A Taste of FI: asked to slow down to a 80% position at Hooli

Hi RIP friends,

At Hooli I have this weekly 1:1 conversation with my manager to discuss ongoing issues and career plans – as I guess it is pretty normal in every workplace. These conversations are not technical at all but more oriented toward helping your manager to help you grow. It’s one of the best things we do at Hooli. Thanks to a sequence of amazing managers I’ve learned how to be more happy and productive in these 4 years at Hooli. Btw, I’m celebrating my 4th year at Hooli, I started in November 2012. Never worked for any other employer 4 years straight!

wlbalanceAnyway, at Hooli I’ve recently changed team. It’s been 5 months now. The conversation we had a couple of weeks ago was about my struggle in the new team and work-life balance issues. We discussed about me having hard time in this new position and my manager eventually found another – more interesting – role for me within my team. I’m working on this new role since a couple of weeks and it’s going way better!

Then we switched to the work-life balance topic. Yes, I know that W-L balance is mostly bullshit, but that’s as much as I can get for now. Real W-L balance is only possible when you’re FI, since it will only be up to YOU to define the balance.

wldilbert

Anyway, I told my manager that I feel a little bit burnt out and I’d like to take more time for myself. The solution I proposed is to slow down to 80%, i.e. working 4 days per week, starting “as soon as possible”, ideally from January 2017. He understood and said that there are no personal or team-related problems on his side and that next step is to check with HR.

So, despite it’s not guaranteed HR will approve (I don’t know in which circumstances the request would not be approved), there’s a high chance that starting in January next year I’ll work 4 days out of 5.

How was I able to achieve it? Why do I want to do it? Why am I happy for it?

I’m already at 50% on FIRE street.
I negotiate with less fear. Having a lot of money helps. Having rejected overconsumption and debts brought me here, where I have choices.

80% of time means ~90% of take home pay.
For few reasons:

  • 20% less base salary would be at the highest tax bracket. If GrossAfter = GrossBefore* 80%, NetAfter ~= NetBefore*85%.
  • Stocks already granted would keep vesting normally. Stocks make 25% of my salary. That portion is unchanged. New grants would be prorated though. I heard there may be a new compensation round in December/January, so… maybe I can wait an extra month before switching to 80% 🙂
  • Other benefits are not prorated. For example, Hooli contribution to health insurance for me and Miss RIP will remain unchanged.

I wouldn’t experience much of a difference compared to 2016.
I took a 40 days unpaid mini sabbatical in April-May, which have been accounted as 1.22 months. This year, my bonus, base salary and thirteen salary are all prorated 10.78 / 12. Which is 10.15% less than the whole jackpot. And I expect to receive a small salary adjustment by end of year that would almost cover the difference.

4 days workweek and 3 days weekend is a big, BIG step toward FI life.
I’d be able to devote a full day per week completely to myself and my passions. I won’t fill it with chores or other “urgent but not important” stuff. I could ask for flexibility on which day of the week I’d take off every week. I could take a Friday and the following Monday to experience 4 days weekends every other weekend.

I’m currently saving 65-70% of my salary, I will still save more than 50% (probably 55-60%).
I won’t reach my FU Number in 40 months (as current forecasts say) but maybe in 50 or 60. But I’ll enjoy the trip way more.

I could actually go for “60% workweek” for a while.
I dream about 3 days of work and 4 days of not-work each week. I think that would be a perfect equilibrium. I plan to work roughly 20-25 hours per week on average when I’ll be FIREd. Probably alternating full immersions hackathon-like deep dives with weeks or months of work-stay-away-from-me time. I could actually afford a 60% workweek. I’d still be earning ~70-75% of my current salary and the saving rate would still be in the 40-45% range! I didn’t ask for it though. Too gross and they would not accept it.

Anyway, let’s stop dreaming for a while.

At least until this becomes real.

Happy Halloween folks!

Market timing and US election

Good Evening RIP friends,

Did you sell all your stock funds? You know that doomsday is coming, don’t you? What are you waiting for??

Let me explain it clear:

  • aryaelectionIf Ronald Drumpf wins, the market is going to crash because he’s insane and none will invest in US.
  • If Hilarious Clinton wins, the market is going to crash because she will tax companies and rich people so that none will invest in US.

Clear, right? S&P 500 is currently overpriced!

Go!

Sell everything!!

It’s obviously an ingenuous lie. Market price already contains this information.

Uh, RIP, you made my heart skip a beat! So the election won’t change my fund value?

Oh no no no, it will surely be hit! It’s just that you don’t know in which direction. And you can bet that the expected value after the election – given all other conditions stay the same – is the current fund’s value.

I’m confused…

Let’s do some math: let’s assume a share of your S&P500 fund is priced 100. Let’s assume the market expectation in case of victory of candidate X is +10%, i.e price would jump at 110 per share. Let’s also assume that in case of victory of candidate Y the market expectation is -20%, i.e. a price of 80 per share. If your price today is 100 it means that there’s a 66% probability that candidate X will win against 33% of Y. Today’s value is the expected value.

If tomorrow a new poll says odds of winning are 60% for X vs 40% for Y and market expectations in case of victory of X or Y are the same +10% and -20%, then the new share price will drop to 98, which is the new expected value (110 * 0.6 + 80 * 0.4).

If, instead, odds of winning for X and Y stay the same but candidate Y announced a new wall on the Canadian border, bringing market expectation in case of victory to -30% instead of -20%, new expected value for the share is 96.666 (110 * 0.666 + 70 * 0.333).

What? Is it really so easy for a candidate to make the market drop?

That’s just a simplification. I hope that in case of such a claim the odds of winning for Y would drop and expected value for your share would actually increase in this scenario. Another level of simplification is that market doesn’t just react on what candidates say. That’s just propaganda. It reacts on true well founded hypothesis on what would happen in case of victory of X or Y. Who’s funding their campaigns, which kind of lobbies they have behind and so on. Market is more stable than our fears.

And don’t confuse expected percentage with chance of winning. Today polls say 48% vs 43% (and 9% third parties) while odds are 86% vs 14% (and 0 third parties).

So… should I sell?

As I’ve already said, trading has costs. By trading a lot you’re expected to lose money, unless you’ve some kind of knowledge that’s not publicly available. Otherwise, selling is just an expensive bet. A less-than-zero sum game. Not selling is a better bet. A more-than-zero sum game.

Like any normal day in the market.

P.S. here some nice stats about historical market performance based on candidate’s party and here the same concept expressed by Trent Hamm in 20 words, while I needed more than 500…

It didn’t work but it was fun, i.e. facebooks sucks

Hi RIP friends,

Here’s a sad story about me and facebook: my account has been blocked. No, not the Retire In Progress Page that is still up and running. My individual pseudonym account has been blocked.

Let me show you my facebook setup.

