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June Wrap Up

July 8, 2021

Money:

I reconciled my spending so far this year, and it is still higher than I want in some areas. Our net worth continues to grow at a clip that really makes no sense, driven by the market. But, people have been afraid the market has been too high for at least 5 years, and bull markets can last a very long time, so I’m sticking with the plan and investing regularly. T’s summer salary should come next month, almost all at once due to his delays at filling out the proper administrative forms on time. This will be another big boost and some influx of cash.

I feel really good about implementing more Roth-type savings this year, and am glad I finally got over that mental block.

On the upcoming spending front, we’re looking at pulling the trigger on new windows this year, if we can refresh some of the quotes we got last year. We have many old single-pane windows, and for insulation and safety reasons, we think it is time to pull the trigger on this. I also want to get a retractable awning to provide better shade in the back patio, but we need to make sure it will work with our windows. I also am strongly considering a window A/C unit this year to get us through the hottest heat waves – but we’ll see.

Life:

I went into my office for a few days to support a big design review. It was nice to see people in person, and even to have a group lunch. I hope to be going in more regularly in July, but it has hard to get back into that routine without a clear driver for it. The design review went really well, and we are likely to get the green light to proceed. We’ll find out for sure in August.

LO is doing great, as usual. So much talking, so much imagination, and so much humor. She’s starting pre-school in August, so we’re enjoying the last few weeks with her current (very small) class and her current (very awesome!) teachers. We had a really nice visit from T’s mom. LO was delighted that she visited, and when we asked LO if she knew where grandma came from (expecting her to answer an airplane), she said “From the phone!” 🙂 So nice that they can stay in touch via FaceTime!

Links:

Our Next Life is one of my favorite FIRE/PF blogs. I read Tanja’s latest post with interest, and agree that the current mainstream version of FIRE is very different than the original. I am a person who wandered into the FIRE after reading about personal finance. I take what I need from it: Values-based spending, how to optimized savings, and how to access money in tax-deferred accounts if I ever need to. I am a big fan of people defining what is “enough” for them, and in taking power for themselves and away from employers. Yet, I self-proclaim to “need” an inordinate amount of money to actually quit my job, without giving up the luxury of our current location home. I also self-proclaim to be ambivalent about leaving my job. I don’t really fit the FIRE community, but I appreciate many of the perspectives.

Related, I took a lunch time hike while I listened to Ezra Klein’s podcast with James Suzman, Why Do We Work So Much. As a society, we have defeated scarcity (if resources were distributed) with technological progress. Some predicted we’d all be working 15 hour work weeks by now. But we aren’t, many are working more than ever. Instead of society enjoying the technological gains, and increasing our leisure time, we’ve instead created a society where scarcity is manufactured. We are convinced to continuing to desire more and more and more. The conversation reminded me of the book I read many years ago, How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life (mentioned in this old post). I have never gotten over the thought that people used to covet nail clippers as the latest new gadget, the same way we might covet the latest iPhone today.

The fact that Peter Thiel has a 5 billion dollar Roth IRA makes me sick, even more so that this was a very intentional tax dodge, potentially running afoul of the regulations by using founders’ share to render contribution limits irrelevant. This initial move was followed up by further investments in investment opportunities the average person could not access – all under the umbrella of his Roth. The government will never get a share of the profits earned, and he paid taxes only on an initial $1,700 investment.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 24, 2021 10:20 pm

    Ughh I was so disgusted by the Peter Thiel Roth thing.

    If you’ve done any research on the retractable awning already, we’d love to hear what you’ve already looked at. PiC and I were just talking about that, kicking around some ideas for shade.

    I finally made myself start our automated investing contributions because after pulling back massively last year in order to build up cash reserves, I got stuck in the hoarding mentality and that was not helpful. I refuse to let myself dwell on what growth we missed out on as a result of that redirected priority. At the time we had no idea whether our jobs were at risk and taking the prudent path helped me sleep at night. Doing my best not to let hindsight guilt get in my way now!

    • July 26, 2021 11:02 am

      Not much research since we want new windows and to paint before we get one -so not likely to happen this year. But we took a cursory look at the Costco route and it seemed to be OK. I really am looking for some other shade ideas too! We have used shade sails over our deck for 2 years now. We set them up to be easy to take down off-season or on fire watch days. They have made our deck much more usable, but it is not an attractive option. Haven’t quite figured out how to get them to work well in the back yet…. I’ve also been look at pop up shade tents the past two weeks, but have not found anything I want to buy.

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