This FI life is tough, what with all the having to choose between this fun activity and that.
For the last several weeks we have again been ensconced in Shamba, my in-laws’ Lake Michigan beach house which they so graciously let us use.
Traditionally we do this in July, when the weather is warm and sunny. But that would bump up uncomfortably close to this:
Chautauqua United Kingdom, 2017
So we’ve had to make adustments.
Yeah, I know. Poor me.
My life on those past visits was a simple one. I’d arrive, remove my shoes and spend the time walking the beach or hanging in the house. I’d hardly notice anything else outside the door.
But this time of the year sun and warmth are rarer and winter-tinged winds and rain more common. The result is I’ve spent, for the first time, time in the woods behind the house following deer trails and joining Mrs. jlcollinsnh in her trips visiting the small towns around and about.
Mr. 1500, who came to visit, even discovered a small, isolated old graveyard nearby with tombstones dating to the 1700s on one of his runs. We all hiked over to check it out the following day.
Mr. 1500 at Shamba contemplating his next major “investment”
Along with him Brent, one of the Chautauqua attendees from last October came up from Chicago to hang out for the weekend.
Rounding out that particular weekend, The Wealthy Accountant and his lovely wife came down from their vast country estate in the wilds of northern Wisconsin. Maybe to visit us, maybe to just experience electricity.
Yes, this is the same Wealthy Accountant who has referred to me as “a pompous ass,” and that was before he had to spend a weekend with me.
Curious as to how that went? Conclave is his report.
The real reason Mr. 1500 came was not to visit, but to use Shamba as a convenient place from which to stage his next acquisition.
He’d been searching for sometime and this prospect just happened to show up just an hour or so from here. I joined him to take a look, and while promising, it didn’t look like the deal would get done. Indeed, he flew back to Colorado empty handed.
But negotiations continued and cooler heads prevailed. A deal was struck. Two weeks later he was back to close on and retrieve this little sweetheart:
1991 Acura NSX
If this particular car strikes you as not particularly practical, sensible or frugal (but likely reliable being basically a Honda), you’re right. It’s not.
But then, Mr. 1500 is no longer on the path to financial independence. He’s there, and then some.
My council (and yes, he asked) was that we seek FI for the freedom it provides and the now easily affordable options it opens up. If one of those option that attracts is a cool old car, I say go for it. No different than my in-laws’ Shamba or my own two month journey to Asia earlier this year.
Indeed, should he tire of it a year or three down the line he’ll likely be able to sell it on for what he paid. Maybe more. After all, these were selling in 2008 for only $25,000.
Anyway, off he went in (again) this:
And we returned to this:
While here, we’ve had some car adventures of our own.
Upon arriving I happened to notice a rather large puddle of oil under Steve, our trusty 2007 Subaru Forester. I will be forever grateful that Steve chose to hold on until we reached Shamba rather than dumping out his oil on the Tri-State Tollway in the middle of the 80 mph, bumper-to-bumper traffic that is harrowing enough without the engine seizing thank you very much.
Steve, the Subaru
We were all set to take Steve to the dealer when, on the recommendation of my in-laws, we called Carlton Automotive.
Carlton’s swanky new digs
Nick asked all the right questions and I set up an appointment. They gave us a loaner and the next day we picked up our leak-free Forester.
The service was friendly and efficient, and they explained everything clearly. And they invited us to their Saturday brat & burger fund raiser for the local volunteer fire department.
Seemed like the whole town showed up.
We got to meet most of the Carlton team, including Al the mechanic who made the oil leak disappear.
We were so impressed, we elected to have them replace the car’s struts and tires, two items that could have easily been put off for 6-12 months more. (their opinion and mine)
But I figured with our “year-of-hotel-living” US tour coming up this fall, we might as well get the old jalopy ready with folks we’d come to trust and who made it easy.
In fact they were so eager to make a good impression on us, a couple of months earlier they burned down their old place just to have an excuse to build the swanky new one. This might also be the reason they were hosting the fund-raiser for the FD.
Burning down the old place in preparation for our arrival*
Anyhow, if you’re ever in the area and need your car tended to head on over and tell ’em I sent you. They’re sure to respond with an enthusiastic…
Let’s see, what else?
Jake the Wonderdog…
…got a nice lamb bone on his arrival from his Aunt Jo to keep him happy between walks in the woods and on the beach.
When we move on, we’ll head to Southern Ohio to visit Alyssia and Kevin who wrote The Ballad of Chautauqua last year:
(if you have trouble seeing the imbedded video, you can also find it on YouTube)
Between just hanging out, I’ve also fielded some very interesting questions/comments from around the blog. Here are a few you might find worth checking out:
Calidude asked a question I am surprised has never been asked before. Namely, once you are fully FI and the marginal utility of additional wealth is minimal, isn’t the idea of much more heavily weighting bonds in your allocation – as you no longer need to accept the risk of stocks – worth considering? It is, after all, what many financial planners recommend. Here’s our conversation
Fireby35 brought up the in this comment the mistake of mixing insurance and investment, which gave me a chance to share an email conversation on the subject with a friend of mine.
Tim Cullum called me out (as did a few others) on my failure to write the annual Louis Ruykeyser Memorial Market Prediction Contest post this year and I give my excuses
Volwat asked another question I’m surprised has never come up. Basically, doesn’t the huge US national debt scare me? Indeed it does
TheBofaontheSofa (great handle!) asked a question about setting up a taxable accounts and harvesting gains and losses and…
In short becoming paralyzed and not investing at all. A great illustration of the dangers of making this stuff too complex and over thinking it. Plus it gave me the chance to sum up this blog and my book in one sentence:
“Buy VTSAX, buy as much as you can whenever you can and otherwise ignore it; give it a couple of decades and wake up rich.”
The comments around here are worth reading, I think.
Also worth reading are these books I’ve had time for here during the rain:
A sci/fi novel from one of the old masters. Cool concepts and ideas, plus it is fun to see how technology and its future looked from the 1950s.
This history book of the American South West reads like an adventure novel. A remarkably even handed treatment of the conflicting needs and interests of the Indians, Hispanics and Anglos.
If Krueger sounds familiar, it might be because I recommended his series of novels in my last post. This one features an entirely new cast of characters and one of the most interesting and well crafted villains I’ve come across in some time.
Mr. 1500 brought me this one as a gift from the author, who even autographed it with a nice personal message to me. Inside I silently groaned. Most of the time, when I get these books, I find them falling short and not worthy of my time. Or yours.
But Mr. Trench has done a fine job with this one. My book/blog is about what to do with your investable money once you’ve figured out how to organize your life in such a fashion as to have investable money. But often I get readers asking how to do that.
Set for Life provides a well staged and detailed blueprint.
I do, of course, have some quibbles. Trench is a real estate investor and sometimes seems to gloss over the challenges and risks of that approach. He also categorizes retirement accounts as “false assets.” While I take the point he is trying to make, and you will too, this unnecessarily muddies the waters.
Seems I’m not the only one to have pointed this out. The book provides a rather lengthy appendix seeking to clarify the subject.
In my view he, and his readers, would have been better served had he just omitted the reference to them. The book doesn’t need it.
But these are quibbles and small ones at that. This book is well written and well worth reading, especially by those starting on their journey to financial independence. As I read thru it, my recurring thought was it would make a fine companion to my own.
*or just maybe it was an accident
Mark your calendar! June 2nd is this blog’s 6th birthday. Time do fly.
Speaking of flying, the flight of this eagle off the world’s tallest building is amazing