Personal finance, it’s very personal.

I read a lot on personal finance, just too learn from people and their approach. It’s not just the financial independence part I’m interested in. Mostly I am more interested in how people go about the decision making process. A always pick something useful out of that. One thing I have learned it’s an incredible personal journey. The math is different for everybody, as well as time span, risk adversity and all other factors one might take in consideration.

There are some basics , most people start off by paying off consumer debt, student loans and mortgages. The variation starts from that point on, one might want to pursue a world trip , others want a better retirement or really early. All of these goals have different metrics. So there is not one right way , generally speaking the basic and key metric is spent less than you make.

One thing I have learned along the way is , make sure you know what your end goal is. And make sure this is really what you want. This is generally the hardest part to figure out. It’s has partly to do with the amount of time it takes achieving these life changing goals.

Also goals can change over time. And that’s ok, nothing wrong with that. Just don’t change them every month week or year. The journey in itself is rewarding as well, focussing and maintaining an outlook with a better and more secure future will pay off sooner than you think.

As it being personal one key thing will change for most. Your stress levels will decrease once your debt decreases and your net worth increases. Your mindset will change for the better. More mind space is available for things other than worrying. In my experience things will get better fast, more relaxed and your mind sharper. The main thing is getting better not just financially but also mentally and physically.

As with all long term goals you will get lost on the way, it helps defining and keeping an eye on the main prize at the end of it , but setting intermediate smaller goals in sync with the end goal keeps you enthused on the journey. Find those small goals and make a list. Once you get one , mark it as done. Celebrate it ! Share it with people that are important to you. Once the list is done, make a new one and save the old one. It’s a nice reminder of where you came from. It has worked for me in every part of life, not just finance. With my recovery as well. It keeps you grounded and thankful for progress made. It’s not an easy task getting in (financial) shape, but the ups and down will make you stronger !

While goals and time lines may vary wildly , the benefits and rewards that come with more financial stability are around the corner. The beginning might seen hard but your persistence will pay off. Find your first goal and stick to it.

May 2019 Dividend

May has passed , summer ahead and so it’s time for another dividend report. As usual May is a busy month for dividend. This year there has been an increase in dividend yet again, due mainly to new or additions too existing positions and some increases. As well as Munich Re , a large part of the total dividend any month they pay out. This month it was in May, but last month it was in April. A one on one comparison is a bit tricky so therefore I am not doing that. But it’s sufficient too say it’s up. When we look at the year as a whole we already have two thirds of the total dividends of last year in the pocket. And were not even half way yet. Al is going very well indeed.

The rundown :

DateStockCurrencyAmount
02-05-2019INGEUR44,00
02-05-2019Bayer AGEUR14,00
06-05-2019Munich ReEUR212,75
07-05-2019JungheinrichEUR5,00
08-05-2019ASMLEUR21,00
09-05-2019Amsterdam CommoditiesEUR36,00
15-05-2019NSIEUR13,44
16-05-2019AppleEUR10,41
20-05-2019K+S AGEUR10,00
21-05-2019BMWEUR35,00
28-05-2019ASM InternationalEUR30,00
28-05-2019DowDuPontEUR1,26
EUR432,86

April 2019 – Dividend

Another month passed by quickly. And so it’s time for another dividend update. This month and the next are always big on dividend coming in. This year is no different. It’s also got a few decent increases within the payments which is a nice bonus. Although this is exactly what is supposed too happen, it still feels as a bonus.

Mind you it can also go the other way round. Dividend payments can stop just like that and stock prices can implode as well. The last decade has been amazingly good. So for all of you who are just starting out. Have a long focus and don’t be deterred when things go sideways. Because they will at some point in time.

For now we are enjoying a nice ride, so here are the results for April :

DateStockCurrencyAmount
25-04-2019Ahold DelhaizeEUR70,00
24-04-2019Cisco systemsEUR8,75
16-04-2019WP Carey Inc. REITEUR9,21
15-04-2019NedapEUR50,00
10-04-2019Vanguard FTSE All-WorldEUR57,71
02-04-2019Vanguard Dividend AppreciationEUR1,36
02-04-2019NikeEUR1,96
01-04-2019Coca Cola CompanyEUR8,03
TotalEUR207,02

Small improvements , massive result

Striving to run a marathon in under 3 hours I discovered something new, well for me at least. I had read about it but never really given it any further attention. The large benefits of the small improvements you make if you do something long and consistent enough.

