It’s Halloween and the Dow is at a breathtaking 23,377 roughly 100 points off of the all-time high reached earlier this month. Yes, I’m a little spooked at these heights and so are some of my friends I’ve been talking to recently. None of us participating these conversations are stock brokers or financial advisers; just motley fools that can’t believe our good fortune and trying not to screw it up. We’ve read FIRE blogs, watched CNBC, and heard the low cost index and diversify advice so many times prior; but we still get acrophobia. And why wouldn’t we? My crew is filled with cynical forty-something Gen Xers who experienced the euphoria of dot com fever in our 20’s , purchased homes with little or no skin in the game in our 30’s, and watch it crash and burn. . . twice. We don’t need investment advice; we need group therapy. Continue reading “The Stock Market Is High, Don’t Get Spooked!”
The nice people at Millennial Money Guide recently approached me about contributing an article to their site. It was great timing on their part because I had just been helping a friend, who is in his late twenties, with his resume and we had been talking about how to increase his marketability. The article that I submitted is about the best career advice I was given in my late twenties when I decided to make a career change. This simple advice changed the trajectory of our financial lives; and that is not an exaggeration.
Mrs. R and I have recently become big fans of financial independence and early retirement blogs and podcasts. We’ve been so busy living our frugal lives that we didn’t notice there are a bunch of people online talking about how they are doing the same. We were also unaware that the way we have chosen to live our lives had been given the cool sounding acronym F.I.R.E. Some of our friends occasionally comment about us being good with money or call us frugal, but we don’t have in-depth conversations like the ones we see and hear on-line. Maybe we’ve misread our friends and they were trying to open up a conversation about money, but overall it has been our experience that most people where we live aren’t comfortable talking about personal finances. Also, as I’ve stated before we are pretty guarded about letting people know the full extent of our financial affairs. So retiring early definitely is outside the norm for our local peer group, but not retiring early also feels outside the norm for our online peer group. Which has recently led me to ask myself, “why am I still working as someone else’s employee?”.Continue reading “Why I Am Not Retiring Early”
Becoming financially independent is a lot like washing your hair. You become conscious that you need to do something (“my hair is dirty”), reach for a proven solution (shampoo), apply that solution to your personal situation (lather up your hair with shampoo), evaluate if the solution is working (rinse), and do it again if a successful outcome is achieved (repeat). People learn to wash their hair when they are children and have done it so many times that they don’t give it much thought. Having clean hair is a part of a person’s lifestyle, it is something they value, and they routinely use proven solutions to achieve the desired result. The same is true for people who become or are on their way to becoming financially independent.
Mrs. R. and I have developed a lifestyle that has led to us becoming financially independent but we didn’t initially set out with that goal in mind. Initially we were focused on paying down debt and saving for a down payment on a house. Then when we had our first child our goals changed to include Mrs. R becoming a stay at home mom. Several years later, after the birth of our second child, our goals changed again to include earning more money. More money coming into our lives led to other goals like paying off the house, maxing out tax deferred retirement savings, increasing our other non-tax deferred investing, taking more vacations, and giving back to our local community. We have been married for almost twenty years and like all people a lot of stuff happened during that time which can make it challenging to share our experiences with other people in order to help them with their specific situation. So we have identified six steps that we have come to realize we have used and continue to use to help guide our financial life. Admittedly, “steps” is probably the wrong term because they are more like a framework or broad categories that contain within them more specific actionable solutions. Over time we will explore these areas on this site and discuss the details and our experiences. First I think it would be good to layout the six step framework for our readers.