PoF: I’ll start today’s post with a quote from Ether to FI’s very first guest post.
“Hello FIRE nation. I am E.T.F. You are probably wondering what happened to the missing “RE” in my name. That was not an accident. I will probably have many different occupations in my life, but I am on a mission to find work that I love. Charlie Munger working at 93 is my inspiration.” -Ether to FI
It seems he may be having a change of heart. Interesting what the influence of a better half can do.
In a fun side note related to the quote above, I recently spent the night walking the same paths that Mr. Munger has walked for decades on Star Island. He was up at the time, but sadly, the 94-year old investing legend didn’t walk the same paths at the same time as me.
Ether to FI, the floor is yours.
Ether to FI: Shifting Emphasis from the “FI” to the “RE” and a Net Worth Update
I don’t know if this post will help anyone but myself. This is an ask the audience for advice post. A significant change is coming in the Ether to FI (E.T.F.) household.
The original title of this post was “Verbal Diarrhea” because once I started writing this post, the words just spilled out. G.I. might have been my true calling.
Mrs. E.T.F. has caught the FIRE bug. Yes, with an emphasis on “Retire Early.” She came home and said, “we need to get out of the rat race.” I almost called Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, because I was sure an alien was inhabiting my wife’s body.
I have previously cajoled, begged and pleaded with varying degrees of success, but something has lit a match. Could it be her starring role as a guest poster? I don’t know, and frankly, don’t care because my wife is now on my exact same wavelength when it comes to finances.
She is listening to Choose FI like it’s a Top 25 radio station. [PoF: It’s not?!?] She is asking questions. She is scheduling net worth update meetings. We might reach our goal by next year at this pace.
Has this ever happened to anyone else’s significant other? Please respond in the comments. Did I mention that I could not be happier? This is like waking up during the blizzard of ’96 and realizing school will be canceled for weeks. I just hope it continues.
We’re Buying a House
In other news, we are planning on buying a house. I will gladly listen to any advice on this topic because it almost feels like we are walking into a trap. You might think I am being dramatic, but interest paid to a bank on a lot of money is a lot of money. A lot is relative based on your neck of the woods, but six figures are “mucho dinero” to us.
We have been debt free since 2014, so I might just be dreading going back into debt. I don’t buy into the good debt myth; the Dave Ramsey part of my brain is screaming “all debt is bad.” This theory is running smack dab into reality.
You might ask, what is the problem with that plan? On the surface, nothing. We are making a conservative purchase around 1-1.5X of our income, with a quick payoff plan. The issue is you are talking to frugal (E.T.F.) and frugalista of the century (Mrs. E.T.F.). Paying a few hundred thousand dollars to buy anything is not our idea of a good time.
Why Not Rent Instead?
Renting for the past 12 years has had positives and negatives. The positives have been having things fixed whenever they break by someone else. Having access to grills and pools that someone else maintains. The flexibility to move easily from one location to another.
The negatives — currently we have neighbors who make noise literally every night. It sounds like they are doing wind sprints.
We live below these guys.
Another negative is the limited sense of community in apartments. Everyone is in transition, so it seems everyone keeps to themselves. We have also rented a house in the past. I will spare you the details, but that experience was a disaster, and the place was not cheap. The extra expenses while paying off someone else’s investment property left a sour taste.
Specific to us, the community we currently live in is not where we want to live long term. Our oldest is starting school soon, which is primarily driving the move.
We don’t live near either of our families, so establishing roots has taken on new significance after having children. Roots = buying a house in a decent neighborhood + near an elementary school + near a park + joining the neighborhood association + the white picket fence + the 2.5 kids + the obligatory pet.
The question I am asking myself is how much is too much?
We are a family of 4, so based on conventional wisdom, we need at least 4000 square feet, a pool, 1 acre of land and a 4-car garage (the sarcasm is free).
Our ideal home is 1600 to 1800 square feet per Mrs. E.T.F. I would prefer 2000 to 2500 square feet. Mrs. E.T.F. thinks we don’t need as much space as I want. I don’t know how you can hide from your children in 1600 square feet.
Net Worth Update:
We have made some steady progress over the last few months. We are also in the process of simplifying Mrs. E.T.F.’s holdings and consolidating them through one provider. Next post will primarily focus on net worth and goals for the next full year. Ten months into the process, I am proud that we have stayed on track.
PoF, we are coming for you!
[PoF: You’ve made “some steady progress”? Is that what you call over $100,000 in two months? Dang! You’re crushing it. The cash bucket alone has grown by $55,000. Keep up the great work, good luck with the house search, and I look forward to the next inspiring update!]
Follow Ether to FI’s progress to FI in his previous posts:
- Post 1: Introducing Ether to FI: A New Attending Striving for Financial Independence. Net worth $80,283
- Post 2: Ether to FI: Obeying WCI’s Ten Commandments & Net Worth Update. Net worth $145,194
- Post 3: Ether to FI: Home Days & Net Worth Update Net worth $176,674
- Post 4: Rest in Peace, E.T.F. A Love Letter from a Dead Man and a Net Worth Update. Net Worth $197,061
- Post 5: Ether to FI: Mrs. E.T.F., Are We on the Same Page? Net Worth $228,109
- Post 6: Ether to FI: Shifting Focus from the “FI” to the “RE” and a Net Worth Update. Net Worth $335,248
- Post 7: Ether to FI: Don’t Call it Retirement (and a Net Worth Update). Net worth $364,089
- Post 8: Ether to FI: Frugal Spouses: The FI Superpower & a Net Worth Update. Net Worth $429,155
- Post 9: Ether to FI: “I hate it. I hate it. I hate it!” Learning from Those You Disagree With & a Net Worth Update. Net worth $489,200
- Post 10: Ether to FI: Waste Not Want Not & a Net Worth Update Net worth $561,532
- Post 11:Ether to FI: Part-Time Work. Full-Time Life! And a Net Worth Update Net Worth $583,566
- Post 12: Ether to FI: Moving Targets & a Net Worth Update Net Worth $718,212
- Post 13: Ether to FI: Embrace the Dip & 2 Net Worth Updates Net Worth $682,028
- Post 14: Ether to FI: Time Waits for No One & a Net Worth Update Net Worth $937,709
- Post 15: Ether to FI: 3 Years to the First Million & a Net Worth Update Net Worth $1,023,261
E.T.F.: I am reaching out to you guys, what mistakes did you make with your first housing purchases? What would you have done differently? Any advice will be helpful. Please leave it in the comments.