Mr. Money Mustache

A few weeks ago I received a private email from Mr. Money Mustache.  He runs one of my very favorite blogs.  Indeed, I have often thought that if I had had access to such wisdom at the start of my financial journey I’d have gotten far further far faster.

But, alas, when I started the internet was yet to be and computers filled buildings that took up entire city blocks. ILLIAC was one of the first and while at the University of Illinois I took a course that allowed access to it.  After watching it being programmed with laboriously prepared punch cards to perform simple calculations I remember walking out thinking:  “Clearly this is a technology without a future.”

One of the many reasons I’m not Bill Gates.


Anyway, in his email Mr. MM said several very kind things.  Of them all,

“skilled with swear words”

brought the biggest smile to my face.

After the butter, he proposed that I write a guest post and he gave me some guidelines.  Basically, he was looking for a geezer perspective. Since I have a tremendous amount of respect for what he does over there I agreed.

Oh, and access to his huge audience played a role.

The post is titled:

It has Never Been About Retirement

I hope you’ll check it out.  While you’re there, take some time to poke around MMM.  Great stuff, well worth reading.

I do.

Subscribe to JL’s Newsletter

Important Resources

  • Talent Stacker is a resource that I learned about through my work with Jonathan and Brad at ChooseFI, and first heard about Salesforce as a career option in an episode where they featured Bradley Rice on the Podcast. In that episode, Bradley shared how he reached FI quickly thanks to his huge paychecks and discipline in keeping his expenses low. Jonathan teamed up with Bradley to build Talent Stacker, and they have helped more than 1,000 students from all walks of life complete the program and land jobs like clockwork, earning double or even triple their old salaries using a Salesforce certification to break into a no-code tech career.
  • Credit Cards are like chain saws. Incredibly useful. Incredibly dangerous. Resolve to pay in full each month and never carry a balance. Do that and they can be great tools. Here are some of the very best for travel hacking, cash back and small business rewards.
  • Empower is a free tool to manage and evaluate your investments. With great visuals you can track your net worth, asset allocation, and portfolio performance, including costs. At a glance you'll see what's working and what you might want to change. Here's my full review.
  • Betterment is my recommendation for hands-off investors who prefer a DIFM (Do It For Me) approach. It is also a great tool for reaching short-term savings goals. Here is my Betterment Review
  • NewRetirement offers cool tools to help guide you in answering the question: Do I have enough money to retire? And getting started is free. Sign up and you will be offered two paths into their retirement planner. I was also on their podcast and you can check that out here:Video version, Podcast version.
  • Tuft & Needle (T&N) helps me sleep at night. They are a very cool company with a great product. Here’s my review of what we are currently sleeping on: Our Walnut Frame and Mint Mattress.


  1. Kenneth says

    Dear Mr. Collins,
    I greatly enjoyed your guest post on Mr. Money Mustache, whose blog I have been following for 3-4 months now. I am 62 years old, and not quite in as good a shape as I should be, financially speaking. But, I’m trying, am saving 60 percent of my income now, and my home will be paid off at the end of this year, and that’s it for debt for me.
    I am in as good a shape as I should be physically, working out 6 days a week, 45-60 minutes a day, and having lost 70 pounds in the past 3 years (oh the years of being a frustrated office worker..). I recently completed reading a book titled Younger Next Year, and they recommend 45 minutes a day of vigorous exercise, 6 days a week. I’m here to tell you that it works Anyhow I’ve read 5 or 6 of your posts, and agree with your overall philosophy but feel I still have a great deal to learn from you, so I’ve bookmarked your blog and will work my way through it. You might pick up more than a few of my fellow Mustachian readers!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Welcome Kenneth….

      Great to see you here and I’m delighted you are finding value. Congratulations on getting the home almost paid off and a 60% savings rate is very impressive. hat’s off to you!

      But what really impresses me is the 70lb weight loss. Outstanding!! Are you where you want to be?

      This is what I need to do, but it ain’t easy. as you must know.



      • Kenneth says

        Well in one way I could be considered at goal. I was at 270 pounds, dropped to 200 within 8 months of my diet and exercise start date, and have held within 5 pounds of this for over 2 additional years. DW and I play a lot of golf, and we walk now, where we used to ride before. This is real wealth in life, to feel good, be fit and happy. Unfortunately because I am behind the curve on finances, I am looking at another 3-4 years of office work. I probably have another 15 pounds to go and I plan to lose it after I retire, by taking up a side hobby or two, say biking and hiking.

        • Kenneth says

          P.S. I have read now pretty much everything under your “Recent Posts” bullets on the left. Great stuff, and a great public service, thank you so much.

          I too have suffered from over investor itis over the years, and am convinced you are on the right track with your index fund approach. I hate bonds and would never touch them now because someday rates will explode to the upside (remember 5 percent savings accounts?) and bond funds will be decimated. Real estate still has at least a couple of years of fun times declining some more in the future. I think the best best for now is 75 pct index fund, 25 pct cash. In January of each year, I plan to take my 4 pct withdrawal, and add it to my cash stash, unless the market is down YOY, in which case I’ll defer the withdrawal and check the situation again the next January. If the next January is up 0-7 percent, I would draw 4 percent, if 8+ I would draw 8 percent (to make up for the lost year). Etc.

