Last year, after working 20 years in jobs ranging from cafeteria worker to engineer, I came to a new milestone. My wife and I had been saving for years, and with our net worth exceeding a million dollars, we were financially independent. Tired of chasing money, I wanted to be able to pursue new hobbies, travel, and learn. So I quit my job. A year later, I can say this has been the most incredible experience of my life.
Growing up, my parents had extended periods of unemployment. We could have been better off financially, but we always had a home in my grandfather’s house, and never went hungry. The worst I suffered was the embarrassment of wearing my sister’s old clothes to school. Kids can be mean, especially to a smart ass wearing bad girl’s clothes – my sister didn’t exactly get to pick them either. While the 8 year-old me was pretty miserable, now I appreciate having learned the importance of money early in life.
I don’t have many boring friends. With my closest friends, there are no topics off the table – finance, politics, and sometimes this blog. When I tell them that we spend less than $40k a year and still get to do everything we want, they believe that’s how I feel. The most common response I get is, “That’s great for you, and I might be a little jealous, but living like that isn’t something I could do.”
We are all being honest, and I can understand when they say “I like being able to walk into a restaurant or bar and order anything I want.” I’ve heard this same phrase from several friends, and I used to be the same way. I remember when happy hours were my reward, and I spent money without additional consideration. Now I consider the value of any purchase I make, and I’m happier for it, even if it seems like a pain to some friends.
I tell them to chalk it up to hedonic adaption – more money doesn’t make you happier. But after studying a bit more about hedonic adaptation, I realized there is more to it than just the part about money. Continue reading
Every new year, hordes of new members flood our gym. New sneakers, yoga pants, and track suits adorning the tender bodies that have been shaped by fast food and ergonomic cubicle chairs. They wander aimlessly, resolute to make changes, and yet beyond how to dress, they are clueless. I’m always happy to see new people wanting to make changes, but most of them give up before even learning a routine.
I spent too much time early in my career trying to beat the market. I read a bunch of investment books and scoured the internet for trading tips. After all that work, my results were only mediocre. I wanted a to find a shortcut – investments that would make me a millionaire overnight. But more risk does not always come with more reward. I’ve found that the best way to invest is with a boring, yet highly effective and efficient Three Fund Portfolio.
I’m enjoying a cup of tea while the sun warms my face. I just got a comfortable new office chair and desk. The desk is small, spartan, minimalist, everything I wanted. I set it up in front of a big window. Now I can lean on my desk, propping my chin on my palm, and stare out the window contemplating life. It’s the perfect setup for my home office. I can roll the chair around to grab my guitar, or a snack, or a beer, or to blast some tunes on the stereo. I got this this desk for free with the same technique I use to get the best price on anything.
The stock market is going to crash, but I’m prepared because the last time I learned the hard way. It was March of 2009, we were in Hawaii and the stock market was on a tear. We had rented a house on the eastern side of Oahu where we could snorkel and kayak from our backyard. And after a year of heavy losses the stock market crash was finally coming to an end. Everything was right in the world, but I was feeling ill – I had just realized my worst financial mistake. Continue reading