2017 Financial Overview

Happy New Year dear readers! It’s 2018, the 3rd year of our journey towards financial independence. There is a lot behind us. 2017 meant a lot of happiness and unfortunately also a bit of sadness for us. All together it has been a good year, and from a financial perspective it definitely feels good. Of course it is time to do a year end review, therefore instead of feelings, let the numbers talk!


My overall stock holdings have been decreased during 2017. This is because in August I have sold some of the shares in preparation for closing the purchase of our rental apartment. As of the end of 2017 we have stocks in the total value of EUR 41,444.49.

In December the stock market has continued its good performance. This further helped the good year end closing of our portfolio.

Our 3 best performing stocks in December were:

  1. Target (+8.93%) – This gain was a good cosmetics by year end and with this the stock ended up losing “only” 10% in 2017.
  2. Valero (+7.35%) – Great overall yearly performance by Valero. Even though the first 8 months in 2017 was basically flat, after August it got some boost, ending the year with over 32% gain.
  3. AT&T (+6.87%) – Not a great year for AT&T. In December this was only a correction, ending up the year with 9% loss. Still, the nice and stable dividends compensate a bit.

Our 3 worst performing stocks in December were:

  1. Qualcomm (-3.5%) – Comparing to the beginning of the year the share price is almost unchanged. As the Broadcom takeover is in the air, I am expecting a stable, slightly increasing share price in the next few weeks/months.
  2. Unilever (-2.62%) – All together still an over 20% yearly gain from one of my biggest holdings. I am not disappointed.
  3. Yum! Brands (-2.23%) – Right now I only have 2 YUM shares, therefore I only mention this for the sake of completeness.

During 2018 I am planning to continue purchasing additional stocks, however it most likely won’t happen within the first few months.


My only bond holding is still PowerShares Emerging Markets Sov Dbt ETF (PCY). With its current yield of around 4.8% it provides much better passive income than most of the other bonds. Of course it also comes with some additional risk.

At the end of 2017, my stock to bond ratio is 95-5. This means that the bonds in my portfolio has around half of the weight as I was planning as a result of my search for the perfect portfolio. In the wealth accumulation phase I should keep the ratio around 90-10.

During 2018 I am planning to add some additional PCY to my portfolio. In addition, should the 10 years US treasury yield reach 3%, I will start adding some US bond ETF as well. Given the high valuation of the stock market this plan seems reasonable right now.

Real Estate

If you follow this blog regularly, you already know that in 2017 we have purchased our first rental apartment in the Netherlands. It has been rented out almost immediately and everything is going according to the initial plan. The rent is always paid on time and so far we have received no maintenance request.

In 2018 we are not planning to purchase any additional rental properties. First we are concentrating on lowering the loan to equity ratio on our primary residence below 85% again. This would increase the monthly net income on the rental apartment by around EUR 200 per month. Also, the real estate prices in the Netherlands are rising sharply. Probably we will wait for a correction before expanding our real estate portfolio.

On the top of the apartment, we still have the rental garage in my home country. This has turned out to be a great investment so far. The market value has doubled since I bought it 4 years ago. In addition, based on the purchase price the net return on investment is close to 10%.

I haven’t talked much about this garage in the previous posts, but I am very happy that we own it.


We have closed the year with EUR 12,165 cash. This amount is higher than the initially planned emergency fund and will be still increased during the next few months.

The reason behind it is some extra improvements that we are planning to do on our house. Hopefully it will not only increase our comfort level, but also the value of the house itself. If so, we will be also closer to reach the 85% loan to equity ratio. More details will follow soon.

Passive Income and Net Worth

One picture tells more than a thousand words, therefore let’s start this section with a quick overview!

2017 comparison vs 2016

Impressive YoY Increase

Passive Income

Our total passive income in 2017 was EUR 3,019.74. This is a very impressive, 79.05% increase versus the previous year. I couldn’t be happier.

In addition, as our intention is to reinvest all the passive income, this will add an additional boost to the 2018 figures as well.

Passive income increase

As you can see in the above chart, it is not just that we have achieved a significant year on year increase. December has also brought us a new all time high monthly passive income. The exact amount is EUR 523.73. Two years ago, at the beginning of the journey, we were talking about less than EUR 100 per month.

What a great increase in such a short amount of time! If you have any doubts about the power of passive investing, I hope this helps to clear it.

Quarterly Dividend Overview

In the passive income chart, you can already see our net dividend income per month. From the very beginning, I publish our dividend income on a quarterly basis. Let’s see how did we do in Q4 2017.

This is unfortunately a decrease versus the earlier quarters of 2017. At the same time this is not surprising at all. As we have sold some shares in August, this step has inevitably affected the dividends.

Still, comparing to Q4 2016, this is a 18.85% increase. Not too bad!

During 2017 we have collected EUR 1,649.23 just from dividends. This is still more than the half of our total passive income. Dividends will always pay a very important role in our financial journey.

Net Worth

I have started to calculate our net worth on a semi annual basis. It is an excellent way to determine your financial health. The net worth does not contain your investments, but all your assets and liabilities.

At the end of 2016, our net worth was EUR 135,076. Right now this figure went up to EUR 226,033. This is a 67.33% increase in a year!

Besides of the increase of the portfolio value, a lot of this increase can be attributed to the property price increase. Both the value of our house and the rental garage has increased substantially. The details are below:

HouseEUR 420,000EUR 411,914Mortgage
Rental ApartmentEUR 141,000
Shares & BondsEUR 43,782
Rental GarageEUR 16,000
CashEUR 12,165
CarEUR 5,000
TotalEUR 637,947EUR 411,914Total

The Road to One Million

So where all the above takes us on the road to one million? Check out the chart below!

We finished 2017 with EUR 116,883. Repeat this 9 times and we have an invested value of EUR 1 million 🙂

Where 2018 will bring us is still unknown of course. But there is no reason to be pessimistic. Even though we had some months with a small loss during 2017, the trend is pretty obvious.

A possible stock market correction can cause some headwinds, but as we are in the wealth accumulation phase, there is no reason to be conservative on our investment strategy.

Once again: happy New Year to everyone and wish you all a lot of success during 2018!


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Disclaimer: This post or any other information on the site is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice or any other advice. I am solely sharing my idea, plan and progress on financial independence and early retirement.



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