Blog Posts

Reader Case: Trapped in Success

Hi y’all! Can you believe it 2019 is almost over? Wow. It’s been another crazy year. So, before the year comes to a close, I’m going to tackle a reader case or two. Without further ado, here we go!   “Your gross/net annual family income: Wife (Software Dev.): $120k gross Me (Accountant self-employed): $399k gross (pre-expenses) Total Gross: $295k Net: $238k (Doesn’t feel like that much!) Your monthly family spending: $21k For any debts you have, please include: Primary Residence • The interest rate: 2.75% 7/1 ARM • Your minimum monthly payment: $5,150 • The outstanding balance: $997k No student […]

Let’s Go Exploring! Taiwan: The Heart of Asia Part 2

The WRONG way to eat xiao long bao (soup dumplings) Step 1: Shove entire soup dumping into mouth. Step 2: Bite down and unleash an inferno of soup lava onto tongue. Step 3: Run flailing and screaming, mouth first into a nearby lake The RIGHT way to eat xiao long bao Step 1: Take a tiny bite from the side, creating a small hole in the skin. Step 2: Let the steam escape. Sept 3: Slowly sip the soup through the hole. Place sufficiently cooled xiao long bao in mouth. Chew. Step 3: Avoid getting 3rd degree mouth burns. Success! […]

Let’s Go Exploring! Taiwan: The Heart of Asia

“Duìbùqǐ. Bùhǎoyìsi“ (I’m so sorry. So embarrassed). This was by far the most common phrase I heard in Taipei, Taiwan. No matter how bizarre or ridiculous my request was. It was always met with a sheepish smile, a polite nod, and the re-assurance it was always their fault for not going out of their way to give you whatever you wanted. The Taiwanese love being helpful. My friend and fellow early retiree Jeremy (a.k.a GoCurryCracker) who lives in Taipei says that the biggest difference between getting on a subway in China versus Taiwan, is that if you see an old […]

FIRE Doesn’t Fix Everything

My alarm clock taunted me. 3am, 4am, 5 am. I could barely lift my eyelids. Sleep weighed me down like a thick blanket, but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t fall sleep. Every time I drifted off; a shot of adrenaline would kick me awake. What if I don’t get this project in on time? What if I get fired? What if I’m a huge failure? I don’t think I can do this anymore. Where’s my life going? What’s the point of all this? My brain was a broken record player. Play. Pause. Repeat. Play. Pause. Repeat. […]

Does It Ever Make Sense to take the 10% Early Withdrawal Penalty?

Last Monday’s Reader Case sparked some discussion over whether it makes sense to take the 10% early withdrawal penalty that comes from making a 401(k)/Traditional IRA withdrawal before the age of 59.5 instead of doing the Roth Conversion Ladder. Why? Well, the counter argument referred to this very thorough and informative post from the MadFientist, who did a comparison of 5 ways of accessing your retirement funds. In that post, he claimed that in certain situations, deliberately taking the 10% Early Withdrawal Penalty actually beats the Roth Conversion Ladder strategy, which seems completely bonkers and counter-intuitive to me. So I […]

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