“Seriously, another FIRE blog?!” you may say.

Wait, wait, maybe…, but with a twist.

I’m Marius, and going to document together with my wife our story of achieving freedom to do whatever we like and enjoy life, without sacrificing the present. We will achieve this by being smart and creative in all things we do, but mostly in leveraging the power of knowledge and money.

Keep reading to better understand this idea, but first, let me properly introduce myself.

Who am I?

As I was saying, my name is Marius, a Romanian software engineer turned into a product/project manager. I’m in my early 30’s, married with Mrs. I (you’ll hear more about her down the road). I love nature, hiking in the mountains, but safely (let’s not forget the bears.., yeah we have lots of them in here). I get super excited when I see dogs, they truly make me happy. Give me a dog to pet, and you’ve made my day.

In the last few years something got triggered in my brain, which made me more aware about my living style, my goals, and so on. I realised that I was running like crazy to make more money, working 12-14 hours a day, and no plan in place to actually make the best use of those hard earned money. Naturally, I ended up learning about financial independence, FIRE movement, reading and learning as much as I could on the topic. I become passionate and obsessed at the same time.

My view on financial freedom

When we are talking about financial freedom, most of the time we are talking about our wannabe future when things will be much better for us, and we will be able to live without worrying for money and never have to work again, and do things that we enjoy. To achieve that most of the time it means you’ll need to suffer now, make sacrifices, cut the cord and just living a frugal life. This can work for some people, but I’m pretty sure many are struggling with this.

Guess what?

I am one of those people and I can surely say that a frugal life is not for me! I would never like that and will probably make me miserable. As a way of life, I’m usually doing things that I enjoy (at least I try that), but of course not everything plays out the way I want. Sometimes, I’m forced to do things I’m not very fond of, but at that point I’m just pushing myself into a state of creative thinking to see how I can get out fast.

Let me tell you a story.

Around 10 years ago, I got my first job in a regular office, as a software engineer. Until then I was working from home for already a good period of time and never experienced the regular 9-5 job office schedule. Working from home back then was very rare, and everyone saw me as an outsider. So I wanted to try and see how it is to work in a real office surrounded by people, to get to experience all of that. Believe me, it was awful. I really hated it. And it wasn’t about the people, as they were pretty great or about the work that I was doing. It was simply that the whole situation did not match my lifestyle, and personality. I had to wake up early in the morning, stay on a fixed schedule, and lose a lot of time on commute. It didn’t lasted long, I only stayed there for one month, that’s it. You heard it well, in about 14 years of work, I only worked for 1 month in a regular office, otherwise from home or other similar places, just because that’s what makes me happy.

You see, whenever I am in situations I’m not comfortable with, I’m just trying to be smart about it and see if I can come up with creative solutions to make things better for me. And that’s exactly what I did. I reached out to my old employer, which offered my remote job back, and not just that, but I also got a substantial raise. Now, that’s how is done! If I would have kept working in that office, and hoped that things would get better in the future, I would have stayed unhappy for a big period of time, which was something I couldn’t accept.

So that’s why I strongly believe you should live in the moment, not in the future. Remember, the future at some point will become the present, so when that happens you will enjoy it to the fullest – awesome, that’s exactly what we want! But if you only live to wait for the future to enjoy life, there is a chance that there is no future anymore. Think about it, or don’t. Just live the moment.

I am pretty sure a lot of people think and feel the same, is just that they are stuck in a mindset that they can’t get out for whatever reason.

What’s my point?

All what I’ve said so far was to introduce you to my ultimate goal, which is to enjoy life now, right now, by trying to do the things we love the most, and don’t wait for a future, that may never come.

I’m sure you would agree with me that there are many people whose primary goal will be to make money, lots of them, and when they reached millions, they want to make even more. In fact, most probably the reason you’ve reached to this blog is because of that. And that’s totally fine, nothing wrong about it, except that money can’t be your primary goal, instead you should see them more like a tool to achieve your ultimate dreams.

This is what this blog is going to be about and this is the twist I was talking about. My story and eventually your story of achieving freedom to do whatever we like and enjoy life, without sacrificing the present, by being smart and creative in leveraging the power of knowledge and money.

