N26 USA – A review of America’s newest and coolest bank

N26 USA – A review of America’s newest and coolest bank

To start off: N26 is a proper, EU and US licensed bank. It is also official: they are launching in the US in the first half of 2019 (confirmed by our sources). It means they follow all the rules, have the same guarantees by the government as Citibank or BofA. The app may be whimsical, the TV ads cool, but they are a proper company with thousands of employees and the financial backing of billions of dollars and millions of daily users.

They jumped to the forefront of the so-called banking startups world in a time when most failed to connect with youths. It makes sense: banks use what is called “legacy computer systems” so they simply cannot offer any new tech without having to throw away millions of dollars investments and fire entire tech teams just to offer an app. So, N26 new this and cleverly saw that by offering convenience and ease of use, they could take on a market that was settled in their good old ways.

First, they make opening an account easy. With video identification, there is little to no stress involved regarding the sign-up. If you a human with a national ID or passport, you can get an N26 account in the United States or in Europe.

Sending money to anyone is easy with N26

Sending money to anyone is easy too: click a button, type in an email and money is transferred instantly which is quite remarkable. There is no fee to receive money from anyone. However, if you deposit the money yourself using their Cash26 feature by visiting a participating retailer, you will be charged a small transaction fee and money will be on your account immediately. The fee is 0.3% which is how they make their money. So, as long as you are getting paid via direct deposit, you won’t be paying to use N26 in the United States.

Receiving money with N26

Receiving money work quite well, to be honest. Even international money transfers through their partnership with Transferwise which is kind of amazing. Just to make sure this is clear: you can get paid in almost any currency with one bank account! The entire experience feels intuitive and – this is high praise – it feels like an app, not like a banking app. They have given funky names to basic banking routines too: they have a thing called Spaces which means you have multiple electronic wallets so you can manage your savings.

You can easily schedule regular payments and they have a clever little notification feature that prompts you in case you are short on funds and there is an upcoming charge. At least it gives you time to transfer money from one of your N26 Spaces or ask a loved one for a short loan.

Speaking of loans, N26 has a nifty loan feature to get you a loan instantly. It verifies your standing with credit agencies and asks you a series of questions (and document uploads) so you can take out a 6 figure loan directly from its app.

N26 card selection

Their card selection is pretty decent in our opinion too. First of all, it is a normal chipped debit card that works anywhere Mastercard is accepted which is everywhere. The standard design is in a handsome transparent and black plastic featuring their minimalistic logo with the more upscale black and metal offers being what I consider to be the most distinct offers in the market. When it comes to cool cards, N26 wins the battle.

Their premium cards are paid, but feature free international withdrawals, travel, and luggage insurance, dedicated support and partner offers.

Now for its customer service. For a bank, it is not bad given that have rules to comply and cannot risk fines with the authorities. If some hacker in a foreign country steals your card if may not be that easy to recoup your money as there may be some forms to be filled out. You won’t be out of luck and you will see your money: it just may take a while.

Now to some awesome N26 basic features:

  • Of course, N26 works with Google and Apple Pay, with setup being the easiest we have ever seen.
  • You can set deposit and withdrawal limits right on the app: no more calling your local branch to ask for things you could do yourself
  • You can log in using your fingerprint reader
  • Lost a card? Lock it through the app.
  • All account activities are shown on the app instantly via push notifications
  • Tag transactions yourself, or let the system automatically do it for you. Easy accounting and balancing!

That is it. We much recommend N26 in the USA because it is – so far as we can tell – the best bank in the world.

https://n26.com/en-us/

Making kids to save money: a good excuse to actually save money. Hint: you will be paying a lot less taxes.

At the risk of sounding a bit old, please hear me out. I promise you that this article will not be about the advantages of giving up your life of leisure and start a family at 20 so by the time you are 40 and still young, you can enjoy going to operas on your Maserati.