Before blogging, life was easy. I only had my wonderful personal account with hundreds of friends I don’t personally know and millions of pages that I follow which I don’t care about (except when they post cat pictures). A pretty normal facebook life.

That was my entire world:

fb
Before blogging. Personal account only.

Then I started this amazing blog, roughly 4 months ago 🙂

I had fun and I wanted to connect more, so I created the amazing facebook public page for my Blog (and discovered how facebook tries very hard to get my money, suggesting me to promote it. Every. Fucking. Day.)

That was my world a month after blogging:

month1
After a month of blogging: me, handling my Page 🙂

Cool!

…Then I did some stupid things, like posting with my personal account on RIP page or adding likes with my personal accounts instead of RIP page. Plus: I wasn’t able to join groups like Mustachians on Facebook, or Financial independence Europe, I was not able to comment and interact on behalf of my Page most of the time – and obviously did stupid things, like commenting with my personal account instead.

Ok, this should be improved. Things must change, let’s design a new strategy! Here’s few requirements:

  • I want to do more social activity on facebook as Mr.RIP.
  • I want my privacy and (almost) no link between my individual account and my activity as Mr.RIP.

Few facts:

  • Current setting doesn’t work.
  • Facebook seems to have relaxed “real name policy”.
    • Yes, it’s a “fact”! I’ve done a deep 5 minutes google search on the net and discovered few articles (1, 2, 3, 4).
      • Btw… is facebook really going to check real names?
        • C’mon… seriously?
          • Am I a nazi-pedo-criminal-troll or a Trump supporter??
            • Who cares about what they say?
              • I have friends with fake names!
                • I’ve seen other bloggers with fake names around!
                  • Fuck you!!

So, let’s create my alter ego! Mr. RIP personal facebook account!

Well, the registration form was a little bit painful: “We don’t like your first name ‘Mister’. No, ‘Mr.’ is not going to help, sorry bro“. I ended up naming my alter ego Retire (first name), InProgress (last name). Yeah, a very realistic name!

Things were awesome again! both myself and Retire (Reti for friends) were admin of the awesome RIP Page. Reti joined groups, communities, liked a lot of Personal Finance related pages, met a lot of interesting people and so on.

Here’s my entire world after 2 months of blogging:

month2
After 2 months of blogging: perfection achieved!

Life was awesome back then! But like any other tech savvy person I questioned the setup:

What if I accidentally make a mistake and post with personal account on my page? Why do I need to have admin rights? Let’s split the world apart and totally disconnect my personal account with Mr. RIP life 😉 Yes, that’s what I’m going to do!

Let’s do that!

month3
After 3 months of blogging: the nerd perfection!

Awesome! Done! Perfect! Nothing will change from now on, this is the final setup!!

Till last Friday.

While I was trying to login into Reti’s account I discovered the account has been “temporarily” blocked and my identity challenged. Initial reactions were anger, then desperation, then hate vs intermittent 4G signal while passing thru the Gotthard Tunnel by train. Worst couple of hours ever.

Here’s current situation:

After 4 months of blogging: banned.

RIP, you idiot! You violated facebook guidelines and naming policy. You’re now complaining here like a child? You stupid, you deserved that!

Yeah, kind of. Just to state the obvious, I’m not (only) complaining with fb here. I just wanted to tell you this story, make you laugh, make you aware of what happened to me and ask you suggestions to avoid similar mistakes in the future.

But before jumping to conclusion please wait! More fun is coming 🙂

This facebook thing ruined my otherwise amazing weekend in Milan, setting first important stone on “Secret Project X”. I spent most of my WiFi time (no data plan in Italy) researching what the hell to do.

Let’s take a deeper look at the revisited list of priorities ad facts:

  • I still want to do more social activity on facebook as Mr.RIP.
  • I still want my privacy and (ideally) no link between my individual account and my activity as Mr.RIP.
  • I would like to retake control of my hanging Retire In Progress Page.
    • Yes, eventually with my personal account.
      • Could this be used by facebook to ban my personal account too?
        • Anyway, I created the hanging page with my personal account so they can already link the 2 accounts together and retaliate against my personal one…
    • In case there’s no way to have it back, I’d create a new one, identical, admin’d by my personal account.
      • But it sucks! Readers will be confused and when searching for the Page on facebook they will find 2 of them. Maybe they will join the one with more likes, i.e. the hanging one.
        • This turbosucks! How to get the old one shut down?
  • I would still like to have a pseudonym account for Mr.RIP, but I don’t want to be silenced again, maybe after months or years of social activity.
    • Ideally having Reti’s account back.
      • What’s wrong with a pseudonym account, facebook?? You allow Nazi-Racists-Scammy-Trump supporters communities and I can’t have a pseudonym account?
        • Yes, this one is a complain and a crybaby lament.
          • Fuck you.

So, after a quick internet search I decided that it would be worth to try to have Reti’s account back. First step is to follow their instructions.

Login, captcha,  captcha, captcha (got a Master Degree in Captcha) and then:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So, first exploration was worthless. I need an ID. With Photo, name and birth date. I don’t know how’re they going to validate Reti’s photo since there’s no personal picture on that account. Is that mandatory now? Are you asked to have at least an identifiable picture published on facebook? Did I miss something?

Ok, I even tried to fake it, putting together my photo editing skills (none) and tools (MS Paint) and come up with a shitty pathetic attempt. It, obviously, didn’t work.

That’s facebook reply:

Hi,
Thanks for contacting us. It looks like we couldn’t confirm that you’re the owner of this account because you didn’t provide ID with information that matches the details on this account. Please send us a photo or scan of an ID or other documents that match the info on this profile and include:
– Your name
– Your photo
– Your date of birth

[…]

We apologize for any inconvenience, and hope to hear from you soon so we can help.

Thanks,

Wilhelm
Community Operations Team
Facebook

Goodbye Wilson 🙁

wilsorry

 

***Update***

October 26th, 3pm: received a second rejection email from fb:

Hi,

We can’t help with your request because we’ve determined the ID you provided isn’t real.

Facebook requires everyone to represent their authentic identity, so you always know who you’re connecting with. Please respond to this email with a valid ID so that we can help you.

Yeah, depressing. I was going to create a new page, maybe a new account.

When, just 4 hours later…

October 26th, 7pm: tried logging in driven by desperation and instead of receiving a “you cheater, go away” warm welcome, I was friend challenged! I had to identify few friends from their photos – which is, btw, something so silly I can’t believe they trust this procedure. I felt like I was doing an IQ test in Idiocracy.

Once logged in they asked for my real name. So I gave it to them.

Welcome back (for how long?) Jean Arrow.

jean

Jean, thanks for sharing Admin rights on RIP Page with me.

wilsonback

Wilson, you’ll never be alone again!

