My favorite part of blogging is the community. Because of the blog, I’ve met amazing people from all over the world. And the best part is that many of these meetings aren’t one-offs, but ongoing friendships.
I started blogging in 2013 and that same year, I started chatting with Mrs. PoP from Planting our Pennies. I met her in person later that year at a blogger conference and we stayed in touch.
In 2015, I met Mrs. PoP and her husband at the Berkshire Hathaway conference in Omaha.
And then again in 2017, but this time in Florida to watch the live stream.
The Berkshire Hathaway conference became a tradition that none of us planned on. Some folks like sports; we like Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger.
Cavorting In Colorado
This summer, Mrs. 1500 and I had a lot of travel planned. At the same time, the PoPs wanted to escape the Florida heat, so we said:
Stay at our place!
They got a free place to stay and we got someone to look after our home. Win-win.
This December, we’ll cross paths with the PoPs again. And that certainly won’t be the end. Perhaps they’ll use our home another summer or we’ll meet up in Omaha again? Warren and Charlie, I know you’re old, but please hang on for a couple more years.
There are approximately 476,492,292,928 personal finance blogs last time I checked. Why should we read yours?
Mr PoP – Transparency and the “Show me” factor. We’ve been tracking our spending and net worth on our blog every month for 6 years, and have grown our net worth by $1.4M in that time. If you want to see exactly how a couple in their 20s becomes financially independent in their 30’s, our blog is for you.
Mrs PoP – And don’t forget I sneak cute cat pictures in there pretty regularly, too! Kittenz!
Do you rent or own? What are your thoughts on home ownership?
Mr PoP – We own our house, a rental duplex and a piece of investment land. Real Estate in Florida is fairly cyclical, so we concentrated on using leverage to make purchases when the prices were cheap and the interest rates are low. For somebody considering home ownership now, I’d give them the advice that my great-uncle gave me: buy the smallest house in the nicest neighborhood you can afford.
Mrs PoP – I’d also add that homeownership isn’t for everyone and that’s not a bad thing. For us, it’s great because (1) we got an awesome price on it, (2) we love being able to customize just about everything about it to our liking, and (3) we don’t mind being personally on the hook for DIY maintenance and repairs. We outsource very little with our house – which is one reason why it makes a ton of financial sense. If you’re not going to be DIY-ing a lot of the maintenance and repairs, those expenses can seriously add up.
Transportation (how do you get around): car, train, bus, bike or VTOL.
Mrs PoP – I mostly get around by bike. Yes, even in Florida, I bike about 9 miles each way to work every day. And no, it’s not as bad or crazy hot as you think it might be. When I need to go further than that, or go somewhere that it’s not easy to change clothes, that’s when I borrow Mr PoP’s car, which is our one and only car.
Mr PoP – About 18 months ago, I bought a 1992 Honda. I love it.
What is your FI number? How close are you?
Mr PoP – We started tracking to FI 7 years ago, and it looks like we’re there now. Originally the number was about $1.5M, we’re at $1.7 right now. I pulled the plug on work this summer,
Mrs PoP – but I’m still working for the time being. I don’t mind it and have been granted a lot of flexibility these days, so I’m still happy there for now. But it’s nice to know if I’m ever not happy, I can just stay home!
What is the best thing you ever bought? The worst?
Mr PoP – Umm…wedding ring was a hand-me down, we both got scholarships for college. Even the cat was free from the shelter. Probably our home-we bought it for <$140k, it’s worth around $300k and we just love it.
Mrs PoP – Hello? What about Roomba? Hands down, my favorite money spent. It’s a robot that cleans my floors! Every day! On a schedule! So they are clean when I get home! I feel like we are *this close* to being able to buy a Rosie (from the Jetsons) someday, and I would TOTALLY do that.
Your best friend tells you that he just got a raise at work and is going to buy a new car to celebrate. His current car is in perfect working order. How do you react?
Mr PoP – “You’re an idiot. Take me with you.”
Mrs PoP – Ha! Mr PoP would definitely say that. For me, I think it depends on the friend. I have a friend who is totally financially secure (I tell him to quit his job and retire all the time). Whenever this friend gets a flat tire he’ll joke that he needs a new car, to which I say – make sure it’s sportier than this one! New cars bring him a ton of joy, and he has no need for the extra money at this point. So why not? On the other hand, if this purchase was going to harm a friend financially, well that’s a different matter – but in the end I know I’m too diplomatic to stop them. I’d just probably ask “why?” and tell them all the things I like about their current car and talk about how much I hate car shopping.
If you have a magical power that allowed you to change one set of beliefs in others, what would you choose?
Mrs PoP – I’d like to use my magical power just like to diminish “belief” in general, and elevate rationality. It’s so much easier to communicate with others if we’re all operating from a perspective that values rationality! (Plus, when asked what he valued most in life looking back at 90+ years, Charlie Munger’s word answer was “rationality“. It’s important, people!)
Mr. PoP – Hoo boy. I’d get rid of the cult of ignorance that Asimov talked about. His full quote is, “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
What is one thing you firmly believed 5 years ago that you no longer believe?
Mrs PoP – Well, about five years ago I made a spreadsheet that predicted we’d both be quitting our jobs at the end of 2018 and never working again. Fast forward to today (almost 3/4 the way through 2018) and Mr PoP already quit his job at the end of June, and while I’m still working, there’s a good chance I’m going to be taking some serious time off in 2019.
But I no longer believe we’re never going to be working again. Mr PoP had stopped working for about 4 days before he started getting the entrepreneurship itch, and for now I’ve had to tamp it down since we still have a lot on our plate! The fact is, I’m wired to stay busy and productive, and Mr PoP is wired to try and think about how things can be turned around to be profitable for us. What we do might not always look like traditional work, but I have a feeling we’ll still be exchanging time & effort for money in some capacity.
Elon Musk: Crazy megalomaniac or a brilliant guy who is changing the world?
Mr PoP – Both! He’s already changed the world-helping ignite innovation and upset entrenched players in two pretty stagnant industries. I just hope he doesn’t buy into his own mythology and burn out like Jobs did.
Mrs PoP – Eh, I think Arianna’s right; he needs more sleep.
What albums can you listen to straight through? Best album of all time?
Mr PoP – OK Computer and Kid A by Radiohead. Both were the defining albums of their respective decades, and they re-arranged how I understood and listened to music.
Mrs PoP – Call me weird (Mr PoP certainly has), but Bette Midler’s Experience the Divine compilation album is one of my favorites of all time. (What can I say, I sang Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy along with a tape of the Divine Miss M every day in Kindergarten to wake up from rest time, and I’ve been hooked ever since!)
Anyone want to come over and watch Beaches with me?
Thanks for that Penny Planters! Stay rational my friends.
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