Maarten van Lier


About Maarten van Lier

Maarten came to this country with a suitcase and a diploma. He created a financial plan and goal to become a millionaire in 10 years. He successfully turned his financial goals into reality, wrote a book about it and now blogs actively in hope of inspiring other to do the same.


4
Looking on my calendar on June 21st I realized, my third retirement anniversary on June 18th had come an gone. As a Financial blogger and early successful retiree that date should have been marked prominently, instead it just past by. Maybe it’s because after a while it looses it’s significance. Maybe, its because the 18th was father’s day and my mind was occupied with lovely, meaningful crafts from my children. Maybe it was because I was equally occupied, chewing on the left side of my mouth because of a filling place the day prior had gone wrong. It now turns […]

Happy Third Anniversary on Retirement, Oh and more Healthcare


5
Mid April, I received the dreaded call. It was actually a Facebook messenger video request. There was no doubt, I knew before I answered, my father had just passed away. My brother called me from the nursing home where my dad took his last breath just seconds prior to Mom and him walking in. We knew this was coming and arrangements were in the works for my dad’s care for the next few months. Months we knew would end in his eventual demise. Having it happen, there and then, so early, came as a shock. We talked, we consoled my […]

An alternative to funeral or cremation, worth thinking about



6
That’s what I learned 2 weeks ago when I was in the Netherlands. That, and the “fact”, I’m a direct descendant of King Willem II of the Netherlands (albeit from his illegitimate child born in 1842). But let’s get back to the wealth tax. The estate my father left my mother, after his unfortunate passing some weeks ago, revealed my parents still had a mortgage. My brother replied to that, that it was better to have debt, as the alternative would be paying taxes over their assets. They call it Box 3 tax, as that’s where you capture this info on […]

OMG, They’re paying a wealth tax over there


6
I’ve put it off long enough now. I need to get started on the Roth IRA Conversion Ladder. It seems to be the only solution to my western world problem. The problem of having too much in my 401(k). The Roth IRA Conversion Ladder will allow me to gradually convert funds from my 401(k) to a Roth IRA, in turn, allowing me to withdraw WITHOUT PENALTY when I really need it. The catch: You need to start this at least 5 years prior to the first withdrawal. Is there such a thing as too much in a 401(k)? For most of […]

Roth IRA Conversion Ladder



Article works out the saving (or lack thereof) when purchasing a hybrid assuming 2 dollars per gallon 10
I’ve written several posts on, how we saved money. Saving is good; saving can help you in a better financial future. Even better, saving can make you money! Lots of it!! below I’ll explain how I made 20K buying a Prius. Besides all the benefits, saving often tends to make you give up something. “Yes, we saved buying a Prius but it’s not as comfortable as that BMW next door”. We saved handsomely by cutting the cable but, I no longer have Syfy. “We saved X on Y but….” It’s true, some savings come without negative side effects but most of […]

How I made 20K buying a Prius


12
Well, I would have liked to have written this with nothing but good stuff that happened this year, but I can’t. 2016 may well go down in memory for us as the worst year of our lives. Yes, financially things have been great, early retirement is now two and a half years in and going strong but 2016 is also the year that our 6 year old son was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes. An autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system systematically attacks the pancreas no longer leaving it able to create insulin. Our six-year-old now needs to […]

2016 in Review, spoiler alert: for us it sucked!!



How I made 200K doing nothing 12
Sounds like a get rich quick scam, right? It’s not, it took a lot of work, sweat, patience and time before I got here, but I’m doing it nonetheless. I retired two and half years ago, haven’t worked for a single penny and today I have more money than I had the day I retired. It’s like magic (but it’s not). Doing nothing I lied, I’ve been doing something, I’ve been enjoying early retirement. I’ve found something I’m passionate about and it keeps be busy most day. What I’m not doing, and haven’t done for two and a half years, […]

How I made 200K Doing Nothing


6
Holiday Season is here and I’m scratching my head what to get for Xmass. For inspiration I took a stroll through the mall and to my surprise even the Mall was on the Ugly Sweater band wagon. What the F@ck!!??? I think a society has reached the pinnacle of waste when this has become the hot item for the Holidays. Ugly sweaters (and they are ugly) as seen on Live with Kelly and Michael. For the love of everything that is personal finance: DON’T. Yes it’s funny…. for about 5 minutes. That will be $49 for a 30 second laugh. […]

Ugly Sweaters, WTF!!??



