It’s a mess!

Update: take a look at the new options 8, 9, and more importantly 10 added on May 9th 🙂

Hi Ripsters,

A deep personal post today.

Preamble

My head is exploding, and I have to write things down.

I haven’t had a lot of time in the last two months to breathe, sit down, and draw a plan. I’ve been in reactive mode, pushing content on my blog and my YT channel, working on my services, and also enjoying the moment and having fun.

My current company, the Academic Institute I’m employed with, is an amazing company. My “boss” (he doesn’t like to call himself “boss”) is an amazing human being who – when I told him I’m seriously thinking about quitting – offered me paid time off to think about my future: “Wait RIP, don’t add a word. Today it’s March 19th… let’s meet on May 19th! Take two months off, we’re not a corporation 🙂

I can’t be thankful enough. I’ve gone all-in with my content creationpassion job” since early March and I’m loving it. A lot.

I spend my days working on my projects, thinking about my projects, taking showers while thinking about new ideas for my projects…

I realized recently that what one thinks about in the shower in the morning is more important than I’d thought. I knew it was a good time to have ideas. Now I’d go further: now I’d say it’s hard to do a really good job on anything you don’t think about in the shower.

Paul Graham

Must admit that having started a YouTube channel has ben a game changer. It provides a very short feedback loop (so far incredibly positive), and an order of magnitude more human connections. I must admit that my current shower thoughts are 90% around ideas for my YT channel, not around my blog.

Anyway, let’s not go off topic, we have a flow of consciousness to drop here. Back on topic.

I’m having fun.

And my passion projects are earning some money: 3027 CHF In April. Gross income, probably subject to Pillar 1 contributions and taxes. Say 2k CHF net.

Problem is that May 19th “return to work or not” deadline is coming.

What should I do?

I love what I’m doing with my blog and YT channel, my passions are generating some income, the income is growing, we have a lot of money already stashed away… It seems a no brainer, doesn’t it?

But there’s more to that.

Let’s address the Elephant in the Room.

Our expenses are also growing.

When I moved to Switzerland alone in November 2012 I was spending ~3k CHF per month.

When my then-girlfriend-now-wife joined me in spring 2014 expense grew to 4k CHF per month on average.

A child later, before moving into the larger apartment we live in today (late 2019), we still managed to spend below 5k CHF per month.

We moved into a larger flat, sent our daughter to childcare 3 days per week, and we’re now spending 7k CHF per month (as a baseline, excluding vacations and large one-offs).

New Challenge(s) are coming

Now… as I’ve announced in April Financial Live Update video on my YouTube channel (in English Language), and as I’ve Easter-Egged in my 2021 Q1 Update post… Mrs. RIP is pregnant, and she’s expecting twins 🙂

Yeah, “surprise”!

We’re now at the beginning of the second trimester of a high risk pregnancy. A monozygotic (single egg), monochorionic (single placenta), luckily diamniotic (two amniotic sacs) pregnancy. Until a few days ago the gynecologist suspected this to be a MoMo twin pregnancy which has a 1/40000 occurrence and it’s very very high risk. Few days ago she saw the two thin amniotic sacs and the pregnancy has been classified as a MoDi, slightly less risky but still rare, 1/400 occurrence.

First trimester was a coin flip, 50% of risk of things going bad. End of First trimester visit went perfectly. We’ve also splurged in a 720 CHF NIPT (non invasive prenatal test, bill yet to come and hit our finances) that went perfectly as well. A lot of genetic problems are off the table… and as a side effect we now know we’re expecting two more girls 🙂

Now we can “relax”, and “celebrate” with moderation. It’s still a monochorionic pregnancy, with higher than normal risk (5-10%) during the second and third trimesters as well. Main enemy to keep an eye on is fetus to fetus placental transfusion syndrome, i.e. one kid sucking life from the other since they share the same “food circuit”. Plus my wife is 41 years old, turning 42 during this pregnancy. My wife needs to be constantly monitored until the delivery date which is supposed to be in early November, but it’s common for twins (especially MoMo and MoDi) to come earlier. Doctors might also decide to anticipate the whole process to reduce risks. We’ll see, we’re in good hands.

So… we’re expecting twins again.

We already lost twins in September, in the early stages of pregnancy… which were the odds of having twins again? And here we are 🙂

Now this can turn into a nice happy ending if thins go well, but it will also be a mockery, adding insult to injury if things go wrong.

We’ll do our best, and keep fingers crossed.

So far I’m incredibly grateful and happy for the news!

One of my favorite anime when I was a kid was Occhi di Gatto (Cat’s Eye).

Three sisters… I never suspected I could one day be on top of the pyramid! 🙂

Fingers crossed!

Analysis

Anyway… two more kids in RIP household will have an impact on our plans and finances.

Expenses will keep growing. We’re chatting with a nanny recommended by friends who had twins. She seems very skilled, and has experiences with twins. She asks 30 CHF/hour (net, i.e. ~36 CHF/Hour gross). We’re setting a time & spending budget, thinking about 10 hours per week – which is the bare minimum. 360 CHF per week on top of Baby#1 childcare.

And that’s just the entrée, the appetizer.

Expenses are expected to grow more, and more, and more… to the moon!

Meanwhile, what am I thinking of doing? Quitting a high-paying low-stress job? What the fuck am I doing? Why am I acting so childish? I’ve a large family (hopefully, fingers crossed), I’m the sole earner, we’re living in the most expensive place in the world and… I want to be a “YouTuber”? How the fuck can I be so irresponsible??

… But we saved close to 1.5M CHF for what? When am I going to use the freedom our money was supposed to buy? I’m 44, how longer should I postpone my happiness for?

I burnt out, I can’t take “jobs” anymore… or can I?

What are you complaining about? Grow the fuck up! Put your shit together and do what everyone else in the world does, i.e. work their ass off under much shittier conditions than yours!

I know, and I’m not “complaining”… I know mine are amazing problems to have. I know couples who can’t have kids. Or people – many – who don’t have a history of dream jobs like mine.

But I’m wired this way. If I can’t complain because “I’m lucky” then you can’t complain that I complain because my brain fucks up with problems like this. “I’m unlucky” when it comes to having a non-anxious brain. It’s all relative. You can’t even complain because you work 18 hours per day flipping burgers at a McDonald to be able to just pay the interests on your student loan while sleeping under a bridge because in Middle Age people were tortured all the time… what a crappy argument!

For the first time in the last ten years I’m truly enjoying what I’m doing and I’m generating an income with my passions (small at the moment for a family of 5 in Switzerland, but growing) and we’ve accumulated 1.5M CHF.

I feel the desire to go all-in with my passions so strong. Never felt that strong. And we have backup plans like moving back to Italy if things go south. And a shit load of money.

We could remove the dust from the StupidiFI plan, resume it, and enjoy life in CH while we’re above the Ravenna Threat… then eventually move back to Italy or reconsider standard employment. At current “burn rate” the Swiss Buffer could last… 3-4 years? Well, this assumes market & currency neutral (no crash), and zero income from my “passion job”.

But let’s be honest: it will be really hard to break-even with my passion + passive (investments) income. Maybe the StupidiFI plan is very stupid, and we’d be waiting for the inevitable to happen, burning a lot of money in the meantime.

Plus, the Ravenna Threshold was acceptable to feel FI as a family of 3 in Italy, not sure if it holds for a family of 5. As a first measure I increased inflation adjustment from 2% to 3% per year. The shit will hit the fan earlier.

Add to that that yes, passion income reached 3k (gross) last month, but I don’t want to push hard to grow passion income fast. It’s reassuring to see my endeavor bringing some money though.

Plus, in 5-6 months we will have 3 kids around… Those of you who have kids already know what I’m going to say: how can I even think of being able to do any knowledge work in such situation?

Do I have any idea of my sleeping quality for the following 3 years? Do I really think I’ll be able to lock myself in my home office while my wife juggles with 3 kids in the other room?

It’s already borderline on those two days when BabyRIP (to be rebranded Baby#1) is not in child care, I can’t imagine what the implications on the quality of my work will be in 5 months from now. I will have to bet that Baby#1 grows very quickly, jumping from wearing Pampers MBudget Nappy (she’s a bit late on this, learning these days to control her needs) to changing nappies to her sisters.

P.S. also hoping that she manages the arrival of her two sisters gracefully, and not with a gigabyte of envy and resentment for having lost her “princess of the house” status. So far so good. She’s half aware of what’s happening and she suggested to name the sisters “Gesso” and “Rogna”. Not exactly nice Italian names, maybe she’s telling us something 😀

And YES, if you don’t have kids you can’t understand, sorry. I was part of the crowd complaining against those who kept saying “you can’t understand if you don’t have kids“. Now I have kids. And you can’t understand what it means, sorry. It’s a Mary’s Room thing. Myself of 5 years ago had a vague idea, but actually living it is 3-4 leagues away.

As a corollary I can’t understand what having MORE kids means. I must accept it, and do my best to try anticipating the mess even tough it’s probably unanticipatable.

Yes RIP, but you’ll face these problems even with a normal job, because I assume your “normal” job is a highly intellectual one right?

Yes, sure, but it’d be still employment. With rights, lower responsibilities (compared to being your own boss), more understanding, predictable and reliable income stream… For example I would have a full month of paternity leave (maybe two in case of twins, I don’t know it yet) instead of the recently approved 2 weeks in Switzerland, because my employer is extra-generous (not the Hooli way though, 12 weeks, but still). And I’d keep cashing a salary almost independently of my performances, of course assuming they’re above a certain bar.

We’re talking about an employer who’s giving me two months just to “relax”, I don’t think I’d be fired for suboptimal performances after the birth of twins. Salary would be steady and fat, we’d be saving 30-40% even when our expenses reach 10k per month.

It now seems a no brainer in the other direction…

But… but… but for the first time since almost a decade I feel so engaged in what I’m doing! I’ve been working 10 hours per day even during weekends! And my passion gig is growing, it’s bringing some money (not much, not enough), and there are potential evolutions of my entrepreneur activity that could cover our expenses and some.

I’ve watched this video by Ali Abdaal. His revenue streams size boosted my motivation – yeah, do not worry, I know pretty well what Survivorship Bias is.

A more encouraging – and grounded in reality – example is Anne-Laure Le Cunff (Ness Labs), who crossed 100k ARR in a year! She’s amazing, talented, and I think could achieve that as well.

You know what? One of my concerns if I eventually FIREd was “what message am I sending to my daughter? Do I want to be a lazy father who doesn’t work?” Well… her most frequent question these days is “dad, have you done with work today?“. Which I usually reply something like “Not yet honey, I still have to work even if it’s 8pm 😐“.

