Why Betterment Has Zero of Our Dollars

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I’m often asked if we invest with Betterment, or if I would recommend them.

I assume this is because of their generous affiliate marketing program for personal finance bloggers, but we could generically ask, “Would I recommend using a robo-adviser?” But Betterment’s solution will make a fine reference point.

As with most things, there are pros and cons. But for the purpose of discretely foreshadowing my conclusions:

Betterment has zero of our dollars.

That isn’t going to change.

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Our Cost of Living in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Chedi Luang

Wat Chedi Luang

For 2 months at the tail end of 2015, we called Chiang Mai, Thailand home.

We quickly settled into a way of life that revolved around yoga and Crossfit, afternoon swims, walking among the temples, and exploring the vast food scene.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve were special nights out on the town, as were the dual Thai festivals of Loi Krathong and Yi Ping.

As we explored the city we met a diverse and exciting group of new friends, and shared our favorite places with visiting friends and family.

We enjoyed a high quality of life with a surprisingly low cost.

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Chautauqua 2015, A Love Story

El Encanto Resort

El Encanto Resort, Home of the 2015 Chautauqua (photo by The Bobs)

This past October I flew half way around the world to Ecuador to attend and present at the 2015 Chautauqua.

I joined 3 other speakers and nearly 30 attendees for a week of culture, service, and financial musings.

When Jim Collins asked me to attend, I was elated. I couldn’t wait to participate, and my expectations were very high.

Was the experience valuable? Did it meet my expectations? Would I recommend it?

Let’s see.

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Twenty Sixteen Plans and Aspirations

New Year's Eve in Chiang Mai, Thailand

New Year’s Eve in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wow, 2015 has come and gone. And what an incredible year it was, too!

As is customary, last January we resolved to make modest life changes. Then the biggest life change of all took precedence as we became parents in April.

Around the same time this modest blog underwent explosive growth as our story was shared in mainstream media around the globe. In a few surreal moments we’ve even been recognized by readers in the wild.

Without a doubt it has has all been a grand adventure. What do we we plan to do in 2016 to keep things exciting?

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Never Pay Taxes by Moving Abroad

A Road Less Traveled (photo credit)

A Road Less Traveled (photo credit)

A few months ago the story of a Google employee who lived in a truck(*) in the company’s parking lot went viral. Rather than pay $2,000/month to share a 2 bedroom apartment with 3 other people, he chose to sleep in a 16-foot box truck.

I love it! Great choice! A few years of following the road less traveled will ensure a strong financial future. By not paying rent, an additional $24,000/year can be applied to debt and investments.

But what if there was a way to double that savings with one easy change? And in fact there is. (Hint: taxes.)

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