This is what it means to be financially independent 16
It’s been almost a month since I’ve written a post and I should be embarrassed. I’m not. This is what it means to be financially independent. To do whatever, whenever and however I want it. I quit my job to get away from deadlines, I don’t want to self-impose them again by means of this blog. Will millionin10 survive? Will it hurt the ranking of my blog? Yes, probably, but since I’m not trying to sell you anything, nothing lost. For those of you who are wondering what ranking has to do with anything (or even what it means)? For most […]

This is what it means to be financially independent


screw-ups on my way to a million 6
Let’s put it out there, making assumptions is making an ass out of u and me. Mostly though, making an ass of out myself. On my way to wealth, I’ve made a few of them. Today in the series on Screw-ups on My Way to a Million: Making Assumptions. As you can guess, most of them wrong. Is making assumptions bad? That is a tough question. I’ve made several wrong ones but at the same time my entire path to wealth and my continued growth/stability of my wealth is premised on the biggest assumption of them all: The stock market will go up […]

Screw-ups on My Way to a Million: Making Assumptions



4
In my last post I mentioned this was going to be a series. I’ve made a few Screw-ups on my way to a million. Today’s post is about investing emotionally. In other words, falling in love with your investments and the disastrous consequences associated to it. Different emotions in play It’s okay to get emotional when investing. When the stock is up I’m happy and when it’s down I get pissed. Can’t help it, it’s just another day on the job so to say. Investing emotionally isn’t okay, it can cloud your judgement. There are several ways in which you can get tied […]

Screw-ups on My Way to a Million: Investing Emotionally


13
You’ve probably heard it or seen it on a cheesy motivational poster: The road to success is paved with failure. I prefer to call them screw-ups as it seems to imply more of a duh!!-moment and lessons are learned. For two years now I’ve been writing about how I made my way to a million and how that eventually resulted in early retirement at 43. In my book I write about the screw-ups, but on my blog I’ve not paid much attention to them. Today I’ll start a series that focuses on the screw-ups on my way to a million. We all […]

Screw-ups up on My Way to a Million: Greed



10
They say you can’t put a price on a life. Well, there is something morally ambiguous about it, but it happens all the time. Sometimes, that pricing hits too close to home for comfort, in this case, when talking about the price of a life with diabetes. Our son has diabetes Before I go into the cold hard numbers let’s take a step back. Three months ago our son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. For those who don’t know, Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone people need to get energy from […]

The price of a life with diabetes


8
Oh, the irony. In my last post I wrote about getting what you need, not what you want. Well, I’m writing this, sitting in my basement in a balmy 84 degrees while the HVAC guys are installing a new condenser and coils. Did I want a new Airco Unit? No. Do I need a new Airco unit? Yes, it is hot (and it will get even hotter next week). Am I tempting the powers that be, or did I prepare for all the right reasons? DIY I’m fairly technical so of course I tried to fix things myself. Me and […]

Am I tempting the powers that be?



14
After 18 years of cellphone ownership I finally did it: I broke mine. Well not so much broke it but more like drowned it; took a swim with it. It didn’t take it that well. I tried the rice thing, hoping it would suck the moisture out and it would miraculously turn back on. Alas, it didn’t. It was all done for, before I took it out of my pocket. My soaked in lake water pocket that is. Now before I continue I have to disclaim, I used to be one that got what I wanted instead of what I really needed. In my […]

Get what you need, not what you want


14
That’s right, I’m 45 and June 18th will mark the second anniversary of retirement. 2 years into retirement and the funny thing is, this never started out to be retirement. I figured I would take some time off and figure out what’s next. Why retire at 45? For, as much as my job had brought me, in experience, joy and money, in the end stress was starting to physically affect me. After 20 years of Business Rules Management technology it was time for a break. It was maybe 2 weeks into my break that my neighbor came to me and […]

2 years into retirement, what’s next?



2
A little too late you may say. “If your money is your business why do you write so much it”? No, my money is my business as in: it is my place of business, it is there to generate our income. A modest income at that. My business isn’t running that well to be honest. The year I took the helm (the year I retired), SPY saw a high of $208.44, yesterday SPY closed at $209.28. In that time span we’ve also seen SPY drop to a mere $182. Since my business is build on a foundation of mostly SPY one might say we’re off […]

My Money is My Business


6
It has been some weeks now that we cut the cable. Our heads haven’t exploded yet, which is a good thing (I did not rule that out from happening). As a matter of fact we’ve hardly noticed. No, we no longer get The walking dead but we’ll survive (as I’m sure will they). We no longer get the Daily Show nor the Larry Wilmore show which, given that this is election season, is probably a good thing. As entertaining as these shows are, they’re also somewhat depressing. Here is what we do still get, and how we get it after we cut the […]

We Finally Cut the Cord (continued)



1
I’ve written in the past about luxury in moderation and have always considered Cable to be a moderate one. I’ve written about how we saved $700 by simply visiting the cable store and asking to pay less. Today I took it a step further.  Cable has now become more than a moderate luxury for us. Living on a tight budget facing heaps of continues medical bills is going to require some sacrifices. Cable is the first. We finally cut the cord. Actually, in our case I removed the outdated cable cards and disconnected the the Tuning adapter (TIVO fans know what […]

We finally cut the cord


2
If you follow this blog you’ll find I’ve written about healthcare a few times. Not so much the care itself but the cost of it. Coming from the Netherlands where healthcare is done differently was the actual motivator for me to build our nest-egg. I was worried that no matter what social status, you’re truly one disease away from bankruptcy. Since, I’ve seen two fund-me-now campaigns to support former colleagues, both battling cancer at the time. These were well-insured colleagues, higher up the corporate ladder than I was. Surely they could afford… Last year, our boy broke his elbow and the accompanied […]

