About Me

20130818_185906Hi dear reader!

I’m Mr.RIP an Italian software engineer living in Switzerland since 2012.

I was born in Rome, Italy, in 1977. My real name is Giorgio. I’m a GenX guy who grew up without internet, in an era where your attention was not at stake all the time.

I got in love with computer programming at very young age thanks a Commodore 64 computer, received as a gift from my father in 1984.

The drama

It was not just coding: I fell in love with logic, math, physics, and statistics pretty early. A STEM career was waiting for me. My passion for science obfuscated my hidden love for writing, literature, psychology and philosophy that found space to flourish more or less at age 30, and never recede ever since.

My ongoing midlife crisis makes me question what my values are on a daily basis, what I want to achieve with my life, what’s meaningful to me, how I love to spend my time on, and many more deep questions that can’t properly be tackled while blindly following a stressful career as Software Engineer.

At the same time my passion for software writing has faded. With age the opportunity cost shifted from money to time. Time is my scarcest resource, and I have so many things I want to invest my time on. I need to be selective and intentional with time decisions.

But we need money, right? We must go to work until pension age, right? And giving that life expectancy is raising, and pensions systems are broken all around the globe, pension age is doomed to go up, right? We’re doomed to work until we die, aren’t we?

Well, I questioned all of the above “supposed truths” and I discovered that no, it doesn’t have to go that way.

I’ve always been saving money. I’m frugal and sober by nature. I’ve always spent way less than I earned. I didn’t know what else to buy with the money left on my checking account at the end of each month, so I ‘stashed it away for a better use in the future.

Somewhere in my mid 30s I started realizing that while you hear frequently that time is money, well… the opposite is also true: money is time. I’ve always spent less than I earned. I’ve always had a lot of passions and not enough time left to spend on them on top of my job. It was time to consider buying time with my money.

The Epiphany

Then, at one point, I had my FI Epiphany and finally the big picture was revealed: not having to work means that I could do what I really love instead of caring about a salary. Bingo! it doesn’t necessary mean I didn’t like my current job back then. I’ve been lucky enough that I’ve always had “dream jobs” (on paper). It’s just that I don’t see myself happy having to work 40 hours per week, until age 65 or more.

I came to the realization that the way to free myself from the need to work for money was to save a lot of money, and put those savings at work.

The Plan

It took a while to sharpen my tools and build my model – the process is still ongoing – but at one point, around 2014-2015 (I don’t remember exactly my FIRE Epiphany date), I decided to pursue Financial Independence (FI) as a goal, i.e. aim to a point where my passive income would be greater than my expenses. Given that I wanted to free my time to do whatever the hell I liked, I also aimed to Early Retirement (RE), i.e. I committed to myself to stop working on things I didn’t like just for the money once I reached FI, possibly stop working for money before socially acceptable. Ideally in my 40s.

Financial independence and Early Retirement are collectively called FIRE.

Yes, agree, the definition kinda sucks and it’s an intrinsic problem of today’s language and the lack of a better word than Retired to describe someone who takes a step back from mainstream employment and does what he or she wants. Retirement is considered to be something old people achieve. I’m not going to solve this linguistic issue here today!

The strategy I decided to adopt to pursue FIRE was keep my saving rate as high as possible (at least 50%), and invest in a diversified portfolio of low cost stocks and bonds passive index funds. The goal was to reach the point where I could safely live off my portfolio profits on a total return (not just dividend) basis.

Here’s the Wikipedia definition, a very good one:

Financial independence is generally used to describe the state of having sufficient personal wealth to live, without having to work actively for basic necessities. For financially independent people, their assets generate income that is greater than their expenses.

[Note: the Wikipedia definition changed since I first wrote this page]

Where I am on this journey?

Well, I started blogging in June 2016 with this goal in mind. Things have changed since then. FI is a fuzzy goal, not Black/White. RE is also not a real goal, since I don’t plan to “retire to leisure”.

On one hand we can say that in February 2021, (latest major review of this page), I’m already FI under some assumptions, I could retire tomorrow if we move back to Italy.

But at the same time I’m not FI yet, because we as a family love to keep staying in the expensive Switzerland, and I’m not RE yet, because I’m still working on the Tech field as Principal Research Engineer for an Academic Institute.

in my experience, as I approached the “finish line” of my FIRE journey I realized that there’s no finish line. there’s no “work work work” and then “stop, do nothing, sip Mojitos”. Financial Independence is a spectrum. Retirement is a spectrum as well.

