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Marc Pittet, or Mr. MP, is the author behind the blog MustachianPost. Last year, he started the project of writing a book about becoming Financially Free, or Financially Independent, in Switzerland, by the age of 40. Today, I am interviewing him about his new project, Free by 40, in Switzerland.
Free by 40, in Switzerland is a book about retiring early in Switzerland. This is something difficult because Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world. Moreover, there is very little information on how to retire early in this country. This is something that Marc Pittet wants to change!
Thanks a lot to Marc for answering my questions. As you will see, he even provided us with some exclusive information about the book and about his journey to Financial Independence! In the interview below, things in italic are my comments and the rest is all answers from Marc.
Can you tell us more about yourself?
We are a couple in our thirties with two kids.
We live in the Swiss countryside where we bought our home — we can’t stop talking about the luxury that this environment brings to our family!
Our life goal is to retire by 40, that is to resign from our job to do whatever we want. Writing, humanitarian support, traveling, hiking, these are some of the plans :)
What is “Free by 40, in Switzerland”?
The book idea is quite selfish: I write it for my younger self when I was 18 (as well as for my 2 kids).
I want to explain to this ultra-motivated guy that yes, willing to be rich is one thing, but having a concrete plan to make it happen is another thing.
This book is about giving him a clear path so he makes use of his most important asset in his way to financial independence: time!
By the way, and that’s not yet published on my blog, but the book will get renamed like this:
The reason is simple. My own goal is 40, but because I was late to the party: I started only in my late 20s to chase financial independence…
Do we need one more personal finance book?
There are already many books about personal finance and investments. What makes your book different?
I will answer questions by the 3 problems my book fixes:
- It’s so time-consuming to read all existing FIRE blog posts to craft your own A-Z path and be sure to not miss any step
- It’s crazy hard to understand all this financial jargon mixed with all Swiss specifies (2nd pillar, 3rd pillar, investment tools, ETFs, TER, blah, blah, blah, I’m lost!)
- There is a lack of trust from readers who see some blogger’s advice that contradicts, without any real financial professional to back all this up
The book will draw a clear A-Z plan. It will be jargon-free (read: understandable by an 18yo or your mom without previous financial know-how). It will take all Swiss specificities into account (should I buy or rent my home, and such fancy life problems). Finally, I’m currently evaluating which independent financial advisor company I will hire to back up all my writings.
You are not financially free yet, why should we follow you?
You have not yet reached financial independence and have not yet retired. Why should people follow your path?
I’m not financially free yet, nor I have a CHF 20’000 monthly salary.
That’s maybe the best answer I can give: because I struggle like any “normal” Swiss in many areas, and step by step I find my way.
To give you some historical track record rather than a wishful forecast:
- We reached our first main life goal (i.e. buying our home) one year earlier than expected
- We went from ~CHF 20-30k of wealth in 2014, to CHF 370’000 as of today in 2019
- Another breaking news (not yet published on my blog): as we see we’re behind our planning to stop working by the age of 40, we went a step further in the investment realm and bought our first rental building for a value of CHF 200’000
So you’re right that I’m not there yet.
But maybe the figures and determination shown above will prove that I’m gonna get there.
What are the main challenges of retiring early in Switzerland?
If you want to retire early in Switzerland (our goal at the moment), the main challenge are the costs of living.
In comparison with retiring in France, Germany, or way cheaper countries like Thailand or so, it means you need almost double the cash stash to retire.
Apart from that, which is just the goal number, the hardest for me was (and still is) to find out my Swiss way of doing things.
There is so much documentation for the US, France, or Germany. But in Switzerland, we are just 8 millions of people. Hence you get to figure out many things by yourself.
My book aims to fix this problem.
How is the book going?
How far along are you in the writing of the book? Did you have some big challenges during the writing?
I’m continuously testing chapters via blog posts and exchanges with bloggers, to refine the way I tackle each part.
The biggest chunk of the writing will happen in the coming months though.
As usual, I will surely document my writing process for the ones who would be interesting by writing their own book.
When and how is the book going to be available?
You have mentioned on your blog that the book will available this fall. Will you be able to meet this deadline?
My optimistic brain says: “How dare you! YES!! Obviously!
My rational brain says: “If it’s not autumn, it will be winter. And there will plenty of other ways to start delivering value to readers by sharing pre-release chapters. Don’t worry.”
In what forms will the book be available?
My personal wish is to have a printed book. That’s my dream: to hold it in my hands.
Now the reality is that I will also provide a Kindle format because I got asked by about 50% of the people who registered to buy it.
That’s a good question by the way: what format would you prefer?
What convinced you to reveal your name?
Until now, you have always been blogging under the name of Mr. Mustachian Post or Mr. MP. What convinced you to write your book under Marc Pittet? Is it a coincidence that both share the same acronym?
Ahah! Let’s provide you with some more exclusive info here.
I wrote my first “Mustachian Post” article in January 2014, and when looking for a way to sign, I was stuck. So I went with the blog initials: MP. I just wanted to publish my first article, so I went for simplicity. That’s my nickname nowadays.
Then, when I got this interview on the SonntagsZeitung, the journalist replaced MP everywhere by Marc Pittet. She told me it sounded “Romandie-sh” enough for her Swiss-German readers…and I actually use it nowadays. And as you nailed it, she just looked for a common Swiss name matching the MP initials.
Anything you would like to add?
First, thanks for the interview opportunity.
Second, would you be interested to be on the reviewer list?! (aka the few ones who get early access to the book before it’s out).
Thanks a lot to Marc for answering my questions! I am very hyped into reading this book once it gets out!
Do you have any more questions for Marc about Free by 40 or any other subjects? Are you interested in the book? In what format would like the book to be available?
Since the book has now come out, Marc gave me the e-book version and I was able to read it on my Kindle. You can read my review of Free by 40 in Switzerland.
Or if you are interested in purchasing the book, you can do so on the official book page on Mustachian Post.