Performance Update 35/50: Duplex Dreams, Index Extremes and Cactus Screams

My main goal is to build a portfolio of $1,000,000 in 1500 days with no debt*, starting from 1/1/2013. Every month, I provide an update on my status. My goal for 2015 was to get my portfolio up to $874,353. Because we saw exceptional returns in 2013 and 2014, I have already accomplished this. Before we take a look at November, let’s talk real estate and cigarette companies.


Duplex Dreams

Mrs. 1500 and I have been trying to purchase a rental property for several years now. All of our money is in the stock market and we’d like to diversify. The problem is that the housing market in our neck of the woods is incredibly hot. A couple weeks ago, we just failed in our 3rd attempt at buying an income property and our second attempt at buying a duplex.

For those of you who don’t know what a duplex is, it’s two homes connected to each other. Here is a picture of one that I stole from the Internet:

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 6.05.14 AM

I have a love-hate relationship with duplexes. I’m all for multi-family housing, but why stop at 2 units? Go for 3 or 4 or 8! With duplexes, my thought is that the builder should have just put 10′ of space between the units and made it two separate houses.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the duplex design, I really want to buy one. They make great rentals as often the ROI is much better than what you can get for a single family home. Unfortunately, every other real estate investor in my area is aware of this as well.

Mrs. 1500 and I were pleasantly surprised when a really nice duplex went on the market in a neighborhood that we both love.

Mrs. 1500 and I were unpleasantly surprised when we walked over to see it and observed a mini-traffic jam of people that had come out to see the property. Continue reading

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10 Questions with Jim from Wallet Hacks

Today is the 26th edition of our periodic guest post series called 10 Questions. We have a list of 17 questions we pose to fellow financial bloggers, and they are free to pick and choose 10 or answer all of them. Let us know if you would like to be featured in a future edition of 10 Questions.

Today’s questions are answered by Jim Wang from Wallet Hacks. I like writing that makes you think and one of Jim’s post did just that. “Why do you work?” struck a chord with me. I read the post and then thought about my job for a while.

I came to a sad conclusion; I’m working for money and not much more. I was hired to write code, but my job changed and I don’t get to do much of that anymore. My passion is gone, but the paychecks keep showing up, so I keep showing up.

Hey wait, this post is supposed to be about Jim and Wallet Hacks, not a personal psychotherapy session. Hit it Jim!

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 8.12.55 PM

Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
Wallet Hacks is all about finding and using unconventional but devastatingly effective strategies and tactics to get ahead financially and in life.

Before becoming an entrepreneur nearly ten years ago, I was a software developer and always chaffed at the term “hacking” because mainstream media applied it to everything. To me, hacking means using creativity and out-of-the-box thinking and applying it to solve everyday problems.

I’ve been writing about personal finance for over ten years. My goal with Wallet Hacks is to collect all those creative solutions into a framework to help readers have a healthier relationship with their finances and achieve their goals. I invite you all to join me. :)

Tell me how you’re going to change the world with your blog (dream big or don’t dream at all!). Continue reading

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Sappy Happy Crappy Thanksgiving Post

We’re taking the rest of the week off. Please enjoy my touching, heart-warming, moving, uplifting and nausea inducing prose today.

It’s Thanksgiving week in America. Thanksgiving is the holiday where we Americans:

  • stuff our faces with even more food than usual
  • gather with family and get drunk
  • fight with family after getting even more drunk
  • watch football
  • more eating, drinking and fighting

Oh yeah, we’re supposed to reflect on our lives and consider everything that we’re thankful for as well. Brace yourselves readers; here comes one of those sappy posts where I reminisce about the year.

To get you warmed up, here is a beautiful and touching picture of Spendosaurus and Frugalsaurus on the beach in San Diego:

It's always better to be free

Feelings, nothing more than feelings

I’m thankful for my wealth

This blog is supposed to be about money, so let’s start there. The S&P 500 is only up 1.5% for 2015, so the markets aren’t going to turn in a monster year like 2013 or 2014. However, we’re members of the Double Comma Club and my portfolio sits at an all time high ($1,081,625). I’ve been kicked out of The Club at least 10 times this year, but every month we’re saving at least $5,000. Perhaps someday, I’ll be a permanent member.

Every dime that I invested in 2015 went into index funds, but I still have holdings from my days as a stock-picker. I’ll sell most of them in retirement to minimize capital gains taxes. In the meantime, these stocks continue to do well. Here is every investment over $30,000 that isn’t a total market index fund:

  • Facebook: $187,810 (up 37%)
  • Apple: $133,869 (up 7%)
  • VGT (Vanguard Information Technology ETF): $110,359 (up 7%)
  • Berkshire Hathaway: $84,112 (down 9%)
  • Google: $44,510 (up 46%)
  • Amazon: $41,443 (up 115%)

I’m fortunate that these holdings, with the exception of Berkshire Hathaway, have had an exceptional year.

