Doing Everything is Ruining Our Lives

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Not all that long ago, my wife and I were working with a local community college to teach English to recent (sometimes not so recent) immigrants. In addition to our 40-50 hour per week jobs, this was a nice little volunteer activity that we enjoyed doing for 2-3 hours each week.

Well, at least we would have enjoyed it, except I was doing another 3-4 hours of tutoring on Wyzant, 2-3 hours playing in the community concert band, and my wife was teaching Sunday school at our church. And this was just summer, I have an elective class scheduled for this fall that will take up 2-3 hours of my time. Add in what social lives we could scrounge together, and we had our calendars booked from sunrise to sunset.Thankfully, we reduced our outside-of-work activities last month by about 50%, and I’m on track to have all my extra items off my plate by January.

I know I’m not alone. I’ve discussed similar issues with my co-workers and peers. What in our culture is driving us to kill ourselves with work? As a human, I’m inherently selfish, so when I see an opportunity to make money, I take it, but there is also an academic side to me as well. So I actively try and fill all my free time in academic pursuits of learning language, history, or literature. I feel guilty if I spend too much time watching TV, taking a silent walk, or just doing nothing. Continue reading

5 Reasons You Should Make a Budget

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I’m pretty sure that I’ve always been aware of and thinking about finances my whole life. I don’t think I would be insulted even if you said I was obsessed about it. When I was little, at the age of 8, all I wanted that whole year was my own drum set. I had a tiny allowance, but I remember my mother telling me that I could afford the drum set if I just continued to save my allowance. I had saved about $250 when I was finally able to buy it. (Back then I thought it was all me, but I’m pretty sure my mother covered the rest.) Even though it was a toy, I learned a lot waiting to buy that drum set. Ever since then, I’ve always been acutely aware of how much I had, and what I had planned for it.

However, it wasn’t until about the middle of college that I seriously started budgeting. I was recently married; I had my first full-time job; and we were living paycheck to paycheck. I needed to know where my money was going, and how much we had coming in. I believe that budgeting set me up for success, and has been one of the greatest contributors to my pursuit of financial independence. So here are my 5 reasons why I think everyone should have a budget. Continue reading

Changing Site Content

With my blog being mostly anonymous, I have been able to write just about anything. I’ve been able to share my Net Worth updates, goals, and investments all without any fear of retaliation either by friends, family, or work. In some ways, that makes me very sad because I do like sharing the things I’m working on with them, but there are several reasons I have been unable to do so. While I have enjoyed sharing and getting feedback on my Net Worth Updates, I have decided that I would really like to open my blog up to sharing with those I’m close to.

In order to do so, I’ll be removing several pages of content from the site. I’ll still be giving investment and goal updates, but I’ll no longer be sharing my hard numbers. I may share a small portion of an investment portfolio, but I believe that anyone who learns investing basics will be well on their way to achieving FI.

While I’m sure my current work would not like hearing about my future endeavors, I think I should be safe for the time being. I don’t think any of my coworkers would be able to connect this blog to me, and even then, I don’t foresee any backlash.

As a quick heads up, I’ll be having some exciting announcements coming soon. Since my last Peace Corps post, we have applied and already received some interest emails! Hopefully an interview will be coming in the coming months, and I’ll be able to share that experience. I also would like to have a financial tools page on here, and I have a couple ideas I’m working on. Let me know if any of you have suggestions.

My Foray Into Options Investing

I remember the first time I looked at an options chain table. My coworker had mentioned the idea to me. Though he was always a little too timid to sell or buy any himself. I ignored it as some kind of fringe investing technique. It wasn’t until several months later that I noticed several dividend income investors I follow posting on how they were augmenting their returns by selling options. Alright, I still didn’t know what any of it meant, but I was intrigued. I needed a plan to go from ignorant to familiar to experienced. Continue reading

Peace Corps Goal Update

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Since long before the beginning of this website, one of my primary goals has been to join the Peace Corps. About six months ago, my wife and I talked with a recruiter about what it takes to join, and what we can do improve our chances of being able to get a spot.

He said that we had well rounded resumes and suggested that we get some experience teaching English. Since married couples have to be placed in the same spot, it is easier to get an assignment if both people are qualified for a number of different job types.

So thus began our journey into taking a two-weekend crash course through Portland Community College on how to teach English (ESOL). After which, we were immediately placed into a Sunday tutoring position that started around late May. This has all been with the hope of enhancing our resumes, but even if we don’t land a position with the Peace Corps, I would still consider my time well spent. I have been greatly humbled by my students’ stories and have enjoyed my time tutoring, and I highly recommend everyone to find time to volunteer inside your communities.

For Peace Corps, we don’t want to depart any earlier than August of 2017, and the Peace Corps only posts assignments about one year out. So as we have been collecting experience, we have also been patiently awaiting to see what opportunities will become available for an August-September departure. So with our departure date in mind, we knew that the positions we wanted would soon be opening up. I contacted our recruiter from 6 months ago and setup another appointment to talk with him. Continue reading