I have a long list of things I love about retirement (of course) and consistently near the top lies “the ability to stay up as late as I want whenever I want.” If I find a book that’s engrossing, I can finish it – no delayed gratification like those annoying cliffhangers on television. So, when JL Collins sent me a preview of his book, I giddily devoured it in one sitting.
Let me say first that I’m biased because I consider JL Collins a personal mentor and friend, but I have used his investment strategy longer than I have known him. I spent 2012 listening to what a bunch of people thought about how I could grow my money because, as much as I cherished my wall chart from Your Money or Your Life, the investing advice left me skeptical.
So I read and researched and JL Collins’ blog resonated. Not only did he emulate the life advice that Your Money or Your Life exuded, he also gave the investment advice that all the other Greats seemed to be leaning towards and which made the most sense to me. Best of all, he indulged my lazy tendencies with its simplicity.
So I’d been reading his blog for a while when he asked if I wanted to hang out with him in Ecuador, I was all like “umm, yeah! I’ve never been to Ecuador!” I was one of the first ones to sign up in 2013 (I actually have no idea if that’s true) and we met and hung out and he was as fabulous in person as he was through his blog, with a voice that cuts butter to boot. Together we formed a mutual admiration society and I pester him from time to time for his advice.
So when he told me he finished that book he’s been wanting to write, I switched on my pestering skills and he let me read it before he pushed the big red PRINT button. Hehe!
I forward his blog articles to people all the time, so I’m excited that my laziness can now extend even farther and I can just tell people to go read his book. Since this is supposed to be a book review of said book, here are some notes I made while reading it.
Thriftygal’s Yellow Marker Highlights and Margin Scribbling on “The Simple Path to Wealth”
“I’d happily put in more effort for more return. More effort for less return? Not so much.”
This sums up why the investment strategy is so brilliant. Managed funds are more effort for less return. Vanguard. Total Stock Market Index Fund. VTSAX. “Veetax” as my sister calls it. Fleshed out, thoughtful chapters on every possible angle of its superiority. My lazy soul was sold. This is my favorite part of the book.
Oh, and if you are somehow not exactly like me, (e.g. you don’t live in the United States, you’re in a different life stage, you want a wee bit less volatility), he has advice on your situation. Good call. I was always too uninterested to do this research and now I have a good reason to never do this research. Thanks, JL Collins!
“Sensible flexibility is what provides security.”
I want to hear this in a pop song because it’s fantastic. First, he give the best explanation of the 4% rule that I’ve read (it’s probably my favorite part of the book) and then he drops this little gem. Yes, the 4% rule should work and it’s a good guide to ease some of my anxiety, but I still need to pay attention and adapt as necessary.
“However, for the three years we both weren’t working, our net worth actually grew. It was the first time we fully realized we had moved beyond just having F-You Money. We had become financially independent.”
I love this. Oh, hey, I guess we’re financially independent. Cool. Any thoughts on dinner?
This is my favorite part of the book. The chapter title says it all – “It has never been about retirement.” It’s about freedom. Understand the philosophy and the numbers will take care of themselves. It’s the attitude, the approach to money that matters.
“There are many things that money can buy, but the most valuable of all is freedom.”
I say something similar. Mine is “the most valuable thing money can buy is freedom from worrying about money, yo.” I think the “yo” puts a certain elegance on it.
“Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy.” — Groucho Marx
How have I never heard this quote that perfectly encapsulates everything I believe in?!
The lawnmowers at the hotel in Ecuador.
The one piece of advice that I disagreed with him on was his suggestion that if debt on your interest is less than 3%, you should pay it off slowly and invest instead. I think that’s logical and mathy, but my emotional sanity rests on me being able to cackle “I’m debt-free! Hehe! Debt-free!” I’ve become really good at cackling.
Really though, I could go on and on about the parts of the book that I like and plan to revisit — logistics on withdrawing money from investments, tax strategies, social security advice and charitable giving. The book is good and I’m so excited that it exists.
You are too! Let’s be real. There’s a good chance you discovered my blog after clicking on a link from JL Collins’ blog. You’re already sold. I’m preaching to the choir. Brother, testify!