Hey, glad you showed up!

As the tag says, around here we discuss:

Money – Life – Business

Almost anything can fit if it captures my imagination and I think you might be interested.

The blog is best known for the Stock Series. If you are wondering whether to dive in, this independent review might help. I think it captures blog’s essence perfectly.

Beyond the Stock Series, and to give you some idea of what else around here resonates with the regulars, these are the Top 5 most popular posts:

  1. What we own and why we own it
  2. How I failed my daughter and a simple path to wealth
  3. Why your house is a terrible investment
  4. Why you need F-you money
  5. Manifesto

To help you get started, check out the sidebar for lists of the Most Popular, Most Recent and some of my favorite posts, along with the Archives, Categories and Blogroll.

I started out writing this for my daughter. It’s about what has worked for me and what has kicked me in the ass.

Me?  Well since you asked…..

I started selling flyswatters door-to-door and picking up empty pop bottles from the side of the road to turn in for the 2-cent deposit.  Hey, gimme a break.  I was eight.

My first real job was in an ice cream parlor, although I spent most of my time scrubbing out the big metal ice cream cans.  I was 13 and it paid $1.25 per hour.  A fortune!

From there:  Busboy, dishwasher, order-puller, grocery bagger, stock clerk, produce clerk and gas station pump jockey back in the day when someone pumped your gas, washed your windows and checked your oil  for you (ask your grand parents).

Mail clerk, ground man for a tree crew, landscaper, ad agency founder, account executive, ad space salesman, investment officer, entrepreneur, consultant, sales trainer, speaker, writer, radio talk show host, publisher and group publisher.  Pretty much in that order although I’ve done some more than once.  And I may have forgotten one or two.

My work has taken me to most states across the country as well as Canada, Germany and England.  One of my few regrets is that I’ve never had the occasion for an international posting.

But I’ve had the good fortune to see a bit of the planet on my own:  Mexico, Canada, Ireland, Wales, England, Greece, Crete, Puerto Rico, Tahiti, Venezuela, Curacao, Scotland, Italy, Germany, Spain, Paris, India, Kashmir, Goa, Nepal, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Eleuthera, St. Thomas, St. Martin, Barbados, Antigua, Martinique, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Prague, Guatemala, Galapagos.  Pretty much in that order although I’ve visited some more than once.  And I may have forgotten one or two.

I’ve traveled to and around those places by plane, train, bus, boat, subway, taxi, hired car, motorcycle, bicycle, rickshaw, hitch-hiking, foot, horse, donkey and elephant.  Not only traveled by elephant, but herded rhinoceros by elephant back  in Nepal.  I love saying that!

My degree in English Literature is from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.  They still send me alumni letters mostly, I think, hoping I’ve become rich and famous.  I’m working on it.

Here’s my favorite cartoon:

The visual is two guys in a corn field.  They are up on racks dressed in shabby clothes.  Straw is coming out from their shirt cuffs and pant legs.

They are serving as scarecrows.  One is looking over at the other and saying…

“English Major.  How about you?”

 Since June 2011 I’ve left what will probably be my last full-time job.  So I guess I’m retired.  Except this blog, which has now grown into an international readership. No one is more amazed than I.

A pal of mine once said I had won the family lottery.  He is right.

As of June 19th, 2014 my wife Jane and I will have been married for 32 years.  Our daughter Jessica just graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Rhode Island. She about to enter the Peace Corp.

This Blog, as with everything I do, is dedicated to them.

The investment ideas of others:

Occasionally in the comments I am asked to read some book, article and/or blog and dispute the ideas in them. I simply don’t have the time or inclination to do this.

If you read my blog you’ll soon have a very clear idea of my views. You can then read other sources, compare and decide for yourself what resonates.

Oh, and one last thing…..

Be sure to read the important Disclaimers regarding the content and advertising on this blog.

For more on me check out…

As seen on…

Guest post on Mr. Money Mustache

Formal CV…

Mr. Collins is a senior executive with extensive P&L experience and a proven track record of growing revenue and profitability, integrating acquisitions, launching new products, developing and implementing business plans, creating powerful marketing strategies, building strong customer relationships and building effective teams.  He is experienced in a broad range of markets including technology, automotive, investments, design engineering, electronics manufacturing, construction, horticulture and energy.

