About

So, who am I? I am a 39 40 year young married father with 2 toddler kids from Belgium. I recently discovered the FIRE community and I have learned already a lot since then. I plan to keep following different blogs and contributing to the community. I am not new to investing. I have bought my first mutual fund some 15 years ago and I did some serious personal budgeting when I bought an apartment and lived on my own for the first time. More on these topics in later posts.

This blog has multiple purposes

  • As a late starter with wife and two kids, I am looking for a path to financial independence. What are the hurdles, what are the options to take. We have a certain lifestyle, how do we adapt? One thing is already clear: I will focus on big items that have an impact and at the same time keep offering life experiences to our family. Via the blog, I will document the journey.
  • The blog community is heavily US/Canada/UK biased. Each country has its own specific tax and pension payments systems. I try to share my view on the Belgian system with others that might be looking for answers.
  • Once I am financially independent, how would it be like to have no job at all, but just life of the passive income. Albeit not a goal that I aim for before being 60/65 55, It is a questions that keeps me busy. There are many recommendations like the safe withdrawal rate of 4% (or having 300 times your monthly expenses), there are simulations tools like cFIRE, case studies on having ladders,… . TO me, the best way to figure it out seems to be building my own simulations and see what decision you would need to make along the way.
  • If the 2 points above work out, I plan to use this info as a guiding story to teach my kids how to deal with money. The current Belgian educational system does a lot of good things for the kids, but i do not see any decent financial education. There have been studies that financial education is not a must per say, but understanding basic mathematics is far more important. Lets see how it evolves. I just don’t want my kids to think that money comes out of a wall just like that.

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It is my intention to stay as independent as possible. I do not intend to discuss solutions that are offered on the Belgian market for retail investors. I will on the other hand focus on sharing my view on investment styles that exists and documenting why a certain style suits me better than another style.

Feel free to contact me!


I am not  a certified financial advisor and do not hold a license from the FSMA. Everything written on this blog expresses my own personal journey and opinion. This blog is pure entertainment. It is never an advice on what how and where you need to invest. If you need this advice, then please reach out to a financial service expert.

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42 thoughts on “About

  1. Glad to have found your blog and have an opinion from a Belgian perspective. Welcome to the community. I will be sure to follow along your journey to achieve FIRE.

    cheers
    R2R

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ABT,

    Glad to find another Belgian FIRE blog! There are so many Northern American blogs out there that the few European ones are often ignored. I’m looking forward to your views on Belgian taxes and financial independence in Belgium.

    Best wishes,
    NWM

    Like

    1. Hey NMW,

      Thanks for commenting. It is indeed nice to meet a fellow Belgian blogger. Not that I don’t like the others (on the contrary, I have learned already a lot) but Belgiumhas its own tax and pension rules. Exchanging views on that would be enriching.

      AT

      Like

      1. Jackpot!!! I have been looking for Belgian blogs about FI for almost half year. I have been reading mostly EconWiser and Jlcollins blogs, plus a few books. I’m from Antwerp and have lots of questions for you guys, but will read your blogs first.

        Cheers
        Zerick

        Like

        1. Hey Zerick, nice to meet another FI enthusiast. the number of Belgian blogs is indeed limited.
          I am working on a list of blogs that I follow. It should have a Belgian section as well.
          Enjoy the reading

          Like

    2. Yes I second that most blogs are American or Canadian, very few from Europe. I’m a Canadian living in Europe since 99. Spent a year and in Brussels quite enjoyed it. I just found your blog and haven’t had time to dig into it but would be very interested in how the tax side of things play out. I live in Germany and it’s a flat rate tax of 26,375% on all. capital income. i have a private pension plan here but other than that all my investments are in Canada. I’ve looked at a brokerage account here and in the US ut it didn’t make sense.

      Rob

      Like

      1. The Belgian tax system is quite complex with more exceptions than rules. We have a bracketed system and lots of deduction possibilities.

        Where do you have your broker account now?

        Like

  3. Amber Tree,

    Thanks for dropping by my blog and super thanks for the best wishes! I wish you the same!!