And I’m here, blogging about the complexity of money, investing, life, purpose, passion, meaning, balance, happiness, freedom, curiosity, learning, numbers, entertainment… and whatnot.

More info about me

  • I started this blog in June 2016
  • I’m Giorgio, a 43yo Italian guy living in Switzerland since 2012.
  • I’m currently a well paid software engineer with 18 years of experience, 7.5 of which in Google. My compensation skyrocketed up to 282k CHF in 2019. Sadly I only started earning decent salary at age 35.
  • I am living a fully intentional life since March 2020 (age 42). My current employer is the best one can dream of, and I’m not working there for the money (though I get paid pretty well).
  • I plan to work solely on passion projects before age 45.
  • I’m married to Mrs. RIP (from Italy as well) since March 2017. We have a daughter Baby RIP who was born in April 2018.
  • My unsorted WIP Passions list contains: nature, sports, travels, reading, writing, theater acting, socializing, (board/video/role-playing/card) games, learning, science, teaching, sharing, efficiency, sustainability, happiness, freedom… Mix these ingredients for better recipes! E.g. a 7 day bike trip along a river with my family and a few books.
  • My unsorted WIP Things-That-Sucks list contains: cars, noises, cigarettes, pollution, consumerism, advertisements, authority, debts, lawyers, corruption, cheating…

Where to go from here?

Why did I start this blog? Visit the About RIP page to find out more.

Want to know more about my personal Work and life Story? Check it out!

Want to know more about FIRE? Visit the FIRE Dialogue page

Wanna full immersion in my blog? Take a look at the Binge Reading page 🙂

 

45 comments

  1. Hi Mr RIP,

    First I would to congrat you for your nice looking and interesting blog! When did you actually start blogging? I really like your writing style and your curiosity. I’m looking forward to read more of your post.

    1. Hi Mr SIP 😀
      Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by.
      I started blogging on June 2016. If you look at the Binge Reading page I mentioned my first post date there.

    1. Hi Paul, welcome to retireinprogress 🙂
      Congrats on having already reached “the goal”! Or, as they say on r/fi… wait, I forgot what they say there 😀

  2. Hello there,
    I’m Gabriele, from Italy as well, but for some logistic purposes I’ll talk in English as well.
    I’m 23 and with almost a graduation in nursing.
    I strongly believe being a FIRE is not just possible, but a duty.
    On of the key of the game is: know your destination in advance.
    I want so badly retire as soon as possible, and after the graduation I’ll put my heart and mind in it.
    Keep going on.
    Italy, obviously, is with you

    1. Hi Gabriele, thank you for your kind words 🙂
      If I may suggest something to you: don’t get obsessed with it. Behave properly (earn more, spend less, invest the difference) and FI will come.
      If you focus to much on it right at the beginning of your career you will miss the joyful part of it.
      At age 23 you should be eager to go to work and show your worth!

  3. Hi Mr RIP,

    Amazing blog the one you’ve created! I do like your writing style and completely amazes me the spontaneity of your words and sentences. I’m Spanish and I know how hard it can be to properly learn how to write in a foreign language. I am still trying to do so after more than four years of living in The UK!

    Your blog inspired me man! Thank you!

    All the best,

  4. Nice blog, but I was wondering what would be your plan once you retire early? Do you stay in Switzerland? Go back to a LCOL area in Italy?

  5. Hello, Mr.RIP I’m an Italian computer engineer too!
    I was thinking about moving to Switzerland as you did, but I was worried about the language, do I have to learn German or French (Idk where is your company)?

    1. Hi Daniele, moving to Switzerland is an excellent move to boost your career (and your net worth).
      I didn’t have to know German and/or French, and didn’t even learn German in ~7 years here.
      My workplace official language is English.

  6. Well done Mr RIP.
    Good to see FIRE movement spreading in Europe. I only learnt about FIRE when I moved to USA. I thought it was mainly applicable to USA citizens due to higher salary, lower tax rate and wider/low-cost investment opportunities.
    When I travel back to Italy (yep I’m Italian too) and I try to explain this concept to relatives and friends they dismiss the subject with either laughs or skepticism. I actually wonder how harder is to pursue such path in Italy.
    Keep it up with this great blog
    Cheers
    Davide

    1. Hi Davide, I understand your pain when interacting with Italians on these topics. I don’t usually do. I tend to be blasty (like Roberto Burioni) and not very good at interacting with those who have a closed mindset. Every once in a while I follow some discussion on finanzaonline but I’m not sure it’s worth my time and energies.