Most recently he served as Senior Manager, Business Development with Penton Media working on Contracting Business, HVACR Distribution Business, The Comfortech Show and their related websites.  Under his management revenues grew 82%, setting an all time record.

He has served as a Group Publisher for the Advanced Technology Division (ATD) of PennWell Corporation.  There he integrated two newly acquired publishing businesses, Connector Specifier (CS) and SMT (Surface Mount Technology), into the ATD’s operations and culture in what the board of directors called a “textbook example” of successful acquisition integration. Later he guided the integration of the subsequently acquired SMT Germany.

He rebuilt the post-acquisition staff, combining acquired personnel, newly assigned PennWell employees and new hires into highly effective, motivated teams able to execute aggressive quality, cost-saving and revenue goals.

Under his management both businesses set all-time revenue and profit records. CS gained 29% in revenue and 256% in profit and SMT increased 21% and 63% respectively.  SMT’s market share grew to nearly 50%, positioning it as the industry’s #1 publication.

He also launched the ATD’s first show daily venture, The APEX Show Dailies, (posting profit margins of 50%) and SMT Mexitronica.

Prior to PennWell, Mr. Collins served as Publisher of Counterman for Babcox Publications.  There he substantially increased profitability (54% in year one and an additional 41% in year two) and launched Counterman DIY.  He successfully increased revenue, ad sales and market share during a contracting market, positioning Counterman as the automotive aftermarket’s second-largest publication, up from fourth.

In 1988 Mr. Collins was recruited to join Roulston & Company, Inc., an international investment research firm.  There he served as an Investment Officer marketing investment research and analysis to institutional investors.  He also produced analytical reports on a diverse group of publicly traded companies.

Mr. Collins also spent eleven years with Penton Publishing, Inc. holding several positions of increasing responsibility.  As Publisher, he successfully orchestrated the turnaround of Materials Engineering, generating its first consecutive years of profitability in well over two decades.  He also launched Composite Materialsand served as Market Development Manager for Machine Design.

In addition to his work as a publisher, Mr. Collins is an accomplished consultant, author and speaker. He has provided reorganization strategies, sales and marketing strategies, sales training, business plans and operational reviews for clients such as The Aberdeen Group, East Ohio Gas, National City Bank and Thompson, Hine and Flory.  He led the senior management team of Operation Bass in developing a business plan to expand into publications and television, and he wrote the business plan for and helped launch the Journal of Energy Management.

He is the author of the sales-training seminar, Effective Selling, as well as several workshops, speeches, columns and articles on professional sales and peak performance including The Ten Sales Commandments, Enhancing Customer Relationships, The Myth of Motivation, The Most Dangerous Words Your Customer Can Say, Handling Mistakes and There Is No Old Business.  He also produced, wrote and presented a weekly radio feature, Your Sales Guru, for WHK Radio,Cleveland.

Mr. Collins launched his career selling advertising space in Chicago.

He is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and holds a BA in English Literature.


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  1. Posted June 6, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Well you said you would do it and you did. Best of luck as always, and hope you find your illusive inner-self.


  2. Posted June 8, 2011 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    where’s your comment on my comment?

    • Posted June 8, 2011 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      under your original comment here: http://jlcollinsnh.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/my-short-attention-span/

      you’re gonna have to start reading this blog a lot closer, my friend. I suggest you subscribe now. It’s free and worth twice as much. :)

    • Michael
      Posted July 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Is this Jim and Fritz, the comedy team I met in Taos, NM?
      Man, oh man.
      I just had a great flashback of burning sage and glowing lava stones, and crawling from a sweat-lodge onto the cool earth beneath that magical New Mexico moon.
      I thought I’d check an old email address today.
      Sure enough, it led me here.

      Michael(from NY)!

