Reflections of 2015, And Then They Were Three

Selfie Time at Peace Park, Taipei, Taiwan

Selfie Time at Peace Park, Taipei, Taiwan

2015 was our 3rd full year as itinerant idlers.

Although… for most of the year we were in Taipei, Taiwan, where we welcomed our first child into the world.

Being in one location for an extended period provided a lot of time to think and write about financial interests. At least until the baby was born.

I explored the pros and cons of Roth IRAs for early retirees, planned how we will build the world’s longest Roth IRA conversion ladder, calculated how much money we lost selling our house for $102k more than we paid for it, and evaluated how Obamacare killed the Roth IRA Conversion for US residents. Fascinating stuff!

It turns out some people actually read those posts, and the blog grew by leaps and bounds. I was even invited to speak at the 2015 Chautauqua in Ecuador, an incredible experience! As a bonus, I was able to meet several of my favorite financial bloggers.

When our little guy was ready to don his own tiny backpack, we did a trial run to Japan (Kyoto, Osaka, Nara.) It was a great success! Being outside and exploring new places made for a happier kid and happier parents.

So we hit the road again. We spent the last 2 months of the year in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where we swam, did yoga and Crossfit, and ate excessive amounts of Thai food, and reduced our average cost of living through the grace of geographic arbitrage.

By all measures, 2015 was a great year.

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I Couldn’t Care Less About My Credit Score

Rainbow of Credit (photo credit, badumtss)

Rainbow of Credit (photo credit, #badumtss)

Prior to 3 weeks ago, I hadn’t seen my credit score in more than 12 years. I couldn’t care less about it. In fact, I don’t even need one.

And yet this strange and mysterious number seems to loom over the lives of people like the specter of death.

Comments and emails about credit score on a post about using credit card rewards programs to fund travel included words such as “damaged”, “ruined”, and “destroyed.”

Are these incredible adjectives warranted? Can applying for a few credit cards result in real world pain and suffering? Should we spend more real $ on travel instead of using rewards points?

Or is a credit score just a meaningless number?

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The Go Curry Cracker 2015 Taxes

t1larg.tax-forms.t1largIt is that time of year again. Time to pay the tax man. At least for most people.

For the past two years we have shared our tax returns (2013, 2014), showing investment income of nearly $100,000 and a Federal Income Tax bill of $0.

This year is a little different because we violated Principle #1, Choose Leisure Over Labor, and this little blog accidentally earned a few bucks. Apparently I’m a business owner now. While that opens up all kinds of interesting tax opportunities, which I certainly capitalized on, having earned income changes the game a bit.

So earlier this year I shared how International nomads like us can have earned income over $100,000 while still paying zero Federal Income Tax. Which is pretty cool.

But you are probably thinking, “Yeah, yeah, they earned $100k and paid zero income tax. Again…” *yawn*

I agree, that is sooo 2013. Which is why this year, I had the IRS pay us.

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The GCC Asset Allocation

(Re)balancing (photo credit)

(Re)balancing (photo credit)

A year ago, I was evaluating moving our portfolio to 100% equities. Posterity will appreciate it.

A lot has changed since then, so I wanted to share an update.

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$10,000 of Free European Travel

Cycling in Paris (photo credit)

Cycling in Paris (photo credit)

“You guys are going to Europe for 4 months?! That sounds wonderful, but… isn’t Europe expensive?”

“How are you going to work the higher cost of European travel into your budget?”

“Will you have to miss out on some amazing European restaurants and eat more peanut butter and jelly?”

Since sharing our big 2016 travel plans a few months ago, various forms of these questions have been sent our way.

I prefer strategic lifestyle design to tactical spending plans like a budget. We aren’t going to limit our European gastronomic experiences with an artificial spending ceiling. (Thank you United States Congress for the inspiration!)

Certainly Europe will cost more than budget destinations like Thailand or Guatemala. So how will we pay for it?

The short answer is: I don’t really intend to.

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