Investing

Our Passive Income Goal: $2,400/yr by 2020

It is February 2017 and our family has almost no passive income! What is passive income? It is an income source that requires little to no work to sustain itself. Some examples might be royalties from a book, rental income, or profit sharing from a business you part-own.  Looking around the FIRE community, many people rave about owning rental real estate. While real estate is certainly a possibility we are willing to entertain, the frequent moves we make in the military coupled with the steep learning curve have so far kept us away from property ownership.* Why passive income? Because

Read more
Investing Tax TSP

7 Lesson Learned by Debunking Retirement Plan Scammers, Gamers and Detractors

Retirement Plans, especially those sponsored by an employer (the 401K, 403b, and the TSP) are probably the most powerful and simple tool you have on your path to wealth. The TSP in particular automatically leverages the power of index investing for incredibly low fees. It has Roth and Traditional options, Targeted Retirement Funds, and starting in 2018 will come with a government match for those who opt in. Why are there so many people out there advocating against the TSP or trying to game the TSP’s investing practices? Greed. It is all about Greed. Detractors Dave Ramsey, the famous radio

Read more
Simple Path to Wealth
Investing TSP

The Simple Path to Wealth: Book Review

I’ve been following Jim Collins, who blogs at www.jlcollinsnh.com, for about two years now. His simple, direct, and low impact investing style has changed how I invest. Investing before was exciting and time-consuming- watching the news, reading stock charts and pouring over technical analysis. Now, investing is boring. But I’m finally seeing returns. Mr. Collins turned the advice in his lauded “Stock Series” into this book. It contains advice he would give to his children who are just starting out and to his friends who are nearing full retirement. All of the advice is easily understandable by the most novice

Read more
The Military Guide
FIRE Investing TSP

Guest Post on The Military Guide: Blended Retirement System

Hello everyone, I’m proud to announce the publication of my guest post over at The Military Guide. Doug Nordman was kind enough to feature my thoughts on the new military Blended Retirement System. In my guest post I also provide a spreadsheet which you can use to calculate what you stand to gain – or lose – if you chose to opt into the BRS. Many service members have a choice coming up in 2018. Either stay with the old “cliff vested” pension system, or jump to the new been BRS, which reduces the pension by 10% but provides a

Read more
taxes will sink your boat
Investing Tax

3 Ways to Plan Next Year’s Taxes: less pain, more gain!

A major goal of my family is tax efficiency. While this post won’t be outlining any fishy tax schemes, it should help you save on your taxes. Paying less taxes has also helped us direct more money to paying down our loans while simultaneously investing. Taxes are a necessary evil. They pay our salary and provide services. However, the government has proven to be an inefficient user of my tax money, and given the option, I would prefer to redistribute my wealth in my own fashion. Our tax strategy leverages two important principles: saving and paying attention to changes which

Read more
debt
Debt Investing

Pay Down Debt or Invest for Retirement?

Should you pay down debt or save for retirement? Like many finance questions, I think the answer to this question is: it depends. In the following post, I designed an experiment to test my guess that it is better pay down high interest debt fast, but it might be better to invest if you only have low interest debt. (Spoiler- you can create conditions for various debts where it is better to invest then eliminate debt aggressively.) The Federal Reserve issued its average American’s debt report for Q3 2016 with the following results: Question We know debt is bad for

Read more
Investing TSP

Utilize the TSP’s low fees to supercharge your retirement

What if I said YOU could make 1% more in your retirement account, every year, for life? As far as things go, a 1% advantage is pretty good these days. The market isn’t returning twenty-odd percent like it did in the lead up to the ’08 crash. I’m talking about the fee’s you pay to invest. Vanguard, which has some of the lowest fees around, has a handy calculator.  According to Vanguard, the industry average fee is 1.01%. Vanguard pegs their average fee at 0.18%. Their calculator does a fantastic job showing the cost of high fees over time.  Fees

Read more
Fire anemone
FIRE Investing

Why FIRE?

Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) As part of our pre-marriage financial summit, my wife and I took a long look at our retirement goals. At the time I hadn’t discovered Mr. Money Mustache or any of the FIRE crowd. What we found was pretty dismal. I had graduated from a top university with no debt, had worked with a generous salary for 6 straight years, and had managed to accumulate a personal net worth of about $70,000.  Of that, my TSP held only slightly more than half, even after six years of investing. Somehow I had managed to spend nearly my entire

Read more
Budgeting this tree helped the beaver.
Debt Investing

Budgeting is an Excuse to Spend

I am a budgeting failure. Once, in a calorie counting phase, I found myself viewing the calorie budget as a challenge. If I had 100 calories left over at the end of the day, I would allow myself a donut, or a beer, up to my maximum, rather than banking my lower count for the win. This is exactly what happened when I started a traditional budget. Each month I spent exactly what was in my little envelope, with nothing left over. Budgeting was giving me permission to spend. Being in debt, especially six figures of debt, mean no spending

Read more