For Those Who Hate Budgeting, Try Reverse Budgeting

For Those Who Hate Budgeting, Try Reverse Budgeting

Last week, I talked about money throughout my life.  I’ve had my ups and downs with it just like most folks.  What I didn’t talk about though is my hate for budgeting. I’m probably one of the most organized people with a good old case of OCD you’d love to know.  I need structure in order to operate.  For me, everything has its place and making a plan is always the smartest way to do something. It’s actually soothing for me to do little things like putting away the dishes from the dishwasher.  I think that’s because I feel like order is being restored and everything’s going back in the cupboard or drawer it belongs in. I sound like a

There is a Secret Formula to FI, But It Ain’t No Secret!

There is a Secret Formula to FI, But It Ain’t No Secret!

Everyone likes a secret, but a secret formula?  Even better! Now that we’re only a few months out from me quitting my job, we’re starting to share the news more with friends and family. A lot of them seem to be a little confused, but then we talk about our planned move to Panama and it takes most folks to a level beyond comprehension. Eventually though, we tend to get past that initial shock.  And then the “bold” ones out there muster up the courage to ask some questions. But most importantly, they want to know how we did it… What’s the secret formula for reaching financial independence? I think it’s a fair question. After all, people as a whole tend

The Three-Year Blog Post… Finance Lessons Learned

The Three-Year Blog Post... Finance Lessons Learned

3 years.  That’s what this blog post marks… three years of blogging on Route to Retire. For new bloggers, this might sound like a long time.  However, I look at some of the others out there who have been doing this for over a decade – like J.D. Roth at Get Rich Slowly or J. Money at Budgets Are Sexy.  It’s then that I realize I’m still somewhat of a rookie in the blogosphere. I’ve consistently posted a minimum of once a week (haven’t missed a week yet!) and I’ve seen a steady increase in both readers and blog income. On last year’s anniversary, I talked about what I’ve learned about blogging.  That seemed to help a lot of newer bloggers out.

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

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

The Roth IRA Conversion Ladder Dilemma

The Roth IRA Conversion Ladder Dilemma

I’ve been a bit moody the past couple of weeks.  I’ve been focusing a lot on trying to pinpoint our exact retirement date and I’ve been struggling.  The problem all stems with the Roth IRA Conversion Ladder we plan to do. First off, if you’re on the path to FIRE (Financial Independence/Retire Early) and you’re not familiar with how a Roth IRA Conversion Ladder works, this could be important to you. It’s not the end-all-be-all solution, but the ladder is a method that many early retirees are able to use to make FIRE actually happen. You see, normally you don’t have access to your traditional 401(k) and other retirement accounts until 59½.  This is a problem for young whippersnappers trying