Quit Like a Millionaire: Book Review

This post contains an affiliate link or two. If you decide to buy the books I recommend, instead of checking them out from the library like I do, I may get some pocket change. I appreciate it because who doesn’t want a little extra pocket change?

I am, unsurprisingly, a fan of personal finance books. I dutifully read anything related to personal finance that appears on the market, usually placing an online hold for the book through my library.

I’ll often read an article about the book then log in to my online library and get in line, so to speak.

Last week, when the book Quit Like a Millionaire: No Gimmicks, Luck, or Trust Fund Required, by Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung showed up in my checked-out books, I was surprised. I’d forgotten I’d placed a hold on it, forgotten what it was about, forgotten who wrote it.

Turns out, the book was written by a Canadian couple who were saving up to buy a house in Toronto then decided to keep renting, pocket their savings, and retire early, traveling the world instead.

The book is primarily written by Kristy Shen. I’m not even sure why Bruce Leung’s name is on it. Shen tells his story, sure, but it’s really her story, which intersects with his, that is the most interesting. And we certainly don’t hear his voice at all in the book.

The reason I’m writing a book review, which I do extremely rarely, is because I found this book to be a breath of fresh air.

Normally, when people write personal finance books or even early retirement books, they say a lot of the same things. They write some very dense chapters on savings rate and investments, and then the thing’s over.

Continue reading “Quit Like a Millionaire: Book Review”

Moving from the Northeast to the Southeast US

Last year was a big year for our family.

For only the second time in my adult life, I got to pick exactly where I wanted to live.

The first time was right out of college, when I could go anywhere. I chose Santiago, Chile. Spanish speaking country, good economy, I had some contacts there.

After that, I moved where the jobs were. Specifically, where my husband’s jobs were. Georgia and New Hampshire weren’t necessarily his top places to live, either, but that’s where he was offered gainful employment.

If he got to pick? San Diego.

But, the crazy cost of housing. And my family lives on the East Coast.

This year, because he became a remote worker, Mr. ThreeYear and I got to pick where we were going to live.

And we chose to plant roots in Davidson, North Carolina.

Continue reading “Moving from the Northeast to the Southeast US”

Our Year in Pictures: Post-Location Independence

On Monday I shared the first half of our year in pictures, everything that happened in 2018 from January to the end of June, just before we officially became location independent. Today, here’s a visual post on what our lives have looked like in the second half of the year, from July to December, since moving to North Carolina and enjoying more location freedom.

Continue reading “Our Year in Pictures: Post-Location Independence”

Our Year in Pictures: Pre-Location Independence

Inspired by Tanja Hester’s post of her first year of retirement adventures, I thought I’d create a similar post of the ThreeYears’ 2018. After all, it was a big year for our family. We became location independent, we bought a new house, we went on several big trips, and the kids started new schools. As I was putting the post together, I realized that we had a lot of pictures! So I decided to break our year up into our pre- and post-location independence, which happens to fall right in the middle of the year (so handy!).

Here are the ThreeYears’ adventures from January to June of last year.

January

We started off 2018 in Chile, in the last week of our three-week long trip to visit Mr. ThreeYear’s family in Santiago. We also took a side trip to northern Chile, to the San Pedro de Atacama desert. That trip took place in the final days of December, so I won’t include pictures here, but read all about it in this post.

We bought lots of fresh fruits and veggies (because it was summer in Chile!) at the feria, the local market two blocks from our apartment.

Continue reading “Our Year in Pictures: Pre-Location Independence”

Location Independence: Six Month Report

When Mr. ThreeYear, our boys and I moved to North Carolina this June, we realized a dream at least a year and a half in the making.

So how does location independence feel six months in? How have our decisions turned out? I thought I’d give you an update on how we’re feeling about our move now that we’ve had some time to settle in.

First of all, just as a review, our family publicly announced on this blog, just over two years ago, that by the time I turned 40 (in July 2019), we wanted to sell our house and move abroad. I put it like this:

Continue reading “Location Independence: Six Month Report”

Two Years of Blogging

“Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto

Me ha dado la risa y me ha dado el llanto

Así yo distingo dicha de quebranto,

Los dos materiales que forman mi canto,

Y el canto de ustedes que es mi mismo canto,

Y el canto de todos que es mi propio canto.”

Violeta Parra

Yesterday was my blog’s two-year anniversary. Last year my anniversary slipped by, unnoticed, but this year, as I’m just back from FinCon, the financial bloggers’ conference, I’ve been more introspective.

When I started my blog, at first, I posted about once a month. I was scared, frankly. I didn’t know what I was doing and sent the poor guys at Squidix, my web host, emails about every other day because the back end stuff was over my head.

