Five Years Later

Five Years Later

This is the sixth attempt to start this article and I’ve decided to not overthink things too much anymore and just go with the flow.

So, it’s been five years. Five full years since I’ve updated No More Waffles. On the one hand, that sounds and feels like an eternity. It’s about 1/6th of my life so far. But on the other hand, it feels like I’ve never been gone. This blog has been on my mind regularly, like a little devil prodding its miniature pitchfork in the back of my brain somewhere: “Hey, get to writing! You enjoy writing. People think you have valuable information to share.”

On top of that, my financial independence goals haven’t changed one bit. I am still pursuing the goals I have set for myself in 2014, when I took my first job and started this blog shortly after. I continue saving as much as I can and invest those savings into assets that generate a reliable income stream, mostly dividend growth stocks.

A lot has changed over the past years too though. I don’t really know where to start, but suffice it to say, I have experienced immense growth as a person. Even though my overall goals of becoming financially independent remain the same, new relationships and my experiences as a young adult have given my objectives more depth and a new-found meaning. (Am I still young – when does one stop being a young adult?!)

Over the past months I have felt the urge to discover that meaning more profoundly, to make it more explicit for myself. But I also feel an inner drive to share my insights with others again, to inspire anyone willing to read, and to learn from anyone willing to engage. So here we are, writing once more.

I’ll have to tackle things differently from last time though. My memory of my final blogging weeks and months is quite foggy, but I very distinctly remember feeling burned out. Writing felt like an obligation rather than a joyous effort. I didn’t enjoy breaking down the monthy dividend income reports and net worth updates anymore. They became a slog even though it’s what the majority of you looked forward to reading the most. In turn, that feeling left very little energy for what I enjoyed most: going in-depth in finance and its related topics.

A solution is needed then. I’ll get back to you all about that. In the mean time, if anyone is still out there, subscribed to my e-mail list or following the No More Waffles Twitter, I’d love to hear from you! A lot of my five-year old contacts link to dead or abandoned blogs, so it would be nice to know I’m not just shouting in an empty desert.

Oh, for everyone who wondered in the comments over the past years: high savings plus compounding equals bonkers wealth gains! On that more in a future post.

Thank you for reading! I hope to hear from you.

70 Comments

  1. Welcome back. Glad to hear you’re still on the path to financial independance. Keep that FIRE burning. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

  2. Brilliant to hear from you. I often wondered what happened to you! Looking forward to more updates ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. No shame in taking a break! Still grateful as you were one of the few blogs I followed early in my financial independence journey. Was quite helpful having a fellow Belgium.You definately contributed to my kick-start! Since march 2020 I went 80% in crypto and nfts and have achieved financial goals well above my expectations. Still got my dividends thought!!

    1. Simsing,

      That’s great to hear! I’m really glad I could help you kickstart your journey.
      You’re probably further ahead than me already with the crazy crypto and NFT gains I keep seeing the last months.

      Cheers,
      NMW

  4. Welcome back! Good to hear you could listen to your needs and take care of this writing burnout!

  5. Hey man!
    I almost couldn’t believe it when I saw that you posted again! I was sad that the blog that helped me discover the “Look for Financial Independence” stopped posting but I understand your reasons.
    A lot has changed from this side too. Worked my ass off, saved as much as I could and invested in real estate. I’m really far away from Financial Independence yet but I’m deep working on it.
    I’d love to see how have you been doing personally and financially. Hoping for the best.

    1. Renรฉ,

      I’m really happy to hear that! I did miss writing and interacting with you guys, so I’m excited to get back into it.
      I do hope your real estate plan works out. It takes a lot of capital upfront, but once you get the ball rolling, there’s no stopping the wealth accumulation.

      Good luck,
      NMW

  6. I feel how you feel. Starting a blog is easy, but when people flock in and love your writing it suddenly turns into a chore.
    Donโ€™t put pressure on yourself. Just write when fancy strikes you.

    1. Sven,

      You pretty much nailed it. It did feel like a chore in the end and it made me anxious that I wasn’t able to keep up with everyone’s opinions and insights pouring in.
      I am still thinking on how to do things differently this time, but it’ll have to be on my terms and in a way that it gives me joy. Otherwise I’ll be burned out before long again.

      Thank you for checking in,
      NMW

  7. Hi. I’m still in the desert too…. ๐Ÿ˜‰ If it is too much work show your performance once every 3 months, you could do once every year as a sum up. It will help you too. Greetings from Spain!!

    1. Pedro,

      At least we’re two in the desert already! And judging by the amount of comments on this post, there’s many more of us.
      One of the solutions will indeed be to write performance updates on a longer time frame. The monthly updates were really grinding me down.

      I hope you’re doing well in Spain, good luck!
      NMW

  8. Happy to read you again! You’re in a (roughly) similar place as I am, and one of the few European FI writers not in UK, so your perspective is especially valuable.

    1. Skolima,

      Thank you for the kind words. I am still rediscovering our petite niche on the internet, but it seems it’s still primarily dominated by US and UK driven blogs.
      I look forward to put forward the continental European perspective a bit more! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Thank you for taking the time to comment,
      NMW

  9. Another suggestion: since you mentioned preparing dividend income reports and net worth updates is such a chore, you could consider using the free software tool Portfolio Performance (downloadable from https://www.portfolio-performance.info/ ). Sure, it requires some effort to set up and import your portfolio data, but once you have done that it is not a big effort to maintain and you can generate great reports with it – both for your own use and for publishing on your blog. I discovered this tool two years ago and since then am using no more spreadsheet based tools..

