The 10 Most Popular Posts of 2021… That Aren’t Fritz’s

The 10 Most Popular Posts of 2021…
That Aren’t Fritz’s

I was trying to decide what to write for this week’s post. Then I ran across my friend Fritz’s recent post, The 10 Most Popular Posts of 2021. That seemed like the perfect way to end the year… so I stole his idea!

Ok, I didn’t really steal it. I reached out to Fritz to see if he’d be ok with me writing a post of my own like his… and he was just fine with the idea. See? We early retirees take care of each other!

Fritz and I met at the first FinCon personal finance conference I ever attended back in 2017. We became friends right off the rip. More importantly for you, Fritz has written some fantastic posts over the years on his blog, The Retirement Manifesto, that he started around the same time I started mine in 2015. Be sure to check it out if you’re not already familiar and looking for some good content.

But now, let’s get back to Route to Retire!

It’s always fun to look back on the year and see what the most popular posts were on the site. The top 10 this year covered quite a wide range of fun topics. It was interesting to see that three of the posts were actually from prior years, too.

Take a look and see if there are any you missed that strike your fancy…

#10) How We’re Streaming Movies, TV, and Music for Free

How We’re Streaming Movies, TV, and Music for Free

It doesn’t surprise me that this article made its way into the most popular posts of the year. The majority of folks out there are still testing and trying out different methods of streaming media to figure out what works for them. So learning what others are doing can be helpful as well.

This isn’t a cord-cutting article re-hashing the same old info. It’s our little twist that helps us with streaming movies, TV, and music for free.

#9) We Moved Our Health Savings Account to Fidelity!

We Moved Our Health Savings Account to Fidelity!

Our HSA was with a higher-priced custodial company while I was employed. Once I retired, I was excited to be able to move it to a lower-priced company. In fact, moving it to Fidelity let me invest all of it (worth just under $45k today) in the Fidelity ZERO Total Market Index Fund (FZROX). That’s a zero-cost total stock market index fund… that’s what I like!

If you’re interested in moving your HSA over to Fidelity (which apparently many folks are), this post walks you through the process step-by-step.

#8) 4 Lessons Learned After Two Years of Early Retirement

4 Lessons Learned After Two Years of Early Retirement

This post came out in January of 2021 after two years of leaving my job. I’m now just a few days from wrapping up the third year of early retirement!

The lessons I learned after two years of retirement apply 100% though and help demonstrate that life’s a journey. Retirement is truly wonderful but there can still be a learning curve in figuring out your path in life.

#7) Owning Rental Properties Is Smart, but I’m Out, Jack!

Owning Rental Properties Is Smart, but I’m Out, Jack!

2021 was a momentous year for us in that we sold our last rental property. Our duplex cash-flowed very nicely but owning rental properties still brings along some headaches… and property management companies present their own set of problems.

Fortunately, the insane seller’s market gave us an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. Check out why we got out of owning physical real estate and what we’re doing instead.

#6) We Don’t Need More Money… But I Want It!

We Don’t Need More Money... But I Want It!

Not only did this prove to be one of my most popular posts of the year, but it also stirred the hornets’ nest.

The point of this post was to explain that we have enough money to cover our expenses and enough money to have plenty of fun, too. But I’d like more just so I’m not constantly checking to see where we stand. This isn’t because I need to watch the money so closely, but rather because it’s my nature to do so. Having more cushion in our funds might help ease that feeling of needing to track everything so closely.

However, many readers took this to mean that we don’t have enough money and shouldn’t have retired early. I’m comfortable in the amount of money we retired with – we’re having a blast and not wanting for anything. Having more though never hurts and can be fun to make happen through outlets like this blog.

#5) Boquete, Panama in Photos – Beautiful!

Boquete, Panama in Photos - Beautiful!

