I Dream of FIRE

In pursuit of financial independence and personal fulfillment

Category: Personal finance concepts (page 1 of 2)

Don’t compare your middle to someone else’s beginning

I often see the quote “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle,” encouraging people to have perspective when comparing where they are on their own journey to those aspirational figures ahead of them.

It’s a reminder to us that we can improve, and over time we can achieve as much as or more than those whom we see today as being at the next level or where we want to be. And that’s good advice. You won’t get better if you start off too discouraged to even try.

I’ve been thinking about that quote lately, and I wonder: Why do we never see it reversed? Continue reading

Don’t pretend your house is an investment

Homeownership has been a key component of The American Dream for generations. Long considered something you’re “supposed to do” when you become an adult, buying a home has an almost mythical allure for millions of people in the U.S.

But is it as brilliant a pure investment — a surefire way to wealth — as many people believe? Continue reading

Review: Cinch – a fintech fiduciary to put you on the right path

Note: This is a sponsored post. I received compensation to provide an honest, accurate review of this product.

If you’re just starting to get your financial house in order — or you’d like to get started and don’t know where to begin — a new entrant in the financial technology space may be just what you’re looking for.

Cinch bills itself as “the future of autonomous personal finance,” a product that strives to serve its customers first and foremost by taking a fiduciary approach to its recommendations and analysis. I was asked to join a closed beta to take Cinch for a spin and see what it could do. Continue reading

Your house is burning and you can only save 10 things – what do you choose?

It wasn’t the woman screaming outside that woke me up; it was the strange popping sound. It was 5:45 a.m., and I’d only been asleep maybe two hours. Groggy, I shuffled to the window and pushed a slat of blinds up with my finger.

Pop. Pop-pop-pop. Pop.

The girl who lived in the townhouse unit next to mine stood on the sidewalk, illuminated from what I gathered was every light in the house shining through her window.

“The dogs are dead!” she screamed at her boyfriend between sobs. “Get out of the house!”


Suddenly reality came into focus. The building was ablaze. The intense heat was shattering windows. Pop-pop. Pop. She was lit by the glow of a raging fire on the other side of two pieces of drywall just six feet from where I stood.

I had to get out of the house. Now. Continue reading

The highly effective money management matrix

For almost three decades, top performers have used the time-management matrix Stephen R. Covey introduced in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” to maximize the time spent on meaningful work and minimize the time spent on distractions. It is among the book’s most memorable and effective tools.

What if we apply the same concept to personal finance? Continue reading

Retirement is like a freeway exit — once you get there, you’re gonna need directions

It wasn’t my proudest moment. Continue reading

The I Dream of FIRE money map

A while ago, I did a different take on the money map concept by making a visual representation of how much of my money went to each expense. Since then, several bloggers have jumped on the money map chain gang inspired by Apathy Ends, Budget on a Stick and The Luxe Strategist, so I thought I would also add a more conventional money map that shows how my money flows between accounts. Continue reading

A visual look at where all of my money goes

Have you ever thought about where your money ended up, cradle to grave? Not just the money that shows up in your checking account every pay period, but all the employer benefits, the taxes, and the random birthday checks?

I was inspired to create a money map after seeing The Luxe Strategist’s take on the concept (which she borrowed from Budget on a Stick and Apathy Ends). Continue reading

Coming to terms with all the debt I never thought we had

As I scan the personal finance blog sites and headlines, I can’t help but notice how many people paid off big chunks of debt.

“See how we paid off $56K of debt”
“I crushed $24,000 in student loans in one year!”
“Our journey out of $83K of consumer debt”
“I paid off $40,000 in debt, and you can, too”

I’ve largely ignored these stories, because I don’t really feel like they apply to me. I’ve never defined my financial situation around debt. But I’m just now coming around to think about the debt we’ve already paid and debt have today and realizing these stories are more relevant to me than I thought. Continue reading

I’m probably making a stupid money decision, and I need your help (updated)

Do as I say, and not as I do.

Today, I’m going to confess to a bit of ongoing financial stupidity that I’m fully aware goes against multiple best practices. Continue reading

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