As you may have noticed, I haven’t said anything about investments so far, although that’s clearly stated in the blog name. Funny, right? That was on purpose, as I wanted first to make a point that money are not the goal but rather the means. Got it? In any case, don’t worry, as I am going to talk most of the time about money, how to manage and invest them in a smart way, so that they work for you in the end, and not you for them.

Talking about investments, you shouldn’t see them just a way for taking a given amount of money, and multiplying them over time. You should also think about this through the lens of education, the best investment you will ever make, which is probably one of the most important things that makes a real difference for your wellbeing. I know for me it did wonders so far, and will always play a big role.

One more thought about my ultimate goal. For some it might look like this is actually fear, the fear of a future that may never come. Maybe, but I definitely don’t see it that way, and rather call it focus. Focus on what matters the most for me and my family and what makes me happy, now.

Why this blog?

Be assured, this will not be yet another blog with mumbo jumbo talking, and nothing specific. In fact, will be nothing like that. I am a geek at my core, so we are going to play a lot with numbers, create charts, run scenarios and all the fun stuff. In general I would like to keep my focus on delivering all the information very clear and concise. Here are the main reasons I started this blog and what to expect:

  • We are going to cover all the usual topics, earning, spending, investing, lifestyle, happiness, retiring and then some.
  • Share our story (me and my wife’s) on our way to freedom, and get feedback and advice on how we are doing. There is a lot of room for improvement, and can’t wait to see where this will get us.
  • I enjoy writing, and this is the perfect opportunity to become better at this. It helps me clear my mind and ultimately make better decisions.
  • I like to share and help others in not doing the same mistakes I did. Honestly! I feel like I need to give back what I’ve learned so far, being a true believer in karma. So please guys, feel free to get in touch with me! I would love to hear from you.
  • I would like to meet like-minded people. It’s always refreshing to talk with someone who gets it. And let’s not forget, the best way to become better is to surround yourself with people smarter than you.
  • Knowledge and information means power and through this blog we are going to get a lot of that.
  • Oh, and one last thing. All you’re going to read on this blog will be from an European perspective. Yep, you’ve heard it right, no IRA, 401(k), Roth IRA and all that confusing stuff. I am sorry my fellow Americans, but this is going to be for you only if you want to move to Europe.
  • Well, I lied, I’m sorry, but there is one more thing. There is a chance I will also write about what me and Mrs. I like to call uscite. Don’t know what the hell this means? No worries, is actually a word we borrowed from Italian and we are using it to describe something unexpected. Stay tuned and you’ll hear more on this.

If you feel that we are on the same page, share the same values and vision of life, you might want to hang around. I would love to know you better, and learn more about you. Feel free to use the comments section below or send me a personal message.

Be smart and enjoy the moment,
Marius

6 Comments

  1. Hi again Marius!
    I m catching up with your previous post. After reading your intro it felt right to introduce myself
    I am living in Amsterdam with my partner but I am from Spain (Sevilla, quite close to Marbella 🙂 ).
    I had a 9 to 5 job for 14 years already and was a biggggg saver so I found a lot of similarities with you in the Saving & Budget post. The main difference with you probably is that I never worried about investing until now, just saving without an specific goal…
    After an existential crisis (I turned 36 haha) I decided to educate myself in personal investing and start shaping the future I really want. For that reason I have been reading A LOT and your blog has been such an inspiration.
    So far I am trying to master index funds investing and P2P lending but will be very happy if you share other ideas and advice for different passive investing strategies.
    I guess you put quite some time in this blog so I wanted to THANK YOU for that since you are making other people’s life easier. Keep the hard work!

    1. Hi again Dani! 🙂

      It feels great to learn more about it and looking forward to keep in touch. I am happy to see that you made the decision to learn more about personal finance and educate yourself for a better future. Keep it up like that!

      Btw, we went to Sevilla last year as well for a couple of days, and we really enjoyed it. Me and my wife are big food lovers and we definitely had amazing food there and great wine. The city was very vibrant, full of life, and we really felt bad that we had to leave..

      As for passive investing, there is so much to say it would be hard for me to do it in a comment. However, I am planning to expand my blog beyond P2P lending. Is just a matter of time. All I would say for now is to be cautious as we are on all time markets high and at any moment things can go wrong. Try to invest during corrections like when the market drops 5% or so. If it drops more, double or your money or some similar approach.

