A cold summer wind is blowing out of the east this morning as the horizon brightens with twilight. Mrs. Accountant steps beside me and places her hand on the inside of my elbow. I bring my steaming mug of coffee to my lips, anticipating the scalding bitter liquid. I swallow. Heat radiates from my core. I take a deep breath and release it slowly. I am contemplating one of the most destructive forces to financial independence, a force that can strike anyone or any family at any time. The killer is silent. It sneaks up so quiet no one ever sees it coming. And for those unlucky few, it destroys all they hold most dear.Read More
There is a raggedy band that gathers in the hills east of Seattle every year over the Memorial Day holiday in the States. From around the planet they gather, each with their own unique story. I was one of those stories.
Camp Mustache III was a resounding success again this year as Joe, Kristin, and Emma put together a hell of a program. Camp Mustache is a gathering of like minded people focused on financial independence and early retirement. Pete Adeney is the guest of honor as Mr. Money Mustache.Read More
I am writing this as I sit in the Seattle airport waiting to go home after a long weekend at Camp Mustache 3. (More on Camp Mustache later in the week as I write a roundup post.) The weekend was nothing short of incredible. The people I met and the stories shared have me tingly all over. One of the events of the weekend is climbing Mount Si. While climbing the hill our group talked and shared more stories about our lives. These get-togethers always entail a lot of “Where you from?” questions. While I was climbing Mount Si I was asked how I met Mrs. Accountant. I have a blog post in process on how to build a long-term, fulfilling relationship; today I want to focus on how to find the ideal mate.Read More
Cars are a leading cause of wealth destruction; they are also a necessary evil in our society. The only way to win the “car” game is to prepare for battle with a fully loaded arsenal. Today I am going to show you how I buy cars for $4,000 or more under Blue Book.
Before we begin battle you need to understand my car habits. I drive 6,000 – 8,000 miles per year, mostly for business trips. I bike to work around 100 days per year and drive another 100 days. The round trip to work is 30.2 miles. I always buy a used vehicle. Once I claim ownership of said vehicle I drive it for 15-20 years. There are two cars in the garage. This means I buy a car every 7 to 10 years on average. I keep my cheapskate skills honed by helping clients and family members engage in the same mischievous auto savings activities.Read More
Many years ago a young man entered my office wanting to see me. He had a fan folder filled with documents and needed his tax return prepared. In a weak moment I allowed him a meeting without an appointment. As I always do with a new client, I started to ask questions. It is my firm belief that you must know your client before you can help him.
Opening a file for a new client requires their Social Security Number. He questioned my need for this information. I explained how I cannot even open a file for him without the SSN. He grudgingly provided the number. As I continued asking questions to understand my new client I was met by a wall of resistance. Finally, the young man had had enough of my questions. He informed me I was on a need to know basis, to which I replied, “You need to know you need to leave.”Read More
An excited young man calls for an urgent appointment to see me and only me. My schedule is tight. Normally, appointments are set for me two or months out. (A lot of people want my advice/opinion.) The urgency of the matter caused me a momentary lapse of sanity and I stuffed another appointment into an already overcrowded schedule. Next Tuesday would be the big day.
There are only a small number of issues that are really urgent: IRS letter, inheritance/death, purchasing a home, divorce (you would be surprised how many people I know who came this close to getting divorce papers and didn’t), and either buying or selling a business or major asset. Periodically something new shows up, but 95% of urgent calls fall into the above mentioned categories. Today we have a client purchasing a business.Read More
Balancing family life, personal, and business present challenges when your interests are catholic (little c, not big C). Family is always a priority while business always demands more of your time; personal time is needed for mental well-being and health. Business owners are in the toughest situation. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Elon Musk changed the world with their work. The best learn quickly to avoid keeping busy. Even small business owners suffer the same demands on their time as captains of industry.Read More
People suffer financial hardship largely due to limited math skills. Myths, frequently perpetuated by the financial services industry, are created, repeated, and reinforced to keep people poor and enslaved. Financial services companies are there to provide financial services and collect a fee for that service, not make you wealthy.
Today we are going to dispel a few of those myths and start you thinking differently about money, investing, and wealth. Armed with the real math you can avoid stupid money mistakes. Early retirement (any retirement for that matter) and financial independence requires you to manage your money wisely. This means you will need to put aside the lies you have been told from young on.Read More