Financial Lifecycle



Got a lot of good news recently. Girlfriend’s contract was extended another year. I start the system administration job next week. Renewed my driving license, so I can finally try qualify.  Plan is going to be work and study until June/July, get my driving licence, and move up to Belfast in the North of Ireland. We finally get to live together permanently after almost 8 years.

I’ve figured it’s not worth scrimping and saving every penny “for the future”, when interest rates on savings are so low here. Even my €10k is making just 0.5% or 0.25% per anum. It was worth spending money on my business to get a better return. It was worth forgoing work to study to increase my future earnings. It was worth paying for health insurance.  So my happiness is less tied to “having €10k” now, and is more considered about adequate cash flow. That feels like a positive step.

Some of the money is going on driving lessons. That will work out about €300. I don’t have a car, either. I may get one up North. It’s supposed to be cheaper. We’ve managed without a car so far, as we’ve always lived in the city. But Belfast has less public transport, and is even less bike friendly.  Plus my insurance will be a lot less when I am 25 in June. It would be great to see the West of Ireland too, which you can only really do by car, bike or horse/foot. So all that is good.

This has forwarded our financial plans a fair bit, and made both of us a lot more optimistic about the future. Belfast is starting its own tech, finance and property boom. The solicitors and accountants have said that many companies are setting up to take advantage of the low wages of the underdeveloped North of Ireland, and of the more favorable UK tax schemes. Ireland got a slap on the wrist for its role in tax avoidance for Apple and the like (the old double Irish), so attention is shifting to the Occupied Counties in the North.

We can see the growth when I go up to Belfast – lots of construction going on. Lots of fancy restaurants opening up to cater for office workers with disposable income. Less visible sectarianism. The old tenements are being demolished, and the terraced houses with graffiti and flags flying over them are being redeveloped.

We are both getting to a stage where our debts are getting paid off, and we have a little money to invest. I am strongly thinking about buying an apartment in Belfast – there are a lot that were foreclosed and are still for sale. It would save us money on rent, especially when the interest rates on mortgages are so low. Then we can rent or sell the apartment if we decide to leave the country. Getting a mortgage might be difficult, but if financial policy gets loosened with ECB, loans may be easier to get. Besides, it is not worth saving money to accrue interest at the moment. I think it would be better invested in assets and cash. I even think we are late to it: the best time to move was last year. So that’s all happening, god willing.

Career-wise, we both got what we were looking for in college: mobility, and white-collar work that is hard to outsource. Big 4 was too much suffering, so network/software engineering seems better. I’m sure there will be more setbacks, and I’m sure it won’t be easy. But it seems the trend is upwards.

Have not read Black Swan yet: I’m sure it will change my mind.


The bike I have is pretty wrecked after winter. Needs some tenderness this week. The roads were heavily salted, and the bike was already a bit rough going into Winter. Got a new chain and rear cassette for it. Need to get the front derailleur cable replaced too. Going to try do those things myself and save €50. Just a matter of getting a chain wrench and a cassette removal tool in a workshop that hires out space for €5.

I’m very tempted to get a new bike, as I will be cycling 15-30km daily, and the hybrid I have is too heavy for any distance. Wheels are too wide.  Does great utility cycling with bags and crates, and is good on the slush and rain. But it was a hybrid I got second-hand for €150. It’s coming up to the end of its lifespan, and without more investment, it will be trash. I don’t think it’s worth putting much money into.

Thinner wheels and slick tyres would make a difference – but combined, these would be more than I bought it for.  The disc brakes were great in Ireland, and the aluminum frame was OK on our bad roads. I stuck a riser on the stem because the flat handlebars were too low to be comfortable for my neck. It’s an OK frame, it’s too small for me. It was left outdoors while I was work or out and about, and it’s still servicable.  I may put it onto utility/beater duty.

I have my eye on this: I have never owned a new bike before. And this covers most of what I want, at a good price.

So I may get n+1 bikes. It would let me have a better commuting bike, and another in reserve if it is out of action. Don’t know if I should pull the trigger on it yet. But given that I cycle about 6-7 hours a week, I get good value out of bikes. Might make commuting less of a pain.


