Should We Get a 10 Year Mortgage?

Mortgage rates are lower than ever, and when I recently saw that 10- and 15-year mortgages have hit 3% rates, I was intrigued.

Long-term readers of the blog know that we have (and love!) our 15-year mortgage, because it’s allowed us to pay off our house faster and build up more equity than a 30-year mortgage.

I’m also completely aware that those who have a 30-year mortgage tout the benefits of those, including the ability to essentially maintain a super-low interest rate while investing their money in higher-return vehicles like the stock market.

Mr. ThreeYear (especially) and I (less so) tend to be of the more conservative variety, preferring the feeling of having no debt to the feeling of optimizing our investments. One option isn’t better or worse than the other, just different.

When I mentioned to Mr. ThreeYear that we could consider refinancing to a 10-year mortgage at a lower rate, at a monthly payment that we could afford, he was very excited.

So we began to investigate the option of refinancing to a 10-year rate.

Continue reading “Should We Get a 10 Year Mortgage?”

Why We’re Eating More Vegetables in 2020

As I mentioned in my last post, this year I’m not setting goals like I have in the past. One of the reasons for this is because I’ve achieved a lot of my short-term and mid-term goals, especially the big ones (become location independent, fully fund our 401ks, get a job, get a dog).

This year, I’m more focused on tweaking the little, day-in and day-out habits that ultimately make life better or worse.

One of those habits that I’m tracking is how many vegetarian meals I eat per day.

Why am I tracking vegetarian meals? I’ve been an avid meat consumer since birth, and I’ve never, absolutely ever, been tempted to become a vegetarian or go vegan.

However, I’ve realized for some time that eating less meat is good for the planet, and recently, I read the book Blue Zones Kitchen, which convinced me that eating more veggies is good for my body, too.

I’ve talked about the book before. It’s a cookbook written by Dan Buettner, the National Geographic researcher who coined the term “blue zones,” areas of the planet where the local populations live, on average, ten years longer than the people around them. No one knows exactly why that is–it could be close knit relationships, their propensity to move more throughout the day, diet, or a combination of many things (which is probably the case).

Continue reading “Why We’re Eating More Vegetables in 2020”

10 Things I’m Saying “No” to This Year

Normally, when a new year rolls around, I have a list a mile long of things I’m saying YES to. You can check out some past ones here and here. Goals and resolutions are fun and have their place, but this year, I’m doing things a little differently.

I have a list of a few foundational habits I’ll work on mastering, with a plan to hold myself accountable each day (more on that, soon).

But, in part inspired by this article, I am making a list of things I’m NOT going to do in 2020.

I don’t know if you’re like this, but I am constantly thinking, very loudly. There’s an incessant, droning voice inside my head reading to me, digesting information, working through inter-personal problems, telling me what I should be doing. If I feed that voice too much, it’s chaos in my brain.

When I radically simplify life–schedule and space–my mental health improves.

When I have enough time away from ordinary routines to reset my brain and get out of my normal thinking patterns, I figure out solutions to problems. I’ve read that a “no” list can be as important to your mental health as a “yes” list, so during my time off, I decided to make my list of ten things I won’t be doing this year.

1-No News Feed

I deleted the Apple News app from my phone. When I’m bored, I won’t have it there to scroll through. I won’t know the latest, breaking stories as soon as they come in. But, amazingly, I’ve found that the most important stories always come through. Someone inevitably mentions the important news stories, and I’ll look them up. I get The Economist weekly emails. I’ll be informed, just not immediately so.

I actually deleted the News app months ago, and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Eliminating this piece of noise from my life was a big win, and one I plan to continue in 2020.

2-No Podcasts

What’s wrong with you, you freak? Everybody listens to podcasts!

Podcasts are amazing, and definitely have a place in many people’s lives, just not mine, this year.

When I listen to podcasts, I find I get a lot of “you should” messaging. Frequently, people are interviewed who have just written a book, or done something cool. Their stories are interesting and inspirational, but too often, I find myself thinking, “you should do more with your life. You should write a book/climb Mount Everest/volunteer with Somali orphans.” That contributes to more noise upstairs. Podcasts aren’t helpful for me, personally, because of that crazy brain I have.

If I want to listen to something, I’ll download a digital book from the library.

Continue reading “10 Things I’m Saying “No” to This Year”

December Net Worth Update

Guess what?

Like all good things, the three year experiment has come to an end.

Don’t panic: The Three Year Experiment hasn’t come to an end, though my posts are certainly less frequent than they have been!

But, the three year experiment, whereby my family worked towards location and financial independence within three years, has come to an end.

Technically, I suppose it should have ended in July, on my 40th birthday, but the blog only really got started in January of 2017, so I gave us until December, 2019, to reach our goal.

Did we do it? Are we location independent?

Well, now that I have a location-dependent job, I suppose we’re not, although we don’t need the job, so I could hypothetically quit any time. Mr. ThreeYear is a remote worker, so we could move, at least within the US. We’ll also likely spend some time this summer outside of the US, with him working remotely. So, I will say that, YES, we are location independent, and more importantly, we have engineered our lives to be more reflective of our values and desires.

  1. We live closer to both sides of our family.
  2. We can travel more, in the summers especially.

Are we financially independent?

Technically our goal was to double our net worth by the end of 2019. Spoiler alert: we didn’t make it.

We DID, however, get 82% of the way there, even with our move. Next year, we should finally double our 2016 net worth, so even though it took us 4 years, I’m pretty stoked (according to my projections, it should take about 5 more for us to double it again).

I thought that we would have spent a gazillion dollars this year, but it turns out, our spending was lower than last year’s, even with an obscene amount of spending for home upgrades. We’ve been so content with our new digs that we haven’t felt the need to take as many vacations, so lower spending in that category probably offset some of the spending in the Home Improvement category.

Continue reading “December Net Worth Update”