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!
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.
Welcome to 2018, it’s a new year with new opportunities. Sadly Donald Trump is still the president of the USA, and in South Africa, we still have President Gupta at the helm but hopefully that will all change soon.
When looking ahead to a new year I always like to consider what I learnt in the last, so here are my top 7 money lessons from last year:
Once upon a time there were two boys living in the vibrant city of Johannesburg. The boys were best friends, and did everything together.
Unlike the last time I compared two very similar people these two boys were similar in practically every way. They were both sporty, very smart and both just obtained tech degrees. There was just one difference, Chris absolutely loved cars, while Mike thought they were only fun on his PlayStation.
Now this story is going to have a lot of numbers in it, and as it takes place over a working lifetime, we need to deal with the inflation problem. There are two ways to do this.
- The hard way, which means you have to constantly convert back and forth between today’s money and the inflated money. This is a lot of work, and you often end up with numbers which can’t be understood; or
- The easy way, to simply take inflation out of the picture. This means you don’t count it in price increases over time, but you also don’t count it in investment returns. It makes the calculations much easier for me, and should make the numbers more meaningful for you. A complete win win for once!
On to the story.
Like many people nearing the end of their working career, Andre and Lisa can’t wait to travel the world when they retire next year. Unlike most though, they won’t be enjoying any pensioner discounts along the way. That’s because Andre will be just 46 years old, and Lisa practically a teenager at 36!
When most people hear this they generally assume that the couple have either inherited money, got a BEE deal, or lived a totally dull life and never left the house so they wouldn’t spend any money. But this couple have had none of that luck, and as you’ll see a little further on and in the slideshow at the bottom of this post, they most definitely haven’t spent their time sitting at home eating beans and rice by candlelight.
Of course I had plenty of questions for them, and thankfully Andre was kind enough to answer, and boy did he answer well.
You’ll want to read this interview!
I’d like to make sure I can pay the most amount of taxes possible. I love knowing that I’m partly responsible for paying for weddings, buying coal mines and financing a really interesting news channel with completely unbiased views. It’s the best.
Said nobody ever.