Home again

New Hampshire – Home

A couple of weeks ago we made it home from South America.

It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.  With apologies to Mr. Dickens.

While I’ve been meaning to resume posting here it always seems to take me a while to re-engage.  Writing is hard work for me.  Plus returning from a trip means wading thru phone messages, mail and emails (I don’t travel with a laptop or smart phone.  Don’t own either in fact.)

If you’ve posted a comment or asked a question on the blog while I was gone, take a look.  I’ve responded to all those now.  If you are just curious, on the left side of the blog, below the list of posts, you’ll find links to the recent comments.  BTW, some of the best stuff is in the comments.

I’ve also managed to catch up on some of my favorite blogs and have even taken time to comment on a couple of their recent posts:

Mr. MM  Like me, Mr. MM was also on vacation this summer.  Unlike me, he carted along his laptop (which as you all now know, I don’t own) and continued to post.  Making me look bad.  :)

Quite a few readers migrate over here from MMM and I’ve noticed jlcollinsnh has been the topic on a couple of the discussion forums there:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/ask-a-mustachian/any-post-fi-blogs-out-there/

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/real-estate-and-landlording/rent-vs-owning-with/msg14222/#msg14222

On this one, gestalt162 does a nice job of clarifying some of my points — so thank you sir.  Let me just add, while I would prefer to be a renter now, I am not saying one should never own a home. As a careful reading of my piece shows.  But run the numbers as I show you.  Most often, they will show owning is the more expensive option.  But not always and not in all places.  And that’s fine if that’s how you want to spend your money.  But do it with your eyes open.

Here’s some more mentions if you care:  http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/search2/

ERE  Great site and, BTW, Jacob over there even tipped me my for my post:  stocks-part-vii-can-everyone-really-retire-a-millionaire?  Of course I have no idea how to collect this tip, but the acknowledgment from a blogger of his calibre is enough.

Lacking Ambition  Superbly written by a recent law school graduate, entrepreneur and real estate mogul.  Lacking ambition, indeed.

Street Smart Finance  Shilpan is a brilliant guy who’s actually walked the walk.  The rare times I disagree with him makes me sit back reassess what I think I know.

Renewable Wealth  In his blogroll, in which Sean is kind enough to include jlcollinsnh, he mentions we met over a disagreement on MMM.  I don’t recall that, but I have learned he’s a guy worth reading.

I do recall disagreeing with Dividend Mantra.  Still do.  Basically I don’t believe we can constantly pick winning individual stocks.  He does.  That doesn’t keep me from reading and learning from him and, if you’re going to try that path, you should to.  His approach is thoughtful, careful and though.  You’ll need all those to stand a chance.  But please, read this first:  http://jlcollinsnh.wordpress.com/2011/12/27/dividend-growth-investing/

101 centavos  Ranges wildly and never fails to capture my imagination.

Wine and Work combines travel and wine, two of my favorite things.  In this post, Tom tracks down and educates me on a little Peruvian wine we discovered a few weeks back in Arequipa.  I’ve never been famous on a wine blog before!  :)

As if all those weren’t enough distraction, my local library also had several requested books waiting upon my return.  Reading them has provided a further excuse to avoid writing.

Given my interests, I was really looking forward to this one.  Mostly a disappointment and I found myself skimming large parts.  Maybe I’m the wrong audience, but better and clearer info is available elsewhere.  Still, Ramit has done a great job of marketing himself and he’s sold a ton of books.  If I ever get mine done…

This is another that was recommended on one of the blogs I follow and no disappointment here.  I’m only sorry I can’t remember where to offer my thanks.  It is an engaging discussion of the usefulness of having a philosophy of life and why that of the Stoics is worth consideration.  Many would say it is a little late in life for me, but everyone should take a bit of time to think about how to live their life and why.  Seems I stumbled upon Stoicism along the way.  So this is filling in some blanks and assuring me that if indeed I’m crazy, so were some pretty smart Greeks and Romans.  Oh, and Stoicism isn’t what I thought it was.  Might not be what you think it is either.

Boris Johnson is the mayor of London, known for his quick wit in the British fashion, and, as it happens, a very entertaining writer.  Life of London is the city’s history told in chronological order with vignettes of the key people, places and things that made the place the city it is today; starting with Boudica.  No, I didn’t know who she was either.  But now I can tell you there were a lot of Romans at the time who came to wish they didn’t either.  As another Johnson (Samuel) once said:  ”when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”  Boris tells the story as to why.