This is about far more than the above: it is about building wealth as a result of the opportunities that are afforded to you as a common human being because of the connections that you will make with other people with responsibilities other than feeling and entertaining themselves. It is also about setting your mind to reality – a culture if you will – that by giving up a certain lifestyle, there is a huge government-sponsored support network that allows you to have stuff that otherwise you could never dream of if you are young and single. Things like house subsidies, medical care, family help, free education, free stuff, free fun.

There is a huge push by popular culture that — self-servingly — tries to removal our family and moral compass with anger for political change, sex, drink, and entertainment subscriptions. Although these should be experienced and they are fun for a while, my advice is to curb your enthusiasm about these pursuits and learn to refocus on stuff that even the government is willing to pay for you to have. It is quite amazing to realize that the earlier you start, it is possible to start saving and even reach the 7 figure dream while having children.

Contrary to popular belief, children are cheap. Maybe even free. Here is how to make it happen

  • It is cheaper than you think. diapers, meals, doctors, toys, clothes, baby stuff. You may think all of this stuff has to be either bought brand new or of the best available quality. This is far from the truth. If creatively and lovingly planned, you can find free sources for almost all your baby needs and make meals at home that surpass all but the best main street offers. In many cities across the world, there are baby clothes exchanges, for example. Used toys cost 10% of their original cost, and are often free. For the majority of people, children’s health costs are low too. It is possible to keep a healthy child for as little as $200 a month. With almost all western nations giving tax breaks for every child you make, these costs are offset.  
  • There are tax breaks. Some countries will give you as much as $10K in yearly tax breaks for every child you have. Some will eliminate taxes altogether. Overall the idea that suddenly you are able to have several thousand extra bucks in your accounts in order to make your own investment choices instead of having to subsidize government projects. It is a new level of independence.
  • Fun becomes nearly free. Not only you have a little funny chubby clown making the lives of most people instantly hilarious, but becoming a parent puts you in touch with new funny people by default. You get to meet so many new people that you are bound to meet some wonderfully funny individuals that laugh at themselves and have access to interesting information and life experience that is so different it is funny. I have met parents that have hitchhiked the world, who live in barns in the countryside, social entrepreneurs to loan sharks. Over time, as kids grow, they bring their friends in and that is even funnier: I walked in the kitchen one day and the girls were baking cookies, except that about ⅔ of the batter was on the floor. That is true honestly hilarity.
  • There are a lot of investors that are parents. Being a parent makes one grow up fast and think of the future. Startup ideas small and large, ways of saving money, tactics to have fun on a budget, making life easier and better as a result of the family unit. Over time, ideas and partnership opportunities may abound and help you and your family thrive. Remember to stick with that you know. If ideas come around, make sure that you can manage your life and it makes sense. Test it a lot, learn a lot, make sure that you are applying yourself and your competencies, not the wishful thinking version of yourself  
  • You will live in a nicer, bigger home. That is right, the life of the bachelor apartment is over. Time for the big boy life with the electronics, the garage, the living room with a palatial ceiling, the fireplace, or whatever local equivalent you may have experienced. I am just trying to illustrate that you can have what your parents had, which would never have happened if there was no family. This is true: people are wrong to think there is no fun in the family. It is certainly better than renting a room for 2k/mo in Williamsburg.  
  • Travel can be cheaper. Free home exchange, friends with other families in welcoming countries opening their arms. the Rotary Club even, borrowing the RV, going on a shared RV trip with your neighbors. There are so many opportunities to have a lot of fun regionally and abroad that do not involve overpaying for a hostel. Sure, hotels are expensive, but you can avoid them. Food is cheap if you are able to Couchsurf, home share. Artists collectives have sharing opportunities. Airbnb can actually be awesome too.

It is tiring, poop is stinky, but it is worth it. Life as parents can provide with some of the most productive, rewarding, and meaningful experiences ever. It is cheap. The government wants you to do it because otherwise they are forced to spend money with immigration propaganda which is controversial and they only do it when we don’t want to make families. So yeah: want to get rich? Start a family!

