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

You’re Doing It Wrong! Your Personal Savings Rate

You’re Doing It Wrong! Your Personal Savings Rate

Here’s the problem with calculating your personal savings rate… you’re doing it wrong! Ok, maybe you’re not, but I sure was! First off, let’s talk about what your personal savings rate is.  In essence, it’s a metric to be able to determine what percentage you’re putting away in relation to your income. In other words, it provides a good way to tell at a glance how well you’re saving. Someone might make a ton of money at his or her job, but if that person’s spending it all, it’s really all for nothing in the long run. However, someone else might not be bringing home a large salary, but if she’s stashing away a good percentage of it, she’s going

I Just Spent $35 on a Sleeping Pad and Feel Guilty as Shit

I Just Spent $35 on a Sleeping Pad and Feel Guilty as Shit

Well, Amazon Prime Day happened.  I told my wife to stay away from Amazon for the day and not to get sucked in.  I warned her about it.  Unfortunately, nobody warned me and somehow I ended up in the vortex and bought a $35 sleeping pad before the day was over. I debated it while it sat in my cart and the 15-minute countdown clock was ticking away.  I even deleted it out of my cart and re-added it just to restart the clock. I contemplated this for 29 minutes and 56 seconds before I pulled the trigger and made the purchase. Then I just stared at my screen and felt guilty.  In fact, I felt guilty about it for

It Doesn’t Matter, So Stop It!

It Doesn’t Matter, So Stop It!

In general, we seem to have a tendency to focus a lot of our time and money on the things that don’t really matter.  It’s time to stop it and instead concentrate on what does matter… So far this summer we’ve taken a fantastic trip to Panama and spent a few days at a cottage on Kelleys Island on Lake Erie.  We’re starting to pack for a week-long vacation trip to Tennessee we have coming up in the next couple of weeks. I’m also going on a backpacking weekend in the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania in September.  And, of course, I’m more than excited about my first trip to FinCon in Dallas in October.  In the meantime, we’re trying