And honestly, I wasn’t sure that my plan, the one I’d announced so grandiosely but still felt so tentative about, would really work.

I mean, location independence? What did that even mean?

I puttered on with my monthly posts for a while, and then, in January 2017, I had the profound good fortune to meet up with Liz of the Frugalwoods blog. She is, in person, just like she is on the blog. Frugal, of course (we met up in a local library after Littlewoods had a playgroup and ate our brown bag lunches together), but also down-to-earth, approachable, and nice. She’s also really good at blogging. Not in the “make a bunch of affiliate income” way, but in the “setting goals and creating an engaged audience” kind of way. Continue reading “Two Years of Blogging”

Your Three Year Experiment: Claudia from Two Cup House

Hi there! It’s Wednesday and time for another installment of Your Three Year Experiment, featuring people who are sharing their own three year experiments–their plans, goals, and dreams for the next three years. 

Today’s post is from Claudia from Two Cup House. Claudia is a personal finance blogger, SEO consultant, and trainer who moved into a tiny house with her husband Garrett in order to get closer to financial independence. 

Claudia and her husband paid off six figures in debt in just a few years by downsizing to a tiny house and starting their own business. Now, they’re pursuing FI, but not RE (that’s financial independence, but not retiring early). Read on to find out:

  • how they were able to pay off $200,000 in a short time
  • how they’ll balance building their business with travel
  • the one place in their budget they’re not frugal

If you’d like to be featured in the series, send me a note! My contact info is on the Start Here page.

What’s your background? Early years, education, married, kids, jobs?

We grew up in different parts of Pennsylvania and have spent most of our lives here.  Unsurprisingly, we’re Penn State grads.

My husband, Garrett, and I live in a 500 sq ft house in Lancaster County, PA.  We don’t have kids (and don’t plan to have kids).

Today, we’re self-employed.  We run our own marketing consulting and training business.  

How did you come to the realization that something needed to change in your life?

At the end of 2014, we heard a radio program about personal finance.  People were talking about getting out of debt, which was unusual to us.  After hearing enough episodes, we sat down to take a look at our own debt and found we had more than $200,000 in debt (including a mortgage), which made us both feel quite uneasy.

What will that change look like?

Deciding to downsize and sell our home was the first big step.  I found a full-time job.  And, we started a side hustle.  All of this happened within the first four months of 2015.  Once we put a plan in place, we wanted to make all the big changes as fast as possible.

Now, we’re pursuing some level of financial independence.  We seek to invest enough to have dividends to cover our basic expenses, so we invest half of our income toward the goal.

Two Cup House Interview www.thethreeyearexperiment.com
Claudia and Garrett sold their 1,500 square foot house and downsized to a 500 square foot house to pay off their debt and reduce their living expenses. They now live mortgage-free.

How are you employing a three-year experiment to make it happen (i.e., what’s your three-year plan)?

Since we’re doing well with our finances, we decided we don’t have to rush to the finish line.  Balancing work and life is the focus this year.

The first year of our three-year plan will be 2019.  We will begin traveling the US and invest half of our income.  And, we’re launching a new project that will help us grow our business.

The second year of our three-year plan is to bring in a partner of sorts to help us grow your new project (and subsequently our business).  Scaling this new project requires more help than we have today, a necessary step to maintaining work-life balance.  We’re planning to travel more of the US and then also take a trip to Europe for a few months.

The third year of our three-year plan is to improve our second-year efforts by looking at the data, figuring out what works so we can continue doing more of that, and eliminating what doesn’t work to make us more efficient.  We’ll be traveling around our favorite parts of the US and abroad to find a small plot of land we can call “home” in the future.

What have been some challenges you’ve run into?

With respect to our personal finances, we have a tendency to push the “easy” button when it comes to dinner, so we’re not always the most frugal.

What have you found easier than expected?

Living in a small house makes life a lot easier.  We don’t spend as much time cleaning or maintaining a home as we used to.  We find we’re happier than we were in the big house.

Two Cup House Cats www.thethreeyearexperiment.com
The Penningtons share their 500 square feet with their cats, too.

Do you think you’ll reach your goals in three years? Longer? Shorter?

I think it’s going to take us more time than we expect to grow our business, but since we’re on the slow road to financial independence, we’re not all that concerned if it takes another year to get there.

However, I think we’ll find our next patch of grass sooner rather than later.  We’ve wanted to relocate for several years and have already identified a few places we like.

What are you looking forward to once you’ve reached your goal(s)?

Having the ability to take our business on the road with us is the goal, so I’m looking forward to the start of our travels 2019.  Achieving financial independence will just be the icing on the cake.

