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

Imagining the Future and My Best Exit Scenario

I’m generally not an all-or-nothing person.  As a lawyer, I like to manage and hedge risk.  The thought of giving notice seems so…final.  I view it as the exchange of a stable and financially rewarding career for a dream of freedom, exploration, and fulfillment.  Need more money later?  Well tough luck.  With the financial markets suffering a bit of turmoil lately, I haven’t been feeling as confident about making the leap.

Compounding the issue was a series of interactions I had while traveling last week.  Continue reading

Fall Update

Man, the summer went by really quickly.  The walnut tree outside our place is already beginning its annual dump on our porch.  I’ve started to wear light sweaters at night, and the local driving range where I hit golf balls has moved up its closing time by about an hour in the last month.  We’re doing our best to enjoy the tail end of summer.  We took a short trip over Labor Day and had a great time exploring, eating, napping, etc.

In the last four months of 2015, we really have to ramp up planning for our trip next year.  We’ve familiarized ourselves with the weather patterns in Asia and plotted a 9-month itinerary starting in Australia, then New Zealand, going up to Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia/Singapore, down to Bali, up to Tokyo and Hokkaido/Sapporo, then hopping down through Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and finally back home.

airlines-airplane-flying-600 Continue reading

We Put a Stake in the Ground (Planning Our Exit)

I’m excited to share that we put a stake in the ground to help us follow through on our still-developing exit plan.  We just booked one-way tickets to Sydney, Australia departing at the end of February 2016.  Sydney will be our first stop on our travels after we leave our jobs.  We’re still figuring out where to go from there, but having that ticket booked helps give us the resolve to leave our jobs (and possibly careers).  Of course, since we used award miles to book the flight, we can always cancel 21 days before departure without any fees.*  But let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Sydney_Opera_House,_botanic_gardens_1

The strategy of putting a stake in the ground, or dipping our toes in the water before committing, has helped me to follow through with tough courses of action in the past.  For example, one of the ways I got myself to start investing in the stock market following the 2008 crash was simply to transfer cash from my bank account to a money market account at a brokerage.  It didn’t make any difference to my asset allocation, but I nudged myself closer to taking what I thought was the right action.  Now my money was in a position to be invested immediately.  I suppose this is the same strategy salespeople use to close on sales.  They start with small steps.

Anyways, how did we decide to leave in February 2016?  Well that took a bit of thought.

Continue reading

Sprint to the Finish

Things have been a little crazy in the last few weeks.  I’ve been wanting to fill you all in about my situation, but it is unique enough that posting about it could compromise my anonymity.  It’s really going to be a sprint to the finish line.  But our finances will be better for it.

Sprinter Crossing the Finish LineI just ran a Firecalc simulation based on what I expect our savings will be in 2015 and things look very good.  This is based on a $55K spend and doesn’t include social security.  (This is for a 45 year timeline — oddly enough I find the success rate for a 45 year period to be more conservative than that for a 60 year period.)firecalc 04122015Now the only question is if I have enough gas in the tank to finish out the year!