A Day Of Early Retirement – Going on a Walkabout

After a cold and abnormally snowy winter, the first day of beautiful spring-like weather came calling last week. We answered that call by getting outside and enjoying the fine weather. Even though it was Monday, a day that normally brings dread to cubicle dwellers the world over, we found ourselves embarking on foot for a journey to… a gas station? That rather strange destination, especially given our mode of transport, was sheer pretext to pull us out of doors and into the great urban Wilderness that surrounds us.

It was the most ordinary of mornings in the most extraordinary sense possible. We caught the budding cherry trees just before the blossoms opened. We passed by an empty bird nest temporary vacated or possibly deserted. A recent ice storm deposited scattered hulks of downed branches across the neighborhood’s yards, some already smartly stacked by the sidewalk obediently awaiting a ride to the city yard waste center.

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My Version Of Financial Independence As A 17 Year Old

Half a lifetime ago I developed a financial independence plan before I knew anything about financial independence and early retirement. My 17 year old self scribbled out a poorly refined plan to never work again and live off of savings from a minimum wage job. The bottom line: I thought I needed $120,000 to fund a perfectly adequate lifestyle forever by living on $600 per month in interest.

The year was 1997, the place was North Carolina in the wonderful United States of America. The federal poverty level back in 1997 was $657 per month, which meant that I was planning on living below the poverty line (before I even knew what a poverty line was).

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February 2015 Financial Update

February’s headline: “Massive net worth growth and tiny expenses”. Our net worth shot up $74,000 thanks to robust returns in our investment portfolio. We managed to spend less than $1,000 because two winter storms kept us partially housebound for two weeks. And we simply don’t spend a lot of money in general because we already own just about everything we need or want.

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Why We Chose The Worst School In The District

In my last article asking whether we should conceal our wealth, I mentioned the high poverty school that our children attend. We had a choice of many different elementary schools, and decided to go with the objectively worst school available based on traditional measures like test scores, percent of students in poverty, percent of students with limited English proficiency, and other demographics that most would say indicate a failing school. What persuaded us to choose this “failing school” was the direction it was headed and the fact that it was in our neighborhood only a few blocks away.

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Should We Conceal Our Wealth?

“Today my teacher asked me how we are able to go on another cruise so soon after the last one. I told my teacher that my daddy is retired and my mommy is about to retire, too. Then a kid in my class asked to borrow a few thousand dollars from me.”

That’s what my nine year old told me at dinner a few days ago. Some parents might freak out about how honest their kid was with their teachers and fellow classmates. Not me. But should I be more concerned?

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Crazy Things Made Possible By Early Retirement

For those who love their jobs or those that can’t manage to ever save any money, they may not understand why anyone would want to retire early. “Won’t you get bored?” they ask. Not yet! In fact, having huge blocks of free time opens up a lot of possibilities that aren’t very feasible while working full time.

I used to write a monthly summary of what I’m up to in early retirement like this, this, this, and this. I haven’t kept this diary of excitement up to date lately, but I wanted to share a small sample of the tiny and huge things that early retirement permit.

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This Year I’m Thankful for…

Technology. Laptops and smartphones are cheap and plentiful and always connected. They provide entertainment on demand through Netflix, Hulu or other services (no more commercials!). They open a window into other countries without the hassles or expense of travel. They speed the flow of information through youtube, wikipedia, and offer instant access to free online universities like Coursera. Getting a snapshot off all our finances and investments is a click away with Personal Capital. It has never been easier or faster than today.

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