It kind of breaks my heart every time. We should add to “the mess” that I’m continually fighting between spending time on my passion/vocation job, on my family, on my physical and mental health, on my relationships, on my lifelong learning mission.

Feeling guilty for what I’m not currently spending my time on is my normal state of mind.

Another ingredient is that having to push to make my passion profitable (above our growing spending level) “quick” is very stressful. I don’t want that. I want to produce high(er) quality content. I want to convey few clear messages to my young audience. I want to motivate students to improve their critical thinking skills. I want to teach. I want to help. I want to have an impact. I want to leave a footprint in this world. I start to see it as a mission.

I don’t want to care about money. I’ve been on this FIRE journey because I wanted to remove money out of my life.

The needle is now moving toward quitting.

Hold my beer!

Who the heck are you? O_o

Your future expenses spreadsheet 😀

Did I miss anything? ù_ù

Do you plan to keep working from home?

é_è

If I decide to keep working on my projects and quit my job it’s pretty clear I can’t work from home in the mid-long term. If I want to focus and deep work I will have to rent an office. There’s no way around it.

I missed the opportunity to rent the ideal one in my neighborhood for 700/1000 CHF + monthly costs (cleaning, internet, electricity…), and transform it into the RIP Headquarter. I regret having let it go, even if it would have brought up expenses by 1k+. Maybe another door will open in the near future, I’m on the lookout. But it’s another 1k+ CHF per month to add to the pile of money burnt. An extra mile to be covered by my passion income.

I know there are coworking solutions that are kind of cheap (<300 CHF/Month) but they come with a lot of limitations, no privacy, expensive meeting rooms, no external guests, no 24/7 access… if you want a true private office 1k CHF/Month is the lower bound.

Ok, enough data.

Options

Let’s talk about the possible solutions:

1) Keep the job and forget the blog, the YT channel, and entrepreneurship in general.

This is the “normal life” most people live. No FIRE (not in the next 5+ years), no distractions.

Spend ~8 hours per workday working in a low stress fun environment, on cutting edge AI research,  for a nice 200k/year salary.

Enjoy what’s left (in terms of time) with your family, your amazing wife and three daughters, go on fancy vacations four weeks per year, don’t care about life costs because salary is very good.

Buy a car, get a dog.

Well… you know what? It is pretty tempting. It’s a dream life for 99% of the world population.

Also: Forget about blog, YT Channel, products, services, books, online courses, all the people you’ve met during this 4.5 years adventure, and those you’ve not met yet.

No way. You can’t ask an Apple Tree to produce Pears. You can’t stop a waterfall.

I wasn’t meant to have a boss.

Tempting though…

2) Keep the job and – like I’ve been doing for almost 5 years now – squeeze entrepreneurship in the time left.

This is not a solution.

If I go with full time employment (and full time large family) I can’t half ass my content creation passion. It’s a torture. I’d rather quit it, or accept it’s a dramatically low effort thing, like a post per month or per quarter…

Before I even consider this, I’d like to remind myself the power of elimination, i.e. the Warren Buffett Two List strategy.

This is not a viable solution.

3) Go all-in with my passion/vocation using the “Ravenna Threat” Plan B.

This is what my heart, my guts, and my head are telling me to do right now.

I love to tell myself that I’d make it work anyway, and we won’t need to move back to Italy… That given the 3-4 years of Financial Buffer we have I will make my passion to 10k net earnings per month.

And that even if we would hit Ravenna Threshold wealth level we’d be ok. Either I’d go back to work or we’d move back to Italy. We don’t have to finalize Plan B right now. The time horizon for our Swiss Buffer seems long enough to even achieve Swiss Citizenship (see option 7) before having to deploy the eventual Plan B.

So… why not go all-in?

The main disadvantage I can see is that I’d be internally fighting to reduce expenses (or to grow passion income quickly) motivated by letting the Swiss Buffer last longer, with no long term vision.

This might generate some stress.

4) Go all in with my passion/vocation until homelessness, screw the Ravenna threat!

The GaryVee way!

Hustle until death!

Succeed or die trying!

just do it!

Ok, jokes apart. There’s a rationale behind. It’s not simply “fake it until you make it”.

Let’s be honest. Even if our expenses would reach 10k per month, we’re currently sitting on 12.5 years of accumulated expenses. It’s a large cushion.

Let’s say our accumulated wealth generates 2k per month (conservative) and passion income generates 3k per month while we spend 10k per month, the monthly deficit would be 5k, not 10k.

Our current wealth could support ~20 years of “minus 5k per month”.

In 20 years I’d be 64, and in another year Pillar 1 and 2 would kick in (3-4k per month).

Let’s be ultra honest: what are the odds that I won’t be able to cover the gap given 20 years of time?

Plus, will our expenses always be at 10k/month levels? In 5 years we won’t have any kid in childcare, and the financial relief might be huge. Mrs. RIP might actually be able to work again (hard at 46 years with 3 kids though).

It seems doable.

But it’s a dangerous territory, a lot of assumptions, I don’t know…

5) Ask for part time work (50-60%), and do both.

This is what’s on top of my conservative/rationale/responsible mind right now.

Yeah, it still seems a “Warren Buffett says no” scenario, but let’s break it down.

Working 60% (3 days per week) at current salary rate means 120k (gross) per year, 10k gross per month (plus Pension Pillars contributions). With 3 kids and 120k salary we should pay very little in taxes.

Say I can bring home 9k CHF net salary per month. This would more or less cover our expenses (and I won’t need to rent an office because I’d have access to company office).

I could work 3 days per week, as a sole financial provider for my family of 5, living in one of the most expensive places on Earth.

With the remaining 2/4 days (excluding/including weekends) I could achieve something in the passion space AND spend time with my family.

This might seem a viable options.

There’s some cons.

First, I’m not sue they’d be ok with me working only 60%.

Second, I’m not sure I’d be able to achieve much in the passion space with just 2 working days per week. Well, in the worst case this is a “Option 1” with more time for me and my family at the expense of having to keep an eye on expenses. But I could always increase working percentage to 70-80% if we want to be safer, and let’s not forget we have investments that are assumed to generate some returns…

We could FIRE Spectrum this way for a while, and check again later.

Tempting…

6) Move to Italy asap and work on my passions, finally “forgetting about money”.

This is also popping every other day in my head.

Thanks to the fact I’m reading The Elephant in The Brain I recognize I’m self deceiving myself.

I observe myself complaining with random things in Switzerland to make Italy options more palatable.

Look at this shitty weather! If we move to Sicily we’d be taking a bath in Tyrrhenian sea right now!

I need to launch a company and I can’t fucking find anything in Italian or English… damn SVA, how the fuck am I supposed to be productive in this barbarian-speaking country!

Drei, not Drü! Baby, it’s Drei… look wife, our daughter is learning this incomprehensible sub-human dialect! Do we really want to let her grow here? Isn’t it better for her to learn Dante Alighieri’s noble language?

It’s preemptive Confirmation Bias. It’s a close friend to the attitude I was having when I wanted to quit Hooli: I was only exacerbating negative aspects, even where there was nothing really that negative.

It’s like I internally took the decision to move back to Italy at one point, and I’m asking my brain to push me to accelerate this process. Rationalization maybe.

This solution carries the usual consequences like: “What’s better for our daughter(s)? Will we be happy in Italy? Will we be happy to not have even tried to stay in Switzerland without a job? Would this move impact overall happiness for the family? Isn’t this a kind of “too pessimistic” solution?

Maybe before answering last question we should ask ourselves: “Are we considering moving back to Italy a downgrade of our current life quality? Are we willing to accept this Quality of Life / Sanity of Mind trade off?

We should move back to Italy when/if we eventually “look forward to moving back”, not as an inferior option without having even tried.

Even though the control freak in me is pushing for this option, I’m not sure.

7) Wait for Swiss Passport(s) and then move back to Italy.

These is also this variable at play.

I could start the naturalization process in 1.5 years. And it should take ~2 years to complete. I could become a Swiss Citizen in 3.5 years. My wife could get the passport in 5 years. Baby#1 I guess roughly at the same time (time accrues faster for kids).

Having a Swiss Passport is a “FU Paper” in case Italy goes nuts.

Waiting for Citizenship should be considered part of the equation.

This pushes three points down the option (6) to move back to Italy soon, two points down the option (3) where we might move back to Italy soonish AND eventually start the naturalization process without a real job (not cool for them), and a single point down the option (4) “succeed or die trying” for not having a real job at passport time.

Aiming for Swiss Citizenship suggests a more conservative option, and punished options 3, 4, and 6… which are my favorites 😐

May 9th 2021 Update: You’re flooding me with comments and personal messages, I can’t thank you enough… I’m reading your comments and I’ll find time to answer to as many as I can. Thanks to your feedback I came out with three more options

8) *NEW*: Double Down!

Recommended by reader Vesperio (in Italian Language, “te possino…” 😛 ) this is a “option 3 on steroids”.

Vesperio recommends me to take six months off from “real work”, work a crazy amount of hours for the next 6 months, set up a real business, get an office, get an assistant, don’t be cheap, plan to spend 100k in 6 months. Try the business out for real, for six months. Then I can decide what I want to do for real.

Don’t waste time even in thinking about relocating right now.

Don’t even give a shit about FI for now.

This is not a bad idea, but I have a couple of problems with that. First it’s already stressful to aim to cover current expenses with my passion income, imagine if I had to cover 15k CHF per month with it. Let’s be honest, I’m a guy with a blog. I’ve been able to earn 3k CHF (pre tax and pension contributions) in April, and I’m slowing down with services in May – and that’s ok. What are the odds that I’ll be able to cover our living expenses AND business costs (and salaries) in Switzerland within 6 months?

Mind that I don’t want to start milking every potential dollar out of my activities – I have non-negotiable ethical values.

Second, if everything goes well in six months (more likely 5, even something less) my wife will give birth to two kids. She might need help even before. I might not be able to work 80 hours per week for the next 6 months – assuming I can find an assistant and an office tomorrow.

Third, even if everything goes well, let’s see what happens six months from now. Let’s assume I have been able to focus 80 hours per week on my activities and the business grew. We can play with two more likely scenarios. One: the business income wouldn’t cover current expenses, but it has grown significantly during the six months period, with break-even kind of in sight within a year. Two: business income kind of reached the break-even point, but the machine can’t be stopped nor it can be slowed down.

In both cases what did I learn from the experiment? How can this impact what to do after 6 months? Of course life will change (a lot) with new babies, so whatever I learned until then was mostly useless to predict the future.

But I must admit that it’s tempting… do it for real and see what happens.

