May 2019 Financial Update

Hi RIP friends,

This is an ultra-short post on May 2019 RIP finances (spoiler: it’s been a shitty month) and some personal updates.

First: I’m alive 🙂

Saying that because quite a few people reached me out to check if everything is good because “I didn’t see new posts for a while…” I’m alive, doing good, facing turbo-life-changing decisions all at once.

I’ll be crystal clear in few months. I can’t be right now. Lesson learned: even though your company may be fine with people seeking FIRE (and Hooli definitely is, we even have an internal mailing lists for Mustachians), having EVERYONE know who you are and potentially read your blog makes sharing personal things much harder. As I said, I’ll be shockingly clear in few months.

Teaser trailer: I’m considering leaving Hooli soon (mild shock 😮 ) and we’re discussing what could be our next step? Another Tech Giant? As soon as I discussed that with friends in the industry I got contacted by both Pineapple and Smithereens (Loved that Black Mirror Episode! Actually liked Striking Vipers too. It would have made a good grammar joke if I liked the Ashely too too but I didn’t. But I made the joke anyway, sorry 😀 ).

I’m not ready for this kind of move right now, I’m in a certified medical burnout state and need time to recover. I’m currently disgusted with software engineering at Giant Tech Corp level. I’m a simple 42 years old software engineer guy, I still like algorithms, creativity, mastery, and f***ing autonomy.

If it’s not another Tech Giant, then what? We’re not FI, not in Switzerland of course. If we want to stay here I need to swallow that Pineapple… or join a startup or whatever else in the field that – at the moment – I want to take a break from.

Else? Moving back to Fascitaly? Become a full time blogger / financial advisor / financial coach? Revolutionize the education system? Start my startup? Start a coworking space like MMM and Mr1500?? Jump into politics and fill the chasm in the Italian political scene, waiting for someone to take it? Write full time, not just about finance?

Amazing book, btw

In the meantime my wife is finally finding her vocation, that sets constraints on what/where/when. And daughter is growing, which sets constraints on time/options/opportunities.

Real shit is: if you’re young, don’t waste your time. My midlife crisis might resolve in “there’s no way you can do anything great once you’re 40 with a family“, and then swallow that fucking pineapple. And I shouldn’t probably even say that, because my dear friends at pineapple are reading my blog too 🙂

I’m still fighting though, but if you’re 20something don’t waste your fucking time, go binge watching  GaryVee videos and do shits 16 hours per day. It will get orders of magnitudes harder at my age.

Anyway, thank you all for the support and warmth received during last few weeks 🙂

I’ll be more open about this process in the near future.

Ok, back to financial update… what?

RIP, nobody gives a shit…

Hey, it’s not fair, that’s my accountability method, now you have to listen to my shit!

Ok, be quick, please. Are you a millionaire in EURO?

No way, it’s been a shitty month as I said 🙁

Quick Recap

Full Net Worth document is available as always on Google Drive.

As you can see, Mr Market went south a bit, after 4 glorious months (Jan-Apr 2019), which happened after 3 roller coaster months (Oct-Dec 2018). Since October 2018 I’ve experienced so many ups and downs that I’m getting used to it. The year 2019 is still overall positive though.

So I’m not a EURmillionaire, let’s hope for a normal June at least. Expecting extra income thanks to stocks vesting. Dividends will come too, but they’re factored in current assets’ prices. Anyway, if nothing bad happens we can break the final two commas door in June!

What about British Pounds?

Oh come on, who the hell cares? Anyway, give it some times and the mountain will come to Muhammad 🙂

Cash Flow

Cashflowwise, it’s been a (relative) low income month, but a low expenses one too. Not bad for an anonymous May.

Still 9.3k CHF saved, even though the NW delta in CHF is -41k, which implies a net loss of -50k CHF! It’s not all market driven, it’s also a month where the Swiss Franc got 2% stronger than both EUR and USD. Losses in EUR (-16k) are more contained.

Anyway, the risk here is that saving/spending decisions get impacted by these huge rises and falls.

Uhm… today we lost 10k, should I buy these M-Budget bananas or get the bio ones? Oh, fuck it, it doesn’t make a dent, let’s buy the Ultra-Bio ones for 3x the price!

or

Uhm… today we gained 10k from investments, should I change my 6 years old low tier (back then) desktop computer purchased with 15x Migros Electronics coupons? Ooooh fuck it, of course I am! I got 10k today from Mr Market!