If looking at photos of places helps you understand a place more than words do, this post is for you. I included a lot of photos in this one – all sorts of interesting facets of Boquete, Panama:

  • In and around the town of Boquete itself
  • The flowers
  • The food, restaurants, and grocery stores
  • The wildlife and the crazy-looking bugs
  • Fun events like parades
  • Beautiful views and landscapes

You’d think a post of mostly photos would be easier to do, but it’s actually a lot more work than writing is. I’m glad that this was one of the most popular posts of the year since it makes it worth it!

#4) I’m Now a 401(k) Millionaire – Can You Be One, Too?

I’m Now a 401(k) Millionaire – Can You Be One, Too?

How exciting is this? We became millionaires back in 2017, but I became a 401(k) millionaire this past spring. It’s a little surreal to think that this one account is worth so much, but no complaints here!

This account has continued to grow along with the insane stock market over this past year, too – it’s now worth over $1.1 million. But the reality is that you can never count on this being permanent. The stock market could crash tomorrow and cut the value in half.

Until then though, I’m going to continue to relish in this monumental accomplishment!

#3) Using Google Voice to Stay in Touch While Living Abroad

Using Google Voice to Stay in Touch While Living Abroad

I wrote this article a couple of years ago when I realized that I could port our phone numbers over to Google Voice and be able to make and receive calls and text messages for free anywhere in the world. This has made our lives tremendously easier over the past couple of years of traveling back and forth to Panama.

Because of how it works, there is no reliance on a particular cell phone company. As long as we have an internet connection, be it from any mobile carrier or even just WiFi, we’re 100% good to go. And the best part is that we didn’t need to give friends and family a new or different phone number – we kept our same phone numbers from over the years.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks this is useful. This has continued to be one of my most popular blog posts every year since I wrote it in 2019.

#2) How and Why To Open a Custodial Roth IRA at Vanguard

How and Why To Open a Custodial Roth IRA at Vanguard

We all want the best for our kids and setting them off on the right foot financially is especially important. Being able to get my daughter started with a Roth IRA when she was just 10 years old (she’s 11 now) was a no-brainer.

This has become one of my most popular posts because I detail how you’re able to open a Roth IRA for a minor, which is one of the best retirement accounts to own. Not only that, but I take you step-by-step how to get the account opened and funded. I even show you the simple spreadsheet I created to keep track of this in the unlikely case of an audit at any point.

If you have a child earning money, this is one of the best gifts you can give them for their financial future. Whether they’re working at McDonald’s, Walmart, or doing self-employment work like babysitting or mowing lawns, it’s fair game to get rolling with a custodial Roth IRA.

#1) 10 Reasons Not to Live in Panama

10 Reasons Not to Live in Panama

Ladies and gentlemen, the most popular post on Route to Retire for 2021… 10 Reasons Not to Live in Panama. Funny enough, this was a post that I wrote in 2019.

I think the big reason why this made it at the top of the most popular posts for the year is that it shows some of the negatives of living in the country. Panama is a wonderful country and I love it here, but not everything can be peaches and cream.

It’s easy to paint the pretty picture of a place, but it’s important for readers to also see the things that aren’t perfect. In this case, I think the positives tend to outweigh the negatives, but this post details the aspects of Boquete that we’ve found to not be so great.


And that’s a wrap, folks! I hope you enjoyed the countdown of the most popular posts on Route to Retire for 2021 and maybe found a few posts you haven’t gotten to read yet that spark an interest.

More importantly, I hope your holidays are safe and spectacular. Here’s hoping for a great 2022!

Plan well, take action, and live your best life!

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful New Year!!

— Jim

You know you wanna share this!!

6 thoughts on “The 10 Most Popular Posts of 2021… That Aren’t Fritz’s”

  1. You said: “For me though, I’m ready to be a little more hands-off with real estate and I think putting my $85k to work in REITs might be the way to go. I already own some shares of Vanguard Real Estate Index Fund Admiral Shares (VGSLX) and I think that will be the landing point for most or all of this cash in hand. It currently has a 0.12% expense ratio and has returned about 8.20% over the past 10 years.”

    Me: Your most valuable post this year. Thanks 31.52% return for the year…not bad!

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