Also have an idea for a mobile application to develop for college: it’s a Rosary that uploads your prayers to a world map. It will have a heatmap function, so you can see which countries are praying the Rosary. It’s a little inspired by Celiaxx’s post: sometimes this shit gets lonely. It would be great to see who else is out there, keeping the fire burning. Should be reasonably simple to develop for Android.

7 thoughts on “Financial Lifecycle

  1. Still stuck in childhood phase for money. One big thing I have for money is I just cannot allow myself to go negative dollars (on like a grand scale, with taking out loans for things, though I’ve never overdrawn my bank account *fingers crossed.*) I think I view finance like I do if I’m playing a video game. In most video games, you cannot accumulate credit. You simply have $0. Or you get items and sell them and make more dollars, or do in game work to make more dollars, but no video game as far as I know has a finance system where you run up a tab and make monthly payments to buy a sword or something. You either have money for the sweet sword or you don’t. Or you find the same sword in a cave or something.

    Adult finance doesn’t make sense as it’s seemingly based upon “bills” and monthly payments for things. My mother, if we need something, generally we can only buy it from X shops, why? Because she has credit there, and it’s very frustrating. I’ve told my mom “Mom, give me a $20 gift card to Salvation Army for Christmas.” But then she insists for Christmas I order around $100-150 worth of clothing from JCPenney because she has credit there. Even times I’ve said “I do not want anything at all, it’s much too expensive” she’s went and ordered stuff anyway. It’s a weird game, adult finance. So my thought process is “ooh look, X thing is cheaper!” thinking only of total price of the object and possibly it’s depreciation/appreciation in value in the future, whereas my mother seemingly thinks of only monthly payments, and total price/value of the object be damned.

    However, learning to be more longsighted with regards to my money, despite this $0 type of mentality is something I’m learning now as an adult. In a video game example, in Harvest Moon I actually spent literally 2-3 plays of the SNES version without actually farming. This worked really cool in the beginning. Fuck all that hard work on my farm. Just go to the mountains, pick some grapes, go fishing, throw it in the box. I had enough money to upgrade my house to get married this way in the game. However, I didn’t have enough money to upgrade my house to have kids. And likely by the time my farm got all set up, I would have been doing less in game work for significantly more money. So taking the hit and investing into a farm would have been much wiser.

    1. “Adult finance doesn’t make sense as it’s seemingly based upon “bills” and monthly payments for things.”

      Credit is not “adult finance”. But it seems like you already figured this out, even as a kid.

      “I’ve figured it’s not worth scrimping and saving every penny “for the future”, when interest rates on savings are so low here.”

      Savings are not worth putting money into, and I predict this won’t change within our working lifetimes. A good rule IMO is to save enough for emergencies (enough to cover rent/mortgage and bills for 8-12 months), then invest anything over that amount.

    2. The video game method is exactly right. But you know when your character has pretty good stuff and you don’t need to buy anything and you just go on quests (and you your gold supply just goes through the roof)? You have to be aware when you reach that point in real life.

      1. In Fallout 3 I take every single item from the Vault that I can carry before I leave the Vault, including every plate and dish and baseball glove. Then when I get to Megaton I got all kinds of money. Or at least a few hundred caps. Same with the doctor’s house in New Vegas.

  2. bike wise: get an old steal road bike because they are easy to maintain and there are parts everywhere (even in Ireland). And if it get stolen then its no biggie. Rode 5 km everyday on one (which is less than you but still).

    re: spending money, I hear you. I am trying to amass wealth. and watching my investments (and they are Conservative) tanks is tough.

    1. For my bike recommendation, assuming you can find one in OK condition, find an old 3 speed road bike. It’s quite easier to adjust the shifting/etc on them compared to dérailleur bullshit. Albatross handlebars put you more upright, too. And if you can find one at an estate sale or whatever, they’re cheap. Also not as likely to have someone steal it for thinking it’s high value or whatever. Only problem imo is steel wheels suck and can never ever be trued to be 100% perfect. That’s my one bike kryptonite, truing wheels. The one thing I pay someone else to do on a bike.

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