      • Posted July 8, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        Hi Mike – yep, it’s us.
        Good for Jim’s blogger fans to see how the Red Road merges with business, life and money.
        Hopefully, he’ll write about it.
        Jim hasn’t mentioned his FBI connection and a Sundance that we participated in a few years back. Very humorous.
        Only Sundance participant that I know of to dress in a white, buttoned down, dress shirt.
        He was viewed with great skepticism by the participants.
        We worked our fingers to the bone for the ceremony…
        Ask him ’bout the exploding rocks.
        New Mexico Lobo

  3. Posted June 12, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Dang,Jim! Didn’t know you was a blogger.Feel free to correct my grammar.Might as well put that degree to some use.

    Congrats on your retirement,or whatever it is.I’m not one of those people who thinks that you have to keep working or you die.I don’t get bored easily.I can always find something constructive(or at least amusing)to do.Personally,I could retire right now,and live happily another 40 years without ever thinking I was wasting my life.In fact,quite the opposite.I think work is gonna kill me early,if anything.

    I tried the retirement thing about 15 years ago,when I was in my late 30’s. I had about a years worth of wages saved up,and I figured that I could supplement that playing pool.Some nights I was winning $200.00-$300.00,tax free. I figured if I could do that twice a week,or hell,even 5 times a month,I could make it.

    Funny how you can blow through a years wages in about 6 months when you’re hanging out in poolrooms and bars every night.

    Funny too,how something that used to be easy freewheeling fun,turns into a pressure filled job,when you do it to put food on the table.My game went to shit,losing to people I should have schooled,and I was lucky most nights to get away with just paying my bar tab.

    Anyway,I envy anybody who can break out of the rat race,even for a while.Kudos to you.Rock on, amigo!

    • Posted June 12, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

      Hey Bruce…..

      great to see you here and thanks for subscribing! yer grammer be fine far as me can tell.

      I agree, there’s lots to do in life besides work. For the most part I’ve enjoyed my jobs and the only complaint was they took up so much freaking time. :)
      If things work out as I plan, I’ll be ‘working” about 30% of the time now. I have a post or two planned about people I’ve met who’ve been able to make that happen.

      very cool that you took a year off, kinda like a retirement preview. but remind me never to play pool with you for $$

  4. Posted March 31, 2012 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    Hi James L. Collins from Wilmette! I finally found you because Chris foound Fritz- The Unholy Alliance is reunited! It should be the Chicago Trib Headlines!

  5. David
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Jim – you called and I was traveling. Please call me back. Today?
    David B.

  6. Posted January 16, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    HI JL….

    I have a financial question related to a health issue….where would it make sense to post it? ?


    • Posted January 16, 2013 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

      Hi Chris….

      I don’t think I’ve ever had a health question. You can post it right here, unless the financial aspect relates to another post I’ve written?

      • chris
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 12:17 am | Permalink

        Well Thank you….

        So my wife recently went into the hospital for a gullbladder surgery. Fortunately she is doing better and we are now experiencing sticker shock for the bill. We have a high deductible health care plan where we pay $650 per month out of pocket for insurance. Our plan has us paying the first $6500. Surprise.. our bill was $6382. I am trying to figure out the best way to pay this off.

        One option would be to pay the bill off monthly. They are offering payments of $212 per month interest free for 30 months.

        Second option is to pay them cash of $5105. The opportunity costs of this would be about $1200 over 30 months?

        They may accept less cash?

        I am curious how you would deal with this?

        Thanks for your thoughts in adv.


        • Posted January 17, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

          Hi Chris….

          Glad to hear you wife’s doing better.

          Sounds like they are offering a 20% discount if you pay cash:
          $212 x 30 months = $6360
          – $5105 cash
          = $1255 = 19.73%

          looking just at the numbers, I’d pay the $5105 cash.

          But you might also try to negotiate for a lower bill first. The fact that they are willing to take 20% less says a lot about how much padding is in the bill and about how afraid they are of defaults.

          Start with negotiating the bill itself, before discussion of how you’ll pay. It might be as simple as asking:

          “Wow. $6360 is a lot, especially since with our high-deductabel plan we’ll be paying it all out of pocket. What kind of discount can you offer?”

          Then, with whatever discount they offer and you accept:

          “Thanks! That helps a lot. We’ll also pay cash so that comes to ($xxx – 20%)”

          As with all negotiations you want to be friendly.

          Good luck!