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 11.35.21 AM

Amazon is flying high this year, very high



I’m thankful for the life I’ve built

Continue reading

Posted in Something Completely Different | Tagged , , | 73 Comments

10 Questions with Insider Accountant

Today is the 25th edition of our periodic guest post series called 10 Questions. We have a list of 17 questions we pose to fellow financial bloggers, and they are free to pick and choose 10 or answer all of them. Let us know if you would like to be featured in a future edition of 10 Questions.

Today’s questions are answered by The Insider Accountant, who writes about finances from the perspective of a financial insider. He talks about general client mistakes (no ethical breakdowns here, names and details have been changed to protect the innocent) general career issues, and personal finance.

Mr. Insider is killing it. He’s just 32 and has a net worth of 500K! Even more amazing, he plans to have $2,000,000 by 40. The former is an impressive accomplishment and the latter is an aggressive goal. One of the things I love about the personal finance blogger community is all of the folks out there doing amazing things. Insider Accountant is no exception.

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Tell me about your blog and why it’s great
My blog is, which I decided to start so that I could make an Australian accountant’s contribution to the personal finance blogosphere.

I like to think that I’m not like most traditional accountants in that I find our industry quite hypocritical (see The things we think and do not say and Is your financial adviser a hypocrite?), and so I thought I could shine some light on finance issues from the point of view of a finance “professional”. I also share my experiences in building a career in the finance industry (e.g. How to get your accounting career off to the right start), which is hopefully of some use for others that are looking to do the same. Working in the finance industry is a great way to make a lot of money, but it’s a shame that it doesn’t always help our clients do the same! (see Some not so good things you may not have known about mutual funds).

As well as all of that accounting stuff, I also cover off on other personal finance issues to hopefully keep non-finance people interested (e.g. How to stop your pets from costing you the earth). Continue reading

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The Ultimate 1500 Days Holiday Shopping Guide!

Hello Consumers!

bearGood news; Black Friday is almost here! For those who don’t live in America, here is what happens on this glorious day of shopping and mindless consumerism:

  1. Wake up at 2am and drive to the local big-box store.
  2. Stand in line shivering in the cold for hours, waiting for the store to open.
  3. Once the lights come on, run in like your life depends on it. Don’t be afraid to shove and trample fellow humans.
  4. Don’t forget that violence, profanity and even fights are all part of the experience! When in Rome Walmart, riot!

This blog is all about anti-consumerism, but even a frugal fool like me can’t resist this kind of fun!

Inspired by those horrible commercials, Spendosaurus went into big debt for his girlfriend

Inspired by those horrible commercials, Spendosaurus went into big debt for his girlfriend last year

The Official 1500 Days Shopping Guide

I want to help all of you out with your gift shopping, so I’ve put together the shopping guide to end all guides: Continue reading

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The Asset Class Battle: Update #2 (My Callipygous Portfolio)

I haven’t written about the Asset Class Battle in a while. The last update I wrote was all the way back in June. With all of this talk about allocation on the blog lately, now is a good time for an update.

I like to learn new words. I also like to pass them on to you. Long time readers may recall that I’ve talked about piloerections. In the last Asset Class Update, I discussed floccinaucinihilipilification. Try saying that one three times in a row! Try saying it at all!

buttsSince I’m behind in my updates, today I’m going to give you a bonus. You are going to learn a new word that will make you sound witty, hyper-intelligent and get you sued for sexual harassment all at the same time. The word is:


Impressive looking, right? I’ll get to the meaning of it later. In the meantime, no Googling please. I’m watching!

Let’s take a look at a subset of my callipygous portfolio. I call it the Ass Asset Class Battle.

What is the Asset Class Battle?

I rolled my 401(k) over earlier this year. Instead of just putting it all into VTI, I decided to get a little crazy and roll it into different assets. Nothing like experimenting with almost $300,000, right? What could possibly go wrong!!

I put $30,000 into each of the following callipygous investments: Continue reading

Posted in Performance | Tagged , , | 25 Comments

Ask the Readers: What posts have you enjoyed?

It's better out there

Who farted? Quick, crack the window!

Hi there, Mr. 1500 writing again today before I turn the show back over to Mrs. 1500 after Thanksgiving week.

Last week, I asked you about flatulation and portfolio allocation. None of you would take credit for the bad smell in the room:

Jeff from Sustainable Life Blog blamed his baby:

As for who farted, I’m blaming my kid.

I’m not buying that for a second Jeff.

Reader Mattattack isn’t owning up to it either:

Who ever smelt’ it dealt it.

Reader Joseph B. is denying that anything happened at all:

Things smell okay right now, what you talkin’ ’bout?

Tawcan is also denying it:

No I didn’t fart in the elevator, it was the other guy next to me.