9) *NEW* Lugano mon amour…

Recommended by friend, reader, and blogger Mr Reset, this is a “fake option 6”: don’t go to Italy, move to Lugano (or anywhere in Canton Ticino).

I’d still be in Switzerland, costs would go down by 40% (claimed by Mr Reset), I’d still be on track for Swiss Passport (slowed down though), no language barrier, better weather, and still most of the other options apply.

This is not a bad idea, but I have few counter arguments:

  • Costs won’t go down by 40%. I’m not even sure they’d g down at all. What’s less expensive in Lugano than Zurich? Rent? We pay 2300 CHF/Month for a 110sqm, 4.5 rooms in a green area we love. how much can we save? 300 CHF/Month? Plus insurances as far as I understood would go UP. Migros prices are Canton independent…  what else would go down? Maybe taxes with 3 kids, but taxes are not my main concern.
  • We’d be parachuted in a territory where we have no roots. What we’d be doing in Lugano? We have so many friends here in Zurich, moving to Lugano would be similar to moving in New Zealand.

The language barrier (if I could tolerate “licenza di condurre”, “riservazione” and a few other weird words), Swiss Passport track, and – most importantly – better weather are interesting plus though.

This idea is pitched to me pretty frequently, I might one day sit down and run the numbers (and maybe prototype a bit). I also have a couple of Italian friends who are pioneering this route right now.

Time will tell.

10) *NEW* Leverage Both Worlds *TOP*

When I think about “moving back to Italy” I begin analysing available options and trying to see which one fits my needs. Then I usually ask myself “why not be the change I wish to see in the world“?

That’s how I come up with ideas about intentional communities, or ideas about ideal coworking space. Those ideas light my eyes up, even if I don’t usually follow up because, you know… fear, second guessing, cowardice…

This time it could be different.

I had the following idea: instead of asking for a 60% and working on my passion in the remaining 60% (yeah, I know, goodbye Saturdays if I want to achieve anything with both my passion job and my real job) why don’t I let the two jobs synergize? Why don’t I let the two personas communicate? Why don’t I tell my boss Mr. RIP wants to work for the company? 🙂

You might be confused, and I understand. i haven’t formalised it in my head yet.

I will send this post URL to my boss and tell him “dear boss, I’d love to stay on board part time, say 3 days per week, and one of those three days Mr. RIP is working for the Institute, not Giorgio 🙂

Still confused?

We (the institute) have a YT channel that gets no views. Everyone in the research group shares events, internal public talks, seminars on their social networks but we get low coverage.

Mr. RIP can bring a lot of attention around our field and our institute. Mr. RIP can bring many talented candidates to the institute. Mr. RIP can live stream ML code writing sessions. Mr. RIP involved in the main business could motivate Giorgio to work harder in the AI/ML field, and resurrect the passion for coding/researching.

Giorgio would be working 60+% on AI/ML research, being much more productive tanks to a rediscovered passion for the field, while Mr. RIP would work 60/80% (a lot of overlapping time) on his stuff, shifting the YT channel focus a bit toward Coding, Software Engineering, Research, Career Development. It’s already happening.

It seems a “better option 5” to me!

What are your thoughts, my friends?

Have a great day!

It’s a (beautiful) mess.

 

73 comments

  1. Since it is not my life, I will attempt to answer the question 😀

    a) even before starting reading the various options, I was thinking “just move back to Italy and keep working on youtube/blog/personal projects, what are you even waiting for?”. This option makes the most sense to me (let’s put aside other concerns for now)
    a.1) the money buffer automatically increase, because of (most likely) lower expenses
    a.2) Assuming that “going back to Italy” means also “expanding the support network” (grandparents, relatives, etc…) this can also help with the larger family = larger mess at home 🙂
    a.3) even if you need to rent something to work, the rent is probably lower
    a.4) don’t discount the fact that for the rent you pay now, you could rent a bigger place, with more room for your personal endeavors

    To me, this is the best option and I would do it immediately if I were in your shoes.

    b) after reading your comments in the various options, another possibility started emerging:
    b.1) work part-time (I work in research as well, and the main perk is the flexibility it grants. People usually don’t care about working hours or how long you stay in the office, they care about results), stay in Switzerland, get citizenship then move back to Italy
    b.2) use the part-time to grow the side business in a slow(er) fashion, with some “security” given by the part-time job
    b.3) move back to Italy to see the advantages of point a)

    Some final thoughts:
    – I have lived outside of Italy for 12 years now (left in May 2009). 6 years in NL, 3 in France-border-to-Switzerland and now 3 in Germany. I don’t miss Italy. I miss my family, my support network and, let’s be honest, sometimes I miss being able to communicate easily with people.
    – I like Germany. I also like Italy (for different reasons). I don’t see one choice as inferior. It’s just a matter of opportunities. I could not do the same job I am doing here (for the same salary) in Italy. Also, I like my flexible job; I could probably make much more in industry, but the small contacts I had with that environment made me stick with research.
    – I wouldn’t look at Italy as an inferior or a superior choice, just a different one with different risk/rewards scenarios.

    As I said, with your skillset, your already growing “side hustle” and your desire to follow your passion, the two options outlined above seem the most obvious to me.

    The only thing I would be worried about is the possibility that, after you go all-in into your passion, you will get to a point where you don’t like it anymore (or not as you like it right now), because at the end you will become your own employee.

    My 2 cents 🙂

    1. What an AMAZING comment!
      I just wanted to quickly THANK YOU and let you know that I’ve read it deeply two times.
      I’ll take time to come back to you with a well thought answer (but of course you highlighted 2 out of 3 preferred options of mine).

      The only aspect I can’t read in our wording is: are those options the best one for my children as well?

      1. I am glad you liked my comment!

        At the beginning of my post I wrote this: (let’s put aside other concerns for now)

        Basically, the “other concerns” are your family. I cannot really judge your situation, so I’ll try to break it down as I would do for myself.

        “Best for my children” is very difficult to assess.

        Best in which terms?
        Is it better to have a “good” school (however you define good) or is it better to get to know the grandparents?
        Is it better to live in a “safe-heaven” or is it better to grow up in a place that might expose them to more “real-life-situations” where they can meet people with a more varied background?

        Personal side note: I had the extreme “luck” of losing my first grandparent when I was already 31 years old; I lost the second one 2 months ago at age 37 (he was 99 years old!). Both my grandmothers are still alive and well. My grandparents are the ones that raised me while my parents were both at work. I have extremely fond memories of the time I spent with them. To me, their houses are basically “my” house. I cannot honestly say that living somewhere else would have been better, if my parents decided to move away for whatever reason.
        Incidentally: the main regret I have now that I live in Germany is exactly that my son will not get to know his grandparents as well as I did with mine. We skype daily with both sets of grandparents, we try to have them involved as much as possible but it is not the same thing, obviously.

        Overall, I think that whatever place you choose to live, your kids will grow up as good as you educate them. If I have to rate the influence that people had in my life, it would be like this, probably:
        – parents
        – grandparents
        – relatives
        – school (and some specific teachers I had, more than the school itself)
        – friends I made during University

        Living away from the support network takes away #2 and #3 (I am basically talking myself into moving back to Italy :D), which to me seems a big loss.

        Of course, this entire line of thinking loses value if you have a bad relationship with your parents, or if your family-network is not tight. It also loses value if you don’t value it as high as I do. I cannot really judge your situation 🙂

        I will not even dive into the topic of your spouse because I assume you can directly talk to her about this.

        (also, I am lucky in the spouse sector: when I first introduce to her the FIRE idea, it was along the lines of “we can stop working, if we want to, and we can do more things we like” she replied: “if you want to do something else, whatever it is, you don’t really need to wait for FIRE. Just do it now, I will support the both of us, there is no need to wait for a future that might never come”. As I said, lucky!)

        As a summary, it would probably help your readers if you could enunciate a bit more what are your concerns regarding your childrens!

        1. Great insights Francesco! It’s like a curse, if you want to label it that, for the generation that leaves their country in terms of losing the family support network as well as the professional network — if you had one. My situation is similar to what MrRIP will get once his twins are there. We had twins and it’s been a tough ride until kindergarden age. We made a financial decision to keep my wife home, looking after the kids. And although she’s really tough, it does at certain times take a toll on her. However, it makes no sense to have one parent working 100% and basically giving all the income to the Kita. We can probably have a long discussion around a beer to weight the pros and cons, this has to work for the individual and the family.

          @MrRip, I’m with you on having to judge what’s best for the children as well. In out case, we have the citizenship for a while now and would make CH our home base. We definitely would not actively look to return to our countries. However, as my kids are now finishing their first year of public kindergarden, I’m starting to think more and more about the Swiss education system. And of the way they channel kids from an extremely young age into certain directions. And the intricacies of that start giving me headaches.
          My two started talking German recently and I’m sure they will have way more struggle with school than native German speakers. They are making progress though and I do hope by the time they start 1st class they can be on par with the other kids. They will have to struggle on their own though, as neither my wife nor I can teach them proper German.
          All of this just to say that you might end up having your decision made for you by what is optimal/better for your kids 🙂

      2. I think you already took the decision, but you still need to rationalize it. About the children, thats more difficult question. The same question I am also asking every day :). I dont see a best decision for them, just trade offs for each option. At the moment I am just trying to take options with more open ending stories for them in the future. If you think deeply about it, and you post an article, I will for sure will read it very carefully 🙂

        Good luck!

      3. Also, just to understand the math…you currently have a 1.5 m portfolio, with for example 4% swr. This will give you 60k per year. You get 3k per month from passion, which is around 36k per year. In total 96k per year. Do you need more? If so, do you trust you can get what you need more from your passion? Or from the market?

  2. Hi MrRip.

    I am a Spanish expat living in Germany for 10 years already. I also have a girl (5 years tomorrow) and two boys (2.5 and 0.2). I feel very identified with your situation, except for the 1,5M NW 😅.

    I discovered your blog 3-4 months ago when I decided to embrace the FIRE and your posts and specially your spreadsheet has helped me a lot to correctly track out expenses and NW.

    I had to decide one month ago what I wanted for me and my family. I got a nice job offer earning 25% more. Give my previous employer I could have tried to move back to Spain and work remotely but I would have also lost a lot of the benefits of living in Germany, e.g Kindergeld.

    After reading your options I would go for option 6 or maybe 7 if you really need the passport. You have already worked very hard, including 2 burnouts, to save as much as you could. I would say you have earned the right to follow your passions blogging/YouTuberIdol. I don’t think moving
    back to Italy is a downgrade, you don’t have to live in the dirtiest place in Napoli (all my respects to people from Napoli 😅), I am pretty sure you can have a really good live in Italy having your savings generating more money, your income from your passion and lower expenses because life is cheaper in Italy.

