How travels impacts our net worth

Travel the world and the seven seas is important for us. Getting experiences over material possessions is what matters.Travel with 4 people requires money, a lot of money. We decided to set aside money in a travel fund.

This decision impacts our saving rate and our net worth evolution. Now is a good time to review this.

The elements in our net worth


  • Company pension savings plan. It is not accessible right now, but at the legal pension age, we can use it. Before, it was excluded.
  • Tax friendly pension saving. Can only be accessed as from the legal pension age (or a little earlier). I do not bother to get the details now, it wont be before 2041 anyway.
  • Taxable investments accounts. These assets are directly accessible for us, right here, right now. We can sell them anytime we want (and preferably with a profit)
  • cash waiting to be invested. This is money parked on trading accounts or savings accounts that we decided not to invest now.
  • Non mortgage debt. In the case we would have non mortgage debt, this would be reduced from the net worth

Elements we exclude

  • Emergency fund. This is money set aside for an emergency (duhh… I need a better definition). It should not be used to buy a new car, or a to fund a holiday
  • Medium term saving. To be used for the unplanned but foreseeable expenses like a broken car, a new fridge.
  • Mortgage. I do not reduce our net worth with the outstanding mortgage
  • Home equity. I do notboost our net worth with our home equity (or any other consumer good we have)

As a result from these updates, the amber index will change. For a few months, I have been keeping track of both calculations for comparison purposes. These changes will start to appear in the amber index soon.


There is also impact on the FIRE date calculation. The input of the model changes: net worth, yearly savings, expenses (used to count also big holidays). The yearly savings will drop, the exceptional expenses stay more or less equal – due to the addition of a house expense that will occur one day. The start net worth increases. While busy with it, I updated the expenses to the 2015 average.

The impact : NO IMPACT!

All in all, a lot of thinking and calculating for no change. But it is worth the effort. By setting aside a dedicated travel fund, we allow ourselves to travel sooner and further without having the feeling we delay our FI date. Maybe the thought process of someone who has his nose too much in his future cash flows… I admit, that is me.



33 thoughts on “How travels impacts our net worth

  1. Nice, I think I should change our finances a bit too. I should only take the interest payments for our mortgage as costs and maybe I should change it for our future travel plans as well.. Will think about it…


    1. It is personal finance, so we need to adjust to what we think is best.

      As the travel fund will be spend on travel, it did not make sense to include it in our FI calculation.


  2. We have a travel sinking fund line item in our budget too. I set a target date for the year and then the plan is to save up until we get to that point. We haven’t put anything into it yet for the year since we had other things that were more important. We also don’t really plan to travel anywhere this year (w/ a toddler and baby due in May it’s just not in the plans) other than going to a friends’ wedding in October. I have also started “light travel hacking” so I intend to travel for close to free or at a deep discount over the next few years. The trip my husband and I will take in October will be paid mostly by credit card points.

    I agree though, experiences are more important than collecting things, especially when you have children. It’s a value I want to live by and show them.


    1. Travel hacking is a big unkniwn domain for me. I tried some searches and found not a lot for the Belgian market.
      I am looking into some cheap and fun ways to travel like camping and exploring Belgium. This should be the goal for the next 2-3 years. And I splurge: a ski trip every year


  3. Hey ATL,

    It was interesting reading about your net worth. Perhaps you could call your emergency fund, your reserve fund.

    The way I read it, you have a lot of different bank accounts with all these different jobs, how many do you have?

    Interesting that you exclude so many things, if I were measuring our (Dividends Down Under) net worth I’d include the emergency fund and medium term savings, they’re both cash accounts and worth as much as cash in any other account. Personally I wouldn’t include our personal home (if we had one, renting at the moment) as I’d view as a lifestyle choice (kind of like a car) – we wouldn’t get income from it like any other investment and we can’t retire from the funds with it unless we sell it. But I WOULD include the mortgage on that, because that’s a real liability and is charging interest every month. Just personal choice I guess.

    It sounds like a good plan saving for travelling, that way you can do exactly what you want to do, without feeling guilty that you could be saving it or investing it because you’ve specifically set it aside to do that. Have fun with wherever you travel 🙂



    1. How many accounts? It is still manageable I think. My wife and I combined have around 20. At one point in time, we need to simplify. For now, It is just easy to take advantage from different best things of banks and it allows to hide cash from plain sight.

      On the travel front, long term ambitions are to visit New Zealand – Australia with the kids. Or take a big US tour. IT will be a joint discussion. With my wife, I will do the left over 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have been pondering how to approach travel money also. Right now, we are limited in travel because we dont have the time, but once we FIRE we want to travel summers with the kids. I did put $4000 in index funds a year ago – that is kind of my fun money for some crazy future adventure, maybe I should just keep adding to it 🙂


    1. We also have some travel money in funds. we add on occasion to that. The goal is to let it grow and one day, we might be able to upgrade a holiday or add a second one for that year.