Work 3 years like an animal: survival strategies for the tired and the lazy.

My father woke up at 5:30 every day for 30 years, including Saturday. He took one 30 day vacation in 30 years. He is the epitome of what it means to hustle. As a result of his massive effort and courage to be himself, he was able to have millions in the account, in safes, inland, and eventually becomes of the biggest taxpayers in his home state.

We do not have to be like him to succeed. Literally, 10% of what he did is enough. If you live for 80 years, please take 2.4% of your total days to work like an animal and see that you could be setting a future for yourself that allows you to afford more than a proud stance: a home, new friends, new knowledge, newfound freedom.

It will be tiring, and in order to survive, you may have to ask yourself some tough questions. Let’s call it investigative personal psychology. It is about hacking your mind to make sure that you can work while having the minimum amount of fun that allows you to keep going. The most bang for your buck if you will.

Here are some strategies that I have personally used that allowed me to succeed.

  1. Cooking: Learning how to cook not only saves you money but it can become a joyful experience. I recently learned that there is something called “fake fillet” in Germany that costs €8/kg. Because of the recipes, I learned from Youtube geniuses, I got enough practice now that I can make a mean steak at home and it makes me feel like a master chef.  It also connects you with multiple cultures because you may be visiting foreign food grocery stores to buy that obscure type of cheese or spice. For the vegetablists out there (kidding, my friends), it is the same and you can make amazingly delicious creations. But do not think you will be saving money by not buying meat. It is not true at all. You only save money with food by practicing making amazing food on a budget which means you will have to make a bunch of mistakes. In my case, I learned that you do not need a fancy steak to eat a fancy steak. 
  2. Flirting: take your time to flirt with people that you find attractive online. It is not that hard. All you need to do is understand that it is a game played by millions of people that have created personas – online avatars of themselves. It is not real. If you want to play, you have to make one for yourself. So learn how to use those Instagram pictures and make sure you have full body pictures, close-ups, pictures with friends and pictures doing “adventures”. Cover all of the bases. Google for Tinder profile tips and follow those that you find more closely match your personality. Overall, remember that it is a game that it is free to play: do not get attached to it or other players. You have a mission with yourself. 
  3. Photography: a mobile phone can be a source of endless creative expression. Most people suck at taking pictures simply because they do not take time to practice. What is practice? To purposely try to get better at something by being detached from current results and criticism and of course, never compare yourself with others: it is simply silly behavior that must be avoided. A good strategy is to focus on successes and using the lean 80/20 rule. Start shooting stuff that you like and modify it to your liking. Once you see success stick with it. Say you got good at taking close-ups. Stick with it. Once you get great, move to the next best thing. 
  4. Audiobooks: It is true that books are great because they are a way for one to peek inside a person’s mind, their personal Magnum opus. It is pretty awesome if you think about it. I suggest that you listen to anything that gets you to pay attention to. Do not try to listen to stuff that you do not care about and do not force yourself too much into a direction. Why you may ask. Because what you are looking for here is to become an attentive listener, a communicator, a more wordy person, the stuff that really matters. You will listen to the things that make you happy and as a result, you will be more interesting and there is nothing cooler than that. 
  5. Fun chemicals: I do not condone drug use at all, and you should not in any form follow this advice. I am here simply telling a story that has worked for me. Over time, for example, marijuana has been mana sent from the heavens because of the way it helped me sleep when I needed to. In other times, “bulletproof” coffee served its purpose. In other times, forcing myself to eat less sugar got my body into overdrive. Occasionally, I have dabbled with a class of drugs called nootropics that have indeed enhanced my life experience. I suggest that you make your body an amusement park, not a temple. Just make sure you maintain the rides properly.

Lessons from the Chinese: how come their economy exponentially faster than everyone else’s?

People like Katy Perry, Beyonce and PewDiePie are called influencers by the media. It makes sense: youths are fascinated by their shiny lifestyles. There is someone to inspire all of us out there as if they were made in our image. Guess what: they are made in our image, the products of publicists and data, not authenticity.