          • jlcollinsnh says

            Wow Kenneth….

            I’m impressed and flattered.

            did you check out http:


            your 75% stock/25% cash allocation is very similar to the last portfolio I described there and have been thinking about. Have you actually implemented this yourself yet?

            Maybe you could reply and review your idea in the comments on that post. It would add to the discussion.


          • Kenneth says

            I’m about 80 percent fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads and brown rice. 20 percent other typical american diet stuff, except I avoid red meat and prefer fish and chicken where possible. but i had a burger just yesterday after golf. no one is perfect.

            p.s. if dementia or alzheimers runs in the family, you need to start taking some coconut oil mixed in with your rice, oatmeal and popcorn. see dr. mary newport astounding documentation of her husband’s severe alzheimer’s case, right here:

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Actually I didn’t pay any attention at all to the internet until it grew to be a teenager and slapped me upside the head.

      yep. that and the phone and the TV.

      Radio was a big hit when It first came around, along with the phonograph.

      Oh, and electrically was cool and them newfangled horseless carriages. sure wish I’d unloaded that buggy-whip stock….

      But the wheel. Now that was something!!

      by cracky. 🙂

  2. Sue says

    Hi Jim! Glad to see you featured over at MMM. I followed you over here from the comments section there some time ago. I’ve set up my investments based on lots of ideas from your posts and the bogleheads wiki. Many thanks for all your writing!

  3. The Keichi One says

    Hi Jim,

    I also just caught your post over at MMM and thought it would be easier to catch your attention over here. 😉 What a great blog you have here and an inspiration to those of us looking to follow the same path. I always love finding a new story and philosophy to immerse myself in. Just when I’ve think I’ve found all there is on the internet a stumble across a new blog. Thanks so much for writing! Please don’t stop.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Keichi One…

      Glad you came over here to visit.

      Frequently writing this blog has felt a bit like talking to myself. Comments like your keep me inspired and on task.


  4. Financial Noob says

    Great post over on MMM, Jim. As a young ‘un, I love being able to read about your experiences. I always look forward to your next post. Keep up the great work!

  5. Financial Noob says

    I loved the post on MMM, Jim. As a young ‘un, it’s been wonderful to read through some of your experiences and life lessons. It’s thanks to people like you, MMM, and a few others out there that I’ll be taking control of my life and making it what I want at an early age. Even at 26 years old I keep thinking, “Why couldn’t I have discovered this sort of thing earlier?? Like in high school!”. But I feel very lucky to be gaining your wisdom when I am.

    Keep up the great work! I always look forward to the next post.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hey, Thanks FN!

      Wow, to an old grey beard like me 26 sounds wonderfully young to be beginning your FI journey. That, along with avoiding the sinkholes I managed to drop into along the way, will see you go further than I could have dreamed.

      hope you keep commenting around here and share your progress.

  6. Shilpan says

    I thought I knew you Jim. And, after reading your post at MMM, I was right my friend. You are an amazing soul. Your daughter ought to be proud of her father. You understand that money is just a means to do whatever your heart wants. I feel that there is a place between two streams of thoughts — one preached by Dave Ramsey to save and live way below your means, and another by Tim Ferris of 4 hour work week who thinks that spending money on a glass of red wine now is far more important than having a million dollars in 40 years. You have the answer.

    • jlcollinsnh says


      last evening I was telling my wife about you. Your daughters, your hotels, your work and your blog. I was struck with how much I actually knew about you. How you think, your ambitions, your history, your values. all from your blog and your comments here.

      I was telling her how much I admire and respect you, how much you’ve taught me thru your writings and how I’ve come to consider you a friend and consular.

      I think my daughter is proud of me. I certainly am of her. As I’m sure you and yours are of each other.

      But she’d also say I drift into lecture mode with her a bit too often and, confound it, she’s right.

      • investlike1percent says

        to shilpan and jim,

        my daughter is 3. i only hope i can come close to raising her as you two have your children. amazed at how different life perspectives change once kids enter the equation. number 2 is on its way.

      • Shilpan says

        That’s an honor for me Jim. I am humble to be in this great nation with great friends like yourself. There is not much money to be made from blogging, but there isn’t any other medium of communication either offering a new promise to make great friends like yourself, and to enrich my knowledge horizon.

  7. investlike1percent says

    Thank you both!!!. I found MMM through Jim’s site and have been reading both blogs for a few weeks now. You both have inspired me to start up a blog. Luckily, I am 36 and FI. Unluckily, I am not unshackled from work as I feel I have so much more to do. Looking forward to coming out of Lurking status and getting to know you guys and everyone else as we all help each other conquer our demons whatever they may be.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Wait. this is a first. most people are finding me thru MMM.

      You found MMM thru jlcollinsnh???