Writing is tough work.  At least I find it so.  As such I am always intrigued when authors seem to go out of their way to make it tougher.  Like when a male author presents his novel in the first person voice of his female narrator.  This is the story of Karen Hollander, who at the pinnacle of a brilliant career steps away from consideration for a nomination to the Supreme Court.  That she would be one year older than I and she recounts growing up in Wilmette, the same Chicago suburb as did I, makes this one especially fun for me.   But it’s also a page-turning story that would hold my attention anyway.  Anderson has a great ear for the attitudes and beliefs across generations.  And genders.

So there are my excuses and some options to maybe keep you entertained.  Later.

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38 Comments

  1. Posted August 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Welcome back to NH. We had a hot, dry July, but August has been nice.

    I submit that there are some intangible benefits to owning that will never show up on a rent/own comparison analysis. These have to do with stability and flexibility.

    Stability:
    - Rent can increase
    - Landlord/Property Manager can go bankrupt, die, decide not to renew the rent, decide to sell, forcing you to move

    Flexibility:
    If you are a renter, it is much more difficult (if not impossible) to do the following:
    - Cultivate and harvest natural resources from your land (timber, crops, livestock, etc)
    - Add-on or remodel at will (add a garage, plant a tree, repaint the interior, add energy-saving improvements, build a shed, destroy a shed, knock down a wall, add a window, remove a door, build a moat and drawbridge, and so on)

    I also re-iterate the point that I’ve made on many blogs in the past (including yours I believe) that if you rent, you are indirectly paying the landlord’s taxes, insurance, and fees. Those costs are unavoidable. The only thing you can avoid as a renter is maintenance costs in the short term, although in the long run you’ll probably end up subsidizing them through your rent payments too.

    Finally, if you value privacy and elbow room, it’s a lot more difficult to find a rental property without neighbors on all sides (often sharing walls or floor/ceiling).

    I’m not saying it doesn’t make sense to rent. However I don’t think it is quite so straightforward as running a financial analysis and going with the cheaper result.

  2. Posted August 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    So glad you are finally back!
    Now life can return to normal!
    new Mexico Lobo

  3. Matt G
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    jlcollinsnh,

    Glad to have you back posting again.

    I’m also glad that you’ve read A Guide to the Good Life. My suggestion was in response to your blog post on MMM “The older I get the more real that becomes. My response has been to increasingly hold each day precious.” But don’t thank me, thank Mr. William B. Irvine & the Romans.

    Matt G

    • Posted August 28, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      Yep! You’re the guy!

      I thank you and Mr. Irvine, the Romans and the Greeks.

      Still reading it.

  4. Betty
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Nice to have you back. :)
    So, not much to say about the vacation?
    Thanks for the book reviews, I’ll be looking into a couple of them.

    • Posted August 28, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      thanks Betty….

      ….I do plan to post a couple of stories from the trip. Hope you’re not the only one interested! :)

  5. Posted August 28, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    To refresh your memory, our disagreement was similar to the one you have with Dividend Mantra: http://jlcollinsnh.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/magic-beans/

    I’m in his camp ;) But still love your blog.

    Also, I recommended a Guide to the Good life here: http://renewablewealth.com/articles/on-the-resurgence-of-stoicism/

    But then, so did Mr. ‘Stache: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/22/what-is-hedonic-adaptation-and-how-can-it-turn-you-into-a-sukka/

    Glad to have you back!

    • Posted August 28, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      Oh yeah. Yer still wrong. ;) and I still love your blog, too.

      Great recommendation on a Guide to the Good Life. It usually takes more than one to get my attention!

      thanks!

    • Posted August 29, 2012 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      Hey Sean….

      Just hit the link you provided and re-read your review of “Good Life.” Really well done and I encourage anyone thinking of picking it up, or just wanting to get a sense of what it’s about, to read it too.

      thanks!

  6. Posted August 28, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Glad you’re back. Saw you post a comment on an MMM post a day or two ago and was hoping you’d be posting a new blog entry soon.

  7. Posted August 28, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    I am so glad to see one of my favorite bloggers back in action. You are an awesome writer my friend. I am so glad that your tenacity to speak from heart attracts lots of readers. Your trip and renewed energy reminds me that time is far more important than money as each sun set that we witness. Thanks for the mention. I am truly honored.

    • Posted August 28, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for checking in and the kind words. any list of my favorite, and most thought provoking, bloggers is gonna include you!

