The Ride Across California

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Hi folks! In two weeks, I'm heading off on what will undoubtedly be one of the biggest adventures of my life.  No, I'm not talking about my Family Gap Year - that's still a couple of months away.  I'm talking about the "Ride Across California".  I'm riding with my son and about 100 other 5th graders and their parents, on a journey across California on bicycles organized through our local YMCA.   This is the type of unique ...

What We’ll Pack For Our Family Gap Year – And Why

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We're now less than 3 months away from leaving on our "Family Gap Year" to South America.  I'm quitting my job, we're pulling our two pre-teen kids out of school, we're renting out our house, and we're heading to South America for a year.   How do you pack for something like that?  Answer: very carefully.  Better answer:  bring only what you can't easily find where you're going.  That's our general philosophy.  Here's what we're going to ...

The Pursuit of Happiness Q&A

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Today is International Day of Happiness.   Yes, there's a holiday for that too.  And why the hell not, right?  I was happy enough to participate in a Q&A session sponsored by Wes at The Pursuit of Happiness.  I had a lot of fun with it.  It forced me to think about some things that I don't often think about.  I've included my own responses down below, but what do I know, I'm just a ...

No Sugar Cookies For YOU!

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Given the number of self-help books, motivational speakers, and online forums dedicated to discipline, I think it's safe to say that lots of people realize they need discipline, and many struggle to obtain it.    Discipline is one of the two primary keys to wealth.  The other is time.  Discipline is necessary to save, invest, and keep your money, and time will grow your savings into wealth.   Some people seem to be naturally born with superhero-like discipline.  Most probably learn it ...

Early Retirement Dreamers, Keep Your Disability Benefits

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Are you an early retiree, or perhaps a dreamer, counting down the days until you call it quits?  Just save 25x your annual expenses, and you should be good, right?  But what if you develop a chronic medical problem that blows a massive hole in your early retirement spending?  It's something many early retirement dreamers simply brush off.  The good news is that you are probably covered by Social Security disability benefits (SSDI).  They can go ...

Fight the Fascists! Find Your Spice.

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We have a lot of ground to cover today, so let's get started..... You may have heard that something like 90% of statistics are completely made up.  Yes, it's true!  It's a ballpark estimate, but it's only accurate about 20% of the time, according to 3 out of 5 experts.  Believe me, I should know (because I am an expert, that is).  Confused?  That's OK.  It's only normal. Statistics Are Fascist Try to keep up here, it's going to ...

Top 10 Reasons That Executive Was (Really) Hired

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I can't tell you how many times I've stared up at the glass-enclosed, diamond-encrusted C-suites of companies I've worked for, and wondered:  "What the hell??? Seriously???"  When you're young and ambitious, you hope that your corporate executives are smart and capable captains of the ship, steering your company's future in the right direction.   The older you get, the more you realize this is more than often not the case.   I've really come across very few executives ...

What To Do With Our House During A Family Gap Year

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In just over 3 months, we'll be heading to South America on a Family Gap Year.  It'll be here before we know it.  In the meantime,  we have a few things to do.  There are lot's of "t"s to cross, some "i"s to dot, and even a few "j"s too (you don't normally think about the "j"s, do you?).  As a homeowner, what to do with your house during a gap year is one of the biggest ...

I Can’t Believe What They Teach My Kids

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A 5th grade mind is a terrible thing to waste.  Ok, any mind is a terrible thing to waste....  I think it's great that our schools are trying to teach kids about money.  Too many people grow up to adulthood without any fundamental understanding of how to achieve financial stability and, eventually, financial freedom.  But, like everything else in life, the devil is in the details... sometimes the lessons are just wrong.   The Devil In The Details Just ...

How To Avoid Negative Social Security Returns

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I recently calculated the rates of return I earn on Social Security, along with a range of returns for other Gen Xers.  But that's an overall average return - an average for everything I pay in over my career.  What about my next dollar?  How much will I earn on my future contributions?  Physician on FIRE made me wonder what returns people get in Social Security's top benefit tier.  I tried to answer these questions by running some scenarios using ...