Financial Independence: My investment strategy in 4 easy steps

See my investment strategy to reach financial independence with 4 easy steps

My Strategy to financial independence

If you read my last post you know how much I was able to save from my last salary. The next implied question then naturally becomes; what do I do with that money in order for it to grow me some financial independence? This post will talk about what i do with the money that I invest into the Leprechaun , i.e. my investment strategy to Financial Independence.

Four easy steps —

Number 1)

Get an income stream, and preferably more than one. You can never save money if you don’t get any money, so this is the most crucial step, even if the actual salary is not that important. I get my salary each month.

Number 2)

I have a set saving goal each month, lets call it X . This sum I need to invest. The biggest mistake you can make is leaving that money passively deprecating itself due to inflation and potential taxes. Long term investments can be put into high-risk funds and stocks without it being that much historical risk associated to it. The market has historically always gone up, even if it regularly will take a stroll downwards into a recession. Note here that I talk about the whole market and not individual stocks and funds. Stocks tank all the time, which is why it will generally be a higher risk for you to invest your money in  one individual stock, than in a larger index.

I invest 80% of X in different index funds. Of these 80%, around 40% are branch-specific, quite risky and narrow indexes while the remaining 60% are large global index funds.

I am looking to leave my riskier branch-specific investments where they are but from now on start putting the whole 80%-chunk into global index funds. Mainly because I am still convinced he recessions is near and not sure which market it will hit first. The remaining 20% I place in stocks of different kinds, mostly larger companies with a good track record of raising their dividends shares each year. I will probably continue to buys socks for a few more months but then slowly shift this chunk over more and more to the global index funds as well. I will explain this more in step 3.

Number 3)

Have a set percentage to play with. This is where my 20% that I buy stocks for each month comes into play. I really like investing in stocks, and reweighing, shifting and shorting my way around the markets. This is not a very good thing if you are looking for a solid investment plan. This is why I have capped my allowance of my savings I can play with to 20%. I will decrease this percentage in the next few months. This as I don’t have enough time to become the next Gordon Gekko and index funds has historically almost always beat individual strategies in the long term anyway.

Number 4)

When the time has come for me to have enough capital for the Leprechaun to become immortal (i.e. enough for me to live off its returns indefinitely) I will sell off the funds and buy high-dividend stocks for these so that I am set up for a monthly income.

Thanks for all the positive feedback from my last post as well!

Cheers!

How we kept our expenses under control with 1 simple rule

Background:

Mr Viking and I bought an apartment a few months ago (I’ll get into the economics of how it is much more financially sensible to buy rather than rent n Sweden in another post), and apart from the money we are saving not having to pay rent, it has been an incredible demotivating experience from a savings-point of view. We both have fixed numbers we are expecting to put away after all expenses and invest each month (remember, the monthly salary in Sweden? :)) as part of The Leprechaun that will never die.

The problem:

However, ever since we bought this apartment, there has been a number of emergency expenses each months that has left us dumbfounded at the end , wondering what happened.

For example, we didn’t have a carpet for the hallway for the longest time, because we were trying to stay within budget and prioritize. It has started snowing here now, which means that every time someone clamps through our door, there will be a little puddle of water on our white, 100-year old-wooden floor *gasp*  and will soon leave permanent damage = decreasing the value of the apartment *thousand-folded-gasp*. Nonetheless, our sense of priorities shifts very quickly which means that we are not anticipating these costs.

Three months ago we bought bought a couch (did not have anywhere to sit in the living room before) and two bedside tables (I had a pile of books on the floor before that Mr Viking, -J,  kept tripping on). Which meant that we once again went over our budget, and it irritated me. By now we have been living here for so long that our expenses should have fluctuated back to status quo.

one rule that kept our expenses in check:

We came up with one rule that has changed all of this. Now, we meet budget every month and we are forced to anticipate costs and expenses that may come up. It is really very simple, but it has changed everything for us. The rule is:  We can only make one big purchase each month (No fixed upper or lower limit on what we mean with ‘big’, which helps us equate everything that is a real ‘purchase’ with ‘big expense’.

