Ask the Readers: Tell Us about Your Amazing Goals for 2017!

I have always claimed to hate New Year’s resolutions. Why must we wait until the year turns over to commit to big changes in our lives? However, I must not hate them as much as I like to think because I can’t get them off my mind. Turns out that I have many of them:

  • Get my ass in the best shape of my life:


    Whoah, a resolution about getting healthier; how unique! That’s just amazing Mr. 1500!!!

I know, I know. However, this is a little different for me. Being healthy is my natural state. However, we were so damn busy in 2016 with the home remodel and work, I let myself go:


Danger Will Robinson! Avert your eyes!!

In the summer of 2015, I would jump on my road bike and pedal into the mountains at least twice a week. My total mountain rides for summer of 2016: zero, nada, zip, zilch – complete and total failure. ***looks down, shakes head*** Anyway, this is the year where I get rid of my gut and turn my body into a manly, potent, virile, fierce, killing machine:


That or get my body fat under 10%. Continue reading

Posted in Ask the readers | Tagged , , | 66 Comments

Get Comfortable Talking About Money

First pic of 2017, our street

First pic of 2017, our street

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today. Let’s talk about money.

We have been blogging for exactly 4 years today. Mostly Mr. 1500, but I pop in from time to time to share my views or ask a question.

Our life has changed substantially in those 4 years. We downsized our house, joined the Double Comma Club, fell out of the Double Comma Club, bounced in and out of it for a while – and will probably continue to do so. I got my current job as a direct result of this blog.

We’ve met a lot of like-minded people who are involved in Personal Finance through this blog.

We talk about money.

We share tips on saving money. It isn’t taboo to ask financial questions.

Then I switch back to real life, where it is taboo.

I was visiting Jim Collins at a lake house in Wisconsin over the summer. Jim is part of this open-financial discussion life I lead, and mentioned to me that his brother in law invested in real estate, and suggested we chat. Continue reading

Posted in Mrs1500 | Tagged , , , | 38 Comments

Four Phases of FI

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. –Mark Twain

I think a lot about my life. Probably too much…

Phase 1: Normal life
: 1973 to October 2012
: $0 to -$60,000 (college debt) to $700,000 

My original life’s plan was to retire in my 60s. I call it my normal phase.

At the age of 38, I found myself married living in a normal subdivision filled with normal cookie cutter homes. Mrs. 1500 and I had purchased two new cars and produced two children. We parked the cars in the 3 car garage and parked the children in our 4500 square foot home. The notion of leaving my job before the age of 62 or 65 never crossed my mind. I had known of no one who had ever left work before their 60s. This is what I had known:

Put 10 or 15% of my income into the 401(k).

Work for 40 years.

Move to a warm state and start drawing from the retirement accounts.

I wasn’t completely normal though. I enjoyed earning and investing money. I worked hard at my job and increased my income quickly. At the same time, Mrs. 1500 and I flipped houses. We made the mistake of not maxing out our 401(k)s every year, but still managed to accumulate a healthy chunk of change. In October of 2012, I had about $550,000 in investment accounts and $150,000 in home equity. Then came the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Our fancy house.

Our fancy house from a previous life.


Phase 2: Run to a big pile of money
: October 2012 to early 2016
: $700,000 to $1,500,000

I started this blog because of a Google search. I had very bad day at work and googled something like. Continue reading

Posted in Something Completely Different | Tagged , | 65 Comments

Back Soon…

Life has been super busy lately and I’ve also been tired. When I’m exhausted, I lose what little creativity I have. I tried to write something for today, but my heart wasn’t in it. So today, I give you a Greatest Hits post. Wait, don’t click away!

I agree that whenever an artist puts out a greatest hits album, it’s a lazy money grab. Bah! I don’t want to completely sell out, so, I added some embellishment. Today, I present you with my favorite posts, but I also added backstory.


My Philosophy on Money


When I started this blog, I was running away from a bad situation. My resolution was to run towards a big pile of money. And that’s it. How vapid. How shallow. Continue reading

Posted in Something Completely Different | Tagged , | 41 Comments

10 Questions with Solving Finance!!!

This is the 74th 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 talk to Solving Finance, a man who is absolutely obsessed with finance, loves tennis and chess, ridiculously corny jokes, and exclamation points!!!

