Ask Me Anything – Round 2

Woohoo! It’s Tuesday! Time to celebrate!!

Why celebrate on Tuesday?….

Well, why not?

Got some Q&A from yesterday to share… And thank you to the peeps who participated! Next month I’m gonna ask YOU all the questions and will publish YOUR answers 🙂


How is Cooper? (Jason R)

Thanks for asking! He has regained strength/coordination in his back legs, but some of the meds are making his fur thin out a bit 🙁 All in all he’s happy, although we don’t let him run or jump on stuff anymore.

What websites do you use to buy/sell stuff? (Jason B)

Craigslist for big stuff like furniture, the free section, etc. But my fav app right now is OfferUp. It’s free and easy to for quick local sales (I got my new surfboard on there). Also —> for estate sales!

Roth IRA or Traditional IRA – which is better for investing? (Seb B.)

If your tax rate is going to be lower in the future vs. now, invest in a traditional IRA. If higher later, go Roth. If your tax bracket remains constant, you end up with the exact same amount of money either way! (Roth also has better early withdraw capabilities and no RMDs later in life)

Can you send the excel spreadsheet you use for budgeting? (Laura)

Here is a template of what I use in Google Sheets. (HERE). There’s nothing fancy about it… I just download all my transaction data from each week and put it in the sheet to keep track. If any of y’all want to learn more, email me and I’ll help!

(Sunset in Oceanside, CA from a reader, Yair!)

Hi Joel, My question is: Apart from family and friends, what do you miss about not living in Australia? (Colleen)

Meat pies and pasties! But mostly just miss friends and family.

How did you know J$ / and what was your motivation behind taking on that challenge? (Nam)

J.Money joined this daily email list a few years ago, and replied to messages sometimes. A few months after selling his blog to Motley Fool he told them I might be a good candidate to take over his blog (I believe he recommended a handful of names). Anyway, that’s how I got introduced to him and the team.

As for taking on the challenge… It’s weird because I’d never done this type of thing before. Since it’s almost an impossible task (nobody can replace J.Money) I was pretty scared to even explore it further. But, if life has taught me anything, it’s to run towards the things that make you scared because trying hard things propels your personal growth. So, I guess my motivation was just to try something new and see where it leads. Worst I can do is fail, then go try something else.

When being greeted by an elder, would you rather have your cheeks pinched or your earlobes rubbed as a sign of affection? (Kurtis)

Weird question! I guess I prefer my cheeks pinched (butt cheeks).

When calculating your savings rate, Do you include just the money youre setting aside for retirement and savings, or do you include paying down debt into your savings rate. For example should your mortgage payment be included in debt paydown? (Jonathon)

Hmmm. great question. Technically, debt paydown should be included as savings – (interest portion is an expense) but I’ve never done it that way. Since our mortgage payments are all covered by rental income, we don’t include either of them when calculating savings rate. We just use our personal income and personal expenses.

When did you start your FI journey? What has been your biggest learning thus far on your FI journey? What do you want to do/do differently once you hit FI? You seem pretty charitable. Do you have a plan to continue giving your wealth once you hit FI? (Nathan)

Whoa, that’s a lot! I discovered “FIRE” in early 2018, but my first dollar saved was when I was ~10, and first real investment was when I was 18. Somewhere around my 33rd birthday I realized that I could retire very early in life… so I left my job to take some time off and slow down the journey a bit. Biggest realization about Financial Independence: It’s less about the money… and more about how you want to spend your time in life. When I achieve FI, my lifestyle probably won’t change much… Will still wake up happy every day, do some writing, hang out with friends and do fun activities. As for the giving part: Yes, I’ll keep giving forever, because it makes me happy and I’m also blessed with more than I need.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!
Love, Joel