  5. Once you become FI, will you maintain to keep an emergency/travel fund and keep it our of your networth?

    Just a thought, but your Net Worth should probably include all your assets (including house and reserves). However, from a FI perspective, only the income producing assets are the key part of your Net Worth that allow your to become FI (your house and the emergency fund obviously do not).

    Guess is boils down to factual Net Worth or FI Net Worth??


    1. Good question: I guess the amberinedx is rather tracking FI net worth. That is why the house and travel fund are excluded. The emergency fund could be included I guess… I think I need to mature a little more on its role.


  6. I think this is a great idea. While my wife and I travel on a budget we do still travel. I think it’s so important to see the world, and more importantly meet its people. And we believe it traveling now while we’re young enough to really explore.

    What’s on your list? Where are you planning to go first? Come to San Francisco, I’ll take you to lunch (your saving money already).


    1. Our list is quite big. I hope to do Us/Australia or New Zealand and Soutf America with the kids.

      We were in SF on honeymoon in 2008. Great city. I would love to come back one day.
      If you are ever close to Belgium, beers are on me!


  7. Very smart to pay attention to the things you want to do now, such as traveling! It’s tempting to put everything aside to totally focus on FI, but you also have to seize the day. Good to know that no change is expected, that makes it even better 🙂


  8. We are exactly the same – we exclude our own home (and associated mortgage) in our net worth – and only include investible assets. We have a a travel fund too – saving up to go overseas next year. I can’t live without travel and I figure it is an alternative to buying ‘stuff’. I never regret any funds towards travel. And it is a great way to parent, so many teachable moments. Where are planning on travelling?


    1. short term, we stay for the summer at the Belgian beach and we plan a ski trip next winter season. I am looking in a first airplane holiday with the kids. Not too far like Spain or Portugal. How about you?


  9. Interesting. Now that I am debt free. I am taking a closer look at our net worth and starting to track it. My husband and I are gearing up for a western Canada cross country trip as well as visiting Seattle Washington and a place in Montana heading back to Calgary where we live. it would be our first big trip in 3 years and we are excited. Traveling is so expensive and having to pay cash for the trip is even more grueling, but the only way to go for us right now (I would feel so bummed if we financed our trip).
    I normally don’t include planned spending as apart of our net worth with the exception of our emergency fund amount of $10,000 as a current asset. Even though its planned for emergencies, I figured its money in the bank that is just sitting there so why not. We are currently renters so no house or mortgage to include on the balance sheet. Still saving up for the down payment, while putting away 15% each towards retirement and planning for a family…life is expensive indeed 🙂


  10. Travelling the world is important for me too. When I reach financial freedom, that’s what I plan on doing. 🙂

    Do you have any thoughts on collecting reward miles from a credit card?


    1. collecting miles from credit cards looks like a great way to travel cheap. There are only a few cards like that in Belgium. They are not free. I actually need to see how much we could spend on the card and the miles we could get to see if it is worth the hassle. In belgium, it is not that evident to have grocery shopping paid by a credit card. That cuts out already a big part of the budget. The mortgage is not possible either. Maybe the telco and electricity bill.. In short: I need to spend time and figure out


  11. We have an opportunity fund rather than emergency fund. 🙂

    Traveling around the world is a great idea. Setting aside money dedicated to travel is a great idea.


  12. I have a separate fund for almost all of my expenses. This way, I exactly know how much I have and how much is left for specific expense accounts. Before, it was a pain doing this but I was able to do it with practice and discipline.

    It is good that you discussed about travel. My wife and I love to travel. Each year, we travel to a specific location. We always make sure that we set a fund to accommodate this expense. Aside from that, we set a budget and a timeline for travel to make sure that we have as much as we need to meet the travel expenses. Our strategy has always worked for us.


  13. Hey ATL,
    I guess it depends on perception. I see travelling part of FI (if you can travel, you are somewhat free and independent) ;-). therefore, by travelling, you are “touching” FI for a few moments. Besides, travelling is the biggest riches I find in life.


  14. You’re way more disciplined than I am. Any extra money I have I move directly into my dividend portfolio to make more money. Then once it’s in there, I never want to touch that money again.

    Thus I don’t travel often, but I like the idea. I did so much traveling when I was younger but for now I’m excited to keep exploring my own backyard in Denver, CO.


    1. Our case is the opposite! We travelled a lot when there were no kids, then, 7 year long there was only holidays in Belgium. Now it is time to show the world to our kids.
      I guess we go through phazes.


  15. This is a great post because it emphasized how some purchases can be essential.

    I forgot where I saw the quote, but it was something along the lines of, “travel is the one purchase you make that leaves you wealthier.”

    You also nailed the perspective that planning for travel within the framework of saving in other areas = stress free travel that is even more enjoyable!


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