I took a sip of Kool-Aid

Over the last 2 years or so, I’ve been learning about a special kind of Kool-Aid. I wanted to know how to make it and what was involved. I wanted to learn about what happened after you drank it and what could happened. Am I going to get a blue tongue that won’t go away? Is it going to get all over my face? I don’t want to be the dirty blue Kool-Aid face kid.

I started acquiring the tools to make the Kool-Aid. I found a really big bucket. It’s clean. Don’t worry. It’s also a good bucket because it doesn’t have any holes in it. A bucket with holes is no good for this kind of Kool-Aid (or any Kool-Aid really). Check your bucket! Does it have holes?? NO?? Good.

Then I started adding water to the bucket. At first, it wasn’t much. It was basically a wet bucket. You can’t make Kool-Aid with a wet bucket. You need more water in the bucket. So I kept adding water. When I got more water, I would add some to the bucket. I wouldn’t dump all my water in the bucket, but I gave about half the water I had.

I learned to make the Kool-Aid from this guy with a mustache and a family with a really tall dog. They introduced me to a guy who plays with dinosaurs and this lady who has hearts for eyes. They all showed me how to create the magically packet of goodness. The packet, when added to the water, was beautiful.

What sort of Kool-Aid am I making? The best kind. Financially Independent Kool-Aid.

I took a sip. Delicious. I gave some to Hubs. He took a hesitant sip, but drank none the less.

We’ve both had a taste of the Kool-Aid. And it was good.

Now I have to keep filling this bucket.

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A Retired Bachelor and Finding my Money Mentor

I didn’t expect to come away from a Christmas dinner with a financial independence story. Somehow I managed to leave with two. The first story is short. The second story is important. I’ll start with the easy story. 🙂

My cousin is 35 years old and single.  He’s the youngest of three boys and has always been a bit of a floater. He used to work maintenance or grounds crew or something for the local university. At Christmas, I found out that he quit his job in June. He’s been unemployed and proudly not looking for new employment since. He called himself a Retired Bachelor.

I asked my mom about it, and she says he’s been living off his parents. His parents don’t have much money, but his family doesn’t seem weird about it and my cousin has a soul, so I can’t see him mooching too hard. My guess is that he’s living rent free, eating for free, but otherwise living a small existence. I told him to write a blog about it. I proposed RetiredBachelor.com. Maybe he’ll write. I’m excited to watch how it unfolds.

The more important story is one I was surprised to hear. Somehow after dinner, after all the guests had left, my mom, sister and I got to talking about real estate. Feeling more confident in FIRE inclinations, I told them about my interest in buying a multi-unit building. Depending on the timing, we could live in part of it and rent the rest out. House hacking, so to speak.

I thought I was being unique in my endeavors.

Then my mom chimed in, “That’s what your Grandpa did. He owned several multi-family units.”

Um, excuse me, what?

She went on to say with a smile, and a hint of long since forgotten annoyance ” He made his children clean the units between vacancies.”

I had no idea.

A little backstory…

Born in 1913, my grandpa carried with him a deep rooted trauma from the Great Depression. He was a true to life hoarder in every sense of the word. He also had a tough time parting with his money. From that came a money smarts that makes me smile.

He used to start savings accounts all over the country. While driving through, he’d drop into the local bank and open an account. The family had a heck of time tracking down all the accounts after he died. They seemed to keep appearing.

One blessing I will never take for granted is he paid for most of my college, and for many of my cousins’ college. He liked savings bonds and purchased them as gifts for what seemed like all occasions. He also liked to give cash. In fact, the only written momento I have from him is one of those envelopes meant to give cash.

The funny thing about all this is that he never had much money. Or at least, that’s how the world remembers him. He was a tradesman. He owned his own small business. He lived modestly. He was the millionaire next door.

Without knowing it, I’m following my grandfather’s footsteps. I save like him. Unfortunately, I hoard like him. And now I want to grow wealth like him.

I couldn’t be prouder.

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

First to $100k wins! WE HAVE A WINNER!

A few years ago, I started a race with Hubs. It was a race to 100k.

The rule was the first to 100k in individual solo accounts, wins. He had been saving a while and had a bit of a head start, but I was eager. I had just finished paying off my student loans and I was hungry for retirement savings.

At first, I didn’t tell him about it. I was the underdog and it was my race, so I took whatever head start I could get!

I got to saving, then I told him, then we both got to saving.

Then I realized I was the biggest jerk in the world and canceled the race. Turns out its not a wise move to prioritize vacations over retirement saving. Lesson learned.

We maxed out all retirement accounts, saved for a house, saved for a vacation and moved on. With everything on auto-pilot, it was easy to think about other things. I still tracked our accounts on my handy spreadsheet every month, but then we bought a house and canceled our internet. With so many house projects and no ability to stare at my Vanguard account, I focused on other things.

I completely forgot about the race.

It wasn’t until one sleepy Saturday morning that I remembered. I was laying in bed, wishing I was still asleep, when Hubs called me into his office.

“Look.”

He pointed to the screen. Bright screen. Groggy eyes. What am I looking at?

He had his 401k account up on the screen. It read — $100,243.

Six Figures.

He did it!

He was so proud. I was so proud of him. He won the race!

It wasn’t until later that I remembered the real rules of the game. I opened my spreadsheet and realized he had won the official race a few months earlier, but this felt so much better than two accounts together. This was 6 figures in one account! It was an extra digit!

Later that day, while we were driving around running errands, the car got quiet. “I didn’t think I would get to 100k. I’m so proud of myself. I wish I could tell someone. …. This isn’t the kind of thing you tell people.”

Lucky for him, I happen to write about money on the internet. This is his celebratory post.

Happy 100k Hubs! Proud of you!

Here’s to 200k and beyond! You’ll be there before you know it!

🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