Let’s talk about healthcare again



8
For those who have followed me and possibly have read my book, you know that I initially built my wealth out of fear of some expensive disease/illness hitting us, putting me and my family in bankruptcy, like so many others before us. Never did I imagine this. Last week Friday, as I was about ready to publish my latest post when Mrs. Mi10 noticed something wrong with our boy. She was initially dismissed by our pediatrics clinic (read about it here) but with persistence was seen. She went, came home and only 40 minutes later the phone rang. Please come back right […]

My little boy has diabetes


7
Just read an article by my friend James over at RetirementSavvy  on the fairness of taxes. I think I lean the same way. This year I paid zero in US taxes and feel a little guilty about that (I’ll write about this one later) but for some reason my old homestead, The Netherlands, took some of my hard earned money, 19 years after I left it. Talk about taxation without representation. This year my Dutch passport expired. No big deal, I’ll hop over to the consulate in Chicago (one town over) and get it like I did 5 years ago. I […]

Taxation without representation and hotel points



8
I took the Marketplace Economic Anxiety Index test to see how I feel about the economy and my score was 7. My anxiety was way below that of the average of 37 for those in my age group. It made me believe the test says more about me as a person than about the economy (although there is a correlation about how people feel about economy that affects the economy). It’s not like I went through the test fearless. The 7 point probably came from the fact that I’m a little afraid to not be able to pay for my kid’s colleges […]

My Economic Anxiety Index went from 73 to 7


2
Back when I was making a handsome six figures, if I wanted a 3D printer I would have gone out and bought one. If I wanted to build one (just for the fun of it) I would have gone out and bought a Laser cutter to cut the parts. Those days are over and that’s okay, now I have the Makerspace. Ever since I retired, I no longer have the discretionary income to buy whatever my heart desires. So instead of buying a 3D printer I’m building one. Total estimated cost for this 3D printer: $230. The designer on instructibles.com tells us […]

Makerspace | Conceive, Create, Collaborate and Save!



A picture says a thousand words and I found one so I don’t have to. Some of you know I’m a big proponent of LED lighting. I jumped on the bandwagon back when a subsidized LED light bulb still cost $33. Today they are at Home Depot for less then $3 per bulb. You can read how we saved $350 a year switching to LED here. I totally skipped the CFL (Compact Fluorescent light) trend mainly due to the fact that they kept burning out on me but also because of the mercury. The picture below tells you everything you […]

For a light bulb moment that might save you some


2
We’re all aware that what we buy is made in China. We know buying Chinese is cheap but did you know it’s even cheaper buying directly from them? I recently re-discovered the geek in me and started working with my first Arduino. I’ve since built a Tornado maker and a super combination/coordination lock (all for the kids). The next project I’m working on is building my own 3D printer. I found the plans on instructables.com from some 14 year old kid that made one for less than $200. How is that even possible? Less than $200 (not to mention the 14 year […]

We know buying Chinese is cheap but..



8
Last week I wrote how investing can be scary but if you read the article, you’ll find it is all relative. Despite the ups and downs, hundreds of thousands in my portfolio are pure profits. “Good for you, but I don’t care about your hundreds of thousands. What I want to know is how to invest my $5,000. I don’t know where to start.” For that, I apologize. some of us in the Personal Finance world overlook the fact that most of us DON’T invest. What’s more, you have no clue how to, or where to start. It’s not like they […]

Getting Started In Stocks


source https://flic.kr/p/9LQkAA 3
Isn’t it funny how when your friends get back from Vegas you generally hear how they either broke even or actually made a few hundred. Casinos are like Trump, they don’t need to pay for advertising and everyone who goes always only talks of winning. You don’t (or rarely) hear how they lost hundreds (if not thousands) and even when they do lose they’ll talk about the great comps they got to make up for it. We all must have lucky friends and as we know the casinos always wins. Everybody else’s friends must be the unlucky ones. My friend […]

I won this much at the casino



2
Why budget? Well, besides the 4 reasons you need a budget below, it is simply a shame not to. You owe it to yourself. All of us spend between 1 and 2 decades getting prepared in school to make a living.  Unfortunately that is where most of us stop. We learn how to make a living and leave it at that. Most of us go through life being totally oblivious about one of the most important aspects of our lives. Where does our money go? Most of you just go through life paying your mortgage and other bills. When done […]

4 reasons you need a budget


I somewhat freaked out the Debt Free Diva during my interview, some time ago, when I told her I lost some $200,000 in my first 401(k). That was my first lesson in investing. In hindsight probably not the first thing to bring up when talking about building wealth. Don’t worry, it all came back. Just as I’m convinced the $100,000 my portfolio dropped in January will come back (as we speak half way there). All of this sounds scary like shit right? Yes, but it doesn’t have to. I look at it from a different perspective. As scary as a […]

Yes, investing can be scary, but