How to Accumulate your First $100,000 in Investable Assets

Today’s guest post is from Scott Trench. I first met Scott a couple of years ago at a business conference and was immediately impressed. Despite his young age (mid 20s), he had already attained a leadership position at BiggerPockets, a crazy successful real estate investing site.

At that first meeting, Scott and I talked about what books we were reading. Thinking back, every time I see Scott, the conversation eventually turns to books. Any friend of books is a friend of mine.

And the love of books is a reflection of one’s personality. Scott likes books because he has a passion for learning and knowledge. Scott is going places.

And Scott recently wrote a book called Set for Life. While I haven’t completed it yet, Jim Collins reviewed it favorably. Let me tell you, Jim is a tough critic.

Enough yapping from me. Take it away Scott!


How to Accumulate your First $100,000 in Investable Assets


If you are reading 1500 days, you’ve been provided with a fine example of how a family can move from several hundred thousand dollars to early financial freedom over a moderate number of years. Mr. and Mrs. 1500 are legends, who exemplify hard work, a DIY mentality, an approach to investing that is fundamentally sound, and are just nice, wonderful people. Thank you so much for the honor and privilege to guest post on 1500 Days!

I hope to continue learning from Mr. and Mrs. 1500 as I continue to grow and build out my net worth to the targets I’ve set.

The focus of this article is to address the early stage of wealth creation. Specifically, I want to talk about how to as efficiently as possible go from a standing start with little or no assets to $100,000 or more in investable net worth. This article is written for the person earning a solid living that is at least that of a median earner, and who is willing to make some major life changes to hasten early financial freedom.

And, I’ll tell you something, “investing,” as most people define it, isn’t very important in this stage of wealth building. If you earn $50,000 per year, and have $10,000 to invest, earning a 12% ($1,200) return isn’t much different from earning an 8% return ($800). You would be unwise to spend dozens of hours learning how to pick stocks, master Lending Club’s nuances, or otherwise attempt to eke out a few hundred dollars more per year in return on publicly available investments.

Instead, this stage of wealth accumulation involves a heavy focus in three areas:

  • Frugality
  • Housing + Transportation
  • Income Production

Let’s Start with Frugality

Frugality is the starting point in wealth accumulation for the median earner with little to no wealth. There are three main reasons this is the case. Continue reading

Posted in Guest Post | Tagged , | 37 Comments

Ask the Readers: $1,500,000 Per Year?

Less is more. -Robert Browning

Discipline equals freedom. -Jocko Willink


Until now, I’ve never considered what it would be like to be a 1 Percenter because I’ll never be one. But, a recent Happy Philosopher post got me thinking about it:

I like to think that if I earned a huge amount of money or inherited millions, I wouldn’t change. But who am I to judge? I’ll never have this kind of money and I’ve never been around it either.


I take it back, I will judge. One of my favorite sayings ever is from retired Navy Seal Jocko Willink:

Discipline equals freedom

So simple, but so powerful. A disciplined life is a good life: Continue reading

Posted in Ask the readers | Tagged , | 56 Comments

Performance Update, Day 1611: I Have A Small One

My main goal was 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 last year and my 1500 Days are over, but in the interest of openness, I’ll continue to share my numbers.

Two net-worth altering events happened in May. The first involved our home and the second involved a car purchase.


Way back in 2013, we moved from a big luxury home in an awful neighborhood to a neglected home in a great neighborhood. We willingly went from this beautiful kitchen:

To this ant-infested, ugly-ass kitchen:

Ant City


We then fixed up the neglected home: Continue reading

Posted in Performance | Tagged , , , | 53 Comments

Roadtrip Part 3: PoF’s Piece of Pleistocene Paradise

Ask the Readers takes a break for a final week while I’m on my trip. Instead, I’ll regale you with tales from my travels (see Part 1 and Part 2: Alepocalypse). In this week’s edition, I tell you about Physician on FIRE’s (PoF) piece of Pleistocene Paradise.

After a long strange trip with PoF last week, I needed some downtime. Between all of the biking and beering, relaxation was what the doctor ordered. Fortunately, PoF agreed to let me recover at his second home.

We departed Minnesota bright and early and hit the open road. Our first stop was Duluth, a beautiful city on the Western shore of Lake Superior. I like large mechanical things, so seeing the lift bridge in action was a treat:

We stopped in Marquette the next day where we saw this structure. It was built by mysterious aliens eons ago:

We say more signs of alien life at Lakenenland:


PoF’s Piece of Pleistocene Paradise

PoF was awesome enough to let us use his second home. You may think that an anesthesiologist would vacation at a 5,000 square foot mansion on a private beach, but remember that PoF adheres to the principal of stealth wealth. PoF bought his vacation property for the minuscule sum of $15,400: Continue reading

Posted in Travel | Tagged , , | 33 Comments

Five Things I Miss About Work with ESI Money

The following post is by ESI from ESI Money, a blog about achieving financial independence through earning, saving, and investing (ESI). It’s written by an early 50s retiree who achieved financial independence, shares what’s worked for him, and details how others can implement those successes in their lives. Take it away ESI!