      That’s why I decided to blog in English. I met so many great people willing to discuss about ideas, both in person and on the internet. Best decision ever 🙂

      1. “and not very good at interacting with those who have a closed mindset”

        congrats on your blog, and posture.
        I am reviewing each piece of your blog, and I can tell you I feel very connected with some of your ideas.
        Closed mindsets are the end of the line on personal growth.

  7. Hi Mr. RIP, Absolutely an awesome blog! I am going to make it a priority to read through all of it and learn from your experience.

    Best Regards, Sanjeev

  8. Ciao Mr Rip o Giorgio se preferisci.
    Ho due domande da porre alla tua attenzione
    1) quando dici che hai raggiunto 282K CHF annui intendi lordi o al netto delle tasse? E se intendevi lordi, al netto quanto rimane?

    2) per chi come me non è proprio del mondo tech e non ha modo di lavorare con aziende informatiche che retribuiscono in modo così elevato , hai qualche suggerimento che ti viene da dare per creare comunque un bel capitale? (Ho 30 anni e ho una laurea triennale in ambito sanitario, neanche se lavoro H24 x 365 raggiungo 282k CHF annui :D!).

    1. 1) Intendo total compensation, tasse incluse, ma alcune cose escluse come company match dei fondi pensionistici (ed altri perks non fiscalmente rilevanti).

      2) non conosco nulla del tuo settore, mi spiace.

  9. Ciao MrRIP,
    frequento il terzo anno alle superiore di informatica, ho appena visto il video che hai fatto con Marcello e incuriosito dalle tue grandi imprese mi chiedevo, come hai fatto ad imparare bene l’inglese?
    Io ho molta difficoltà in ciò e da come hai presentato le tue imprese l’inglese è importantissimo hai dei consigli per me?

    1. Bella domanda, in realtà non ricordo neanche io come ho imparato l’Inglese. Pensa che ai primi due anni di scuola superiore ho studiato francese, e sono cresciuto senza internet fino ai 23 anni 🙂
      Oggi avete infinite possibilità: dalle serie TV in lingua originale ai videogames, dalle app alle testate giornalistiche internazoinali.
      Inizia con Duolingo, ascolta podcast facili in inglese, vedi video in Inglese (consiglio VSauce, ha un inglese meraviglioso), scrivi in Inglese. Il parlato è un po’ più difficile da praticare, per quello forse devi fare qualche esperienza all’estero o trovare un gruppo di amici motivatissimi e decidere che un giorno a settimana si parla solo Inglese. Oppure se giochi a qualche videogioco cerca community in lingua Inglese e chatta con loro ingame.

  10. ciao, ho visto il tuo blog , dal canale video di marcello ascani e mi ha incuriosito, ho visto che spesso rispondi , mi chiedevo sei ti sei mai interessato di tematiche politiche,se hai mai studiato l’effetto di conflitti geopolitici e prezzi commodities ,e se secondo te esistono correlazioni tra eventi bellici / eventi legati all’ambiente/ e borsa, mi ricordo che dopo la caduta delle torri gemelle una mia prof mi disse sapete chi ha guadagnato dal primissimo evento ecc…beh vennero fuori tantissime risposte alla fine fu una delle più sottovalutate le aziende di rimozioni e correlate, hai mai pensato di scommettere sulle partite di calcio.

    1. Sono domande un po’ confuse e generiche. Comunque non ho studiato effetti di conflitti geopolitici e prezzi commodities, sono cose così ampie che chiunque abbia una teoria non sa cosa dice.
      E no, non scommetto sulle partie di calcio (che domanda è?)

  11. Hi Giorgio!

    I fell in love with your blog, since I discovered you (when you took off your mask 🙂 ).

    I have been working as software developer for 5 years and I am 26 years old.

    I do not have a degree, but I am thinking of starting to get it.
    But, at the same time, I would like to move to Swiss (this is an old dream), like you did.
    May I ask you what would you do if you were me? Studying or moving? This is just to get an opinion from you.

    Thank you!

    1. Of course this is a superficial answer based on the few bits you told me here, but if you have 5 years of experience and you built a reputation, skills, and a network it might not be worth taking a degree now, unless you plan to do it (hard but not impossible) while still working and growing your career.

