Should you DIY or Hire a Pro?

Just this past week I found myself facing a dilemma you will likely face several times during your lifetime: when something needs to be done, should you do it yourself (DIY) or hire a pro? The story begins a few weeks ago when my daughter flushed a pair of scissors down the toilet. Shortly after, the toilet started getting clogged. At first we were able to unclog the toilet with a good ole plunger, but the clogging would occur again every time any solids were flushed down. After a lot of research some Google searches, I learned that the scissors … Read more…

Expenses Revealed! – Q4 2017

The last three months of 2017 were quite busy for us. We visited my sister in law who lives in Mexico. We started our trip in Mexico City and headed north through Queretaro, San Miguel de Allende, and Guanajuato. Throughout our journey, we stayed on some really cool Airbnb houses in Mexico (see picture below for the view from one of the back yards). If you are new to Airbnb, you can get $40 off from your first trip when you sign up through this link. Back in the U.S. we took a road trip through the Blue Ridge Mountains, … Read more…

A Basic Overview of the U.S. Tax System

The U.S. tax system is quite complex. From thousands of rules and regulations to nuanced and obscure provisions, our tax system can make even the sharpest tax professionals feel overwhelmed at times. Luckily for you, the amount of tax knowledge you need to have to achieve financial independence (FI) is very manageable. I have seen people of all professions, not just accountants, acquire and apply tax knowledge to successfully increase their wealth and their freedom. Before we dive in, note that we will be covering the U.S. federal income tax system for individuals. The state you live in will have … Read more…

Expenses Revealed! – Q3 2017

The third quarter of the year was a good one for us. We came back from Colombia where most of our family got to meet our daughter. She even got to meet her great great grandmother who is over 100 years old! Isn’t that crazy? (see 5-generation photo below). Another event to highlight is that we replaced one of our old cars, which as you will see put a dent in our savings rate this quarter. Other than that we enjoyed the hot summer weather of North Carolina, and had a blast seeing our little one grow up 🙂 Without … Read more…

How to Replace a Car Without Breaking the Bank

If you track your expenses, you probably already know that cars are pretty expensive things to own. After you account for depreciation, gas, maintenance and repairs, property taxes, and everything else, you can easily be spending between $2,000 to $15,000 per year. I think we have done a decent job at optimizing our vehicle choices and even then each of our vehicles cost more than $2,000 per year. Use the links below if you want to see the breakdown of those costs for our own cars: Elisa’s car ($2,150 per year) Juan’s previous car ($2,216 per year) Back in September … Read more…

Expenses Revealed! – Q2 2017

The second quarter of 2017 flew by as the days got warmer and longer. I must say, spring is one of my favorite times of the year as I’m not a big fan of cold and short days (see Q1 expenses here). It was generally a quiet quarter though we had family visiting us in April, and we traveled to Colombia late in June. Let’s dive right into our expenses for the second quarter of the year. The table above summarizes our expenses for the first three month of the year from highest to lowest. Let’s explore the bigger and … Read more…

How to Get Your Partner on Board with Financial Independence

You get it, financial independence that is. You can’t wait to start building some serious wealth to buy your freedom. You understand that being financially independent will allow you to spend ALL of your time, not just weekends and holidays, doing whatever YOU choose. You are pumped and eager to start working on making your dream a reality. There is just one problem… your partner is not board. I will use the term partner here to refer to a spouse, fiancé, fiancée, or any serious significant other in your life. I’m lucky, my wife was on board with financial independence … Read more…

Expenses Revealed! – Q1 2017

The first three months of 2017 were relatively uneventful compared to our action-packed 2016. We spent a lot of time at home with our little one, and I kept myself pretty busy with work, and studying for the last CPA exam, which I’m glad to say is behind me as I passed all 4 parts! Without further introduction, here are all of our expenses for the first three months of 2016! Let’s dive into the bigger and more interesting items. Travel: the travel category includes the cost of obtaining a passport for our daughter, about $190 of embassy fees for me … Read more…

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…