2019 Mid-Year Finanical Review: Riding The Tsunami

After writing The Bear Market Checklist, I thought I’d follow my own advice and do a mid-year review. The last thing I want is to get broadsided because things feel so good. So far, this year has been solid on the financial front. I haven’t felt this good since 2007, the year before everything fell to pieces. I truly hope all of you are benefitting from this extraordinary bull market as well. 4Q2018 was such a dicey time period. It was hard for me to imagine things turning out as well they have since. I’ve been trying to live it[…]

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A Bear Market Checklist To Thrive In A Downturn

A Bull Market Checklist To Living Your Best Life is a good resource for living it up when times are good. But how hard is it really to live the good life when you’re making money hand over fist? Not hard at all. The real challenge is living your best life during a bear market, which tends to happen every 4 – 10 years since the early 1900s. Bear markets are usually a time of worry and remorse. I hated working through the 2000 tech collapse and the 2008-2009 housing crisis. We haven’t had a bear market since 2009, although[…]

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It’s Hard To Frugal Your Way To Early Retirement

Surprisingly, I didn’t receive much pushback from my post, The Amount Of Money Needed To Retire Early And Live In Abject Poverty. Almost everyone got the gist, which was to help you question whether the pursuit of early retirement is counterproductive if you have to live like a pauper. Instead, perhaps finding a job you actually enjoy doing would be a better use of your time. Yes, a couple of readers jabbed at me using the words “coastal elite” as a pejorative term to say how out of touch I am that 200% of FPL is a near poverty wage.[…]

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The Only Time You Should Consider Buying A Vacation Property

I’m on record saying that buying a vacation property is a terrible investment. But that’s also because I bought one in 2007, right before the market really took a dive. Perhaps if I had bought my property after it declined by 40%, today I would be one of the biggest proponents of spending money on something you don’t need! Alas, I think not because nobody spends nearly as much time as they think they will at their vacation property. It’s also much better to spend less money and have the flexibility to vacation all around the world in multiple new[…]

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How To Dress Well On The Cheap For A Black Tie Wedding

The following is a post by Sydney, aka Mrs. Samurai. She’s one of the most frugal people I know, which is one of the reasons why we get along so great. She’d rather go to Target than Prada. Whoo hoo! Did you just receive a black tie wedding invitation and are in a bit of a panic over the dress code? I was in the same boat! Here’s my own story about how I figured out how to dress to the 9s for a black tie wedding for cheap. It’s totally possible to look the part without spending a fortune.[…]

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The Amount Of Money Needed To Retire Early And Live In Abject Poverty

As more people look to retire early, more people are looking for shortcuts in order to get to early retirement quicker. It’s understandable that in this day and age of instant gratification, young folks nowadays aren’t willing to grind it out for decades like previous generations. Instead of building a large enough passive income portfolio to cover a comfortable lifestyle, I’ve noticed more people are willing to retire early to live in or near poverty! I can empathize. When I was 25, the 9/11 terrorist attack happened. This terrible event ignited my quarter-life crisis. I seriously thought about retiring with[…]

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A Severance Negotiation Success Story For Parents Looking To Leave Work

The #1 thing I recommend for anybody who aspires to retire early is to negotiate a severance. If you are planning on quitting anyway, there is no downside. Every time I hear of someone quitting their job, I’m happy for them. But at the same time, I also liken it to a baby panda dying in the woods. Leaving so much potential money on the table is a travesty because of ignorance, fear of confrontation, or not knowing your worth. I want to change this. I’m pleased to announce the 3rd edition of How To Engineer Your Layoff is now live! The book first went into[…]

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The Cost Of Fourth Trimester Childcare: Potentially $40,000 And Up

As our boys played at the playground, I struck up a conversation with the mother who is expecting her second child in a couple of months. I was curious to hear about how she and her husband planned to manage caring for two kids under three years old on their own. She said they planned to “hire a village” to help them during her fourth trimester, which is the difficult three-month period after a child is born. During the fourth trimester, mothers can suffer postpartum depression. If the birthing process was particularly difficult or if a C-section is required, a[…]

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Real Estate Is A Hedge Against Many Bad Things In Life

In the great debate between real estate versus stocks, I give a slight nod towards real estate. When I was young, I wanted real estate because having it felt like I had arrived. Now that I’m middle-aged, I want real estate so I can provide a stable environment for my family. After taking over 500 long walks around my neighborhood since 2014, I’ve made a very interesting observation. All the adult kids still living at home seem to be men, none are women. Within a four block radius, I often see between 4-6 adult young men waving goodbye to their moms or washing their cars in their parents’ driveway. This, in[…]

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To Save Money On Property Tax Don’t Update Your City Property Records

As part of any standard mortgage refinance, the lender requires a home appraisal. The lender wants to ensure the homeowner has enough equity to make a new loan. The amount of equity a homeowner is required to have for a refinance is usually 20% or more. The cost for the home appraisal is generally between $500 – 800 to cover the appraiser’s time inspecting the house, taking pictures, drawing a layout, measuring the square footage, and doing a valuation analysis based on comparables and rebuild costs. My appraiser spent about 40 minutes getting all the information he needed before telling[…]

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