Hi dear reader!
I’m Mr.RIP, an Italian software engineer living in Switzerland since 2012.
I was born in Rome, Italy, in 1977. 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 the age of 9, thanks a Commodore 64 computer, received as a gift from my father in 1984.
It was not just coding, I fell in love with logic, math, physics, statistic pretty early. A STEM career was waiting for me. This passion for science hid my love for writing, literature, and humanistic disciplines like Psychology and Philosophy, which flourished more or less at age 30 and never stopped.
My ongoing midlife crisis makes me question on a daily basis what my values are, 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 writing software has faded, and with age 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 that 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.
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.
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 money, and put those savings at work.
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 late May 2020, (major review of this page), I’m already FI under some assumptions, and I’m RE since I quit the job-I-was-doing-just-for-the-money in March 2020.
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 accepted a new job starting September 2020 – even though I didn’t accept it for the money.
So… it’s more complicated 🙂
And I’m here, blogging about the complexity of money, investing, life, purpose, passion, meaning, balance, happiness and whatnot.
More info about me
June 2016, when I started this blog:
- I’m a 39yo Italian guy living in Switzerland since 2012.
- I dream about retiring before age 45.
- I’m a well paid software engineer, working for a tech company that we’ll call Hooli.
- I’m in a relationship with Miss RIP (from Italy as well) since November 2011. She expatriated 1.5 years later than me to join me in this adventure in May 2014. We live together since then. We have no kids so far.
- 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 Mrs RIP and a book (done! Donauradweg in 2013!)
- My unsorted WIP Things-That-Sucks list contains: cars, noises, cigarettes, pollution, consumerism, advertisements, authority, debts, lawyers, corruption, cheating, …
May 2020 update (holy crap, how many changes!):
- I’m a 43yo Italian guy living in Switzerland since 2012.
- I am living a fully intentional life since March 2020, at age 42 (ok, fair, almost 43).
- I’m a well paid software engineer, whose career peak (so far) has been working for a Tech Giant we’ll call Hooli for 7.5 years, during which compensation skyrocketed up to 282k CHF in 2019. Sadly I only started earning decent salary at age 35.
- I’m married with Mrs. RIP since March 2017, and we have a daughter (Baby RIP) born in April 2018.
- There are new passions and new things-that-suck of course, but the list is hard to maintain in sync 🙂
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 🙂