I got a letter from the personnel department stating they would withdraw my commuting compensation costs for the time being. Until I delivered the baby and will join the work force again.
As I go to work by bike and live rather close to work my compensation is €4 a month.
Oh dear, will we be able to make it through the next couple of months? 😉
Speaking of cycling, I bought a bike last year through this special company deal. This came down to a 50% discount via taxes. Today’s newsletter stated the deal is no longer on offer as of today. It’s great to have a crystal ball and be able to act on these things in advance. (Nah, I’m not clairvoyant…however, our government needs to cut their budget so it’s kind of obvious that these perks will eventually be withdrawn.)
P.s. cycling to work saves you a ton of money and will allow you to retire much earlier!
Oh, hi and welcome!
The page views on my blog have gone through the roof today. Thanks to my guest post at Uncle J’s wonderful blog.
Index investing is becoming more and more popular in Europe. I’d say it’s the future of investing for Europeans. It’s just that many of us haven’t discovered this amazing form of investing just yet.
Let’s learn from each other, educate one another and create some sort of cool European index investing community?!
You can find all of my posts on investing right here. I recommend you start with the oldest post (click on “older posts” a couple of times) and work your way up to the most recent one…if you’re interested.
Okay, I signed up for these freebie baby boxes. I don’t know why…I just did. Turned out they contained a lot of shit I’m not going to use anyway. No, I’m not interested in some fancypants parenting magazine. No, I don’t want the newest trendy baby must haves.
Note to self: do not sign up for freebies.
Because these companies now have my address I get spammed with lots of ridiculous things. The latest trend: a baby moon! Yeah, why not go on a nice little pre-baby bearing holiday?!
Jeez, the vicious marketing people have been at it again.
By the way, the baby’s doing great. Kickin’ like crazy! Almost 33 weeks now!
Okay, I’ll come clean.
So for, we’ve been total spendypants this month. I am not looking forward to this month’s numbers. What have we been throwing our cash at? Well…:
- The hubby’s short snowboarding holiday (the friend he was with disbursed pretty much everything and we haven’t seen the bill yet…so I don’t know what the damage is here, we hope to get the bill before the end of this month) probably €1000ish
- We both paid a full year of health insurance in one go (you get a discount that way and you don’t have those monthly payments…so this was actually a smart move!) €2200ish
- I treated myself to €18 worth of eyeshadow (I’m into natural cosmetics these days)
- The hubby bought himself an Apple TV €110 I think… (the XBox seems to do a crappy job these days when we want to watch films, the hubby loves his gadgets but does ponder a long time before purchasing, I think it took him about six months to make this purchase)
- We bought a headboard at Ikea for our bed. I want to breast feed the kid and sitting against the wall in bed with just a pillow just didn’t feel comfortable, €150
- We commissioned the fancy embroidered blankets for the baby €56
- We ordered natural body products for ourselves and the baby (I’m throwing all paraben loaded, perfumed and other chemical laden crap out!) €90
- Bought a couple of outfits for the baby to make sure she has something to wear and other baby essentials like chemical free diapers and wipes €50
- Had to buy a couple of people presents €50ish
- Ergo baby performance carrier including new born insert €144
Ehm…I don’t think this month’s numbers are going to be something we can be proud of. Oh, I should also mention we’re going to go back to Ikea for some more cupboards, pots and pans (the ones we have now are really falling apart) and what not. That’s going to amount to about €250 in total. And we’re probably going to buy a little bit more baby stuff (we’re almost done now). We are planning ahead, since we want to have everything in order before the baby comes. I think we’ll have everything in order by this weekend at 32 weeks already! 🙂
Still, there are no impulse buys except from the eyeshadow. We thought long and hard about all of these purchases. Our transition to natural body treatment products were triggered by her and this documentary.
So, yeah…I hope we’re going to do a lot better in February.
How’s your January spending coming along?
Pensionable age in the Netherlands is being increased from 65 to 67 within the next couple of years. As of 2024 pensionable age will increase according to the average life expectancy of the Dutch.
The calculator on this website (I found it via Spaarolifantje) will allow Dutch citizens to calculate their pensionable age according to the new rules. It’s not set in stone yet…but you can imagine that pensionable age will exceed 67 in the future.
The hubby is 35 years old now. I entered his date of birth and the website told me he’ll be allowed to officially retire on 16-12-2048 at 70 years and 3 months of age.
I’m 32 years old today. I entered my date of birth and the website told me I’ll be able to officially retire on 19-10-2051 at 70 years and 6 months of age.
I don’t know about you…but I find this rather shocking! I will have worked for 50 years in total. There’s no way in hell I’m going to sit around and wait for the government and my pension funds (which sucks at investing my money properly anyway…but I’m obligated to participate) to tell me when to quit work. Jeez, that’s another 37 years. I don’t think so!
What’s your official pensionable age? Is pensionable age being increased in your country as well.
