My Web Site is 1 Year Old Today

So BAMF Money is officially a 1 year old today.

Overall, retiring early this past January has been good.  I’m getting more sleep (though I still have sleep problems), eating healthier (and actually less), under less stress, don’t watch the financial markets all day, and get to do lots of biking, hiking, and trying to find new “adventures”.  My check list of “things I’ll get to” during my working years has pretty much been knocked out.

I do have mixed feelings on early retirement at this point however.  Maybe I just needed time away from the grind, or the old work environment wasn’t a good fit for me, or sometimes you just need a change of scenery.  I’m not sure at this point.  I also haven’t grasped dealing with the “So, what do you do for a living?” question (not wanting to sound like a loser or some kind of douche bag).  There are days when I find myself asking “is this it?” and feeling like the ending in “The Hurt Locker” trying to figure what’s my next goal to shoot for or purpose.  Maybe the goal after all of these years was to just hit financial independence, but not retire early…

I fear that my attachment to my old profession (the investment world) may be too strong.  It’s a love/hate relationship I guess.  An abusive relationship that I can’t leave.  I even caught myself one night talking about spin offs while on a date, only to catch myself and change the subject (surely a sexy topic to talk about on a date, right?).  So I am struggling with early retirement (I know, poor me) and trying to find a way to scratch the itch, without having to work 40-50+ hours a week.  I guess when something has been a part of your life for so long, it’s just harder to let go than I thought.

Moving to a new, small, and remote city where you don’t know anyone has been a challenge.  I like the peace and quiet, but do from time to time miss the convenience of living close to everything.  If I stayed back in the crowded and loud big city, I know at least my weekends would be filled with things to do (hey, friends work during the week).  Just when I had given up all hope, I met one amazingly beautiful and smart lady (yes, guys do like smarties), however our time went by fast as she was in town short term for work.  We’ll see if anything happens in this department down the road, as I feel it gets harder to meet quality women as you get older (I’m sure women feel the same about guys).  As I get involved in more groups and activities, I should meet more people, although it can be painful at times (no seriously, I went to play co-ed softball and destroyed my ankle).  So those are the current developments in my life since ER.

Things I’m looking forward to:  I’ve gotten into nature type stuff lately.  Recently bought a tent and some gear, so I’m hoping to go camping soon and hang out in nature and float around in some lakes, and road trip to more national parks.  I’m trying to plan a route around the southwest to visit a few national parks to camp in (Grand Canyon coming camping trip coming soon!).  I figure if I visit the country in territories each year, I can see just about everything in the states.    I’ve also been having the urge to backpack Europe.  So, next year, I’m thinking about picking a part of Europe to explore for a few weeks to a month.  Right now, I’m leaning towards going back to Belgium for it’s storybook like countryside or maybe going to Paris, since it would be real easy to get around the area and there are lots of touristy things to do.  I’m open to any tips or travel hacks, comment below.  Hopefully these types of trips will make me feel more certain about busting my ass for years to hit FI/RE.  Enough about me…

Now I thought I’d give a look back at the first year since launching the site and also point out the most popular articles according to page visits and some of my personal favorites that newer readers should check out.  Overall, I’m happy with traffic and far surpassed my expectations.  Somehow people are finding this site.  So here goes:

Most Popular Articles:

  1. Reg 72(t): Access Your IRA Early without Paying the Penalty – Apparently a lot of people are interested in the idea of early retirement.  By far my most viewed page, probably because these types of withdrawals are a very misunderstood subject and there is a lot of wrong info out there.
  2. My Goodbye Email to Coworkers – This probably has to do with a high job dissatisfaction rate in the country.  I just wanted to go out with a laugh.  Yes, I really did send that email out.
  3. Dividends and Yield on Cost – A grind to read (and write), but the basis for my early retirement.  I think it’s worth the time.
  4. Net Worth Update for 10/31/2015 – Personally not sure why this post over the original reveal or the year end wrap up, but whatever.  I know these are usually a popular post, because people like to get a peek into other’s finances for comparison.  Sorry for not providing updates, but I try not to obsess over it much anymore.  Just know things are going well.  I’ll probably just provide a year end update.
  5. How to Really Hedge Your Portfolio – Another grinder to read and write.  I was just pissed off by reading an article from a major business site featuring many experts not mentioning the most basic hedge.  I’m just glad 2 of my top 5 pages are a little more “technical” (i.e. basic math) and doing well.  I’m working on more Options and derivatives articles to release soon.

Some Disappointingly Lower Popular Articles Worth Your Time:

  1. Control Your Spending To Build Your Net Worth – I liked it.  A little Time Value of Money applied to savings from cutting back on spending.  I should maybe change the title to “How to Build $200,000 from Simple Savings Methods” or something like that.
  2. A Dividend Extravaganza – I need to revisit this one. The layout just sucks.  I have the spreadsheet downloadable, but now I know how to embed it into the post.  I’ll make some updates and create a new article, more pleasing to the eyeballs.  The most interesting thing in looking back at the article, I set a goal of hitting $40,000 in passive dividend income by the year 2036.  Now that I have consolidated accounts and invested that money, the $40k in passive dividend income is going to happen a lot sooner than 2036 (more like the early 2020’s).
  3. Shunning Modern Consumerism and Tracking Expenses – 2 articles about spending not doing so hot…I think a pattern may be developing.  I know it’s not something most like to do, but don’t underestimate tracking your expenses.
  4. I Heart Dividends – This one broke my heart (see what I did there).  I was hoping a non-math, quick read, dividend article would do better.  I was wrong.  I might need to update the title.  I did get a shout out from a bigger name in the FI blogosphere for this article and that helped get some twitter followers.  Thanks.
  5. Cool Things to Lower or Defer Taxes on Rental Properties and Section 1031 Exchanges – That title is a mouthful.  It’s a relatively new post, so hopefully it has legs.  However, because of the specific nature of the article, I was hoping it would be up there right behind my Reg 72(t) article.  But hey, there’s a funny video in there.

