A lot of people think you should always work to eliminate debt. While this is a solid approach for high interest debt, paying off low interest student loan debt could significantly slow your portfolio’s growth. I decided not to pay off my student loans, and invested instead. While investing was a better choice for me, some of us are more risk averse, and we each need to find the right balance for ourselves. Before we make any decisions, it’s important to compare the numbers and consider the risks. Continue reading
We live on less than $40k a year, but with all the traveling, hobbies, and awesome food, I feel like we’re living a six-figure lifestyle. We got to this point by maximizing the value we get out of every dollar we spend. This isn’t always easy with tech toys. But a few months ago, for the cost of a textbook, I found a little piece of technology that changed the way I compute – the Acer Chromebook 11. This is a rare occasion where I paid retail price, and still feel like I got more than I paid for.
Surfing is probably my favorite new hobby/addiction. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been learning to bomb some tasty waves in Puerto Rico and Costa Rica – locations known for their sun and surf. However, we do live close to the ocean here in CT, and while the east coast doesn’t get much press for our waves, they do exist. In fact, we get some pretty big surf, you just have to be a bit more diligent about finding it.
As a kid, I tried to make my own solar ovens. I fashioned old windows together, and put pans of water inside to heat. They usually sucked, but these experiments spurred my fascination with greenhouses. Like my grandfather, I love growing things, and would imagine creating an endless summer indoors where I could grow exotic plants. Last year, my childhood fixation was revived when we visited the earth-ships in Taos, New Mexico. This summer, I finally decided to design and build my own greenhouse.
The longer I’ve been retired, the more I’m convinced that everyone should pursue financial independence. I felt trapped while working, and that feeling kept growing as everyday started to look the same. Now, I don’t necessarily know what I’ll be doing the next day, week, or month. But every day I wake up and find myself full of purpose. The fulfillment that comes from living my life the way I want has left me happier than I’ve ever been. I want all of my friends to experience the same thing.
One of the things I love about traveling is the chance to enjoy mountains, rivers, forests, and cities that other people call home. In seeing how other people live, I also come to appreciate our own little backyard on this vast planet. While we search the globe for new adventures, there are also cities I haven’t visited, and trails I haven’t hiked all within a few hours of home. Since our Spain trip, I’ve been happy staying home gardening and tinkering. Instead of another long adventure, we opted to close out the summer with a short road trip to a part of Vermont we hadn’t seen.
I’ve been trying to convince my friend Lorenzo to pursue financial independence, and I think he’s starting to see the benefits. Recently married, he’s started saving aggressively, paying down debt, and tracking their net worth which he shared with me. “Holy crap!” I exclaimed, “You guys almost have enough to retire in Costa Rica!” He didn’t share my enthusiasm. “Yeah, but most of our money is locked up in 401ks.” I remember thinking the same thing – 401k investments are like funny money, useless until retirement age. Then I learned there are strategies for making early withdrawals without any penalties.
I used to think I needed over an acre of land to have a decent farm, and our retirement ideas included starting a homestead. In the meantime, I began with a small garden on our 1/4 acre plot. A few years later, we also started raising chickens. We now grow more vegetables than we can eat, and get fresh eggs everyday from our little urban farm. It turns out that I didn’t need acres of land, I just needed to sharpen my skills and get creative.