Lifestyle Design

Saving a high percentage of income as a path to financial independence has received a lot of recent attention in the press. I love that this crazy idea has almost become a movement, changing lives for the better.

Due to the publicity I’ve had the good fortune to meet several strangers who have become friends, thanks to the common bonds of world travel and financial wizardry.

However, I have a confession to make: I have more in common with the detractors. I actually really suck at being frugal.

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How Did I Ever Have Time For A Job?

Jr Adventurer

We were in the land of traffic jams and strip malls this summer, visiting family and friends who work for those big tech companies.

Over a glass of wine (or was it a bottle?) a friend popped the question… “So, you think you would be interested in working again? Our team is hiring… you could easily get a big salary and a juicy stock package.”

“Hmm, that sounds interesting“, I replied. “But I just don’t think I could find the time.”

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To Europe and Back Again

Paris (photo credit)

About a year ago we flew from Asia to Europe to begin a 4 month tour. We spent a month each in Spain, Italy, and UK/Ireland, and a handful of weeks in Portugal, Czech, Germany, Denmark, and Iceland. This was a big chunk of Jr’s 16 countries visited in his first 16 months.

Notably absent from this list of countries is France. And it has been an awfully long time since I’ve had a good croissant.

To rectify this terrible situation, in a few weeks we are flying to Paris. We’ll be there at least 2 weeks, after which we will eventually make it to the other slighted countries.

I was pretty excited about how we saved $10k+ on our previous trip. But this time… we did even better.

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Fewer Dividends, Please

Dividends in a Bull Market (photo credit)

Over the first few years of early retirement I noticed a disturbing trend… dividends were increasing at a much too rapid pace!

Between 2012 and 2017, the dividend payout of VTI / VTXAX grew at an annual rate of more than 9%! The growth rate on our portfolio was even higher (14%+) which brought annual dividends from $28,139 in 2013 to $36,760 in 2015. Annual inflation over the same period was only about 1.5%.

While dividend growth investors were most certainly overjoyed, I was busy reducing our dividend income.

Please, corporations of the world… stop paying so many dividends.

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Retire Early.

Travel the World.

Let's do this.

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