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Norbert’s Gambit: How to Exchange Money Without Paying Fees

We frequently get questions from our readers about how we handle exchanging foreign currencies while living in so many countries. And our standard answer was: a combination of a credit card with no forex fees and a checking account that reimburses foreign ATM access fees. This way, you could simply hold most of your wealth in one currency, then spend it frictionlessly all around the world! And that system has worked out pretty well for us. Until. NOW! Why now? Well, while we were working the vast majority of our money was earned in Canadian dollars, so our portfolio was […]

Reader Case: Can this 24-year-old from DC Retire Early?

It’s Friday, and you know what that means: Reader Case time! And for the first Reader Case of 2019, we’re gonna pick a doozy. Income Gross Income: $95,000 (Combined) Myself: $50,500/year. My Husband: $60,000/year Net Income: $75,000 (Combined) Myself: $30,600 ( After tax, health insurance and 401k contributions) My Husband: $45,000 (we pay his taxes deductions at the end of the year) Monthly net income: Myself $2,550. Husband: $3,750 [Combined: $6,300/monthly] Monthly Spending: Transportation – $575 month (Ubers really add up quickly) [$6,900/year] Cable – $127 (he can’t seem to live without sports channels) [$1,524/year] Cellphones : $150 (both of […]

Our 2018 Finances Part 2

Our 2018 financial review continues after Part 1, where FIRECracker detailed our annual spending. Today, we’re going to talk about how our portfolio did, and the transactions we performed to fund next year’s living expenses. How did it perform? At the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019, the financial media tried to sum up the overall year for stock investors. The more polite ones called it “challenging.” The less polite ones called it a cluster-fuck. And with good reason. December was an especially wild ride, with the Dow swinging up and down 300+ points more times than I […]

Reader Case: Does FIRE Math Apply to the Elderly?

Today’s reader case is a rather interesting one. A reader is writing to us about their 70 (!) year old mother, and asking us how to manage her retirement finances. Now, finances for the elderly is a bit trickier than normal finances, because they can’t recover if anything goes wrong. This situation is doubly risky because I’m giving advice to the reader (who admits she’s relatively new to this FIRE stuff), and she’s relaying it her 70-years-old mom. The odds of a broken-telephone communication problem are high here. So while I’m happy to give my two cents, consult a financial […]

How To Invest in the U.A.E.

Today I’d like to introduce you all to a friend I met during this year’s Chautauqua in Greece. I’m endlessly fascinated by how people from other countries pull off FIRE, and Steve Cronin is an expert on how to invest towards Financial Independence while living as an expat in the United Arab Emirates. Not only that, he’s got his own blog DeadSimpleSaving.com where he writes about expat investing, and he regularly hosts workshops in Dubai about this stuff, so we’re super excited to have him come on and share some of his knowledge:  Steve, welcome! Thanks, I enjoyed being part […]

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