In sports it has been a thing for a few years now, make small improvements in a lot of areas and the sum will surpass anything. Which is off course true , mathematical speaking, take a spreadsheet and set a few numbers and keep adding 1% , compounding in action.

During my training it’s been evident that regularity in workouts is hugely important in getting the most small improvements. But here comes the kicker, for a long time you will not notice any improvements at all. It’s like being stuck, and all of a sudden there is this breakthrough moment. My times improved , tartrate dropped and recovery was shorter.

I am am nowhere near as data driven as a top athlete , but I just noticed the effect and it was significant.
Like it came out of nowhere. Which when you look at it, isn’t true. The consistency and persistence combined with a slow and gradual increase of volume in training has made this possible. But at first there is a whole lot of time were you notice nothing of great significance, it’s just maintaining your condition it seems and not moving forward at all. This is a dangerous point, you get demotivated and you start focussing on something else. Or you quit.

During my revalidation it was always hammered down that you should celebrate small victories, I was mostly frustrated because I was not achieving my bigger goals. I tried and compensate it by working harder and having draw backs. Finally I kept my schedule and things improved. Still not too my liking and my real breakthrough moment never really came.

In hindsight it was just the amount of time that was simply too short, you can’t do that much in a year and I have to get back to the drawing board and see how I can get at these small improvements by means of regularity and slowly increasing my load. I am stuck in a vacuum of no progress for some time now. At one hand that could be it, I am at my maximum in recovery, but I believe in something better.

The running is the proof for me. And while thinking about this subject it really applies too all things that are hard in the beginning. Or stay hard for a long . long time. Take learning how too read for example, or paying off a huge debt. In the beginning nothing real seems too happen. All the effort looks worthless. But then there is a moment it all takes off. The ball starts rolling , and then it goes really fast.

What I have learned , it’s more important too regularly work on a goal and grab the small improvements. Than try and sprinting towards it. Persistence is key , it should become a habit and not a burden.

Let’s get more small improvements!

Under 3 – Twelfth week of training

Week 12 is a wrap. This week its been harder than normally, my brain didn’t cooperate at all last week, mentally I was very tired. My daily dose of outside impulses I could not process. Running mostly provides a way for me too process all the left over information my brain hasn’t dealt with during the period before the run. Now it was a nessacity just to get some of the unprocessed information out of my head.

But because of my fatigue I really had to force myself out of bed, starting a run and simply showing up was the hardest part. Once outside it was mostly ok. These hard weeks make me very appreciative of the good ones. Training itself went pretty good, the long runs in my new pace start too feel more and more easy and relaxed. I will not run a sub 3 hour marathon at my next attempt , but I am hoping this progress will continue.

Onto week 13 !

March 2019 – Dividend

Another month has gone by, time flies and all that. And as every month , another bit of dividend came rolling in. It doesn’t take up a minute of your time and yet it gets you a bit of money. Pretty nice !
Comparing this year with last year , Royal Dutch Shell is missing, I am on route in making my portfolio more environmental friendly and durable. So Shell was sold. I’m aware most of the oil and gas company’s are still in the ETF’s I hold and I am now figuring out more durable ETF’s.

The rest of the list is made up of the usual suspects , see the overview. See you next time !

DateStockCurrencyAmount
29-03-2019Unibail-RodamcoEUR5,40
20-03-2019Unilever EUR7,74
15-03-2019
DowDupont incEUR3,36
14-03-2019MicrosoftEUR8,14
TotalEUR24,64

Under 3 – Eleventh week of training

This week a lot of long runs and a bit more yoga too keep everything moving and flexible. Four longer runs ranging from 14 to 34 K and one short slow run of 6,5 K. They all went well, made one mistake and forgot too drink enough on my 34 k long run on Sunday.

I was just running very easy and did pay attention too my gel intake and didn’t get thirsty , but at 32 K I suddenly felt my leg getting heavier and I was thirsty then I realized I had relied just of my gels and forgot about the water.

So the last 2 K were a bit harder. But all in all a very good long run. No muscle pain or other inconveniences afterwards. I do think yoga is playing a big role in keeping my body healthy and problem free. Usually I had more muscle problems, tiny pains and sometimes smaller injuries during long training periods and after long sessions. Knock on wood off course , but since I incorporated yoga these all disappeared.

