The personal finance community is filled with so many talented writers and truly inspiring people and families who want something much different in life than the traditional plan of buying lots of stuff and retiring in their 60s. Here is a look at the best of this week’s personal finance blogs.
In this episode of Friday Feast: Money Mozart, Dividend Mantra, Our Next Life, Mom and Dad Money, Devoes On The Roll, The College Investor, Budgets are Sexy, Watson’s Wander.
Money Mozart, which happens to be one of my very favorite blogs to read, recently finished a 3-part blog series about what it means to spend less, save more and to be happy. In the first installment of the series, we read about the connection between a cocaine drug lord and saving money, and how strangely similar these two things happen to be. Next, we learn about why people fail to achieve their goals of substantial savings (hint: one of them includes TOO MUCH INFORMATION), and the third and final installment talks about how to achieve your goals like a badass.
Also this week, Dividend Mantra eloquently wrote of the hardships involved in acquiring your first $100,000 in your investment portfolio. This was back when Jason had a “real” job – working at a car dealership, and going the extra mile by putting in overtime and generally working his butt off to position himself to get ahead. 50 to 60 hour weeks is tough, but the sweet reward at the end of the road is the juicy-sweet taste of financial independence. After reaching the $100,000 mark, Jason took his portfolio from $100k to $200k in less than two and a half years. And he quit his job and does what he truly loves – writing, from home. Well done, my friend!
I loved Our Next Life‘s post about optimism and why, through all the unknowns and scary “what-ifs” inherent in the goal of retiring early, they remain optimistic about their future as early retirees. Why are they so comfortable with the scandalous goal of retiring in their 30s? Because they save BIG and spend LITTLE by living below their means. They have a diversified investment portfolio. They have a nice home that they could, if necessary, sell to acquire nearly instant wealth. But more than that, they are generally optimistic people. They see the glass half full and they know, through their resourcefulness, that everything will be okay. When you think positive thoughts, positive things tend to happen.
Speaking of being positive and happy, when are you the happiest? Mom and Dad Money wrote a piece this week that discussed that powerful question and offered up the idea that when people are designing their goals for the future, instead of crafting them around the confines of money, wealth and stuff, we instead focus on happiness. “Your happiness becomes the purpose behind your financial plan. The numbers are just the muscle that helps you get there.” I like it!
One day, baby…one day. A woman from Devoes On The Roll wrote a letter to herself shortly after they decided to make a dramatic lifestyle switch by picking up her family, including her husband and two kids, and move into an RV and travel the country with her family. Now a year into their new lifestyle, she posted that letter on her blog. “One day you will look back on this choice and realize that you and your husband took the biggest risk you could have possibly taken to do something big, something scary, something you’ve always had it inside of you to do.”
One of the biggest fears about investing in the stock market is the possibility of losing it all, isn’t it? As The College Investor wrote this week, it’s extremely hard to lose all of your money in the stock market. While it is true that investors can certainly lose money, losing all of it is actually quite tough, and in the long run, the very great majority stand to gain quite a bit of wealth. “you have to be completely amiss to lose all your money investing. You have history, time, and strategy all on your side to avoid losing money when investing.”
If Budgets Are Sexy were to quit this whole money-blogging business, he would have a few parting thoughts for us future early retirees. For example, saving money is truly not difficult. In fact, once you figure out that saving trumps spending on temporary happiness, the rest really is super easy. He would also have you remember that early retirement isn’t just about money. Rather, it’s about freedom – freedom to completely control your life and everything in it. Let’s be honest, the freedom to avoid 8 to 10 hours in an office building of a nameless corporation is just priceless, isn’t it?
Travel / Adventure blogging: I discovered a very nicely-written blog this week at WatsonsWander.com. Like many of our readers know, my wife and I are considering the possibility of living full time in an RV, and we stumbled across their blog while doing some research. They live in a 25′ Airstream and travel the country for a living, and he still works full time. Not the roomiest of configurations, but they make it work. Lots of pictures in each blog post, too.
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.