Eleven Gems on the Net #3

Hi readers,

Welcome back to another episode of Eleven Gems on the Net (EGN, for friends), where i share few interesting links I’ve found on the web. More information about the series can be found in the first post.

It’s been quite a long time since last episode, but I have been busier with writing and traveling and I’ve been slightly behind with reading. My feed reader is about to explode.

I was wandering what’s the future of EGN. Would it make sense to make thematic episodes? Would it make sense to move the series on facebook? Would it make sense to try to avoid repeating same sources? In the end I’d like to share things I liked and hopefully make you aware of pieces of the internet you weren’t aware of. Like blogs, video channel, tools, websites, books,…

Anyway, not for now. I like the format as it is, i.e. formatless.

enjoy!

11gems

1) Income Thinking vs Expense Thinking by BNL.

We all know the basic math behind money-time conversion right? We know, as FIRE wannabe, that each recurrent yearly/monthly cost can be translated into a delta Nest Egg roughly 25x yearly cost or 300x monthly cost (assuming 4% WR), right? We all then measure in how many extra years of work we need to force ourselves into to accumulate the extra ‘stash. In this mindset, a richer person will always say “ok, sure, it’s an extra 3 months of work to allow myself that latte every day… let’s do it!”. I’ve always felt that something was wrong in this philosophy but I couldn’t find the right words. Well, in this article BNL puts on paper what I wasn’t able to articulate. What matters is not your actual hourly wage, but your actual hourly cost!

2) How to Eradicate Malaria by Kurzgesagt.

Yes, I know, I kind of signed off on having at most a single video on each EGN edition… wait… I never said that, did I? Ok cool! I love Kurzgesagt and their videos! I watched all of them, several times each. The one before this last one was really game changing but I just realized it now. We have genetic engineering capabilities to kill the top causes to human death. What else should we be discussing about, Brad & Angelina?? Take your time to watch this video (and at least the previous one)

3) Risks of Retiring Early by 1500days.

On their deathbed, has anyone ever uttered these words?

I wish I spent more time in a cube.

Enough said.

4) Normal Sucks by 1500days.

Yes, I know, I know, I know. I kind of signed off on not having more than a single link to the same source on each EGN edition too… wait… I never said that too, did I?

What? who claims this is just a way to be forgiven by Mr.1500 for the interview thing? You’re wrong!

I’m not like that, I’m a normal person.

Wait, did I say normal? Ouch, that’s exactly what the linked post is all about: how to NOT be normal.

5) Poker Odds by Datagenetics.

Love Datagenetics. If you love math and puzzles (and deeply/nerdy investigations of useless fields) that’s the blog you should follow.

This post is about poker odds and it starts as “ok, normal stuff”. Then, as usual, they drift into weird generalizations like different number of suits or numbers and get generic formulas. Don’t lose the followup post: poker odds with wild cards.

It’s a brain work-out.

6) Elon Musk on Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species.

Oops another video 😛

Should I say something about it? Is everyone booking their spot on the first ship? Isn’t it what FU Money are good for? 🙂

Btw, how much would you need to be FI on Mars? Food for thought 🙂

P.S. don’t miss WBW followup post, WBW dinner table about “how should we govern Mars?” and the amazing WBW prequel: “how and why SpaceX will colonize Mars“.

Did I tell you I’m a space exploration enthusiast?

7) Animated Book Review: The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey – Animated by FightMediocrity.

I’ve recently found this Youtube Channel that’s great!

I love the topics Stephen touches, I love the way he draws the stories associated to each topic, I like the pace he speaks and finally I like his humour!

The book review list is amazing and I’ve found them to be the best tl;dr version of my favourite books available on the net.

8) The choice is ours by Venus Project.

Ok, you got it. This is a video edition 🙂

The Venus Project is a kind of utopian community, a spinoff of the Zeitgeist movement, that revolves around resource-based economy. Their ideas (mainly the idea of his founder, Jacque Fresco) are fascinating and are based on “sending robots to work for us” and around the fact that we already have technology advanced enough that could allow us to not work or work very little.

Yeah, Utopia as I said, but still fascinating.

9) Pete Adeney (MrMoneyMustache) at World Domination Summit 2016.

If you didn’t watch it before this recommendation, please unsubscribe from this blog and don’t come back never ever.

Still here? Ok, see you in 28 minutes.

How was it? The part I loved the most is the part 3: “work is better when you don’t need money”. Best way to explain the concept of Retirement for those who aim at early retirement. Enlightening.

10) Zuckerberg Virtual reality video

I’m not a fan of Virtual Reality.

I’ve been on top of things so far, following latest news and development (but almost never purchasing) in the tech world. I start loosing terrain though. No smartwatches, no VR, no Google Glasses.

VR is something that makes me feel old. It’s the first thing I will never understand and I know I’ll grow old using good old 2D screens while everyone around me has a visor. I’ll be seen like I see my grandpa today: “look, that guy never had an email address, how could he be alive??”. Is this the first step to become an old fart?

Few days ago a friend told me to watch this video. “hey, look. VR is for kids. It’s useless. Yes, I loved Ready Player One, but that’s another thing. Our VR sucks and makes me sick. I tried a cardboard and a visor and I don’t like them. I really hope that VR will die like 3D films.

Then I watched the video.

11) [Special] Generation of spoiled idiots by Louis CK.

A nice reminder, by one of the best stand up comedian of all time, of how this is the best time ever to be alive but nobody seems happy.

i love the passage starting at 4’16”. Internet on a plane. It doesn’t work and the passenger complained. Lois says “how quickly the world owes him something he knew existed only 10 seconds ago?”. Love it!

First Italian FI Blogger meeting!

Hi RIPpers,

I’ve been recently invited to a Northern European FI Bloggers meetup that took place in a small town across the Netherlands-Belgium border. I sadly had to decline since I’m traveling slightly too much these days. It’s not been an easy decision, I strongly wanted to meet with other FI bloggers, share thoughts with like minded people and feel part of a community.

Anyway, building on top of this setback, I decided to organize the first Italian FI Blogger meeting ever! It happened! Yesterday, for the first time in human history, the entire Italian FI blogger community met for an amazing day of brainstorming, sharing and dreaming!

We had a cocktail together!

drinkalone
image credit: thesobrietysolution

We danced all night long!

partyalone
image credit: rebloggy

We even had time to set up a Lan Party and play videogames together!

solitaire

How cool was that!

What?

Ok, listen… I know, the Italian FI community demography has some problem… let’s say we’re not so many… anyway, I was pretty sure I’ve been able to bring together all of us in the same room… yes, of course, considering a slightly degenerate definition of “all of us“…

But I was wrong! I missed almost 50% of the community. I’m sorry, it’s my fault.

Anyway, you got it, all this was to introduce the italian blogger Andrea, owner of incassaforte.com, a very good Italian Blog (in Italian language) about Personal Finance and Financial Independence. Probably the only Italian blog about our beloved topic! Andrea is going to be our first guest star on RIP soon, stay tuned!