He worked all through college while maintaining an honors-level GPA so he could graduate debt free.

He started his blog because he wanted to share his experiences with money and finance.

Solving Finance, it’s all you.


Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
My blog is about solving finance, one of life’s greatest mysteries and to document my journey to financial independence. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a $40,000 net worth by the time I finished college at the age of 21 through hard work and smart choices. I feel like I’ve been HANDED an opportunity by being able to live in a developed country and I want to make sure that I don’t waste the opportunity given to me.

recent_10_question_interview_submission_-_carldjensen_gmail_com_-_gmailI have a unique perspective on personal finance coming to the United States as an immigrant and write posts from a personal experience standpoint. My post that was featured on Rockstar Finance isn’t a usual thought that goes into making purchasing decisions. I have a lot of ideas that I have drafted that provides a different angle when it comes to personal finance.

I cover different topics such as negotiation, budgeting, saving, networking, etc. I just started working in Corporate America 2 months ago so it’s been interesting practicing the “have a great work ethic” attitude I’ve been preaching by juggling blogging, networking, and working full time.

What post are you most proud of and why?
I’m very proud of my recent post, using motivation to work for you. My mom’s side of the family lived in poverty and I hope to have gotten my story out there to be able to inspire people to do anything that they possibly can to avoid poverty. All of my decisions that led me to have a $40k net worth while in college double majoring and triple minoring stems from this motivation. I have it written down and taped to my wall so that I never forget.

The fact that my parents risked so much for me is the reason why I’m so motivated to get to early retirement and give back to my parents. They’ve risked their jobs (if the company found out my parents got me a green card, our family would probably be in ruins) so that my brother and I could thrive in the United States. I would hate myself if I didn’t get to where I wanted to be when I was in full control of the situation and my choices. Continue reading

Posted in 10 Questions | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Rant: Horrible Gifts

I’ve been trying to cut down on the ranting, but sometimes, I can’t help myself. Today, I present you with the worst gift ideas that I could dredge up from the bowels of the internet. This post contains NO affiliate links!


Awful Sweatersaurus

I have some questions for you:

  • Have you ever dreamed of winning the local Ugly Sweater contest? Are you OK paying $695 to do so?
  • Do you enjoy dressing like a 4 year-old boy?

If you answered yes to either of the above, I have just the thing for you, Rexy the $695 ugly sweater:


Really Coach, $695? Maybe you could charge that if it was made out of real dinosaurs. It isn’t.

The steep price isn’t stopping Coach from selling a load of them though. Celebrities are falling over themselves to buy this thing.

Truth be told, I could totally see myself wearing this. I like dinosaurs. I also like ugly clothes. Maybe I’ll stumble on one at the thrift shop when they cease to be cool…


Cheese Straws!

What are cheese straws? I have no idea, but they look like a pile of yellow dog crap or a nasty type of parasitic worms: Continue reading

Posted in Rants | Tagged , , | 41 Comments

Ask the Readers: Are you FI-curious? Polyworkarous??

So, I’ve been thinking about what to tell people once I leave formal work. This isn’t easy. Retired and Financially Independent come to mind immediately, but I cannot use either:

  • Retired: I hate hate hate this word. It has too many connotations. This comes up on Google image search:

I will not be frolicking on the beach.  At least not most of the time.

  • Financially Independent: I can’t use this either. Some folks in my extended family are not well-off and this term implies that I have lots of money. A family member once told me that ‘I must be rich’ because I had an iPhone. If they know that I have money, they will ask for that money.

What to do then? Obfuscate! Deny! And Lie!

I invented new terms to describe early retirement. Feel free to use them when your nosy neighbor or curious cousin asks you why you’re at home at 11am on a Wednesday drinking beer in the garage wearing your pajamas. Brace yourself readers.



Strategy #1: Sexual Innuendo!

Make others uncomfortable by spewing terms that sound like sex. Conservative Uncle John will quickly steer the conversation away from your employment status (or lack of it) when you unleash one of the following:

I’m practicing an Alternative Workstyle. Don’t judge.