Enough fart talk, let’s talk about allocation. Continue reading

Posted in Ask the readers | Tagged , | 18 Comments

10 Questions with Cure Rabbit Ears

Today is the 24th edition of our periodic guest post series called 10 Questions. We have a list of 17 questions we pose to fellow financial bloggers, and they are free to pick and choose 10 or answer all of them. Let us know if you would like to be featured in a future edition of 10 Questions.

Today we feature Greg from Cure Rabbit Ears, who turned his spendy life around after a stern talk from his dad about his gambling problem.

Greg believes Millennials are in grave financial danger, due in part to a lack of education and a lack of interest. He aims to fix that.



Tell me about your blog.
I’m passionate about money, and I like to talk about money—a lot. After conversing with people from all walks of life, I was taken aback by the amount of misinformation out there. “Jesus,” I thought to myself. “Here are all these people with all their money rotting in a blackhole, with no investments, no interest, and no idea what they’re doing.” I started this blog because I felt there was a very strong, very immediate need—especially among millennials—to wise up about money and personal finance.

As for the name, it came from a lecture my father gave me when I was broke as a joke and still living at home. One day he took me down to the basement (this means business, boy) and told me he was once in my predicament. He turned his pockets inside out and called them “rabbit ears” before explaining how he “cured” them. It was a turning point in my life.

It also planted the seed for our dear friend Rich the Rabbit, without whom this blog would not be what it is today. Albeit ill-behaved, irreverent and without regard for political correctness, Rich is the newfound lifeforce and mouthpiece of this blog. Love him or hate him, he knows his stuff, and he tells it like it is.

Why is your blog great?
Cure Rabbit Ears aspires to be your one-stop consolidated source of all of the best financial guidance. Instead of regurgitating so much of the conventional wisdom that is already out there, I like to think that I am trying to view our current financial world through fresh eyes and from a sometimes altogether different angle. As I continue to learn alongside of you, I combine everything from the tried and true methods of old up to the cutting edge ideas at the frontier of finance, and I tell you what worked for me. Moreover, I aim to communicate in a way that appeals to millennials and leads them to new ways of thinking about money. Continue reading

Posted in 10 Questions | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Munger, Allocation, Sheep and Crazy Uncle Larry

MMM (My Favorite Munger)

Let’s start off with some Charlie Munger quotes. The last line of the second one is just great:

Another thing I think should be avoided is extremely intense ideology because it cabbages up one’s mind. … When you’re young it’s easy to drift into loyalties and when you announce that you’re a loyal member and you start shouting the orthodox ideology out, what you’re doing is pounding it in, pounding it in, and you’re gradually ruining your mind.

That is Charlie on the left.

That is Charlie on the left. Before he got in the elevator, he was standing almost next to me. I felt like a teenage girl who had just run into Taylor Swift.

Confucius said that real knowledge is knowing the extent of one’s ignorance. Aristotle and Socrates said the same thing. Is it a skill that can be taught or learned? It probably can, if you have enough of a stake riding on the outcome. Some people are extraordinarily good at knowing the limits of their knowledge, because they have to be. Think of somebody who’s been a professional tightrope walker for 20 years – and has survived. He couldn’t survive as a tightrope walker for 20 years unless he knows exactly what he knows and what he doesn’t know.  He’s worked so hard at it, because he knows if he gets it wrong he won’t survive. The survivors know. … Knowing what you don’t know is more useful than being brilliant.

Watch out for Drunk Uncle Larry on Thanksgiving

Continue reading

Posted in Saving and Investing Money | Tagged , , , | 43 Comments

Ask the Readers: Portfolio Allocation and Flatulation

shadowHi there, Mrs. 1500 today to recap last week’s answers, then I throw it over to Mr. 1500, who will ask you about portfolio allocation.

Last week, we asked you how you keep costs down during the holidays. As you may recall, we struggle with gift-giving at Christmastime. We don’t struggle with it, but we struggle with our families who give gifts. Then we look like cheapskates for not participating. Or we give small amounts of gifts to our children, and then they come home from school wondering why everyone else got an iPod, a tablet, a laptop and a Wii for Christmas.

Thias from It Pays Dividends has found a system called Want, Need, Wear, Read, where you give one gift a child wants, needs, can wear and can read. I love this idea, and am strongly suggesting it to the grandparents. We’ll see how it goes.

Reader Lynne has done away with store-bought gifts, and this year is making vanilla to give. (I like vanilla…) I enjoy homemade gifts. I like to see what sort of creative thing someone has come up with. My friend Rose made a bunch of baked goods one year instead of gift exchange, and that was my favorite gift that year.

Reader Dawn saves money and the environment by using fabric as gift wrap. She bought some festive fabric after Christmas a few years ago, and the whole family wraps all the gifts in the fabric. They’re on their 7th year of the same fabric wrapping.

Brain from Debt Discipline had a beautiful line: The holidays don’t need to be grand, they just need to be special.

Reader Jacq uses credit card rewards to purchase gifts with no cash. Reader CPP also uses credit card points for gifts. Continue reading

Posted in Ask the readers | Tagged , , | 80 Comments