In the meantime he published my first guest post on his blog, in Italian language.

Enjoy!

#22 – FIRE, ovvero come smettere di lavorare molto giovani (guest post di MrRip).

10 Questions and a Pizza Place with… myself!

No, I can’t believe I’m doing this, I should seriously contact a doctor…

igmonkeyAnyway, here’s the thing: I loved so much the 10 questions series on the 1500 days to freedom blog. Since I started blogging I have this TODO item of “answer 1500’s 10 questions and try to get featured on their blog“. I kept procrastinating for 4 months. “Why rush? I have plenty of time… I’ll send my 10 questions sooner or later. Not now, obviously, I have to watch latest episode of series XYZ!“.

And suddenly… in their latest episode they announced that the series is coming to an end by end of 2016 and no more submissions are being accepted. Nooooooooo that’s not faaaaaair 🙁

Ok, let’s keep calm and… nooooooooooooooo you can’t do that to meeeeeeeee!!

Breathe.

Procrastination should come to an end and today is that day. Let’s do it. Let’s do it here. Gimme those questions! Oh crap, the link to the actual questions is no more working! I remember they had something like 17 questions and they asked anyone who wants to appear on their blog to answer at least to 10 of them. Let’s be gross, let’s answer all of them!

Disclaimer: just to state the obvious, I sincerely like the blog 1500days and I’m obviously not complaining I didn’t get my chance to be featured in the mentioned series. Mr & Mrs 1500, you did an amazing job and I’m going to miss your “10 questions” series!

How to find the 17 questions, assuming they were 17? Simple: let’s take a look at the recent episodes and collect questions. I’m pretty sure I’ll hit 17 distinct questions within 4-5 episodes.

Update #1: I hit 17 after just 2 episodes and I kept investigating few more to be sure the number was actually 17.

Update #2: I’ve actually found more questions, but they seem to be something like “ask yourself a question and give an answer“. Cool, I’ll do that too!

Update #3: I’ve found that the series was formerly called “10 questions and a Pizza Place with” and it’s awesome, because I do love pizza and I do cook pizza almost every week! But… holy crap, the questions were almost totally different! Going to merge and answer to something like 30+ questions? Need to think about it…

Update #4: Ok, answering all of them is not feasible, I’d answer the “new 17” plus some random questions from the old ones and few totally random ones as extra. Take your time, reader 🙂

So, let’s get started!

Today is the first and last edition of our aperiodic (and a little bit schizophrenic) guest post series called 10 Questions and a Pizza Place (RIP’s pizza is truly awesome). We have a list of A_LOT of questions we pose to fellow financial bloggers, and they are forced to answer all of them. Don’t even try to be featured in a future edition, there will be no future editions!

Mr RIP is a FI blogger that… well… ehm… ok, yeah, Mr RIP is a FIRE blogger that has this blog where he talks… about FI… and ER… you should visit. His blog. Yeah. Cool stuff.

1) Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.

Thank you for hosting me here Mr 1501, you’re so better than Mr 1500 BECAUSE YOU HOSTED ME! Ahem, sorry, ok, what’s my blog about? Let’s see, it’s about my personal path to Financial Independence and Early Retirement.

Yes, I know, the internet is full of FIRE blogs but I wanted to add mine, with no special ambition but have fun, meet like minded people, get feedback on my strategy, clear the confusion in my mind, publicly commit to my goals, share my philosophy of life, share my frugal strategies, explore this newfound passion for writing and finally provide a unique point of view of how to earn, save, invest and retire in countries like Switzerland and Italy. All of this with a little bit of nerd humor. And all of this before doctors come.

I launched it 4 months ago, in June 2016, and must admit that so far it’s doing great!

If you want to know more about me and my goals please take a look at the about me page on my blog 🙂

2) Tell me how you’re going to change the world with your blog (dream big or don’t dream at all!).

The bad news is that I’m not going to change the world in this life, with this blog.

spiritroverThe good news is that I’m going to live several lives! I guess at least another 5-6, assuming 4-5 years cycles. So plenty of time to leave a long lasting impact in this world. Let’s list some of them.

  • I’m going to revolutionize the education system.
  • I’m going to bring people to Mars.
  • I’m going to launch the next big thing with my future startup.
  • I’m going to found the first FI ecovillage.

And that’s just the beginning! More ideas on my dream jobs left post.

Ah, I just realized you asked me how I’m going to change the world with this blog. Not just how I’m going to change the world. Ouch. Well, I guess I’m now committed to document all my revolutions on this blog.

3) What post(s) are you most proud of and why?

I like “my financial story” series, I’ve actually thought I should write an ebook out of it and give it for free! Wait, not (only) because I’m egocentric, but because I’ve always dreamed about writing a biography and I always wanted to learn how to self publish an ebook. I can do both at once and 90% of the job is already done, what am I waiting for? Go away Instant Gratification Money!

I also love my freedom posts. I actually love them even more. The one about life cycles and the one about the ideal community make me really proud. I wrote them without a concrete plan in my head. They just came out from an enlightened moment and I let my hands fly over the keyboard and type randomly like a monkey that given infinite time, by chance, should also type in something good.

I love my investments series too. It’s the one that’s challenging me the most and that requires me to do actual homework and research.

Ok, I kind of love all my posts. They all suck the same They are all born equal.

4) Do you enjoy writing?

Sure I do! I didn’t know that before. I find myself at peace while writing for hours straight like I’m doing right now thanks to this ridiculous self interview wait someone rang the doorbell it’s my psychiatrist guys I need to live for a while. I can’t help but keep going and write at least a little bit every day. I’m pretty sure that with time quality will increase. I’d love to make writing one of my main activities in one of my future lives.

5) What goals do you have for your blog, short and long term?

I think I’ve already answered this question while answering a couple of other questions before. It seems questions are overlapping here. Anyway, let’s see if there’s something not said yet.

Well, sure. I forgot to mention it: my main goal for my blog is to see it failing as quickly as possible.

Wait. Don’t call the doctors (yet). Let me explain. I know I suck at writing. I have never devoted enough time to it, I’ve always been a “science guy”, a “computer guy”. I knew deeply somewhere that my creativity had to be expressed somehow and writing may have been the right means, but I never actually tried seriously enough. So I suck at it for now. But things are improving, I can perceive it. I’m spending time on it. I’m writing every day. I’m learning new ways of expressing the same concept using different words. I’m getting better with the english language which is not my main language. I’m getting everyday better at it. It means that every new article I publish is the best article I’ve ever written. But it also means that every time I’m going to publish a new article it’s the worst article I’ll ever publish.