Which is the worst you can do! Ups and downs sum up to much less than their total volatility! Just stay the course!

But RIP, your desktop PC really sucks, please buy a new one…

Yes, of course. I just got the yearly 11x M-Electronics coupon, now I just need to wait for 20-50% special daily discounts and I’ll do it 🙂

Anyway…

Total income: 13.5k CHF, worst 2019 month so far. Expenses 4.2k CHF: very good, but bills are coming next months… Saving rate 69% (~75% so far in 2019), definitely not bad.

FIRE Metrics… oh, cmon, who gives a crap?

Some financial (and more) facts of the month, in chronological order

A couple of Trump tweets about US-China (and Mexico) tariffs war sent the markets to thrash. A couple of tweets. By the end of first week of May NW delta was Zero.

No more devaluating my Milan crappy apartment by 1k EUR per month. I’ve got 2 new offers for 70k EUR, I guess 60k is a good conservative evaluation. Still these potential buyers can’t get a mortgage though. There are 3 pending offers now… at first I suspected my Italian realtor was trolling me, then he showed real offers signed. I hope one of those desperate guys will get a mortgage!

Decided to subscribe to Breaking Italy Club on Patreon. Breaking Italy is one of my favorite Italian YT channel and I love the project. I’m supporting it with 10 USD/Month. It’s my first time, I’m not usually a “subscription guy” but I decided I really want to support the project and get in touch with the community behind.

Second week of May even shittier from Mr Market perspective. So I decided to invest 5k CHF into Emerging Markets (EIMI). I had last two months worth of “investable amount” (2.5k CHF per month) sitting on my IB account so I invested it all in EIMI: 492 shares at 27.05 USD/Share. Fun fact: I risked fat fingering while purchasing EIMI! I initially selected SELL instead of BUY. Luckily the order didn’t get fulfilled immediately.

Federal taxes (bundessteuer) for year 2016 final calculation arrived! It’s in line with what I declared, which is better than I expected: I expected a correction. Now I’m waiting for city and cantonal taxes (Staats- und Gemeindesteuern) final calculation. If it’s consistent with Federal taxes, I might receive 10.2k CHF back instead of the accounted 8.9k CHF. It’s a 1.3k windfall I won’t mind 🙂

Before you scream “Cheater! Fraud!” let me explain what happened. At the time of tax declaration ICTax didn’t list all the “virtual dividends” for my ETFs. Some of them were “not ready yet”, so I had to file taxes with the knowledge I had at that time, i.e. my accumulating ETFs shared no profits. I was expecting a correction but it didn’t happen (on federal tax level). Since city and canton taxes are just linear function of federal taxes I don’t expect the correction to take place now. My 2017 taxes carry the same “problem”, even bigger in magnitude… Maybe accumulating ETFs still have an edge over distributing ones after all 😀

Since I want to accumulate more cash, I suspended my monthly 2.5k CHF transfer from PostFinance to InteractiveBrokers for now.

That’s more or less it, from financial point of  view.

I know, I’m behind with my ETF List, will fix that later this year.

How was your May?

30 comments

  1. Hey Mr. RIP,

    About your job considerations, I cannot recommend “Too Good They Can’t Ignore You” by Cal Newport highly enough. The title doesn’t do this book justice (it looks so life-coachy, I couldn’t bear to look at it at first), and the last ~20% is quite repetitive, but so far it’s been the best condensed resource on what defines a great job, and how one can get one.

    I wouldn’t presume to have any answers for your dilemmas, but I hope this book can be a tiny little bit of help.

    1. I know Cal Newport (I love him!), I watched his Ted and follow his blog. I own “Deep Work” and waiting for a paperback version of “Digital Minimalism”. I think I also watched few animated videos of TGTCIY and I classified it as “good for a 20yo college student”. Deliberate practice, actions that drive passions and not the other way around and so on.

      Maybe I should consider reading it 🙂

      I’m reading “Man’s search for meaning”, just to give you an idea of where I am in my deep dive right now.

