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Hi from Barcelona (25, just started working)
Old 06-24-2018, 02:21 AM   #1
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Hi from Barcelona (25, just started working)

Hi everyone,

I am a 25 years old single man that started working 9 months ago. I am working at an IT consulting job (mostly outsourcing). My background is studies in industrial engineering and a master's in management of innovation.

Right now, the most I know about finances is what I learned in the degrees, but I would like to learn more, since I believe I lack training in topics about investing. Some investment managers have told me about good reads from Peter Lynch or Benjamin Graham, but I am open to suggestions about other ways to learn.

Like other people from this forum, I am not into buying status items. And I am trying to find ways to optimize my spending. Right now I have a short time favorable situation that is the fact that I don't have to pay for food or housing (still live with family), but I think it won't last long.

Currently I don't have much savings, just around 12k€ in cash, which is not invested nor placed under any savings account. My idea is to not start investing or placing money into savings products until I reach 14k€, wich I believe will be in around 3 months. I do separate my savings into 3 categories: emergency (this is for the possible case I lost my job or if I get an illness that has a costly treatment that the government doesn't pay), spending (this is for things like renting a flat, buying food, paying bills, etc.) and investing (the name says it). Any suggestions to improve are welcomed.

About income, I just have one source which is a bit low (net: around 15 k€/year). I would like to diversify the income sources as I believe it could help in reducing risk, but I still don't know how to do it properly. I have a possible option creating a startup from a project that I am doing with a friend from my high school years (in which we won a small prize for the business plan that I did); but I know that this can also be a risky thing and I have to be really careful with it.

I would love to retire before 40, but I think that before 50 would be a more realistic thing. I don't plan to have kids, but I will probably have a partner in the midterm future, and this could change a bit the picture, so I probably should have different "simulations" of possible scenarios. Again, suggestions are welcomed.

I have joined the forum in search of a community of people to talk about early retirement, as I believe that spending time with a network of people with similar interests or that did something similar can make it easy to reach goals.
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Old 06-24-2018, 02:56 AM   #2
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Hello Junior!

Greetings from Switzerland. You live in a beautiful city; do you hope to stay there when you are FIREd? Thinking about retirement after 9 months in your first job is truly amazing. This is a great start. Do you track your expenses? My wife and I started doing so when we were in our late 30s and made a plan for early retirement. We did well enough to be able to retire early in a fairly expensive country. This was not part of our original plan, but after working here for 6 years we decided we had to stay!

Best of luck to you. You are correct that time in this online community is time well spent. Not all of the topics, especially on US taxes and health care, will apply to you; but may make you feel good about your own system in Spain.

All the best, and welcome!

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Hi from Barcelona (25, just started working)
Old 06-24-2018, 07:26 AM   #3
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Hi from Barcelona (25, just started working)

Junior; Your instincts are spot on. Keep an emergency fund always, and in your case that number perhaps should be larger as you will undoubtedly want to move out of your parents home which will increase your expenses. Also the initial costs of such a move will cost a bit. After you have created that emergency fund, then saving and investing as much of your income as possible will advance your FIRE goals faster than anything else. At a minimum try to save 20% of your gross income. If you can save more, a lot more, then your path to FIRE will be quicker. Your instincts to do some reading are spot on as well. Read up on the power of compounding which accompanies early investing. You are extremely fluent in English, almost to the point that it seems like your first language, so the two sources you mentioned are a great start. Seeing that you live in Europe though finding personal finance books from a European perspective would be desirable as your retirement investment options and your equivalent of Social Security would be better addressed from your local perspective. Deciding on what to invest in and what vehicles to use are details that reading can help you with. Whatever you choose, keep expense ratios of your investments as low as possible and keep the investments you purchase simple. Try to determine your risk level and choose your Asset Allocation accordingly. You might want to tune into the Young Dreamers forum. You surely fit that mold.


