About Us

Hi there! Welcome to What Life Could Be.

So Who Are We?

We’re Mr and Mrs W. We’ve lived in Germany for over 10 years and have two kids aged 3 and 1. We reached the holy grail of financial independence (FI) in 2015 aged 31. We managed to achieve our goal by creating income-generating websites and investing in rental properties on the one hand and reducing our expenses on the other hand. No crappy designer toys for us, thanks.

Mr W: I’m an ex-programmer turned freelance online marketing consultant and web designer. I run several websites and an online community.

Mrs W: I’m an ex-translator turned freelance janitor, proofreader, occasional translator and general dogsbody. I spend most of my time running about after the kids, cleaning up after the kids, cooking for the kids…you get the picture (oh, and when I say “kids”, I mean Mr W as well. He’s basically just a big hairy kid). When I’m not dealing with the kids, I like to blog, drink wine and learn about investing.

Why Write a Blog?

We’ve known for a while that we needed to make some major changes, but it’s only been in the last few months that quite a lot of things have come together to give us the final kick up the bum to start taking responsibility for every aspect of our own lives. We started trying to sort out our finances a few years ago, but only became die-hard Mustachians over the last year or so. Also over the last year we suddenly realised we’re Minimalists and woke up to the idea of lifestyle design in general. The birth of our second child in summer 2014 also got us thinking about what kind of parents we want to be, what we want to teach our kids, and what kind of world we want them to grow up in. We have a lot of work to do to get our lives the way we want them, but writing about it will give us that extra push to think hard about what it is we actually want and what we need to do to get it.

Here’s a taste of what we’re all about:

  • A European perspective on financial independence: There are a LOT of financial independence blogs out there with absolutely truckloads of invaluable information about becomig finacially independent, but most of them are US-specific. We’re avid followers of several of them and the work they do is fantastic, but when it’s time to get down to specifics the information they provide is often only valid in the US. Which is fine. But if we see another article about how to tweak our non-existant Roth IRAs We. Will. Scream. Mrs W would like some help with her Riesterrente, however. So we decided to write about how we managed to reach the holy grail of FI here in Germany.
  • Minimalist, mindful living: What could life be if we would just take a step back and consider all the stupid things we do day in, day out, without even realising it, then clear out all the rubbish so there’s room for the stuff that’s actually important?
  • Parenting without ending up a weeping, gibbering wreck before your kids finally fly the nest: Ok, so anyone who has kids knows that a certain amount of weeping and gibbering is unavoidable, but we’re trying our darnest to minimise that and maximise the fun times. We’ll let you know how we get on…possibly from the loony bin.

This blog is designed to make you think. It’s designed to make us think. Our articles are mainly based on our own opinions and experiences and not on scientific fact. Some of the stuff we say may be controversial. If you disagree with us, please leave us a comment or send us a message telling us why you think our opinions are a load of old cobblers and we’ll either indignantly refute your comment or humbly admit that you have a point and our opinions are, in fact, a load of old cobblers. Part of the reason we’re writing this blog is to stimulate a frank, honest discussion about all aspects of life as we know it. Opinions are meant to be challenged. If everyone agreed with us all the time, we’d never learn anything.

You can read our story about how we reached financial independence aged 32 here.

P.S. Mrs W is Scottish and insists on using British words and spellings. If you don’t understand what she means, look it up or leave a comment and she’ll be happy to clarify.

P.P.S. Mr W is Hungarian and can’t spell…in any of the four languages he speaks fluently. He also refuses to use the F7 key – he claims it’s against his religion. His typo-filled e-mails used to frequently move Mrs W to tears, but she has learned to accept that he’s not going to change and, well, you’ll just have to accept it too. Any e-mails or comments pointing out the lexical shortcomings of Mr W will be deleted immediately. So there.

 

  • Woody

    “But if we see another article about how to tweak our non-existant Roth IRAs We. Will. Scream.”

    LOL! Yes, as well as any article about tax harvesting ;-).
    I’m happy to read some articles about a European perspective of FI even though I have to admit, that this is not my first choice for living a better life.

    Having asked myself quite the same questions you mentioned in an other of your starting articles, I decided on changing my life radically in a different way. I quit my job and even more the whole working field to start again in a different profession. Now I’m no longer sitting most of the time in front of a piece of electronics, getting rid of the latest bug, but talk to people, help them and really have fun doing this. Even working for less money and needing more time to reach FI was worth this step out of the comfort zone. So whenever I read the complaints about the bad, bad dependency on an employer/company, I ask myself whether it’s the concrete job causing this unhappiness. At least now I can understand, why some people do not strive for FI. I never felt more happy with my life than I do now.

    Looking forward to your upcoming articles,
    Woody

    • Mr W

      There are 2types of WORK: 1. energy sucking, time wasting, inefficient , boring work that you only do for the money and/or bacause you don’t have a better idea / lazy to find a better job.
      2. Passion Work: work you love. Where you combine your passions/ hobbies with work.

      You seem to have found #2. That’s fantastic! We basically do the same and never plan to stop working that way!
      Totally agree with you!

  • hello all! Feel free to comment!

  • attila

    As an other Hungarian living in Germany, too, allow me to make the first comment on this site, and wish you a lot of success with the blog. I hope I can read lots of valuable information from you guys in the future!

    • Mr W

      Wow! Welcome! What are you up to? Any FI plans? How did you find us?

    • Wow! Welcome! What are you up to? Any FI plans? How did you find us?

  • mysticaltyger

    I think it’s great to get a European perspective on financial independence. The thing I always notice about financial independence blogs is there’s almost always an engineer or computer programmer in the household. I think the desire financial independence must just be hard wired in some personality types.

  • amber tree

    Hey W family,

    I just discovered your blog. Kudos to your story so far.

    Just like you, I add a european perspective to FIRE community: I skip posts on ROTH IRA 401K conversion ladders. (I do understand the importance for the Us people) What is hard: the fragmentation in Europe. German specific items and Belgian ones can be quite different.

    • hey! nice to have you, another european blogger here!
      Yes, EU is fragmented, but what matters is the mindset. Only the tools and technical details are different.
      Would you like to join FIWE?

      • amber tree

        FIWE sounds like a great initiative. Keep me in the loop. I need to see at home how I can join.

  • Julie@ChooseBetterLife

    So excited to follow along on your adventures. The best thing about travel is seeing what others do differently and questioning why I do what I do instead–it often leads me to change. Please don’t hold it against me that I’m from the US…

    • Hi Julie, welcome to our blog. Glad to have you, we won’t hold it against you that you’re from the US, a lot of the topics we write about are universal, just the detailed financial stuff is Germany-specific.