Lola, Landlording, & Life

It’s been a while, ladies and gents!!  Let me give you a quick catch up before we can move on to the latest…

AUGUST

  1. PORTLAND – Far Away Friends, Couchsurfing, & Lola Retreat!

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE the Pacific Northwest?  I DO!!  Many moons ago I lived in Ashland OR and, looking back over the years, I still consider it one of those magical times in my life where my surroundings had the ability to refresh and energize me.  The trees, mountains, and clean air (compared to city life, that is) were a true delight.  Every time I am back, I feel right at home…

treehugger
Born Treehugger

I arrived in Portland a day before Lola Retreat so I could meet up with my friend, Angela.  Angela and I met in 2013 while hiking the first ever European Peace Walk (EPW).   The hike itself was tough, but the friendships made on that trip were solidified by an unspoken bond that only happens when you hike painfully long days in excruciating heat across 6 countries with little-to-no route information.  Such a BLAST!!  🙂 Since then, I have met several of my US-based EPW buddies on work overnights, some met me in Spain to hike, and last year while on vacation, I met Angela in her home town of Dublin.  It was only proper that I meet her when she visited the states.

We made our plans a week before Lola but when I checked for accommodations I realized the downside of our timing – the fucking solar eclipse!  NOOOOOOOO!!!  As awesome a sight for many, this “once in a lifetime” event put a damper on our plans…until we consulted Couchsurfing.  Now, I have stayed in a ton of random places during my travels (barns, old classrooms, churches, monasteries), but I have never Couchsurfed for fear of being murdered in my sleep.  I am happy to say that fear is now gone…and it was so easy!  Not only were our hosts super accommodating, they were also very informative (all for $0!!!).  They told us about a local hike called the 4-T Trail.

Continue reading “Lola, Landlording, & Life”

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An Aha Moment… Reverse Engineering FI

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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It occurred to me last week that I have been looking at this whole FI thing the wrong way.  Building your wealth is a long process and it takes time…1,979 more days in my case but who’s counting?!  In an effort to not feel overwhelmed, I decided to flip the script.  What if I started looking at FI from what I have already saved?  What if I start looking at it with an attitude of abundance and not destitute (a tad dramatic but I love the striking opposition it induces 😉 ).

The basic formula for FI is 25 x yearly expenses.  Whatever that number equates to is considered safe to use a 4% rate of withdraw.  If all these numbers are true, we can instead flip it around to calculate how much I would receive each month if I quit working today based on what I have already saved!  Here’s a semi random example:

Bianca has $333,000 in assets.  Divide that number by 25 and you’ll get $13320 per year which is equal to $1110 per month.

$1110 per month.  That is how much all my years of work combined have afforded me to live.  For reference, I have been working and earning a W2 since 1993 when I was 14.  That’s 24 years of working for the man and all those years of labor have afforded me 1110 dollars per month of FREEDOM.  Isn’t that incredible?!  Not from a high or low standpoint but just that it is actually calculable?!  Isn’t it strange to compare your future life’s enjoyment based on the amount of hours you worked to earn such jubilee?  It’s hard to wrap my brain around!

So the question is, forgetting all tax implications, could you live off $1110 per month?  If forced to do so, I’m fairly certain my answer would be yes.  I’ve crafted my life in such a way that I have few responsibilities which results in my cost of living being lower than most.  Granted, my studio is paid for and I would likely have to stay there, I’d have to remove all travel from my agenda, sell my car in favor of my bike, eat a shit ton of beans and rice (which I do anyway), and never get sick.  Pretty risky with some of those variables but I could probably make it work, and many people do.* Continue reading “An Aha Moment… Reverse Engineering FI”

Knowledge Gained From A Month Of Financial Celibacy

May came and May went and I survived.

For those of you following along, you are very much aware of my addiction to spreadsheets and tracking.  It is a nerdy hat that I wear well and take much pride in.  The hat, however, started to stretch out from overuse and was slowly slipping further and further down my face to the point that it was covering my eyes.  I needed a break and I took that break in the form of a month long challenge.  May began my month of Financial Celibacy.

The month started out slow.  I had to delete all financial apps from my phone, iPads, and bookmarks from my computer in an effort to make logging in less habitual and more intentional.  Each time I felt the urge to do so, I was stopped by the fact that I no longer had quick (relatively) access.  If I wanted to log in I now had to go online and do so manually or download the app again.  Taking those extra few seconds to reflect gave my mind the space it needed to move on to a different task.  In time, the habit faded and I was no longer reaching for that crutch to fill random moments of downtime.  So, Goal #1 to break the habit was accomplished.