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Old 06-24-2018, 09:54 AM   #4
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Old 06-25-2018, 02:13 AM   #5
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Junior; Your instincts are spot on. Keep an emergency fund always, and in your case that number perhaps should be larger as you will undoubtedly want to move out of your parents home which will increase your expenses. Also the initial costs of such a move will cost a bit. After you have created that emergency fund, then saving and investing as much of your income as possible will advance your FIRE goals faster than anything else. At a minimum try to save 20% of your gross income. If you can save more, a lot more, then your path to FIRE will be quicker. Your instincts to do some reading are spot on as well. Read up on the power of compounding which accompanies early investing. You are extremely fluent in English, almost to the point that it seems like your first language, so the two sources you mentioned are a great start. Seeing that you live in Europe though finding personal finance books from a European perspective would be desirable as your retirement investment options and your equivalent of Social Security would be better addressed from your local perspective. Deciding on what to invest in and what vehicles to use are details that reading can help you with. Whatever you choose, keep expense ratios of your investments as low as possible and keep the investments you purchase simple. Try to determine your risk level and choose your Asset Allocation accordingly. You might want to tune into the Young Dreamers forum. You surely fit that mold.


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Thanks Golden sunsets, it makes sense, I'll definitely have this into account.
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Old 06-25-2018, 09:16 AM   #6
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Hi Bryan,

I'll try to answer your questions, there are some, but they are interesting.
[
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You live in a beautiful city; do you hope to stay there when you are FIREd?
At this moment I am thinking about Barcelona or a neighboring city at least for the period I'll be working (I belive job opportunities are higher for the field I studied/work in this part of Catalonia, I don't know about the rest of Spain). But if there's another place in Europe that has better conditions in terms of wages , SS, basic basket, housing and transportation, I am open to suggestions (I think I would also have to take into account the chances of being hired, when coming from Spain). I know this doesn't exactly answer the question, but I would say that I am open to switching location when I reach the FIRE goals, to the one that has those conditions into account. The only condition about weather in my case would be that the temperatures are equal or lower than in Spain (the summer in Spain puts my temperature comfort close to the limit).

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Hello Junior!
Thinking about retirement after 9 months in your first job is truly amazing. This is a great start. Do you track your expenses? My wife and I started doing so when we were in our late 30s and made a plan for early retirement. We did well enough to be able to retire early in a fairly expensive country. This was not part of our original plan, but after working here for 6 years we decided we had to stay!
First of all, congratulations on reaching your FIRE goal, I hope I will be able to see myself in that situation.

I started thinking about "FIRE" earlier than this year, but not in a serious way. I guess it started by thinking about getting FI to be able to seize the opportunities that presented in front of me, and later I also reached the conclusion that in the long term I would probably need to go more slow, as I don't know if I will have the same energy to keep up with the changes of the industries as I start to age more and thus it could be good to have some "cushion" and some "passive" income to take life slowly, RE and do other activities like learning photography or hiking, and maybe giving advice to companies.

About tracking expenses I use two apps (the bank one and another one, which I think it's called mobills). And I think that it helps a lot since warnings about increases on expenses or the fact of registering them, makes me more contious about if I truly need or want what I have just bought or if I believe that the value I am getting for the price I am paying is good.

All the best.
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Old 06-25-2018, 09:24 AM   #7
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Junior; Your instincts are spot on. Keep an emergency fund always, and in your case that number perhaps should be larger as you will undoubtedly want to move out of your parents home which will increase your expenses. Also the initial costs of such a move will cost a bit. After you have created that emergency fund, then saving and investing as much of your income as possible will advance your FIRE goals faster than anything else. At a minimum try to save 20% of your gross income. If you can save more, a lot more, then your path to FIRE will be quicker. Your instincts to do some reading are spot on as well. Read up on the power of compounding which accompanies early investing. You are extremely fluent in English, almost to the point that it seems like your first language, so the two sources you mentioned are a great start. Seeing that you live in Europe though finding personal finance books from a European perspective would be desirable as your retirement investment options and your equivalent of Social Security would be better addressed from your local perspective. Deciding on what to invest in and what vehicles to use are details that reading can help you with. Whatever you choose, keep expense ratios of your investments as low as possible and keep the investments you purchase simple. Try to determine your risk level and choose your Asset Allocation accordingly. You might want to tune into the Young Dreamers forum. You surely fit that mold.


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Hi again Golden Sunsets,

There's lot of actionable advice in this piece of writing that you did.

One of the first things I'll do is try to contact people that maybe can give me some ideas about books/reads that apply to Spain in the topics you told me.

