Suze Orman Hates Us

For those who don’t know, Suze Orman is a financial “guru” who writes lots of books and appears on TV. In a recent interview¬†she rather harangued the FIRE community as being misguided and out of touch with reality . Her big takeaway was that you needed at least $5M or ideally $10M to retire.

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The Price of Insurance

Yesterday, our daughter’s phone was stolen. Her bag, along with some others was rifled through. Obviously she is pretty upset, however we did something we don’t normally do on consumer products. We bought insurance.

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2018 Objectives Update

At the start of the year I posted some family objectives for the year. This was a system similar to how performance is often measured in jobs. The idea was to give us some nudges in behavior in order to move us in the right direction for our FIRE life.

So here is how we are through Q3.

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September Financial Update

We are now into the fourth quarter of the year, soon it will be the holiday season and we will start planning for 2019.

So let’s see how the major markets did in September as well as our own personal net worth.

Market Sep-18 Q3 18 YTD
S&P500 0.43% 7.20% 8.99%
NASDAQ -0.78% 7.14% 16.56%
DOW 30 1.90% 9.01% 7.04%
Benchmark Vanguard 2040 Fund 0.13% 3.79% 4.17%
Our Net Worth -0.29% 1.58% 0.89%

Fire Rate YTD = 2.7%

In general all the markets had a pretty good Q3 with everything up 7-9%, the benchmark Vanguard 2040 was up just under 4% and our own net worth is up about 1.6%. The 1.6% rise is inline with a 3.8% rise in the benchmark if you remove the 2.7% spend.

It’s a little disappointing that the over the year so far the market’s are up by almost double digits but the benchmark is only up 4.2%

Our own spend in September (mainly from August’s credit card) was our lowest of the year, which helped to drop our FIRE rate/spend down to closer to our goal.

Our clothing spend was higher than usual mainly due to having to prepare for school. We also spent a bit more on groceries than normal because we had visitors a lot of August.

Entertainment was up considerably, again because of visitors and also because of one large purchase.

September should also be a reasonably good month. I’m not expecting any surprises. The only other big expenditure towards the end of the year will be property taxes.

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Laundry Blues

So last week, our washing machine broke. The machine suddenly stopped draining and when we opened the door we had water pour out. Obviously the first thing we wanted to do was see if we could fix it ourselves.

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Your Kids Don’t Want All Your Stuff

I hate to break it to you, but that mug collection you have proudly spent 30 years building up, visiting souvenir stores on every trip you’ve taken, well, your kids don’t want it. Look I know you mean well, but the mugs have no sentimental value to them. When you die and leave your precious collection to somebody, they will roll their eyes and fret about where they are going to put them. If they box them up they will feel guilty; but they aren’t going to fit in their 1200 sq ft downtown apartment. Additionally, the dated mugs will likely not go with the scandi-modern aesthetic they have built up in their home. They will start to feel resentful. Instead of thinking about the good times they spent with you, they will start to just mutter about”those darned mugs”. It’s not going to be pretty.

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Who Are We Saving For?

Earlier this week, I wrote about how much money you might need to actually retire. Today i’m going to write about who we are actually saving for.

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What Does it Take to Retire?

When you read the blogs and popular press it can be confusing to understand exactly what is required to retire. There is a lot of varying information, so here are some examples of the sort of information you might find. I’ll then summarize my thoughts on each theory.

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Rent or Buy – Which is Better?

The American Dream is often associated with owning your own home. The numbers have varied in the US, but over the last 50 years or so the percentage of householders owning their own home has stayed between 63% and 68%. The number is much lower with minorities, often due to social inequality considerations and the barrier to entry. But if you are a middle aged, white family there is a close to 90% chance you own your own home, either outright or through a mortgage.

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Live to Work or Work to Live

In large parts of Europe it’s considered taboo to ask people about their job when you first meet them. The assumption is that work should not define who you are, and that there are broader things that should define a person. In the US it is often one of the first things people ask you.

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