Hello there! This is interview number 4 of the guest post/interview series by people who are well on their way to financial independence (FI) or have reached it already.
I am so excited to welcome Annie and André on the pages of my blog! What I really love about them is their shared creative and entrepreneurial spirit. They follow their dreams and goals as a team of two – how powerful is that!
Can you introduce yourself?
André: I’m André. I am a freelance Mergers and Acquisitions Analyst and a street photographer. I moved to London in 2014 to take on this freelance job. Before meeting Annie I moved around every 2-4 years, whenever I felt restless.
We first met through the London Photography group on Internations which Annie founded. But we didn’t get involved until I booked some French lessons with her a couple of months later. That was when we got to know each other better and did fall in love.
What does financial independence mean to you?
Annie: Feeling comfortable financially, having some savings to feel secure and some extra money to enjoy life. I would love to buy a property as an investment and also for old age.
André: To me, it is having the freedom to choose what I want to spend my time on, be it working as an analyst, as a photographer or pursuing other interests.
I want to have enough income generating assets to live off them once we retire.
What would you like to dedicate yourself to when you reach financial independence?
Annie: Art, photography, and writing.
André: Learning new things. I am a very curious person and am interested in history, politics, physics, astronomy etc. I want to understand where we came from and how the world works.
Photography and numbers are two equally important passions for me so I would continue working. A lot of us, whose entire work life has been influenced by the internet, define ourselves not only through our hobbies and the persons in our lives but also through our work.
When I reach FI, I would be traveling to get to know new places and become more familiar with some old places. I would be helping others, either through donating to a charity and/or by being there for the people around us. I believe in karma. Life will be kind to us if we are kind to others.
What is your financial goal?
Annie: Buy a flat or a house, a place we can call home.
André: Changing my mindset about money. I used to be very focused on the present and didn’t worry much about my financial future. I always said to myself:
You are still young. You still have time to fix it in the future.
As time goes, my priorities changed. Now my goals are:
- an emergency fund to cover 12 months of expenses.
- multiple income streams through side hustles and investments that generate income for me.
- building an investment portfolio for retirement.
What is your strategy?
Annie: Budgeting expenses and saving when we can; Generating more money.
1. Developing good saving habits and keeping a journal on a regular basis
Making a journal entry allows me to pause for a moment, to order my thoughts and to ask myself:
- What are my triggers?
- How does it make me feel?
- What do I really want?
2. Finding more clients for my freelance business
I have one main client that takes up most of my time. But I need to put a bit more focus on finding additional smaller jobs through freelancing platforms. This will allow me to reduce my dependence on this one client.
3. Monetizing our photos through our website
Annie and I want to combine our photography websites. We will integrate a Webshop into the site, so people can buy prints of our photos. There is a company called Printspace, which had a simple plugin for Squarespace. They have a good reputation as a printer for photographers.
Furthermore, we want to use affiliate marketing through recommending photography gear and books on our website.
4. Building and monetizing a blog that explains complex financial terms in plain English
Annie and I had the idea independently of each other. She is not very familiar with the financial jargon. So sometimes when words come up in the news that she doesn’t understand, I’ll try to explain them to her in plain English.
Over time I noticed how we created this barrier between people in the financial industry and people outside of it, by using jargon. And reporter just passes on these terms without explaining what they mean, or how the different cogs in the financial machinery connect with each other.
So my goal is to create a blog that explains this fundamental connection and the jargon in plain English. The goal is then to generate revenue through ads and affiliate marketing by giving book recommendations.
What motivates you to follow the strategy day in day out? How do you stay on course?
Annie: Our long-term objective is to get a flat or home and prepare for the future.
André: I’ll try to create a picture in my mind how life would feel like if I have achieved my goals. Trying to give my future-self a better fighting chance against my present-self.
What are the obstacles you are struggling with?
Annie: Unexpected expenses.
André: Monitoring my expenses so I can stick to my budget. In the past, I lived more in the present moment and didn’t care so much about my financial future. Gratification now was more important than future goals. It can sometimes be a bit tough to shift my mindset.
What is one thing that I can apply today that will have a positive impact on my finances?
Annie: Understanding how we spend our money and budgeting. I am in charge of the cultural programme for our couple and sometimes get carried away organizing too many things in very short spans of times so we can easily end up with 4 or 5 cultural events in one weekend. Planning less so that we can enjoy more.
Andre: Changing my mindset about money. When I was growing up, we never spoke about money at home. So I had to learn everything by myself when I moved out after school.
I made some mistakes along the way. Fortunately, none of them would have ruined me financially. But I developed a mindset that is focused on the present and gratification now. For example, instead of saving extra cash I went out and bought the latest smartphone. So the toughest part for me is to develop a new relationship with money.
Where can we find you online and learn more?
Photo credit: Francesco Marchetti
Did you enjoy Annie and André’s story? Check out these other fascinating personal (finance) stories:
- The Minimum Goal I Want to Reach is 1 Million Euros: Interview With Alexis
- Honoring My Compass: Interview With Sarah Burch
- Life is For Fun: Interview with Mell and Sam.
If you found yourself nodding your head through this post or learned something new, please share it with your friends and followers!
Do you have a well-thought strategy for reaching financial independence? I would be delighted to interview you and feature your story on the blog.