    Even if you take your daughters to private school or whatever I think your life will be better in your home country.

    For me maximizing the time I spent with my family it worth much more than money. In your case the later is not a problem anymore, so I would say, live your dream and enjoy your time with your family.

    Just my 2 cents. I hope you keep blogging time to time, it is very useful for a lot of people.

  3. Hi Rip, I’m young, so no Kids’ tips on that but I follow you since a year minimum and I discovered you thanks to a friend of mine that told me about this person trying to reach FIRE in CH exc exc. My tiny and young opinion is that you’re doing great on YT and the channel’s numbers say that but it’s a lot of things all in once; maybe creating small video of 25-30 min instead of only live sessions (once every 2 weeks creating a bit of suspense and desire to yours subscribers) could help to cut off some times for Baby Rip x3 and having time to blog again.
    I would also not cut your financial program on YT and here; you’re one of the few people that are not selling shit courses saying that everyone it’s gonna get rich and earn 10k a month. Loads of people, especially now, are gonna follow you on financial advertising on YT.
    So coming to the end I would surely think to start working on YT and see how it goes for a few months and then? well then decide if YT can provide for the family or not.
    Have a great day 🙂

  4. Dear Mr Rip
    I m a terrible student of yours but nevertheless you truly inspire me and I see a slow improvement in myself. Thank you very very much for that!
    I m 44 years old, Roman as yourself and leaved in Switzerland from my 19 years old to 36 more or less , then for a job opportunity (which went south after 6 years) I moved back to Italy (Turin) . I looove Switzerland ! I became a proud Swiss citizen and I feel more Swiss than Italian now. And my dream is to go back to Switzerland with my 4 and 6 years old kids but as you well know is a very expensive move.
    My opinion is : Ma n do vai rimani a Zurigo !!!!
    Italy is great but it puts you to sleep… you feel very comfortable, everything is very cheap, and the media isolate you in a bubble were everything is about Italian sad politics, Italian bad economy, and foremost no future plans for improvement. You as a smart adult you overcome this because you have access to the « outside world » but your kids won’t. In Zurich they will experience different cultures, languages, and learn senso civico which is completely absent here. So drop your job go full time with your passion and if is not enough in few years you surely will find another well paid job there or maybe somewhere else in the world. Buona fortuna! Alessandro

    Alessandro

  5. Mr Rip is always a deep reading…
    just to add complexity to the paradox of choises: Lugano/Paradiso?
    + drop your expenses 40%
    + no language issue
    + still in the passport track (check timing without German test)
    + better weather
    + all working options still apply
    – ticinesi vs Italians

  6. I guess every household is different, but it is a bit surprising that you are the sole bread-winner in your family AND you have to pay for day care.

    Childcare is what will kill your budget. If you are the only breadwinner at home, why is your partner not taking care of the children?

    I understand that we don’t have all the details because you don’t want to expose everything going on in your family (You are absolutely right about that). But, from the exterior, even if I miss half or more of the picture, sending children to day care while the other parent is not working strikes me like a very strange arrangement.

    It really looks like you are trying to solve by yourself ALONE all the challenges in your family.

    1. I have to be honest, I was thinking the same.

      First let me say that I have been reading your blog for about two years now and I like it a lot. I would even say that it’s probably the best blog I have read so far. I understand your struggles and even if your savings in such a short time are really remarkable, Switzerland is a very expensive country. So to be on the save side, I would probably not quit the job now, but go to part time. On the other hand, someone like you would always find a job again if necessary, I think.

      What I also don’t understand is why your daughter goes to daycare three days a week if your wife is not working. There could be huge savings here if she only went 1-2 days or just to Spielgruppe (learn the language, be with other kids). Our son (1y) goes to daycare three days a week too, but me and my husband both work 80% and we don’t have any help from grandparents, cleaning lady etc either. So from the outside it looks like you are carrying all/most of the burden of your family.

      Good luck with the pregnancy! I sincerely hope everything goes well. My son was a preterm baby and I was in hospital already 5 weeks before he was born which was really hard. Lots of other expecting mothers there had twins, or triplets so the risk definitely increases when you expect more than 1. So from experience, I would not underestimate the psychological stress here for the rest of the pregnancy, even if the first 3 critical months are over now.

  7. Hi Mr. RIP,

    First off: Congrats! I sincerely hope, that your yet unborn children and your wife stay healthy and that all will go smoothly.

    And thank you for sharing your struggles – it is why I love your writing.

    I have a couple of thoughts I like to share hoping they might be useful:

    I need to say that I am a reader for around 2 years now, but I have never reached out to you (I have been regretting this since now you are swamped with emails…). Your blog has become the blog I read most regularly of all the things I follow because you just provide high-value content, but much more because I feel this weird closeness, that we are somehow very similar in the way we look at life, what the dreams and values are and so on (and from other comments I’m guessing that there are many other readers who feel similar, which means that you are somehow speaking to a larger pattern in the societal system).

    We are also in a somewhat similar “position”. Around the same age, one child same age (I’m thankfully not expecting twins…), a nest egg that is somehow not yet big enough (my NW is way lower than yours, being self-employed I don’t have a regular and high income like you, but my expenses here in Germany are also a lot lower).

    Speaking from this place I stumbled over these sentences from you: “It kind of breaks my heart every time. We should add to “the mess” that I’m continually fighting between spending time on my passion/vocation job, on my family, on my physical and mental health, on my relationships, on my lifelong learning mission.

    Feeling guilty for what I’m not currently spending my time on is my normal state of mind.”

    I’m in the same mess, I feel the same pain and for me (especially last year) this fuelled into some quite depressive periods I had. And I am realizing that somehow this is connected to how I relate to life. It touches on self-worth, on being able to connect to a clarity in me that would help me navigate these decisions not with ease but without suffering.

    So what I am saying is that I believe there are some very fundamental psychological patterns related to your/my identity at work here.

    And basically, I wish you would take a deeper look at this. (So I can just learn from you and don’t have to do it myself 😉 (and I am actually in the process of doing this.)

    I wish I could write this more precisely but I cannot grasp it clearly enough. I really don’t want to come off as diagnosing you, so if this is way off and doesn’t resonate at all for you, just dismiss it.

    I want to let you know, how impressive I consider it to be, that you make 3k with your passion projects.

    Just to put this into perspective – I was and am in the teaching/seminar business (mostly for IT people). Years ago I used to work for a midsized company, well known in the German market for our high-quality offerings. We had 30k people on our mailing list and were running advertising probably reaching another 30k every few months.

    We learned that whenever we launched a new product (like a new seminar or coaching offering), it took us 9-12 months before we established it so that we made some reliable income from it.

    So you doing this on your own, in a few months, during a global pandemic is a huge success. I am sure you can easily triple or quadruple this and your runway for this is extremely long. So I have no doubt that you can make this. And I agree with Francesco – there is the risk that it is less fun when you start considering this as your job and not your fun side project.

    All the best! I am very curious about what will happen next… Keep sharing, it is truly enriching!

  8. The idea of adding financial stress on top of the stress of TWO new babies seems… unwise? Risky to your marital health? Would it make sense to put off the decision until babies come and you see what your actual expenses look like? This means, yes, continuing the full-time income to avoid jeopardizing your family’s immediate financial footing, and just… see how it goes for a bit. Maybe I’m projecting here (as I always want to make decisions immediately), but it seems like you might be well served by trying out option 1, because it still leaves open the other options that you also like (but the reverse may not be true). Not sure if that all makes sense (and speaking as someone without ANY kids, so… y’know, take it for what it’s worth!).

  9. Hi Rip!

    Your concerns are totally understandable.
    I have to be honest: in your place I probably wouldn’t have the courage to quit a high-paying job to pursue my dreams.

    BUT… you are not me 🙂 AND… you have already quit a high-paying job (Hoolie) and you have already set up a business with your passions (YT channel)!

    So.. my 2 cents: in the short term option 5 appears to be the best.

    Ciao!

  10. Well, I am maybe biased, being born and raised in Switzerland, but my grand mother immigrated from Italy and I’ve got colleagues at work that moved out of Italy, and I guess that since you see moving back to Italy as a downgrade, it means you don’t have any incentive on the personal side to move back there. And so it would be a quality of life / education / services downgrade.
    I had twice the opportunity to move abroad and while I’m not a big patriot, and would love to discover new things, I’ve got my family and my friends here… And that was way more valuable in my opinion for my work-life balance and my quality of life than the extra money and extra buying power I would have gotten abroad. So, I see you didn’t mention the friend and family in your post, I’m not you, but on my side it’s a big factor too.
    My italian colleagues aren’t dreaming of going back to Italy AFAIU, so I guess it’s the same for you and so that wouldn’t be a good move since you have so many other options that you might regret later…
    In general I strongly believe one should try to minimize regrets in their life, otherwise they aren’t able to fully enjoy their current life and keep looking back and brooding with “what if”s.

    So what option would be the “no regrets” one for fou?

    Next, having been around Swiss tertiary workers my whole life, I must tell you that the part time option was the first thing that came to my mind when I started reading your post.
    Part-time is extremely common (at least in the French part of Switzerland) and a majority of the people I know of with a family usually worked part-time. My father worked part-time when I was a kid, my mom stopped working until we (the children) were all going to primary school and then started again part-time. My father’s friends worked part-time (except the ones who were independent or owning their own company), and now that I’ve be working for years in “traditional” Swiss companies (not Big Corp from abroad), most of my older colleagues are part-time.
    Part-time has a lot of different meaning here too:
    It can be 60% with 2 days off a week, or 90% with a day every other week, or a “cumulative %”, where they work 100% most of the time but get payed X% and get 240*(100-X)/100 extra vacation days a year…

    Also something else you might want to consider is “tacking a sabbatical for 4 months”, (or 6 months, or just 2 months…) sabbaticals aren’t looked down upon in Switzerland. That would give you an opportunity to explore your new passion, see if it lasts, supporting your wife with her pregnancy, caring for Baby#1 and going back to work shortly before your daughters are born, maybe at 60% in order to be able to handle your twins at first or maybe because you’ll have found a way up make it work by then… Or you might also quit after your sabbatical.
    I know this might feel like delaying, postponing the life-changing decision, but at the same time you said it: you want to explore your new passion while it’s hot. That might be the occasion to do so without sacrificing a good job with a good boss on passing whim.
    You had the chance to have your cake and eat it for a while, but you could also just decide to take an unpaid sabbatical to continue eating it while it’s hot and see where you are headed in a few months.

    On the children side, having grown in Switzerland, as a child I truly loved living here, with the safety we have, and the amazing education I was able to receive, and being able to go easily to the university without a student loan. (My closest friend had no money and was also able to go to the university without a loan thanks to the funding programs we have.) I have no idea how it is to grow up in Italy tho, so maybe it’s the same there.
    You mentioned the Swiss nationality and while that’s something to keep in mind, I believe that with the Italian citizenship even without a job if you FIREd in Italy and wanted to move the hell out of there, it would be fairly easy to move to another European country such as Germany or France, which are nice too.
    Something you touched on without really considering, is that speaking two languages while growing up is a plus for children IMO.

    That’s my 2 cents, TL;DR:
    – which option would be the one where you’d have the less regrets, if any?
    – have you considered taking a sabbatical to explore this new passion of yours instead of quitting directly?

  11. Hi Mr Rip,

    despite having stuck with your blog first for the FIRE part and then for the Knowledge part, I find it funny that my first official contribution would be on this personal topic post (shows I still have a long way to go before being able to contribute to the other two 😅).
    After reading your options, my first thought went to the kids – I know… the post is about you but, hey, mom’s heart here. I left Italy a few years ago and moved around a while before ending up in Switzerland as well. I never really planned to leave Italy for good but I can only say that every time I go back it does not take long for me to remember why I left.
    Have you already tried to spend some time in Italy thinking that it could be your new life?
    I think what your kids have in Zurich, particularly in these first years, is really cool (starting to find out myself first hand 😉). Safety, lots of outdoor activities, exposure to many cultures and languages (even if it’s the Swiss version of it 😜). It will not be “weird” for your kids to grow up bi- or multilingual and bi-or multi-cultural here because most people around them will be like that.
    If such aspects are important to you, that is. To me, in this case, it makes sense to try and stay in Switzerland at least for a while longer (because of the above) and see how things develop from there and in the meantime maybe try the spend-some-serious-time-in-Italy-before-moving-back option.
    I honestly still don’t understand how you manage to pull so many hours to study with a kid at home 🤯but I think it will be exponentially harder with twins (and fingers crossed for them!!) so I would wonder -do you need to make the ULTIMATE decision about the job NOW? I mean, I get you need to tell your boss but does this prevent you from changing your mind later once you have more data points?
    Something like – can’t to it as a side hustle anymore [option 2] -> let’s try with part time and make blog/YT it more official [option 5]. In the meantime, hopefully, the twins will be here and you can figure out how you feel after that milestone and re-iterate from there. In parallel, you can continue working towards [option 7]. And btw, I might also add that the “relocate within Switzerland” option from MrReset sounds also pretty interesting.
    All this comes with from someone who has not (yet?) any issues with working and having a boss – so, yeah… but I hope you get my point. Happy to discuss further if you’d like.

    1. Dear Mr. Rip, I think you have opened a big can of worms with this post and received a lot of valuable contributions ! Now, good luck to respond to all of us on top of your already super busy schedule ! 😉
      Ms Freeda’s comment sounds mostly with what I would say to you. In my opinion as well is not the ideal moment to take such decisions and in your shoes I would wait to let the situation stabilize a bit – even if this means to be patient for a few more months.
      Me, I would consider either an extended sabbatical or a working time reduction in the first place.
      Also analyze carefully the swiss citizenship option, how much you value it (for you and for your children) and how would it work if you leave (do you have to restart from scratch ? Implications ?).
      Also, consider if it has to be necessarily ZH or if you could consider moving to a different canton. Here in TI you would definitely save much more with your lifestyle while still remaining in the country, of course you would give up the second language (or “dialect”… 😉 for your kids and some part of multiculturality and options which a city like ZH can offer.
      Also check the citizenship requirements if you move to a different canton (e.g. if you need to have lived a minimum X number of years in the canton and Y number of years in the municipality you apply to). I got my passport some years ago and in TI, things can change quite quickly and differ between cantons as well.
      In all honesty seeing how things evolve in Italy I would never go back there for good and I’m happy that my children will have the opportunity to choose (only downside maybe with my son who will have to take military service, but as you only have / will have daughters this is not a concern for you ! 😉
      All the best !

  12. The “Guru” would ask you: “What will you regret the most when you’ll be 85 years old?” And the answer is in plain sight.

    The “Inner Child in you” in yelling don’t kill your dreams and YOLO.

    The “Educated rationalist” puts things in an excel spreadsheet and tries to find the best formula.

    The bad news is that there is not a “best solution” to this problem because we cannot predict the future. The good news is that whatever you choose to do, is probably going to be in a spectrum from “I could have done better but it’s ok”, to “I somewhat succeded” and maybe to “I nailed it and everything went well over my expectations!!”
    I feel confident, and I would bet in your favor, that whaterver you choose you will not end homeless and poor.

    It’s easier to give advice to others than to be the one who has to make the decision.
    I have 3 kids, they are my joy but they suck your time like vampires. I joke with my wife calling them time-stealers. But I love being with them and then feel guilty for leaving my projects behind…feeling guilty is like the normal feeling (guilty for working and not being with them, guity for leaving passion projects behind when you are with them 😀 )

    In your situation probably, since your boss is so kind, I would ask for a vertical part time and try that for one year. If youtube-blog-etc goes to the moon you will leave anyway, if it flops you can go back to a “normies” life or keep on growing slowly.

    It will be hard because you need to schedule your blog- services-youtube time, but you will have less money stress and you can focus on quality content. And you will have multiple sources of income (job – youtube – blog – investments – your services) .

    I believe that a messy, chaotic, entropic life with more things in it brings more pain, more joy, is more rewarding, is more stressful, is more full, and maybe feel more like “living”

    Congrats for your family!

  13. Your comment “Our expenses are also growing” just hit me…

    We also have children and it’s defenitelly they best dessicion we ever made. I wish you all the best with yours! It’s a wonderfull thing!

    Still we underestimated how much they cost. By a lot!
    And as they get older (mine are 11 and 15 now) it only gets more expensive. By a lot!

  14. Directly from the FOL thread: “Vivere di rendita, posso ?”
    As a simple code-monkey that I am, it’s hard to put myself in your shoes …
    also, I’m single, a few years older than you and with about 3/4 of your NW.
    Please accept my modest advice: as others have told you, stay in Switzerland … go to Ticino, as worst case scenario.
    I repeat, I have no children, but if I were you I would avoid both plan B (Ravenna) and plan C (Pioltello), for their sake.
    I would tighten the belt for a couple of years (maybe part-time?) And decide without this sort of self-ultimatum in just 10 days that you took to decide.
    Just my two cents, and sorry for my Hooli-translated english.
    I’m just a code-monkey, remember ? 🙂

  15. You won’t stop to work, you don’t represent the FIRE movement. You try to find excuses.
    you will always find excuses to keep working. I insist you do not represent the FIRE movement

      1. Do not worry, I see different mails 🙂
        I changed this comment “name” into Ortis_2 so it’s clear it’s not the same person as you.

        Btw, I’m reading all your comments, I need to take time (probably tomorrow) and space to reply appropriately.

        … but this one above demanded for a quick response 😀

    1. The very definition of FIRE is to do exactly what you want to do in your life.
      That obviously includes working!
      As FIRE, you’ll be able to find better work, enjoy your work much more, and probably being more healthy and making more money.
      FIRE doesn’t mean “doing nothing” LOL

  16. Hello MrRip!
    It’s been a while!
    First off congratulations on the twins and fingers crossed that everything will go smoothly!

    I realized that the daring way you share your very personal thoughts with all of us is what makes us fanatic readers of this blog. You’re no longer a “Stranger on the Internet”, but a close online friend.

    Your situation is indeed peculiar and of course whatever all of us comment here, cannot take into account, all of those personal details that we don’t know, but may make a huge difference in the decision making.
    If you were single, I would say by all means go GaryVee and make it or die trying 🙂

    The way you’ve outlined your plans, my pick would be 5 + 7.
    Working part time can have the following advantages:
    1. Prevent a burn out. It’s harder to burn out when you “grind” only 3 days a week and the rest you follow you passion.
    2. You have financial security and thus you can focus on creating high quality content without stressing about: monetizing your channel, making it work, feeling bad in case things don’t go the way you expect them to etc. At no point in your life will you think of “selling out” because you have to make ends meet and start shilling “SafeMoon” to your readers 😉
    3. It puts you in a position of strength and choice:
    a) It easily scales (your work) down: If you start earning more from your passion income you can just as easily quit in a 1-2 years, but now with a bigger cushion and a bigger (and proven) income stream
    b) It also scales up: If you decide that you don’t like this YT/coaching (or it just doesn’t feel that good after a few years) or your expenses go up, you can easily go back to working 80% -100%
    c) It gives you the luxury of time: Going all in a totally new professional path AND having to take care of twins? I certainly would not want both of those at the same time. If you do it, power to you, you badass!
    4. Combining this with option No 7 and getting the Swiss passport in a few years, pretty much puts you in a position of FU for the rest of your life.

    So option 5, allows you to go to every other option in the future (minimizing future regrets), while remaining stress free 🙂

    For the Italy vs Switzerland part:
    I also come from a country in the south pretty close to Italy and I often complain about things in Switzerland, but at the same time I tend to remember only the good things about my country and not the chaos in everyday life. But I’m reminded of it every time I travel to home, or when I have to take care of various open loops back there. So there is another way you can trick your brain 😉
    I for one, would pick the country I want the most to live in and raise a family regardless of the financial aspect of it. Again, this is something that only you (and MrsRip) can know.

    As always, everyone of us sees things differently, it will be also interesting to read the rest of the comments.

    Finally, whatever you end up deciding, I wish you all the best and we’re all eager to learn about your future.

  17. Caro Giorgio,
    Capisco la tua ansia ma io la vedo così: sei in salute, sei patrimonializzato, hai professionalità spendibile, sei skillato, hai un curriculum di rispetto! Se darai un po’ di spazio alle tue passioni/desideri qualsiasi scelta farai…tutto andrà bene e non aver paura di tradire il movimento FIRE. Meglio che tradire la tua Anima. Bye.

  18. Man, you think way too much. And in an overly negative way.

    You’ve been hoarding money so you wouldn’t be any more, and now that you have it, there you are! You are a victim of the choices given by money.

    I don’t want to talk long so: go to Italy, live in the province of Rome (you also have relatives nearby) or at most in Viterbo. Enjoy the countryside, the low cost Italian life, your children and remember that with 3000 CHF per month in Italy you are in the rich man’s percentage.

    You can’t work anymore, it’s clear. Follow your passions, you have the money to do it.

    Are you going to lose the enjoyable Swiss lifestyle? Compromises, but you can follow what you are looking for.

  19. This post inspired me to write a small blog post as a kind of the answer. It is titled smooth function. It may also be worth having a look at the previous one.