Let’s start out with the obvious: I LOVE early retirement!!!

I retired a year ago and haven’t looked back. My life is full of both expected and unexpected joys.

My only mistake was that I waited too long after reaching financial independence to retire.

That said, there are some things I miss about working. I had a 28-year career in business and much of it was rewarding — I certainly didn’t spend almost three decades hating every minute of my existence. I liked my career for the most part (I just like not working better). It’s similar to the fact that I like peanut butter cookies, but I like chocolate chip cookies better. 😉

Today I’ll share the five things I miss most about work. I hope this will encourage those of you still working that employment isn’t a complete disaster.


I have to put compensation at the top because it’s what I miss the most. Continue reading

Posted in Guest Post | Tagged , | 25 Comments

Roadtrip Part 2: Alepocalypse Now

Ask the Readers takes a break for a couple of weeks while I’m on my trip. Instead, I’ll regale you with tales from the road. In this week’s edition (2/3), I tell you about my long strange trip with the Physician on FIRE.

The Physician on FIRE (PoF) is an elusive and enigmatic character. No one really knows what he looks like, who he is, or even if he is a he. I wanted to find out more, but didn’t know where to start.

A couple of months ago, I hired a private investigator to hunt down PoF. Although the PI spent months on the trail, the biggest clue he uncovered was this:

It was enough. Anyone who knows anything about Scandinavian culture knows what this dog bowl is a reference to:

There is only one state where a dog would say wuff da or a human would say uff da and it is Minnesota.

My travels were taking me to Minneapolis, so I sent an email to an address that the PI had uncovered:

Hey PoF, I’ll be near you soon. Want to meet up?


Hey doctor, may I buy you a beer when I’m in town?

More radio silence.

But then, a week before the trip, I received a strange email:

My handle is <redacted>. The Physician on FIRE requests your presence. Meet me at 11:08 pm at the old <redacted> near <redacted>.

Ummm, OK. Was this a ruse or a trap? I didn’t know, but I had to find out.


A Journey into the Heart of (Surly) Darkness

I met PoF’s representative at the specified time. I was put into the back of a dark van and given a suspicious substance to drink. Continue reading

Posted in Something Completely Different | Tagged , | 27 Comments

Friday Gratitude: Bikes and Beer

I didn’t know what to expect when I started blogging. I just did it because I enjoyed writing and wanted to keep myself publicly accountable. The most fun part though has been meeting like-minded folks from all over the world. As the blog has grown, my circle of friends has grown too. And it is good.


Biking and Beering

Mrs. 1500 and I met up with the Penny Planters and Income Surfer recently for the Berkshire Hathaway meeting. In between Buffett and peanut brittle, we messed around on the beach.

I visited Jim Collins in Wisconsin where I enjoyed his wife’s excellent cooking and then more beach:

This week, we visited with the Physician on Fire and there was no beach, but there was beer:

PoF’s beer operation

And biking: Continue reading

Posted in Something Completely Different | Tagged , , | 37 Comments

Getting Naked in the Costco Parking Lot

I did it. I pulled the trigger on the Acura/Honda NSX that I recently threatened to buy. It wasn’t the silver one I looked at before (it had issues).

A friend pointed me to a black one that he found in Wisconsin. I bought it a couple weeks ago and drove it home over two days. It’s now resting in the garage.

At the bank.


$45,000 is a lot of money for a frugal* guy. This car cost more than every other car I’ve ever owned combined. It sounds insane. Hell, maybe it is insane.

And I have a confession. This isn’t my first mid-engined, Japanese sports car. Way back around 2010, we were at a garage sale in rural Wisconsin when we spotted a Toyota MR2. We bought it for the lowly sum of $1,400 (most expensive garage sale purchase ever!). We had our fun with it and sold it a couple years later for about $3,100 on eBay:

But, the MR2 is no NSX.



Driving this car has been mostly fun. Here are my observations after a couple weeks of ownership:

It is difficult to change in: When I picked up the car, it was cold. Two hours later, it was warm. I decided to change into shorts in the Costco parking lot:

Changing room

I hadn’t packed enough underwear, so I was freeballing it. Changing in the car wasn’t easy. I had a few tense moments before I got my shorts on. I hit the gas and got out of there before members of the local law enforcement community showed up.

Quizzed at gas stations: The NSX is a unique and obscure car. There were a total of 9,000 sold in the United States and there are about 6,000 still around. Only car geeks know what it is, but others see that it is something exotic and ask questions.

It makes Mrs. 1500 feel tall: This car is low. Really low. Mrs. 1500 feels like a giant next to it.

Running over a pebble feels like hitting a cow: Sports cars have tight suspension.

Clowns in Honda Civics taunt you: You know those idiots who put a noisy exhaust on their Honda Civic? Those people have a misguided belief that the big exhaust gives their car superpowers (it doesn’t) and want to challenge you at stoplights.

