Retiring Early

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Tag, I'm it.

I wasn't quick enough to dodge the tag that Madame X put on me a week or two ago (while I was on vacation, nonetheless!) Ok, so here they are -- 5 obsessions of mine:
  1. I'm a HUGE outdoors fan -- especially if it involves mountains, I'm in. Things like hiking, biking, snowboarding, rock climbing, running, or any combination of these will do.
  2. As much as I try to deny it, I cannot lie: I like technology stuff. Gadgets, software, home automation junk, etc. I really like taking "some of this" and "some of that" and making them work together in a way that makes people go "wow, that's really cool!". I am somewhat limited to what I can do these days because I'm no longer a software developer, but you would be amazed by what you can do with a little tinkering. For instance, I can control the lights, thermostat, web-cam and security system from a web browser anywhere in the world, including from my cellphone. Controlling your house from a cellphone is GEEKY stuff, but you have to admit, it's pretty interesting that it can be done.
  3. Ok, on to #3: As you can probably glean from this blog, I am obsessed with all things that lead to financial freedom. I don't particularly like money for what it can buy, but for the freedom it brings. There isn't a day that goes by without me having thoughts about getting there sooner. As I've said before, freedom means working because I want to, not because I have to. It's that simple.
  4. Don't take this one the wrong way, but I am also obsessed with great food. I LOVE great coffee. I LOVE great wine. I LOVE great beer. I LOVE great cheese. I LOVE fresh organic vegetables. I LOVE interesting new food preparations -- crazy things like blue-cheese stuffed dates. We treat ourselves every now and then to restaurants that serve this kind of stuff, but in general, it's too expensive. With that in mind, and given all of the natural food, unbelievable markets and overall variety of food you can get in Washington state, it's quite easy to enjoy this stuff without emptying your wallet. The other challenge on this front is balancing a food obsession with fitness. :)
  5. ... and finally, I really, really love to travel. With my first overseas trip for work in 1997, I've been on countless other overseas trips for both work and pleasure. I've done everything from 4-star hotels in Tokyo, to backpacking through third-world countries, and everything in between. I'm by nature a curious guy, so putting me in places and cultures that hold mysteries and an infinite amount of things to explore is incredible. Traveling has truly expanded my mind and sense of compassion.
Ok, my turn: How about hearing the same from: Stealthbucks, Finance Girl, PFblog, Naked Networth, and Sitting Pretty.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Mixed bag: More young savers and shaking moochers

Well, I'm finally back from vacation and very refreshed. I'll probably write a quick post about vacation tomorrow, but today, I came across an article with a few interesting takeaways:

Although the article is titled "Young strivers see slacker friends as costly", the article has a few interesting takeaways other than how to lose your loser friends when you are raking in the dough. First, from a Scottrade survey, it seems as if younger folks may be thinking more about saving earlier:
Scottrade’s recent 2007 American Retirement Study found an astonishing level of financial maturity for its youngest adult respondents."While 59 percent of 18-24 year-olds said they saved for retirement in 2006, that number jumped to 89 percent for those who said they planned to save in 2007. Of 25-to-34-year olds, 70 percent saved in 2006 while 85 percent indicated they will save in 2007," says Chris Moloney, chief marketing officer for the St. Louis-based broker. "Previously, people waited for assets to accumulate before they began thinking about their financial futures and retirement. With the Internet and the wealth of information available to them, many are starting younger," he adds.
Pretty good to see this data. Whether they actually follow through on actually saving is another matter, but it's a start. The other quote of interest is the following one that touches on being social with friends who have a lot more or a lot less money than you do. It's usually a tricky situation to navigate, and I tend to "go humble" when faced with these situations (i.e., if you're having dinner with a friend who makes $40,000/yr, pick a low-priced restaurant, not the latest restaurant where you'll easily spend $80/person):
"When a teacher and a stockbroker are old college friends, for instance, you find their dramatically different financial resources often create tension," says Draut. "The stockbroker may resent the teacher expecting her to treat her to dinner, but the teacher may be equally resentful her friend chose such an expensive restaurant."

Such inequities create social awkwardness, yet little conversation, observes Draut. "It is hard to be the friend who says, 'I can’t come along because the restaurant is too expensive for me.' But we need to make it OK to start having these conversations; to start saying, ‘I cannot afford it.’ "

And conversely: "I cannot keep floating you."

You have to love that last quote. I've certainly been guilty of treating less fortunate friends in the past, but I've learned that lesson. Interesting discussion -- just imagine what happens between a handful of retired 80 year olds after indulging in the surf-and-turf early-bird special. :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Fin_indie not lost, on vacation...

Just a quick note now that I've secured internet access. I took off on a quick, week-long vacation and should be back to my regularly scheduled posting next week. I had hoped to get a detailed March update out before I left, but it just didn't happen. See you all next week.