4 more weeks of intensive training to go and then a week of relaxation and rest. I am very happy about my progress, whether I will ever be able to do a sub 3 marathon remains to be seen. But the road is so enjoyable and exciting just because it seems an impossible goal. The progress is real so it helps me in a lot of ways.

Till next week !

March 2019 – Option positions

A short note on my options trading. This month I also took some option positions and this time a bit farther away into the future. Since I have time and no rush. In the meantime I am learning and reading up on options. This is a very slow process for me so no new part in the ‘what are options’ series. It’s a work in progress.

I also noticed my options table is a far cry from readable on smaller screens, and less bigger ones. So I am currently in the process of making this table more readable and understandable as well. Maybe it’s needs to be in a totally different format. I am aiming to get this in order with the next update.

Strategy wise nothing has really changed. I only incorporated a part of my savings as a buffer, which is more a state of mind really than anything else. I have not yet need to transfer any money from my savings into my investment account. I have added 1/3 of my savings towards my options portfolio , just in case.

I know this is more of an active approach towards portfolio management and something I don’t do with the vast majority of my portfolio. But this has turned out into a nice hobby and one I can do at my own pace , when I feel good and are up for it. All qualities in an activity which I need.

So for next time I hope having my new overview sorted. I a way people understand it and it’s readable. Until next time !

Under 3 – Tenth week of training

Another week of training is done, one less run but all the others were a bit longer. With some build in speed parts and hill training. I was a bit tired at the beginning but at the end of the week it all went better. Lot’s of rain and wind as well all week, I don’t mind a bit of rain but every training gets a bit too much.

This is the first week of a serie of weeks where the amount of kilometers gets too an all-time high. In order too get me into marathon mode if you like. The long run was especially cold , wet and even some hail too accompany me on this 32 Kilometer long run. I started out early and after a few km’s in, I was already soaked. So I decided too ditch all the watching the hart rates , speeds etc on my watch and just focus on running and enjoying a nice pace.

After the first half the rain got a bit lesser, and even the sun showed up sometimes. It went very well and also my gel intake was up too par. I wasn’t really fatigued at the end and my muscles were not sore after and not the next day.

It also was pretty fast, I did however got some rain damage along the way but it wasn’t too bad. A very good week again despite tired me starting out.

Onto the next one !

Fear

Fear, my biggest fear ? Losing control, or more accurate losing the illusion of control. I have always wanted too have as much control over my life as possible. More often than not pushing it too the extreme. Combining this with setting high demands for myself and big goals, I made it quite difficult for myself to really have control. Not in ways of getting towards my goals but controlling myself.

Eventually my biggest fear became reality, I now only have limited control over my life. The daily condition of my brain determines what I can and cannot do that day and it makes for a lot of unexpected moments. Offcourse I do all I can controlling this. It’s my nature.

The difference with the past is I am not trying too force this at all costs. All I can do is plan well , exercise and train well and rest. Controlling everything simply costs too much of my valued and scarce resource , energy.

It had taught me that living in the moment is very valuable, you simply cannot control every aspect of your life. You can work on creating the conditions and environment too increase your chances of achieving your goals, and thats an attitude I recommend too everyone. But in the end you are reliant on so many factors and moments that there is a point at which it simply does not make sense trying to control more. You end up in an illusion, and you keep pushing for more influence on a increasingly smaller effect on the outcome of events.

Energy better spend on fun things in life, or activity’s which you can do in reaching your goals. Not just trying too control everything.

It’s strange how you always fall back on old instincts , which have taken me far in life and still my discipline , controlling nature and perseverance take me far today. But in the past these attributes were in my way a lot of the time. It backfired numerous times when achieving my goals. Controle became a goal in itself. There was no more logic.

Now there is more acquiescence, frustration about my failing brain is still there, and also acceptance is a long way down the line, but this has given me the insight in the simple fact you can better put your energy in little steps towards a goal , the using it too control stuff you can’t. Or obsess over details. Problems will arise anyhow, and when they do , I will deal with them.

My life has a lot more direction and focus , and is more relaxed than it used too be. Everything is a bit smaller, at a lower pace. Unnecessary fear is bad guidance , and working at overcoming this fear is a very valuable side effect too my brain damage. I doubt if I would have ever gotten it otherwise.