My Visit With Warren Buffett

The typical investor has no business investing in individual stocks.  Most of my investments are in Vanguard index funds–VTSAX is my favorite.  Until recently, I owned only two individual stocks.  I also own some managed funds (which carry higher fees) but I would move all of my investments to VTSAX if I could do it without paying taxes on my gains.  You can learn more about my investment philosophy here.

A few months ago I broke one of my cardinal rules. I bought another individual stock–BRK–Berkshire Hathaway.  I bought it only because I wanted to go to the annual meeting and see Warren Buffett (world’s 2nd richest person) and his partner, Charlie Munger talk about investing and life.  A trip to Omaha doesn’t sound all that exciting but this annual meeting is a real spectacle–more about that later. Continue reading “My Visit With Warren Buffett”

How Can Money Buy Your Happiness?

I’m reading the book Happy Money. It is helping me understand how we can use money to create happiness in our lives.  It’s an easy read–follow the link above to buy it on Amazon (and I’ll receive a small commission) or look for it in your library.

The research on how money makes us happy is super interesting and not always intuitive.

I always thought the more money I made, the happier I would be.  It seems like life would just get easier.  But the research shows that once you make $75,000 a year, you don’t get happier with more income.  I’m sure this number varies based on the cost of living in your area but once you reach that amount, your happiness doesn’t rise. Continue reading “How Can Money Buy Your Happiness?”

Little Decisions Help You Reach Your Dreams

It is hard to set money aside for your future.  Damn hard.

Especially when you are surrounded by people who spend money like it never runs out.

I hated being the one saying I couldn’t do something because I didn’t have the money.  Really I had the money but I didn’t have the budget.  So then I started saying those things weren’t in my budget.

But it got easier–people got used to us being more frugal and adjusted to it or they sort of slipped out of our lives. Continue reading “Little Decisions Help You Reach Your Dreams”

What Is Weighing You Down?

I wrote this a couple months ago–I wish we had 10″ of snow today, that would be super fun.  I woke up this morning thinking about what was weighing me down and decided to put this out into the world.

We were blanketed by 10″ of snow today.  We live 30 minutes from world class ski areas but are in a banana belt where we get much less snow and big storms like this are not that common.  After shoveling the driveway, we grabbed some friends and went cross country skiing on our local golf course.

It was warm and the snow was wet; it was sticking to the middle part of my ski.  It’s pretty hard to glide on a ski when you have a heavy lump of snow underfoot.

This is how life is.  In life, we can’t get where we want when something is weighing us down.  I came up with several ways to get rid of the snow.  Each sort of worked but none worked great. Continue reading “What Is Weighing You Down?”

Yikes–I Went Back To Work!

Almost universally, when I talk about being retired, people say “but you’ll go back to work someday–right?”  I’ve been asking some close friends about this.  Why are people trying so hard to un-retire me?  Are people more comfortable with me if I have a lifestyle similar to theirs?  Well, I guess I’m going to make those folks a bit more comfortable.

I’m adding a word to my title–I’m now Semi-Retired.  I’m an accidental Semi-Retiree.

I guess I’ve been a Semi-Retiree since I started this blog in July.  The blog is work–right?  But I made $20 on the blog last year, and I spent over $3,000.  Most of it was to attend a financial bloggers conference (yep, that exists).  But over $600 was for hosting and software.  So I guess this blog is the worst part-time job ever–but I love it.  And my readership is growing and someday it may make a few dollars (in case the IRS is reading this). Continue reading “Yikes–I Went Back To Work!”

Time is the Ultimate Limited Resource

I just had a huge, kick-ass reminder that we are not in charge.

Our community lost a friend, a leader, really the belle of the ball on Monday.  Julie was 48 years old, she had a husband and three beautiful, amazing and talented children.  She lived a stones throw from me.  She led a sister company to the one I retired from.  The email from her boss said “we lost our Julie”.

I was friends with her but not in her inner circle.  Her inner circle was strong and deep.  She drew such nice friends to her–gals who really have each other’s backs.  She hosted many of their gatherings at her home and loved the chaos of many people, lots of kids and too much wine. Continue reading “Time is the Ultimate Limited Resource”

Do I Own My Stuff?

I’ve written before that I place too much importance on stuff.  I think this comes from being an insecure kid who didn’t have the stuff other kids in our neighborhood had.  My Dad tells me there was no end to my “needs”.  I was never satisfied.  I’m sure he’s right.  You can’t fill the hole of insecurity with stuff.

As I got older, I was able to buy some of my own stuff.

My parents would match any money saved to buy bikes.  So I saved up, for what seemed like forever, and bought (half of) a new bike.  42 years later and I still remember–Panasonic Sport Deluxe, shiny red.  It was a beauty.  About a week after I got it, I parked it at my best friend’s house and it was stolen.  Never saw it again, I was back to riding my brother’s hand me down bike.

I started to be over-protective of my stuff. Continue reading “Do I Own My Stuff?”

Retirement or “We Don’t Have To Work Anymore”

Friends of ours just invited us to their “We Don’t Have To Work Anymore” party!  It has been interesting to participate in their thought process as they got comfortable with this decision.

We hike with these friends–a lot.  So we have had hours of conversations about retirement and money.

He was a successful business owner who recently sold his business.  He was to stay on for a period of time but had some disagreements with the purchaser so they figured out a way for him to exit the business.

She has a consulting business that has slowed down in recent years.

So they both found themselves with time on their hands and not enough invested (they thought). Continue reading “Retirement or “We Don’t Have To Work Anymore””

The One Word That Makes Everything Easier

There’s one word that makes most things easier for me.  It is the word Today.

I’m not going to spend money on things I don’t need . . . Today

I’m going to take my lunch to work . . . Today

I’m not going to buy coffee out . . . Today

I’m not going to eat sugar . . . Today

I’m doing my healthy morning routine . . . Today

I’m not going to watch TV, get on facebook, or troll twitter . . . Today

What a great word! Continue reading “The One Word That Makes Everything Easier”

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year y’all and cheers to a great 2017!

Here’s a great article from Brent Esplin of The Micawber Principle to get your year started right – Separating the Essential from the Important.  This article is well worth the few minutes it will take to read it but since we’re all extra busy this time of year, here’s the summary.  How about focusing on one of these essentials each month next year? 

Essential:

Important:

Direction

Speed

Habits

Goals

Technology

Willpower

Simplicity

Perfection

Time

Money

Saving

Income

Saving

Investing

Your Behavior

Your Knowledge

Your Behavior

The Stock Market’s Behavior

Big Financial Decisions

Small Financial Decisions

Brent highlights the importance of discovering your why.  If you haven’t worked on your why lately (or ever) this article can help you get started.  Knowing your why keeps you from getting derailed from your path–or helps you get back on your path after you are derailed.

Master Your Money – Build the Foundation For Your Dreams