The Great American Canadian Road Trip – Summer 2016 Edition

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I dropped some hints about our big summer plans in my last post, and now it’s time to make it official! We’re going on an almost month long road trip to Canada by way of Kentucky and Michigan. For those following along with my early retirement journey for the past few years, you might be experiencing deja vu because doesn’t a month long road trip to Canada sound familiar?

You aren’t experiencing deja vu. In 2014 we did set out on what was supposed to be a month long road trip to Canada that turned into a two and a half week road trip when we came home early. The exhaustion that comes from superintending a rambunctious two year old combined with a disappointingly dirty Airbnb apartment rental persuaded us that it was time to return back home to Raleigh for some true R and R.

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March 2016 Financial Update

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I don’t know about you, but we had a wonderful March! The weather is beautiful and life is going very well at the Root of Good household. March represents the first full month of early retirement for Mrs. Root of Good. Last week the kids celebrated spring break and we had a very successful week of relaxing and enjoying the complete lack of a daily schedule.

In financial terms, March was very kind to us. Our net worth shot up $94,000 in spite of spending almost $11,000 (most of which was a used minivan purchase). Our income was higher than normal at $7,806 thanks to quarterly dividend payments from our investments.

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How To Score a $50 Car Payment For Life

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Our latest big ticket purchase included a free membership in the Large Family Club. That’s right, we bought a minivan. “Purchase a minivan by 2008” I typed in my first FIRE spreadsheet back in 2006. Oops, eight years late but it still counts, right?

The main reason we were eight years late buying a minivan is because we didn’t need it prior to the last year or two. It was our planned five week multi-thousand mile road trip up the East Coast into Canada that convinced us that a larger vehicle would be more comfortable for long road trips. We are in the middle of planning our 2016 summer adventure (more details later!) and decided to upgrade to a larger car for this trip.

Read on to find out how we’ll pay $50 per month to periodically replace our new(er) car.

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The Many Faces of the Four Percent Rule

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If you are a fan of early retirement and financial independence, then you have probably heard of the four percent rule. And if you haven’t, then welcome to the Club and allow me to explain more.

The four percent rule as developed in the “Trinity Study” way back in 1998 says a portfolio of stocks and bonds can support four percent annual withdrawals, adjusted for inflation each year, for a period of thirty years with very little chance of running out of money during that period of time.

The four percent rate of withdrawal is often called the safe withdrawal rate because the retirement portfolio didn’t run out of money in 95% to 98% of overlapping thirty year periods of past investment returns dating back almost a hundred years.

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