Ok, that is out of the way. Now it makes sense why these people have replaced our grandmothers, bosses, significant others, presidents, and others as our sources of wisdom. They are not people: they are memes created for profit. They should not matter.

This bit of advice is for you that has been stuck in a world of news media hype and pop culture, not seeing the obvious death of culture by financial pressure. This is your chance to wake up dignified because you have realized that there is still time to take action and assume responsibility for your future instead of being drowned in cultural emancipation sales pitches by the new rich of the world: the owners of the meme factories.

To that point, are there any memes worth following? Yes. How does one know which memes are good and which ones aren’t? Well, a good way to find this out is by seeing the actual results of a meme:

  • Does it create financial prosperity for yourself?
  • Does it help you grow as a person
  • Does it help your community?

One meme that makes the world a better place is what the Chinese call their “economic miracle”. Imagine this: despite some silly government propaganda and a culture that to us seems to be stuck in the 1930s, they are growing because their meme is about building themselves a future.

As a result, they have transformed villages into high-tech paradises while we got really good at coffee serving in places like Little Italy and real Italy. They are building robots, houses, giant buildings, leading the space race, car sales, manufacturing, robotics, fast trains, etc. We make Twitter battles and popular video games while highways crumble. It seems like we are winning the cultural war, but the reality is that there are billions of people living their own culture and their own lives removed from what we westerners think is right while they build parallel empires.

That is right: we fight a culture war. They build an empire. Something is wrong here. We need lessons from people like the Chinese instead of criticizing their culture which seems to be the only thing we know how to do because the media knows how to move us by aggravating us with cultural shock. We are better than this: we should take a look at what moves a society and learn from the good part of it. It is like looking at Brazil and thinking: look at those rapists and murderers when realizing there are 60K of each of these capital offenses every year.

What are the lessons from the Chinese?

  • Work hard, reap the benefits of your labor. There is no free lunch, folks. You can tell yourself over and over “work smart, not hard” and what you are doing is making a life of being a Netflix binger.
  • Save most of your money. Yes, leave with several people, be mental about being economical until you have a stash of cash.
  • Follow the rules of engagement of the society you live in so you do not have to waste money on stuff that does not improve your life.
  • Respect and stay connected with your family. They are your lifeline and source of inspiration. If you do not see it, find it. There are exceptions, but for most people, this is a good path to follow.
  • Be sensible, not sensitive. Huge difference. Sensible means if your kind asks about beer, talk about the pros and cons of it, have the child try a little bit so it is not a taboo. Sensitive means being outraged when a group of kids binges in a culture that makes alcohol seem like the only cool thing to do.  

The Chinese have a lot of faults like every nation out there. Take sexism, the cool topic of the day. In China, the crass form of sexism is rather normal. Women drivers suck is a good one. Yet, women do not feel disempowered: they work like animals, and more or less 50% of their billionaires are women.

This is what we are saying here. Take the good things, learn how to see things from a positive light instead of criticizing everything according to your current cultural grounds in order to position socially. Instead, be an influencer by being humble, by asking for help, by loving your neighbor, by caring for your family. By working damn hard.

How to save 40K in 2 years and buy two apartments that pay for themselves

How to save 40K in 2 years and buy 2 apartments that pay for themselves

I have recently met a woman in her late 30s with a middle management salary and no exceptional, grand vision for life. She was about to become a mother, had plenty of zest for life, tons of friends, a boyfriend that loves her, all the good stuff. She did not look or acted like a person that prioritized long term financial independence.

But indeed she had. Not too long after she started saving, she started to research the real estate market in Berlin and build a relationship with real estate advisors. Granted, the people she ended up working with happen to be friends with her family, but nonetheless, she followed professional advice and found her way into making a series of long term commitments that lead to her putting away a percentage of her salary every month so she could eventually put down the right percentage on a duo of investment properties that – once rented – would pay the mortgage by themselves and be fully written off in under 10 years.

She could not have done this without doing her homework. When she first approached her real estate advisors, she made sure to seem keen and knowledgeable of the subject while deferring to the seniority of her advisor to be. She had prepared up front, learning the fundamentals of mortgages, accounting, and how real estate portfolios are built in her country of origin, Germany.

She had figured that real estate prices fell by as much as ⅔ just one hour again from Germany’s capital, Berlin, but rents only dropped by ⅓. If she saved ⅕ of her income every month and preserved her credit rating, it would be possible to take on a  €700 monthly mortgage with only 20% down and still have enough room for mortgage insurance to make sure lenders were kept smiling.

She even researched lender offers as far south as Switzerland, where bankers are eager to land to people with long term employment prospects and can offer loans across borders just like their German counterparts. Except that she could only make the numbers work if the interest rates fell below 2.5% which she got thanks to her advisor’s long term relationship with the said bank.

It goes to show that ultimately investing is about building relationships: when people care for you, they will go out of the way to get the best deals on your behalf. Start building relationships as you start saving. You may save a lot of money while making friends in the process.

If you want to do the same, the steps are quite simple:

  • Set your mind to it, be hyper-focused like a child wanting candy before finishing lunch. It won’t be easy because it is very likely that you have built bad financial habits over the years and will have ups and downs along the way.
  • Start building relationships with real estate-minded people and set your brain to listen mode. A lot of people out there are happy to fulfill mentor roles. In fact, once you start making friends that are obsessed with real estate investing, ask them for mentorship. Once a once for 30 minutes works just fine and it may provide some seriously amazing information that otherwise would take 10 years to get ahold of.
  • Start investigating property prices relative to rental prices. These are indicative that you are likely to be making a relatively good investment decision. In addition, the government most likely has performed research regarding the up and coming economic areas surrounding the city. These are likely to be aligned with areas locals are talking about as potentially “becoming nicer”. Another important pointer concerns future developments: if an area has big real estate developments coming in such as shopping centers, stadiums and anything that brings in a lot of jobs to an area: shortlist it.
  • Connect visiting properties to find out the realities of buying them. Investigate details that perhaps you have never paid attention to such as energy savings ratings, electrics, quality of the finish, local taxes, neighborhood details relative to the current population sentiment, so on.
  • Ask your bank about financing options and make sure that you understand the processes, numbers, and the contractual obligations and ramifications. There are serious personal liability issues hidden in contracts that should not be overlooked. Most bank workers are saturated with boredom, not actual work, so they likely to be happy to be mentors for an hour or two. In fact, visit one bank a month and learn a lot for free.
  • Once you are feeling confident, start putting together some numbers that make sense in your mind. Calculate mortgage payments relative to the total revenues accrued after expenses. Make sure you include things like taxes, fees and unexpected expenses so you do not miss other important financial commitments you may have.
  • Have 3 or 4 options that you are considering. It is important that you are putting them against the other, in a sort of nice way so they know you are not desperate. Do not get attached to any particular property. This is an investment property, not the Taj Mahal (Casino or otherwise, both are massively silly)
  • Remember:  If you are not much of a shrewd negotiator, learn to be one. You will not succeed in this business if you are pushed around by sellers in any market. I cannot stress this enough because real estate is such a serious decision with a level of finality that most sellers are more anxious about selling than the buyers are. They may even take low balling offers. I have seen identical properties next to each other being sold with a 200% price difference before of desperation and willingness to simply name a price.

Until next time, good luck.

What #LearntoCode really means: get a high paying gig with Upwork and other freelance places.

I know: your mother never told you that she loved you. The online bully told you bad words and your feelings got hurt. The shame, the Dorito covered shirt is more painfully shameful than writing covfefe to 30 million Twitter followers.

Yet, not all is lost! You can learn to code quite easily if you have a brain and know your way around a keyword. No, you do not need a fancy Mac to start: most top-notch coders I know swear by something they like to call Linux (don’t ask) and 10-year-old IBM laptops bought for 200 bucks. Guess how much they make? $50-$100 per hour.

