Not everyone wants to be able to resign from their jobs. Some love working, while others don’t. But being financially independent isn’t necessarily about being able to tell your boss what they can put their TPS reports, it’s about being able to weather a financial storm.
For that, at the very least you need a rainy day fund for emergencies. But you might find that once you’ve been able to build a decent rainy day fund, that you’re even more motivated to save and invest more, and then one day you’ll have an investment account so big you’ve got to check it for swimming cartoon ducks. If you’d like that to be you one day then these should be the numbers you focus on:
R20 000 a month. That’s real money, double what we gave ourselves when we first started this fantasy game. And for the first time it’s actually enough to live in major South African cities. Using the calculations I run for these searches, both Durban and Port Elizabeth make the cut. So does Lagos in Nigeria, oh dear.
My blog is ready for primary school. By that I don’t mean that I’ve simplified personal finance to the level that could be understood by a typical grade 1 learner, but rather my blog actually turned 6 years old now.
And due to my metronomic consistency in getting a blog post out at exactly sometime during the first two weeks of every month, maybe, and my cunning linguistic mastery of the English language, I’ve actually generated a following of at least 9 readers. It’s gotten so popular that nearly every month my wife has a client who mentions they’ve read my blog. Sometimes she hears from a suffering wife about her husband who has a bro-crush, to which I apologise profusely.
I want to live overseas at some point in my future, so I’m working my way towards earning a foreign passport. Now there are a number of ways to get those handy little visa exemption books. One way is to sell six of your kidneys and buy a mansion in Cyprus.
Fortunately I married someone who had a great great twice removed half grandmother who once met someone in Portugal, and that means that all I have to do to get a good passport is to become fluent in Portuguese and get some documents from home affairs sorted out.
And that’s made me wish I had 7 kidneys, because I think trading 6 of them for a passport would be far less painful than what I’ve had to do. And I’m not talking about my attempts at studying Portuguese, because it’s rather easy adding a sshhh to the end of every second word, but let me tell you what isn’t easy…
Time for the third installment of the retire cheaper overseas series. In the first, we managed to find a few pieces of paradise where just R10 000 a month would be comfortable for a couple. That meant retirement was possible after saving just R1.5 million per person. In that round I really liked Havana in Cuba, but my wife had other ideas, so it went with Bitola in Macedonia, where you could live a happy, interesting and safe existence on just R5 000 each. After that we upped the budget a little by working a little longer until each person reached R2 million, or R4 million for the couple. That opened up quite a few more doors, with the Turkish Riviera winning comfortably for the wife and I, as well as all the readers who voted. We’d be happy living on just R11 837, well under the R13 333 a month budget.
And that brings us here. Our savings have increased by 25% all the way to R5 million or R2.5 million each. That’s a great effort, and as your reward, there are now over 100 different options for places where a couple of humans willing to share a bed could live quite comfortably on R16 667.
So instead of spending the extra R3 333 on a weekend cocaine binge, let’s see which cities the extra money opens up to our future life.
You’re a big fat liar and you dress funny. Financial independence is a joke, and compound interest is as useless as JZ’s legal team. I’m just basically putting my own money into the market and seeing practically nothing happen. There’s no way in hell I’ll ever have enough to retire, this whole website is a scam being pulled onto us normal peeps by you one-percenters. You can’t really believe any of this rubbish you put up here every month, are you insane?
Goodbye, Great Disbeliever
If I had a Rand for every time someone called me a funny dressing liar I’d be rich. It’s true, but only because I’m already rich thanks to spending less than I earn and investing the rest. Sadly it’s also true that I’ve been told I’m not the snappiest dresser around. Fairly often. I married her anyway.
So if you’re feeling a little like G-Dis above and getting rather demotivated you’re going to like this blog post. Time for a story.
This is a cat on a toilet. If you think it has absolutely nothing to do with personal finance you’d be very wrong as you’ll see in this blog post.
Last week was my first full week back in South Africa for two months. In that time I went to Madagascar, Portugal, Spain, England, Germany, Durban*, Tanzania and Mozambique. Five of those were work, or at least as much work as it is having an utterly great time flying drones all over the show! If you’re interested I’ll put a few photos at the end of this post.
Now you might be thinking after all that traveling that it would somehow be out of my system, but like most addictions, doing more makes you want more, and all it’s done is made my wanderlust much worse. Happily, wanderlust can be a very positive part of early retirement, as you saw with the previous post about Andre and Lisa who’ve been traveling through Europe for the past 6 or so months. Not only because it’s been scientifically proven that spending money on amazing experiences can actually buy you long term happiness, that learning a foreign language helps stave off Alzheimers or that travel is scientifically proven to lower your risk of death. All of those reasons are fantastic of course, but did you know that retiring abroad can also be a financial benefit?
It’s been a year since I interviewed Andre about his amazingly well executed plan to retire very very early, and it was the most popular post on this site in the past 12 months. At the time they had expected to leave the working work in a years time when he’d be 46, and his wife Lisa just 36! Like so many things, life doesn’t always go according to plan.
Now if you’re expecting me to tell you that they realised their madness and that it’s actually impossible to retire when you’re so young and especially when you have idiot presidents stealing all the money or blowing their trumpets and trying to ruin the global economy you’d be wrong. Instead of taking another year they moved their plans forward!
I’ve been saving and investing a third of my take home pay for quite a few years now, and even though I have nearly R7 million (R6 and 3/4 million to be exact!) invested, at my current savings amount of R15 000 a month, it’ll take me another 4 years to get to the R9 million I need to be able to retire spending the R30 000 a month I do now.
By then I’ll be 48, and who knows if I’ll still be able to go cycling through Europe, hiking in Patagonia or backpacking through Asia.
A couple of weeks back I went to go wish Kristia and the rest of the Just One Lap team a huge congratulations on their 100th podcast. It’s a fun show to listen to, nothing like the rubbish you’d see on CNBC, or the meaningless drivel you’d read in a typical finance paper. If you have some time on your hands go and give a few shows a listen here.
To celebrate this massive milestone, they’d planned to interview Sam Beckbessinger about her wonderfully titled book “Manage your Money like a F*cking Grown Up“, but being from Cape Town meant that Sam hadn’t experienced real Joburg traffic yet, and was running late.
That meant that instead of starting with Sam, Kristia cornered me and asked if I’d be happy to step in as an opening act of sorts, like when the Beatles opened for Roy Orbison, she never said 🙂