The Paradoxical Problem of Choice

In this great big world of ours, we have many options. We could live virtually anywhere. So why don’t we? Why is it that we get trapped in a city we don’t really care for, doing a job that’s not our favorite, fulfilling the expectations that society has for us, but that aren’t our own?

Choice--www.thethreeyearexperiment.com

I have a friend who’s lived all over the world. She has lived on four continents in the fifteen years that I’ve known her. And yet even she and her family are debating where to live next, now that she’s tied to a job in Europe when their home was in Asia. Should they stay in Asia? Should they move to Europe? What would be best for her husband’s business? What would be best for their daughter?

Tons has been written about decision fatigue, busyness,  and the lack of focus associated with always being connected to the internet. 

We know that too many options, in whatever form they take, produce paralysis. Continue reading “The Paradoxical Problem of Choice”

April Net Worth Update

If you’re just joining, our family of four is on a three-year journey to double our net worth and become location independent so we can move abroad. Each month, I’ll keep you apprised of our progress. This year, we’ve got some major goals, including paying off our outstanding debt (car and apartment in Chile), replacing our roof, AND saving around $70,000. As of February, we were 9% of the way to doubling our net worth.

I waited until the end of April to post our net worth update, because, frankly, our March update wasn’t very exciting. Thanks to Mr. ThreeYear’s annual stock “gift,” however, April’s update actually moves our net worth dial. Mr. ThreeYear works for a 100% employee-owned company, and each year, in April, he receives a share of company stock (which is privately owned) equivalent to at least 8% of his base salary. The company is audited each December to set the stock’s yearly price.

Although this is an incredible “gift,” we consider it part of his total compensation, because that is what it effectively is, albeit tax-deductible (for all the ins and outs of how such a plan, called an ESOP, works, head here).   If he were to leave the company, he would need to take equal distributions over 5 years and roll the shares into a retirement account.

Kuchen--www.thethreeyearexperiment.com
Spending lots of time baking (and eating!) in snowy, cold March.

March and April were rough months for the ThreeYears, ain’t gonna lie. It’s always one of the toughest times of the year for me, living in New England as a transplanted Southern Belle (or, just…Southerner…). March and April are hard-wired into my psyche as a time when the birds are supposed to be chirping, flowers are supposed to be blooming, and snow is definitely NOT supposed to be still falling. Continue reading “April Net Worth Update”

How to Become Location Independent When You’re Not Yet Financially Independent

In today’s world, thanks to globalization, fast modems, and cheap airfare, it’s increasingly possible to live anywhere. So why don’t we? Mr. ThreeYear and I live in New Hampshire because of his job. We live in the US because it’s an English-speaking country where I was born and raised.

It’s been a dream for some time, though, to become location independent, not to be tied down by employment to one particular city or town,  so that we can move abroad, or even split our year between Chile, where his family lives, or the Carolinas, where my family is.

santiago graffiti--www.thethreeyearexperiment.com
Mr. ThreeYear and the boys in front of some prime Santiago graffiti

Dreams are fun, and they inspire you to think big and imagine. They can also inspire a certain amount of dissatisfaction with your life, if you let them. When I was always dreaming about moving abroad, but felt it was impossible, it was very frustrating. Continue reading “How to Become Location Independent When You’re Not Yet Financially Independent”

In Praise of Restraint

This week, the ThreeYear Family has had the incredible privilege of spending the week at a swanky island resort. We’ve swum at the lovely resort pools, eaten in delicious restaurants next to a marina filled with forty-foot yachts, and marveled at a collection of world-class cars from around the US–Teslas, Rolls Royces, Land Cruisers, and many German-engineered automobiles.

Seabrook Marina--www.thethreeyearexperiment.com

We were able to vacation in such a luxurious setting mostly due to dumb luck (having to do with winning the genetic lottery). Continue reading “In Praise of Restraint”

Make It This Weekend: Empanadas!

