My Week Ending May 18, 2018: Royal Wedding, Sick Again, Misery

Welcome back to My Early Retirement Journey. In case you're just joining us, here's a little bit about me.  I am a single 30-something, openly Christian, hesitantly immigrant-y, human woman. I love watching TV while eating takeout, and I want to retire early. I currently work as a consultant in a tele-health call center making around $40/hr. I started my professional life in 2015 at the ripe ole age of 31 after a few false starts. I spent 2016 paying off about $10,000 worth of credit card debt. I spent 2017 paying off about $20,000 in private student loans; I still have about $300,000 in federal student loans for which I am currently on an income-based repayment plan for the next 25 years, give or take.  I started really getting into savings and investing late 2017 when I stumbled upon the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) community.  In 2018, I made the decision to try to save for a sabbatical and maybe if all goes well continue the journey to early retirement.  Al…

Announcing a Free Preview of My E-Book, Pieces of Pi: My Journey Through Adolescence


Why Yes, This Is My $300,000 Student Loan Repayment Plan: REPAYE 2018

So the other day, I got an email from my student loan servicer. That's better than a wedding invitation, said no one ever.

What the heck is REPAYE? (source
With the REPAYE program, payments are capped at 10 percent of your discretionary income. Your discretionary income is calculated using your adjusted gross income minus 150 percent of the state poverty guideline for your family size. Balances for undergraduate degree loans are forgiven after you make 20 years of eligible payments. Balances for graduate and professional degrees, or a combination of graduate and undergraduate degrees, are forgiven after 25 years of eligible payments. The IRS says forgiven student loans are taxable income, though. So if you qualify for student loan forgiveness under REPAYE, plan ahead and prepare for the potential tax bill you will end up with. Additionally...
The government also covers 50 percent of accrued interest charges on unsubsidized loans throughout the REPAYE repayment…

My Week Ending May 11, 2018: Duty Free, Tampa, Roku

Oh what a week! Welcome back to My Early Retirement Journey! And in case you missed it, this is what happened last week.

Monday -  Finally got my new phone ($9). Had it delivered to work. That's not really allowed, but the first time I tried to order a phone from Simple Mobile (no affiliate), they shipped via FedEx. FedEx  tried three times to deliver it during the workday at my home. I obviously wasn't there and their shipping guidance did not allow anyone else to sign for it. This time, given the previous history I had it shipped to my work. Womp, womp. It was delivered to the mailbox at work on a Saturday. I was home!!  After a year without regular cell phone service, why now? Well the short answer has to do with the declining health of my aunt. I felt it would be best to have a reliable way to be contacted and to have a phone I could use to work from home, if needed. I have a post coming up on why I went without a cell phone for a year. Stay tuned. This was even pre-My Ear…

Enron and Madoff and Ponzi! Oh My!: How to Background Check Your Financial Professional

So when I started My Early Retirement Journey, one of the first things I had to reconcile was the fear of letting my money go to a place I didn't understand. Every few years, we hear the stories of Bernie Madoff, or the next Bernie Madoff, or the Enrons or even watch CNBC. CNBC has an entire 13-season-and-counting run of American Greed which chronicles stories of greedy doctors, businesses, and financial advisers and firms. One must wonder, who is going to be next? When will the next Ponzi scheme come tumbling down and who will be affected? Is it going to be someone in the oft touted Vanguard or one of the new robo-advisors popping up...Wealthfront?Betterment?Ellevest?

What can we as consumers do to arm ourselves? Well as far as I know, no one truly knows what anyone is going to do, but the US government does put some safeguards in place to try to keep us and our assets safe.  I did some research and this is what I found.

Who we are as investors?
In 2010, the SEC’s Office of Inves…

My Week Ending May 4, 2018: Dementia, Remote Work, Health Numbers

Hi, there. Welcome back. So this is what happened this week in My Early Retirement Journey.