      1. Deliberate practice, actions that drive passions and not the other way around and so on.
        While this part may not apply as much, he later has about two chapters on the ‘if’ and ‘when’ for jumping into a different job/career – I mostly had those two in mind with my recommendation as you seem to be struggling with those them :).

        Also, echoing the other comments – good luck in figuring this out!

      2. If you want to dig even deeper, try to read Erich Fromm. I can especially recommend Escape from Freedom, it has less blah-blah about religion compared to his other good books (To Have or to Be, The Art of Loving). “Bullshit Jobs” by David Graeber is also worth reading.

        Also is you love Cal Newport, most likely you stumbled upon Mark Manson. His “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fck” is quite good, but the most recent “Everything is Fcked” is garbage, don’t waste your time on it.

        Most likely you’ve already checked it out, but anyway, Naval Ravikant is an amazing guy and his appearance on The Knowledge Project is brilliant: https://fs.blog/naval-ravikant/
        There is also a new episode of Joe Rogan with him: https://youtu.be/3qHkcs3kG44

        Also try to work less, I’m not sure if it possible at Hooli, but after another burnout, I noticed that in reality I work productively much less than I’m supposed to and it’s still enough to make everybody in the office happy with my productivity. I’m pretty sure you can find better use of the wasted time (in my case it’s at least 3-4 office hours per day) while preserving your productivity during a couple of 2h Deep Work sessions.

        Still waiting for your personal update! Every time you publish it, I get a couple of weeks of good reading. Keep going, do more sports, sleep well and try to find a meaningful work or hobby (and time to do it). For me personally this blog is more about searching for meaning in life than FIRE. Actually, over time I left in my subscriptions only two “personal finance” blogs: MMM and yours, but MMM is also less about money and more about lifestyle. Probably it’s because money is boring, you don’t have to be a genius to FIRE after all, it’s much harder to find yourself during this path.

        1. I’ve read both To Have or to Be and The Art of Loving (3-4 times when I was young). I was a great fan of Fromm, but I didn’t read Escape from Freedom. I’ll check it out. I’m reading Man’s search for meaning right now, to give you an idea of my Midlife Crisis’ depth 🙂

          “Bullshit Jobs” I printed, read and I think I recommended it in one of my “curiosity” posts. The subtle art of Not giving a fuck I’ve read it last year and loved it. I was planning to buy the other book from MM but I’ll skip it after your negative recommendation. Thanks!

          I keep hearing this Ravikant name (first time it was on Tools of Titans) but I never went deep on him. Will check it out, thanks!

          Working less, I’ve been working 80% for a while, in my previous team. It was good but not good enough to send burnout away. And btw in this new team they rejected my part time request, like they rejected my sabbatical request. I think despite all the corporate bullshit about “well being”, “work-life balance”, and “anti discrimination & inclusivity” a 42 years old person that didn’t climb the ladder fast enough, that is a bit burnt out… is simply someone that needs to be disposed of.

          I won’t publish my personal update for a while, but I’ll try to write a “CuriosiTips” post sooner or later 🙂

          Thank you for your deep and warm comment, Nick.

          1. I’m also in the middle of “Midlife Crisis” but I’m still 25yo, so I guess it will strike again more than once in the future, lol.

            Looks like DHH is on a similar stage with you. He is a creator of 37signals/Basecamp, Ruby on Rails and an author of several opinionated books. Here is his reading list for the previous year with comments: https://m.signalvnoise.com/the-books-i-read-in-2018/
            It includes Fromm, Sartre, Viktor Frankl, Kierkegaard, Stoicism, digital minimalism, a bit on parenting and finances. You may find interesting “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, though it’s a long read.

            By “working less” I meant a less ethical option 🙂 In my case I actually productively work about 4 hours per day while being paid for full-time work. I know it may be illegal and unethical thing to do, but this way I’m way less stressed and manage to do more work than when I tried to force myself to write code as much as possible. The rest I spend on learning/reading/walking and occasional meetings. Most likely it wouldn’t be possible at Hooli especially if your new team is so unpleasant.

            1. I know very well DHH, I love SVN blog and his and Jason Fried’s articles 🙂 Will read the link you recommended.

              About the “work less” yes, it’s “an option”. It’s actually the default one, since many studies say one works no more than 3 “real” hours per day and I’m not an exception to that. But the routines, the fact one has to come to the office, the lack of mental freedom… This is draining me. A good metaphor is the picnic one here: https://eev.ee/blog/2015/06/09/i-quit-the-tech-industry/

  2. Breathe Mr RIP!

    Maybe you will get a corporate chrome book as a leaving present from Hooli, solve the dinosaur era PC problem.

