Those that have read some of my posts would have picked up that I have been doing this blogging thing since January 2015, and I must say that I have found the experience to be quite an eye-opener. I’ve only realised in the last six months that there are people (and lots of them) that think completely differently about money compared to the majority of western society, and it’s quite a good feeling to know that I’m not alone in my strive for FI and a better life.
As well as having my eyes opened to sheer volume of the like-minded people that are out there, I’ve also learned a lot of new things from these people, and one thing that I have learned is what the hell a Liebster Award is!
Being a closet student of the German language (my skills are very rudimentary, which is even more reason to keep quiet about them in the real world), I had some inkling of what a Liebster Award must be when I first heard of it, but that was only about two weeks ago, so I looked it up to confirm it.
Anyway, shortly after working out what the Liebster Award was, I was very surprised to actually receive a nomination for the award from none other than Ms Canadian Expat. A big thankyou to a Canadian living in Germany who nominated an Australian!
So how does this award work anyway?
The basic rules are that you should share 11 facts about yourself so that readers can get to know you better, and also:
- mention the person who nominated you.
- answer the 5-11 questions that the nominator asked.
- nominate another couple of bloggers to receive the liebster award and ask them 5-11 questions.
- let your nominees know either by leaving a comment on their blog, sending them an email, calling them out on social media, etc.
So here we go…
Eleven facts that you may not have known about me
1. I am a closet student of the German language, and have a huge interest in Germany itself. When I retire, my wife and I would love to live there for a while to be able to explore the country more and try to improve my (very ordinary) German language skills.
2. I’m a big fan of many of the HBO-style TV series, including Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead. I know that TV is generally a waste of time, and I watch very little regular TV, but I quite enjoy watching a good TV series or a great movie.
3. I’ve had the same group of best friends since the 7th grade. While one of us lives in Canada (and has done for the last few years), the remaining five are still in Australia. We are all quite different, and only the one in Canada is frugal. The rest are typical hyper-consumers, and one is verging on bankruptcy. He thinks that we don’t know, so it’s interesting to hear the white lies that he tells to make it sound like he has more money than he does!
4. School was never an issue for me, as long as it kept me interested, and I managed to skip a grade in primary (i.e. elementary) school. It was a big thing at the time, and I believe that no one in my workplace knows this about me. It’s best not to talk about it though since I found long ago that it made people think differently about me (and not always in a good way). It was so long ago that I rarely think about it now, and I can’t remember the last time someone mentioned it.
5. I’ve travelled to 25 countries, mainly in Europe and south-east Asia. Since we’ve had kids I’ve only left Australia once though, and it was for a work conference!
6. I don’t drink much beer anymore, but when I do I like to drink pale ales. My current choice is Storm Pale Ale, from Aldi of course!
7. I like older-style architecture, and just don’t understand many modern designs. For me, great designs were perfected a long time ago, and more modern designs seem sterile, characterless, and doomed to look terrible in no time at all.
8. I loved the TV show “The Simpsons” as a teenager, and must have seen every episode in series 1 – 10 at least 10 times each.
9. When living in London I came to love both European football (a.k.a. soccer) and Chelsea Football Club. When Chelsea won the champions league final against Bayern Munich in 2011-12 I couldn’t believe it. I still follow Chelsea, but don’t get up really early in the mornings to watch the games live on TV.
10. I have a real dislike of incorrect spelling and poor grammar. At the age of 32 I constantly feel old when I find so many people that don’t understand basic grammar and can’t spell! I feel like my grandfather correcting me as a 10 year old, except I’m 32 and the people I’m correcting are 25!
11. My favourite food is pizza, and when we travelled through Italy I ate it for dinner almost every night. It’s probably not a good long-term meal plan if you don’t want to end up morbidly obese!
Questions and answers
1. If you could move to any part of the world right now, where would you go and why?
Umm… Germany. After we retire we want to live there for at least a few months. I love the language and find the history and culture (and not just the 20th century) fascinating.
2. Favourite activity to do on weekends?
Not think about work, which I do with simple things like reading, watching movies/TV series, exercising, spending time with my wife and kids, and catching up with friends and family for a beer. Unfortunately I don’t get to do the last thing very often any more though because of how busy I am with other things!
3. You win $10 million in the lotto, how do you spend, save or invest it?
I would probably just invest it into a selection of Australian shares, in much the same way I invest now. This approach broadly aligns with a dividend growth investing strategy.
Having seen how lottery wins actually screw up the lives and relationships of many winners, I have actually said to my wife before that if I won the lottery I would actually consider not telling anyone, at least for a while. I’d have to find out a way to give some cash to my loved ones, so they would find it out eventually, but even then I’d try to keep it as quiet as possible, and I would probably just pay it off their debts rather than give them the cash to waste.
4. Is your partner on board with FIRE?
Yes, but it has taken her a while to get it. She’s very intelligent, and also works in finance, but it has been quite a shift that I think she sometimes struggles with. I have to be careful about how I talk about the change, but before long she is converted on whatever the latest change is.
5. Why did you start blogging?
I found myself immersed in reading personal finance blogs while having a week off work in September 2014, and since I actually like writing (I write a lot of long reports and technical advice for clients at work), I thought I would have a go at it. I resisted the idea for a while thinking that I might be the same as anyone else, but once I worked out my point of differentiation (there aren’t many Australian PF blogs, and not many bloggers writing from experience inside the finance industry) I felt confident enough to make a start.
6. What is your favourite place that you have visited?
I loved London when I lived there (it was my home though, it’s not like I was visiting), but of my travels I would have to say Germany. Berlin, Munich, Neuschwanstein… it was all brilliant. I look forward to getting back there (and taking our kids) to see more of the country, hopefully at a slower pace.
7. If money wasn’t a factor, what would be your dream job?
Umm… none. I don’t think I really want a job. The whole notion of being committed to some sort of work would make it undesirable, even if that work was interesting at first.
Maybe I’d be better suited to running my own business or as an external consultant, with the ability to take on work when I want to. Accounting is what I know and am good at, and I quite enjoy the work, just not the bureaucracy that goes with it in a big firm, so doing accounting work as a consultant would probably be best for me.
8. What is your overall goal in life?
I want freedom from a commitment to work so that we can just make things up as we go.
As it stands, the money drives the decisions, but I want to get to a point where I do things because I want to do them, not because there is a financial motivation for doing something.
My nominees for the Liebster award
I would like to nominate Useless Plastic Crap, a blog by two fellow Aussies living in our nation’s capital, Canberra, covering their desire to live more meaningful, less consumption-driven lives. Useless Plastic Crap has only been going since December 2014, so they’re new to the PF blogging thing like me!
My other nominee is A Good Day to Live, a blog by a German who goes by the alias Woodpecker. He writes about focussing on the important things in life rather than being a slave to your job and subscribing to endless consumerism, and has been at it since April 2012 from what I can see. He takes great pictures as well!
I have chosen to use the same questions that Ms Canadian Expat asked me, which are the same questions that she lifted from someone else. Who knows where they originally came from but I think they’re good questions so I might as well stick with them!