Browse Tag: Financial Independence

Financial Independence

What’s Wrong With Social Security?

RetirementThe Social Security Board of Trustees recently released its annual report on the status of the programs it oversees, which currently provide benefits to around 62 million Americans.

By and large, the numbers were consistent with where they were a year earlier.

Near term, the Social Security system is fine.

Longer term, changes need to be made to Social Security to maintain its viability given expected demographic changes.

The good news is the numbers may not be as dire as the mainstream media has led some to believe, and relatively modest changes could ensure Social Security will continue to provide benefits to tens of millions of Americans for many decades to come.

The bad news is the necessary changes will likely require copious amounts of common sense and bipartisan collaboration, both of which seem in short supply in many parts of the United States these days!
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Sunny and Dry Means a Productive July!

Home SolarOur area of the country experienced unusually sunny, hot, and dry weather over the past month.

Which means that although our gardens and lawn are struggling right now, our solar energy production was off the charts!

Our rooftop solar panels delivered their most productive month ever in July, eclipsing our production from last August by a whopping 9%!

Even though our power consumption was also elevated, due to working the air conditioning harder than normal, we still ended up with a small electric bill for the month, as well as additional solar energy credits to use to reduce our energy costs next winter!

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How A Short Hike Changed My Approach To FIRE

IMG_2842A month and a half ago, my family and I went for a short hike over Memorial Day weekend.

It was neither a major undertaking, nor anything out of the ordinary for us. The hike was about a mile and a half each way, to the top of a ridge with a nice view of a lake and mountains, and back. It was mostly uphill on the way in, and mostly downhill on the return trip.

Mrs. ROMT, the kids, the dog, and I had a nice walk to the top of the hill, where we spent a little time enjoying the view and letting the children and dog explore the area.

Then we decided to head back down to the trailhead.
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Confirmation We Might Be On The Right Track For Financial Independence!

Financial IndependenceEarlier this week, I posted our latest Quarterly Financial Scorecard, which indicated we could reach my definition of financial independence within three years.

Yesterday, I came across a retirement calculator recently posted by ESI Money that attempts to answer questions such as “When Can I Retire?” and “When Will I Be Financially Independent?”

While I think I have our financial situation fairly well mapped out, it’s always interesting to get another perspective, so I decided to plug our information and my thoughts about the future into the “When Can I Retire?” Calculator at ESI Money.
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Q2 2018 Financial Scorecard: Three Years to Financial Independence?

Retiring On My TermsIt has now been well over a year since I started Retiring On My Terms and began chronicling our quest for financial independence and early retirement.

This marks the fifth quarterly financial scorecard I’ve posted on these pages. I’m pleased to report we made good progress on each of our financial independence and early retirement goals during the second quarter, increasing our Net Worth, 529 Account Funding, and Passive Income.

The S&P 500 climbed by nearly 3% from the beginning of April through the end of June, which provided a nice tailwind for our finances. That said, we still have A LOT of hard work ahead of us if we expect to achieve our Target FIRE date of Friday, July 2, 2021!

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The Real Numbers Behind Home Solar

Solar PowerWe’ve now had solar panels on the roof of our home for over a year.

Which means we finally have twelve months of data on the performance of our home solar energy system to report upon!

The results are definitely mixed.

While our electric bill is much lower than it used to be, our anticipated payback period will likely end up being longer than we initially anticipated.

I hope the information we’re sharing will help readers considering home solar power systems to make the right decisions for their individual situations.

Keep in mind, however, that the rules associated with solar vary considerably from state to state. The potential costs and benefits for you could be dramatically different from what we have experienced, so make sure to conduct your own research and perform your own due diligence before making a decision!

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Update: Chase Freedom Announces 5% Cash Back Categories for Q3 18

Financial IndependenceLast year, we wrote about our decision to begin using a Chase Freedom credit card with 5% cash back on purchases in rotating categories every quarter.

Because Chase Freedom offers only 1% cash back on purchases that do not fall into the special categories, and the 5% cash back incentive applies only to the first $1,500 in qualifying purchases every quarter, we still do most of our spending on our Fidelity Rewards card that offers 2% cash back on all purchases.

That said, adding the Chase Freedom credit card into the mix has proven to be a Smart Financial Decision for the ROMT family.

Since we started using the Chase Freedom card last spring, our family has received about $375 in extra cash back and sign up incentives!

Not a bad payoff for a brief online application and spending a few seconds to make sure we are using the right credit card when making purchases!

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Solar Energy Update: Why Am I Already Thinking About Next Winter?

Early RetirementOur first spring with solar power is working our very well for our wallet!

As the days have gotten longer over the past few months, we’ve started to build up a large bank of solar energy credits to keep our electricity bill low next winter. A combination of lots of sun, relatively cool weather, and no need for air conditioning have kept our power production high and our electricity consumption low.

I’m looking forward to reviewing a full year of solar data when we reach the one year mark with our solar panels in a few weeks, but as of right now, I’m still viewing our installation of a home solar energy system as a Smart Financial Decision as we continue trying to move closer to financial independence and early retirement.

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DRIPing Our Way to Financial Independence

Financial IndependenceAlmost 25 years ago, shortly after graduating from college, I made a series of seemingly minor decisions that in retrospect helped set me down the path towards financial independence and early retirement.

I had been interested in the stock market for some time, and as an aspiring adult, I thought I should do some research on how to begin investing now that I was earning a regular paycheck.

While perusing the personal finance and investing shelves at the local bookstore in those pre-Amazon.com days, I stumbled onto a tome about Dividend Reinvestment Plans, also known as DRIPs.

As soon as I finished reading the book, I knew that DRIPs were something I needed to get involved with. DRIPs offered the opportunity to invest directly in the stock of companies, with a minimal amount of money, sometimes at a discount, and frequently without having to pay a brokerage commission – which was a much bigger deal before online trading!

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Celebrating ROMT’s One Year Bloggiversary!

Retiring On My TermsIt’s hard to believe it has already been a year since I started Retiring On My Terms!

There have been some victories, and some setbacks, during my first year of blogging, but I’m glad I took the plunge and started this site a year ago. I sincerely thank all the readers who have found their way to Retiring On My Terms over the past twelve months. Without an audience, this blog would have no purpose!

I knew writing could be difficult when I started up this website, but I honestly had no idea how challenging it would be to create interesting content and grow an online audience. I am still an absolute novice when it comes to topics like search engine optimization and social media. Someday I hope to have time to learn more about all of the varied aspects of running a successful blog, but in the meantime my primary goals are to continue improving my writing skills and providing content that is interesting to my readers. Continue Reading