Browse Tag: Financial Independence

Financial Independence

Can You Be Frugal If You Own A Lot Of Stuff?

Self Storage
If you are truly frugal, you probably won’t have stuff that ends up in a place like this!

Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an article about how the tech sector is trying to disrupt the self-storage business model (subscription required).

In the article, author Peter Grant noted startups such as Clutter Inc. and MakeSpace Labs Inc. are trying to use  logistics and technology to provide a more efficient and user-friendly self-storage experience than established companies like Public Storage, CubeSmart, and Extra Space Storage Inc.

The article noted Clutter charges $100 to $110 a month in New York to store a closet worth of stuff, in line with local self-storage facilities. Clutter differentiates itself from the traditional self-storage companies by packing up and photographing items before hauling them off to their storage facility, and then delivering them back to the customer’s home after they select the photographs of the items they want returned online.

For this service, Clutter charges $35 per hour per mover for on-site labor in the packing and moving process associated with pick-ups and deliveries.

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Our First Week With Solar Energy!

Solar Panel
We can track online how much energy is being produced by each of the solar panels on our roof!

Over the past week, I have written about our decision to go solar, as well as our recent solar installation.

Today we get into the fun stuff: how our new home solar energy system has performed during the first ten days of a (hopefully!) long and productive life!

Our inverter, which converts the direct current generated by the photovoltaic panels on our roof into the alternating current that can be fed into the electrical grid and used to power our home, is made by a company called SolarEdge.

While the science behind how the inverter works is no doubt fascinating, I am more interested in the impact the solar panels and inverter will have on our electric bill!

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Update: Chase Freedom Announces 5% Cash Back Categories for Q3 17

Credit CardLast month, I wrote about our Smart Financial Decision to sign up for the Chase Freedom Credit Card.

As a reminder, Chase Freedom offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in specific spending categories each quarter, and 1% cash back on everything else. Our Fidelity Rewards card offers 2% cash back on all purchases.

We’ve now maxed out our spending on groceries, the current 5% cash back category for Chase Freedom, so we’ve switched back to our Fidelity Rewards cards for all of our spending.

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Our Solar Installation: The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

 

Solar Energy
Solar Facts, courtesy of a nutritional sticker on our solar inverter!

One of my favorite songs by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is “The Waiting.”

I’m not usually that good at discerning the meaning of lyrics, but in this case I’m pretty sure Tom was singing of his anticipation about the installation of a new home solar energy system.

Last week, I shared my thoughts on our decision to go solar.

The process took several months from start to finish, and the waiting was definitely one of the hardest parts!

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Should We Go Solar?

Solar Panels
Not a picture of our home!

Over the past several years, I’ve noticed the installation of more and more solar panels in the area we live.

I’ve long been intrigued by the idea of solar energy, but as someone who tries to base most of his financial decisions on facts and numbers, rather than emotions or peer pressure, it never made sense to me.

A local solar provider recently offered an incentive program through my employer. While the incentive was modest, it was enough to get me to seriously run the numbers, and do some further research about the pros and cons of solar energy for our family.

The verdict?

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How Learning About FIRE Has Changed My Life

ROMT Logo Square

It has been a couple weeks since I started this blog, and a few months since I began learning what FIRE was all about.

But I have been pretty serious about personal finance for almost a quarter of a century.

After getting my first job out of college, I had disposable income for the first time in my life.

Of course, I also had a lot of expenses I conveniently didn’t have to deal with while I was living with my parents.

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Smart Financial Decisions: Chase Freedom Credit Card

As I have become more involved in the FIRE community over the past several months, it’s been hard to avoid articles about optimizing one’s use of credit cards.

Initially, I was skeptical. It seemed like the primary focus was travel hacking, which didn’t do a lot for me.

I am not a big traveler.

I am a middle-aged man, with a full-time job, a long commute, a wife, a dog, and two young children.

It’s a challenge for me to find time to travel to the local Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and grocery store, much less exotic locales around the world!

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Dumb Financial Decisions: The Water Heater

While I like to think I am an intelligent person, who usually makes good financial decisions, like everyone else, I make mistakes.

The @#$%^&* Water Heater

When our family bought our home in 2011, I encountered something I had never experienced before: the previous owners rented the water heater from the local utility, and paid them on a monthly basis for the privilege of using it.

This seemed odd to me, as although water heaters are expensive, most are priced well below $1,000. The furnace, the central air, and even some of the kitchen appliances were more expensive than the water heater, and they weren’t being rented.

There must be some benefit to renting the water heater, rather than owning it, I thought to myself. Perhaps if the water tank failed and leaked all over my basement, the utility would be responsible for the damages as the owner?

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The Easiest Money You Will Ever Make

What if I were to offer you an investment providing a guaranteed return of 50% or more?

Immediately.

You put in $1.00 today.

And it instantly turns into $1.50!

Or in many situations, $2.00!

You might suspect I was up to financial chicanery, a la Bernie Madoff.

But everything I am going to discuss today is completely legitimate.

And taking full advantage of this opportunity may be the one of the most important things you can do to begin securing your financial future.

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Welcome to Retiring On My Terms

Welcome to my blog, Retiring On My Terms.

In the interest of full disclosure, I want to be up front about what I believe are three key requirements to achieve financial independence and/or early retirement (FIRE):

Earn more.

Spend less.

Productively invest the difference.

I recognize this view is nothing revolutionary.

So why should I read what you have to say, you ask?

Great question!

Like every writer, I bring a different perspective than others to solving this equation. I hope parts of my background resonate with you, and that my postings make you want to read more.

I am married, and in my mid-40s, with two elementary school aged children. My wife has worked as a stay at home mother since our first child was born.

I work full-time. Besides my paycheck, our only income sources are interest and dividends. We own no rental real estate, and we don’t have any side hustles.

We live in a relatively expensive area of the United States. Although we generally purchase conservatively, our spending levels are less Spartan than those of many other FIRE bloggers.

I have a different perspective on investing than many others. I believe much of the conventional wisdom you have heard is correct. But I don’t think 100% of your portfolio should be in index funds.

I intend to retire from the full-time workforce before I turn 50, and before either of our children will be college age. We intend to pay for a significant portion of their college expenses, if that is the path in life they decide to pursue.

I hope you enjoy following our journey, and look forward to your thoughts.

Thank you for reading!