          • OSUmountaineer
            Posted November 20, 2014 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

            This makes me wonder… What do you recommend for health insurance once my girlfriend and I hit FI? We max out our company sponsored HSAs every year, but would like to not dip into that money. Health insurance is the biggest question she has to the early retirement scheme… I’ve got her on board with everything else. Let’s pretend Obamacare and the subsidies available to low-income FI folks don’t exist (humor me).

            As an aside, this is the first blog I came across when I started becoming financially conscious. From there I found MF and MMM. The rest is history. Thanks for it all! My office is next to a big name financial advisor, and I get a little sense of pride every time I walk by and DON’T go in.

          • jlcollinsnh
            Posted November 20, 2014 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

            Hi OSUM…

            I’m afraid insurance is out of my wheelhouse.

            Back in the early 1990s my wife and I had both stepped away from our jobs. At the time we bought a high-deducatable, $10,000 as I recall, catastrophic policy. We were only interested in insuring against the possibility of a major hit and OK with paying the routine stuff out of pocket.

            I suppose we’d look to do the same again, but only after checking out what the ACA had to offer.

            Great to hear this blog lead you to MF and MMM, two of my personal favorites. But now I’m curious. How did you originally find your way here?

          • OSUmountaineer
            Posted November 20, 2014 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

            I hate fees (and now that I’m ‘educated,’ taxes). Every time I spend a frivolous dollar, I think that is one less dollar that will allow my to scuba dive with dolphins in Belize. You can imagine how I felt once I really began to understand compounding…

            I’m 30 and didn’t get my first real-money job until 2013. I’ve always worked, but made enough to travel, quit, then repeat.

            When I got that job I felt a sense of panic thinking that I had missed out on 4 years of a raging bull market that would never repeat itself. I looked into dividend growth investing, but a 50+ stock portfolio was a full time job. Then I found the bogglehead forum and learned about index funds. A google search later and I came across your site. I thought I had found the holy grail. Then MF and MMM. I’ve learned enough to convince Ms. Mountaineer how simple it is, and it really opened her eyes when I showed her a spreadsheet of what the expense ratio next to the nonsense investments in her 401k really meant (since transferred to a Van. Target Date). She sees how excited I get, and loves that I am really planning for the first time in my life. That makes her hot. What I’m trying to say is you make my girlfriend hot. And rich. Which makes me hot. Thanks JLC!

          • jlcollinsnh
            Posted November 20, 2014 at 11:36 pm | Permalink


            I have to say this is the first time anyone has thanked me for making their girlfriend hot. :)

  7. Posted January 17, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    great ideas!! Thanks for your help on this!

  8. Posted February 12, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    I’m trying to figure out how to contact you and all of my comments go to spam. Hopefully this one doesn’t. Where is the contact info on your site?

    • Posted February 12, 2013 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      Hi Joe….

      Looks like you hit on the magic formula. Sorry getting thru has been tough. I do try to look at the spam folder so the good ones don’t get away. I’ll keep an eye out for yours.

  9. Posted March 8, 2013 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Jim, I have a logo design for you. How do I send it?


    Tom Jackson

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted March 8, 2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      Hi Tom….

      Good to see you here! I’ll send you a PM.

  10. Steve Kreindel
    Posted March 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I just found your blog. MMM was the source and I have a lot to catch up on. My bio reads just like yours and it’s encouraging. I’m kinda retired, will be 60 next month, an investor for 45 years, two kids and a long marriage. I’m one lucky guy.
    I started teaching personal finance to high school kids last year. Life just gets better if you know where you’re going and appreciate the journey.


    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted March 8, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      Welcome Steve…

      ..glad you made your way here and very glad somebody is teaching HS kids personal finance! New job for you or volunteer work?

      If you find anything useful here, feel free to share it with your classes.

  11. Steve Kreindel
    Posted March 9, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Volunteer work through Junior Achievement in Los Angeles. The course takes kids through budgeting, saving, credit and investing. I even taught a career development course on how to interview, write a resume and dress for work. Most important tip I gave them was how to hide their tattoos for an interview.


  12. Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Jim, great site. I run 27GoodThings.com, if you’d ever like to be a guest sharing three good things to read, three to watch, and three to use please let me know.

