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 🙂
Once upon a time when I was young and stupid I had the idea that it would be nice to have a large house on an expensive property so I could impress my friends, show off to people I didn’t know and win the love of Keira Knightley who would one day walk past gasping in my awesomeness before rushing inside and switching her outfit for Nutella.
A short while later the golf club near where we used to stay decided to become a golf estate, and I jumped on the opportunity to buy a stand there. I wanted a boundary stand rather than one on the golf course edge. There were three reasons for this. Firstly I have a friend who lives on the edge of a golf course, and he needs to replace a window at least once a month, and that would affect my allergy to housework so it just wouldn’t do. Then of course it’s cheaper to be on the fence than on the course, and I do love a good deal, and finally as I lived on the same street, I knew that the area on the other side of the fence was earmarked to be a permanent greenbelt, and it was going to be stocked with game.
The best experiences aren’t usually the most comfortable
I love a good holiday, doesn’t everyone? Traveling is the drug of choice for my wife and I, and between our work and pleasure trips we sure do get around. Last year I went to 10 different countries, while my wife went to 9.
Half of my trips, and two thirds of my wife’s were for work, but if you’re thinking that means we didn’t have to skimp on costs you’d be wrong.
Unlike my suit wearing friends who seem to have bottomless expense accounts, I get given a daily sum of money depending on the city I’m going to. If I spend more than that it comes out of my own pocket, but if I manage to live on just a portion, the rest stays in my bank account, and I get to add it to my regular investments at month end.
I do pretty well too, I’ve never used more than half my allowance, and thanks to all the travel hacking I try to do I often spend less than 25%.
For private trips travel hacking is a must. We always aim to maximize enjoyment for the minimum costs. We don’t hold back on experiences, for example we happily paid R1600 each to climb the Villarica Volcano, but wouldn’t dream of spending that amount on a hotel room.
Sharing is caring, so here’s a great big list of travel hacks we use regularly.