Martin and I have started a new blog here!
Basically, we are going to semi-FIRE very soon. 🙂
Martin and I have started a new blog here!
Basically, we are going to semi-FIRE very soon. 🙂
Hey, I’ve *really* enjoyed writing here and meeting you all through your blogs.
But I’m going through a bit of a transformation, and no longer want to blog about early retirement or money or career.
My new blog is at www.jisk.ca and will be less anonymous.
Topics will be about living abroad in Germany, veganism, and travelling. Maybe a teeny bit about career/frugality/investments.
I’m also more focussed on vlogging rather than blogging these days. So if you want to see me speak (eeek!) and hear my Canadian accent, then see you over at my site where my YouTube videos are embedded. Feel free to subscribe, like, and comment on YT too. 🙂
If you want to put some faces to the names, we’ve just opened Instagram accounts and will be posting regular photoblogs to:
Instagram is a lot of fun, and so much quicker than blogging!
Later I will be launching a website and YouTube vlog channel, which will showcase how we live a vegan lifestyle here in Germany and around. 🙂
Yesterday I shared my thoughts about the illogical fallacy of meat consumption in human evolution.
I want to point out though, that there is strong evidence to support that humans evolved by eating carbohydrates!
If we’re talking about big brains, our brains run on glucose (a carb), not protein.
When you compare the physiology of human beings to fellow animals, this is how it looks:
We resemble herbivores over carnivores, and even omnivores.
This could be why the leading cause of human deaths are:
All of which are linked to meat consumption. When we eat what we’re not meant to be eating, we end up suffering too.
It is a vicious cycle where no one benefits.
Except animal agriculture and pharmaceutical industries.
This 2012 article entitled ‘Sorry, vegans: Eating meat and cooking food is how humans got their big brains‘ is making its rounds again on social media.
I remember a few years ago, when my friends’ husband brought this up to me to insinuate that myself and other vegans were less evolved or at least devolving.
Pretty nasty, even in joking form.
I wasn’t impressed, especially because the argument is based on an illogical fallacy:
X led to Y.
Y is good.
Therefore X is good.
Result: Eating meat led to bigger brains. Bigger brains are good. Therefore eating meat is good.
Now use consumer debt as an example:
I have credit card debt because I treat myself to the finest of things. The finest of things are good. Therefore credit card debt is good.
Or how about slavery:
Slavery led to stable economic growth. Stable economic growth is good. Therefore slavery is good.
The slavery example is the starkest example for me. Because it clearly shows that slavery no longer fits with our modern moral and ethical belief system.
What humans did in the past doesn’t need to dictate how we live our lives today and in the future. Sure our ancestors ate meat during the Ice Age or whatever. But we are no longer in the Ice Age. We are now capable of producing an abundance of calories from plants, and have NO physiological need to consume animal products.
Therefore, the moral imperative is on us to NOT kill unnecessarily for food.
But it’s much easier to make fun of ‘crazy vegans’ and come up with excuses to justify supporting poor practices.
Veganism is the fastest growing social justice movement. So I’m not surprised that veganism is frequently mocked and attacked. There is a lot at stake here, from threatening the profits of the animal agriculture industry, to people’s tightly held traditions.
Remember, slavery was a tradition too. It was legal and accepted by the dominant culture. But that didn’t make it right.
About 2 weeks ago, Martin and I got a dog!
She’s not our dog but we’re fostering her for a nearby, overcrowded shelter.
She’s a 3.5 year old Golden Retriever mix, is smaller than the standard retriever, and clearly has the face of an angel!
Can you believe, that she’s actually the neighbourhood’s newest terror-dog? She gets violently aggressive when she sees other dogs and disabled elderly people (they take too long to pass).
Luna comes from an abusive home so her actions are confusingly bipolar. She’s not like a normal, well-adjusted dog. Not yet.
She’s nervous if we get too close to her front (back is okay) and will jump half a metre away if we come close. She never licks or invites a belly rub. For the first few days, she would hang out at the furtherst end of the apartment away from us, and growl if we got close.
But she’s slowly warming up and making HUGE progress.
So are we. We have to exercise a lot of patience, and stick to training her. Germans like their dogs well-trained.
We hope to help rehab her by giving her a stable, loving, and active family life, so that she can be adopted into her forever home one day.
Why don’t we adopt her ourselves?
Seriously, I think it will be very heart wrenching to give her away once that day comes. She is getting attached to us and vice versa. But, we don’t want the long term committment of caring for a dog. We travel a lot to non pet-friendly places, and are also considering leaving Germany some day soon (this is my plan anyway!).
Right now I have time to look after her since I’m at home, and I’m blown away by how much work she is!