How do I know if you have what it takes, Boss Man? Do you have that fire in your belly when you look at an attractive person yet you cannot dare to ask her out for a coffee? Do you know all about every single star trek episode ever including the god awful Star Trek Discovery? Are you still hanging out with your high school friends? Have you not dared to visit Berlin, London, Rome? Have you no idea where Khartoum or Tangier is?

Worry not, stereotypical geek friend of my dreams that I wish existed, especially if you had a collection of blow up dolls! All of this bullshit does not matter! What matters is that you find the courage to start learning how to code.

Please do: almost anyone can do it. These days, there are what they call “frameworks” that pretty much allows only but the most simple-minded to pretend he or she is a genius in most social circles and get some seriously cool social cred. Before you ask “but I have no money, Daddy Boss Man, I will have to kill myself”.

Do not worry about that, joyful and soulful grasshoppers. If you type “learn to code for free” on Google, you will see a lot of options and you may ask yourself: how do I start? This is madness! Do not be scared because most of those options aren’t really for you because free means shit.

So please do not take the free route. Save money with a side hustle, then pay for an in-person or a live video-streaming course. You will have skin in the game and be serious about it – for starters – and will appreciate the massive number of hours it will take to learn a new mindset.

What is that mindset? It has to do with thinking in structure, models, and conditions. In a nutshell, it means that it is likely that you will learn that you have a powerful brain you have never put to real use in your life because you never thought it would be possible. You will realize you can tackle complex problems and design complex systems in as little as a few months.

You won’t be a great coder: that takes years. But it will give you $25 to $50 which is good money for most. As you manage your customers well i.e., applying yours and their resources well enough that you deliver what you are promising, rest assured you will build a reputation and maybe even one day be working remotely from any city or the remote island of your dreams.

Word of advice: avoid Thailand if you are single and likes to party. You won’t get any work done. It is worse than The Hangover because when the doctor looks in your eyes and say “I am pretty sure you brought a new strain of Hepatitis to the Northern Hemisphere” and quarantines your passport…

Anyways, #learntocode. Now. It will make you enjoy life. The best possible way to learn in my humble opinion? The Lambda School. Hands down.

Now, to the realities of the learning process and of the profession

It is hard, but do not be discouraged.

It will be daunting at first. Like relationships, school, or drinking, you get used to it fast.  Find ways of keeping focus. Quick that damn marijuana cigarette will ya? Half kidding here, I know this may be helpful for some of you, but please use stuff that helps you focus so you get out of that shithole apartment.

Attention

It will take 6 months full time to learn it well, and your undivided attention. You will be a bitch of your computer for 6 months at least. Just like the gym, you can turn a fat butt into a fit one only with some dedication. So please, no more drinking, sex, smoking, calling your mom, grooming your cat. From now on, it is a laptop, coffee, macaroni, and cheese. For inspiration, watch that South Park episode where the boys draw play World of Warcraft tirelessly for months: get ready.

It is a business

Coding is about planning, preparedness, and communication. Do not think that once you have a feeling that you mastered that framework and script language that humans will have mastered themselves. You will have to – most of the time – manage client’s expectations, and make sure that they understand what you are talking about so you do not build the wrong product. A good bit of advice: get your clients to sign off a phase before you move to the next.  

Ciao.

The side hustle: how to do it without draining away your energy

Set Your Life on Fire Series

The side hustle: how to do it without draining away your energy

Of the many theories being promoted on the internet by getting rich quick schemes promising  — at much fanfare in the form of clicks — that you can get rich by gambling online or by buying the latest cryptocurrency dream coin, the good old side hustle is still the only tried and trusted way of your average Joe or Mary or Jerry to earn his or her or their way to extra side cash.

