The last weekend of February, a group of FIRE enthousiast met in Leuven for a weekend of FIRE fun and discussions. Who says Leuven, also says beer, so a bar was part of the plan.
As always, these meetups are a great opportunity to meet like minded people, to discuss FIRE principles, issues, challenges or just have a chat on life and dreams. Being able to speak freely to people about your FIRE plans and dreams is for me – and many others – a big plus. It is not always easy to discus this with friends and family.
Here are my personal take aways from this meetup
The community is very committed. It is nice to see a lot of returning faces. That means the community must add some value. At the same time, I also like to meet new people and discover their story.
Mr. Cheesy Finance had an in depth presentation on Dividend Growth Investing. Despite the good insights from the presentation, I stick to my decision: in accumulation in Belgium, DGI is not for me. Taxes (30% in Belgium alone) kills it for me. Next to that, It is too much effort for my current life style. It can be a good thing once in retirement or when FIRE is right around the corner.
The follow up discussion in the bar was about DGI vs selling Index holdings. I must say that this discussion learned me a few things:
My emotions and personality might not be ready to sell parts of my nest egg to life off. Therefore, I am happy that recently a few indexers have reached FI and keep reporting on their progress
Doing nothing is not for me. I will have to structure my life to have meaningful things to do in FIRE or in “regular pension”.
There might be state pension. Yes, we have that in Belgium. Currently, the average Belgian employee has 1250€ in pension. That would cover over half of my budget. A dream? A possibility? Either way, I plan as if it will be 0. That will create options later in life.
Real estate is about leverage and network to spot good deals before they hit the market. Some creativity in financing is a plus.
Ethics is a vast subject. The key is to define your own good and bad. When going after your good, make sure not to harm others, also animals. Is that the reason that so many people are vegetarian or vegan? We are not, we do an effort to eat less meat. In the discussion, for me it was also relevant that your actions should speak louder than your investments. Index investing means you invest in “everything”, also weapons, tobacco and oil. To me, when you have a strong opinion, it is more effective to change your behaviour or join an action group
Permaculture: never heard of it and an interesting subject. It opens my eyes on how to look at our garden. I like the idea of having zones. And I do hope our raspberry production this year will really pick up.
I already look forward to our next meetup. Stay tuned on our blogs and the mailing list to find out when and where.
Thx all for the great weekend.