10 Questions with The Retirement Manifesto – August 27

Today is the 58th 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.

This week, we hear from Fritz from The Retirement Manifesto. Fritz will be exiting corporate life in just a couple short years at the ripe young age of 55! Pretty neat! Also, anyone who’s a fan of Warren Buffett scores points with me. Take it Fritz!

Helping Others Achieve A Great Retirement

Why Is Your Blog Awesome?
I loving writing and sharing lessons learned from 31 years of preparing for early retirement (which I’ll achieve in a couple years at Age 55).  My goal is Helping Others Achieve A Great Retirement!  In addition to focusing on the financial side of early retirement, I focus on broader life factors required for a successful life (Purpose, anyone?).  After all, Retirement Is Hard, we only get one crack at it, so let’s get it right! My wife and I just sold our house in 7 days, completed a major downsizing move, and paid off our cabin to become entirely debt free!! I’ve been interviewed on the Radical Personal Finance podcast if you, like me, are a Podcast fan and would rather listen to a conversation about what I’m all about. Here are the 5 Most Popular articles at The Retirement Manifesto:

Tell us about you

  • I’ve been a passionate “Personal Finance Hobbyist” since my early 20’s (yes, we took advantage of compounding!)
  • My wife and I dream of traveling 6 months per year in a 5th wheel.  We’re on track for a launch in the next 12-24 months, after our daughter graduates from college.
  • I’ve been blogging for a year, and LOVE it!  I’m transparent, and share personal experiences as we plan for retirement.
  • I’m a 3rd generation writer (Grandad, Dad, and me), but first blogger in the family (the old guys wrote books!)

Did you grow up with money?  Did your parents teach you about money?
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My parents were both teachers, and we lived a very average middle class lifestyle.  My parents taught me a lot of lessons about managing money, including the foolish reality of materialism and the importance of spending less than you earn.  I’ve been saving since my first job at Age 12 (mowing lawns & shoveling snow in Michigan), through my teens (delivering newspapers, working for a landscaper, restaurant work), college summer jobs (in Alaska & Yellowstone!), and into my “corporate career” after graduating from college at Age 22. Continue reading

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1500 Days: Bringing out the Worst in People since 2013!

My buddy Jim wrote a post last Tuesday about trolls. He was inspired by an article about us that went viral and showed up on Yahoo!. Like every other personal finance success story, the trolls came out in force. No bother, seasoned bloggers know not to look at the comments.

While I don’t entertain their vitriol, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the trolls. I mostly feel sorry for them. One of my goals for the blog is to inspire people to live a better life. However with some people, I’ve only succeeded in inspiring them to reveal the ugliest parts of their personalities. Most of the trolls are probably OK folks, but the anonymous nature of the internet brings out the worst.

New Tagline?

Perhaps I should change the 1500 Days tagline from this:

1500 Days: Think different and escape the rat race.

To this:

1500 Days: Bringing out the worst in people since 2013!

Or this:

1500 Days: One big steaming pile of shit!

Or maybe this:

1500 Days: YOU SUCK!!!

Why the Trolls are Trolls

I’d expect a well adjusted person to respond to a random article on the internet like this:

goodDone

Here is the troll version: Continue reading

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Ask the Readers: Do You Know What This Is?

Today, I take a short diversion from my normal FI/money questions. I need your help sorting out a family dispute.

Last week, I asked you if you were passionate about your work. I do want to discuss your answers, but I’m saving them for next week. I need to get to this week’s question as fast as possible because I’m totally annoyed. Keep in mind that I’m a weirdo and strange things set me off. (Mrs. 1500 note: Boy Howdy!*)

Ask the Readers: Do you know what this is?

I’ve written about some of the domestic disputes that happen in the 1500 household before. One of my most popular posts was the one about our annual thermostat wars. Mrs. 1500 likes to keep the house around 95 degrees fahrenheit while I prefer a more reasonable 71. I almost had to install one of these:

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Anyway, a new battle is brewing in our household and I need your help. It’s show and tell time. Here is how this is going to work:

I’m going to show you some pictures of something you see every day. I want you to tell me what the object is and what it does. Ready? Here is one: Continue reading

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10 Questions with Frugal Paradise

Today is the 57th 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.

This week, we hear from Frugal Paradise. I was trying to think of a clever introduction when I read this on their blog:

The story of Frugal Paradise begins way back in 2007, when an unsuspecting Mr. Paradise knocked on the door of Ms. Paradise’s graduate laboratory in the sub-basement of the physics building in a small college town.

And then I read this:

…and Ms. Paradise knew she had finally met the man of her dreams when he surprised her with a box of 50 Cadbury eggs for her birthday.

Meeting in a laboratory? Cadbury eggs? How cool is all of that? Ladies and gentlemen, meet Mr. and Mrs. Frugal Paradise.

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Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.