That’s amazing! You’re reading my masterpiece and at the same time the shittiest article you’ll ever read with my name on it from now on! I want to write for the rest of my life. I want to start 100 projects centered around writing: a sci-fi book, a copywriting career, a role playing game setting, dozens of other blogs. What’s the role of retireinprogress in this plan? Well, it will be remembered as my first attempt at writing. Have you ever seen a first attempt at something being successful? Hell no! Were your drawings, when you were a kid, of a reasonable quality? No, they were shit! So do I think this blog will be a success? Please…

So let it fail and be remembered as a great artist’s first attempt at writing!

But… just… not today 🙂

6) 1501 Days is about early retirement. Do you have early retirement dreams? At what age do you think you will retire?

Sure I do 🙂 What do you think “Retire In Progress” means? You can actually track how close I’m to the goal on my homepage. I’m at 49.27%, end of September 2016.

riplogo49-27

When I started thinking about the ER, i.e. a couple of years ago, I aimed at age 45. I’m 39.5 right now. Then I started blogging as a way to force myself to evaluate actual numbers: FU Number, Withdrawal Rate, Ideal spending regime once ER,… I collected all these data on my Net Worth document that is shared publicly with Google docs. Every month I document my NW progresses, incomes, expenses, spending rate (btw, I’m fighting for the top position on the European Blogger Savings Rates Index) and run my forecasts, tracking them in my NW document too.

Current forecasts say I’ll be FI in 41 months – January 2020 – before actually turning 43. I don’t believe that. Mr Market is going to crash. I’m going to lose my well paying job. I’ll realize that retiring in Italy will almost be impossible because they surely add another couple of taxes. Let’s try to keep aiming at age 45. Year 2022. It gives me room to think about a planned downshift like asking for part-time work: 60-80%. Pretty common in Switzerland. Better 3 years at devastating speed or 5 years more relaxed? Food for thought.

7) What is the best money management or investment tool you have come across?

Best money management tool: Google Spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are awesome, full stop. Those that can be easily shared, accessed from any device, allow for collaboration are even more. I tried other products, didn’t like them, went back to good old spreadsheets!

Best investment tool it depends. If you mean the tool to handle your investments I’d say Interactive Brokers. I manage my investments there. Lowest fees ever. Easy and cheap forex trading. Access to any product. Totally recommended. If by investment tool you mean an actual investment category I’d say Exchanged Traded Funds tracking Stock Market Indexes. Posts on both IB and ETFs are long overdue in my “investment” series.

8) How do you handle people with different views on money, i.e. spendy people?

Thachillesat’s my Achilles heel. I’m not very good at it. I get nervous, I get judgmental, I feel lonely. My history is essentially a long walk alone on this path. I’ve never been surrounded by like minded people. That’s, as mentioned before, one of the reasons I started blogging: to feel less lonely.

I simply don’t care about 99% of the “material stuff” people seem to care about. But this usually puts me under a bad light when hanging out with friends. I don’t know how to live with that. I’m sure when I’ll be bike traveling a week per month they’d say I’m lucky, or lazy, or that they couldn’t have done it because X and Y. It’s common to say “you’re the average of your closest 5 friends“. No, I’m not. I’m opposing a strong resistance and it requires a lot of effort.

9) In your path to financial independence, what was your strangest side hustle?

I don’t have side hustles right now. In the past I’ve been giving private lessons to high school students and it was fun. I plan to do things like hosting people with airbnb or cooking for strangers with gnammo in the future, once FIREd. And obviously I’ll write 🙂

10) If blogging isn’t your full time gig, what is?

I’m a Software Engineer in a company I call Hooli on this blog. My career has been centered around computer science and software engineering so far. Take a look at my story.

11) Did your parents teach you about money as a kid? How so?

I had a great master that taught me the basics of savings and budgeting at a very young age: my father RIP Sr. He gave me a monthly allowance instead of money on demand. He taught me the importance of frugality, how to save and the benefits of decoupling income from expenses. It’s been invaluable. The single most important skill that enabled this dream.

12) Did you grow up with money? How did your money situation growing up influence you?

I didn’t grow up with money. I created my wealth from scratch. I started saving since I was a kid. I’ve never been into debts. I’ve worked hard to earn a degree and made use of it as soon as possible. I’m tracking my NW since 25 years(!!!) and I experienced phases of different growth. Last 4 years at Hooli have been ridiculous, but so were the two years as freelancer before, relative to the fact that Italy was cheaper than Switzerland. Having been covered by gold at a relatively late stage of my life (starting at age 33), with a strong practical and mental training on minimalism and frugality meant that I was completely on top of it. No lifestyle inflation. Well, yes, few splurges, but I’m still a modest person who wears 5$ clothes and doesn’t have a car. And who spends close to zero for body care. The only significant change this shitload of money introduced in my life was the awareness that I needed to start investing it. I grew up scared as hell and risk averse. It was not easy. Along with a bad investment in a shitty house, not having invested as soon as I “became rich” is my biggest regret so far.

13) When you are 90 and look back on your life, what do you hope you have accomplished?

That’s a very tough question! I don’t know. I’d like to think more about having lived a happy life and having left memories for future generations more than individual accomplishments. I like to think at “projects” I’m going to do once FIREd, but I guess I’d be happy with a way simpler life, closer to nature, with a happy family and a supportive community. I want to feel like I overcame this sense of “feeling lonely while never being physically alone”.

Plus, I want to visit Mars. C’mon Elon, when is the first ship leaving?

14) What is the best thing you’ve read lately.

The Silo Trilogy. It’s not FI related. I love sci-fi set in some dystopian future where things went nuts and society had to adapt. That’s why I love the Black Mirror tv series too.

15) We notice a lot of frugal people are into board games – what is your favorite?

boardgamesI’m totally into boardgames, I own a shitload of them! My favorite is probably Dominion, but I’m also in love with Agricola, Terra Mystica, Carcassonne and few others.

Role playing games are not ok for this category, aren’t they? Else I’d add Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve been a Dungeon Master for 15 years. I’ve written adventures and a couple of settings. Good old days. Days gone by.

16) What do you do for exercise?

I used to run a lot. I used to play volleyball. I used to bike. I used to swim. Nowadays I’m not doing much sport and I feel guilty enough that you’re being rude in making me think about it.

I do bike to work though. I do play squash. I do some long walk and hike trips. Physical activity is something I plan to increase once FI.

17) What is your favorite style of beer – and what is your favorite beer in that style?

Are there beer styles other than Weiss Beer? I call them “water” or “dusty water” according to the color.

weisses

Wow, that was veeeery long Mr RIP, thank you for the interview! Anyway, I’ve got other questions… I don’t know if you want to take some extra… what? You sure? The post is already 2500 words long, you really really sure? Let’s go on, then.

18) What is the worst financial mistake you made?

