In Utrecht, we had our third BENL meetup. Team CF and I were very pleased to see familiar faces and a lot of new faces. The program was fun and there were plenty opportunities to talk to people. That is what a community is about!
After a meet and greet, it was time for a lunch. The weather was excellent and we could eat outside. Some food, drinks and like minded people… holiday!
The more formal part of the meetup is a series of presentations and a group discussion.
We had Mss Divnomics giving an intro on the observed difference between the EU and US FIRE community, tax systems and culture. The presentation and follow up led to an interesting off line discussion. I look forward to put it in practice over the coming months.
One of the conclusion of the talk: the EU system is more geared towards a reactive attitude on pension and health care. We, Europeans, rely on the government to take care for us. As a result, we have higher taxes and keep less money in our pocket after tax. We also lack pre-tax pension systems so that we can accumulate.
The next speaker was freedom sloth. He brought us an interesting talk on alternatives to look at FIRE. After the Antwerp meetup, there were many people looking at alternatives for FIRE: it is about being happy and having a joyfull life. Why wait? Freedom sloth now offers an alternative.
As we feel that the system puts too many constraints on us, why not use the system to our advantage. What if you work a few months per year, hardly earning more than the tax free income in your country? When you do the math, you will need to work longer. As advantages you get
- contributions to the system and further buildup of pension rights and alike
- By earning money, you actually need less of a nest egg (stash) to reach this point. Put in another way, you exchange 3-5 years of full time working and saving at the highest tax rate with 10-15 years of less than halftime working at a tax free rate.
- You get to enjoy life way sooner.
The challenge is to find an employer or job that allows this. And a change in tax regime/unemployment rules can hurt you as well. (That is the case everywhere for everything actually)
Having a calculated example and concrete jobs that could make this possible, made it all more feasible. It is aligned closely to something I once described and let sleep afterwards. The idea is now back, alive and kicking
Last and not least was Mr Cheesy Finance. He brought us an insight on how he approaches real estate investing.
He gave us a concrete example on how he and his wife screen potential rental properties. What are the elements to look at: investments, costs,… He gave us a concrete example of a unit he looked at recently
In the follow up discussion, it became clear that you need to love the investment vehicle you pick. You should study many of them and figure out the one that is a fit with your time, temperament and talent. In what you invest is less important than the fact that you invest
During the day, There were many interesting side discussion. A few that I was part of
Be intentional on the journey and do not focus too much on the money aspect. Life needs to be lived now. That is important as well
Is now a good time to start investing. Sadly, all our crystal balls were broken, so no answer on that one! 😉
What can you do with options, how dangerous is it.
Tasting home brewed beer, eating cake
Thx to all that came and made this another great event. We will soon announce a next one.