The Six Streams of Income We’ll Rely on in Early Retirement

Now that our family has moved to North Carolina, our next big financial goal, ten years’ hence, is retirement. We’ve decided to wait until Little ThreeYear graduates before we retire (although we could always change our minds).  Since we’ll be retiring somewhat early, before the “official” age of 65, we’ll need to structure our retirement so that we have access to different pools of money, or streams of income, to tap into.

Though Mr. ThreeYear and I primarily invest in index funds (we have a “slow and simple-don’t get greedy” philosophy), we currently plan to have several streams of income available to us when we retire. Some will be passive, and others active. While this wasn’t necessarily a conscious plan on our part, life has worked out this way and we’ll take these streams of income we’ve developed along the way. Continue reading “The Six Streams of Income We’ll Rely on in Early Retirement”

How Many of the Six Factors of Wealth Do You Have?

Did you know there are six factors, or personality traits, that will make you more likely to build and retain wealth over time? Don’t worry; if you weren’t born with them, you can develop them.

Sarah Stanley Fallaw, daughter of Thomas Stanley, and whom I’ve written about here, has continued her father’s work of surveying millionaires in the book The Next Millionaire Next Door. The idea is to locate individuals or families who have assets of $1 million or above, and survey them about their habits, expenses, and values.

The results of the surveys she and her father have undertaken have led Fallaw to conclude that there are six key factors to assist millionaires in wealth building. Here they are, copied from Business Insider:

  • Frugality, or a commitment to saving, spending less, and sticking to a budget
  • Confidence in financial management, investing, and household leadership
  • Responsibility, which involves accepting your role in financial outcomes and believing that luck plays little role
  • Planning, or setting goals for your financial future
  • Focus on seeing tasks through to their completion without being distracted
  • Social indifference, or not succumbing to social pressure to buy the latest thing

Let’s break these factors down a little more to understand what it takes to build wealth.

Continue reading “How Many of the Six Factors of Wealth Do You Have?”

Finally, A Plan to Save for Your Kids’ College. But Is It a Good One?

One of the bedrocks of savings, if you have kids, is that pesky college tuition that looms large over the entire breadth of their first eighteen years.

It’s hard to get a handle on how much, exactly, you need to save, since college tuition costs seem to rise like Zimbabwe currency back in 2008.

When I went to college, my first year cost an exorbitant $19,000. I could only attend because I received a 75% academic scholarship (yep that was a humble brag thrown in there). That was in 1997. That same college now costs $46,012 just over twenty years later.

When the sixth graders at my former school did a class project detailing the costs of college, I was floored. $67,000 a year for Duke? $35,000 for State U in Timbuktu?

Needless to say, I have not been feeling super great about the amount we’re saving for the boys’ college, especially since I’ve been hearing from a lot of people how hard it is to get into UNC Chapel Hill, which is currently my choice for my kids, as it’s the cheapest state school in the entire US of A, at $24,266 for tuition and room and board for in-state students.

But how much should we be saving? Won’t they, too, get scholarships for some of the cost? (Jury’s still out on that one). We’ve been aiming to save a certain amount each month in their college funds and each year in our taxable accounts, but our move definitely disrupted that a bit.

Continue reading “Finally, A Plan to Save for Your Kids’ College. But Is It a Good One?”

March Net Worth Update

As we enter the fourth month of the year here in North Carolina, I’ve been thinking about the differences between our old Spring in New Hampshire and the Spring we’re experiencing now.

While it did snow yesterday (very strange for North Carolina in April), in general we’ve enjoyed warmer temperatures and sunshine. New Hampshire still has snow on the ground, so the flowers and Spring weather are a welcome change.

Spring has always been my favorite time of year here, and this year is no different. The new blooms and warmth make me smile. And things are in full bloom right now. Our cherry trees have exploded in tiny white blossoms that look like snow as they fall off the trees. We’re sneezing like crazy with all the pollen in the air, and everywhere you turn, creeping phlox, tulips, daffodils, and other early Spring emergents are bursting out of the ground in an explosion of color.

Our Progress

March was a pretty boring month, net worth wise. Nothing much changed and we saved a normal amount towards retirement, our HSA, home equity, and the like. Our total net worth increased just over 1%.

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A Year of Good Money: A Digital Fast

What does a digital fast have to do with getting better at money? I think it might be quite a lot, actually.

This year, my family is focusing on making better spending decisions. To that end, we’re (I’m) engaging in twelve eleven (I forgot in March) money experiments designed to help us reexamine our spending patterns and hopefully, get better at them. I’m calling this A Year of Good Money.

In February, I took on a no-spending challenge, my Frugal February challenge, and we spent less than we had in a year. The crazy part was, I was the only one in my family engaged in the challenge. I set rules for myself, which were that I would spend nothing outside of groceries, gas, and bills, but I wouldn’t involve my family members in the challenge, since Mr. ThreeYear was traveling a lot and I didn’t want to make things harder on him, and I didn’t want to stop the boys from their activities.

I think the experiment showed me how programmed I am to spend money. Sadly, in March, I went back to my old ways, and spent more than ever, as some commenters predicted. To be completely effective, it’s clear that I’ll need to engage in a no-spend period that’s longer than a month, because I did delay spending for a month, rather than stop spending in a certain category at all. Here are all of my thoughts on what I learned during the month.

Continue reading “A Year of Good Money: A Digital Fast”