Monday - Week started off a little somber. I spoke to my aunt who raised me and she is misplacing her words. It was as if I were watching a television show except I was a part of the cast. We were trying to book her a trip to DC for one of my cousins' graduation. Strange things happened. She asked when she was going to be in New York. And when she was going to be in Atlanta. But I could tell she thought she was saying DC. One time she just said a random number in place of a word. Most of the conversation was her baseline, but obviously there were some noticeable neurological misfires.

I looked up Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease because I couldn't remember their pathophysiology.  According to Googledoctor, Parkinson's has more to do with memory retrieval difficulty and Alzheimer's has more to do with difficulty storing new memories. I am thinking the issue is memory re…

Spotlight on: Retire By 40

Remember the 'old days' when online chat was still a thing and people would list and ask for stats upon entering a chatroom. I thought that might be a quaint idea to utilize as I browsed and shared other FIRE blogs of interest. As this blog grows, there might be other blogs that might apply to your situation or season or just might be more interesting. I like sharing knowledge; it's kind of what the Internet's all about. Some of the details are things bloggers have strong opinions on and use it to differentiate their experience. Others are things that are fun or basic to know about other bloggers.

Today's Blog Spotlight features Retire By 40. There's something irreverent about this blogger. I picture a calm middle aged man making notes on the world with nothing entirely new to say but enjoying being part of the conversation. I can relate to the heart he puts in his posts as he endeavors to remind readers it's not that much greener on his side of the gr…

5 Free Things I Learned From YouTube: A Listicle

No blog is complete without a listicle. Everyone must have read some pervasive article about attention grabbing titles... so here's my first attempt at one on this adventure I call My Early Retirement Journey.

Intro. I was pretty late to the YouTube era. I don't really see the point. I generally don't watch cat videos or videos of people falling. Comedy or slap stick is not really my area of interest. When I watch TV, I want to be captured and I want to suspend disbelief. I want something to grab my attention for more than five minutes. That being said, YouTube and I have made contact for a few useful ventures. In an attempt to explore with my blog, I thought I'd start with my first listicle, 5 Free things I Learned from YouTube. It's very you say... on-brand 😀. Here we go...

5 Free Things I Learned From YouTube
1. Dying my hair/ hair care. When I started graduate school, I tried out a new personality - that of a hot girl. I bought make-up and hair extension…

What The Heck Does That Mean: A Beginner's Guide to Investment Vocabulary

So I recently did a lesson for my mathematical literacy class (my current side gig) on some basic personal finance topics.  I reviewed with them the Pyramid of Investment Risk and thought I'd share it here for any new investors like myself. I'll admit I had to look up most of the words before I presented the lecture as I am still pretty new on My Early Retirement Journey.

What the heck does all that mean?

What are Futures? A futures contract is a commitment to buy or sell a specific amount of a commodity at a specific future date and price. Futures contracts deal in products ranging from corn, soybeans, wheat and cattle to gold, crude oil, Japanese yen, and U.S. Treasury bonds.
What are Bonds? When investors buy bonds, it means they have loaned money to a company or a governmental entity.

What is a Stock? A stock is an investment product that represents partial ownership of a company or corporation. The stock market represents all the companies that sell their shares to the publ…

My Week Ending April 27, 2018: Pigeon Forge, Sugar, Root Canal

So here's what happened this week in My Early Retirement Journey. And in case you missed it, last week was an adventure!

Monday - Had quite the pep in my step today. Don't know if it's from a less congested GI tract; some good sleep; nice overcast weather (I'm not being sarcastic, the NC heat is my nemesis) or blogging! I made it back to Blogger (from Bluehost) officially on Sunday and I IMMEDIATELY REGRETTED IT. The regret lasted until 9p Monday. Then I saw my new site and the good feelings I had about the work product I had created from my Wordpress/Bluehost site were replaced. Note to new bloggers: If you are redirecting your site, remove your Cloudlfare DNS name server! So glad I don't have to know what any of those words mean anymore 😄. Let's not overdo it, but I'm a lot happier than I was yesterday. Ate some delicious frozen African food that I had ordered online from my sick leave. 
I did some timesheet corrections at work and realized we got our bo…