The purpose of Frugal Paradise is to help show people that being money-conscious isn’t synonymous with being cheap and unhappy. We talk about simple money-saving strategies that anyone can do, as well as healthy eating and wellbeing. You can become financially independent much faster than you’d ever guess just by making some simple changes in your life that you won’t even notice after a short period of time.

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

The word still isn’t out there about financial independence and early retirement. The more voices we have, the more people will learn that working until you’re 65 or 70 doesn’t have to be the norm! We found that we were constantly referring friends and acquaintances to our favorite blogs online about early retirement, so we figured, why not start our own and help get these ideas out to more people?

What goals do you have for your blog, short and long term? Continue reading

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My Philosophy on Money

Someone asked me this recently:

What is your philosophy on money?

“Oh, that’s easy!” I said. And then it wasn’t so easy.

I thought about the question for a while and couldn’t come up with anything. No big deal; sometimes it takes me awhile to arrive at a good answer. I went for a walk which is usually helpful, but my brain wasn’t cooperating. After a week, still nothing. Then, I had an epiphany. The question was wrong.

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Invert

Invert, always invert. -Carl Jacobi

Jacobi’s quote is one of my favorites. He realized that some problems must be solved by thinking about the solution and working backwards.

The philosophy of money question didn’t sit well with me because money isn’t really the goal. Money is just a facilitator. If money isn’t the goal though, what is? Some of my goals: Continue reading

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Ask the Readers: Are you Passionate about your Work?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my work. Today, I’ll ask you about yours. First though, we have to get to last week’s question.

Should I pay off my mortgage?

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.90%? Really? I still remember 5%. Hello 2006!

Long time readers will know that I’m adamantly against paying off my mortgage. I love borrowing money at 3.25% and having the cash available for a good deal. Lately though, the .9% interest rate on my $100,000 in cash is getting me down. My solution is to pay off my mortgage and open a line of credit. That way, I’ve at least made a 3.25% return on the money. Here is what you had to say:

The most surprising response was from Done by Forty. His viewpoint is opposed to 95% of the folks who love having a paid off house:

I enjoyed having a paid off home for the few years we had it. But the longer I get to know our personalities as they relate to personal finance, the more I hate equity. It’s not that helpful. It just sits there, doing nothing & earning nothing…like cash. But unlike cash, it can’t be used for anything without going through ridiculous hoops to get a loan.

Mr. Tako thinks along the same lines:

…If you have guessed, I wouldn’t pay off the house. Cash gives you opportunity. Opportunity to capture the best return when it arises. It also gives you a certain amount of stability if you encountered job loss or some other economic misfortune.

The Green Swan will retire with a paid off mortgage:

My vision of retirement has always been with a paid off mortgage. While it may not be a high returning asset, I could tap its value in times of recession to bet on the upswing in the stock market. It would be a nice reserve of value I could flex in times I know the market will be bouncing back up soon.

I liked what Mr. SSC had to say. I’m thankful that my home has appreciated, but I don’t count on it (besides the forced appreciation I create by home improvements).

We have done zero to put anything extra toward our current mortgage. We may see our property values increase, but we don’t trust that and therefore don’t “invest” in our property.

I know I’m in the minority, but it won’t bother me in the slightest going into retirement with a mortgage. Maybe I’m biased though because I have the cash to pay it off.

Reader Daninave appreciates a paid off mortgage:

However, when you do not have to pay mortgage anymore, you feel that you really got a step forward to freedom. It is a great change, priceless.

Mr. PIE is realistic:

I wonder if patiently waiting for another 12 months and assess your options then when you have a mortgage loan option in play and perhaps a better opportunity in the housing market to strike at. The old landlady will be another year older by then…..oh come on, just stating a fact…..!!

Very true Mr. PIE, but she shows no signs of letting up! It wouldn’t surprise me if she was still going strong at 95.

What I’ll do

Continue reading

Posted in Ask the readers | Tagged , | 39 Comments

10 Questions with The Green Swan

Today is the 56th 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.

This week, we hear from The Green Swan (Hey, that would make a great superhero!) and peek into his ideas on money, frugality, and investing. He is on track to retire in his late 30s-early 40s, and believes that if you work harder and work smarter, you can retire early and find your beach.

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Thanks 1500 Days for giving me an opportunity to be interviewed on your site! And also for encouraging me to link many of my posts on The Green Swan which I took full advantage of. Enjoy the interview!

Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.

The Green Swan is a personal finance blog and a way of life with Three Key Principles: (1) making money and working harder and smarter to maximize earnings potential, (2) tracking and budgeting expenses, living within your means and finding ways to reduce spending without sacrificing quality of life, and (3) investing and putting your money to work for you. Sounds simple right? Well, no reason personal finance has to be overcomplicated!

A couple things make my blog great. First, one of the major themes you’ll see in reading my blog is unique ways to reduce your cost of living without sacrificing. For example, I posted a series of articles on my experience going solar (first post titled Solar is Sexy) and how it will pay off significantly in just a few years.

Saving with Solar: Solar is Sexy

Secondly, I have a broad background in the healthcare industry which has given me insights and ideas into how to manage personal healthcare expenses which I will touch on regularly in my blog posts. You may have recently seen my guest post on Financial Samurai on why healthcare costs are so expensive.

How did I come up with “The Green Swan”? Continue reading

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The Curious and Profitable Side Effects of my Passion

I started this blog for one main reason:

I love to write

I even contemplated studied journalism in college. I ended up going with biology and chemistry, but never lost my love for writing.

I found a way to write 20 years after I took my first college class. A bad day at work back in late 2012 gave birth to 1500 Days. I was 38 at the time and the thought of working for another 25 years was incredibly horrible. Mr. Money Mustache and JD Roth showed me it was OK to retire early, so I decided to document my journey to financial independence. This blog was born.

1500 Days has exceeded all of my expectations. Even with 2,000,000+ page views, I am still a very small fish in a very large ocean, but numbers weren’t my goal. Writing, learning and connecting with like minded people was what I set out to do and it’s been wonderful. My life has been enriched from the blog and I’m so thankful.

The blog has always been about money, but not about making money. I added Google ads and affiliate links to help pay for the hosting and my new computer, but had no expectations or goals. Then, a funny thing happened. The blog started to make money.

$$$

It wasn’t huge money. I don’t make $10,000 or even $5,000 per month, but more than I need to run this little site and buy me tacos every week. Great! I don’t believe in inherited wealth (sorry kids), so I’ll use the surplus to make the world a better place before and after I die.

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Earlier this year, another unexpected thing happened. Continue reading

Posted in Something Completely Different | Tagged | 62 Comments

Ask the Readers: Should I pay off my Mortgage?

I had a recent email exchange with a reader about mortgages. Thanks Khunara for inspiring today’s question!

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This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but I can’t come up with anything better at the moment.

I’m always yapping how I’ll never, ever, ever, EVER pay off my mortgage. I even wrote about it here. I’m having second thoughts though. Here are the details of my mortgage situation:

  • My home is worth about $400,000*.
  • I owe about $110,000 on the loan, so I have $290,000 in equity.
  • My mortgage is 3.25% (15 years) and I have 12 years of payments left.
  • I don’t have enough deductions to itemize, so I can’t write off my mortgage interest on my taxes.
  • Because I have a corporation (not W2 income), I can’t get a mortgage loan without 2 years of tax returns (mid 2017).
  • I have about $100,000 in cash.

The key point is the last one. I can get by on about $36,000/year, so $100,000 is a ridiculously large emergency fund. Except that it isn’t really an emergency fund.

Why I have $100,000 in cash

The Mrs. and I have been eyeballing a couple real estate transactions. Most of them are fix and flips, but one is a sweet rental 4-plex that I can’t quite pry out of the hands of the 80+ year old owner. I even wrote her a song**. That didn’t work.

I have $100,000 in cash to help purchase one of these properties. And it kills me. The money is wasting away, not even making 1%:

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Thanks for almost nothing online bank.

I may need the money at any moment, so I don’t want to throw it into an investment subject to big swings. Mr. Market could go down 20% tomorrow. Alas***, I have a new idea. Continue reading

Posted in Ask the readers | Tagged , | 85 Comments

10 Questions with Family Money Plan

Today is the 55th 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.

Andrew comes to us from FamilyMoneyPlan.com, where he talks about paying off his mortgage early, and teaches people to take control of their finances. Andrew, take it away!

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Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
I’m coming into the blogging world with quite a few years of personal finance education and application under my belt. We started with our blog just before we became mortgage free and now we are starting as a financial freedom site.

I think the great part about FamilyMoneyPlan.com is that it’s a real couple that has gone through the trials and tribulations of family finances and is now seeing some success from those experiences. 6 years ago we decided to buckle down and pay off the mortgage of $320,000 and we paid it off at the beginning of this year. So when we set our minds on something, we do it.

Now with starting down the financial freedom road its even more exciting and people will get to follow along on our journey. Plus, it’s nice to be starting on the road to F.I.R.E. and people who are discovering us can sign up for the newsletter and follow along. We hope to help and inspire a lot of people along our journey.

Another unique thing is that we also donate 20% of what the site makes to charity; right now that’s the Autism Society. My sister has autism so it’s very close to the heart.

The final thing is that we are in it for the long haul. I don’t start something unless it’s going to be for the long term. So I hope that comes across to people, there are a lot of sites that start up and die off for various reasons, but we are going to be around for a very long time.

Tell me how you’re going to change the world with your blog (dream big or don’t dream at all!).
I’m sharing my family’s personal financial journey as a reference for others. When I was starting out there were a lot of theories and ideas from others that I followed blindly because I didn’t know any better and a lot of them didn’t work out.

Now I’m coming from more of an established perspective of what has worked and what hasn’t worked for me. I’m hoping others can learn from my mistakes and see that it’s not a perfect straight line to success, but as long as you keep at it you should find your way. I’m still making mistakes and trying new things, which is part of the fun. Continue reading

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