My Early Financial Background

My Early Financial Background

In an attempt to shed some light on our personal story, I wanted to post these brief summaries of my past (both individually and together with my wife) as it pertains to finances. This is the first post in the series. I grew up in a more or less middle class home in the 80s and 90s. My father was a pharmacist and my mother was a nurse and later a cardiovascular consultant. When I was very young, there were…

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Remembering My Mom

Remembering My Mom

So it has been just over seven weeks since the last time I posted on this blog. A few things contributed to this, but only one that I want to focus on today. About a month ago today – my mother lost her almost two year battle with cancer. More on that later, but first I want to speak to the person that my mother was and how she helped mold me into the person that I am today. I…

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That Time We Thought We Were Travel Hacking

That Time We Thought We Were Travel Hacking

My wife and I had an awesome honeymoon. It was a 4 day concert at an all inclusive resort in Mexico, bookended with extra nights at the resort on either side. We spent a little over a week in January enjoying warmer temperatures, great music, fun excursions and more Coronas and Pina Coladas than I ever want to drink again. We enjoyed it so much that we made a goal to celebrate our fifth anniversary by doing the trip again….

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How We Budget Part 1

How We Budget Part 1

For someone who doesn’t track or budget at all, knowing where to start can be daunting. There’s a misconception that a budget is essentially a diet for your spending habits. In actuality, a budget can be a really helpful planning tool and doesn’t necessarily have to be restrictive. Our current budgeting process has evolved so much over the years I couldn’t even begin to explain how it got to where it is today. However, I can explain how our system…

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Stop Loaning Uncle Sam Money

Stop Loaning Uncle Sam Money

I remember thinking of income taxes as this magic art that only my mother, with her copy of TurboTax, could figure out for me and my siblings. She would buy the software every year and then run our numbers through the program and figure out what we owed. Most years it was nothing or a small (under $50) refund. One year I made the mistake of letting a few venues pay me directly with checks for gigs that the band…

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Taking Full Advantage of the EV Tax Credit

Taking Full Advantage of the EV Tax Credit

In a recent post from an online financial independence community someone was asking about how the federal EV (electric vehicle) tax credit works to “reduce the price” of new EVs. Officially known as the “Plug-In Electric Drive Vehicle Credit (IRC 30D)”, the way this works is that if you buy a new EV or PHEV (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle) with a large enough rechargeable battery (over 5 kWh) from a qualified manufacturer, you are able to claim a $7,500 tax…

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Half As Well Bites: Oatcakes

Half As Well Bites: Oatcakes

Back in early 2014 I got really into strength training and nutrition. My wife and I gave the South Beach Diet a try and it worked pretty well for the first few months. The more palpable gain of the experience was piquing my interest in various diets and nutrition beyond just simple calorie counting. This led me to looking up information about the Paleo diet, which brought me to this neat website called Nerd Fitness. Though I never dove into…

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A Not-so-Taxing Climb Up the Roth IRA Ladder

A Not-so-Taxing Climb Up the Roth IRA Ladder

As I mentioned in our How We Plan on Reaching FI post, when we started to map out our journey to financial independence, we were basing our calculations of our “stash” as only the money available in our taxable brokerage accounts. This was probably the result of me discovering the prospect of FI through the blog of Mr. Money Mustache and being so feverish with excitement to consume all of the content that I glossed over the fact that we…

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A Short Bit about Health & Fitness

A Short Bit about Health & Fitness

In our consumerist Western culture there are striking similarities between the problems that the average person faces regarding both health and personal finance. Thankfully though, the solution to both sets of problems involve the same two core principles – planning and discipline. The following is the shortest possible summary of my feelings on the fitness industry, nutrition, the diet industry, and the health of the average person in today’s America. There is nothing wrong / unhealthy with being a little…

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Tracking Isn’t Enough

Tracking Isn’t Enough

I opened my first bank account at a small local bank as a junior in high school, primarily as a place to deposit paychecks from my first “official” job.  I started religiously saving every receipt and at the end of the month I would write down every transaction by hand in the ledger. Later when I was working during college I closed this account and opened one with a more prominent bank with a debit card and access to ATMs….

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