What you do with it, is another matter. Some people think that opening a business is the way to go. Others think that it is best to be stashed away for times of trial. All of these common-sense advice seems to come from a friendly and rather self-serving point of view: parents tend to save money for a rainy day while young and single entrepreneur wants to open a pizza place.

Most people don’t it because they don’t want to get tired. So, just to make sure, the way to get a side hustle without killing yourself has nothing to do with drinking more coffee in the morning: it is about the mindset that includes accepting a personal challenge that helps you wake up earlier every morning to walk the neighborhood dogs before you go to work. It is about accepting that there is no free lunch. 

Here are some pointers, in no particular order:

Life is way too comfortable.

I know it is easy to settle for a present situation where the school loan payback plan only kicks-in in 4 or 5 years and the car was a gift from grandma. However, if you can spend some time with yourself building a mental framework that satisfies your intellectual curiosity while painting a picture of success as a result of a new set of personal rules, you can save 20 or even 30 thousand bucks in a couple of years. So, wake the fuck up and realize that others have it worse than you.

It won’t be easy at first.

I never wake up in the morning to exercise. Oh wait, I do, but I go back to sleep. I think with myself “the walk on below freezing temperatures, the morning dump becoming the morning sweat, I will do it next morning”. This attitude got me a back neck and lower back and a bit of a gut that – if I am honest – only my wife loves. So, FYI: if you want to get it done, know that it will take some time to get used to a new routine. In the only time I got to be fit in my entire life, it took about 2 weeks for my mind used to the Stairmaster. 8 months later I was 6-packing and pretending to be cool for about 6 months. Worth it.

Do something you already know how to do.

I know that the web design course you took 3 years ago seems to be now sitting at the bottom of your old bag of tricks. Do not be discouraged. You will be surprised by how little knowledge you have to have to be sitting in the middle of the pack and how a little marketing can go a long way. Are you good at detailing cars? Babysitting? Baking? These are all legitimate jobs that can earn you some extra cash, today.

The alarm.

It goes off. You were dreaming of drinking a beer with a poster of that Instagram model you once or twice sent a private message to. You wake up, you ask yourself: what sort of hustler get to go out with the real person and not the poster? That is right, the hustler, the Archers of the world. This applies for both you John, and for you too, Stephanie: Go build that good stuff that you know you can and will pretend to regret one day if you don’t.

Some ideas

Buy a used car, wash it, wax it, sell it for an extra $300. Clean pools. Sell hotdogs at concerts and ball games. Teach a language. Translate documents. Install and unbox equipment for rich people. Make social media posts using Canva. Clean businesses at night time. Drive an Uber. Make t-shirts for events and sell them. Care for old people. Remember: do stuff that matters.   

Not that great ideas

Anything that requires one to learn something from scratch and it will obviously be too hard unless if you really want it and have a knack for it: crypto trading (please do not simply buy random coins, except for Bitcoin), dropshipping, freelance writing (unless you are a freaking poet), e-commerce, photography. Don’t start a Youtube channel or a podcast: you are likely not to be the next Joe Rogan. Sorry. Do not take my word for it nor your mother’s: if you want it, research it and realize that it is simply not a side hustle material because it won’t reap any rewards in the short term. 

Good luck.

LeanFIRE vs FatFIRE

Ok, so FIRE is Financially Independent Retire Early. You can retire early in different ways. If you know how to live off of $500 per month you can easily achieve LeanFIRE.

When thinking about FIRE it’s good to realize what the goal is. In my view this means to never have to work for someone else. It doesn’t mean that you will never work. Most people enjoy doing things they find meaningful, and this work may or may not have monetary rewards. If it has, all the better, it’ll give you a good opportunity to work yourself up from LeanFIRE to FatFIRE.

LeanFIRE

With lean FIRE you prioritize retiring as early as possible.  If you make $3000 per month after tax and you only spend $500 per month you can save $2500 per month, so 30k$ per year. If you use a conservative withdrawal rate of 4% this means you retire with $150k saved, which you will achieve in less than 5 years. For most people $500/month is too little though, but we know plenty of people who live happily with less than this. It involves pretending to be poor, like going to the market to pick up left over vegetables, and staying in squats, it’s not for everyone, but many people even enjoy this type of activities.

