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

Why Do We Buy Crap??

Why Do We Buy Crap??

Sometimes I can’t help but shake my head that we as a society feel compelled to buy crap just because we feel we “need” it. There are millions of people here in the U.S. that, although not by choice, manage to live on $2 a day.  But when it comes to the middle class, even with increasing salaries, most families buy and buy and still feel like they need more stuff. Why? Why do people love to waste their hard-earned money on crap? I’m not above this, but I think I’ve changed tremendously over the past decade.  I’ve really become much better at just living more simply. When I was working during my college years, I was a spender.  I’ve talked about how I

Why I Ended My Costco Membership

Why I Ended My Costco Membership

Once upon a time, there was a guy who wanted to save money and heard that buying in bulk would help him with that.  So he bought a Costco membership to reach that goal. It was glorious!  He saved a ton of money, enjoyed loads of free samples, and took advantage of all the amenities it had to offer. There were unicorns, pixies, pots of gold, and all sorts of other wonderful things that don’t really exist anywhere but here. All this happiness was thanks to his Costco membership… thanks, Costco!! The End   Ok, maybe this wasn’t the most accurate fairy tale, but there are a lot of loyal members who might build their experiences up to be pretty close this story. I’m not