Hi 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.
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.
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.
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 🙂