I think the worst one has been buying a shitty home in a shitty neighborhood in a shitty town close to Milan, Italy. Paid 105K Euro in 2010, now it’s optimistically worth 60K. In the same time the S&P500 index got +200%. It’s not rented right now and I’m paying condo fees and property taxes. I die everytime I think about it.

Second in line maybe investing the few bucks I saved in year 2000 and disinvesting them in year 2002 with a loss of ~40%. Good timing, RIP!

Third in line (but second or maybe first by impact): after the bad investments in year 2000-2002 I grew up scared of investing and never invested again since February 2016. What a dumbass.

19) What is the best financial move you have made?

I think there are plenty of them. From keeping up with frugality mindset to having invested my free time on my skills in order to achieve a ~250K gross yearly salary. Or having picked Software Engineering instead of Math at University. Hard to tell.

I think it’s easier to identify errors – they usually are individual events – rather than successes. My success story is defined by my mindset, my philosophy of life, my attitude and my dreams. They built up on a daily basis – thanks to curiosity and perseverance – and their effects added up slowly. They are not individual events.

20) What’s your favorite tip for saving money?

rowentaBuy a haircutter and cut your own hair. The ROI can go up to 5000%!

Don’t buy a car, you probably don’t need it.

You don’t need a big house. And don’t buy it unless you plan to stay there for at least 10 years. And that’s a “necessary but not sufficient” condition.

Don’t watch TV.

21) What are your favorite personal finance websites? 

Nominations are: TheSimpleDollar, MrMoneyMustache, EarlyRetirementExtreme, RootOfGood and Frugalwoods.

And the winner is… MrMoneyMustache! Yeeeeah! I think Pete is the closest one to the way I’m wired. He gave words to my thoughts. He finally made me able to think at my frugality as a superpower. My passion for nature another superpower. Thanks to Pete I discovered the true double/triple beneficial nature of “a dollar not spent” and the “shockingly simple math” behind ER. I think that article was my FI epiphany.

But let’s interview the runners up:

Disclaimer: they never said that. I’m just joking and making this up 🙂

TheSimpleDollar: “I… I don’t understand… I feel so Leonardo di Caprio… I mean, RIP, we both know you love me way more than you love Pete. That’s not fair. You’re following TSD since its first steps, you’ve shared millions of articles, you’ve learned everything, EVERYTHING, you know following my blog. I… I want to quit, right now 🙁

EarlyRetirementExtreme: “Yeah, RIP, that cheapass. Obviously he looked for an easy escape from the cubicle life and he found me. Sorry bro, when you were at the age I retired, your NW was in the range of 10K. You loser! Btw, didn’t I win? Maybe it’s because I kind of disappeared and I’m not blogging anymore. I would have easily won if I kept up 😉 … or maybe I’m too extreme for you?

RootOfGood: “I thank RIP for the nomination! I guess RIP loves my openness and ability with numbers and probably my posts about general FI strategies. What I think I miss to win first prize is a ‘vision’, a philosophy that goes beyond a weekly schedule. I’m more than happy doing what I do though 🙂

frugalhoundFrugalwoods: “I think RIP sees us as modern hippies and he doesn’t believe we’ll succeed on the long term. He should definitely come to visit our homestead and play with the frugalhound, he’d change his mind. Come visiting us, the cherry picking season just started!

22) Who inspires you?

Apart from the bloggers mentioned above and few others (the full list can be found on my “online resources page) I have some virtual mentors that I need to thank.

Far from the past, I’d say my mentor is Lao Tsu – assuming he ever existed. The Tao Te Ching is the most timeless book ever written. I’ve read an english translation and interpretation so I may be a little bit biased here though.

muskpanicHenry David Thoreau is probably the number one in the “reliable” world. He existed, he wrote books, he did things. I’ve read a lot of him, including Walden, Walking and Civil Disobedience. I’d add in this category few other american transcendentalists like Emerson, Whitman and Twain (not a transcendentalist though). I love the concept of the Renaissance Man and the Self Reliance philosophy. I’m reading something about Stoicism too.

More modern mentors are Herman Hesse, Wayne Dyer (I read 5 or 6 times “your erroneous zones”) and Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.

Last, but not least, I want to add Elon Musk. I love his dreams and the way he’s trying to achieve them.

23) What advice would you give to a 24 year old, just out of college?

Spend less than you earn, you don’t need to impress anyone. Invest time in finding your passions and a life purpose. Maximize the life energies you devote to those endeavors. Every useless, unnecessary expense will reduce the time you can devote to what really matters to you. Keep this in mind: time, not money, is your scarcest resource!

24) What would you do if you inherited $1,000,000 (after taxes) today?

I’d let the caterpillar die to make room for the butterfly.

With an extra million, my NW would jump to ~1.5 millions, way above my FU Number. I’d probably switch to part time work (60% or less) for few months or a year while thinking what next steps should be. Maybe looking for a retirement destination while taking time to sort my project ideas and picking the top ones.

It’d be heaven on Earth.

25) What kind of car do you drive?

I’m car free since 2008 🙂

If you’re interested in what kind of car I drove when I had a car, please take a look.

Spoiler: I’ve spend less than 2000 Euro total on four car purchases so far.

26) What is your favorite place to vacation?

Italy. Every region of it. I’m not being patriotic here, it’s just that Italy is amazing if you don’t have to be productive – in that case it’s a true hell.

Italy is cheap, it has thousands of cities and towns, godzillions of amazing coasts, rivers, mountains, historic places, ruins, roman stuff. Food is awesome, weather is awesome, people are generally kind and open-hearted.

It’s a no-brainer.

27) What is your favorite pizza place (I am a pizza nut)?

Definitely my house! RIPpizza is the best one in Europe.

No joking, ask around 🙂

28) What is your favorite movie?

Probably The Shawshank Redemption. Maybe closely followed by The Matrix, Fight Club and Into the Wild. I’m more into TV series though. Black Mirror and Breaking Bad above all things.

29) Where can we find you?

On this blog.

On Facebook.

On Google Plus (maybe one day on YouTube)

Via mail.

Via IM (hangout/allo/whatever-messaging-app-google-will-release-tomorrow)

30) How did you come up with “Retire In Progress”?

I don’t remember. I wanted to blog and I’m definitely not a good designer / graphic artist / whatever.

r_i_p_gravestoneworkAnyway, since I have my idea muscle trained, this name popped up randomly one day. I liked it. I created my logo merging 2 free images with advanced techniques like Microsoft Paint. I wanted the focus on the progression toward the final goal, so I added the progress bar.

That’s all, folks.

31) Please, end the interview with your favorite paradox.

Sure! Here’s the Paradox of the Court!

There’s this lawyer guy, Protagoras (no, not the king of the right triangles), who taught his adept Euathlus how to win court cases. Since the student was poor, Protagoras accepted to be paid for his lessons only once Euathlus had won his first case.