We have this rule set until the end of the year where we put a hard stop on even the one big expense per month and will probably move over to one each quarter. This month it is leaning towards a kitchen table, which we still don’t have. But, because we have this rule, we are now contemplating this purchase carefully before rushing away (weighing it against getting wardrobe doors for example, another thing we are still lacking, that will thus have to way)

Financially Independent Vikings never fare solo

One thing has surprised me since I ventured out into the public space and started blogging about my journey to FIRE, -a life to become financially independent.. First of all, how many of us there are, once you start looking. I very much believed this was not something many people did, this being talking sharing saving hustling our way towards a life of freedom and (in my case) dividends. It gladdens me a lot to see how there are so many of us, and more to it, – of there is not only a sheer number of individuals operating in silos on their way to a common goal, no no no, there is so much sharing and support and so much of a community. 

So this post goes out to all of you fellow FIRE bloggers, thank your for having paved the way for us that are coming after, than you for creating this community, and last, thank each and every one of you for welcoming me in with open arms.

See my first blog post which immediately got way more attention than intended!!

Cheers,

F

Student Debt

Current student debt: 42909 USD

Yes, I live in a country where university is free. Yes, considering my student debt this number is a bit frightening. Tuition is free, but you have to cover housing, food, transportation etc. meanwhile the government offers wonderful student loans to a very, very reasonable interest rate. 

Interest rate

At this point I could have paid off my debt a while back instead of investing that money. However, the interest rate for all government funded student loans is currently at 0,34%. This means that it is actually better to keep your earned money and invest in the stock-market instead to pay the interest rate of by the dividends; while paying the minimum amount back to the government.

student debt and get Financial Independence!

Every cent of our debt is currently invested in a high-yielding index fund, regenerating its value over and over. If you are interested in our approach; check out my blog postThe Leprechaun that will never die.

This is one of the reasons I love comparing financial strategies across countries. In other countries it would have been daunting to just leave this debt be while having enough funds to pay it off, whereas here, it is definitely better to keep this debt invested for as long as I can. Check out the comparison of the different student debts between US and the rest of the World; CollegeCosts. I am staying in debt and moving our money around in a few quite branch specific index funds, and I am also happily paying in the 0,34% along with the circa 100 bucks a month I am required to pay back.

What is it like where you are from?

The Leprechaun that will never die.

The journey for financial independence and the naming of a pile of money

If our yearly costs and taxes (capital, property tax etc.) is defined as X then X = The sum we need yielded as dividends each year. This is really the definition of financial independence.

For whatever reason we decided to name this pile of money, and for even more unclear reasons we decided to name it The Leprechaun. This is not from some weird fantasy or fairy tale, we just named it out of the blue. This is because we need some named-entity to name the adventure. As having a certain amount of money in an bank account is an end-goal, but the journey and the challenge that comes with it. Just imagining the opportunities when becoming financially independent is scary as well as the choices we have to make their is also part of it.

So, the Leprechaun need to have an expected dividends yield totaling our combined costs and taxes. 

On average, Swedish stocks will return about 4% of share value in dividends each year, so it is fairly realistic to assume the Leprechaun will need to be X/0,04 (plus some semi-horrific tax calculations on top of this). For you whom have already created this leprechaun of joy, why not start living the financial freedom and put the money in some of the companies listed as Swedish companies with best dividends.

This way, the growth of the portfolio (sorry, the Leprechaun) will be able to match/outgrow that of the expected inflation, creating a Leprechaun that will never die, as I triumphantly pointed out after having finished our excel spreadsheet with our strategy on.

This strategy in itself is fairly standard as posted Financial Independence: My investment strategy in 4 easy steps. There is absolutely nothing in it that I would assume not almost every FIRE-advocate follows. The main differentiator for us is that there are quite a few implications related to taxation in here (as well as the benefits of a welfare state and never having to pay for health instance for instance). I will dig in to our specific financials in the posts to come.

/Freddie