    If you read them, don’t take them to seriously. That would be a disservice to their content.

  20. I am 48 years old, from Rome, I live near Milan, because my wife is native to here.

    You have to stay in Switzerland and do part-time because:
    – your “character” and story is located specifically in Switzerland. You would not be the same as yourself in Italy and you would be absorbed by a less productive and less “straight to the point” culture
    – Swiss citizenship puts you and your family in a better position, especially since your daughters won’t have to pay the insane public debt that will bend future Italian generations
    – part-time guarantees you an office, keeps your mind healthy and offers you a secure income, in case you need to pay doctors, dentists or … you decide to get yourself a lover
    – you can always modulate the work commitment, especially if the youtuber activity (which in any case will have more and more new aggressive youtubers in the future, and will earn less) will start to fly
    – have your parents (and your spouse parents) reach you. Invest in an accommodation for them.

    Congratulations on the uprising cardinality of your fatherhood, fingers crossed and bravo!

    Pierluigi

  21. Hey Rip
    I’m sure I’m not the right person to give you any advice, but I want to give you my point of view. (it might be useful🙃)

    I also have a family of 5 and although there is a big economic difference I think it can be compared to yours.
    I was born in Italy but my family is from China and I am 20 years old, so I am much closer to your daughter than to you. lol
    Shortly after I was born I moved to China to live with my aunt and sister for like 5/6 years because my parents couldn’t afford it, than I returned to Italy.
    I don’t remember much of that period and I don’t complain about that.
    I think having that experience in two countries, it pushed me to move abroad. I am more and more willing to do it so I just have to figure out when and where. (it could be the same for your daughter in future?)

    Returning to the problem I think you have to think about only one thing to clarify your ideas: do you want Swiss citizenship (right now)?
    Reading online I saw that the years of residence in Switzerland do not have to be consecutive so you could go to Italy some years and then return to Switzerland to obtain citizenship.
    So the option for me are two.

    Returning in Italy:
    1. you could do what you like without too much worry
    2. expenses would decrease and keep your lifestyle or even better one
    3. stress would decrease with the support of your family and your daughters may have more contact with their grandparents
    4. you could devote yourself to your entrepreneurial work (your yt channel is going great, I’m pretty sure it will succeed)
    5. once you reach a good level of income you could return to get the citizen if you still want it, and decide where to stay. (but i think maybe it could be hard moving many times with a family)

    Staying in Switzerland:
    1. it could be stressful
    2. expenses will inevitably go up
    3. your daughters could have a more civic sense but won’t have much contact with your relatives (like me.. when i was younger I missed a little not having much contact with relatives but I think I’m used to it pretty fast)
    4. you will have to decide whether to focus on your projects or do 50/50 with the job (as you said, I excluded the 100% job option)
    5. once you obtain the citizen, you could return in Italy thoughtless.

    In conclusion, although the other option is really not bad, if I were in your shoes I would remain in Switzerland doing part-time job until I obtain citizenship because:
    1. doing part-time it looks like the best compromise for everyone
    2. as you said you can afford it up to citizenship (I’m not sure if once you obtain the citizen also your children get it, but if so I’m sure they will appreciate it)
    3. relatives will struggle to be with the children but on the positive side you will be able to spend more time with them😁

    Other things you should keep in mind:
    1. Italy is not an inferior option. It certainly has various problems but offers many beauties and certainty such as your family, language and lower costs. You could help improve it by educating and inspiring young people. (you are good at that)
    2. if you eventually leave your job, I think the message you would send to your daughter is not that bad, it would be something like: “the workplace is not that important and you can find as many as you want but your dreams are more important and it could also be your job.”
    3. if you want to move remember that the later you move, the harder it will be, especially for the children to leave friends and habits. (Loss aversion bias?)
    4. you can postpone the choice by continuing to work and taking advantage of paternity.
    5. I believe your children’s education depends largely on the parents, not the state you live in.
    6. Congrats! You are having twins, don’t overthink and enjoy it!

    just my “quick” thoughts

  22. One’s level of happiness is based on biochemistry, is intrinsic, and largely constant.
    Quitting your job or moving to Italy will make your family’s life more difficult, but will likely not make you happier.
    Do the responsible thing for your family, keep your solid well-paid job with great people around, and do your vlogging/blogging in the spare time.

  23. How do you conciliate two completely different things?

    On one side, you want more freedom, time, passion projects, money, and the-opposite-of-burn-out (whatever that word is). This has been your goal for many, many years, as far as I understand it.

    On the other hand, two more kids will bring exactly the opposite.

    Yet, you want both! How can you conciliate them within your psyche?

    PS: I hope everything goes smoothly and you have two beautiful new girls. Cheers.

  24. You wrote for 3 hours all these considerations about your future.
    Of course, I don’t know what’s best for you.
    But having three kids is not a joke.
    I think you’re fooling yourself if you think you have so many choices.
    This decision is not about you.
    You will need to keep the job and stay in Switzerland.
    Because that’s the best option for your kids.
    Plain and simple.
    Ask anyone with 3+ grownup kids in your network.
    And any budgeting you have for the future, consider it blown out of the water when your kids become teenagers and they want to go to the best university around or abroad.
    Which you want it too.

    Was it too much tough love?
    In any event,
    Kind Regards

    1. We are a 3 kid household. I disagree, because I think the YouTube channel will grow to a 6/7 figure income within a year.

      RIP: it is time for us to have that long delayed video chat!

      1. 6/7 figures within a year ?

        I sincerely hope so, but in my opinion it is a bit too optimistic.

  25. Ciao RIP, ti ho conosciuto tramite il video su Youtube “Quanto spende un milionario in Svizzera” di Marcello Ascani e ho deciso di aprire un mio blog anonimo (WordPress) in cui condivido la mia crescita personale. Non è ancora pubblico ma ci sto lavorando tra studio (mi laureo teoricamente a Luglio) e attività. Mi piace molto l’idea, ma non ha minimamente scopo di lucro, è egoistico per mostrare più ad un ipotetico me futuro qualcosa che ancora non ho ben compreso.
    Hai consigli da darmi per il blog? A parte buon Hosting e non fare il tirchio su ste cose. Ho letto che le spese per tener in piedi il tutto stanno sui 70.00 EUR/anno.
    SONO INNAMORATO DEL TUO BLOG!
    Ho visto il tuo frame caricato da poco su Yt in cui dici (sintetizzo) di non concentrarsi sul F.I.R.E. ai 21 anni che ho ma di pensare a spaccare il mondo (non voglio andare a lavorare alla JP Morgan però 😀 ). Guarda, per quanto semplice e forse B A N A L E come pensiero per me non lo è stato per niente. Ci penso da una settimana ed essendo io appassionato di investimenti, attualmente con 20k EUR circa nei mercati e altri investimenti tra cui un allevamento.
    Mi stai facendo pensare che a sta età dovrei più cercare di vivere la gioventù, viaggiare, divertirmi, cercare passioni, capire cosa voglio dalla vita (anche se penso che il motivo per cui siamo vivi sia proprio capire il nostro scopo, se c’è).
    Mi sono dato un BUDGET DIVERTIMENTO e vedrò di ben impiegarlo, 100-200-300.00EUR in meno al mese nei mercati non credo più valgano quello da cui mi stavo tirando fuori.

    Volevo chiederti se non ti sei mai sentito inadatto alla società, alle persone che ti circondano: io non trovo persone con i miei stessi interessi o se li trovo sono a livelli veramente da chiacchiere al bar, che sia in ambito di personal growth, investimenti (dato che è un blog anche sui SOLDI), approfondimenti su vari argomenti e mi sento sempre di dover “fingere” di esser un imbcile per stare nella situazione. Te hai mai passato questa situazione? Di non trovare gente che ti stimola?*** O qualcuno con cui parlare e confrontarti su ciò che lo fa (se non vecchi professori universitari)?

    E il cambiare ambiente è facile da dire ma non fattibile causa famiglia per motivi salute loro/impresa da prendere in ambito in cui ho (sto) studiato/ altre economiche.

    Ho apprezzato anche lo spezzone sull’impostor syndrom. Ma te ne parlerò in un altro commento 😀
    Ciao RIP, attendo il consiglio per il blog e di sapere se hai mai provato la situazione che dico*** e nel caso cosa ti ha aiutato a superarla, se la hai superata.

    Un saluto,
    -Mr FF

  26. Come to Como!
    Preserve a part of your swiss salary working full remote/part-time… Zurigo is only 3 hours by car if you need to be in the office for a couple of days!
    This will maybe have an impact on taxes and fees you have to pay in Italy on incomes not related to your job (and maybe also on the third pillar), but I think it could be a good compromise.
    I think that it’s also not a bad environment for your children.. my girlfriend was a primary school teacher and I’ve seen that schools here are well organized and with a good offer of extra activities.
    Towns near the swiss border like San Fermo are clean and well maintained. Boring if you like the urban jungle (I want to come back to Milan ASAP) but nice for families with children.

  27. Hi RIP,

    I will reiterate what I said when we met at the FIRE event in Romania years ago. I think you need to take the jump and quit the job. That you are debating this again, after such a short time starting the academic job, just shows that you are unhappy in a job and this will likely not change in the future. As for going part-time, you have a golden parachute (your savings), so why waste precious life time (even if it is “only” 60% sitting at that work).
    That still leaves you with the decision of whether to stay in Switzerland or move to Italy. I think there is no need to rush on that. Well at least not until BabyPIP will be ready to be schooled.
    And heck, with you cushion, if you really quit work you could even attempt something like continuing to live in Switzerland but spend the winter months with the family in a rented house in Sicily just to see how live for your family feels there. Not as a permanent solution of course, just 1 or 2 seasons to see if it really makes a differerence if you all live in Switzerland or Italy.

  28. I am not going to bore you with my story, let me just say that it’s VERY (VERY!) similar to yours (expat, good income, good NW, plenty of children, similar thoughts, similar worries, similar doubts, simila age, similar attitude towards well paid jobs…).
    And I am not going to advise you on anything (who am I for doing so?).

    Instead, I would like to focus on children as mine cover all ages no: pre-teen, teenager, after-teen…
    For now you only see the steep childcare expenses, which will of course end one day. But, there is a but, the next phases are definitely not cheaper/easier!
    In our consumerist world, you children will have “needs” that are way more expensive than childcare. After that, university, (un)employment, additional issues: millennials cannot really focus 100% on anything, they will always have something they do not like preventing them to pursue the same route, roaming between different life plans…

    Is it because we are wealthy? Is it because we live in an “easier” country?
    Just food for thought.