What happened? After taking lawyer lessons, Euathlus decided that this lawyer career was not for him so he never became a lawyer.

Well, Protagoras was obviously pissed off, so he decided to sue Euathlus for the entire amount of his lessons.

protaDear judge, I, Protagoras, want to be paid. I’m going to be paid either if I win this lawsuit, because it means you decided I’m right and deserve to be paid, or if I lose it, because in that case Euathlus would win his first lawsuit and by agreement he must pay me. So… where’s my check?

pitaWait Mr Judge, I, Euathlus, claim I won’t pay Protagoras either if I win this lawsuit, because in that case you judged I should not pay him, or if I lose it, because in that case I still would have never won a lawsuit! See you Mr Protagoras, good luck with triangles!

I don’t know how it ended, I guess the Judge went nuts or probably committed suicide.

Is the interview over? 🙂

Holy sheet, it finally ended! please call those doctors or cops or whatever, this guy is totally crazy… Ahem, thank you Mr. RIP for your interview, have a nice day!

My Credit Score

Hi RIP friends,

Today I’m going to show you my credit score! Are you ready?

Well, not an actual numeric value like the ones that are popular in the US. Why? Because we in Europe (at least in Italy and Switzerland) don’t have this fancy number attached to our identity. At least not in a transparent way. Who knows if bankers, in their secret dark meetings, emit financial death sentences like: “Who? RIP? That cheapass?? No no no don’t give a dime to him!“.

Anyway, we all have a credit history don’t we? We all took student loans, car loans, mortgages or other personal loans, don’t we? We all use credit cards and sometimes we don’t repay the debit in full each month, carrying over a little bit (or a lot of it) at a convenient 9.99% interest rate, don’t we? Sure!

Being rich today has nothing to do with having money but having access to credit, isn’t it? How can you complain with that? There’s way way more circulating credits/debts than money! So the key to be rich is to have access to credit and use the borrowed wealth, isn’t it true?

Well, let alone that this leads to financial cycles, some of them crossing generations and establishing roots for inequality, anger and wars, my personal take on this is: no, we should not abuse of this mechanism and we should avoid using credit (and getting into debts) as much as we can.

Are all debts bad? That’s a widely discussed topic among the personal finance community and I don’t want to start this discussion here. I generally agree that not all debts are necessarily bad. For example one may use the power of leverage to boost their wealth. Getting mortgages to buy rental properties, getting a student loan to access higher education, getting your idea financed and start a business/startup and so on.

What’s my relationship with debts? Wait a minute. I just realized that I’ve never had one. I had to sit down and think again at it: I never had debts. No banks or other financial institutions have ever opened a credit line on my name.

debtfree
image credit: http://www.stockmonkeys.com/

RIP, you joking? How’s that possible?? Don’t you have a credit card? Do you withdraw your paycheck and do everything with cash? Are you a caveman??

Well, yeah… I need to sit down, breathe, and think again at it. Btw, it’s fun: I didn’t do that on purpose. I didn’t avoid borrowing money based purely on some ideology or anti-something-ism. I just did my best to avoid getting into debts as much as I could and actually I could for my entire life so far!

RIP, let’s break this down: you telling me that you didn’t get a degree? Or your parents paid for your study in full?

sapienzaNo. I grew up in Italy and even though everyone throw shit on Italian education, getting a degree that opens the Silicon Valley doors is almost free in Italy. You only pay taxes in the order of 1,000 Euros (but can be more than halved if you’re not rich) per year and maybe another 500 for books each year. Ok, if you don’t want to live with your parents or if you study far from home you need to find a room in a shared apartment and maintain a student lifestyle which adds up to another 10K per year, but in my case I stayed with my parents while getting the degree. So no, I spent very little and I did it on my own budget.

Wow… that’s amazing! I should move to Italy to get a degree!

Yes, that may be an idea. I don’t know how things work for foreigner students, may be you have other taxes or may be you can’t actually attend. I don’t know. Anyway, let me remember that you get what you pay for. None of the italian Uni is listed in the top 100 in 2016 ranking. I didn’t care since in 1996, when I started, there were no www to look for this kind data 😀

Joking aside, I do consider networking and individual curiosity way more valuable that what you can get by professors during your study. And I had great connections with colleagues and my curiosity started to flourish in those years and thus all the steps that brought me to Hooli followed.

Ok, ok, let’s get back on track. So you didn’t take a student loan. Lucky you. What about a car loan? Everyone got one!

Yeah, agree. Everyone loves shiny new cars and can’t obviously afford to pay cash. Who says: “I want that amazing 30K car! I can save 300 per month so in just 100 month I can get it!“. Who does that? No one, trust me.

Yes, I know… So what did you do?

First: I’ve never been interested in fancy cars. I know, it’s an amazing superpower! I’m lucky to have survived the teenager era when everybody around me was talking only about girls, cars and soccer. Cars, cars, cars… which one is better: the Toyota Celica or the Lancia Delta Integrale? Carlos Sainz or Didier Auriol? Which one is your favorite?? It’s been hard to pretend I care when I didn’t care at all. You couldn’t just say “hey guys, aren’t cars just tools to go from A to B?”. You’d have been ostracized from friend circles forever! Anyway, trust me, not being interested in fancy cars is a superpower you can get too. I simply consider luxury a cost (and a weakness) I’m not willing to pay for.

Second: I’ve never been interested in new cars. Another super power. Actually a super super power because I bring this concept even further: I’m not interested in new things. Even further: I’m not interested in the (illusory) possession of things. I consider possession a cost I’m usually not willing to pay for. I don’t want to dig here more into this, it deserves a post (or a series?) on its own. Cars are things that need to move your ass from A to B. On a side note: I hate the fact that they have to weight 10-20 times their payload. I scientifically hate that to move 70kg of meat we need to use a ton of iron. Anyway, I never cared about having a new car. Cars depreciate dramatically on their first years, so why buy a new car if you can get for half its price a 3 years old car? What about very very used cars? Their price goes down to zero in Italy.

Third: I drive cars till they are piece of metals randomly kept together. Another amazing superpower! I can bay a very used car (10+ years older) and drive it for another 10 years! I can hear your complains: an ultra used car is dangerous and maintenance costs are high. False myths. Why? Because I consider safety and security, above a subjective reasonable threshold, another cost I’m not willing to pay for. Car accidents are caused 90% by high speed, alcohol or drugs and in general human errors. I’m an overly prudent driver and that cuts the first source of problems. Unless my car is really really dangerous and behaving unpredictably (which, let’s be honest, doesn’t normally happen) I’m not willing to pay for the extra supposed safety of a new car. Plus, I’ve always lived in reasonably big cities, small commute times, streets with streetlights and no dangerous country roads that bring me home.

