Early Retirement, Financial Freedom, Financial Independence, Financial Planning, Lifestyle, Marriage and Money, Money Habits, Money Psychology, On Investing, Retirement Planning

Annual Recap: Year 2017 Non-W2 Incomes

January 5, 2018

Happy 2018, readers. I hope you’re having a beautiful start to the new year.

This time of the year is magical for me. I enjoyed sharing extra special moments with families and friends, combined with delicious, comfort food (for weeks in a row). I also loved the holiday decors both at home and while being out and about. These moments can really be savored all year long. Sleeping until 9 a.m. has been typical for my family and I this past week as our bodies recovered from all the festivities.

Finishing the Old and Starting the New

As of yesterday, we’ve taken care most of our financial matters for year 2017, with the exception of paying property taxes and filing for tax return. We made purchases in my i401k account, rebalanced our investment portfolio, updated our financial accounts and made a projected budget for this year. So far, the two biggest, one-time expenses we’re looking at are money going toward paying for two international trips. Other than the usual recurring basic expenses, we also have several home renovation projects we want to accomplish.

December 2017 Non-W2 Incomes Report

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Giving Back, Kids and Money

On Parenting: What’s Lost is Gifted (The Joy of Giving)

December 21, 2017

My daughter, Ruby, received a decorative bracelet at a holiday party recently. The next day, she wore the bracelet out as she accompanied my husband and I running errands. When we got back in the car after the first errand stop, Ruby asked where was her bracelet.

Instantly, I felt my heart dropped for a second there. I knew how much she liked that bracelet. When I looked over at her, she was trying very hard to hold back her tears (with such sad expression on her face!).

parenting and giving preschool

I was quick coming up with a story attempting to comfort her. I said to her:

Ruby, I understand that you’re feel very sad and perhaps a little frustrated that you lost your bracelet; but guess what, another child’s going to pick up that bracelet and he/she’s going to be very excited and happy to have found such a beautiful treasure! You see, it’s unfortunate that you lost your bracelet, but because of that, you were given a chance to make another child happy. And having a chance to bring a big smile on somebody’s face is very rewarding; another child is smiling because of you! For this, mama and baba are very proud of you.”

“Oh, okay”, said Ruby.

Then, upon arrival at our second stop (as we were getting our coats and bag to get off the car), I noticed Ruby’s bracelet laying in between her and mine coats. Ruby was very happy to have her bracelet on her wrist again. She was all smiling.

I cautioned her to take very good care of it while we’re inside the store. “Okay, I got it”, she said in response.

While inside HomeGoods, getting ready to enter the checkout line, I noticed the bracelet was missing from Ruby’s wrist.

“Ruby, where’s your bracelet?”, I asked.

She gestured me to follow her back to the isle where I was shopping for plates. And she pointed me to the bracelet.

“Ruby, you were being careless and forgetful,” I commented, further instructing her to pick up her bracelet and put it back on.

While in the checkout line, Ruby said to me, “Mama, I want to leave this bracelet for another child so that she can be happy.”

At that moment, it occurred to me that she purposely left the bracelet on the plates isle for another child to pick it up!

Suddenly, my heart warmed and I felt emotional. I held her tight and told her, “You make mama and baba very proud”. I’m very blessed to have such a beautiful and kind-hearted daughter.

I took her out of the checkout line, and asked her where she’d like to lay the bracelet. She decided to put it in the sink of the mini kitchen set. When that was done, I kissed her on the forehead reminding her I love her.

[Maybe she made it to Santa’s ‘Good List’ this year?]

ms financial literacy

ms financial literacy

That was not the end of this story…

That same night, as we were getting Ruby for bed, Ruby started crying. My husband couldn’t figure out why, and Ruby was too involved in her crying. After sometime passed, I asked her to speak to me.

Here was what Ruby said,

I’m feeling very sad cuz I don’t have my bracelet. Mama, can we please go back to the store and get my bracelet?” It was around 10 p.m.

“Ruby, it’s 10 p.m. The store is closed. Even if we would to go back there tomorrow, the bracelet might be gone”.

I continued on and reminded her, “I thought you wanted to leave the bracelet in the store so that another child can pick it up and have a big smiley face. No? That child would be like…Horray! I found a bracelet! And starts jumping up and down, all excited…all because of your generous gesture”.

“Oh, okay. I understand now”, said Ruby, while still sniffling from her cries.

I got her to lay down on her bed, meanwhile caressing her head and giving her little kisses on her forehead. She was breathing heavy for few minutes, and then felt asleep.

