A few words about me
I hate talking about myself so I will keep this part short 🙂 I’m Jérôme from France, in my early forties, married for 3 years. I’m a former computer programmer turned world traveler.
Indeed, my wife and I spent the 2 last years cycling around South-East Asia. Most of our expenses are paid by crowdlending interests, complemented by rental revenues from our flat in a Parisian suburb.
For Christmas 2019 we plan to head back to Europe to spend some time with my family. After this well-deserved break, we’ll explore Portugal and Spain in early 2020.
Three years of crowdlending
As the name implies, Alternative Investments‘ intended focus was initially broader than it is now. I used to mention automated trading strategies and crypto-currencies, before focusing solely on crowdlending.
I opened my first crowdlending portfolios at Mintos and Twino on November 11, 2016. At that time, only a handful of platforms existed – which initially resulted in a very poor diversification of my portfolio –
If platforms were scarce, blogs about crowdlending were even harder to find. I have to thank Kristi at Money is your friend; at that point, her blog was my only source of information !
Fast forward three years later, and there’s now a plethora of crowdlending platforms available. While there initially was mostly individual loans available for investing, real-estate and business loans now offer great opportunities as well. A few crazy milestones were reached, the most impressive being Mintos cumulative amount of 3 billion euros of loans financed !
Evolution of the blog
Alternative Investments has known a rather impressive growth as well. It started out as a small blog hosting a few platforms reviews as well as a monthly portfolio review. After hearing for the umpteenth time my wife telling me that Alternative Investments had great content but an ugly look, I started thinking about a re-design, but had no idea where to start. Fortunately, I accidentally discovered Elementor, an excellent page builder for WordPress. It was extremely easy to use, and it took me very little time to greatly enhance the website’s appearance.
Although Elementor is an excellent product, it was hard to keep the review contents consistent. If I decided to re-order two sections or change an icon, I had to do it manually for each and every review. And there was starting to be a lot of them… It was a boring, painstaking and error-prone task.
I thus decided to create a reviews generator, which would automatically create the layout based on the contents of the sections. Learning HTML and CSS was actually fun – I used to disregard these technologies but working with them was interesting -. Being able to blend my newly found passion for blogging with my programming skills made working on the blog an even more enjoyable experience !
Meanwhile, I also created Tonifier Votre Épargne, which is Alternative Investments‘ little brother, written in French.
For the future, I don’t plan any revolution for either of these sites; I will mostly add new reviews, and try to expand the documentation – creating it is by far the most time-consuming part -.
On the importance of settings goals
Although the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement is getting a lot of popularity nowadays, I started seriously thinking about giving up my “normal” life many years ago.
Indeed, if I really enjoyed the first years of my professional life, various aspects of office life quickly drove me mad. Among them, the fact that I too often felt I was working in a Dilbert comic.
But the worst was the working rhythm. Nearly every September, I used to go cycling in Asia for 3 weeks. Once I was back in the office, I couldn’t help but think there had to be a better way to handle life. Five weeks of paid holidays (which is longer in France than in most countries), versus forty-seven weeks at work ? No way I could stand this until retirement. There had to be a better way !
I started saving diligently, living a rather frugal life and saving as much as I could. After I met my future wife, we kept on living this way; even our marriage was simple with only 20 guests or so. Our life was simple, but this simplicity served a purpose. Finally, in October 2017, we left France for our long-awaited adventure !
The 15 years I spent working in an office were mostly filled with doubt and frustration, both in my professional and personal life. By contrast, our current lifestyle is sometimes harder physically and mentally – pedaling in Asia is no garden of roses -, but it just feels great. Sure, I miss playing piano, having great bread and home-made jam at breakfast, or roller-skating in Paris at night; but on the other hand, I gained a huge freedom and a lot of free time. In one word, I took back the control of my life.
Be bold. Take risks. State your purpose in life, then do whatever it takes to achieve it. It’s definitively worth it !