I’m FI-curious.

I don’t have just one job. I have many and love them all. I consider myself to be Polyworkarous.

My relationship with work is Non-Traditional at the moment.

Continue reading

Posted in Ask the readers | Tagged , | 61 Comments

10 Questions with ESI from ESI Money

This is the 73rd 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.

The tagline for ESI Money is ‘Three simple steps to wealth.’ ESI stands for Earn, Save, Invest. ESI invests in traditional vehicles such as real estate and the stock market, as well as newer investments such as P2P Lending. His net worth allowed him to leave a ill-fitting job with no worries.

ESI is now retired – the story of how that happened is fascinating, and he wrote it up in a 3-part series.

ESI, take it away.


ESI Money

Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
ESI Money is a blog about achieving financial independence through earning, saving, and investing (ESI). There’s a bit more to personal finance, of course, but if a person concentrates on these three areas, they will do quite well financially. As such I focus on the few topics that will get readers the most results. I’m a big fan of the pareto principle. 🙂

What makes the blog different/great is that it’s written by someone who is wealthy taking about what he’s done to amass a sizable net worth. I combine this knowledge with concise, practical, and proven tips. If I can do it, anyone can. But they can do it better as they can avoid the mistakes I made along the way.

I must say that my readers make the site great as well. Many are more accomplished than I am and have great comments on career management, investing, and all other facets of personal finance.

That’s the Cliff Notes version. For a more detailed explanation see What Makes ESI Money Different.

Tell me how you’re going to change the world with your blog (dream big or don’t dream at all!).
I don’t focus on changing the world all at once, but changing life for one person at a time.

If I do this, then there will be an increasing number of people seeing positive results and that’s the main reason I’m blogging. Continue reading

Posted in 10 Questions | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Performance Update 47/50: $1,600,058!!! (Net Worthy November)

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 November when our net worth went from $1,469,096 to $1,600,058 (!).

Warning: Poem time!

Remember, remember!
The fourteenth of November,
The home appraisal we sought;
Exceeded all expectations and I know of no reason,
Why all of our hard work,
Should ever be forgot!


The Guy Fawkes poem doesn’t actually go like that. However, the fourteenth of November was an historic day for us. With one email, our net worth increased by over $100,000. This story started over three years ago.


We downsized our house in June of 2013. The path to FI had made me realize how silly it was to own a home that had over 4,500 square feet. We had rooms that had no other purpose than to collect dust. However, downsizing wasn’t easy.

We decided on a neighborhood in Boulder County, Colorado. Unfortunately everyone else in the world had the same idea; the market was hot. Every house seemed to get 3-5 bids on it within 24 hours of hitting the multiple listing service. It was frustrating. Very frustrating. And then we found:

The One

When I first laid eyes on Uglyhouse, my immediate thought was ‘No.’ Actually, it was more like:


The home was a foreclosure that hadn’t been maintained well in its previous life as a rental. It wasn’t pretty: Continue reading

Posted in Performance | Tagged | 50 Comments

Ask the Readers: Is Early Retirement an All or Nothing Proposition?

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 back to recap last week’s question, How much do you spend on haircuts? If you recall, I got an amazing haircut, but I paid a lot for it. Mr. 1500 was surprised at the cost, and I asked you for your opinion. (I’ll pass the baton to Mr. 1500 for today’s question after our review.)

Many of you agreed that $152 isn’t all that much for a really great cut, and Mr. 1500 should give me anything I want. I’m just paraphrasing there, but I can read between the lines…

Mr. BigLaw Investor said:

I’m on Mrs. 1500’s side on this one though and I encourage her to have you watch Chris Rock’s 2009 documentary “Good Hair”. You’ll be grateful that you’re only spending $152 twice a year.” (He’s an attorney, so that’s probably a law somewhere that your wife has to have good hair.)

Reader Jacq replied:

I get my hair cut 1-2 times a year and with color (east coast prices) it comes to ~$125.

Jason from Reaching Our Balance shared:

Well my wife spends $200 on a cut and color every two months. Be grateful Mr. 1500.

Continue reading

Posted in Ask the readers | Tagged , , , | 69 Comments