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Financial Management- Theories, Tools & lolz

Vices Posted by jordan 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I like personal finance and finding more about money management theories, tips, tricks etc.

Budgeting & Debt-Reduction

In my 20s & early 30s, I started fairly easily in monthly budgeting and debt-reduction (just down to the mortgage now, HUZZAH!). My main tools have been: common sense budgeting & minimalism.

  • Good Budget- I've used their free app for several years now, and I've found it to be extremely useful for tracking my monthly expenses.

  • Becoming Minimalist- This was my launch-pad for minimalism (my version- getting rid of extra stuff & not buying more).

Wealth Building & Early Retirement

Now in my mid-30s, I'm really interested in the theories behind early retirement. This is now where I'm particularly interested in getting additional ideas. I'm currently a fan of these, and I'm looking for more resources-

LOLZ

10 replies

  • Great tips and resources- I will definitely explore these. Also, I've been so interested in the minimalism movement for a while now. It just makes sense and I feel very pulled to make lifestyle changes in this direction. Even just thinking about it and reading about it makes me feel calmer and clearer.

    Reply

  • Razorback

    I am glad you started this thread. Always good to hear what others are doing. I have my own personal Google Finance page that is the first thing I open in my browser each weekday morning. I keep custom portfolios there of stocks I own and some I am considering purchasing.

    I just signed up for the Personal Capital site you added. Thanks for that. Told me I was right on the path I thought I was. That will be handy as I need to make adjustments.

    To be honest, I have never understood anyone's desire to retire too early. Sure, you might be able to do some cool things, like travel, but typically none of your friends will be retired and you could become lonely. I love my wife but I do not want to spend all of my waking hours with her. Also, you might miss out on valuable work experience, not to mention a lot of income and employer contributions (401K, 403b, etc.). On the flip side, having the ability to fish, play golf and piddle in my workshop all day is pretty darn appealing.

    Another site I will add to the list is Betterment. I think it is recommended by both Mr. Money Moustache and Mr. Collins that you list above. I created a Betterment account almost two years ago. Unfortunately, that was during a time of market decline so to date, I have lost more than I have made. But that is part of investing and it has been rebounding in recent months. They have done a good job of providing guidance, tax harvesting and cash dividends. Worth checking out.

    Admittedly, I do not live much of a minimalist lifestyle now. However, as I age, the concept becomes more appealing to me. Certainly a smaller house and fewer things. But I would like to have more land that I can piddle around and enjoy.

    Thanks for starting this conversation. I hope others weigh in and share ideas.

    Reply

  • Razorback

    Additional Resources

    • Everything You Need to Know About Investing on a Single Index Card - This is a classic. A few years ago, a social scientist professor put his complete guide to financial planning on an index card. A must-read for anyone who saves and invests.

    • Candlestick Patterns - If you like digging into the daily analytics of an individual stock's performance, candlesticks are essential.

    • StockTwits - This is a great site to watch what others are investing in, what's trending, etc. They also have a handy mobile app.

    • 1500 Days to Freedom - Similar to other blogs listed above, this was a guy who set a goal to build a debt-free portfolio of $1,000,000. Not sure how much he updates it these days but he reached his goal and was very open about how he did it.

    • Quora - This is a site that covers more topics than you can imagine. Investing is merely one of them. You can ask any question you want and typically get really good advice...for free. You can also search with investing keywords and read past Q&A topics.

    • Investools - This site is owned by TD Ameritrade and provides educational resources on learning to invest. There is a brief free trail but it costs $$$ after that.

    • StockCharts - If you are into charts, this is a good place to get you visual data fix on.

    • StockFetcher - A powerful and easy-to-use stock screener.

    • finviz - Another financial visualization tool for screening stocks.

    Reply

    • jordan

      Thanks for all the links. The index card is brilliant. A lot of financial matters are turning out to be much more straightforward than I would have thought. I started reading 1500 Days to Freedom and really enjoyed his simple spreadsheet for building a savings goal.

      I'm not as much into early retirement as much as escaping my current "wheel". I bought my house to be close to my job, but I keep working at the job to afford my house...what? I'd rather be hiking or doing anything that is purely my choice. I might very well choose to keep working, but then at least working would be (from my current mental state) more optional.

      Reply

  • glen

    Great topic, and these tools are awesome. I'm a big fan of Mr. Money Mustache, and have been following him for a few years now.

    I'll only add a humble tool to this growing list: Google Docs.

    I realize that this is very lo-fi, but the tool that has helped me most over the years is a simple Google Doc. When my wife and I got married we carried some stupid debt. We made a spreadsheet with all of the debts and each month copied the tab and updated the amount.

    Sure, I could use an app that did this automagically for us, but the act of typing in the amount for each one has been significant and satisfying.

    I use this method for our monthly expenses as well. I've been on a quest to lower those over the past couple of years (see: cable), and that's been helpful too see the numbers go down each month.

    When it comes to investing, I keep it extremely simple: I just plunk all of my money into a total market fund.

    So I guess my tool is the simplicity in the system in itself. I'd rather let machines handle this, especially since I will never beat them and don't care enough to try ;)

    I realize that both of these tools/methods are the furthest thing from sexy as one can get, but it works for me.

    Reply

    • Razorback

      When investing, sexy doesn't count. Positive returns are the only thing that matters.

      Reply

      • ahnyerkeester

        Amen to that brother. Results is what matters.

        I rolled my 401k into an IRA and invested it in a Bond Index Fund (20%), a Market Index Fund (40%), and an International Index Fund (40%).

        The performance was lackluster for the first year or so but over the past few months it has taken off. Taking a look, it is time to rebalance. The Market Index Fund is really growing.

        Reply

    • jordan

      A Google spreadsheet was also how we got out of debt. Slowly but surely, it's the way to keep track of progress.

      Reply

  • BenW

    As probably one of the oldest members here (I'm 57), I can attest to the wise words of the Vanguard CEO - "Don't just do something, stand there". I've seen my retirement go down considerably (hello 2008), but also rise back up and surpass those values.

    Indexes and time are your friend. As is planning for the "4% rule" - planning on drawing no more than 4% annually from your retirement assets. History tells us that if you do that, over 30+ years, you likely won't draw down your original investment. In fact it will likely grow, which makes the 4% bigger every year as an inflation adjustment.

    A great calculator to see how long your money will last is the FIRECalc calculator: http://firecalc.com/

    A good forum with some pretty smart investors is the Early Retirement Forum: http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/

    Reply

    • jordan

      At 32, I'm ready and willing to listen to those who are passing along wise words. If others have already figured this out, I don't need to reinvent the wheel.

      Thanks for the links. I'll be looking at both of those in detail this week.

      Reply