    Unless you’re hoping to have the decision made for you, I would advise caution airing your plans, and dissing potential future employers, in public if your readership is as broad as you suggest.

    It weakens your hand and potentially reduces your options. Nobody wants a reluctant employee who foot already out the door. Eating pineapples by choice is far more pleasant than having one forcefully inserted in desperation!

    Good luck with your midlife crisis.

  3. I love reading your posts and the structure of your blog..! You are a clear inspiration and a great source of ideas, information and… smiles…
    It definitely does sound like you are passing some hard times, but if that helps, in similar times I love reminding myself of a quote (I cannot remember, possibly from Daniel Kahnemann) that says “Nothing is as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it”.
    In fact, the safest investment you could make is to bet “all-in” that you will eventually reach your FIRE goal and get a job / hobby / passion that brings you satisfaction and / or money, if not both.. But please, please, in the meantime keep writing (the book on financial independence for Europeans was a terrific project!) and if you decide to enter Italian politics, you have my vote..! 🙂
    In bocca al lupo and look after your health, that’s the only one you get!

    1. Great quote, so true!
      We overestimate how much the world (and our-tomorrow-self) gives a fuck about our problems 🙂

      I’ll keep writing, promised!

  4. Ciao MrRIP,

    I grew up in Italy during the Berlusconi era, now I live in Brexitland. I find that watching and reading the news less has made me happier, yet I still know what is going on out there.

    Remember to relax and clear your mind. I cycle, that always does the trick for me. Do what works for you, and take your time. Then tell us all once you’ve done it 😉

    Take care,

    Sonia – Money for the Modern Girl

  5. Good to know you’re still alive Mr RIP! Happy to hear from you.

    Keep it steady at home, especially with the wife and daughter now asking for your attention as well and try to find out what you want from an eventual next step. Good luck!

    1. I hope it didn’t look like I’m not happy for my wife and her newfound passion, and for my daughter’s craving to explore of the world.
      These days my babes are my main source of happiness 🙂

  6. Hi Mr RIP,

    Could you please explain how you calculate the savings rate? If read the spreadsheet, gross is 14k, tax expenses is 3.1k, Pillar 2 contributions are 2.6.k and your monthly expense or spend is 4.1k. Now do you consider the tax expenses to be included in the spend ? In other words is the real spend 4.1k + 3.1 in accrued taxes? Also is Pillar 2 contribution counted as part of savings too?

    1. MrRIP always count taxes as Money, that does not belong to you, so he subtracts it from income. Pillar 2 Contribution (both parts) is Money, that belongs to you, thats why he counts it as income.
      Gross 14k – tax 3.1k + Pillar2 2.6 = 13.5 k net income. Expenses are 4.1 therefore savings are 9.4. Savings rate = 9.4/13.5 = 69.7%

  7. Hey. I have a 6 year old PC and you can bet I’m salivating at the recently announced Ryzen 3000 series of chips. I don’t need the power, but hey, I think I deserve an upgrade to a new 12 core beast! I think you deserve it too 😀

  8. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your site. You have some really great posts and I feel I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an email if interested. Thank you!

    1. Hi BPP,

      I was automatically going to report your comment as SPAM. But then I changed my mind, maybe it’s better to reply publicly to have a place where to point future similar requests.

      I don’t do this kind of things (guest/sponsored) with people I don’t know. I receive requests like yours on a daily bases. If you really read some of my posts, you should have understood without asking. This is a personal blog, with a personal voice, where “guest” posts are kept to a minimum, and only from people I have a connection with. Be them bloggers I know personally, real life friends, experts I follow and not much more.

      Just sending me a cold email asking to collaborate doesn’t work. Asking to collaborate via comment on one of my posts is the worst way possible. Adding a link to your site and a full brand name is even worse.

      I want to be nice and hope that it’s been a genuine mistake of yours, so I just edited your name and removed the link to your site. I’m not doing this for public shaming. I’ll leave your comment here as a call to (in)action for all those who are planning to do something similar.

      Good luck 😉

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