  29. Hi Rip,
    Are you aware that if you go back to Italy you will have 70% discount on income tax (Irpef) for 5 years? Plus 50% discount on income tax for other 5 years if you go back with children?

    (Discount goes up to 90% if you move to southern Italy).

  30. Hi MrRIP,

    I’m a dad of triplets, and we had like you a Mono/Bi with twin brothers (and one girl).
    First of all congrats and all the wish to your wife.

    Second things, postpone all your decisions until reaching like the 30th week of pregnancy, it can become really difficult with this configuration with months in hospital before giving birth and after giving birth.

    My wife was in hospital from the week 24th until 30th, giving birth then and the kids went out only 2 and half months after that. There were a lot of pressures, good/bad news along the way.

    Protect yourself and your wife and kids, be available and focus on them, I hope everything will be okay but you should be prepared that maybe not.

  31. I would go with part-time. Negotiate like there’s no tomorrow for 60%. It has the benefit of not being one or the other (i.e. either completely quit or not), but allowing for a smoother, more organic transition. With 60% at your current job you’re financially all set anyways.

    Also, the idea of the “fire spectrum” suggests that live is not black and white, but a lot of shades of gray. Some of the options in this post are however much black and white (for example going full-time with the passions vs. going full with stability and keeping a job and forgetting about the passions). While life is about getting everything under the same hood. A job brings a lot of benefits of stability (as listed in option 1), which are a good ingredient into an overall life. It doesn’t have to be an either-or choice (100% or quit). With part-time you can turn the knob and get as much of the ingredient as you need.

    Another option is to find any other 60% job. The standard software engineer job in Zurich pays 120-140k, at 60% that would be 72-84k. That’s 6-7k/month + 3k from side hustle + 3.75k investment income @ 3% withdrawal rate is more than good to go. Going from there, you can turn the knob and adjust the “ingredients” as needed.

  32. Picchia giù duro.

    Ciao rip, il mio pensiero è semplice: picchia giù duro. Prova a fare un salto imprenditoriale.
    Vai dal tuo capo, lo ringrazi per questi due mesi e gli dici che te ne servono altri 6 di aspettativa per motivi familiari (in Italia non sarebbe pagata, lì non ne ho idea).
    In questi 6 mesi ti dai un budget spendibile di 100.000€ max e una quantità di ore lavorative inimmaginabili (80 come ridere).
    Affitti un ufficio e TI TROVI UN COLLABORATORE 20 ore a settimana. In ogni tuo video ti sento dire che non ce la fai a star dietro a tutto. Ok, trova un collaboratore cui dar qualcosa da fare .
    Di progetti ne hai già iniziati tanti, son sicuro che di idee che ti frullano per la testa ne ha di più. Usi 6 mesi di vita e un po’ di denaro per provarci fino in fondo ora che puoi, e poi tiri le fila del discorso.

    In quest’ottica il vivere in Svizzera o in Sicilia è un fattore distraente, non deve essere il tuo focus attuale secondo me.
    La FI pure.

  33. Ciao Mr.RIP,
    ho letto questo post tutto d’un fiato immaginandomi come lo avresti raccontato tu di persona. Seguo il tuo blog da circa 2 mesi e, se c’è qualcosa che ho imparato dai tuoi racconti, è il fatto che la maggior parte delle persone hanno percorsi di vita non lineari e che nella vita è vero che vanno prese decisioni “drastiche”…ma al momento giusto.
    Personalmente la soluzione più interessante mi sembra quella del lavoro part-time. La manterrei fino ad una età in cui Baby#2 e Baby#3 possano diventare più gestibili oppure fino all’ottenimento della cittadinanza svizzera.

    Un saluto e un brindisi virtuale tra due birre.

  34. Hi Giorgio,

    I took my time to read this post (twice) and all the comments. I’ll try my best to cut to the chase, I don’t want to waste your now-more-than-ever valuable time.

    I’d totally go with option 5), so that you’ll have time to put all this “mess” into perspective. It’s likely the one that most grants you to be flexible with your decision plan, letting you to switch to any other option whenever you feel stressed by your job / fun side project (because you don’t know how things change, how you change, remember?) / family; then you can reset your priorities along the way and redefine the work/passion ratio, as you already pointed out. Imho this is an extremely delicate and unpredictable time for your family, so it seems to me that what you all need is stability, at least until the babies will be here. screaming. lots of screaming 😀

    The above is what I thought before the post update. Now I’d pick option 10), even though I believe a research institute YT channel could reach at most a small niche of passionate people. But I look forward to be proved wrong!
    Nevertheless, I still consider this to be the best choice since it’s way more stimulating than 5), and in any case what I put the attention on is not something you get to worry about: you just suggest this new idea to your boss, then it’s on him to think if it’s feasible and convenient for the institute.

    PS: I truly enojoyed this post. Your flow of consciousness conveyed the real discomfort you’re experiencing directly to the reader; I could feel it, and now I can feel you. Hope everything’s going to be ok, my best wishes for your children and for every decision you’re going to make 🙂

  35. Hey Mr.RIP,

    Seems like your cogs are working overtime 🙂
    Very interesting updates 8-10. You already shot down 8 & 9, but it seems like you’re excited about 10. It seems that you forget you’re going to have twins on your hands, besides your older daughter. This will all require time. Perhaps you’re luckier than me, but twins are a plate-full and you need to balance option 10 with how your wife will feel about the time you spend with them — we don’t want to see you getting murdered by her ;).
    To support her you could end up increasing your spending in some creative way to give her some breathing room. Perhaps with 3 kids you could ponder on finding a fulltime nanny, that would also do some stuff around the house (cleaning, cooking, etc).

  36. What a sneaky update! How can I register to notifications in case of updates 😛

    I find option 10 amazing, you should definitively try that route if it’s an option that would be satisfying to you. Also, since you mentioned you wouldn’t be able to work from home in six months with so many children, maybe you could check with your work if they could find you an office too, I know a lot of remote companies are doing that for their employee if they decide working from home isn’t as good as working from a dedicated office space.

  37. (from friend Ottorino, who apparently can’t get his comment pass the spam filter)

    Hi Giorgio,

    No one can advise you what to do, it is you who must mature the choice, I will tell you what I did and then I will tell you my mistakes.

    My wife and I moved to Germany (Munich), and after a few years I felt a desire to start a business.
    So I educated myself with books and online courses while saving up money, and in the meantime I had a child.
    The only thing I can advise you to do is to give yourself deadlines with the results you want to achieve, i.e. to understand when you will be profitable, otherwise you have to be ready to accept that this is not right.
    After discussing this with my wife and asking for her approval, otherwise you won\’t live anymore, we realised that we only had two scenarios

    • ask for a part-time job and stay in Munich (almost as expensive as Zurich), 1 year to get results otherwise we would go back to work in Germany.
    • go back to Italy (owner\’s house), 2 years to get results otherwise we would go back to work in Germany.

    In the end, both to enjoy our loved ones and for the new house we owned, we decided to return.

    For me, returning to Italy was mentally destructive, zero meetings and no contact with stimulating people.
    Third-world environment, a lot of social envy and people busy solving problems that don\’t exist,
    so much so that they wanted to leave after not even 3 months.

    In the end the business started to go well, but it was not sustainable in the long run, taxes in Italy are crazy with checks on bank accounts at the level of the Stasi.
    After a year and a half we left without regrets in the direction of Monaco, my business accompanies me with good passive income to which I added an excellent job and without stress.

    In this way I have had no regrets, I only feel sorry for my son who has suffered a lot from these moves.

    If I were you, I would stay in Switzerland, ask for a sabbatical and set myself goals to achieve in a year.

    You have to add two big variables to the possible return to Italy, the covid schizophrenia reached by people and the need for a car for everything.
    In Switzerland you are still a free man.

    Greetings
    Otto

  38. Hello Giorgio,

    first of all congratulations and good luck for your twins, that is a really nice news.
    I have a suggestion that helps to significantly bring down childcare expenses: get a “au pair” (ragazza alla pari)!
    We have 2 children (2 and 1 week years old) and decided to go for this option for flexibility and low costs.
    Let’s start from the pros:
    – no kita vacations
    – no problems when kids get sick
    – very flexible hours
    – low cost
    and the cons:
    – need to provide a room
    – having a stranger living with you

    We decided to go for a combination of babysitting and spielgruppe (about 3 hrs a day), so that our children will not miss on the social side.
    The total cost of this is about 1’500 for the 2 kids, which is significantly lower than full time kita (> 5k) or full time babysitting (~4k). Of course, you need to take into account that you are providing a room. For the sake of calculating costs, let’s add 1k for the room. Even then, the cost is much lower than other options.
    I’m happy to provide more details if this option is interesting for you.

    Federico

  39. Finally some drama. The reading journals posts were less fun to follow.
    It’s easy: What choice gives you more YT content opportunities? If that’s not your decision process, maybe keep the job for now.

    More seriously: a good therapist can be the best long term investment.

      1. Actually the therapist idea is a good one, speaking with a professional might really be helpful.

        I just went through a change in my career that was driving me nuts and a meeting a therapist once every two weeks for a few months helped me really a lot: it gave me tools to better understand myself and forced me to reflect over my values and what the different options in front of me meant for them. It basically helped me structure my messy thoughts.

        I would really consider it if I were you. I guess it’s pretty common to do it online these days so you could find one in Italy and save some a lot of money compared to one in Zurich.

  40. Ciao Giorgio, but I prefer calling you Mr. Rip 🙂
    long time reader, so I hope I am allowed to say I know you a little bit..

    I already wanted to say this some posts ago, and your title is very similar to what I am going to say: it not “it’s a mess!” it’s more “I’m a mess!”
    yes you are a mess, and even if I really appreciate your voracious curiosity, I think you are also a victim of the unlimited content of the internet. You lose hours of your life trying to catch up with “all-this-incredible-amount-of-high-quality-super-philosophical-super-cutting-edge-oh-look-this-ted-talk-oh-read this-essay-content” etc etc that pervades internet. People out there fight for our attention and you lose in this fight.
    You should really start to cut (or even detox from) new content for a while, this is a crucial time of your life and you need to concentrate on other things.

