An Easier Way to Track Your Expenses

An Easier Way to Track Your Expenses

You’ve heard it before – be sure that you track your expenses!  But why would you want to do that?  And is there an easy way to make it happen? When most of the mainstream media in the financial space talks, they want to push you toward using your income as a gauge on how prepared you are for retirement. You’ll hear various numbers thrown around such as that you’ll need 80% of your pre-retirement income to make it through retirement. I get it.  That’s fitting for a lot of the general population.  Most folks just tend to spend everything (or more than) they make.  They’re probably not on track for retirement so the advice isn’t terrible. However, you’re likely reading this

The Power of FU Money

The Power of FU Money

FU money… the dream of many a worker around the world. If you’re not familiar with the concept, FU money (aka F-you money) is the idea that you’ve accumulated enough bankroll that you can tell your boss “f*** you” if needed. Maybe you’ve just had enough and can’t take it anymore – you just want to quit and do something else. FU money gives that power… that flexibility. Perhaps you’re ready for a career change.  On the other hand, maybe you want to take a mini-retirement – a break of sorts. FU money can help. Now don’t get me wrong, FU money is not necessarily financial independence.  It can be, but it doesn’t need to be. You might not have

Prioritizing Each Investment Account for FIRE

Prioritizing Each Investment Account for FIRE

As I became a little more familiar with the idea of FIRE (financial independence / retire early), I needed to learn where I should be putting my money.  And I’m not talking about the specific investments – I’m referring to the type of investment account. Terms like taxable, tax-deferred, and tax-free can make a huge difference in the outcome of your portfolio.  When I started out, I didn’t understand just how much of a difference each of these accounts could make in the long run. Most of the articles you read or the standard investment advice you hear from planners on TV anticipates that you’ll be retiring at the traditional age… or even working for the rest of your life. Because of

The Cost of Living in Panama… Geoarbitrage at Work!

The Cost of Living in Panama… Geoarbitrage at Work!

Ah, the cost of living in Panama… something I should have posted about months ago. As my long-time readers know, the Route to Retire family has decided to move to Panama in a couple years as part of our FIRE plans.  I’ve also talked about how inexpensive it can be to retire to a place like this. It’s interesting that you can actually take advantage of the difference in living costs between two locations to help you financially.  And there’s actually a term for this – geoarbitrage. It might be done to live on less money.  Alternatively, it might be to have the ability to afford the “greater things in life” you otherwise couldn’t afford. You see that used quite a bit on

Paula Pant Kicked Me Where It Hurts

Paula Pant Kicked Me Where It Hurts

Ok, she didn’t physically kick me, but Paula Pant found a way to get into my head.  She worked me up into a real tizzy (do people still use that word?). It crushed me and took me days to think through and re-evaluate some things. First off, if you don’t know Paula Pant, she’s the host of the Afford Anything brand, which includes her blog and podcasts. She’s also one smart cookie and has a great sense of humor.  Intelligence + laughs = great podcasts. And, it’s those podcasts of hers that I enjoy listening to on a regular basis.  She even made my The 10 Best Financial Podcasts list. As an added bonus, I had the opportunity to meet

The Move to Vanguard… Bye, Bye TD Ameritrade!

The Move to Vanguard… Bye, Bye TD Ameritrade!

If you’ve delved into the FIRE community even slightly, you’re probably already familiar with the shrine that is Vanguard.  The Vanguard Group is an investment/brokerage firm out of Pennsylvania that manages over $4 trillion in assets. Eh, who cares?  All the big brokerages manage big dollar assets like that. True, but Vanguard’s different from the other firms out there in that Vanguard is structured as a mutual company. What that means is that it’s a private company where the owners are actually the clients themselves.  In other words, if you’re a Vanguard customer, you’re also a part owner of the company. That’s part of the reason people love this company.  This isn’t to say that the other big brokerages don’t have your interests