Monday, February 7, 2022

Hoops for the Poor

It's tax time. That means it's time to wait anxiously for the mail each day, hoping that final W2 or 1099 will show up, and we finance weirdos can start in on the fun of entering figures into our favorite tax software.

I know I'm not the only one who enjoys this annual task. I imagine the five of you reading this blog look forward to the unpaid labor that so many other Americans, the normal ones, think of as a special torture. That's fine. Some people enjoy the time right up until the safe word, some of us like making an IRA contribution for the prior calendar year. It takes all kinds.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Solar Panels or an Electric Vehicle?

Last week we noodled over which electric vehicle might replace one of the two gas burning cars in our garage right now. But I was underwhelmed by how little cost or even environmental savings would be gained from most of the options. 

The new EVs wouldn't break on costs for hundreds of years. Okay, fine: we're not really trying to save money with a new vehicle. We're trying to save the atmosphere from having even more CO2 dumped into it every year. 

Monday, January 17, 2022

Noodling Electric Vehicles

I'm in the middle of Wallet Activism right now and it's changing the way I think about things. How we spend our money, sure. But also how we think about things. How do we make decisions, even with things that are free (or "free"). 

When I click on the free shipping option to save a couple bucks, what else happens before that package arrives at my door? What happened in a factory or sweatshop overseas a few months earlier?

When we spend airline points to get on a flight to Europe, and maybe write a blog post bragging about our fancy ass travel, we didn't spend any money. But what costs are still borne by...someone?

Monday, January 10, 2022

Way Too Transparent: All the Money We've Made (2022 update)

Another year in the books, another year of the pandemic to endure. 

Welcome to 2022, what promises to be the longest seventy three months in memory. Supply chains are stretched, we've collectively stopped trying to avoid giving each other COVID, inflation is rampant, and Tom Brady will win another Super Bowl in a few weeks.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Mediocre Advice for Dads Who Somehow Know Less Than Me

When I first left work, I imagined I'd be writing multiple posts a week again like I did in the early years of the blog. Without the forty hours and ongoing stress of corporate employment, I'd be able to write a post on Monday and another mid-week, for sure.

As usual, I was both too optimistic and missed some key details. Like how raising a newborn is time consuming, and how two children take more labor than one.

With Mrs. Done by Forty deciding to continue working instead of joining me in early retirement, there's a heavier lift than if we were both retired and tag teaming the kids during the day.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Government Makes the Market

Early retirement has been a blessing in these long days of the pandemic. Our days went from a non-stop juggling of work, parenting, cooking, and cleaning to, well, a leisurely juggling act of the same things. Mrs. Done by Forty decided she wanted to keep working and it's been a very good thing for both of us: she's happiest when she gets to put her PhD to use and getting to do so from home is kind of a dream scenario. 

My time is filled with puzzles, toys, crayons and walks with Toddler AF, along with diapers and eye gazing and coaxing Baby JC to sleep. In the breaks, there are a lot of online board games and yard work.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Wealth Quartiles, and Who Is Rich, Anyway?

The other day, a question came up on my Twitter feed. Do you consider yourself rich?

I like this sort of question. Ideally, it inspires a little introspection and gets me to step back and get some perspective. Do I understand where we stand financially? Do I appreciate how lucky we are?

To get that perspective, it helps to understand what kind of money the average family has. We've written a lot about average incomes and income quintiles with this in mind.

Monday, September 13, 2021

I Guess I Like Cars Now?

So there was a slight omission in our last annual "are we on track for FIRE" post. Okay, two small omissions, that totaled twenty thousand dollars. Unintentionally following a trend that swept America while we were cooped up in a pandemic, we bought not one, but two, used cars: a 2015 Lexus RX350, and a 2006 Saab 9-3 2.0T wagon (or "Sportcombi" for Saab nerds).

What would have possessed us to buy two additional cars, mere months after writing an ode to the Matrix and the happiness of making one car work?

Monday, August 30, 2021

Stuck in the Middle with You

Stuck in the Middle with You
Bill Simmons once mentioned that people have a weird quirk when it comes to talking about weddings. No matter how many people you had at your wedding, if someone had twenty more people at their wedding, then they had a huge wedding. If someone had 20 fewer people, they had a small, intimate ceremony. Your wedding, though, was pretty normal: just enough loved ones to celebrate your beautiful day.

It's stuck with me, and now I notice this sort of relative comparison everywhere. People with homes larger than yours, or with things like workout rooms or finished basements that you don't have, are too big. Who could even use all that space? Can you imagine what it's like to clean that place?