There are critical times in the course of life when financial independence is at risk of destruction. A lifetime of planning, saving, and investing can go up in smoke in a few short years without an adequate plan to protect the most vulnerable member of a marriage (or any relationship, for that matter) after the death of a spouse or loved one. The trauma and grief after a loved one dies is acute. Deep pain and emptiness creates risks for the surviving spouse. Well intentioned, and lonely, people will try to connect with the bereaved. A couple committed to a lifetime of financial discipline will acquire a massive nest egg of retirement wealth. The surviving spouse is a prime target, a highly desired, person for this reason. Even people with honorable intentions can wreck havoc on the surviving spouse’s finances.Read More
Cable TV arrived late at my household and left early. Back in the 80s and early 90s we only had local channels available over the airwaves. As the year 2000 approached I broke down and allowed cable TV to enter my home. It was a disaster. I could not believe I was paying for something that was mostly ads to get me to waste even more money. A few years later the fix was in; cable was on the way out.
My greatest concern was my family. Mrs. Accountant and the girls liked a few shows on the glass teat (reference The Glass Teat by: Harlan Ellison). I had to devise a way to cut the cord without making it look like I was cutting the cord. My idea was to convince my family we were only temporarily suspending the DirecTV account for six months as an experiment. To my surprise nobody was bothered by my idea.Read More
A thought experiment: Why do you want money? What drives you to attain financial independence? Why is retirement such a powerful draw? Think about these questions before you read on. I want you to really understand why you do the things you do when it comes to money. Think about what money does for you.
Readers here already understand they don’t want the headline. Money, in and of itself, is worthless. It is paper with inked pictures of deceased individuals. So what. But money also symbolizes something. Money is how we trade value when we are not bartering. Because money is a store of value until needed, we can do things with money impossible with barter. Money can earn a profit. I guess you could barter for seeds. Then you could create some of the characteristics of money if you farm. Still, money is a tool, nothing more.Read More
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