It’s hard to get excited about a brokerage firm. In fact, I like boring brokerage firms. Other than low costs and fees, an excellent web interface, and great customer service, there’s not a lot I want from my broker. Check out my recommendations page, and you’ll see Vanguard and Fidelity as my top choices.
But there’s another brokerage firm that piqued my interest recently: Motif Investing. They offer something that I haven’t seen at any other brokerage firm. The ability to trade a basket of stocks with one click and for only one low $9.95 brokerage commission. And they are offering $150 to entice you to give them a try (read on for more details).
Imagine early retirement as a well cooked meal. The recipe calls for healthy doses of earned income and a liberal application of spending less than you make. Place those savings into a good asset allocation. Mix ingredients well and let simmer for a decade or two. Voila! Early retirement on a platter. If only you could find that dish in the frozen section of the grocery store or at a drive thru window near you!
You can’t retire early without a decent working history. Throughout the last two decades, I’ve had almost twenty different jobs. The earliest ones didn’t pay particularly well, but my compensation generally increased as I gained more experience. Join me on this autobiographical odyssey through my working years.
Out of curiosity, I took a look at our ten largest purchases of 2014. I knew what the the top few expenses would be (vacations and a major home renovation), but the rest of the expenses escaped my memory after the money left my hand.
Looking at the top ten expenses is a good exercise to conduct each year. Our top ten add up to about half of our annual spending. I’m a big believer in making sure our expenditures bring a lot of value, and by looking at these top ten expenses, we can see whether we got good value in 2014.
How did we kick off 2015? With a month of average spending of course! January’s expenses of $2,548 were very average in spite of some lumpy expenses like the annual property tax bill. When it comes to spending money, average is good. Our income of $2,068 was on the smaller side and much lower than last month’s income.