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

Making the Most of Our Time Off — Our Travel Philosophy

We have less than a month before we plan on giving notice to our employers.  This is the calm before the storm.  Eerie and exciting.  I constantly replay in my mind what I expect the meetings to be like.  What will be the reaction?  Disappointment, surprise, anger, or mockery?  Maybe even a little jealousy?


At the same time, we continue to plan for our trip next year.  I appreciate all of the support I’ve gotten from readers.  It’s always amazed me that, even flying under the radar as I try to do, how many people view this site.  So thanks for that.

I’ve gotten a few comments suggesting that we just buy a one-way ticket and see where it takes us.  I suppose these readers are suggesting that we just be like leaves in the wind.  This is a highly romanticized view of travel (I get it and appreciate it), but it doesn’t fit well with our personalities. 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

Winter Update and a Resolution

Happy belated New Year to everyone!  I enjoyed almost two weeks off from work over the holidays. Spent a lot of it with family on the other coast.  It was great to completely disengage from the daily grind, especially coming off of a period where I was intensely disliking my j*b.  This year has also gotten off to a good start.  It’s been Goldilocks busy at work — not too much, not too little — just the right amount.  As an INTJ, the part about litigation I like the least, or more accurately stated as abhor the most, is having to deal with difficult people.  Even the thought of it totally stresses me out.  Fortunately, there hasn’t been much of that lately.  That certainly makes the job easier to handle.  Plus, everyone has been pulling their own weight lately (and perhaps even some of mine!).

As long-time readers will note, from time to time, I seesaw from hating the job to not minding it so much.  Having gone through the ups-and-downs more than a few times, I feel like it will soon be time to get off the seesaw.  On the financial side, I feel pretty comfortable stepping aside after one more fiscal year.  That means leaving either (1) at the end of this year if I am not productive or (2) next spring if I expect a distribution above my draw (like a bonus). Thus, my resolution for 2015 is to plan as if I will leave no later than spring of 2016.


This is not the first time I’ve drawn a line in the sand and said I will quit by a certain date.  But I was naive in 2009 and too eager to compromise the future for the present.  At that time, only the ERE and MMM folks would have encouraged me to quit with a net worth of $350K.  Now I feel like even more conservative types like the folks at and Bogleheads would agree that we are ready.  Hopefully putting my resolution in writing will help me stick to it.  Continue reading

As the Leaves Change, So Does My Sentiment

Just venting a little.  As “seasoned” as I am as a big firm attorney, it really does not take much for me to want to head for the hills and escape it all.  Even a few months ago, I was still enjoying the calm breeze of summer litigation.  Things have only ratcheted up so-oh-little, and I’m already wanting to quit.  The stock market is not helping much, as our net worth has been falling day-to-day instead of creeping upwards towards a yet-to-be-defined target.  Anyways, I’ve been kind of a wimp lately.


Continue reading

Can’t a Guy Have It All?

For some time now, my dream has been to retire early and travel the world.  But I’ve also wanted to have kids and raise a family.  Sometimes I wonder if these two lifestyles are mutually exclusive — you can have one but not the other.

On one hand, it would be easy to retire in the next few years with more than enough assets to cover the two of us for life and begin our travels.  Perhaps we could settle down somewhere after our travels and see where life takes us.  But my wife doesn’t think a nomadic lifestyle is conducive to raising kids.  I wholeheartedly disagree and think it would make for a great education.  On the other hand, if we had kids sooner rather than later, they’d probably take over our lives, which would lead to me feeling resentful that I never got to follow my dreams.

Continue reading