    I really hope everything goes well with the pregnancy. As a lot of readers I also find similarities with you (that’s a reason for following your blog I think), and part is because I am father of a girl half year younger than yours, and a second girl on its way (due in july, so excited about it).
    So as someone with similar issues (job sucks, stash not enough to retire, lot of interest and wants to pursue my own way), I want to say that unfortunately (and really fortunately) your life is not yours anymore. You have greater responsibilities, and decisions must be taken for the best of everyone in the family, not only for you. Your “audience” now must be your family, all your energy and support should be focused on them, not to provide content for annoyed young millennials (or better gen x/y/z tiktokers or what are called now – I am also an old 41y.o. trashbag).
    This is of course my point of view.
    Regarding your dream of becoming a youtuber……do you really think the revenue will continue to grow? or even stay the same for over 10 years? what when your audicence will find something newer / cooler? how will you react ? and now to be the real asshole: who do you think you are? do you really think the world is missing what Giorgio has to say about how to buy ETFs?? (sorry, cold shower – reality check, non per essere cattivo ma perchè te vogliamo bene a Gio’ !) Don’t you think that you should give your 100% to your woman and your girls instead of unknown people that wants to get a job at google switzerland to buy more crap?

    of course this come from my limited risk adverse non financial secure person, so take it as it is.

    From my point of view, the savviest move would be going part time ( even 75% so to work just mornings, like 7.30 -14) trying to have all afternoon free. And use the time not only to grow your business, but to consolidate your role as husband and father.

    Another option that I think you are not taking into cnsidaration, that I think would be great for you, is becoming a people manager. You are incredibly impressed by good “human” boss, as the french guy you had a google and this new one. You hate doing the workhorse job (of course, after 20 years is a totally normal sentiment). You love having an impact on people, inspiring and making their lives better. You should really reflect on this change!

    I wish you all the best.
    cun saludi 🙂

    1. I would love to reply to every comment in this thread, but it’s a full time job of its own.
      but I want to reply to this one in particular, because even if I read 99 comments that say what I want to hear, when I read the one that hits hard I get knocked down (but I get up again – cit) and I can’t stop thinking about it.

      First of all, thank you. You comment is harsh but it’s not offensive or negative. I’d like to address it with similar harshness.

      What follows is a random flow of thoughts that your comment triggered:

      I’m a mess. Yes, I know. It’s not that life is a mess, it’s just that my head is a mess. I though it was implicit. Even though if I stop and think at my life in the last 15 years I see that I’m being dragged in a direction I never wanted or intended to go: spending 10k per month. I was living with 700 EUR/Month 15 years ago and I was Happy. I felt immortal, I felt RICH. Now I’m spending 10k per month and it seems to be “inevitable”, and I should just “grow up” because “hey, it’s not your life anymore”… when did it happen? Was it at forty? I might have missed the point when I gave up my own life sovereignty.

      “I think you are also a victim of the unlimited content of the internet”. I might 10% agree with this, and I’m constantly asking myself if my “curiosity craving” is a net positive or a net negative thing in my life. So far, I think it’s a net positive. Maybe I should reduce the inflow, maybe I should let something go and not keep 4k saved bookmarks to be “read later”, but that’s it. I don’t have a FOMO problem, I don’t have a curiosity problem, I’m not just passively consuming content, I’m using it to produce a lot of output (you might rightfully question the quality, but I’ll get back to it later). I might “detox” from NEW content because I want to catch with OLD content I saved for later.

      “your life is not yours anymore”. Nope. I disagree. I don’t accept it, and I know (and you know) we’re always in control of what we do. We might decide to let our sovereignty go, but that’s not how I want to live. What did I save 1.5M for? What am I considering moving back to Italy for? Your reasoning is so absolute, like “details” wouldn’t matter. There’s no quantitative analysis in your comment, just qualitative.

      “as someone with similar issues (job sucks, stash not enough to retire, lot of interest and wants to pursue my own way)”… it seems you’re talking to yourself more than to me. You’re convincing yourself that the life you feel trapped on is the only one possible. It mustn’t be that way.

      “decisions must be taken for the best of everyone in the family, not only for you”. Agree. But that doesn’t mean that I should feel the obligation to give my children the top notch quality of everything. This is bullshit. My children would prefer to grow in a happier family than in one where their father is depressed so that they could get the latest iPhone.

      “do you really think the revenue will continue to grow? or even stay the same for over 10 years?” … why did you show up today telling me this? I’ve been producing content for 5 years earning ZERO. Then in the first 4 months of 2021 I’ve earned 10k without even pushing. Isn’t this encouraging? Isn’t this part of the equation? No? It doesn’t matter? Having saved 1.5M and having raised earnings from zero to 2.5k per month in 4 months don’t matter?

      “who do you think you are? do you really think the world is missing what Giorgio has to say about how to buy ETFs??” … do you really think the world is missing what Giorgio does in his daily job, with zero passion and working no more than 20 hours per week (and surfing the web in the other 20) at 10% energy? I don’t think so. Do you think the world is missing what Ali Abdaal has to say about 10 tips for time management? No, but he makes 50k per month with that. do you think the world is missing Tiago Forte’s idea of Building a Second Brain? No, but his course sold $5M last year.

      “Don’t you think that you should give your 100% to your woman and your girls instead of unknown people that wants to get a job at google Switzerland to buy more crap?” … plus another 100% to retain a normal job. And no, I don’t think I should give my 100% to my family (+100% to a company), I think I owe a good fraction of that time pie to myself, I’m dreaming about it since late 90s.

      1. I am so happy I triggered your answer, and happy that you understood I did not want to be offensive or negative. Of course trying to write down my points, ad reading your answers, is a bad way of communicating. My points are also not black or white, and as you noticed a lot of them are the same questions I ask to myself. I think It would be much better to record a live conversation where these points can be discussed back and forth, and better analyzed, since my questions and your answers are limited from the support (a message board in a blog post). As an example, I was sure you were going to cite some famous Internet stars, and my answer would be, what is the difference between you and the 40 years old “calcetto” player that still dream one day to be the next Cristiano Ronaldo? should he give up his plumber job and put his family on the side to pursue his dream? you know better than me that this is pure survivorship bias, and these “Internet superstars” are actually just a brand, behind them there’s a huge marketing machine. Think about all the small wannabes, all the youtuber / tiktoker that share their normal life with 50 subscribers and 100 view (if at all) per video. I fear your ego is the obstacle to your happiness, you think you will only be happy when you can live with your side projects income. I know you also love the stoics, perhaps you should read them again and again. And on a side note, just a small article to reflect: https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/tv-radio-web/depression-and-the-content-creator-1.3522635 …. or go to some youtuber subreddit and read the mental problems they face.
        Actually you know what? I am going to propose you: should we do this in one of your live events? this could be another idea for your side projects, a podcast where “normal” people reflect on these classical middle age problems. As you noticed from your readers response (at least in this board) there are a lot of people struggling with the same things. It can be like a collective therapy. You have my email 😉
        Stay strong and healthy!

        1. I like this exchange because even though it’s “tough” and “personal” I think it’s also fruitful 🙂

          Yes, let’s record a call or go live with this. I’ll contact you (probably by the end of this week).

          I just want to answer one extra point: “what is the difference between you and the 40 years old “calcetto” player that still dream one day to be the next Cristiano Ronaldo? should he give up his plumber job and put his family on the side to pursue his dream?”
          1) I’m not the 40yo calcetto player, I think I have some numbers and I have demonstrated that I can profit from my skills as a content creator
          2) Soccer is a bad analogy because the success distribution is very skewed. If you don’t reach Ronaldo level (but land in Serie B or Serie C) you’re screwed, you won’t make a living. In content creation, online education, and passion economy in general there’s plenty of space to earn a living not just for the top 100 in the world.
          3) I’m not the plumber who’s thinking about switching career. I read the plumber analogy as being someone who’s living paycheck to paycheck. That’s not my case. I can sustain my family with a 60% job, and I can sustain my family for the next 15 years even just burning what we accumulated (assuming ZERO extra income).

      2. “I think I owe a good fraction of that time pie to myself, I’m dreaming about it since late 90s.”

        500% true and agreed. I think this is the correct approach.

  41. Hi Giorgio,
    I don’t want to add more mess to the mess, but for the kids I would try to put time to be with them into the equation you are looking for. Childhood does not last long. It’s too short. And they, before a good school and a high standard of living, above all need a dad who does many things together. Put it as a daily task and, wherever you go, please consider it. Consider how the choice would change the time with them, in quality but (let’s not fool ourselves) also in quantity. This time it’s me that can recommend a good investment to you, which you will never regret 🙂

  42. Hi Rip. Nice thinking as always, very inspirational life analysis. Option 10 it’s purely genius out of the box reasoning in my opinion. Take a deep breath and go for it, I strongly hope for your success. Best luck

  43. Sorry to read that this stash has become more than ever a definition of yourself, now a business “watch me and get taught so you can do the same”.

    I would have invested my energy elsewhere – hopefully the twins are coming and they will need some, so does the rest of your family-, hopefully bringing another million in a newly developed passion or maybe spending it all; if only life could bring some sort of wisdom and peace of mind. You do not sound you have reached that stage.

    Well your recent investment in your projects adds some fresh and I wish it can last.

    Long story short, you had a comfortable wage at Hooli, saved a lot, invested in ETFs during the best performing decade, made 1.5M and now want to sustain your life and family talking about it while having lost passion in everything you were doing before, starting with what has brought you some wealth.
    And what is it, this number ? A pride, an award, an excuse, a reason, a superpower, a product, a … burden? It depends, it’s a bit of everything when we scroll from option 1 to 10, but nothing you seem to be very comfortable with, it looks like it’s more of a … mess. More than ever you sound trapped in the stash…

    I wish you find your way; while your blog and your audience may be a lot about voyeurisme,
    it is indeed very enlightening. Everyone can reflect on their relationship with money, career and life.

    Good luck !

  44. Something I read once…if retirement is not an option, how would you design your life, so you would like to live it every second of it every day? What work would you do, if you could never retire?

  45. Hi Mr. RIP,

    Yes, I read all post. I was though but I did it. 🙂

    To me besides you being you, nothing wrong with that and I read your posts exactly because of how your are, you have too many options to choose from and are mainly focused on you and what happens to your dreams and ambitions. I’m about the same age has you and I understand the conflict although I not near of anything close to FIRE so I don’t have option like you do.

    And I’m not you, you should know better about your life than anybody else but sometimes while I ready your posts, you seem some kind of selfish to the people near you although you want to do good to the world and that’s a good thing. I had that phase a decade ago where I was in a very demanding personal project but it ended and no regrets, life goes on.

    Sorry if too harsh in my words but I just want to keep my opinion honest like you do in all your posts of the blog. All the best, somehow you will find your way in life and congratulation for the twins. You will have more companions to the board games you like so mush. 🙂

    Regards,
    Luis Sismeiro

  46. Have you already decided what you are going to do?

    My guess is that you’ll be on and off the bus within the next years. Jumping off to have more “me time” working on your pet projects just to jump back on to cover the ever increasing living costs. 3 kids are no joke and I can tell you the cost increase is accelerating as they get older. Just another 25 years 😉

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