When I first heard about financial independence I had to get used to the idea that it was actually a feasible concept and not just a crazy stupid dream. I started reading blogs and books on the issue, gaining as much information as possible to understand how someone can become financially independent long before their actual retirement age.
Doubt quickly gave way for enthusiasm and I soon found myself in pursued of a life of financial and personal freedom. I'm actually looking for personal freedom. Financial freedom is just a means of getting there.
It didn't take me long to learn and understand the (obvious) basics on becoming financially independent. These are:
- Live frugal
- Keep a close eye on your spending
- Get rid off debts
- Work hard and invest your surplus into Vanguard ETF's
On a side note: English is not my native language and I notice I have difficulty using the words 'life' and 'live' in a proper manner. Feel free to correct me at any time by using the comments option below. Even when I make other grammar mistakes ;).
After I educated myself in the fine art of financial independence I created a 'plan'. Of course, this plan can and must change over time, but it is key that I stick to the plan at any given moment to increase my chances of becoming financially free, quickly. With a lot of patience I should see my nest eggs grow over time.
Currently, I've been sticking to my plan for about 6 six years, keeping track of my spending, investing the surplus in ETF's and creating spreadsheets to follow my progress. I'm quite satisfied with my accomplishments so far, but I do feel it is not going as fast as I expect (or want) it to go. This may be due to some careless spending in the past, but I also think the Dutch tax system is partially responsible for slowing down my progress.
When you're Dutch, even if you don't live in The Netherlands, you will be taxed for everything. Your income, your savings, anything that has value, your house, your car and even your dog. Basically, they will tax you for ALL of your assets and whatever other things you might have that possibly pollute the environment. And the more money you have, the more taxes you pay. Sounds fair in a socialist community, but it makes getting financially independent (legally) somewhat difficult.
However, I just keep sticking to my plan. The last couple of years my nest eggs grew with about € 60.000 a year! So, I'm still on track. I do wonder, though, if there are other, better, investments out there which will make my money grow faster and smarter. The key is to lose as little money as possible on taxes and fees with maximum growth. Any ideas (which are suitable for a Dutch citizen) are welcome!
For me, it's important to regularly reflect on the situation and adjust my plan if needed (or wanted). Apart from that I just need to stick with the plan and be patient.