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

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, 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 to financial independence. … 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…

Camp Mustache 2016

Camp Mustache 2016 group

Back in January, I stumbled upon the possibility of getting tickets for Camp Mustache 2016. After about 15 minutes of thinking, I decided to go. I’m lucky I did because tickets sold out within a day or so, as I found out later. What Is Camp Mustache? The official website describes it as “4 days, 3 nights, 2 mountains, 1 rainforest – Meet like-minded badasses and learn about financial independence, in a relaxed outdoorsy environment”. I would describe it as the most inspiring experience in my financial independence journey so far. In case you are wondering, the event is named … Read more…

Cars Part 1 – How We Saved $26,200

About 4 years ago, Elisa purchased her first (and so far only) car. I thought it would be interesting to look at how much this car has cost us and see how it compares to what the average American spends on his/her vehicle. At the time, we were not thinking about financial independence. In fact, we didn’t even know what it meant. We just wanted to make a responsible decision, so we looked at the things we were hoping to get out of the car: Safe and reliable transportation Efficiency and low maintenance That’s it. In my opinion, that’s all a car … Read more…

Tracking Expenses – Lessons Learned From 2015

Management guru Peter Drucker said “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it“. So in order to take control of your finances, you first need to know where your money goes. I know a guy who thought he was saving about $200 per month. He wasn’t actually tracking his expenses, the $200 savings was just his best guess. After a couple of months of actually tracking his monthly expenses, he found out he was actually losing $300 per month! Don’t be this guy. There are many approaches to budgeting and staying on top of your finances. We actually don’t … Read more…

Financial Independence: Our 10-year Plan

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Every time financial independence comes up in a conversation with somebody who is new to this idea, it is often received with skepticism. This is understandable. When I first heard about it, I was skeptic as well. After reading stories about early retirees, meeting some of them, and crunching the numbers myself, I realized that reaching financial independence long before you are 65 years old is actually possible! At that time, spring of 2015, I didn’t have any significant sources of income as I was just about to begin grad school, and Elisa had been working for about one year. … Read more…

The Millionaire Janitor

This past February, the story of Ronald Read, “The Millionaire Janitor”, started making headlines in mainstream media channels including CNBC. Mr. Read passed away in June 2014 at the age of 92. Most of his life he worked as a janitor and as a gas station attendant. Upon his death, his estate donated $4.8 million to a local hospital and $1.2 million to a local library, and his total net worth was estimated at over $8.0 million. How could someone who worked minimum wage jobs for most of his life amassed such wealth? Did Mr. Read win the lottery? Did he stumbled upon … Read more…