    I was a later starter myself but you know what..it comes with certain advantages. I am much calmer now than in my younger days and because of that my journey to FI is much much easier 🙂 And, I can understand the FI gurus much better as well! So, don’t worry about a late start..esp since you are already in the financial industry…your learning curve will be much faster.

    If I were to give one tip that I personally found to be very very useful, I would say that you should define what Financial Independence means to you….break it down into sub-goals and more importantly, attach a dollar amount to each goal. This will help you enormously when you have to prioritize and also when you have to make sacrifices. I wrote about my example at: http://humblefi.com/category/financial-independence/financial-independence-to-me/. Take a peek and see if it helps in any way.

    Best of luck on your FI journey!!

    Like

    1. Hey Humble FI,

      Glad you came here. As you can see, I am a late starter as well. And Indeed, this brings some advantages like you quote.
      I will look into quatifying more my financial goals going forward. I have for now defined my goals in terms what I want to do with my life. But indeed, this now needs to be broken down into € goals for the different funds.

      Amber Tree

      Like

  4. Hello Ambertree
    I have only just found this blog and I am also based in Belgium and trying to apply the anglo-saxon passive investment philosophy within Belgium. This is not easy !

    Ronnie

    Like

    1. Hey Ronnie, Welcome to the blog. We seem to have the same investment strategy. It takes some time to reaserch what you want to do, but once it is clear, it is fairly easy to put in place.
      That being said, US/UK have a different legal framework that allows some nice tools to track everything. Nothing XLS can’t fix 🙂

      Like

  5. Good to see that you’re on the path to financial independence. If you keep firm with your goals and put in a lot of hard work, you’ll see it pay off. I wish you the best in your journey. Happy Investing!

    Like

  6. Hello, I assumed you were Canadian until I opened your Excel spreadsheet and notice the Euro sign. I am currently working on routing a trip in September to Amsterdam, Bruges, Luxembourg and Germany. Thought I would say Hello from Toronto. Looking forward to visiting your country soon.

    Like

  7. Glad to have found you as well! I started this journey around the same age as you (also with a husband and two kids). I am a few years ahead of you and I am going to go back and share how I arrived at making some of the decisions I have made. I look forward to following you as well!

    Like

  8. Another kindred spirit! So pleased to have stumbled upon your blog ATL, which looks like an inviting, informative and personal account of your journey (the best kind IMHO). Looking forward to reading more…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Greetings from Colorado! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to browse your site on my iphone during lunch break.
    I love the information you present here and can’t wait to take
    a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my cell
    phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, superb blog!

    Like

  10. hello sir, I stumbled upon your blog by accident. I’m a 30y Belgian guy also working in the financial industry (option trading actually). Aiming for a 65% savings rate (including mortgage capital payments), our goal is to reach FI by age 40. Main strategy will be real estate investing, but once deleveraged enough on that front, I’ll probably be looking to expand my portfolio to trackers and option/dividend strategies. I benchmarked your blog as I love to follow your journey into FI in a Belgian context!

    Like

  11. the 65% is taking into account rental income, without that I think we would be around 50%. I’ll keep an eye on when meet-ups are organized. Option trading at a bank
    is totally different as you would think as we rather take (limited) positions on volatility, dividend and correlation as compared to directional positions.

    Like

  12. Nice start here Amber!
    I’ll be reading through your catalog and checking out all about dividend investing plus your perspectives..
    Checked you out on Dom’s (GYFG) blog and looking forward to reading more
    Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Amber Tree Leaves

    Sorry to leave a public comment but I can’t seem to find an E-mail for you.

    Just wanted to give you a heads up that you have been featured on the Top 100 blogs for dividend investors list that I have spent the last few months creating: http://frugalstudent.co.uk/index.php/top-100/

    Congratulations and keep up the awesome work!

    Cheers

    Lewys Arôn

    PS: Here’s a badge to show your readers that you’ve won. Many of the winners have already added the badge to their footer or sidebar;

    Like

  14. I will immediately clutch your rss as I can’t in finding your e-mail subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service.
    Do you’ve any? Please let me recognize so that I may
    just subscribe. Thanks.

    Like

    1. FIRE is Financial Independence, Retire Early. It is a community that spend less money than they earn and invest the rest in order to accumulate enough wealth to make work optional.

      Like

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