  12. Good morning MrRIP,
    I’m 25, work in cybersecurity field in Rome at the moment, but I have a bunch of offers around Europe.
    I have 180k, I’m far from my hometown, with no knowledge on the neighborhood, but to rent an house here I should spent 600e/month, while to buy it I Could find something at 90k.
    In my hometown I have all my family and they could manage to buy and handle another house for me for other 80k and have a monthly rent of 400e.
    This is my main plan, I have few k invested in stocks, but I don’t have time until 2022 to study better the financial word and invest more. I’ll end my master degree in cybersecurity in July.
    What do you think about this situation? what advices would you give to me about job/budget/capital management?
    I also watched Marcello’s video where you said you are from Roma sud, so if you would have time we could have an informal conversation on roma’s zones.

    Sorry for the flow of confused info, but it mirrors my mind confusion in this moment.

    1. Ciao, dal tuo punto di vista com’è il mondo della Cybersecurity? Qual è stato il tuo percorso? All’estero com’è? Lo trovi divertente? Sto quasi per concludere la triennale e sono indeciso per la specializzazione, per ora sono molto interessato (con qualche riserva) alla Computer Graphics (a basso livello, Game Engine, etc.), ma sono aperto a tutto.

      Se la mia domanda richiede una risposta troppo lunga, forse sarebbe meglio se mi rispondessi (, sempre se puoi e voi) su Telegram per non intasare la sezione commenti, sono: @AleHerz

  13. Buongiorno sig Giorgio

    Sono un trentenne residente a Milano ed ho un idea a parer mio parecchio buona in ambito di borsa e mercato azionario di cui vorrei tanto parlarle. L’unica cosa è scoprire la fattibilità del concetto.
    Mi dica lei come procedere se inviarle una mail o se preferisce un incontro di persona oppure se fare prima una chiamata e successivamente fare un incontro.

    Grazie mille e buon FIRE

    Diaa

  14. Ciao RIP, ti ho scoperto tramite lo youtuber Marcello Ascani. Ti apprezzo su tutta la linea! Se uno ti dicesse: ho disponibili giusto 1000€ da investire a breve/brevissimo, come li investiresti? Se vuoi rispondere in privato credo che vedi la mia mail.
    Un saluto! Alex.

    PS la Svizzera (per lo meno vista da un turista) è una meraviglia. Secondo me pure la cucina.

  15. Bella Giorgio!
    Just wanted to reach out to you, since I think we have a lot of things in common, including both from Rome, living abroad, and indeed we share the FIRE passion. Only difference is that I’ve started around 10years younger, around the same as your balance overall 🙂
    I’ve been offered a job at google as well back then, but refused

    Let me know how we can get in touch for a chat if you’re keen for that 🙂
    Cheers
    Simone

  16. Dear Mr. Rip,

    Let me just put beforehand that I find you extremely intelligent, wise and smart: your blog and your videos are very interesting. That being said, there’s one point I think needs to be made AGAINST such FIRE movement.

    Our fathers, grand-fathers, grand-grand-fathers and so on since Sapiens existed worked extremely hard to pass on some legacy to future generations. For the average person, hard working took most of their lives, most of them literally gave their lives for us. That is also reflected on today’s government budgets: highly in debt, these budgets assume that the working class won’t simply retire early: they need income taxes, their need people not to save money or entire industries would collapse because of less spending.

    I won’t get into moral issues here and I’ll cut to the chase, my point being: do you acknowledge that if more than a certain fraction of people decides to follow FIRE, industries and governments will collapse and so will financial investments – making it unsustainable? Do you acknowledge that, once “early-retired”, an individual is essentially living off other individuals not chasing FIRE?

    Cheers from Italy

    1. So I should work hard because everybody worked hard since Homo Sapiens appeared? until what age? If I would have to adapt to the average “working hard until” age I’d be done I guess, because average life expectancy of human race from Sapiens to today is way below my current age.

      So I should work hard because someone who lived before me worked hard as well? I don’t remember having asked for it.

      So I should work hard because governments are in debt? Is that my fault? Btw, my lifetime earnings so far are in the range of 5-10x total lifetime earnings of the average human being. So are the total taxes I’ve paid so far in life.

      Btw, employment is the only “work hard” you can think of? What if I stop “working hard” as an employee and work on my passion projects? Would that not be “working hard”? What if I volunteer? What if I become a business owner? Are you chasing those who own 5 restaurants down and ask the same question? Well, I might own more than that as a shareholder.

