Latest Posts

Turning Student Loan Payments into Credit Card Rewards

This article will show how to earn credit card rewards from student loan payments. This technique is especially useful for someone who is aggressively paying down their debt resulting in payments of several thousand dollars over only a few short months. One disclaimer is that there is a nominal fee associated with this strategy. The fee is charged by the 3rd Party Service that makes this strategy possible. Therefore, this method should only be employed when the credit card rewards are more valuable than the transaction fee. The good news is that this is almost always the case when using this strategy to get the sign up bonus on a new credit card. Background Info I have had student loan debt for just over a…
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WILL You be Prepared for Death?

If you are like me, you haven’t given this question much thought if any at all. It wasn’t until recently that I considered it either as all of my personal finance focus has been on gaining and building assets. I never thought about what would happen to them when I pass away. I was reading an article last week about a celebrity who passed away with an estate of $80 million and no Will to help distribute it. I thought to myself: “What kind of idiot wouldn’t have a Will, especially someone with significant assets?” I quickly realized that I AM THAT IDIOT! Although my monetary assets are miniscule in comparison, I have some $$$ saved up and I also have two small children who…
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Does the 4% Rule Work for Early Retirement?

The 4% Rule is a very common topic when it comes to Early Retirement. I would even say that most in the Financial Independence/Retire Early community use it as the basis of determining their “FI Number”. For those not familiar with the term FI Number, this is the number that an individual would need to save to support their lifestyle in retirement. Usually this number is calculated by determining their annual monetary needs and then multiplying that number by 25 (or dividing by 4%). 4% Rule History The 4% Rule is based on a study by financial advisor William Bengen in 1994. The study reviewed market (stocks and bonds) returns over a 50 year period from 1926 to 1976. The goal of the study was…
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How to Become a Millionaire

This post will walk through the ridiculously simple math behind becoming a millionaire. Let me start off by saying that a million dollars isn’t what it used to be (sorry no yachts or private jets). However, having a million dollars is the bank still puts you in elite status when it comes to retirement savings. Savings Stats The median retirement age American (65-74), has $126,000 saved for retirement. The average retirement age American is doing better, but they still only have $358,000 saved. So having a million dollars in the bank would give you 8x the amount the median has saved and almost 3x the amount the average has saved. From a cash flow standpoint, a million dollars can generate $40,000 per year using the…
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Working Parent Guilt

Over the last few years being a parent has brought me more joy than anything else in my life. It’s been such a wonderful experience that has caused me to look at the world in different ways. It has also been a catalyst for many areas of personal growth the most obvious of which is Patience. However, I have experienced one negative emotion about being a parent that most people don’t warn you about. That feeling is Working Parent Guilt. WHY GUILT The feeling of guilt can crop up in many ways as a parent. These situations almost always boil down to one of two themes: Lack of Time or Lack of Money. For me the guilt has been more centered on the Lack of…
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Time Now or Time Later

Recently I have been struggling with what I call the “Time Now or Time Later” paradox. I find that the Time Now or Time Later paradox is applicable to most people who are using a W2 job to pursue Financial Independence. This especially holds true for those that work in Manufacturing like I do. However, I have also heard similar experiences from friends in Sales, Healthcare and Finance roles as well. TIME NOW The Time Now portion of the paradox is based on the fact that higher paying/higher level jobs typically require more work hours per week. This is true both as you put in extra effort in the beginning to excel and gain promotions, and when you reach the higher level jobs with more…
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DIY Savings Case Study: Oven Repair

Today we will walk through a Do-It-Yourself savings case study. This example will illustrate how with a little effort you can save significant money on home projects/repairs. SITUATION One night recently I was making dinner when I thought I smelled natural gas. I had turned the oven on to preheat it a few minutes prior so I went to see what was going on. When I opened the oven I got a strong gas smell so I immediately shut it off. I also noticed that the oven was still room temperature. After a few minutes of letting the fumes dissipate, I decided to give it another try. Unfortunately the second try was still unsuccessful resulting in the same gas smell. TROUBLESHOOTING Since we decided to…
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ROTH IRAs: The Best Emergency Fund

One pillar of the Financial Independence mindset is the Emergency Fund. I agree with the principal of having an Emergency Fund, but I have a special way of creating an Emergency Fund within my financial plan. I came up with my process for an Emergency Fund by trying to maintain the benefits while removing the drawbacks of a typical Emergency Fund. Before we get into my Emergency Fund method let’s review the basics of an Emergency Fund. DEFINITION An Emergency Fund is an account for funds set aside in case of the event of an unexpected significant financial need, such as the loss of a job, a chronic and/or debilitating illness or a major repair to your home or vehicle. The purpose of the fund…
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Phases of Reducing Spending

I believe that there are 3 Phases to the journey of reducing spending on lifestyle costs: Waste Elimination, Optimization and Misery. Today we will walk through each of these Phases and discuss why I personally am not a big fan of a long term (> 5 year) focus on spending. PHASE 1: WASTE ELIMINATION The first phase in spending reduction is Waste Elimination. This is by far the easiest and least difficult phase of reducing spending. This is why people who have recently discovered the concepts of Financial Independence start with this phase. During this step you identify and remove things in your life that you spend money on and don’t use (gym membership, magazine subscription, etc.). Most people who have not considered their spending…
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Use a Savings Stack to Hack Your Current Spending

Today I will discuss how to use a Savings Stack.  As I have discussed in Save More of Make More I typically only focus on saving money on Cars and Housing and leave the rest for others.  However, I have stumbled upon ways to hack your existing spending in other categories that are too good not to share. The method that I employ is to couple credit card savings with other savings programs to multiply the savings. This can be done with most retailers, but my favorite is to utilize this with my normal grocery chain. Since I cook most of my meals at home (another way to save big money), I buy groceries every week. This means there is always an opportunity to employ this strategy….
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