One of the ways we keep our spending low around here is to eat the vast majority of our meals at home. We do occasionally eat out, but it’s rare–in part because we’d rather spend on travel and in part because we live in the “country” as we say in the South. That means in the middle of nowhere. The nearest grocery store is 20 minutes away, for reference.

delicious empanadas--www.thethreeyearexperiment.com

Therefore, I’ve become adept at making a lot of food. Since Mr. ThreeYear is Chilean, I occasionally make Chilean food. And my absolute favorite Chilean recipe is the meat empanada.

The Little Meat Pocket That Could

We make empanadas for everything–for dinner guests, to give as gifts, as dinner when we’re in a rush. Whip up a couple of sides and you’ve got a meal.  Freeze them, then pull them out and cook at the last minute (they last up to a year in the freezer). They make fabulous gifts. Continue reading “Make It This Weekend: Empanadas!”

At Home in the World

A few weeks ago, I found out I was picked to be part of the launch team for the new book from one of my favorite bloggers, Tsh Oxenreider. It’s called At Home in the World, and as thanks for helping spread the word about this book, we got to read advanced copies. Luckily, I received the manuscript on a Sunday, because I spent the entire day devouring it.

At Home in the World--www.thethreeyearexperiment.com

First, it combines my favorite two things in the world–family and travel. Second, it was written by the founder of The Art of Simple, a blog devoted to simple living and a thoughtful pursuit of happiness. Tsh is one of the people who inspired our three year plan to move internationally after we double our net worth and she seems to be grounded and unassuming as they come, but with a terrific sense of self. I love pretty much everything she writes or recommends. Continue reading “At Home in the World”

Get Out of Town, Already!

I’m listening to the birds chirp outside my window. We’ve left the window cracked over night. Unheard of, even a week ago. Yesterday the temperature rose to 72 and the sun shone all day. Our stream was swollen with melted snow rushing downstream.

Seabrook--www.thethreeyearexperiment.com
Time for a change in view.

Spring hasn’t arrived, unfortunately. It’s a trick of New England, a trick of nature to give you a golden taste of the glorious summer ahead, to get you through the rainy, muddy, dreary next two months. But I believe the snow may melt this time, and my son told me a flower was blooming, so I am hopeful that some of this good weather is here to stay. Continue reading “Get Out of Town, Already!”

Updating Our Pendant Lights

Hi! If you’re new here, I’m Laurie and my family and I are on a three-year journey to location independence by doubling our net worth so we can move abroad.

pendant lights--www.thethreeyearexperiment.com

During our three year experiment, one of our goals is to get our house ready for sale. To that end, we asked a realtor to visit last month and give her opinion of what needs to be done to make the house ready. It turns out, a lot. But the good news is, we have time to tackle all of these projects slowly, so we’ll be able to do a lot of the work ourselves.

Mr. ThreeYear and I are not DIYers. And we’re not especially detail-oriented. But we are committed to amplifying our skill set and learning in order to get the house ready. Continue reading “Updating Our Pendant Lights”

Outfitting Your Kids

Mr. ThreeYear and I practice selective frugality. That is, we spend our money on the things that matter to us, but minimize spending in areas that don’t matter. One of those areas is clothes. While I haven’t been on a three-year clothing ban like Mrs. Frugalwoods, I minimize costs in this area whenever possible. We also have two kids and live in Winterfell–I mean, New England–so we have growing bodies to clothe through our long, snowy winters.

Snow--www.thethreeyearexperiment.com
Happy winter. And Spring.

So how do we outfit our Little ThreeYears each year Continue reading “Outfitting Your Kids”

Are You the 1%?

Last night, my son asked me to replay a video I’d shown him last year.  It’s called If the World Were 100 People. Maybe you’ve seen it. One of my professors in a TESOL (that’s Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages if you’re new here) Master’s course had introduced me to the video last Spring.

World 100 People--www.thethreeyearexperiment.com

If you’ve got two and a half minutes, it’s a great watch.

The company that developed the video, GOOD Magazine, used research from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook to give us an idea of what our world would look like if its 7.5 billion inhabitants were reduced to a mere 100 people. 100 is a number we can wrap our brains around fairly easily. We all know 100 people. We’re probably friends with 100 people. Continue reading “Are You the 1%?”