Living life more on our terms
I haven’t published anything in quite some time because we’ve been relishing in our new found freedom! Being married to a PhD student, at least in this particular program, is quite the test in year 3 of the program. Last year my husband spent all year reading a mountain of books in preparation for his comprehensive exams. No vacations. No weekend trips. He worked evenings and Saturdays in addition to his regular work days while I picked up more of the childcare and cooking to help him succeed. (By the way, he passed!) You aren’t here for a lesson on marriage, but I’m going to share one anyways. While we aspire to an egalitarian marriage, there are some seasons in which one of you will be doing more of the domestic “stuff” and that’s okay. Not saying it was easy - it wasn’t - but I was fortunate that my job was less intensive this past year than in previous years when he did more childcare and cooking.
We are taking more weekend trips and planning vacations now that we aren’t cooped up at home and I had more personal time to write last year. I’ll admit - I’m not good at writing regularly when we are on vacation and having fun on the weekends.
Reading to become financially independent
I was a bookworm as a child and never went anywhere without a book. I was scolded more than once for reading at the dinner table or at school when I was supposed to be doing something else. While my physical book consumption rate has decreased substantially as an adult, I've replaced a lot of that with blogs and online publications. You want to become financially indpendent? Read about it from the experts. Find the tools they use and create.
Related: Are you reading like the wealthy?
Since I haven't been writing much lately, I thought I'd at least share what I've been reading.
I came across the Our Next Life blog and this post on Create a Flexible Vision for your Next Life // Presence Over Absence. She does a great job of visualizing what I shared earlier this year about not saving for “retirement” per se. Thinking about retirement involves planning for the removal of something big in many of our lives - work - and isn’t focused on adding other pursuits to have a full life. It’s also refreshing to read about another woman’s progress toward financial independence as many of the top blogs are written by men and while very helpful, they have a certain bent.
I read Mad Fientist when I have questions about the nitty gritty tax details involved with financial independence. We are in a great position now to have to weigh the costs and benefits of contributing to tax-advantaged accounts that come with age stipulations as opposed to non-tax-advantaged accounts that we can access with no penalty. This article on How to access retirement funds early has some creative solutions for how to get the best of both worlds - tax advantaged savings accessible before retirement age. It’s a dense read and I recommend independently verifying his analysis with a tax professional if any of these options are of interest to you. I’ve explored the Roth Conversion Ladder more than the other options that and that may be the direction we head down in the future. It comes out ahead in most of his scenarios, but more importantly I understand how it works better than the SEPP 72(t) option. Understanding how your money-related decisions actually work is more important to me than getting the most efficient strategy in place or the highest rate of return.
Do you have any burning (or simmering) financial independence questions that I can help answer in my next post?