I'll also check the other ones to see how to do them properly.

A quick question: Do you know of any good read related to sizing an emergency fund?

Thanks in advance.

All the best.
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Old 06-25-2018, 09:30 AM   #8
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About tracking expenses [...] makes me more contious about if I truly need or want what I have just bought or if I believe that the value I am getting for the price I am paying is good.
I ment "conscious".
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Hi from Barcelona (25, just started working)
Old 06-25-2018, 02:59 PM   #9
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Hi from Barcelona (25, just started working)

Hi Junior. I can’t recommend anything specifically, but most personal finance books which cover the topic devote a section to emergency funds. I’ve seen recommendations from 3 months to 12 months. The 3 month goal is arguably a bit skimpy. Twelve months might be appropriate for a very conservative person or a person with a job that has a lot of uncertainty. Six months is a good rule of thumb. Keep in mind that any known expenditures within the next five years should be saved for in a seperate fund in either savings, Certificates of deposit or ultra short term bomd funds. So for example, if you plan to buy a home, a car or are planning for some other known big expenditure, that amount is held in liquid assets over and above your emergency fund.
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Old 06-25-2018, 03:06 PM   #10
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Hi from Barcelona (25, just started working)

Quick question to you. How did you become so fluent in English? Your grammer is perfect. I study both French and Spanish as second languages and my written grammer is abysmal
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Old 06-25-2018, 03:52 PM   #11
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Hi Junior. I can’t recommend anything specifically, but most personal finance books which cover the topic devote a section to emergency funds. I’ve seen recommendations from 3 months to 12 months. The 3 month goal is arguably a bit skimpy. Twelve months might be appropriate for a very conservative person or a person with a job that has a lot of uncertainty. Six months is a good rule of thumb. Keep in mind that any known expenditures within the next five years should be saved for in a seperate fund in either savings, Certificates of deposit or ultra short term bomd funds. So for example, if you plan to buy a home, a car or are planning for some other known big expenditure, that amount is held in liquid assets over and above your emergency fund.
Hi Golden sunsets,

That's certainly a good point, I was mostly focusing on the 12 month emergency fund plus 2-3 extra months, without paying much attention to the fact that most contracts to rent flats ask for 3 months of advanced payments, so I guess it will be smart to build a separate budget for covering that as well as the possibility of needing to buy home items and other elements (luckily I did some calculus about that some months ago as an exercise to plan different scenarios). This will be to cover a pessimistic scenario. The optimistic one would be to get a special contract that the city gives to young people to help them rent a flat at a price that is lower than the one of the market.

Thanks for the tips!

About my English, I have to admit that it took me lots of years to get the fluency I currently have (I think I started when I was 7 years old), so, don't worry, I think time helps everyone. My secret is that as a kid, my mother decided that what I was doing at school wasn't enough to learn English properly, and she sent me to a woman that had just arrived to Spain, who only knew English, I don't remember much but I know that after some weeks going there I started to be able to communicate with that woman better (specially because she built some sort of reward system, that involved playing games, getting free candy or cookies and watching movies if I ended the exercises earlier and had at least more than a 70% of the elements well). I went there until I switched to highschool. But I always have been learning with native speakers. I think what they advised us is to do 4 hours a week of classes (which involved equally divided time between speaking, writing, use of English and listening exercises), plus trying to read mostly in that language and watch films/listen to music in that language at least some times during the month. For me another thing that helped was having he possibility of going to official exams to certify the level. As they were a bit expensive I had to practice with a preparation book because I didn't want to waste the money they costed. And I think that by being able to have some sort of "certificate" of achievement kind of "gamified" the experience and motivated me to try to keep up until I got to the last level that can be certified.

I don't know if the story helps, but if there's some tips I can give are the following (I'm sure you have heard them before):

- Practice with native speakers (if they are from different regions it can enrich your ability to understand different ways of speaking the same language as well as your oral/written expression in that language).

- Practice with books that provide both exercises and theory.

- Rewards/exams to check your level can help in motivating to keep working.

- Listening to music, watching movies, watching TV, reading articles or books and using apps in that language during your free time can help.

I'm happy that you give me a way in which I could try to return (partially) the favor you did by telling me some tips.