That night happened about two weeks ago. To this date, Ruby still remembers about the happiness she can bring to another child, by her “accidentally losing” her belongs while out and about. Just yesterday, as we were shopping at Costco, she brought a sticker in with her. That sticker was not with her when we got back in the car.

“Ruby, where’s your floral sticker”? I asked.

And she replied excitedly (and in such assuring manner), “It’s okay, mama; another child is going to be happy when she finds the sticker”. She gave me one of her biggest and goofiest smiles.

I love you, Ruby. Thank you for reminding me the joy of abundance and giving.

When Ruby is older, my husband and I will have to work on teaching her about valuing one’s belongings. Even when one has a very generous heart, one cannot just keeping giving all the time. For now, we’re simply just savor these moments.

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Financial Freedom, Financial Independence, Financial Planning, Giving Back, Home Improvements, Lifestyle, On Investing, Retirement Planning

November 2017 Non-W2 Incomes Report

December 16, 2017

Our Services in the Community (also available to you)

November was a very rewarding and joyful month in my household. My husband and I started the month off offering free financial and fitness coaching services. In the spirit of the holiday season, this is our way of giving and expressing our thanks to those we care about and to you, readers of our blogs (I’m linking my husband’s blog here; He recently shared quarterly update on our total net worth on his blog).

There’re two more weeks left if you’d like my husband (and/or I) to take a look at your current financial situation and provide you a roadmap helping you reach your financial goals in year 2018 and beyond. To learn more about this offer, visit an older post here. We’ve already gifted about 50 hours of time so far between the two of us.

november income

On the topic of services, my husband and I have also attended several orientation sessions in preparation to do more volunteering related to financial education and financial literacy in the upcoming year. Some of the organizations we are networking with are Junior Achievement and Caritas (an organization to prevent and end homelessness).

Some Life Updates

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Early Retirement, Financial Planning, Lifestyle, Purchase Decisions

Early Retirement and Health Care Coverage and Premium

December 11, 2017

Back in September, 2017, when I shared on the blog that my husband was going to join me in early retirement, many of you asked about our health care insurance situation once he leaves his W2 employment. In this post, I’m sharing the process my family and I went through to get health care coverage for year 2018. 

The Perceived Obstacle to Our Early Retirement

The thought of having to pay the high cost of health insurance premium out-of-pocket (we were thinking about $1,000/month) was one of the biggest reasons my husband and I hesitated about retiring early. Early retirement conversations first came up between us around year 2012. Back then, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a mystery to us, and we were too lazy/busy to do more research.

I’m typically pretty resourceful and I’d search above and beyond to get the information I want. However, the following years continued to be big transition times for my family and I, and learning more about ACA was not on the priority list. So, as a couple, we reasoned (and made a compromise) that we’d have to work more years to save up for full, out-of-pocket health insurance premiums and retire when we reach our late 40s or early 50s. 

New Information Helped Made Early Retirement Possible for Us

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Early Retirement, Financial Empowerment, Financial Planning, Girlfriend to Girlfriend Money Chat, Kids and Money, Lifestyle, Marriage and Money, Money Habits, On Investing, On Self-Development, Retirement Planning, Women and Financial Literacy

All I Needed was an Inspiration (and a Free Gift to You)

November 30, 2017

I Didn’t See Myself Being a Good Teacher/Coach

I’m what some people might call a Type A, perfectionist, or over-achiever. I have high standards for myself. Growing up and while in school, unlike many other Asian parents, mine didn’t pressure me to receive certain grades or go into a certain profession. I was always the one that was self-driven and put lots of pressure on myself.

Knowing that about myself, I didn’t pursue a career in teaching, despite having contemplated becoming a teacher during my freshmen year in college. Yet, somehow, being in academia attracted me (and the over-achiever in me) and I went on pursuing a doctoral degree. While finishing up my advanced degree, I was a teacher’s assistant for two semesters. I did not enjoy that experience. I lacked the patience. Being a mother has been a trying experience for me every day. I’m very thankful to have an extremely patient partner along my side.

inspiration financial coaching

Several months ago, when my husband suggested to me to consider doing financial coaching with him, specifically to work with couples, I immediately closed the conversation. It was not that I lacked interest. Everything I do and share on this blog stems from my strong desire to inspire, encourage and promote smart and savvy financial skills. I just didn’t see myself being a good coach. I lacked the confidence.

Self-doubts were casting all over my head. To give you an example:

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