What does it mean to “go viking”?

The origin of the word Viking is not, as we may think, one of pale, blonde pirates with big swords who killed his/her way across the continent. Back during what we (in Scandi)  refer to as the “viking age”, -c 700 A.D until 1100 A.D, the word Viking was used as a verb to describe someone who left his/her lands and explored other areas further away from home. The exploration was not necessarily accompanied by the picture we have today of such viking raids. The later imputed violence, robbery and blood-thirstiness is something that has been added to the word in later folklore. Surely, there were Viking expeditions of that precise kind, but the word was just as often used when venturing abroad to trade and sell copper, iron or other goods in a normal, peaceful manner.

To “go on viking” would have its closes resemblance with a combination of words that we today use for “explore”, “travel”, “adventure”, and “abroad”.

I like to think of my FIRE journey as a Viking journey of such.

What is your idea of Viking?

 

Why 2018 will be the year of the next financial crisis

The next financial crisis

The markets have been on an incredible high pretty much ever since the financial crisis in 09.  Around 2014 I started feeling a bit itchy, – everything is going too well. I have since become more and more convinced that the next financial crisis is just around the corner. This is why I believe next year will be the year of the next crash.

1 Unstable markets and the rise of cryptocurrencies:

More and more money is being invested in cryptocurrencies of different sorts. After the bitcoin boom late last year multiple other (less legitimate) cryptocurrencies have started to rise. The investors are less and less high risk traders and hackers and more and more our next-door neighbors. This means that if (when) these cryptocurrencies loose their value or becomes more regulated, it will affect normal people with average saving margins, thus exposing them to a lot of risk (= creating more volatility on the market and setting it up for a crash).

2 Time

Everything that goes up has to go down. It is simply not realistic to have a market trending upwards without any significant (smaller 10-percent little dips doesn’t really cut it) break to it in so many years. Everything that goes up will at some point in time have to go down (and at some point up again).

3 The mass effect

There is too much instability in the world right now to not expect it to take a larger toll on the financial markets than it has. A lot of people are starting to pull their investments out of the markets and into savings accounts, and when enough people do this, it will show in the larger indexes which in turn will confirm others suspicions of an upcoming recession and then incentivize them to also withdraw from the markets, creating a downward spiral.

 

What is your take on this? Are you also preparing for the next financial crisis to happen soon? 

Stocks or funds?

Stocks or Funds? I strongly prefer one over the other when it comes to investing my money

Stocks or funds? In this post I’ll talk about my self-professed finance-nerdiness, and why I prefer branch specific index funds over stocks.

I have to admit, I am a huge finance junkie. The same way some people go in and check facebook or instagram multiple (I really don’t want to give an estimate here for embarrassing reasons) times a day, I go in and check the stock market. I am perfectly content with peeking in without buying, the satisfaction comes from feeling up to date and “checking in”. As it is not hurting anyone, I have not tried to regulate this and thus let myself engulf freely in this little guilty pleasure.

A few posts ago, I talked about my investment strategy and mentioned both index funds and stocks as different investment options. As the above self-professed stock-market junkie I am, you would think that I am all about the stocks, options, warrants and all sorts of speedy hedgefund-y ways there are to up your capital out there.

In reality, this is not true. I am very much a vanilla-investor. I observe, and look, and wait, and maaaybe I’ll put in a little bit, just to check how it feels. And then some more. But I seldom buy stocks (relatively seldom, of course it happens).  I have a very realistic expectation of what I know and don’t know, and when it comes to stocks I just know too little about most underlying companies to make a potential investment more than a gamble. In addition, since the price of the stock is not really about the price of the company (just look at H&M nowdays) but what the market thinks of the price, I know even less.

Why I prefer index funds

What I do know, however, is the general status of the world. Almost as much as I like checking in on SP500 et alia I am constantly hooked in on the world news. And because of this, I prefer branch specific index funds. A fund, essentially a bundle of stocks with a common denominator like geographic area, industry (or a combination of them) is by this definition spreading the individual risk of each company out over many similar ones. I don’t have to know much about each individual company, but I do need to know about the collective status of their respective industry, for example.

love reading up on current events, and have been tracking world news since I was a kid (again, clearly one of the very cool ones growing up) so this suits me perfectly. There is a certain satisfaction in seeing the market in a specific industry unravel before you after a few indicative events. That is my medium. It also works really well because it is easy to hedge myself even more and step one macro level further out and go from very branch-specific to more global funds, and in this way  spread the risk even more, if I want to.

For now, I stick to my active obsessive stalking of the financial markets, and my branch specific index funds, and we will see how this works out for now. 

What is your take on this?

 

Freddie

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

How will this happen?

Financial Independence can mean many things, – and it is a term that is easily floated around in relation to people like Silicon Valleyers that just sold their mediocre app to Microsoft and cashed in 8-digit-something in return, or obscure venture capitalist firms that happens get it right and cash in in the big bucks, right before the ship sails for everyone else. See But why? It’s not like it is that simple?

 

financial freedom

In the later years, Financial Independence is assumed to be something you will stumble upon with sheer luck. You happened to hit the right thing,right before everyone else did. This is true wether you are investing in companies, or building them. And if you like me, live in a country with very heavy taxation, will have to hand over this independence to the state right away in form of taxation, being left with some bones of the originally earned wealth to gnaw on.

This is not true.

It is possible for anyone to save up enough wealth and live on the returns of them, even in a tax heavy country like Sweden. This blog will be a living testament to how that can be done.

/FV