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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The Clothes Off My Back

The average American spends around $200 a month on clothes. That’s a lot of money on an annual basis (over $2000). So for a family that adds up to a considerable amount over the year. One of the benefits of early retirement is that this cost cuts down considerably.

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August Financial Update

September is here, kids are back in school and we are moving into the last phase of the year. So let’s see how we did in August along with the rest of the markets.

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The Case for Private School

First off our entire family are big believers in the public school system (for UK readers public schools are what you would call state schools. To confuse matters further a private school is what you would call a public school…). Anyway we are firm believers that as a community we fully believe that local schools improve by having community involvement and that it’s a civic responsibility to be involved in improving the quality. We have lived in areas before where the local schools have gone downhill because all the “rich kids” were going to private school and bypassing the public school.

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University Challenge

Here in Portland school started up again this week. Our daughter is now a sophomore in high school and so although there are still three years of schooling left we have started to think about university and the whole application process.

The options seem to be much wider than for our generation and we need to explore various possibilities.

College though is expensive so even though we have a pretty well funded 529 for her, that does need to factor into our decision making process.

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