Make Your Money Work for You Instead of Vice Versa

Make Your Money Work for You Instead of Vice Versa

I think I first heard the mantra of “make your money work for you” when I was a kid.  I’d also guess that it was my grandfather who preached it.  He was able to retire in his mid-40’s before the term FIRE (financial independence / retire early) was even coined. But it took me years to really understand what that meant.  And even once I thought I got it, I still assumed it was just some pipe dream that only the rich could appreciate. Over the years though, I started to dig myself out of the credit card debt I was in.  Then I started saving.  And then I started saving even more and more. Eventually, I began to make

The Roth Conversion Strategy Guide for Early Retirees

The Roth Conversion Strategy Guide for Early Retirees

Doing a Roth conversion can be the key to a successful FIRE (financial independence, retire early) strategy.  That’s definitely the case for us. By doing some financial planning, this one move is allowing us to access money in our pre-tax retirement accounts with no penalty and the ability to pay little to no tax when it happens. Today, I’m going to take you through some more details on what a Roth conversion is and why it’s so valuable.  I’ll also share with you the steps we took in making it happen.   What is a Roth conversion? A Roth conversion (more formally known as a Roth IRA conversion) is simply a matter of moving all or part of the money

How and Why We Changed Our State of Domicile

How and Why We Changed Our State of Domicile

One of the things we did before we headed to Panama was to change our state of domicile. If you’re not familiar with the term, your state of domicile refers to your principal place of residence.  If you leave for a while, it’s what can be thought of as the place you would return to afterward. In other words, it might be considered your “home base” in the U.S. – your permanent place of residence. For snowbirds that head from Ohio to places like Florida during the winter, their home in Ohio would more than likely be their state of domicile.  It’s also the state you’ll be taxed in for any income earned (though other states you reside it might

Choose FI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence

Book Review: Choose FI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence

I don’t normally write book reviews on this blog, but I’m making an exception for the new Choose FI book.  I was expecting my opinion to sway one way with the book but my impression after reading it went in a completely different direction. Chris Mamula is the author of Choose FI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence (along with coauthors Brad Barrett and Jonathan Mendonsa).  If you’re not familiar with Chris, he retired in 2017 at the young age of 41 (beat me by two years!).  He also spends a lot of time writing at the Can I Retire Yet? site. I met Chris at the FinCon conference in 2017 – such a nice guy!  We didn’t get a chance

Do Low and Negative Interest Rates Scare You?

Do Low and Negative Interest Rates Scare You?

A couple of weeks ago, I brought up the idea of negative interest rates with my nine-year-old daughter, Faith. Yes, this might be something a little weird to talk about with your kid, but it piggy-backed off of our personal finance class during homeschooling.  And of course, I kept it pretty high-level. I had kept it simple talking about how banks pay interest to people who store their money there.  The banks then take that money and loan it out to others and charge a higher interest rate to them for things like buying a home. These concepts are important for kids to understand.  Eventually, we can talk about some of the causes and effects, but for now, that’ll suffice.

We Moved Our Health Savings Account to Fidelity!

We Moved Our Health Savings Account to Fidelity!

I recently completed a transfer of our health savings account (HSA) from Health Equity to Fidelity.  Today, I want to tell you why I made this move and explain the process. First off, if you aren’t familiar with health savings accounts, they’re one of the most valuable accounts you can have in your arsenal.  I’ve talked about how an HSA is the best bang for your buck in that the account belongs to you and not your employer. Unlike a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), the money you have in it doesn’t expire after the plan year is over either.  It’s yours for the long haul! Your money also goes in as pre-tax dollars, grows tax-free, AND is tax-free on withdrawal