Mommy and baby deer on an island in the lake behind our house

August 2020 Early Retirement Update

Time flies when you’re having fun. We’re all having fun, right? Summer just flew by and we are officially feeling fall here in North Carolina. It’s cooling off some and the kids are back in (virtual) school so it definitely feels like fall even if the calendar says we have a couple more weeks of summer. 

This was our first summer in a long time that we didn’t travel anywhere. Was staying at home all summer boring? Not really. I still have the travel bug and want to hit the road again when it’s safe and convenient. In fact, we booked some speculative travel for next year with our fingers crossed that it will happen. You’ll have to keep reading to find out how optimistic our travel plans are!

Financially speaking, August was a fantastic month for us. Our net worth climbed $73,000 to end the month at $2,206,000. Income was relatively decent at $5,759 while our expenses came in slightly above budget at $3,468 for the entire month.

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Confessions Of A Frugal Millionaire

Unless you are an heir to a big fortune or you have won the lottery, you have to work hard to have money.  To accumulate wealth, you have to make more money than you spend.  The key is to keep your expenses low.  And there will be sacrifices.  Nothing crazy though.

At the Root of Good household, our clothes are not from the mall, we don’t dine out at Ruth’s Chris, or deck out our split level home with the latest from Pottery Barn or Williams Sonoma.  We choose not to quench our thirst with Dom Perignon or Dasani.  Yes, we have made sacrifices.  At first we balked at some of these sacrifices, but we gave them a try.  You never know until you try right?

We have decreased our expenses by carrying our lunches in disposable plastic grocery bags (which also make great suitcases).  We refill disposable water bottles and reuse disposable straws and plastic utensils.

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How to Visit Angkor Wat Temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia

“Hey look it’s another 1,000 year old temple! And monkeys are climbing all over us!” That’s right, we spent a week in Siem Reap, Cambodia touring the ancient temples of the Angkor Wat complex.

Our visit to Siem Reap was part of our seven week Southeast Asia vacation that included two weeks in Vietnam and a week in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. After Siem Reap we headed to Thailand for a month where we visited Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Bangkok.

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July 2019 Financial Update – Exploring Cambodia and Thailand Edition

The Root of Good family just got back to the US after an eight week adventure in Southeast Asia. We spent the month of July split between Cambodia and Thailand. 

Now that we’re rested up and mostly recovered from the jet lag, I wanted to take a break from life and share our July financials before we get busy with all the back to school activities coming up soon.

Our net worth dropped ever so slightly from $2,114,000 to $2,112,000 (a $2,000 drop). Income remained strong at $2,777 for the month of July, while our expenses remained moderate at $1,961. 

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5 Lessons Learned in 5 Years of Early Retirement

Well folks, today marks five years of early retirement for me.  Flashback: on August 26, 2013 I spent the morning sitting in my office at work, catching up on emails after a week long vacation. Then my boss walks in, says “you’re fired”, hands me the dismissal paperwork and I’m on my way. I spend the rest of the morning at home puzzling over my spreadsheets to verify that I am, in fact, financially independent.

Analysis result: I was financially independent. Our initial budgeted spending of $32,000 per year was only three percent of our total investment balance. In other words, way less than the 4% rule dictates.

Fast forward five years and here we are. Five years older and five years wiser.  Our kids were age 1, 7, and 8 when I retired and now they are 6, 12, and 13! They are very different people than they were five years ago.

Right after I quit working, I was still in production mentality when I started this blog. I always wanted to do something internet-y and the blog was the first thing that came to mind.  After a weekend of googling “how to start a blog” and other extremely basic search queries, I had figured it all out. I registered the rootofgood.com domain name and published my first article on September 11th, 2013.

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July 2018 Financial Update – Home Again!

It’s early August and we’ve been at home for about two weeks after spending a month vacationing in the Bahamas during June and July. Summer is flying by incredibly fast because we have been so busy!

Our oldest two kids just wrapped up two weeks in summer camp. The whole family has enjoyed lunch, dinner, or play dates with several groups of friends that we haven’t seen all summer. Back to school shopping is mostly done. And school starts in three short weeks!

In the meantime, our lazy investment portfolio continues to be busy as well (in a very hands-off way).  Our net worth shot up by $46,000 during the month of July to $2,084,000. Spending was particularly low at $1,389 while income remained strong at $4,361 for the month.

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The Hidden Gems of the Julian Alps and Soča Valley in Slovenia

The eighth stop on our nine week summer vacation across Europe found us in Northern Slovenia and the beautifully scenic areas of Lake Bled, Soča Valley, and the Julian Alps.  While visiting these sights we spent four nights in the tiny village of Podkoren in the far northwestern corner of Slovenia.

We stumbled upon Podkoren while searching for a centrally located apartment in the northern part of Slovenia that would serve as a home base for exploring the mountains, lakes, and valleys nearby. Podkoren was perfect for all of that. Wikipedia says Podkoren has 388 residents, but they must have done the census during the winter ski season and not when we were there during the sleepy summer off season.  We assumed Podkoren would be nothing more than a place to rest in between our daytime adventures across Northern Slovenia but to our surprise the village turned out to be worth exploring as a destination in itself.

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January 2018 Financial Update

Wow, January flew by! I can’t believe it’s already February.  Here in North Carolina it was a rather frigid January.  We experienced not one, but TWO (!!) snowstorms during the month which is a rare occurrence.  If you’ve never experienced snow in the South, it’s a treat. Everything shuts down and the kids get a few days off school.  We busted out the sleds, bundled up, and made the most of it.  Ironically we ended up at our neighborhood elementary school where we hit the slopes hard.

January was a fun month for our finances, too.  The market continued its upward trajectory throughout the month and left us much wealthier.  Our net worth climbed $77,000 to $2,114,000.  Income remained strong at $4,055 which more than covered our spending of $1,281 for the month.

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Is Hygge, or “Social Coziness”, Denmark’s Best Export?

Visiting us this week is Bob Lai, the blogger behind Canadian Financial Independence and Early Retirement blog “Tawcan” with an important message on living the good life with a Danish influence.

Unless you have been living under a rock the last few years, you probably have come across the word “hygge.” Hygge is a concept that comes from Denmark. Directly translated, it means cozy. For some reason, hygge has been the hottest craze lately. Everywhere you look you can find hygge related items, being it a flood of books, countless top 10 lists or how-to website articles, department store displays, and even Japanese bakeries.

What exactly is hygge? Does it simply mean cozy? Or purchases of things to create a cozy environment?

I will explain to you what hygge is to me and my family.

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December 2017 Financial Update

Happy New Year!  Another great year in the books for us.  Our youngest started kindergarten. We took an amazing nine week trip to Europe.  And with all the kids in school we were finally able to take advantage of a nice last minute travel deal when Mrs. Root of Good and I jumped on a cruise to the Caribbean for a week.  Our early retirement lifestyle is going well.

Here’s how our finances finished 2017.  Year end dividends rolled into the investment accounts in December pushing our total income to just over $14,000. Our spending was rather high at almost $8,000 (which needs some explaining). Another freakishly good month in the stock market pushed our net worth up another $26,000 to leave us with $2,037,000 at year end. Needless to say, our 2017 went remarkably well from a financial perspective.

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