If you want more, you can also save a bit longer. With a saving rate of 50% anyone can get to leanFIRE in a decade.

Your saving rate is paramount to when you can retire. It’s good to strive for maximum savings. It works both ways. First of all you spend less, second of all the money you need to retire is much lower.

MediumFIRE

MediumFIRE is a good choice for most people. $3000 or €3000 per month is a good amount to strive for.

FatFIRE

FatFIRE is the the pursuit of financial independence and/or early retirement on at least an upper-middle class lifestyle.

How much FatFIRE means specifically depends on lot on your desires and lifestyle choices, and where you choose to live.  It also requires working quite a bit longer – or smarter. Or investing smarter. As a Bitcoin maximalist in 2019 the path to FatFIRE is not that tedious. Simply save up a little buffer, and put everything else into Bitcoin.

Given the strong volatility in the Bitcoin market it’s probably smarter to have a slightly different strategy. Permanent Portfolio comes in quite handy as it will give you the right mindset to deal with the highs you get from Bitcoin ATHs (all-time-highs) and coping with the lows you endure in bear markets.

Part-time FIRE

Most people don’t really retire completely when attaining FIRE, and there’s a lot to say for this option, where you start building your own business that gives you extra money every month (e.g. Adsense or affiliate income).  Like this you will reach FIRE much earlier.

Read more

Permanent Portfolio

Permanent Portfolio is a portfolio strategy I came across through The Voluntary Life, one of my favorite podcasts. The core tenet is that you put your wealth in different asset classes. The Permanent Portfolio strategy was conceived by Harry Browne, who wanted a strategy that works regardless of which specific economic cycle we’re in:

  • Prosperity
  • Inflation
  • Deflation
  • Recession

Browne (and Jake from The Voluntary Life) put their money in these asset classes, equally divided:

  • 25% stocks, great during prosperity or declining inflation.
  • 25% gold, good during bad inflation and general global insecurity
  • 25% long term bonds, profit while interest is declining and during deflation
  • 25% cash, great during recession

We believe Bitcoin is the new gold, all digital and online (though better stored offline), and as Bitcoin maximalists our ideal share of the digital gold is also much higher.

Rebalancing your portfolio

With Browne’s strategy you can rebalance every year, or when a specific asset goes below or over a specific band. E.g. stocks have gone up and are now 31% of your portfolio you sell and buy whatever asset has dropped.

Your specific tax situation is very important when it comes to rebalancing. You want to minimize capital gains tax.

It also makes sense to consider moving countries or becoming a perpetual traveller.

Ideal Satoshi FIRE portfolio

Bitcoin is much volatile than other assets. And this will be remain like this until it will take over the role of gold and international settlement, so until the price of 1 Bitcoin will be at least $300,000 you can expect strong market movements. It doesn’t make sense to rebalance too much with Bitcoin in your portfolio.

Here are 3 different portfolio ideas:

Conservative

  • between 1% and 5% Bitcoin
  • rest in cash

Conservative crypto

Great for folks who love a bit of risk (e.g. have been trading shitcoins)

  • 25% Bitcoin
  • 25% indexfunds
  • 25% whatever floats your boat
  • 25% cash

Burning Man FIRE

  • 50% Bitcoin
  • 10% index funds
  • 10% p2p investing (for a nice cash flow)
  • 10% real estate
  • 10% random stuff
  • 10% cash

Recommended podcasts

We don’t do any podcast ourselves, but we have some podcasts we can warmly recommend:

stephanlivera.com – especially the episode with Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square

whatbitcoindid.com Peter started off as a shitcoin trader, is a great interviewer and through his journey became a Bitcoin maximalist.

thevoluntarylife Jake built his own company, sold it, talks about becoming an entrepreneur, the school system, travelling, minimalism