Haha! I think I read the blog post of the year this week on Rockstar Finance. It was written by Crispy Doc, and it expertly explained how anyone can freeze his or her credit. Here’s Crispy’s exquisite how-to in its entirety:
“Links below to freeze your credit report, can be done completely online:”
Freakin’ beautiful. Crispy’s exquisite how-to took twelve words. If you include the links and the cost and time estimates, the whole post came to fifty-two words.
My Stab at a Crispy Doc How-To
In honor of Crispy, I’d like to take a stab at a how-to that combines brevity with wisdom. Here, then, is my guide to being a kick-ass cubicle jockey in thirty words or less.
Get to work before everyone else. Learn VBA so you can automate as much of your job as possible. Be nice to everyone, especially those below your pay grade.
Tanja Reveals Herself
The dynamic duo behind the blog, Our Next Life, finally disclosed their true identities. That’s right. After three years of blogging, Tanja (pronounced Tonya) and her husband Mark finally dropped the cloak of anonymity. And you can read all about their rollicking ribald reveal right here.
But Tanja’s reveal isn’t what inspired me this week. Mrs. Groovy and I are going to remain anonymous for the foreseeable future. No, what inspired me was something she said during her appearance on the podcast, Choose FI.
Tanja was great throughout the whole interview, of course, but what really piqued my interest was her answer to one of the Hot Seat questions. Brad and Jonathan asked her what her favorite blog post of all time was and she chose one of her own, a post called, Don’t Listen to Us // Blogs Don’t Tell the Full FI Story.
I implore you to read this post. It will make you a better consumer of information. For Tanja has hit upon an important insight. Here it is.
Big bloggers, because of their blogging income, are no longer leading a true FIRE lifestyle, and as such, their unwavering belief in the feasibility of early retirement needs to be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism.
In other words, big bloggers aren’t a true test of the 4% rule. Mr. Money Mustache, for instance, makes hundreds of thousands of dollars annually from his blog. His annual expenses aren’t pegged to 4% of the portfolio he amassed at the time of his retirement. This is not to say his annual expenses couldn’t be pegged to 4% of that pre-fame retirement portfolio, or that the financial habits and mindset he has cultivated and championed aren’t useful tools in the quest for financial independence. This is just to say that Mr. Money Mustache is no longer a case study in early retirement. Retiring at 30 may be feasible, but his outlier blogging income makes it impossible to determine that.
And just for the record, I’m not picking on Mr. Money Mustache. Yours truly isn’t exactly a case study in early retirement either. Mrs. Groovy and I retired with a portfolio that was over thirty times our annual living expenses. I also have a mini-government pension that covers a little more than half our annual living expenses. And because of generous Obamacare subsidies, Mrs. Groovy and I can safely get by with a 1.5% withdrawal rate. So, yes, Mrs. Groovy and I are kicking ass in retirement. But would we be if we didn’t have a pension and Obamacare subsidies and we had to rely only on a 4% withdrawal rate?
So thank you, Tanja. You inspired me to be more forthcoming with my readers. I still think I have plenty to offer my readers as it relates to such topics as geoarbitrage, developing a prime financial culture, and appreciating the glories of passive investing. When it comes to the feasibility of retiring early and living off a 4% withdrawal rate, however, my readers will have to go elsewhere.
Quick aside: If you want to following someone who has retired early and is living solely off his portfolio—no pension, no Obamacare subsidies, no Social Security, no working spouse, and no blogging income—check out Maarten over at the Million In 10 blog. This guy’s talking the talk and walking the walk. And as such, he’s a much more reliable indicator of the feasibility of early retirement than Mr. Money Mustache and I will ever be. He’s also a terrific blogger.
Bloggers Who Vlog
A bunch of my favorite bloggers have also started to vlog. Steve and Courtney from Think, Save, Retire have a vlog called A Streamin’ Life. Katasha from Broke Girl Rehab has a vlog called—surprise, surprise—Broke Girl Rehab. Fritz from The Retirement Manifesto has an eponymous vlog called Fritz Gilbert. And Chris and Jaime from Keep Thrifty have a vlog called Our Thrifty Life.
They’re all great vlogs—very informative and fun. And to give you an idea of what I mean, here’s the latest from Chris and Jaime. They have a relaxed fireside chat style that is punctuated by copious slurps of coffee. Just try not to laugh.
Haha! Poor Chris. I had no idea what leggings were either.
Anyway, these six vloggers have inspired me because they put my vlog to shame. Whether we’re talking about production quality or FIRE-related content, my vlog looks like the proverbial redhead stepchild in comparison. And that has to change. It’s time to up my game.
But wait. There are two more bloggers who have gotten me all jazzed up about vlogging.
About two months ago, I discovered the blog Waffles on Wednesday. If you haven’t heard about this blog, it’s definitely worth a look-see. Mr. and Mrs. WoW are wonderful writers with a wonderful story. But more importantly, they never lose track of what’s really important on the road to financial independence: waffles and beer. After all, what’s the point of doggedly pursuing FI if you can’t enjoy the finer things in life along the way?
Surely, waffles and beer are truly inspiring. But what really inspired me about Mr. and Mrs. WoW is this: they reached out to me and pitched the idea of doing a remote episode of Talking Trash. We’re still working out the details, but hopefully in the near future you’ll see a video of Mr. and Mrs. WoW picking up trash while I inject my witty take on their efforts. I have no doubt it will be a blast.
So there you have it, groovy freedomist. My blogger friends have put me on a mission to elevate the quality of Talking Trash. Will I succeed? Will I fail miserably? Time will tell, of course. But here’s my first installment of the new and improved Talking Trash. Have a great weekend. Peace.