Looking Back at 2018 – Finances and Life

Looking Back at 2018 – Finances and Life

2018 is almost over and it’s been a fantastic year. Lots of things happened in my life, and in this post I want to stand still by some of them. Today we will be looking back at 2018!

Looking Back at 2018, I Changed Jobs

In 2018 quite a few things in my life changed. Perhaps the biggest one was changing jobs. For little over four years I worked as an IT consultant, working with clients on their databases and reports. I did like the job, however, I am more interested in the people and business side of things than the pure technical IT side. So I decided to look for a job that offered me exactly that.

In 2017 I had a few interviews with both consulting companies and in industry, but none of them were exactly what I was looking for.

Then in December 2017 I got recruited by my current employer, and we had a click immediately. My new manager is very energetic guy, and I like working with him. Also I get to run my career as if it were a “choose your own adventure” book. Since our business unit is basically a startup within a well known, multiple decades old company, I really feel like I can contribute to the growth and success of both the company and my own career.



In January this year I made the decision to join them, and on the first of March I started. Ever since I’m super happy with the move, although sometimes I think about the good old times. That’s normal, and it’s becoming less and less now that I’m into it for almost a year.

Financial Gains from Changing Jobs

Changing jobs also invoked a financial windfall for me early this year. In February, I got my regular (old) salary, plus the bonus from 2017 which was an entire monthly salary, so that was very nice. Then in March, I got my new salary, which is quite a bit higher than the old one, plus the settlement from my old job. In the settlement you pay for any open obligations you still have, and you receive money that they still owe you. And they owed me big time, mostly in vacation days. This settlement amounted to almost two monthly salaries so that was definitely a good time.

Crypto Crashes

2018 was also the year of the crypto bubble bursting. I started buying coins in the spring of 2017, and rode the bull market all the way up. Also, I traded a little here and there and made some profits from that as well. In the end, with the massive valuations of bitcoin and other coins in December my portfolio was worth a lot. Like, almost a yearly salary.

I actually thought of selling back in December and January and I did, but it wasn’t enough. I place a few selling ladders (sell at price X, sell at price X+100 etc), and a few of these orders were completed in the final stages of the bull run. But then the bubble started deflating, and it suddenly bursted.

In February I lost a significant part of the value of my crypto currencies, and that continued all the way to this day. Every time I thought “this will be the bottom”, it went down another 10% or so.

It is not fun to see the value of your portfolio shrink by 50-60%, but I don’t need the money right now so I’ll keep sitting on the coins. Every so often I make a trade, trying to profit from the volatility. Usually I’m profitable in these swing trades but the actual euro amounts are quite low, so they don’t make up for all the losses there are.

Investing in crypto did taught me to stay strong in a bear market. When the stock market starts contracting, I don’t think I will be scared and sell. I’ve felt much worse with already with crypto, so I can now stomach this volatility more easily.

I Started Fire The Boss

Over the summer I registered the domain name firetheboss.eu and in late August I started blogging in English, after about 18 months of blogging in Dutch over at Ontsladebaas.nl.

Blogging has taught me to put my thoughts in order, and also has brought me in contact with a lot of new people and new ideas.



Besides being able to discuss finances with a lot of fellow Europeans, blogging in English also landed me a spot as a guest on the European Financial Independence Podcast! I just finished the interview and had a lot of fun with Alvar and Araminta discussing my finances and in particular refinancing my apartment and my views on paying down debt versus investing your money. Subscribe to their show and pay attention in the next couple weeks for my interview!

Refinanced My Apartment

In September I refinanced my apartment. You can read everything, including the number in this article.

Basically I have taken some money off the table, after my apartment rose almost 50% in value in the last two and a half years. Not only did I take out an additional mortgage, I also lowered my interest payments at the same time so I feel pretty secure on this front.

Even though this subject is quite controversial, I feel comfortable with the additional debt and have no problem discussing about it online. In fact, putting the numbers out there for the world to see made me think more thoroughly about it.

Volatile Markets

When looking back at 2018, cracks are appearing in the almost ten year long bullish stock market we’ve had. In February this year there was a drop of almost 10% that was quickly recovered in the weeks afterwards.

Even though stocks keep creeping upwards, they do so in a more volatile fashion. After September, there have been some peaks and some corrections. Year to date the price of the S&P 500 index is lower than it was on the first of January, but including dividends I think there was a small profit.

The volatility is definitely something to keep looking at, although I probably won’t change my investing policy if the market corrects.

In 2019 there will probably be one more interest rate increase by the Fed in the US, and also rates in Europe will go up slightly now that the ECB is quitting their quantitive easing scheme.

Even though the stock market has been rocky this year, I did decide to get rid of my bonds. The reason is that I’m sitting on a lot of cash that I’m saving up for a down payment on an investment property. You can read more about selling bonds in this article.

All Things Considered – Very Happy

Considering everything, I’m quite happy with 2018 so far. And with only 2 more weeks to go, I don’t think any bad stuff will happen to me.

Looking back at 2018 I’ve had a year where a lot of things happened. I have the feeling that 2019 will be quieter but who knows!

How was your 2018? Let me know in the comments below.

Read my financial 2019 plans here.

Read about my detailed budget for 2019 here.

More End of Year Related Posts

December 2018 Monthly and Yearly Overview.

Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!


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2 thoughts on “Looking Back at 2018 – Finances and Life”

  1. Good post, thank you!

    You have more confidence than me with the crypto investments. I was tempted but I just don’t see governments allowing a non-controlled currency to prevail in the long run. Too many potential losses in taxes for them to allow that.

    Instead of trying to trade the stock market, why not add some non-correlated assets like this so you don’t have to take the huge drawdowns in your overall portfolio? https://obviousinvestor.com/my-investments/growth-portfolio/

    Just a thought.

    Either way it looks like you are doing great on your journey to Fire the Boss :-)

    Enjoying reading your blog. Tanks for posting!

    Cheers,

    Mark

    • Hi Mark, thanks for your comment. Really interesting! My crypto portfolio grew by dumb luck. I’ve put a few hundred in early 2017, then more, then more. The market exploded, plus I made some very lucrative trades (active trading is wonderful when you’re lucky…). That made my portfolio very nice in late December 2017, but it lost around 60% from the peak. Since then, I’ve made some trades, that cancel out some losses but not everything.
      For now, I want to divest out of crypto too. Maybe leaving some 5-10% of my total investments in crypto but not what it currently is. However, I don’t need the money so I leave it sitting there, occasionally trading and selling my coins later on. I really do believe in another bull run. Maybe it will take some years, but the tech is amazing. Even if it doesn’t work out, that’s too bad. An expensive lesson learnt I’ll say.

      I don’t think governments would be able to control crypto. I mean, look into the tech, how would they do it? By its very design, a lot of coins out there cannot be controlled.

      The post you linked to is very interesting! However, I’ve seen (and thought of) the Permanent Portfolio earlier and I don’t like it for a few reasons. One is that gold is simply not an asset class I’m interested in. It doesn’t make money. Neither do crypto. I view them as speculative assets, not income generating ones.
      The same goes for money or equivalents. It only provides liquidity that is overrated if you’re good with money.

      Your modifications do make sense. However, I would still swap out gold, and personally I’m not a big fan of p2p lending. I do have invested in a few projects, to gain some experience, but I will say I probably won’t invest in p2p again. The liquidity is shitty, the upsides are maximised (but at low rates), and the downsides aren’t protected. Rather than p2p lending I would just go for bonds, to get some better liquidity.

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