    I would also love to see a post where you shared more resources like MMM and other FI, outspoken, intelligent writers. Or any books you recommend.

    Thanks for writing and sharing these ideas.

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Mike.

      That’s a pretty cool site you’ve got yourself. Great concept. I’ve subscribed. BTW, the easiest sub process ever.

      I’d be honored to participate. Let me start thinking about it. Do you have a time frame in mind?

      As for other resources, I’ve not done a post but you will find a blogroll in the left-hand column. I also imbedded links frequently to posts and writers I like. I do the same with books on occasion. As you spend time on my blog you’ll come across these.

  13. Posted June 17, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    No time frame, some guests have a list created in a few days, others take a few weeks. Whatever your schedule will allow.
    You can email me at 27Goodthings at gmail dot com when you’re done or if you have other questions.

    I’ll keep an eye out for more books in the posts. Thanks.

  14. WolvErwine
    Posted August 23, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I just discovered this great forum, am I late? I guess not. There was this comment in marketwatch that recommend this site and I find topics here are both informative and entertaining. Some are not applicable to where I am now, I mean location-wise as I am located in Australia (like for example we have Super, not sure but I guess its like a 401k in the US). I am thinking to invest in index or etf funds and I am pretty sure you have more than a couple of articles about that.

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Not late at all, WE. Although as I’m just back from six weeks in Ecuador I’m a bit late responding!

      Glad you found your way over here. While I’m no expert in investment options for those outside the USA, people have found value in my stock series no matter where they live.

      You might especially check out:


      Be sure to read the comments, too. Readers from all over have added their insights.

      Good luck and I hope you stick around!

  15. Posted October 26, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jim,

    We met at the FinCon13 opening party happy hour and I said I’d have to stop by and check out your blog! Well, I made it and will be exploring the rest of your site, but just wanted to drop you a comment and let you know I made it :)


    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted October 27, 2013 at 12:04 am | Permalink

      Hi Lance…

      Glad you found your way over here! Hope you enjoy poking around.

      FinCon was quite the event. I almost didn’t make it and am very happy I did.

  16. Posted December 10, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting life so far Jim! I hope I can accomplish some of what you have. I am only 7 years into marriage with 3 kids and have only been to a few countries. Very inspiring to learn more about you. Nice work so far on the blog.

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted December 10, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Thanks FMM!

      It has been a great ride so far, even if I wasn’t always astute enough to appreciate it at the time. :)

  17. Rich
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink


    Just found your Blog and enjoyed reading a few posts that strike similar experiences in my life. Nice work. keep it up.


    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted January 23, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Rich…

      glad you are here and I appreciate you letting me know!

  18. AJ
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    On your Jan. 30, 2014 post, there is a place in Spain with bullfighting ring. It is in Ronda. Ernest Hemingway spent much time there will covering the Spanish Civil War.

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted February 3, 2014 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

      Thanks AJ…

      …and right you are!

      How come you didn’t post your comment under that post?

  19. Purnima George
    Posted February 20, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Hello Sir,
    I recently started reading your website. After reading your website I opened an account with vanguard (IRA account). Let me first give me background. I and my husband are working, 35 and 40 respectively. We just started saving drastically now from past one year before that we were settling and came from another country etc.. Basically we are starting out fresh to get FI. Both have very good 401k plan and has lot of low cost vanguard funds. We both hold 500 index, extended market, international and bond index in 401k and the expense ratio is .05% altogether. We both work for the same employer. In our roth we have VTSMX,VGTSX, and VBMFX. Now the question I have is we have around $100 k to invest in taxable account. I am sure I am going to go with vanguard. I am thinking of investing the 100k in VTSMX and VGTSX at the 70% and 30% ratio. Do you have any suggestions in our case. We are under 28% tax bracket. Also I am planning to invest $30,000 every year in taxable account apart from 401k and roth (We are maximizing both of these from last year) till we achieve FI. Another note we have paid our house and live very frugally. We have a son in elementary school. We are also saving for his college vanguard age based aggressive portfolio(Yearly $5000) from last year. Our plan to achieve FI before my husband is 55.

    Do you have any taxable funds recommendations?

