• Has the FIRE movement lost its way?
    In a recent episode of ChooseFI podcast (a favorite of mine), a visiting host (Katie, from MoneyWithKatie.com) talked about buying “a very nice car [a pre-owned Porsche Macan with 8,000 miles].” She was quick to acknowledge that this decision was “breaking the cardinal sin of FI/RE” but the main ChooseFI host, Brad, quickly said that … Read more
  • Rent vs. Buy: the Power of Inflation (and a fairer calculation)
    The FIRE community talks a lot about the rent vs. buy discussion. Which is the optimal financial decision for your personal housing and how to calculate that? While there is great information out there to help you decide, I see two important considerations often left out of these discussion: (1) Many compare a short horizon … Read more
  • Home Exchanging: A Great Way to See the World
    Since 2013, we have exchanged our Arlington, VA home 8 times (with several more planned exchanges foiled by the pandemic). We exchanged with families in Paris, Barcelona, Montreal, and Iceland, to name a few. With the world opening back up, this is a good time to share what is great about a home exchange experience. … Read more
  • Calculating Functional Net Worth
    Net worth is a key measure of building wealth. I have been calculating my net worth since 2011 so I can see my progress over time, and it’s a really useful tool. Many people are familiar with calculating their net worth: you add up the value of all of your assets (e.g., stocks, bonds, real … Read more
  • The Meaning of “Millionaire”
    When host Regis Philbin asked his game show contestants and audience “who wants to be a millionaire?,” he tapped into a belief many of us learned as children, that a million dollars was the pinnacle of financial success.  I grew up on the rural eastern side of Washington State, and many people I knew were … Read more
  • Taking the Leap — Living The FIgh Life
    On August 28, 2020 at 5:47 pm, at age 52, I declared my financial independence (FI), packed up my personal belongings and left my GS-15 job at the Department of Defense after 9 years of civil service and 20 years of active duty. How was I feeling? As you can see from the below video, … Read more
  • “SBP v. Term Insurance?” Is the Wrong Question
    I often hear (and read) discussions about choosing either the military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) or term life insurance to help the surviving spouse remain financially secure. This is comparing the wrong two things. While both term life insurance and the SBP are insurance products, they are designed for different purposes. When deciding whether to … Read more
  • My Investing Mistakes
    I thought my wife and I were doing everything right to achieve a rich, free life. Avoid debt – check! Spend less than we earn – check! Invest the surplus – check! So, after almost two decades of investing, why weren’t we rich or at least well on our way? When I calculated our net … Read more