      “they need income taxes, their need people not to save money or entire industries would collapse because of less spending.” … Are you nuts? Seriously? Do you think I have any kind of obligation to “not save money”? Plus, do you think we need to keep working hard AND destroy the fruits of our effort is the ONLY way to save governments and industries”? Seriously? What about this fucking planet? Do you think it needs more people on it, working hard all the time, and squandering their money to buy things they don’t need, that consume non-renewable resources and produce more waste?

      “once “early-retired”, an individual is essentially living off other individuals not chasing FIRE” – fucking no! I’ve earned my resources, saved, invested, and consumed at a later time. And investing means being an active participant in he economy. Without investors there would be no economy to talk about.

      Your comment is one of the most retrograde I’ve ever received. You shouldn’t have added the redundant information “cheers from Italy”. Where else could you have come from with such a mindset?

      Cheers from reality.

  17. I’m curious about how you reconcile hating ads and working for a company whose revenues is about 80% from ads. I feel that’s the problem in our industry overall: the most lucrative jobs are at the most detrimental companies (in one way or another, and Google is probably not the worst compared with other equally famous ones). At one point I feel I have to trade ethics for a higher compensation, and it’s not clear if I’ll be better off in 20 years with a pack of cash or the moral high ground.

    1. I hate ads as a consumer, but I don’t think they’re “immoral” or unethical.
      Btw, I’ve been working on Maps, YouTube, Cloud… yeah, sure, ads were being served (not much on Maps though), but those are products that I love a lot.

      My issues with G. were not ethical. Well, yeah, a bit of ethical concerns as well, but not due to serving ads.

  18. Hi Mr. RIP, i am an italian born IT guy working in Zurich, just saw the interview with Marcello on youtube… i started the same „live“ Project ( working only on interesting project after 45) back in 2011… still some years to go… hope we can grab a coffee sometime in Zurich…

  19. Hi Mr Rip,

    I’m also an Italian working in IT, I live in Luxembourg earning quite interesting salary for my age (31).
    What do you think about investing in real estate sector?
    I’ve heard in your interview that you are renting the place you are living. That sounds strange for me, don’t you think to buy your own place ?

    Thanks in advance!
    Ciao
    Io

  20. Ciao,

    sono sostanzialmente un tuo coetaneo nel mondo dell’informatica da sempre. Ho lavorato in Germania per due anni e sono appena tornato in Italia per un’offerta ricevuta prima della fine dell’anno. Inutile dirti che l’offerta è stata si più vantaggiosa ma dopo appena due mesi mi pento amaramente di essere tornato qui (io vivo in Puglia). Mi occupo più di managemente ma sono anche un tecnico e sto studiando WEB DEV e CyberSecurity per passione. Mi mancano due progetti per la certificazione frontend. Torneresti in Italia? Io sto pensando seriamente di fare due cose:

    continuare a studiare programmazione
    tornare all’estero.

    Per quando io viva una dicotomia interiore credo che vivere in Italia sia ancora un problema per me. Io sono solo e non ho una famiglia ma nonostante questo preferisco soffrire di solitudine all’estero che avere a che fare con certi pesonaggi connazionali. Stavo pensando proprio di trasferirmi in Svizzera. Com’è la vita lì? A Zurigo si vive tranquillamente con l’inglese? Ho raggiunto un livello B2 di tedesco partendo da zero ma essendo fluente in inglese, per cui mi ha di certo aiutato la parte sassone. Sei riuscito a fare amicizie lì? In Germania è una tragedia anche se sai la lingua…

    Sto seriamente pensando di trasferimi in Svizzera.

    Studierò a fondo tutti i tuoi post e articoli non appena mi sarà possibile, sei a dir poco illuminante.

    Un abbraccio.

    1. Ciao Alessandro, con il B2 di Tedesco (certificato Goethe?) sei un boss qui.
      Io non parlo Tedesco e non ho mai avuto problemi di nessun tipo, figurati col B2 🙂
      Sì, si vive bene qui. Ed è addictive 😉

  21. ciao Giorgio, mi chiamo Annibale ho la tua stessa eta’, italianita’ e peso corporeo nonche lo stesso obiettivo di FI che, secondo l’INPS, raggiungero fra circa 27 anni, 3 mesi e 24 giorni.
    in questa sessione di commenti ormai ti hanno detto gia tutto e non volgio ripetermi in complimenti gia fatti molteplici volte.
    Tuttavia ho notato che nessuno ti ha detto che sei anche molto bello.

    con affetto
    Annibale

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