Unwanted attention from law enforcement: I drove almost 1200 miles back to Colorado with no police interaction. Two blocks from my home (I can’t make this stuff up), a friendly member of the local police pulled me over. I had spotted him, so was on my best behavior and had no idea why he was pulling me over:

  • Me: ?????
  • Cop: You have a plastic protective cover over your license plate and we don’t allow that in Colorado.
  • Me: I’ll take if off when I get home.
  • Cop: Thanks.
  • Me:



Dropping $45,000 on a silly car wasn’t something I decided to do on a whim. I’ve been thinking about the NSX for most of my life. Let’s take a ride in the Wayback Machine.

As a young child, my dad instilled a love of mechanical things in me, especially tractors and cars. We didn’t have a lot of money, so our garage was populated by junk from Detroit’s dark days including a Chevy Citation and Ford Maverick. These cars were the opposite of good and my dad spent many, many nights and weekends keeping these heaps running. Very, very bad words poured out of that garage for the whole neighborhood to hear.

Anyway, I always had a thing for supercars like the Lamborghini Countach and Ferrari Testarossa. Then along came the NSX. It was amazing:

I loved the car immediately. It was lightweight, simple, agile and came with Honda reliability. I didn’t set high expectations for myself, so never thought I’d have the means to buy such a ridiculous thing. Still, the NSX never left my mind.

Two things happened recently:

  • Holy shit, I’m financially independent: Not only that, but I found myself with such an excess that I could buy the car with very little risk to my early retirement life. We get by pretty well on $40,000/year meaning we need $1,000,000 per the 4% Rule. But it gets better. In 11 years, our home will be paid off and our expenses drop $1,100 per month. And we now find ourselves with a portfolio of over $1,400,000 and about $400,000 in home equity. This big pile of money is still strange and hard for me to reconcile, but spending $45,000 won’t keep me up at night.
  • Prices started going up: Buying a car as an investment is silly. However, it gives me comfort knowing that if I don’t enjoy my expensive toy, I’ll probably be able to sell it in a couple of years and lose little to no money. Car and Driver even mentioned it as one of 12 cars that “will define mainstream collecting for the foreseeable future”:

It was still difficult for me to pull the trigger. I won’t bore you with the details, but buying an NSX isn’t simple. There aren’t many around and some of the owners are strange people who are a pain in the ass to deal with (the guy who sold this one was a regular guy).


Bookend to Part of My Life

The car is significant for two reasons:

  • It will be the last fancy car I own: I have no desire to own any other big-engined beast. This is it. The End. No more.
  • It will be the last internal combustion car I own: I’ve driven electric cars including Teslas, Leafs and a BMW i3. All three were simple and quiet. Electric propulsion is the future and if I ever buy another car, it won’t burn hydrocarbons.


And finally, the NSX is really an experiment in happiness. Will owning it bring me joy or will it just be another thing that complicates my life? I have no idea. I’ll get back to you in a year with the verdict.


*Except for the silly Acura NSX toy. I’m naming the car Asterisk.

Posted in Something Completely Different | Tagged , | 45 Comments

Roadtrip: Part 1

Ask the Readers takes a break for a couple of weeks while I’m on my trip. Instead, I’ll regale you with tales from the road.

I loaded the girls into the car bright and early on Thursday morning. We spent an evening in Ankeny Iowa before moving on to the Twin Cities.


Adventures in the Land of Uff Da 

I’m looking Iowa, and feeling Minnesota*:

Question that people frequently ask me: Are you a farmer?
Me: No, but I play one on TV.

I don’t stay at the Bedbug Inn. However, I really hate staying at luxury hotels where there is a charge for everything. A hotel must have free Wifi and breakfast:



Pancake Miracles

And what wonderful times we live in: I had never seen this device before, but the Pancake Machine was a little miracle: Continue reading

Posted in Something Completely Different | Tagged , , | 31 Comments

Friday Gratitude with My Son’s Father

Today’s dose of gratitude comes from My Son’s Father(MSF). MSF is quickly making a name for himself with his awesome Lego skills:

As a father of two young children, I can totally relate to MSF’s post. Kids tend to be selfish creatures, so instilling a mindset of gratitude isn’t easy. I like MSF’s approach so much that I’m trying it in my own household.

Take it away MSF!

Gratitude is a muscle. The more you use it the stronger it becomes. However, when you don’t use it, atrophy sets in. When that happens, less desirable mindsets can lay claim to your perspective.

Sometime last year I noticed this happening with my two boys. A few of their comments betrayed a less than impressive outlook: they were becoming ungrateful. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I also heard a hint of entitlement.

Entitlement? Not in my house!

Action needed to be taken, so I began mentally preparing a twelve-point lecture about how good they have it (the tone of which was eerily similar to Mrs. BITA’s letter to herself). After a two hour lecture they’d surely see the error of their ways, right?

Okay, so a 6 & 7 year old might not respond to this approach. Really, no matter what their age, they wouldn’t respond to this approach. But something had to be done. Continue reading

Posted in Friday Mindfulness | Tagged , , | 34 Comments