Have a good day!
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Old 06-25-2018, 03:55 PM   #12
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Hi Golden sunsets,

That's certainly a good point, I was mostly focusing on the 12 month emergency fund plus 2-3 extra months, without paying much attention to the fact that most contracts to rent flats ask for 3 months of advanced payments, so I guess it will be smart to build a separate budget for covering that as well as the possibility of needing to buy home items and other elements (luckily I did some calculus about that some months ago as an exercise to plan different scenarios). This will be to cover a pessimistic scenario. The optimistic one would be to get a special contract that the city gives to young people to help them rent a flat at a price that is lower than the one of the market.

Thanks for the tips!

About my English, I have to admit that it took me lots of years to get the fluency I currently have (I think I started when I was 7 years old), so, don't worry, I think time helps everyone. My secret is that as a kid, my mother decided that what I was doing at school wasn't enough to learn English properly, and she sent me to a woman that had just arrived to Spain, who only knew English, I don't remember much but I know that after some weeks going there I started to be able to communicate with that woman better (specially because she built some sort of reward system, that involved playing games, getting free candy or cookies and watching movies if I ended the exercises earlier and had at least more than a 70% of the elements well). I went there until I switched to highschool. But I always have been learning with native speakers. I think what they advised us is to do 4 hours a week of classes (which involved equally divided time between speaking, writing, use of English and listening exercises), plus trying to read mostly in that language and watch films/listen to music in that language at least some times during the month. For me another thing that helped was having he possibility of going to official exams to certify the level. As they were a bit expensive I had to practice with a preparation book because I didn't want to waste the money they costed. And I think that by being able to have some sort of "certificate" of achievement kind of "gamified" the experience and motivated me to try to keep up until I got to the last level that can be certified.

I don't know if the story helps, but if there's some tips I can give are the following (I'm sure you have heard them before):

- Practice with native speakers (if they are from different regions it can enrich your ability to understand different ways of speaking the same language as well as your oral/written expression in that language).

- Practice with books that provide both exercises and theory.

- Rewards/exams to check your level can help in motivating to keep working.

- Listening to music, watching movies, watching TV, reading articles or books and using apps in that language during your free time can help.

I'm happy that you give me a way in which I could try to return (partially) the favor you did by telling me some tips.

Have a good day!
I forgot to mention the bullet point of playing games in that language, as it really helps to relax and not think much about the mistakes one makes, because one is enjoying the game. It can be simple board games, tongue twisters, riddles, etc.
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Hi from Barcelona (25, just started working)
Old 06-25-2018, 04:12 PM   #13
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Hi from Barcelona (25, just started working)

Very interesting Junior and Congrats on completely mastering a foreighn language. Your skill set in that area leads me to wonder if you are maximizing your income, given your dual language skills. I think I recall that you are in IT, but make only €15,000 Euro’s per year Can you code? If so I think you are grossly underpaid. Have you looked into being a contractor to a US company and working remotely? Salaries for software engineers in the US are very high. My son who is 32 started with a degree in political science, with minors in French and Spanish but had developed a skill in writing code. After spending a year in Spain ( Catalonia actually, as a fluent Spanish speaker) he returned to the US, subcontracted as a 1099 (contractor) and was making $175,000 a year. He then got his MS degree in Computer Science and is now at the Director level. US companies can’t find enough SE’s and pay dearly for salaried or remote contract staff at very high salary levels. With your language skills you could easily cash in on this trend. Just a thought
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Old 06-25-2018, 04:27 PM   #14
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Very interesting Junior and Congrats on completely mastering a foreighn language. Your skill set in that area leads me to wonder if you are maximizing your income, given your dual language skills. I think I recall that you are in IT, but make only €15,000 Euro’s per year Can you code? If so I think you are grossly underpaid. Have you looked into being a contractor to a US company and working remotely? Salaries for software engineers in the US are very high. My son who is 32 started with a degree in political science, with minors in French and Spanish but had developed a skill in writing code. After spending a year in Spain ( Catalonia actually, as a fluent Spanish speaker) he returned to the US, subcontracted as a 1099 (contractor) and was making $175,000 a year. He then got his MS degree in Computer Science and is now at the Director level. US companies can’t find enough SE’s and pay dearly for salaried or remote contract staff at very high salary levels. With your language skills you could easily cash in on this trend. Just a thought
Oh, I'll have to check how to do it I think working from Spain for US could be great, since I could probably benefit from both economies' strong points.

