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

My 6 Favorite FinCon17 Moments

My 6 Favorite FinCon17 Moments

FinCon.  Holy @#$%.  Was not expecting it to be as awesome as it was. Believe it or not, I consider myself not to be a people person.  I would rather just be at home and hang out with my wife and daughter. However, once I’m out, I sort of flip that whole tendency upside-down.  I’m usually the guy that starts a conversation with the people in line at the grocery store, the guy next to me at the bar, or the gal next to me on an airplane. Regardless, I was slightly anxious about my first FinCon.  Sure, I’ve talked to a lot of the other bloggers already through comments and other emails, but it’s not the same.  Now I’d

My First 24 Hours with the J. Money Mohawk

My First 24 Hours with the J. Money Mohawk

It started as a joke… until it wasn’t.  This is the story of how I became a J. Money knockoff for the day.  It’s something a little different from my regular posts. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show… I was at the FinCon expo for the first time this year.  If you’re unfamiliar with the event, it’s an annual convention filled with financial content for bloggers and other money nerds! Philip Taylor (PT) started the event in 2011 and it’s been growing ever since.  Like-minded love to get together and this event is definitely no exception. I’ll be talking about my FinCon experience in a later post… just know that I loved every minute of that expo. I went to the conference

Is Rule 72(t) the Escape Tool for Me?

Is Rule 72(t) the Escape Tool for Me?

Rule 72(t).  The name sounds as boring as 401(k).  And it should because it’s from the same place – the Internal Revenue Code. Both are part of the tax law that the IRS gets to govern. Coincidentally, both Rule 72(t) and 401(k) plans are pertinent to this post. I recently wrote a post about our FIRE plans titled The Roth IRA Conversion Ladder Dilemma.  I talked about how we plan on using the ladder to access our tax-deferred accounts earlier than the traditional retirement age. The problem we ran up against is covering the 5-year gap in the meantime until we can access the funds.  We need to have enough money in our taxable accounts to make that happen… and we