      Ha! Take that, Mr. MM!!

      Congrats on hitting FI, InvestLike, and at 36. Cool beans.

      and congrats on the new blog. you’ve now, like Mr. MM and me figured out how to do lots of work for little (Mr. MM) or no (me) money at all. 😉

  8. pachipres says

    Hi Jim,
    I too read your article at MMM. I was thrilled to see your article there because I have consistently lurking on your own blog site now. Is there anyway I could email you privately about a financial decision my dh and I are trying to make. Thanks.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hey, Pachipres….

      glad to have you commenting.

      typically I prefer to answer questions here so others might benefit from the discussion, but I gather this must be more personal. I’ll shoot you an email.

  9. yourlifeforless says

    Awesome, awesome story. Thanks for sharing your insights to those of us just starting out on our journey. I’d never heard of F-You money before, but maybe that’s a better aim for our savings than “retirement.”

    • jlcollinsnh says

      My pleasure and, yeah, I agree….

      ….it’s never been about retirement for me, just having leverage and options. F-You Money says that best, I think.

  10. Jodie says

    Hi, I was hoping you could help me out? I have so many questions but my first ones relate to the Vanguard fund – I am in Australia and I’ve found it hard to 1. translate the funds you and Mr Money Mustache talk about in the US system to the ones available on the Australian site (I’m assuming that I can’t invest in the US ones?) and would appreciate some assistance if you have the time to look? If you have the time, see; 2. whether you would recommend the funds or ETF (not even sure what ETFs are); 3. if you know the difference between management costs (as on the Australian site) and average expense ratio (as on the US site and discussed my MMM); and 4. if you’re ever concerned about having your money all with one company?

    Many thanks – appreciate the service of your blog and help if you have the time,

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Jodie….

      …and welcome. Great questions. Let’s take a look.

      1. I’m not sure if Vanguard Funds offered in the USA are available to people in other parts of the world. It likely varies country to country. If Vanguard has a presence in your country a quick call to them should provide an answer. If not, an international call or email to the USA location should work.

      2. ETF = Exchange Traded Funds. These are basically mutual funds that trade like stocks. They are relatively new and have become wildly popular amongst traders. But that’s the “foam” we discussed in Part III and so not of interest for our simple approach. However, as we’ll see, sometimes they are the only option and they do just fine then.

      3. Thanks for providing the link to Very interesting to poke around there and here are a few things I notice:

      –it is very Australia (AU) centric. No surprise. As you know my recommendations have been very USA centric but the US is the dominate world economy and it’s companies are largely international in scope. I am unfamiliar with the health and size of the AU economy but my guess is you’ll want a broader scope.

      — The funds have generally higher costs than those here in the USA, although still low by comparison to other companies.

      — The ETFs have lower costs than the funds, the same as in the USA. So, in this case, I’d focus there. Specifically you might want to look at these:

      VTX (US Total Market Shares) This is an exact replica of VTSAX (stocks) and even the .06 expense ratio is the same.

      Unfortunately, there is not a direct match for the Bonds and REITs. They do offer these two, both of which are AU centric:

      VGB (Vanguard Australian Government Bond Index)
      VAP (Vanguard Australian Property Securities Index) REIT

      4. No concern as long as it is the right type company. A mutual fund company, like Vanguard, doesn’t actually have our money in hand. It is invested in the specific funds. If the company goes down the company money disappears and the company investors get hurt, but the funds and the money in them are still there.

      This is distinctly different from hedge funds, private equity funds, private investment pools and the like. Anytime you turn your actual $$$ over to an advisor or advisory company you are basically saying “Here. Invest this for me and let me know how it turns out.” There is no separation between your money and the company’s. That was the Bernie Madoff situation for example.

      Hope this helps!

      • Petey says

        Hi again Jim,

        New comment to an old post here, but your feedback re: Australia has been very interesting.

        On the topic of ETFs, does it matter who the broker is? Say if the broker goes under, I still have my shares, correct?

  11. Woodreaux says

    I’ve been reading thru MMM’s blog from the first post and I’ve noticed your comments there and stared reading your blog from the beginning as well.
    I truly enjoy your writing and wisdom.
    I would love to get your opinion on my position as we are going to one income soon due to another addition in the household. We are expecting a third child and my wife will be staying home with the kiddos.
    I am reading thru you Stock Series now and am looking forward to opening my Vanguard account soon.
    I will post my questions in later posts so I can get as many eyes on it as possible as I would enjoy many of your readers opinions as well.
    Great job again and enjoy your Holidays.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Woodreaux…

      Thanks! I especially appreciate the comment on my writing. I put a lot of effort into it and it is nice to see it get noticed.

      I also appreciate your willingness to read thru the blog before posting your questions. I realize that’s not easy, but most answers are likely already there.

      Congrats on #3 and your wife’s ablitiy to be a stay-at-home mom. We did that when our daughter was young and, in my opinion, it was worth far more than anything we might hove bought with the extra income.

      Have a wonderful 2014 and I’ll look forward to more of your comments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *