About a month ago, Mrs. Buck and I made a pretty decisive and big decision that will no doubt impact our retirement plan going forward. It also means I need to think of a new tagline to this blog. Check out my latest guest post with Pretired Nick over at his site to find out why.
(Edit: To see the next story in this saga click here.)
I’m probably getting ahead of myself a bit, but I’ve started thinking about contingency planning. What set of circumstances would drive us from early retirement back into the wealth accumulation phase? While we have a goal to “retire” as soon as possible, we’re certainly not going to take any outlandish risks to get there.
Because we plan on living off the appreciation of accumulated assets primarily in the form of stocks (held in indexed mutual funds), I feel there are two (2) main risks to our retirement status. The first of which I’ll cover in this post.
Mr. 1500 from 1500days.com has a cool segment where he invites other bloggers to answer at least 10 canned questions about personal finance and other fun topics. You can read about my favorite recipe, the car I drive, and other financial mistakes I see people making by clicking here.
Since our boys have been old enough to have a summer vacation, we’ve been taking road trips to different areas of the U.S. Even in this expansive country, we’ve found that two weeks is a pretty good amount of time to see some awesome things. Being located in the middle of the country with access to cheap fuel certainly helps too.
In 2011, we did a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on our way to a family reunion in North Carolina. After which we looped back home via the eastern seaboard.
Our 2012 excursion included Niagara Falls, upstate New York, the Finger Lakes as well as Toronto and a provincial park in Ontario, Canada.
I don’t know if it’s because I’m approaching 40, because my kids are growing up too quickly, or what my deal is but in the last year I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting on things. My life. Where I’m going. Where I can improve. I’d call it a mini-personal development kick of sorts.
This isn’t a bad thing but it certainly is a new thing – for me anyway. You see, I’ve not been one “to reflect”. I’m not emotional and am very even keeled. I like logical, tangible ideas and actionable advice. I studied engineering and work in information technology. I prefer reading things like The Millionaire Next Door over fictional novels.
That’s why I’ve never liked those corny, feel-good motivational videos that go viral. Those YouTube videos shared on Facebook by that girl you didn’t know all that well from high school. The one who adds a nondescript comment like “Everyone needs to see this!!!” with the requisite multiple exclamation points.
Previously, once I’d realized the namby-pamby nature of the video it would usually result in a quick redirect to ESPN.com.
Recently, however, those types of videos have been capturing my attention and I’m not entirely sure why.
I have a confession. So far on this site I’ve been sitting here, tooting my own horn telling how disciplined and smart we’ve been with our money and I even had the nerve to make the following rule within my Wealth Manifesto:
9. Do not invest in individual stocks – invest in low-expense mutual funds that support your targeted asset allocation mix.
The truth is I really haven’t paid much attention to the costs of the funds that we’ve been investing in for the past 15 years. Sure, if I was comparing two funds that looked similar, I’d usually pick the one with the lower cost. But beyond that, my thinking was always that as long as the expense ratio was under 1.0 that it wasn’t really that big of a deal.
This is another post from Mrs. Buck who is proposing an app that I think would sell like hotcakes to our community. Any Google Glass developers want to sign up for this one?
We’ve been living in our house for 8 years now. I consider our neighborhood pretty nice, although far from fancy. The homes are plenty large enough to raise a family. Sizes range from 1,600 to 2,600 square feet, come equipped with 3 or 4 bedrooms, and are typically priced from $210K to $350K. We’ve been here long enough to notice an interesting trend. Many young couples stay in our neighborhood for about 5 years, then leave to “upgrade” their homes. It’s made me wonder if we should be doing the same thing.