We finally made our decision and have already acted on it! We have decided to:
Increase our monthly investments with Meesman, because:
- They solved the dividend leakage with their global fund and this is just too tempting to invest in
- They are Holland’s leading broker when it comes to index investing for private investors (my personal opinion). There are other ones out there, but they’ll offer funds based on the AEX for example (no way we’re throwing cash at that!) or charge higher fees. Again, my personal opinion.
- We love the company’s philosophy (do what Vanguard does…try to keep costs at a bare minimum and strive to lower costs wherever and whenever possible)
- They have lowered their transaction fees which made them very competitive compared to Binck again (from 0.5% to 0.25%)
- It’s easy to diversify. The husband chose 80% global and 20% emerging, whereas I’m more conservative and chose 90% global and 10% emerging. (Global = 1604 stocks in 24 countries; Emerging = 855 in 21 countries)
- I love their service, website and the way they’re treating me as an investor ❤
Start bi-monthly investments which add up to the same Meesman amount with Binck in the Vanguard All-World fund, because:
- We really wanted to invest with Vanguard as well
- We looooooooove Vanguard ❤
- All-World offers stocks in both large-cap as well as mid-cap and emerging markets. (2900 stocks in 47 countries, emerging included) and thus makes it a one-stop shopping trip for index investors investing in euros.
(With Meesman we’re investing in a mutual fund and with Binck we’re investing in an ETF. Even more diversification!)
Maybe invest with Vanguard in dollars via Interactive Brokers (we’ll look into that during the next couple of weeks), because:
- We can’t stop loving Vanguard ❤
- The Vanguard Total World Stock Index (VT) would be our most ideal mix of stocks (5109 stocks, all-cap and wonderful diversification)
- TER is very low (0.18%)
- This fund is also recommended by Malkiel and Ellis in The Elements of Investing, p. 122.
- We might want to play around with dollars….and then again we might not…still thinking about this one.
We decided to also diversify amongst brokers in order to reduce risk.
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Early retirement! Early retirement, who? Early retirement for you! :-)))
Disclaimer: as always, these are our personal choices. I am not a professional investor nor do I claim to be one. I am an individual investor merely sharing ideas here. You are solely responsible for your own investment choices. I am not affiliated with any of these brokers in any way, shape or form other than being a paying customer myself.
So, yeah, we’ve spent less than €1500 on all our baby stuff combined. I’ve washed everything and all bits and bobs are in place now. The only thing we need is an actual baby!
We did make a totally unnecessary but cute baby expense, though. I had two new born baby caps in two different sizes (as we don’t know what size she’s going to be which would also depend on whether she’s going to stick around till her due date or not) embroidered with the baby’s name. Also, we had three blankets embroidered with her name. That was a €50 unnecessary expense…but we don’t care! We just love our customised caps and blankets.
It felt weird, as well. Telling some stranger which name to embroider on this stuff. There’s going to be a little girl who’ll carry this name for the rest of her life. I just hope she’s going to like the name we picked for her.
Ah, lower fees! That’s a great way to start the new year. Meesman has announced to lower its transaction fees as of today from 0.5% to 0.25%. That’s extremely good news! And I’ll have to change my calculations on costs because of it.
Meesman will exceed managing over 100 million euros this month. This small time broker is getting bigger.
I still love their philosophy. I phoned them two weeks ago and Mr Meesman himself spent about half an hour talking to me. I was able to ask him all sorts of questions and he didn’t make me feel dumb or anything.
I should really visit the annual meetings. “They say” Mr Meesman himself takes a bike to get there. Yeah, this is the kind of broker CEO that I love.
The husband is off to Austria. He’s on a rather expensive snowboarding holiday up to and including Sunday. So the only sensible thing for me to do after waving and kissing him goodbye was calculating last month’s and last year’s numbers, right? I’m such a geek these days! 😉
Mortgage: 31.08% (0.07% increase, I continue to hate the fact that we can’t make extra mortgage payments anymore…)
Emergency fund: 248% (4% increase)
Stash: 8.47% (0.33% increase)
Income to spending ratio this month: 79% (NOT fair since the mortgage was already taken from our bank account on 31st December 😦 Without that early mortgage payment it would have been 64%…but now we won’t have a mortgage payment in January 2014…yay!)
Income to spending ratio this year: 65% (bang on the lower challenge I set!)
Mind you, this was the year in which we went to Austria three times to have fun in the snow. We also bought some bits and bobs for our house and we spent dough on getting things ready for the kid. We went to a couple of music festivals and we treated ourselves to a two month indoor skiing membership during the summer. (Yeah, we like the snow) We also paid off the interest-only part of our mortgage. Furthermore, we saved a lot on groceries and we hardly went out for dinner or squandered money in likewise forms. We didn’t feel deprived of anything at all. I am actually rather proud of the fact that this year we spent 65% of our income compared to last year’s 84%! It’s all about spending money more consciously.
Are you happy with your 2013 numbers?