I walk her a minimum of 5 times a day, and feed her 4 times a day. She’s a huge princess when it comes to food, which is why I feed her multiple smaller meals because she won’t finish larger portions in one sitting. Since I’ve transitioned her to a nutritionally balanced, vegan diet, that I cook for her myself and mix with organic vegan kibble, it hurts effort/time/money-wise to have it go to waste.
How is fostering a frugal choice?
By being dog foster parents (new identity!), we pay for her food and that’s it!
All of her vet bills, liability insurance, and the dog paraphernalia that was loaned to us (collar, leash, bowls, etc…) is paid for by the shelter. They even gave us a gigantic bag of dog food, which we only used a little bit of to transition her over to vegan food. We’ll be returning the food bag back to the shelter soon.
In Germany, there’s a Hundesteuer (dog tax) paid to the city where you live. In our city, the Hundesteuer is 84€ per year, which is not the worst but also not something I’m excited to pay or take time to register. However with fostering, the Hundesteuer and administration is handled by the shelter!
It’s a lot harder to foster than anticipated, but the experience is overall very positive on both sides. Martin and I tend to think only about ourselves or each other all the time, so it’s nice to step out of that and use our privelege to make a difference in someone else’s life.
We love getting to know Luna and she is bringing us a lot of joy and silliness! Since I’m at home now, it’s nice to have company and a reason to GET OUTSIDE. She is a sweet addition to our family. 🙂
Happy 2016 y’all!!
I want to thank everyone for connecting with me in 2015 through this blog. I started this blog a year ago mainly to talk to my husband about money in an easy-dose way. Didn’t think you would read me and bring me into your own lives and blogs. THANKS! 🙂
My goal was to set us up structurally for achieving early retirement. For us, we had the frugal living and high savings rate down, but were lacking in the investments department. All of our money sat in the bank, which was very lack lustre.
But that all changed in 2015.
In April I started investing in index ETFs. In the next few weeks, we should have most of our networth in the stock market for the long term. We’re cool with that. Then we plan to continue investing monthly.
Thanks especially to Richard from Banks Germany for reaching out to me and helping me tweak my ETF plan. I went from investing in a tax-inefficient non-German domiciled Vanguard fund, to investing in ETFs on comdirect’s Wertspapiersparplan list (German domicile, more tax efficient). Your advice has helped us out A LOT!!
I also managed to lock in some tax-free capital gains for 2015. This was also a tip from Richard. Since every German resident has 801€ of tax-free capital gains per year (1602€ for a married couple), realizing those gains makes sense. I did that by selling some of our ETFs before Dec 31. Almost forgot but managed to get it in on Dec 29 and 30. 🙂
So basically, you can now call me a Savvy Investor and that will also be my new handle! jk. 😉
2016 Goals and what I want to do with my life
I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog, and what I want to do with it.
Now that I’m not working (still waiting for my freelancing paperwork) and we have our FIRE plan in place, I have little to no interest in writing about it anymore. I just want to do the PF stuff on autopilot, without having to look after it or think much about it.
My personality type (INFJ) is not very interested in or motivated by money, despite me writing this PF-style blog. I’ve only focussed myself on personal finances because I really want to live the life I want to live. Which is more freedom to do what I truly want to do.
I don’t seek money or power or status, but what I do seek is peace and justice.
What I want to devote the rest of my life to is being an activist. That’s what I want to do when I FIRE, more than anything. Last year I sat on the sidelines as I watched the vegan activist movement blow up. It’s exciting and inspiring. Now I want to do my part too, even if I’m not FIRE’d.
Because every minute there is a holocaust, and it affects everyone. Animal agriculture is intensely cruel on every level, and it is not okay to support it. Eating the flesh and secretions of others is a barbaric practice that only causes harm and suffering. Not only to the animal, but statistically it will kill you slowly and wreaks havoc on our habitat.
If we want the world to be a better place, we need to do our part.
So, if you are not already vegan, I urge you to try Veganuary!
Spend the month of January being vegan, and give it a try. It’s not as hard as it seems. I live in Germany, and am able to sustain a healthy vegan lifestyle here comfortably. Yes it may be easier in some places than others, but nowhere is it impossible. Bananas, apples, rice and beans. These are not only accessible to most people, but also frugal.
Tip: Since plants are less calorically dense than animal flesh/secretions, it’s important that you eat enough to make you full – otherwise you will crave things out of habit.
In my first 5 days of going vegan, I knew I couldn’t go back. It felt too good physically. I was no longer bloated and sluggish. My skin cleared up and my mood swings went away. I used to think the mood swings were because I lived in Germany, but nope, it was from all the hormones I was consuming through dairy products. If you need any help, let me know!
This poet says it well: