Ask the Readers: About the Time I asked Mrs. 1500 for a Prenup (and a giveaway)

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today.

Mrs. 1500 and I share our dinosaurs. And our finances.

Last week, I asked you if you combined finances with your spouse/partner, or if you kept them separate.

I have my own thoughts on this subject, but I’ve been feeling super-judgy lately, and was really really glad I asked this question. Mrs. Picky Pincher summed up my feelings after reading your responses pretty well,

…But now I understand that all couples work differently. Different strokes for different folks; some people prefer the security of separate accounts. …

I was able to see the other side of the fence from the conversation between The Mad Fientist and his wife in their recent podcast where he interviewed her. She makes a lot of money, and enjoys spending a lot of money – at least in the beginning.

She now sees the power of being Financially Independent, and while she still loves her job and loves to work, she also loves being on vacation, and FI allows her to do that when she chooses, and for how long she pleases.

Holy Cow did you all have something to say about this question. I don’t think we’ve ever had a more popular Ask The Readers Question!

And it didn’t seem weighted toward one side or the other, you are about 50/50 for sharing or not.

Some of you do it because of independent personalities or because you had been living on your own for a long time.

Mrs. S from Royally Frugal:

When we got married we started with separate finances. I have strong fear of not having my own money. Before getting married I was quite independent and we always split every single expense in half. As married life progressed … almost all of our investment is in a single shared account….

I wonder where this strong fear of not having her own money stems from? Did she see a loved one struggle? My best friend in 8th grade’s father left her mother, and it wasn’t financially pretty.

Freedom 40 Guy was the first of many to make a great point: Continue reading

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10 Questions with My Money Wizard

This is the 77th edition of our guest post series called 10 Questions. It also will be one of the last. Everything must come to an end and 10 Questions will say ‘”Good bye!” near the end of 2016. If you’ve already sent me your answers or told me that you’re going to be doing so, don’t worry; I’m still going to publish you.

Today we wrap up our 10 Questions series with The Money Wizard, a 20-something who discovered the concept of financial independence and early retirement in his teens – and started planning for it before he even went to college to major in economics and finance.

He freely shares his Magical Wizardly Money Secrets to wealth building – which really aren’t all that magical or secret – that helped him build his net worth, which hovers around $150,000 and that keep him on track to retire at age 37.

My Money Wizard

Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
I started when I was 25 year-old, a week after I hit the $100,000 net worth milestone. I’m now 26 and update my net worth numbers monthly.

Readers have described the blog as “hilarious” “fascinating” and “perhaps the greatest website on the internet.” I may or may not have made up all three of those descriptions.

On the other hand, I have actually heard I’m one of the youngest personal finance blogger chasing early retirement. Readers have said my early stage in the journey makes for a pretty relatable story, but I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

Tell me how you’re going to change the world with your blog (dream big or don’t dream at all!)
I didn’t get serious about blogging until I graduated college and punched my entry ticket into real life. Fresh out of school and with a front row seat to my friends’ entries into the real world, I was horrified by the quick path towards financial destruction they immediately began.

My dream is for to play the role of the financial education we all should have received in school. In the very possible chance that I’m writing about a topic you’ve seen before, I hope to provide a fresh perspective. Or at least be a fun work or study distraction for you.

Aside from the investment ideas and money saving tips, I also take on a lot of deeply seeded societal beliefs. Some of the ideas I’ve challenged include why you don’t really want a big house, how to stop wasting money, and the brilliant marketing scam that created the $32,641 wedding.

I feel pretty passionate that the world would be a better place if we all stopped to question these things now and again. Every time a reader tells me an article of mine changed their outlook, it’s an unbelievably rewarding feeling. Continue reading

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Why I Sold my Apple Stock (and my Litmus Test)

I owe you a post on my portfolio. It has changed much since I last wrote about it in December of 2015. For now, I’ll tell you about one of the biggest moves I’ve made in the past decade.

Disclaimer: Do not take this post as investment advice. These thoughts are mine. Make up your own mind.

I am done with Apple. A couple weeks ago, I had almost $97,475 in the company and it was my 3rd biggest holding.


Chart from Personal Capital*.

On January 3rd, almost 10 years to the day I bought my Apple shares, I sold them all**. Now, my top 5 holdings looks like this:

Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 11.19.23 AM

Bye bye Apple.

Before I explain why I sold, I must explain why I bought.


January 2007

I wasn’t an Apple fan and paid almost no attention to the company until 2006. That year, I started hearing rumors that Apple may be coming out with a smart phone. I was intrigued because the state of smart phones was abysmal. In January of 2007, I watched with the rest of the world as Steve Jobs took the stage and introduced iPhone to the world. I had two thoughts immediately: Continue reading

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Ecuador Part 2: My Peeps 4 Keeps

You know you’re reading high journalism when the title of the article resenbles a text from a 13-year-old girl. Stay with me folks, it will all make sense. Or maybe it won’t.

I wrote an overview of the Ecuador chautauqua experience last November. Today, I continue with Part 2.

I love Peeps. Who doesn’t? Life doesn’t get much better than a piece of processed sugar (marshmallow) that’s covered in more sugar and then made into the shape of a deformed animal or symbol of love:

What is more romantic than a lump of corn syrup and gelatin in heart form?

Nothing says romance like a clump of processed sugar and gelatin.

Short of eating a deep fried ball of lard wrapped in bacon, there aren’t many things more unhealthy than a Peep. I limit myself to one package a year which I devour in about fifteen seconds. Like a starving savage, I bite the head off before I stuff the rest in my mouth.


Wait a second, what on earth am I talking about? This post is supposed to be about the other kind of peeps; people:


Thanks Urban Dictionary.

Specifically, this post is about the folks I met at the chautauqua in Ecuador. The attendees were what made this event special. Sure, it was cool to fart around the Andes Mountains. And the presentations by the four main speakers were very good. However, the greatest part of the event was the company, even if they sometimes saluted me with vulgar hand gestures: Continue reading

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Ask the Readers: Do You Combine Finances With Your Spouse/Partner?

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 asking yet another question this week. I want to know if you combine your finances with your spouse or partner.

But first, let’s look at what you said last week, when I asked you What’s the Cheapest Thing You’ve Ever Done?

If you recall, The Mad Fientist met up with his then-girlfriend now-wife in Switzerland, chosen for cheap airfare. They soon discovered that nothing else in Switzerland was cheap, and restaurants didn’t serve tap water. MadFi drank water from the bathroom faucet instead of ordering a drink, in an effort to save money.


I thought this was super-funny, and wanted to know if any of you have ever pulled a super-cheap stunt.

And boy did you NOT disappoint!

Usually I recap in the order I receive the comments, but sorry. Casey B. from CodeAngler wins hands-down with his story:

I’ve many useful items others have lost or discarded. Along High Lonesome trail, I found someone had thrown out underwear as trash. I packed them out as litter, but at home washed them and these are in my rotation.

No contest. Although Reader Shay comes in a close second with her comment Continue reading

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10 Questions with Ten! Factorial Rocks

This is the 76th edition of our guest post series called 10 Questions. It also will be one of the last. Everything must come to an end and 10 Questions will say ‘”Good bye!” near the end of 2016. If you’ve already sent me your answers or told me that you’re going to be doing so, don’t worry; I’m still going to publish you.

Today’s interview is with Mr. TFR from Ten! Factorial Rocks. I’ve been out of school for a while and when I first saw the exclamation point after the number 10, I was confused. I kinda remembered that it was some math thing, but my brain was temporarily failing. I closed my eyes, blew out the cobwebs from my neurons and it came back to me. In case you don’t remember, Mr. TFR explains it here.

Mr. TFR, I hope your 10!$ dreams come true!


Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
My website ( is based on 4 simple maxims that drive my life and hopefully, many other seekers out there:  They are: a) Save Money b) Avoid Traps c) Invest Well and d) Find Meaning (of life, spirit, work, relationships, people….whatever appeals to you).  These are captured in my Ten Factors that outline what my website is all about.

Ten Factorial Rocks (TFR) was created to chronicle my journey towards retirement while sharing my views on the learning’s, absurdities and pitfalls along the way towards my search for a more meaningful life. Wall Street finance and stock option riches have one thing in common – they never passed through my life!

TFR is not just about financial independence.  TFR is also about self- empowerment while getting to financial independence, and our search for a better, meaningful life (of which early retirement is just one milestone).  See why I chose this strange name.

Tell me how you’re going to change the world with your blog (dream big or don’t dream at all!).
Screen Shot 2017-01-12 at 1.23.46 PM
I want TFR to be the reliable compass to help anyone navigate the complex, changing and often, confusing world we live in.   My topics cover the gamut of modern life, involving money, work, relationships, investing and also, analysis of interesting news.  

Truth in writing and objectivity in analysis are my anchors that I hope my readers come to appreciate.  I want at least a million readers of my website to have made better decisions in their life journey and live a better and meaningful life! 

What goals do you have for your blog, short and long term?
I started recently but I hope to have 100,000 unique readers for my blog in the short term, going up to 1 million regular readers in a year.  Ambitious, I know, but as you said, dream big or not at all! Continue reading

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Performance Update 48/50: 2016, where did you go?

My main goal is to build an investment and cash portfolio of $1,120,000* in 1500 days**, starting from 1/1/2013 and ending in February of 2017. I made my goal earlier this year, but believe that it’s a worthwhile exercise to continue with my financial updates until the end of 1500 Days, so I continue.

It’s time to take a look at the month of December and 2016.


2016, where did you go?

If there was a theme for 2016, it was that we were extremely busy. Between our jobs, this blog and finishing up our home, we never slowed down. Not very fun. I greatly look forward to taking it much easier in 2017.

Random note: Most of the pictures you see throughout this post are from my 2016 travels.


Sunrise in Salida, Colorado


Money (+$200,000)

The blog is supposed to be about money, sweet money; so let’s start there:

  • Investment portfolio: The non real-estate, non dinosaur part of my portfolio went from $1,057,961 to $1,257,128. Out of the $199,167 gain, about $100,000 came from new contributions. The S&P 500 ended up 9.6% for the year, so after I take into account the cash portion of my portfolio, my returns were similar to Mr. Market’s. Note that my portfolio still has a lot of stocks in it from my old days as a stock picker. See my last portfolio update here.
  • Net worth: My net worth went from $1,307,961 to $1,627,128 for a gain of $319,167 (!!!). $110,000 of this was due to an increase in our home’s value after we completed our improvements.
  • Moving money: I opened a self-directed solo 401(k) to allow for pre-tax investments outside of the stock market. So far, I’ve invested $145,000 in two real estate deals. One is hard money while the other is private equity.
  • Mrs. 1500’s job: The wife found her groove at her semi-new job which has been wonderful. She loves it and her employer is very flexible. We mostly lived off Mrs. 1500’s salary and invested mine.

Thoughts: Because of my new part-time work arrangement, 2016 was the last year for big contributions. This makes me sad because I enjoy deploying money to various investments.

Pismo Beach, California

Sunset in Pismo Beach, California


Life (no more Mr. Wheezy!)

Continue reading

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Ask the Readers: What’s the Cheapest Thing You’ve Ever Done?

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 asking the question today. Brace yourselves readers:


Before I tell you about Mr. 1500’s fancy dinner plans, he needs to recap last week’s answers, when we asked you to Tell us about your amazing 2017 plans! He also asked about you to name our future Komodo Dragons: Continue reading

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10 Questions with The Happy Philosopher

This is the 75th edition of our guest post series called 10 Questions. It also will be one of the last. Everything must come to an end and 10 Questions will say ‘”Good bye!” near the end of 2016. If you’ve already sent me your answers or told me that you’re going to be doing so, don’t worry; I’m still going to publish you.

Today’s 10 Questions comes from the Happy Philosopher (HP). HP’s answers are pretty great, so I’m going to abandon my practice of attempting a witty introduction and let you get right into it. Take it away HP!


Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
My blog is a download of my brain to the internet, with an attempt to share my best ideas, random thoughts and the occasional experiment or two. My blog is about happiness and freedom and how to get there. It is great because…I’m awesome, and who wouldn’t want to peek behind the curtain and see what goes on in my brain…actually come to think of it this probably includes a lot of people.

Tell me how you’re going to change the world with your blog (dream big or don’t dream at all!).
When we go through a tough time in our lives we feel very alone. We don’t think anyone can possibly be going through the same thing, but this is simply not true. Reading blogs was one of the main tools I used to figure out what path I would take when I was burnt out. Now these blogs I read may not have changed TheWorld™ but they changed MY world completely. I’m now going to change other people’s worlds by inspiring them with my ideas and stories. Continue reading

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Guest Post: 7 Misconceptions About the 4 Percent Rule

I think about numbers almost every waking hour. Yes, I’m a nerd. I’ll bet you wouldn’t know it from looking at me. On second thought, maybe you would:


Numbers I think about include my weight, the price of various stocks, my net worth, the amount of money I spent on recent purchases and the closing level of the S&P 500.

Another number I’m obsessed with is 4. I think about it relative to the 4 Percent Rule. In case this is the first article you’ve ever read from a financial blogger or website, the 4 Percent Rule is a guideline for spending in retirement. Although I embrace the 4 Percent Rule, it is quite controversial.

Today,  DJ from My Money Design guest posts to tell you some misconceptions about the 4 Percent Rule. Enjoy!

How well do you think you know the 4 Percent Rule?

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-9-00-42-am… You know … the rule that says you should withdraw no more than 4 percent from your retirement nest egg in order to make it last 30 or more years?

Despite its popularity and some controversy, one of the unfortunate things about the 4 Percent Rule is that it is often misrepresented and misinterpreted.   

You will often see it mentioned in financial articles, but while doing the research for my latest ebook “How Much Money Do I Really Need to Retire …”, I noticed that the facts are sometimes quite skewed. 

What’s more: When you actually read through the articles that made the 4 Percent Rule famous, there is quite a bit more valuable information to them that hardly no one ever discusses.

Here’s a few facts about the 4 Percent Rule that you may not have known.

1) Bengen vs The Trinity Study

It is often misquoted that Bill Bengen’s 4 Percent Rule has a 95% chance of success. In reality, this statement is a combination of two sources that have become intertwined over the years. Continue reading

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