The Simple Path to Wealth – Book Review

At this point in my life, I have read about a dozen books on money management and investing. I have found most of them to be fairly interesting and have learned a lot from them. But unfortunately, the great majority of sane people would find them boring and tedious, they are. I say unfortunately not because I want everybody to be a finance nerd like me, but because I believe that having a solid understanding of money and its intricacies is one of the most powerful tools you can use to thrive and live a great life in this modern world we live in. I need … Read more…

2016 Expenses Revealed!

2016 was a really exiting year for us! We kicked off the year by traveling back to the U.S. after our wedding. A few months later I finished grad school, and attended Camp Mustache to kick off the summer. My dad came to visit us towards the end of the summer and we took him to the U.S. Open. As the fall season kicked in I started my new job, we bought a house, and we welcomed our beautiful baby daughter into the family! Definitely the highlight of the year 🙂 One would think a year like this would cost a fortune, and it certainly could … Read more…

The Tax Benefits of Home Ownership – Myth or Reality?

A number of questions have come up from the post I wrote a few weeks ago about buying our new home. One of the most frequent ones goes something like this: “Great job outlining the costs of homeownership, but what about the benefits? I get a tax deduction for the interest and property taxes I pay on my home!” Today, we put the above statement to the test. Are potential tax deductions actually valuable for home owners? Of course we cannot do this without a basic understanding of the U.S. tax system. So here is a quick high level crash course*. Let’s start with the basic income tax formula: As you can see we … Read more…

Cars Part 2 – How We Saved Another $32,400

About a year ago I wrote about how Elisa’s car has saved us $26,200 over 4 years. Today, we’ll explore the numbers behind my own car. As I am writing this sentence, I have not yet run the numbers so I am excited to see how my car’s cost of ownership compares to Elisa’s. I bought this car back in 2011 when I moved to Greensboro, NC for graduate school. I had about $6,000 to my name, and even though I didn’t know about financial independence back then, I knew that borrowing money for a car was a bad idea. I … Read more…

Buy or Rent? – All the Numbers Behind Our Recent Home Purchase

Buy or rent

One of the most common misconceptions out there is the notion that buying a home is always a better financial decision than renting one. This is nonsense. “Always” is rarely a good answer in the world of personal finance. There are too many factors at play for one alternative to always trump the other ones. A common argument in favor of buying that clearly overlooks many important factors goes something like this: “my mortgage payment would be roughly the same as my rent payment. Therefore, I should buy because I’m building equity!“. Not unreasonable, but awfully incomplete. With that in mind, let’s take a look at … Read more…

The Millionaire Next Door – Book Review

Who are the rich in this country? What do they do? How did they get rich? Can I become one of them? The Millionaire Next Door provides some very interesting and, perhaps, surprising answers to these questions. The authors, Dr. Stanley and Dr. Danko, are two academics who have dedicated much of their time to study millionaires, and the research behind this book is very comprehensive. The opening paragraph of the book is very insightful and provides a great preview of all the good stuff that follows: “Twenty years ago we began studying how people became wealthy. Initially, we did … Read more…

Expenses Revealed – Q1 2016

Over the last few weeks I have been buried studying for the CPA exam. I finally seem to be slightly ahead of schedule, so I thought I would take some time to write an update on this year’s spending so far. During the first quarter of 2016, we came back to the U.S. shortly after celebrating our wedding in Colombia. Other than that it was a rather inconspicuous quarter as Elisa came back to work, and I started my last semester of grad school. Without further introduction, I present to you our expenses for the first three months of 2016. … Read more…

A Random Walk Down Wall Street – Book Review

Saving and investing are two key elements to reach financial independence. In this post I review one of the best books about investing I have read so far: A Random Walk Down Wall Street – The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing. I believe this is a good read for any curious mind looking to improve their understanding of money and investing. Burton G. Malkiel, the author, has a great deal of professional and academic experience in the world of investments. So you can be confident that the advice on this book is coming from someone who is very knowledgeable. The … Read more…

It’s Not About the Money

Financial independence… That wonderful thing that happens when your passive income equals or exceeds your expenses. It takes a sizable amount of money to get there. How much exactly? 25 times your annual expenses using the 4% percent withdrawal rule. For me and my family, annual expenses are about $29,000, so I would need at least a $725,000 portfolio in order to reach financial independence. In other words, the ultimate freedom costs $725,000 for us, and that’s what Elisa and I are working towards.   What Do You Mean It’s Not About the Money? Clearly, money is a key ingredient … Read more…

Net Worth – What Is It and Why Should You Track It?

As we enter the second half of the year, I thought it would be a good time to check up on our net worth and show you how I track it. What is Your Net Worth? In simple words, your net worth is everything you own minus everything you owe. In accounting jargon, it is your assets minus your liabilities. Pretty simple stuff so far. Why Should You Track It? Your net worth is like the blood pressure of your financial life. Leave your blood pressure unchecked for a long time and you might be in for an ugly surprise. … Read more…