be OK too. I put less pressure on myself, but still in "frugal badass" mode, just with less stress! Don't mess around, MP is still MP ;)

Pocket money management for MP children

Our kids are growing up (naaah!), and they are asking us more and more questions about money (yeahh!). In fact, they are even fans of the game "Pay Day" because they feel like grown-ups, and it brings us back to childhood because both Mrs. MP and I played it when we were younger!

The famous 'Pay Day' game!

And it's true that this board game is great for explaining simple concepts like "you have money at the beginning of the month (i.e. your salary), and if you blow it all in the first two weeks, well, there's no magic, you can't pay your bills at the end of the month... or you're in the red in your bank accounts..."

And my children to answer: "But Dad, in real life that never happens to us, right?"

Uh...

"Yup it can happen! It's just that we, with Mom, put aside our money so we don't have to worry. But imagine, if you budget money for your groceries and your cell phone bills. Everything is fine for the month. Then, on the 23rd, your washing machine breaks down. How do you pay for it? Well, in our case, we have some money set aside to deal with these emergencies. But there's no magic, money doesn't fall from the sky :)"

All these recent discussions led us to talk about a subject on which we disagreed with Mrs. MP: pocket money or not pocket money?!

We ended up agreeing (she was right, again... ^^). And so, I'm currently writing a blogpost to explain to you how we're going to handle pocket money for our MP kids — how much pocket money, how to manage it, which Swiss bank account for kids, etc.
I'll also explain in detail why I didn't want this, but that Mrs. MP finally convinced me, and I had to break some of my own educational beliefs about it :)

Only fools don't change their minds!

Beginner's course: "Start investing your CHF in the stock market (while understanding what you are doing)"

The readership of the blog is becoming increasingly diverse.

It goes from those who have no idea how to invest in the stock market in Switzerland, like Nathalie who wrote me: "It's soooo much Chinese for me, that I'm dying of fear of losing the little money I earn with so much effort... my starting line is zero (because the negative does not exist in knowledge)"

And at the other end of the spectrum, there are those who are experts and who teach me every day in terms of macro-economics and all the rest.

My online course to learn how to invest in the stock market in Switzerland

I have to say that my impact is huge with these beginner people who are exactly where I was when I started my FIRE adventure in 2013...
And, clearly, this win-win opportunity aligns well with my desire to monetize my time spent on the blog a little bit in a smart way (i.e. by doing something other than accepting the dozens of external sponsored blog post proposals that are very interesting monetarily speaking, but boring and BS marketing to death for both you and me!)

Rather than think about it and hesitate, I just went for it. The course lasts about 6-8 weeks. It is currently in the final alpha version with a first test group, and only in French for the moment. I'm going to go into beta mode (i.e. the content will be almost frozen), open to more readers. If you are interested in being informed of the evolution of the latter, you can click in the link you received via my newsletter.


So much for the news of my FIRE journey. And you, where are you? Net worth, savings rate, cool projects in your life? Share it all with us in the comments section below!


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