So, given all the above, wanna take a look at my car ownership history? Enjoy!

y101995 – 2001: Got the driving license in 1995 at age 18 like every other Italian boy. Drove mother’s 10 years old car Autobianchi Y10 till year 2001 when it was not usable anymore. I learned how to drive with my Y10. I had my first kiss experience in a rainy night inside “her”. I had my first… ok, back on track. RIP my dear first car! Purchase costs: Zero. Well, my parents propably paid something when they bought the car (used) in 1991.

uno2001 – 2004: A friend of mine wanted to buy a new car after having been hired at his new job. He used to drive a very very very old Fiat Uno barely able to not collapse on the street. He was complaining about the high dismantling costs of that shitty vehicle when I offered to take it for free. He actually thanked me. I don’t remember how old was that shitty car, but it was super super shitty. Who cares?? I enjoyed it and I’ve been lucky enough that someone have stolen my car in 2004 and I didn’t have to dismantle it! How cool is that? Purchase costs: Zero. Well, just 200 Euros of ownership transfer Italian taxes.

fiesta2004 – 2006: Ok, My car was stolen. I kind of got angry at the time and I just graduated and I’ve soon after started working as researcher… Let’s celebrate! Let’s do something completely gross, let’s buy a car that actually costs money! I set up a 2,000 Euro budget that at that time were ~20% of my NW. After few weeks of research I purchased a shiny old 1996 Ford Fiesta for 1,600 Euro (+200 taxes). That car was awesome! The feeling of getting a “better” car and still navigating in the range of badassity-cheapassity was indescribable. Purchase costs: 1,800 Euro. The car was stolen in 2006. I know, I’m not very lucky with cars. I think I already told you I grew up in one of the shittiest neighborhood of Rome. Drugs dealing and car thefts were (and still are) the biggest component of my neighborhood economy.

escortsw2006  – 2008: The father of my former girlfriend wanted to buy a new car and he offered me to take his old one for free. A 1995 Ford Escort Station Wagon. A nice car, a little bit enormous, not very suited for a young sporty guy like me. But who cares? It was very useful when we relocated from Rome to Milan to work on Game Company. It was a gift I accepted happily. The actual value of the car could have been in the range of 1-2 thousands, probably closer to the lower end of the range. Purchase costs: Zero. The car was stolen in 2008 in Milan. Yes, again! This time they found my car few days after, partially damaged, 100km far from my life in Milan. It has been a shitty situation and I had to ask for help to dismantle the car.

carfree2008 – present: Car Free. Yes, given my theft rate I started analyzing alternatives. I started biking seriously in 2005 in Rome and I owned few bicycles. Why not trying to be car free and move by bicycle and by public transportation only? It worked out decently in Milan and since my relocation in Switzerland in 2012 it’s working great! I don’t need a car anymore! I dream of not owning a car ever again! I know it may change in case we’d move back to Italy, grow old, get babies… let me just dream for now 🙂

So, as you can see, my car history speaks for me. Never got into debts due to cars. Let’s move on.

Fun fact: I never owned a car manufactured in this millennium 🙂

Holy Sheet RIP… that impressed me. Ok, no student or car loan. What about mortgages? You have an apartment! Got you!! You lied!

Ouch, I hoped you forgot it. I purchased a flat in 2010 in Milan and I hadn’t enough money at that time. My father helped me. End of story. I’m a liar.

But let me show you more data, maybe we’ll give another angle to this story.

  • I had ~35K cash at that time.
  • I got 100K from RIP Sr. at 0% interest with a repay plan of 500 per month. He was willing to help me anyway, so I could have shopped around for a way better and bigger house with 135K potential down payment. I didn’t.
  • I wanted to not zero my cash so I went shopping for flats below 120K.
  • I went shopping for the cheapest flats I could find in the cheapest town in Milan’s hinterlands. I found mine listed at 110K, negotiated down to 105K directly with the owner, no estate agents involved, no extra fees (just notary and taxes). Total costs including very basic furniture and taxes: 113K. Still ~20K were sitting in my bank account. I soon started to earn a lot and I was never ever impacted by this family debt
  • I’m accelerated repayment once at Hooli and I’m going to close this debt next month with a final 9K payment.

Yes, I know, I still lied. I went into debts. I still am! But I like to see that as a family loan, which never felt like a big burden on my shoulders. Nothing really bad would have happened if I hadn’t paid back my debt. My sister, who got a similar amount (actually slightly bigger), is struggling with her job and she is not paying back her debt these days. We all understand it, it’s not her fault, it’s all ok. No bank will put her flat on auction.

And anyway, RIP Sr. is a modest person and he’s not going to spend this money. It will still sit there when inheritance will sadly happen.

Plus: I’m still invisible to banks and credit institutions when it comes to my “credit score”.

Finally: it would have been way way better to not have purchased the flat. Weren’t I able to access this credit, I’d be way more wealthy right now. My flat purchase was the single worst financial decision of my life. Period.

Uhm… you’re technically right even though you didn’t fully convince me, but let’s move on. Credit cards. You want to make me believe you never owned a credit card?

Yes! I never owned a credit card! Technically I now own a Hooli issued credit card with my name on it, but I can only use it for work related issues, like booking hotels and flights to hooliland, renting cars for work and paying for dinners out while working remotely. I don’t feel it as “mine”.

RIP, please… don’t you have a bank account?

I’ve too many of them! In different countries, in different currencies. Too many of them. But still no credit cards! I’ve only owned debit cards.

It’s fun how they name things. A credit card is one that sends you into debts. A (rechargeable) debit card is one that I need to top up so I always am in credit with the financial institution that issued the card. Funny. Plus I obviously own debit cards associated with bank accounts to get money from ATMs and pay directly at shops. These could technically send me into debts but I need to open a line of credit (credit, again, means I’d be into debts) with banks. I didn’t. So in case I won’t have enough funds in my checking accounts the cards will simply not work and the purchase won’t happen. I can’t go in debt with such tools.

But.. why? Credit cards are awesome and they reward you for spending money!!

I know, the internet and the FIRE community is filled with people sharing credit cards hacks to get free miles, free money, free whatever, sign-up and referral bonuses. It’s actually how FI blogs make money!

I still don’t get it, really. Maybe in Europe credit cards related debts are not so common. Or it’s just me, I don’t know. I admit I never deeply investigated it. I only recently took a look at the personalized Cumulus Credit Cards with some rewards on grocery shopping, but I’m still scared. Need to investigate more.

No payday loan, personal loan, any other kind of loan? Peer to peer landing?

please

Truth is: I’ve never borrowed money from a bank.

Holy sheet RIP, you crazy! Don’t you think this is going to negatively impact your future? What if you need money to bay a true house?

I’d figure it out my friend 🙂

For now, all I can say is that I’ve enjoyed so much a life without creditors. I can’t actually even tell the differences because I never tried what it means to have to live with real debts.

So, what’s my credit score? Zero, I suppose 🙂