The Role of Luck in Early Retirement

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We’re celebrating Thanksgiving here in America in a few days, and that means two things: eating massive quantities of turkey and reflecting on all the beautifully awesome parts of life! Last year I mentioned how thankful I was for cool affordable tech gadgets, the ease of growing wealth, and lastly, economic and political stability.

I’m still a big fan of all of those! But in this post, I want to express my gratitude for all the good luck experienced throughout my life.

First up, I’m glad I was born in the United States of America. It’s one of the richest countries in the world as measured by per capita gross domestic product, consistently ranking in the top 10 or 15 countries of the world. In the good ole US of A, we speak English which is the lingua franca of business and culture worldwide. Speaking English as a first language boosts one’s career prospects and allows conversation with around a quarter of the world’s population. That also translates to a huge marketplace if you’re in the idea biz (such as writing a blog).

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October 2016 Financial Update

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Now that the trick or treating is over and October is gone, I’m ready to share the good and bad financial data from last month. Our income, mostly derived from this blog, remained very strong at $8,365 while our expenses ended the month at $1,460 which left us with a large cash surplus. If I make much more money, I’m afraid I might be “unretired”!

I can’t say I paid any attention to the stock market in October but apparently it declined. In spite of income exceeding expenses by about $7,000, our net worth still dropped by $29,000 to $1,618,000. Since this is significantly more money than we had a year or two ago, I continue to feel safe and secure at our current net worth levels.

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My first person view of gentrification

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Earlier this week I walked out the kitchen door and down the sidewalk destined for the neighborhood Food Lion grocery store. It’s a quick five minute walk to the shopping center and proves uneventful on most trips.

This day was a little different for a number of reasons. Half a block away from home, I bumped into a new neighbor. We started chatting about the neighborhood, the fancy downtown magnet school both of our children attend, and his most recent acquisition: oboe reeds. This guy had a different vibe than many other neighbors that moved here over the past several years. He’s completely white and fluent in English for starters. Solidly middle class. After doing some cybersleuthing later in the day, I realized he paid about 50% more for his house than what his neighbors did a few years earlier.

We shake hands and part ways after exchanging contact info to stay in touch (we’re neighborly like that down here in the South). I proceed to the grocery store in no particular rush (I’m retired after all). I enter the shopping center through the short cut by the dumpsters. And lo and behold there’s a homeless looking gentleman laid out on the sidewalk in the sun chugging a half gallon jug of whole milk. Not my first choice of mid-day beverage, but it was warm that day so I guess 64 fluid ounces of ice cold milk hit the spot, right?

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September 2016 Financial Update

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I can’t believe September is already over! Our oldest two kids are settling into the back to school routine (with a few hiccups along the way) while our youngest starts one day per week pre-school next week. Fall usually brings cooler, dryer weather to North Carolina but this year summer decided to overstay its welcome by keeping the warm, humid air around much longer than normal.

September was another great month for us financially. Our income remained strong at $5,695 while our spending remained below budget at $2,781. Net worth increased by $12,000 to $1,647,000.

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