My second goal was to spend my time doing more fulfilling activities.  Two weeks into May I found it easy to disconnect when my BF and I went to Cuba for a few days.  Without access to data or wifi I was pleasantly surprised how much more focused we were.  I didn’t check in with Twitter.  I didn’t text with my friends.  And, without the use of Google, I was tasked with lead navigator using a simple paper map.  How refreshing to find that my brain still works in an efficient manner!!  The last week of the month found me in Seattle attending Camp Mustache, making new friends and enjoying every moment of it.  One thing that I noticed, and couldn’t help but comment on, was the lack of cell phone use during that weekend.  We were all able to chat and get to know each other without endless interruptions from outside realities.  Each of us was there 100%.  Due to my experiences in Cuba and CM, I am starting a new June goal of less online activity.  So far so good.  I do love my interactions on Twitter but I completely deleted my blog FB page in an effort to simplify my interactions in general.  At one point, in an effort to keep my life compartmentalized, I had 3 different FB profiles: my regular one, one for work, and Miss Mazuma.  It was time consuming and ridiculous.  I am just me, after all.  I don’t need FB for the blog or for work.  If you need to find me, look here or on Twitter – I’m always lurking. 😉

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See the bee?  Yup, that’s me…lurking.  😉

On a (more) personal note, I can’t stress how perfect the timing of this challenge was for me.  I learned first hand that time is more important than money.   Continue reading “Knowledge Gained From A Month Of Financial Celibacy”

Defending Mr. Avocado Toast – Priorities are Key

I HATE when I feel compelled to weigh in on stupid shit but it is hard to bite my tongue in certain cases…

I am sure you have all read THE POST that spawned the avocado toast backlash that will forever go down in history as the one item that could knock the $4 latte off the FI stage.    Thank fucking god…I hate coffee and could never truly relate.  I would much rather debate an avocado as the reason no one can afford to save, so here we go…

Image result for avocado toast
Looks just like mine… ~via~

First off, GenXer here…I feel the need to state that as this slanderous attack was thrown directly at my good friends, The Millennials.  But seriously folks, this issue is not generation based – it is stupidity based.  Yes, I said it.  As a whole, people are financially stupid.  What?  You never made a financial mistake in your life??  Just wait, you will.  And when you do, feel free to come back and tell us all about it!  I promise not to chastise you because I have been stupid too.  But to get straight to the point, this whole avocado toast thing has been completely blown out of proportion, on both sides.  Continue reading “Defending Mr. Avocado Toast – Priorities are Key”

Goldilocks & The Three $$ Tiers

As some of you know, I have been struggling with the moment to moment aspect of  FI.  I recently wrote a post in regards to my Month of Financial Celibacy.  From the comments I received on that post, most people assumed it would be the markets I couldn’t wait to check but really that has little impact on me.  It is my spending and tracking of said spending that really gets me going.  I am only a week in (actually, 9 looooong days), but I am still doing pretty good.  Instead of focusing on the day to day numbers I am shifting my focus to the number one factor of the overall equation – how much is ENOUGH??

The idea of enough is one that haunts many of us FI seekers.  What if we quit our jobs too soon?  What if the market falls?  What if we get sick?  What if we forget to prepare for one of the other millions of little things that can go wrong???  It is all too much to ponder.  For this, we need a strategy.  My strategy comes straight from a childhood favorite…

Goldilocks and The Three Bears Tiers

For those of you unfamiliar with Goldilocks, let me sum up her story.  Goldilocks is a trespassing brat who not only enters into The Bears home without permission but then proceeds to spread her germs to all of their bowls of porridge before settling on one that was neither hot nor cold but just right.  After she eats The Bears food, she decides she is quite tired from her jaunt in the forest.  Instead of going home, which is what a normal criminal might do, she decides to wander into The Bears living room to rest in a chair.  Naturally, 2 of the chairs were too big and the smallest (though being just the right size) falls to pieces when she sits down.  Ugh…  Goldilocks doesn’t bother to think that perhaps karma is trying to send her a message so she pushes the envelope further by going upstairs to test out The Bears beds.  When The Bears arrive home to find their porridge eaten and the chair broken they decide to do a thorough search of the home.  Sure enough, Goldilocks has tested all of the beds (one was too firm, one was too soft) and is still sleeping in the one she deemed just right.  Upon their growls, Goldilocks wakes with a scream, runs down the stairs and out the door.  The Bears never see or hear from her again…not even a thank you note!

So what does this fable have to do with my story??  Well, I am Goldilocks.  Not the thieving, vandalizing, lice spreading version…but the one who is always looking for the FI number that is just right…

Image result for goldilocks just right
~via~

I have mentioned my tiers of FI in other posts (and in various comments on numerous bloggers sites), but I have yet to dig into it and spell it out.  So here we go: Continue reading “Goldilocks & The Three $$ Tiers”