  10. NMW you just made my day. Looking forward to read along again on your journey to FI.
    Iโ€™m still using your dividend grid and Google sheet
    so yes you did something lasting.

  11. Looking forward to reading your blog again. It’s good for us living in EU land to get a European perspective on investing and finances rather than UK or US focus.

  12. Welcome back!
    Still using Google sheet in some form here as well here ๐Ÿ™‚
    If I recall well you were either living and/or working in Brussels? We could meet up one day!

    1. Hey (other) Sven!

      Ha, it’s great to hear you’re also still using my template.

      I do work in Brussels, yes, and don’t live too far away. We could definitely grab a drink sometime if you’d like. Maybe even a little group meetup… It seems a lot of visitors today check in from Brussels. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thank you for taking the time to reply,
      NMW

        1. Ofcourse I do, ha! I do still ride my bike but with mandatory home office in the past two years it’s not been as steady as I wish it was.

          How do you find commuting to work by bike? For me it’s been life changing: I became even fitter than before, it clears my mind after a day of work and it pays nicely too.

          1. I find it super. It gives me exercise, allows me to clear my head.
            It soes not pay me due to the cao structure and some other factors.
            I no longer think train or car. Even if it is a one hour drive, one way. Good that there is the biking highway F3

          2. I totally agree!
            The fast bike connections are nice and I hope the government continues to expand them. When you couple them with great local cycling infrastructure you can’t go wrong. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Yay you are back!
    As a like minded Belgian Investor I have particularly enjoyed reading your blog ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Woohoo welcome back ๐Ÿ™‚ Looking forward to see where you’ll take this…

    I almost feel that once you enter this financial independence journey, it almost always evolved in a much broader personal development journey in multiple aspects of life!

    Cheers!

    1. Pb,

      I think you’re right. It takes a lot of questioning to define what financial independence means for yourself. With that you automatically touch upon other aspects of your life and your personality.

      The blog will probably focus more on those secondary aspects in the future as I think they are where the real value in discussing FI lies.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment,
      NMW

  15. So nice to hear from you. And good for you that you stopped writing for a while when you didn’t felt like it and came back when it started itching again. You inspired me a lot with your previous posts so I’m looking forward to whatever you will share with us. Thanks!

  16. Welcome back, NMW! I always wondered what happened to you and had just assumed you were too busy getting on with your life and I was right! Great to hear that you’re still on the path to FIRE.
    Looking forward to reading more updates

    1. Thanks, Weenie!

      It was an equally pleasant surprise to see you were still going strong.
      A lot of blogs have disappeared and/or a lot of people have stopped saving and investing, but it’s good to see some of the earliest people I met in 2014 still going at it. That gives me more drive to continue as well.

  17. Over the last few years I regularly used to wonder what happened to that no more waffles guy. Glad to hear your still alive and investing. Looking forward to seeing how the portfolio has grown.

  18. Welcome back and warm greetings from Brussels! ๐Ÿ™‚

    In the last 5 years, a lot of things has changed. Also our old friend, inflation came back, so investing the money the right way is crucial now.

    Could you maybe write about the investing options in the Belgian market?
    I want something safe (so no crypto but even stocks for me in these times)?
    I am considering having some ETF but I am not sure what platform to use to buy these.

    Anyway, I am a minimalist and a master in saving money, but without properly investing my savings it feels like I am doing only half-done job. :/

    1. Ferenc,

      Thank you very much!

      If you have low experience, I’d suggest going a simple index fund that tracks the entire world. Something like iShares MSCI World (it is listed on Euronext under IWDA).
      This ETF is optimized for Belgians with the lowest possible taxes (Ireland-based and no dividends). I hold this ETF myself. You can read more about it here: https://www.nomorewaffles.com/2014/07/my-etf-strategy-and-portfolio/

      I enjoy Bolero. It’s a brokerage operated by KBC. The platform is great, the customer service is quick to help you, and the fees are OK.

      Before jumping in though, make sure you feel comfortable: read as much as you can!

      Cheers,
      NMW

      1. Thank you NMW!
        I really appreciate that you took the time to write such a helpful response! ๐Ÿ™‚

        I am looking forward to read more from you.

        Best regards,
        Ferenc

      2. Oh I forgot to mention that I have a Degiro account (that I never use, haha).
        Can I find the same ETF there? Would you recommend Bolero over Degiro?

        Kr,
        Ferenc

    1. Thanks, EU DGI! I just discovered your blog: what a gem! Lots of great information there for us Europeans!
      I might have to get over my podium fear a bit then, but I’d love to take you up on your offer. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Awesome to see your blog popping up in my RSS feed app after all these years! You gave me quite some inspiration to start investing when I got my first job (also in Brussels ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and there really arenโ€™t many bloggers on this topic in Belgium, so Iโ€™m glad to hear more should come!

  20. So amazing that you are back! Nomorewaffles was always one of my favorite personal finance blogs and I was wondering what happened! Glad the blog continues

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