I love your emails. I do. I know I haven’t replied to you or maybe I replied to you once, you replied back and then you never heard from me again. I’m terribly sorry. Please know that I’ve read it though and your kind words make my day, my week, my month, my life. Here are some questions that I receive quite a bit and my general responses. Or rather, these would be my general responses if I weren’t such a lazy sack of flesh and I actually replied to you.
What books do you recommend?
- Your Money or Your Life. I know you’re shocked to see this at the top of the list. This is easily my favorite personal finance book because it taught me how to think about money and work and value. Its only flaw lays in the investing advice (at least in the older version I read). My inspiration for my wall chart, my visual aid, came from this book.
- The Bogleheads Guide to Investing. John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard, didn’t actually write this book.
- A Random Walk Down Wall Street. I like this one because it gives an overview of all types of investments. In the end, it still recommends good old low-cost index funds. I’m thinking of this one mostly because it’s sitting on the table next to me.
- The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. This isn’t a financial book, but it changed my life. I steal my resolutions chart ideas from Gretchen and that alone was worth the price of the book. It’s one of the few items I’ve purchased and not rented through the library. That is the highest praise this thrifty gal can give.
- JL Collins’ forthcoming book on investing, The Simple Path to Wealth. It’s a combination of #1 (how to think about money) and #2 (the investment advice I follow and exactly why) and #4 (some wonderful insights on happiness).
I have a TON more that I could recommend, but this post was getting kind of long. Reading is my favorite activity in the world and I am always looking for book suggestions, so if you have any, please let me know! If you’ve already sent me a book recommendation, I’ve taken your advice and read it – thank you! I’ll be more likely to read it if it’s fiction and not about personal finance.
Oh, and I know you know this, but get these books from the library. The library is a magical place. I would live there if I could.
What is your investment strategy?
VTSAX. I like a simple, time-tested and logical investment strategy. I’m writing a longer review of Jim’s book (#5), because he’s already said everything I think so eloquently.
How much money do you actually have saved?
Enough to make me feel “not anxious.” I don’t like going into details about numbers because I don’t think the numbers themselves matter. My lifestyle (no kids, no house, traveling, hates stuff) is probably very different from most of your lifestyles, so I don’t think a direct comparison is healthy or productive.
Why did you go to law school if you didn’t want to be a lawyer?
I was helping my sister study for the LSATs and I found that I really liked doing the logic games. Sister decided she didn’t want to pursue a graduate degree, but I played with her prep book for a couple of weeks and took the test for kicks and giggles. At that point, I was working in insurance, bored out of my tiny little mind, and searching for a way out. I did well on the test and schools tempted my thrifty heart with waived application fees. “Get an advanced degree” was on my life bucket list and I figured it was a good time to cross that off.
There was no grand plan. I knew about the pricetag, but I also felt confident in my ability to pay it off. Life is a journey and it was all a part of the process. I met some wonderful friends there. I learned a bunch. I have a badge on my resume that seems to impress people. No regrets.
You’re cute. Do you want to go out with me?
Aww, thanks. I should work harder on the “not dying alone” worry, so….maybe? My problem is that I really dislike emailing back and forth with strangers. I know pretty quickly when I meet someone if there’s anything there, but it’s a chemical thing and not something easily conveyed through the series of tubes known as the internet.
I’m a wanderer right now and not really staying in one place long enough to form the requisite bond. I don’t know. I’m still working on this problem. Not very hard and not very often, but when you email me asking me out, I do contemplate it for a minute. I’ll let you know when I figure it out. Do you have any suggestions?
Here is my list of qualities I’m looking for in a guy if that helps.
Thriftygal’s Mate Wishlist
- Smarter than me
- Not wasteful
- Not religious
- Likes to travel
- Good cuddler
#4 is the only mandatory quality and that’s the one I can’t gauge over emails. This list is much longer, but I’m starting to understand that some of my criteria are unreasonable. I’m pretty sure that nobody can teleport. #1 is the hardest trait to find. See? All of my humor isn’t self-deprecating!
What is your weirdest list?
None of my lists are weird! Okay, I do have an archenemy list. It mostly consists of various jars of salsa I couldn’t open throughout the years. Really, I think it’s just prudent to write down your hatred so you can let it go.
You seem awesome! Can we be email buddies?
Aww, thanks, but as I described in my first paragraph, no, probably not. I’m not really looking to add more email time to my life. One of my favorite things about retirement is that I am not a slave to any electronic device or my inbox. I love going out in the world and doing things. I carry my phone with me, but I don’t have my website email connected to it. I also don’t have the Facebook or the Twitter connected to it. I prefer people/animal watching and people-interacting.
I have enough emails on my to-do list from the people that I know in real life and it’s one of my least favorite revolving door chores. I understand why some postal workers go crazy. I’m sorry. I’ve written about this before because I really do feel guilty about this. There are so many awesome people out there and you take the time to email me and I feel so lousy when I see my bloated inbox taunting me.
It kills me because I LOVE receiving and reading your emails. I love the constant reminder that the world is full of so many awesome people! I just don’t have the druthers to keep up. Druthers is a fantastic word, isn’t it?
Aren’t you afraid?
Nah. Not about my retirement, anyway. Not about money. Not about leaving a lucrative profession to live a life I absolutely love. When I quit my job, I jumped up in the air and clicked my heels together. Then I fell because I’m not coordinated. True story.
I approached this as a new adventure and not something to fear. I’m young and I’m hard-working when I need to be. I’ve never had trouble finding a job. Money stopped being meaningful to me after a while. It’s like apple picking. Yeah, maybe I’ll eat the first few apples, but how many can I digest? At some point, that extra dollar is kind of meaningless. If you continue to live just to earn, then you’re wasting your life. I can’t eat all those apples. They’ll go bad before I can finish them and I don’t have enough freezer and pantry space for canning. Why waste my time picking them? Why not go for a hay ride instead? I think this metaphor is breaking down. In real life, I would eat none of the apples because I’m allergic. But you get my point.
Honestly, it never really occurred to me to be scared until you started emailing me asking me if I was.
Can you look at my finances and tell me what to do?
I thought I would love doing that, but no. Maybe I’ll pick up the project again eventually, but I just don’t want to make the time. I think you know what to do. Most everything is a want. Pick a few comforts and ditch the rest. I can’t tell you what to prioritize because I don’t know you. If someone went through my finances and told me to stop buying earrings, I’d tell them to shut their gaping pie hole. Pick your top three or top five or top two comforts and eliminate the rest, putting everything you have towards your goal.
Your website is ugly.
That’s not a question.