      Cheers,
      Marius

      1. Great introduction,I can relate a lot.

        As to your reaction on the stock markets, I’m sorry but for an FIRE type blog this is very strange advice. I would say don’t try to time the market and have a solid dollar(/Euro ;)) cost average strategy.

        1. Hi Peter,

          Thank you for your comment and pointing that out. I am definitely not trying to suggest to time the market. That’s not my approach either.

          This is the perfect example why you can’t provide good advice in a blog comment, and I will try to pay more attention to this in the future, to avoid confusion.

          To prepare the ground, I will say that for me DCA is when you have a big amount of money (so not monthly savings) and you choose to invest that in 12 months time, or so. And the alternative would be the LUMP SUM method. There is a lot of debate around the internet, which is better, so I won’t go there. I just wanted to clarify what DCA means for me, being mostly about large amounts of money that you earned somehow and all of sudden, and not about monthly savings.

          Now, when talking about monthly savings, this is somehow different, and is best to invest those money right away, like monthly, and not wait (i.e time the market).

          But that may not make sense from a commission perspective, when you only have like a few hundreds or thousands to invest per month in the stock/bonds market. Of course it depends on your broker as well and unfortunately for international stocks I personally don’t have many options.. For me any cent counts.

          So I think the best approach from my perspective, and for my case specifically, is to invest just 4 or 5 times in a year, higher amounts, to lower purchase costs, and then to also have some flexibility to when to choose the time to enter.

          For example, you can invest each 3 months, but at the end of the 3 months, if you haven’t done it yet, you should do it no matter what.

          Is that timing the market? Maybe, but if yes, at a much lower scale.

          Is it the best option? I don’t know. Everyone needs to figure that out on their own.

          And this is how we reach talking about discipline. You will need to have an investment statement policy (IPS) that will have all the rules, and will serve as your guidance at all times (good or bad). The IPS needs to be done with a clear mind, without any emotions involved.

          When things will go bad, you will know what to do and therefore avoid mistakes.

          I have a draft of mine, but for now is just a draft, but it does work, even in this state, and helped me a lot so far. When I feel is ready, I will publish it on the blog as well. I like to do things in a very nice and clean way, and that takes time.

          But here is a great example of how an IPS should look like: https://thepoorswiss.com/my-investor-policy-statement-you-need-one-too/

          Hope this helps,
          Marius

          1. Thanks for the reply. To be fair what you are describing here is pretty much what DCA means in my opinion: “Now, when talking about monthly savings, this is somehow different, and is best to invest those money right away, like monthly, and not wait (i.e time the market).” With the addition of on the same date and the same amount (which can improve over time of course).

            Fortunately I only invest in ETFs and funds (no individual shares) and have access to multiple platforms that either charge no comission (deGiro, Flatex,etc.) or charge commission as a % with no minimum, so there is no difference in buying lump sum with DCA from that perspective.

            If I all of a sudden had excess to an amount of money that represented a large part of my wealth (fortunately I’m in that position next year:)) I would choose some sort of DCA strategy, to spread the risk, but that’s just me.

            I think in that regard there is a difference with P2P. As with a lump sum investment in P2P you only have to worry about interest rate fluctuation and if you have the option to get loans that are short term/sell them on secondary markets, so your can liquidate faster without a potential big loss if a better opportunity arises. But maybe I’m wrong on the last part, since I’m new to P2P.

          2. Hi Peter,

            Congrats on the lump sum from next year. That’s a good “problem” to have 🙂

            Degiro is indeed a great broker when talking about fees, but unfortunately I can’t create an account with them. They don’t accept my country.

            P2P is rather different and I would say simpler.

            If we are talking about Mintos and similar, I invest all the money right away, and then sell the lower interest loans on the secondary market when interest rates are going up. Even if might take longer they will sell eventually. That was the case in the last few months. Now the rates are slowly climbing up.

            If we are talking about platforms like Envestio, Crowdestor, and so on, where we have business or real estate loans, I prefer to spread my investment over multiple projects. That means that sometimes you may need to wait. On Crowdestor, not so much, probably no waiting time at all. They are really active in bringing new projects. On Envestio it might take longer.

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