Continue reading “Your Three Year Experiment: Claudia from Two Cup House”

Location Independent, International Jobs: Sarah

Today I have the pleasure to introduce Sarah. Sarah is a long-time reader of the blog, and first contacted me almost a year ago to share her desire to become location independent. She recently accepted a full-time remote job and is now proud to call her family LI! Sarah graciously agreed to answer some interview questions and will now join the ranks of Steve, Jaime, Moose, and more in the “Location Independent, International Jobs” series. Without further ado, here’s Sarah! 

Can you tell us a little bit about your background? Where you’re from, how long married, degrees, kids, ages, etc.

I’m Sarah and I live with my family near Sacramento, California.

I live with my husband of nearly 10 years, our two kids (ages 5 & 8), and two cats.  I have a master’s in library science and he has a PhD in the biological sciences.  We’ve lived in the Sacramento area for 2 years, having spent time in the Bay Area before that and over a decade in the Chicago suburbs before that.

hiking with family
Favorite frugal pastime: hiking in the beautiful California sunshine with my family

My family is from the Pacific Northwest, and my in-laws are in Chicago & San Francisco.  The majority of our family is on the west coast, so we’re able to see them a lot more than we did when we lived in Chicago.

How did you make the decision to work remotely?

Working remotely was actually suggested by my previous employer in late 2013 (after they’d denied the request in 2009), as we transferred from their Chicago office to San Francisco.  I absolutely jumped at the opportunity, since commuting was a huge factor keeping me from my kids.  I started looking for new remote work in early 2018 and accepted a new position in July.  I’m the librarian for a digital library at a relatively small company based in the Bay Area.

What’s the impetus for wanting to become location independent?

I was treated for depression and anxiety after our oldest was born; it was then that I came up hard against the realization that what I was “supposed to do”–work full time and see my baby for a few hours and be totally ok with that–was not actually working for me.
And so I cut down to part-time and began to radically change our spending, habits, and lifestyle, and really started to question everything.  I read blogs like The Minimalist Mom, Frugalwoods, Zen Habits and others, and we kept at it as our son grew and our daughter was born.   Then my husband lost his job and we moved to CA in the hopes that there would be work (there was!).
Between the 2-3 hours a day we spent commuting in Chicago, to this stressful time moving across the country for work and cramming into 900 sq ft so we could be closer to work in the Bay Area, my husband and I were unhappy with being tied to a workplace.
Enter our move to Sacramento and my finding The Three Year Experiment, and we started thinking about where we really wanted to be (still under discussion!).  I guess we chafe at the ideas of things we have to do, like work in the city, live in the suburbs, have a commute, buy a house, live paycheck-to-paycheck, and so this idea that we could set the terms around where we live and what we do was incredibly appealing.  For me, I’d been reading about Financial Independence for some time, but it was a bit nebulous without a really firm vision (we’re still working on that). Continue reading “Location Independent, International Jobs: Sarah”

On the Other Side of a Goal

Just after July 10, 2016 (i.e. my 37-th birthday), Mr. ThreeYear and I set a goal. Well, I set a goal and he went along with another crazy-will-this-actually-work idea of mine. A goal to double our net worth and become location independent in three years.

The seed was planted that summer, in a graduate class I was taking, when my professor mentioned an option for ESL teachers with Masters degrees to teach overseas as part of a program with the State Department.

It was planted fifteen years earlier, when I’d met a flight attendant in my ESL training program in Quebec who divided her time between Ecuador and Montreal.

It was planted three years before that, when I’d met a guy in college who grew up the first half of his life in South America and the second in Asia.

The seed was planted when I read about Tsh Oxenreider, founder of the Art of Simple website, who traveled around the world with her family and chronicled their journey in her book.

It was planted when I started to meet more and more people who worked from home, or worked remotely. Continue reading “On the Other Side of a Goal”

Your Three Year Experiment: Scott and Caroline

Hi there! As promised last week, today I have a brand new series for you, featuring people who are sharing their three year experiments, that is, their plans, goals, and dreams for the next three years. 

Today I’m thrilled to introduce Scott and Caroline, who share their early retirement strategies at Costaricafire. In this interview, you’ll learn:

  • how they created a real estate portfolio to help them retire
  • the three income streams they’ll use to fund retirement
  • the first thing they’ll do when they’re fully location independent

If you’d like to be featured in the series, send me a note! My contact info is on the Start Here page.

Hello! Tell us about yourselves.

We are Scott and Caroline, 40-something parents of two daughters from New York City. Caroline has been operating her own Career Coaching business for over 10 years after a career in finance, consulting and recruiting, and Scott has recently stepped away from a 23-year IT career to focus on our real estate investments and IT consulting.

What’s your background? Early years, education, married, kids, jobs?

Continue reading “Your Three Year Experiment: Scott and Caroline”