A financial dad’s view on managing personal finance.
Written by: Remko van Buuren
Published: 10 December 2021


Change your mindset. Accomplish more happiness without those millions on the bank.

Managing personal finance

What would you do with a million dollars? We all dream about it. But what is it exactly that we seek when we fantasize about having an unlimited supply of money?

Our deepest human needs are to belong and to achieve happiness. Fantasizing having an unlimited supply of money gives us the illusion it will bring us that happiness. Yes with money we can buy anything we want and go anywhere we want. If I am completely honest, in the beginning, it might actually make me happier. But only in the beginning.

Symbol of freedom

As a society, we symbolize financial freedom to something for the rich & famous.

While these daydreams about being a millionaire are great while they last. A few seconds after it, you are back in reality. And let’s face it, our reality as (young) dads. More often than not look nothing like what is now called the F.I.R.E movement.

Financially Independence, Retire Early. The internet is full of people talking about how they acquired their F.I.R.E. status and how fantastic it feels. And the most frustrating thing, how easy it was to accomplish according to them! Bleh.

Spoiler alert:

I am not financially independent, I am not working towards a certain date or age for my retirement at all. The thought of giving my best years for labor instead of enjoying life now as a dad of 2 young kids simply doesn’t appeal to me.

I work to be able to accomplish my goals in life, I do not live to work for somebody else’s goals.

My dilemma

I am a dad, I will be 40 next year. These are the years to create most of my life-lasting memories. In my mind but also in that of my family. So I want to travel and do fun things. My physique also is less of an issue at this age to do fun things than it will be when I am older.

But, in my life as a dad now, I also live the most expensive phase of my life.

  • Mortgage on the house
  • Child expenses for too many things to name.
  • Holiday’s, although now in the pandemic there isn’t much traveling.
  • Don’t forget groceries, insurances, car expense and birthday gifts and party’s
  • And some family hobby expenses like soccer for the kids, Yoga for my wife and golf for myself.

This, I believe, is the real-life first-world challenge we face as dads in our 30’s and 40’s!

managing personal finance
Me and my kids at the beach on a typical cold dutch day

While reading up about early retirement and successful start-ups that created millions with nothing more than a “simple” idea. I am dealing with these everyday mundane things in life that leave too little financial room to get me close to F.I.R.E.

Exploring the online possibilities

We are living in this digital world, so I am trying to do my part. I am investing in crypto projects, hoping to pick the right one that will go 100x. I am also working on two YouTube channels, hoping to ever acquire 100k subscribers and give them something valuable in return. But if I am honest, these chances are just as big as any of us winning the lottery.

So, in the meantime. I earn my living doing what I can do best and enjoy doing as well in the offline world. Being the only employee of my Project management firm. As mentioned in my about me this big step to start my own firm made it possible for me to earn a bit more income than before while working fewer hours per week.

This extra freedom I can now invest in exploring my other passions. So in a sense, I got a taste of “buying my own freedom”. This got me thinking, what else can I take responsibility for instead of leaving my finance to chance?

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A brief happy moment I cherish but not as a daily thing.

What is wrong with F.I.R.E?

This concept talks about being financially independent in a way you can retire early. So during your career, you save as much as you can. So you can invest as much as possible to get the compound effect going. Until a point, you are able to live off your investments.

While I am all for saving as much as you can. My resistance sits at, how much you have to save to reach an investment high enough to live off. I, for one, am really enjoying weekend family trips. I do not want to sacrifice those moments for extra savings.

Making those memories I talked about earlier is more important to me than having this hammock scene at a tropical place at the age of 45, for some even in their 30’s. Instead, I will spend my hard-earned money on one of those trips to someplace warm where I can read a book in one of those hammocks.

My point here, I like what the F.I.R.E. movement is all about. But being a dad, with my expense patterns, it will be a very tricky thing to accomplish. Therefore my focus has become to change my mindset.

The mindset to financial freedom

Financial freedom for me is taking back control over my life and making the decisions that occur, based on available time or interest. NOT if I can miss the money involved. The moment I had this epiphany I started to feel the happiness hormones sparking up. Before I even did anything. This thought alone felt liberating. It made me happier instantly.

I am experiencing firsthand what can happen when you adopt a different mindset. I feel like I have broken out of the captivity of my financial prison. I guess this is how it must feel like for Neo and his friends when they broke free from The Matrix.

Do not get me wrong, I am not suggesting to do whatever you what, even if you do not have the money. I am talking about what to do with the money you have earned. For me, this is still a work in progress. But I am enjoying this challenge, balancing the responsibilities with the fun things, more and more. I strongly believe we can influence our own future by what we do today.

I am all for continuous improvement over delayed perfection.

A financial dad’s view on managing finance

Before I will continue sharing how to manage (and make better) personal finance on this section of the blog. I would like to say that what works or didn’t work for me, might work for you. I do not own the single best way of doing things, please keep doing your own research and make your decision based on that.

For me, I feel comfortable with numbers all my life, having an education in economics. And being with 17+ years of experience. In professional roles like finance manager, financial controller, business controller and now project manager helped me understand and incorporate a few things in my own finance.

My aim is to share these things with you here. Hoping that I can be of service to some dad, somewhere. Future posts will be on subjects like:

  • How to present your daily finance and predict short term future states
  • How the small daily changes will effect the big long term effect
  • Which basic steps to take to gain back control of your finance
  • How you can make money work for you
  • I will explored numerous passive income streams
  • Which books can be a great benefit and which ones not so much
  • I will share my own Excel templates that gave better insight in my numbers.

Helpful article How to stop fighting over financial disputes

If you liked this post, I would love to hear your view on this in the comments. If you have a preference for any of the bullet points here above, let me know. I might prioritize your preference. After all, I am here to share what I am passionate about.


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1 Comment

  1. Dennis

    Great post Remko! I agree with you that life is right now, we never know what life will bring us tomorrow so our finance shouldn’t be built up for a time we don’t even have the health to spend it on!



  1. How to stop fighting over financial disputes - Dad's life development - […] You may also be interested to read A financial dad’s view on managing personal finance. […]

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