    Thanks in advance. Keep writing your blog and educate people like us.

    Purnima George

  20. Adam
    Posted January 8, 2015 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    Hello there,

    Firstly, great website. Your stock series has been influential in helping me choose my asset allocation in my equities portfolio, but I did have one question. I know you’re all about simplicity, I am too. While 2 holdings (VTI/BND) are all that most people ever need, you do indicate that for some additional complexity and risk, international stock holdings (such as VXUS) can sometimes bring added benefits to a portfolio. I don’t remember hearing whether or not you feel it is likewise helpful to hold international bonds to further round out one’s portfolio. Right now I hold BNDX as well, since if I’m going to add VXUS to balance out my national holdings I don’t see why I shouldn’t do the same for bonds. I don’t really understand much about the bond market however, so I’d be really curious what your thinking on the matter is, as I’m not sure if I’m adding unneeded complexity for little if no gain. Thanks!

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted January 9, 2015 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Adam…

      Glad you like it.

      I don’t feel the need to hold international stocks or, by extension, bonds for the reasons I describe here: http://jlcollinsnh.com/2012/09/26/stocks-part-xi-international-funds-2/

      But mine is an outlier position and most who recommend holding international stocks also call for holding international bonds. You can read my thoughts for yourself and then decide.

      Were I going to hold international, I’d likely hold both.

      For more on bonds: http://jlcollinsnh.com/2012/10/01/stocks-part-xii-bonds-and-a-bit-on-reits/

      Hope this helps!

      • Adam
        Posted January 10, 2015 at 12:18 am | Permalink

        Thanks JL! I really appreciate the insight and speedy response. I reread the posts and still can’t decide what to allocate! Ha, I’ll figure it out. Also, I do have one more question (I hadn’t noticed the ‘ask’ section till after I’d originally written). In all your articles, you talk about the Vanguard index funds you recommend, but never mention why you prefer those over the corresponding ETF, even if they have the same expense ratio. What am I missing?

  21. Keith B
    Posted May 28, 2015 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Hi James,

    I have really enjoyed reading through your website. I first ended up here because I was looking at purchasing some Vanguard funds (one to start a Roth IRA for my wife – ended up with VTIVX, another to throw in some money we probably won’t need for another 3 years or more – ended up with VBIAX) and got sidetracked. It’s a little late to be starting an IRA (I am 35 and she is 33) for her but I figured better late than never.

    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are very fun to read and there is the bonus that most of it is informative as well. I particularly like that you are civil with people who have differing viewpoints. This is in short supply in today’s world, even more so in the online world.

    Your thoughts on home ownership were particularly well put IMO. For some people buying a house IS the right emotional decision and so long as they are cognizant of the associated cost there is no intrinsically right or wrong choice. Man, I really wish more people understood that concept in general (on both sides). Very often there is no “one right answer”, there are only different answers for different situations and the most important aspect is making an educated decision for yourself.

    Now I am off to read more of your musings…..

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted May 29, 2015 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      Hi Keith…

      Thanks for your very kind words.

      Other than “…most of it is informative…” Only MOST of it??!! :)

      The truth is the vast majority of people who comment here are very civil, so it is easy for me to be civil in return. My mother would have liked to think I would be in any event… 😉

      Thanks, too, for your take on my homeownership views. You nailed it!

      Many tag me as being anti-homeownership. Not the case. As I’ve said before, I owned them for 28 years myself.

      I’m anti blindingly accepting the industry propaganda that houses are always a great investment and renting is throwing money away. And that, is pure nonsense! :)

  22. Veena
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Hi Mr Collins,

    I’ve been reading your site pretty intently but I have a few questions that do not seem to be addressed anywhere and I was hoping I can ask you by email. A bit about myself – I am in my late 30s and after years of medical training just started my first real job as a physician, however, even though my monthly income is > 10k I’m still struggling check to check. A lot of it is due to a temporary stress of going through an annoying and expensive divorce but much all has to do with my lack of financial awareness. I have been intently trying to get my financial act together over the past few months so that at some time in the near future I don’t have to worry if I want to take a vacation. In your blog you discuss investing, and also the importance of getting out of debt but my questions are:

    1: should I reduce high interest debt first or contribute to an emergency savings fund/cash buffer first? or both?