  8. Posted August 28, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    Welcome back! Looking forward to reading new posts.

  9. Jan
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 1:38 am | Permalink

    Welcome home! You have been missed…..

  10. Rod
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Now I have a travelin’ jones, everyone seems to have been on the go! I thought you left for good and I just found your blog. I have been hoping to read more of what you type! Travelling is wonderful, but it sure is nice to be home after a grand journey. Welcome back. Now please make some more of those helpful posts once you get sorted out at home!

  11. DENNIS LAUGHLIN
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Good to see you and see that your were not a yellow fever victim. For a moment I thought I would have to dig another lock for the canal. I will be looking forward to your thoughts on hedging the election results from your financial perspective. You know me, I am staying tangible. Good to see you back. Now start writing.

    • Posted August 30, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Welcome Dennis!

      I’m working on more writing, but the weather’s gorgeous, there are motorcycle to be ridden and visiting pals to have dinner with….

  12. Posted August 29, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    You’re welcome, and welcome back!

    • Posted August 30, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      glad you checked in, and thanks again for you clarifications on the MMM forums!

  13. Posted August 29, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Welcome home. Love the Boris Johnson book recommendation. Down to earth chap who rides his bicycle to work every day. And I have to check out some of your other recommended finance/money management blogs. Thanks!

    • Posted August 30, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Yeah, Boris is a very interesting guy and, by most accounts, a very successful mayor of London.

      Rumor is he might go after David Cameron’s job next. (British PM)

      But the more interesting speculation I’ve read is the idea he might be the next mayor of NYC. Not as outlandish as it might seem. He was born there after all.

      Mayor of London
      Mayor of NYC

      now THAT would be an interesting resume!

  14. Posted August 29, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Hey, glad to have you back posting again. Always enjoy your writing. Your story on your real estate troubles in Chicago was engaging indeed.

    As far as our disagreement goes, I think indexing is a fine way to invest…but just not for me. I want a strong dividend that grows annually above the rate of inflation. Index funds typically offer low yields and inconsistent growth of the payouts. So, I’d have to sell shares once I retire. I plan to live solely off my dividend income and allow my equities to continue growing in price. Just sayin.

    Looking forward to future posts!!

    • Posted August 30, 2012 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      Thanks DM, always good to see you here.

      For anyone who is interested in why I prefer index funds and my take on dividend invest can read it here:

      http://jlcollinsnh.wordpress.com/2011/12/27/dividend-growth-investing/

      For anyone out there who, after reading this, finds the dividend approach attractive, DM does a great job on his site of implementing it. So check it out.

      But
      Far more important than which you choose:

      Spend less than you earn, invest the surplus and avoid debt.

  15. PFgal
    Posted August 30, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Welcome back! I’m excited to see the new posts you have coming our way.

  16. Trish Rempen
    Posted August 30, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Nice to have you back!
    I already ordered “A Guide to the Good Life”, based on your recommendation (I checked the library first, no luck). Looking forward to reading the links and your upcoming posts!
    Here’s a link for you – it’s been my lifestyle goal for a while, and it sounds like a lifestyle you’ve mentioned, and your long-term Ecuador trip. Other articles include ones on “living cheap” and “traveling well”. It’s not necessarily “Business”, but it certainly fits in the “Life – Money” part.
    http://www.bootsnall.com/articles/12-07/why-and-how-to-embrace-long-term-slow-travel.html
    …of course, we’re all a bit curious about the “best of times – worst of times” remark…!

    • Posted September 1, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Thanks Trish….

      and thanks for the link! Have just skimmed it so far but it looks exactly like the type of travel we like/recommend, and what we did in Ecuador.

      Glad you picked up on the best/worst remark. more on that coming, but part of it was this summer was travel as touring.

  17. Posted August 31, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Welcome home, Jim, and thanks for the mention. Wouldn’t have caught it, except I took a rare noodle through some traffic stats. I’ve put “Guide to the good life” on the wish list. Humans being humans and as such constant, two-thousand-year-old truths are still fresh today. Thanks again.

    • Posted September 1, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      My pleasure, 101….

      …glad to hear some jlcnh readers are finding their way over to you.

  18. Posted September 1, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Yay! You’re back! Writing can be difficult, but you’re great at it. Would love to hear more about your recent travels!

    • Posted September 1, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

      Ha! thanks FF. you brought a smile to my face. glad you want to hear more about the trip, ’cause those are the posts I have planned!

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