A Couple Recent Post I Hope Do Well and Really Like:

  1. #NapkinFinance My Words of Wisdom in Finance – Quick read about the important finance things.  You can actually just look at the picture.
  2. A Basic 5 Stock Portfolio for Beginners – I hope this does well.  For a long time, I’ve said you don’t need to own a crap load of stocks to create a diversified portfolio to match the S&P 500.  Well, turns out this simple portfolio actually beats the S&P500.
  3. My Life Summarized in Spreadsheets – I didn’t advertise this a whole lot.  I know most of the people on my facebook page and it just feels weird to have people you know peering through all of your finances.  They know I’m doing alright, but there’s just something to be said for anonymity when you try to be as open as possible about your finances as I am.  Anyways, if you want to compare yourself to me, it’s all there with my age, years, net worth, expenses, etc. so you can see how you stack up on your trip to FI.  If anything you can use it as a template for yourself and customize it to your liking.

Overall, I’m glad I set up this site.  It’s helped satisfy a creative side of me that couldn’t be fulfilled by corporate America, but friends know me for.  It’s also helped me communicate better and open up more, something that I’ve struggled with most of my life (I’m an introverted, numbers guy).  The lady referenced above didn’t believe me when I said I wasn’t really talkative and can be shy around new people (or maybe I just have a different understanding of the word shy).  Running the site does take time, but I think it’s worth the effort and satisfaction received from the kind and thoughtful comments.  The FIRE community is a unique one.  It trys to bring clarity to concepts made more complicated than they need to be, help each other out in reaching that common goal, dispelling the lies we are told to believe from the “professionals”, or just serve as inspiration for those working towards financial independence or just get out of debt.

I want to close with this final thought (I just got all Jerry Springer).

The other day I randomly remembered a conversation with a former work buddy.  We had hung out a few times with a mutual friend and had a few good times back in my wilder days (I think his wife forebode him from hanging around us again though- I hate when that happens).  Anyways, I was really struggling with work and counting down the time to early retirement.  It became unbearable to the point of losing sleep each night and absolutely dreading going in each morning.  It was several things that built up: being crapped on by management, thrown extra work loads, and worse being told you’re not getting a promotion because  your religion is different from the company views (they were legally able to do this shit! and who even cares about that crap in this day and age).  Anyways, I was standing in his cube looking at a chart that shows the probability of running out of money based on age and portfolio allocation (Of course, it didn’t have my age bracket or allocation on it).  What he then said, I will never forget and he doesn’t to this day know how much it meant…

“Dude, you know what I wish every day when I come into this office…to not see you here!”

It wasn’t him being a jerk.  Actually the exact opposite.  He just knew how unhappy, frustrated, and a waste of a pool of knowledge I had become and he hated seeing me waste my potential.

Now this isn’t an original line.  It’s from “Good Will Hunting”.  But it still meant a lot to me, just to know that someone, who wouldn’t B.S. me, thought that highly of me.

So, if you see this dude:  Thanks, it meant more to me than you know.  I had a lot people tell me no or just not believe in me for years, so those rare moments of belief mean a lot.  P.S. I told you trailing a shot of Rumple Minze with a shot of Rumple Minze wasn’t that easy, but makes for good times.  And yes that video is still on YouTube.

To all my readers, thanks for taking the time from your busy day to view my content.  I hope I’ve been able to add clarity, motivate, or inspire you on your own personal trip to financial independence.

And for anyone that feels stuck in a job,  is being fucked by their employer, or is wasting their talent, yet still grinds it out… “I hope that when I come in the office tomorrow… I won’t see you here!”

Thanks for the 1 year.

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Readers Comments (7)

  1. Congrats on your blogging anniversary. I’m glad that I found your blog and am able to learn from you. I hope you find the balance you seek in your time.

    • Thanks ZJ, I actually waiting to hear back on being an adjunct instructor at a local community college for a few finance courses. Would be really cool to do that a few hours a week. The whole process is just taking a lot longer than I’d like.

      • Good luck, my wife loves teaching. And it’s a great way to give back.

        • I’ve wanted to do it for a while now, so it’s the perfect time to for that change. It really would be the most interesting work to do, without having to commit going back to full time work.

          • Got notice today that I have been approved to teach finance courses at the community college today. Pretty excited about this opportunity and change

  2. Congrats! Some travel sounds like a nice change of pace. We are lucky to have all the national parks, and France or Belgium sounds awesome.

    • Thanks, Mr Crazy Kicks.
      I’m really looking forward to my camping trip in the Grand Canyon in the next few weeks. Should be a nice get a way and looking forward to getting to spend time there vs my last time there being a quick trip. Might stop in Sedona for a day or 2 on the way back. Europe is on hold until I see what happens with the teaching gig, but can always do that next summer.

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