    2: what are your thoughts on whole life insurance and disability insurance?

    3: i contribute to a 403b where my employer contributes 2%, and contribute to a 529 but wondering if i should also do a traditional ira… not sure if i should max out these retirement savings first or once again take care of high interest debt.

    4: my goal is not necessarily to retire early as i enjoy what i do and want to do it for very long time, but i do want financial freedom. i’m very new to all this and definitely not a financial genius by any means just trying to get my act together.

    Thanks for your time.

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted August 1, 2015 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

      Hi Veena…

      Glad you found your way here and that you are reading thru the site. As a physician, you’ll be making good money and thus will become a target for financial sharks. Better to learn a bit to do it for yourself.

      On to your questions:

      1. Focus on paying off the debt first. If you have an emergency, use your credit cards. Yes that will put you in a bit more debt, but only IF it happens. Meanwhile with each dollar you put toward the debt the lower your interest rate burden. For more: http://jlcollinsnh.com/2015/03/26/stocks-part-xxviii-debt-the-unacceptable-burden/

      2. I’ve never had life or disability insurance. The only reason to consider either is if you have dependents who rely upon your income. If so, chose carefully and buy only term-life and then only for as long as you need it. For more: http://www.caniretireyet.com/long-term-care-insurance-why-we-arent-buying-it/

      3. In this post you will find my heirarchy for investing in various tax-advataged “buckets”: http://jlcollinsnh.com/2015/06/02/stocks-part-viii-the-401k-403b-tsp-ira-roth-buckets/

      Fully max out these before any 529 plans.

      Fund your 403(b) up to the match and then focus on getting rid of the debt.

      Once the debt is gone use the discipline to channel that money into your investments and watch your wealth grow just as you watched your debt fade.

      4. It is wonderful to enjoy your work and hopfully you will for a long, long time. But, as Andy Rooney once said, “Never expect too much from your company. Even if it is a good company.” Things change and F-you Money is your shelter in the storm: http://jlcollinsnh.com/2011/06/06/why-you-need-f-you-money/

      You don’t need to be a financial genius to make this work. You just need to get a couple of simple things right and let time and your money work for you.

      Good luck!

  23. Carmen
    Posted September 20, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Just recently discovered your website and so thankful I did! Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and insight?
    In the wealth building phase should dividends be reinvested?
    Thank you,

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted September 21, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      My pleasure Carmen…

      I’m glad you found your way here and it resonates with you.

      During the Wealth Accumulation Phase I always reinvested dividends. I wanted to invest as much as possible and automatic reinvesting is easy.

      Now that I am living on my portfolio, I have the dividends sent to me. No sense in reinvesting only to withdraw.

  24. Posted October 13, 2015 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Collins,

    First thank you so much for sharing all your knowledge on building wealth. I love how you break everything down and make it super easy for me to understand.

    I too have a blog where I help urban millennials make wiser money choices and for the month of November I want to focus on investing and the simple path to wealth. What better person to feature on my blog than you. I know you’re probably super busy and probably get asked to do interviews all the time.

    If you don’t have time I can always use quotes from your website and a link back to your site, that would also be helpful. Just let me know.

    Thank you so much,

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted October 13, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      Hi Candice…

      I would be delighted to have you interview me and I’m honored you’d ask.

      What format are you planing to use? Podcast?

      As you guessed, right now is a very busy time as Friday I head to Ecuador: http://jlcollinsnh.com/2015/03/12/chautauqua-october-2015-times-two/

      Can you ping me again in Early Dec?

      Meanwhile feel free to quote and link!


  25. KC
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Collins,

    I have been intently reading your posts, addendums, and links to other blog posts for many late evenings and I’m making my brain hurt with all this information. But with that being said I’ve not come across a variation of my situation anywhere and I was wondering (well desperately hoping).

    That maybe,

    You would possibly be interested in a new case study?

    I am 40, my husband is 52, and we have a 4 year old child. I’m sort of retired and he is still working a very full time job.

    Again, thank you so much for all the information you provide,

    KC Mitten

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