Forget the Fluffy Recap, Here’s the Real Dirt on FinCon17…

FinCon – Where Money & Media Meet.  Pretty catchy tagline for the personal finance blogging community.  But let’s take a second to break it down for my non-blogging friends.  Basically, FinCon is a convention where financial media of all types meet to geek out over everything from new apps, monetizing, SEO, creating fabulous content, and all sorts of other stuff.  But that’s not all it’s about.  It’s also about the community itself.  Meeting people you have been talking to online for months (years for some) and deepening those relationships and the bonds that tie us together which, in this case, is money.  This is the facet of FinCon that I explored the most and that in itself was well worth the price of admission.

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So, what can I say that hasn’t already been said?  Nothing.  Instead, let’s skip the traditional FinCon recap post that my dear friends have already done (you can see a whole bunch of them on Physician On Fire’s round-up).  I’m here to spill the dirt.  What happened, what didn’t, and how to prepare if you are ever in attendance at any multi-day conference surrounded by people (and strangers) that you adore.

Swingers Convention??

First off, ignore the rumors.  Night one I was told that FinCon of yesteryear was a swingers convention of sorts.  #NoJudgement, but so so curious…  I was poorly disappointed to find that this is no longer the case (or was it ever?).  My disappointment stemmed not from a FOMO standpoint but out of pure curiosity of how one gets indoctrinated into such a club.  Was there a key bowl involved?  Would it show up at an after party?  On the table of the FIRE panel?  Would it be mentioned in the Newcomers Session??  Nope.  And believe me, I looked.  I looked for all sorts of signs that the rumors were true…and a couple of times I got close.

First, when I ran into a very popular blogger in the bar on night one.  While making introductions, I noticed he had something written on his hand.  When my eyes finally made focus I saw what was written was his room number accompanied by which elevator would take you there.  Interesting…  Naturally, I had to ask if he was aware of the swingers rumor to which he laughed and said he was not.  He explained his handwritten message (presumably in his own writing if he is a righty) was so that HE could remember his own room…  Hmmm – somewhat suspect but still a valid explanation. 😉 The Sheraton was HUGE ya’ll, and I did actually get lost myself at one point.  Right floor, wrong room – it can totally happen!

The second time came when The WoW’s and I were mistaken for a thriplette What?!  To be fair, we were all standing in a row getting pitched by some company when the rep looked down and noticed our name tags had Mr, Mrs, and Miss prominently displayed.  What other possible conclusions could there be??  Of course, we graciously giggled and Mrs. WoW and I played along like good sister wives do then quickly found our out in the form of Ally cookies at the next booth over.  I mean seriously, here I was the one conducting the research when all suspicion was turned our way due to our name badges.  Note to self – change my first name for next year’s event to “Monogamous”.

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In the end, I saw no hints of couples swinging.  Rumors are usually built on a grain of truth so my guess is that whomever I was talking to was looking for some partners to play with.  Actually, the person who mentioned it also happened to be staying in a lovely Airbnb with another couple.  Perhaps they found their match after all??  I’ll have to keep an eye on them for next year… Continue reading “Forget the Fluffy Recap, Here’s the Real Dirt on FinCon17…”

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Frugal Fix – Get Your Faded Jeans Back to Black (or blue, pink, purple, etc)!

Every once in a while you tweet something that gets a bit of attention.  For me, today’s tweet was this simple frugal girl hack:

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I promised a tutorial on how to do a quick dye job, but first, a story…

A few years back I switched to my black skinny jeans “uniform”.  My reasons were easy:

  1. I hate shopping, specifically pants shopping.  My waist is small compared to my derriere and therefore it is always hard to get a good fit.  Either the butt is too tight or the waist is gaping.  Then, about four years ago, I tried on my first pair of skinny jeans and all my problems were solved.  I have been buying the same pair of jeans ever since.  I don’t have to try them on – I just walk in, grab them, and walk out (but first I pay – I promise my stealing days are over!).
  2. Crack Black is not wack – it is awesome.  Black jeans are the awesomest (it’s a word in my language).  Especially if you have a black dog and can camouflage their fur with your wardrobe.  😉
  3.  Simplifying.  If you wear black jeans, almost ANY top will work with your wardrobe which makes getting dressed (and packing, for all you travelers) a breeze! #NoMoreDecisionFatigue

Since switching, I haven’t looked back.  If you have met me in the past 4 years, the odds are great that I was wearing this outfit or something similar:

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Yes, I do hike in sandals…

What can I say?  When you find something that works, stick with it.  😉

Anywho, with all the pros that go along with this uniform, there are also a few cons: Continue reading “Frugal Fix – Get Your Faded Jeans Back to Black (or blue, pink, purple, etc)!”

Early Retirement: Roadblocks & Contemplations

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I never thought I would be the type of gal who stays up late reading about taxes, 401k’s and Summary Plan Descriptions (SDC), yet here I am and I blame my friend Fritz

After-Tax 401k Contributions

Last week, during an early morning van ride to the airport in Tucson, I popped in my earbuds to listen to Fritz wax poetic about his retirement plans on the Choose FI podcast.  During his interview, Fritz mentioned a not so commonly known way to pad your retirement with After-Tax 401k contributions.  You can read all about the method and its pros and cons HERE, but the main issue is whether or not your company allows it.  My employer, I have come to find, sadly does not.  Roadblock #1.

