Fall Update — Assessing the Fallout from an Explosion in Expenses

Lifestyle creep. We have been pretty good about keeping lifestyle creep to a minimum over the years. When I was unmarried, I lived on $25K in Manhattan. This went up to $30K in the Bay Area — I guess inflation — then $50-55K as a married couple without any kids. My friends sometimes teased me about the apartments I rented because some were old and others came with eccentric roommates. But keeping expenses low allowed me to save a big chunk of my paychecks, from when I was making $80K out of college, $200K out of law school, and $350-650K as a junior partner. Continue reading


The True Cost of Homeownership

We’ve been in our house for almost two months. Ever since our home inspection over three months ago, we’ve had a big list of things we’ve wanted to fix, upgrade, and replace in our house. In the last two months, we’ve been tackling that list one item at a time. It’s been quite an adventure and I’ve learned quite a few things about myself and my capabilities / limits. Continue reading

Long Overdue Update — the Trials of Purchasing a Home

The last few months have been quite eventful. We’ve gone from renters to Airbnb vagrants to house crashers to finally homeowners.

How We Ended Up as Vagrants

We had been renting an apartment and our lease was ending at the end of January. There was complete radio silence about renewing the lease and we figured we would roll into a month-to-month lease as typically happens in California. About two weeks before the end of the lease, our landlord’s agent reaches out with the blissful expectation we were just going to renew a full-term lease.  Continue reading

The Never Ending Pursuit of Contentment

One of my best memories growing up was when my parents finally bought me and my brother a Sega Genesis for Christmas.  We had a home computer, but had wanted a gaming console for years.  Our friends had at least one, sometimes as many as three.  Our parents finally relented, but not without milking it by my demanding our best behavior for months.


Best present ever!

It was really the anticipation that made it so memorable though.  My brother and I constantly talked about it and daydreamed about what games we would get, where we would put it, etc.  Christmas Day was pretty memorable too — I think we were up by 5 am at the latest.  We raced downstairs to tear off the wrapping paper — we were giddy at the sight of the Sega logo.  We played a lot at first, but a year later, it was just another thing that we had.  Same thing with my first real mountain bike.  I mowed our lawn for $20 a pop, and slowly saved the $750 to buy the bike.  It had front suspension, which was a newfangled thing at the time.  I probably rode it two dozen times before I started driving and biked less.  At least I still have it — today it sits on our balcony with flat tires and a dusty seat. Continue reading

Finding My Balance Point — Update

I think I left my last post on a bit of a cliffhanger.  Didn’t mean to leave anyone hanging!  Short update is that I did join the first firm that reached out to me.  I’m glad they reached out first because I would have picked them anyway.  It’s a smaller firm with ten or so attorneys and a more humane approach to the practice of law.  Almost no e-mails at night or on the weekends unless there’s an imminent deadline or crisis.  Also very supportive of flexible schedules and working remotely. Continue reading

Happy Belated New Year!

Happy 2018! Hope everyone had a great holiday season and got to spend time with friends and family. We did all of that and more, which I will tell you about in more detail below.

2017 went by really quickly. It was my first full year of not working since graduating high school. I hit the “reset” button pretty hard, but didn’t try to pressure myself into figuring it all out within a prescribed period of time. Now I’m into my second year and I want to gain some footing — so we moved. Continue reading

Passive and Active Living

I’m still trying to break free from the patterns of thinking from my prior life. I used to be driven primarily by the desire to reach goals that were often set for me by others. In this approach, I would have structure in my life, feel a sense of accomplishment when I met my goals, and others would be happy as well.  So for 35 years I put my blinders on and trudged towards my goals in discrete, pre-planned steps. Continue reading