And as you point out for some strange reason people seem to be underpaid in Spain. I recall, the sister of my sister's boyfriend telling that she was surprised when she opened an office in Spain (of the same business she owns in the US) and realized that the wages that most companies were paying here were lower than 1/4 of the US ones for the same jobs.
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Old 06-25-2018, 04:28 PM   #15
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Well, thanks for your thoughts on that subject. I will definitely have to check this out!
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Old 06-25-2018, 04:30 PM   #16
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A quick question: Do you know of any good read related to sizing an emergency fund?
There isn't any one good number that fits everyone, much depends on circumstances. As mentioned most writers recommend anywhere from 3 to 12 month's worth of expenses. A lot also depends intangibles such as how long would it take to find another job if you were laid off? If you are injured, do you have sick leave to pay your expenses while healing, and if so for how long?

Do you live in an apartment or own your home? That affects who has to pay for repairs and maintenance - a renter need not concern himself with the cost of repair if the furnace breaks down (only how fast the repair guy gets there!) but if you own the house, then cost is also to be considered.

Likewise, if you walk or take a bus to work vs. owning your car. The car owner will need a bigger emergency fund than the guy who walks.

I hope this helps.
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Old 06-25-2018, 08:29 PM   #17
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So, I have to go back in time 63 years in order to become fluent in Español.
Now, Junior, you can get off my lawn.
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Old 06-25-2018, 08:31 PM   #18
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I'd start with reading the Millionaire Next Door. For now, you could start investing in a Total Stock Market ETF, and be fine, or if you want something a little more conservative, choose a "Target Retirement Date fund such as one for the year 2040.

If you are serious about retiring that young, you need to maximize your income and savings, from now until the end. For me, it took moving from a technical position into a project manager position, bumping my salary into the low 6-figure range, then working for 20 years, from age 32 to 52. If you keep your eye on the ball, work hard, and make the right decisions (and don't have kids/get divorced), don't go into debt except for a modest house, it should be doable in 20 years or so. Best wishes!
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Old 06-26-2018, 12:25 AM   #19
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So, I have to go back in time 63 years in order to become fluent in Español.
Now, Junior, you can get off my lawn.
No, I think that with time and practice anyone can learn it.

If you want a different example, there was a woman in her seventies learning English at the same place as me (we went to a native speaker's home to learn) when I was going to highschool. She was at the same level that I had back then, her advantage was that as she had retired, she had more time to practice than me, and could advance fast. Because of that, she decided she would also learn German.
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Old 06-26-2018, 01:09 AM   #20
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There isn't any one good number that fits everyone, much depends on circumstances. As mentioned most writers recommend anywhere from 3 to 12 month's worth of expenses. A lot also depends intangibles such as how long would it take to find another job if you were laid off? If you are injured, do you have sick leave to pay your expenses while healing, and if so for how long?

Do you live in an apartment or own your home? That affects who has to pay for repairs and maintenance - a renter need not concern himself with the cost of repair if the furnace breaks down (only how fast the repair guy gets there!) but if you own the house, then cost is also to be considered.

Likewise, if you walk or take a bus to work vs. owning your car. The car owner will need a bigger emergency fund than the guy who walks.

I hope this helps.
Thanks for your appreciations on the subject, Walt34. I think they help me understand better the extend to which I have to go to plan for a good estimation of the number for the emergency fund.

In my case transportation is either public transport or walking, as I work quite close to were I'm staying.

As for preparing for management, I should probably be more active in that. I studied startup and innovation management in my master's and maybe some knowledge of that can help me in that option.

Right now I stay on a flat that my political ount owns (she inherited it and doesn't use it) and let's me stay there for free, yet I believe they will need to use it when their sons start university (which I believe will be in 2 years). So I'll have to save a bit more for renting contracts (the 3-4 month in advance and maybe something more just in case prices increase).

Definatley, healthcare is an important expense, that was my focus in my first attempt to build an emergency fund.

Many thanks.

Regards.
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