Ok, honestly, I am not all that upset about it.  I mean, I don’t like knowing I can’t do something (I have never been great with authority), but until a week ago I never even considered doing an after-tax contribution so it’s easy for me to let this one fly.  The next roadblock, however, I am not taking so lightly…

In-Service Rollovers

While I had my retirement provider on the line, I figured it was as good a time as any to confirm another huge (for me) early retirement factor, In-Service Rollovers.  An in-service rollover means taking money from your 401k and rolling it to an IRA while you still maintain employment at your company.  Why would anyone want to do this?  Easy – more diversity, better investment options, and increased control over the future of those funds.  What kind of control you ask??  For me, early retirement control via the Roth IRA conversion ladder.  Let’s dissect this a bit…

Have you heard of the Roth IRA conversion ladder?  If not, here is an overly simplified explanation:

  1. Contribute max to traditional 401k (18k pretax as of 2017)
  2. Quit job, roll 401k to a Traditional IRA
  3. Roll a portion of your Traditional IRA into Roth IRA (yes, taking a tax hit on the conversion but skipping the 10% early withdrawal penalty)
  4. Let it season for 5 years
  5. Withdraw the rolled portion from the Roth IRA free and clear of taxes and penalties

Further reading can be found by these dudes who can explain it far better than I…

So back to the phone conversation with my retirement provider.  Turns out… Continue reading “Early Retirement: Roadblocks & Contemplations”

When is a Loophole or Hack Immoral? And Can It Be Considered Theft?? Asking for a friend…

This post was featured by Rockstar Finance. If you clicked over from there, THANK YOU, and I hope you enjoy the read. If you just happened to wander over here and are interested in all things Personal Finance or FIRE (Financial Independence/Early Retirement), I highly recommend you hop over to Rockstar Finance to check out their site and all the awesome bloggers they host weekly.  Oh, and don’t forget to check out the Rockstar Finance Forum where you can chat PF to your hearts content. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will follow along on my long and winding road to FI!

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I have been sitting on an issue that has had my brain a mess and I didn’t think until now to get your take.  Maybe because I fear you would side against, or maybe because it is too multifaceted to really discuss.  In the end, I decided to write about it because this community means the world to me and I’d hate to let a little hiccup tarnish my view on it, or on people’s views of me.

First off, I would like to say that I am no Mother Teresa.  I stole when I was a kid.  A lot (sorry, mom). My best friend at the time, C, was a girl who had moved from the city to the burbs and for some reason still unknown to me, she befriended me first.  C immediately became the most popular girl in school and, by proximity, I became one too.  She was much more “mature” than the rest of us girls so I always felt like I was rushing to catch up.  C had boyfriends that were older, parents that were divorced, and a house that was bigger and more grand than any of my other friends.  Her older sister smoked cigarettes and I remember the day we sat out back of their large house, under the stair well, while they pressured me to try my first cigarette.  It was not my finest moment, and I certainly didn’t look cool.  But I am getting off track…

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C also taught me how to steal.  She was used to being sneaky (escaping her big home to go out with boys at night took some mad skill), I was not.  I remember the time when her mom dropped us off at the mall.  These were the days of Z Cavaricci’s and IOU sweatshirts and to be anyone who is anyone you had to have them.  Both brands were expensive and my baby sitting money was precious to me.  I never thought much about brand names, but hanging with C meant I needed to up my game.  I used to borrow C’s clothes but, while in the mall that day, she decided it was time for me to have my own pair of Cavs.  We found our way to Merry Go Round, the hottest store in the mall, and picked a pair that she thought would look good on me.  C made sure there were no tags that would set the alarm off, then rolled them up, put them in my arms, and pushed me out the open doors to the mall.  I was shocked when nobody came yelling and screaming and so I followed her instructions, walked to the bathroom in the food court, and waited in a stall for her to meet me.  Those few minutes seemed like a lifetime while I played out all the things that could possibly be taking her sooooo long (360 seconds?), the worst being that she had been caught.  But she wasn’t.  A few minutes later she strolled in, knocked on the door, and I opened it to her Cheshire cat smile.  We had gotten away with it, but it didn’t feel good.   Continue reading “When is a Loophole or Hack Immoral? And Can It Be Considered Theft?? Asking for a friend…”

Adventures in Landlording – The “Leak”

Welcome to my new (and hopefully sporadic 😉 ) series, Adventures in Landlording.

Anyone who has ever been a landlord knows unexpected issues occasionally arise.  Wearing my landlord hat, I personally have dealt with 3 am lockouts, bounced checks, plumbing issues, fire issues (it was actually a pizza that set fire in the oven while my tenant was passed out on the couch), and broken appliances.  There is no way to guard yourself against said issues so it’s best to be in the mindset of rolling with them.  Of course, you can mitigate your personal impact by hiring a management company to handle your properties, but what fun would that be?!

The “Leak”

It’s been a few years since I’ve been a landlord but I am happy to see not much has changed.  Only 2 weeks in with my new tenant and the adventures have already begun…

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Yup – with this one text it was obvious we were both going to have a case of The Monday’s.

After assessing where the water was coming from, I called my plumber to give him the scoop.  Luckily, he was nearby and not busy because as my conversation with my tenant continued I gathered that her original “leak” was more of a cascade… Continue reading “Adventures in Landlording – The “Leak””