The Best Way To Save On Car Maintenance: Know Your Car Warranty

Ugh. I just realized something incredibly stupid that only spending hours writing a post could have made me realize. I *think* I missed taking my car to the dealer to get my clicking noise fixed under warranty for free! I mentioned in my post on paying for repairs by cash or credit that the clicking noise had been progressively getting worse for about six months. If true, that means my clicking noise began in April 2019. My car was originally purchased on July 6, 2015. I bought it from a private party on December 28, 2016, so I could get[…]

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Pay By Cash Or Credit? Deciding The Best Way To Save Money

After six months of a progressively louder clicking sound emitting from my engine, I decided to take my car in for a free inspection. After only about five minutes, the auto-mechanic mentioned that he was sure my fan unit was broken and needed replacing. Great. “How much?” I asked. His brother, the operations manager, got back to me and said, “$925 before tax, which is about $1,004 after tax.” Sales tax is 8.5% in San Francisco. Phew! I was mentally preparing for some $3,000+ bill because the clicking sound was near the engine. When you go on the car forums,[…]

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How I Convinced My Wife To Continue Working After I Retired Early

  In 2012, I retired from my engineering career to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger. However, my wife continues to work full-time. Everything is working out very well for us and life is awesome. There are numerous advantages to having a working spouse. We have enough savings to support our modest lifestyle, but we don’t have to drawdown because my wife makes a nice income. Another huge win is healthcare. We’re using her employer-sponsored health plan so we don’t have to deal with ACA. Our family life is way better than when we both worked full-time because I can take care[…]

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An Inside Look At Communist China: Where Capitalism Is All The Rage

As soon as Houston Rockets General Manager’s, Daryl Morey, tweeted “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong,” the lucrative relationship between the NBA and China began to disintegrate. Given the China market is worth roughly $4 billion to the NBA, it was fascinating to see some owners, coaches, players, and the commissioner either say nothing, throw Daryl under the bus, or grovel for forgiveness. If you care about your reputation and want money, sending one-liners on social media about a controversial topic is probably not the best idea. There is always two sides to every conflict. Of course everybody is[…]

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The Benefits Of Recasting Over Refinancing A Mortgage

After publishing, The Hardest Mortgage Refinance Ever, a reader asked me whether I’ve ever considered recasting a mortgage instead. My quick answer was no, despite having refinanced multiple mortgages on multiple properties since 2005. I’m all about getting the lowest mortgage rate possible. Recasting a mortgage can be a good idea if you come into a lump sum of cash and want to reduce your monthly mortgage payment while not having to go through the hassle of refinancing. In this post, I’d like to explain what a mortgage recast is, its pros, and its cons. Just because I’ve only refinanced[…]

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The Hardest Mortgage Refinance Ever: Key Takeaways

Praise be to all that’s good in this world! After four months and one week, I finally was able to refinance my primary residence mortgage! My original loan was a 5/1 ARM at 2.5% that began on August 1, 2014, and reset to 4.5% on August 1, 2019. The loan amount was $990,000 and the payment was $3,920 a month. My new loan is a 7/1 ARM at 2.625%. The loan amount is $700,711, and the new monthly payment is $2,814.41. There was no cost to do this refinance. In fact, I was paid a $220 credit. A $1,105.59 monthly[…]

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Loyalty Is Dead: Transfer Your Capital For Free Cash And Great Rewards

I love people who are loyal. They stick with you through good times and bad. Unfortunately, when it comes to business, loyalty is dead. Firms will spit you out at a moment’s notice. Banks just move on to the next win once they’ve got you as a customer. There is no loyalty when it comes to capital. Your goal should be to allocate your capital in as efficient a manner as possible. The more efficient your capital allocation, the greater your chance at financial freedom. One of the reasons why I keep the comments section open despite the massive amount[…]

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How Online Brokerages Make Money Charging Zero Trading Fees

On October 2, 2019, Charles Schwab announced that it would no longer charge any trading fees. I remember my father using Charles Schwab in the 1990s and being charged $50 a trade. Immediately after the announcement, Charles Schwab stock dropped about 9%, while firms like TD Ameritrade and E-Trade dropped by an even greater percentages. Clearly, investors in these names were not happy that these companies would be losing a significant portion of their revenue. But when fees are cut, consumers generally win, if the firms can stay in business. Thus, the question is how will online brokerages make up[…]

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Thoughts On Buying Property Ahead Of A Potential Recession

When I sold a key SF rental property for 30X annual rent in 2017, I was both ecstatic and sad. On the one hand, I was pumped someone was willing to pay 59% more than what I would have sold it for when I first tried to sell it in 2012. That was the year I retired and I thought it prudent to reduce costs. Thankfully, nobody wanted to buy back then. My wife and I had lived in that house since early 2005. Our long-term vision was to raise a family there and live happily ever after. But our[…]

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The Recommended Split Between Passive And Active Investing

We know from the data that investing in passive index funds over active funds over the long run is the way to go. Over the long run, no rational person would keep on investing in an active fund that regularly underperforms its benchmark, especially if it charges a higher fee. Yes, despite the logic, active equity funds still account for about 50% of the entire assets under management of all funds. The simple reason is that a minority of active equity funds do outperform their benchmarks. And when they do, there’s hope. We, humans, live on hope. In this post,[…]

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