As someone who loves to travel, I have always cherished each and every vacation day. I view them as precious gifts. They are definitely not to be wasted, misused, or arbitrarily cashed in. Using one at home means that I can’t stay that extra day in France or Mexico or Vietnam. As such, I can’t remember the last time I burned a vacation day that wasn’t connected with a trip. But considering that I will have no use for these in the very near future, I broke my rule the other day. For the first time in at least a decade, I took a random weekday off for no real reason. And it was glorious.
Growing up we didn’t eat out often, but when we did my family liked to go out for Chinese food. In particular, my grandpa Herbie was fond of it. I’m not 100% sure if my dad liked the food as much as we did, but he was always willing to go because it allowed him to crack the joke that “if you fart, you’re hungry again” after the meal. When you add in the fact that it was reasonably priced, tasty, and of course came with free cookies, it checked all of the boxes to keep both the adults and the kids happy.
Which would you rather have: $1,000,000 or $.01 that doubles everyday for a month? It seems like a silly question, right? The obvious answer is to take the cool million. A penny is nothing! But that’s the wrong choice. Your $.01 is only $.02 on day 2 and $163.84 on day 15, but by the time day 30 rolls around, you’re holding $5,368,709.12. That’s the power of compound growth in a nutshell.
I recently heard that I could register my vehicle as farm equipment and get a tax break. Do you know if that’s true? That’s what the doctor asked me while making conversation after learning I was an accountant. I told him that I was not a CPA and therefore not qualified to give tax advice. He continued anyway. He had his eye on an Audi. Another doctor friend had told him if he bought a full-sized SUV, that because of the weight of the vehicle, it could be classified as farm equipment in order to save on taxes. That was news to me, and while I was skeptical about the legality of this method, it seemed like a terrible idea with or without it. I told him as much.
It was the winter of 2003, just before Christmas, and the decorations were out in full force along the Magnificent Mile. All of the stores displayed the top gift items of the season in their impressively decorated front windows. Street musicians and carollers filled the air with festive tunes. I was still a young man, fresh out of college, only 18 months into my career. Each weekday I exited the subway and walked down the iconic Michigan Avenueto my cubicle on the 19th floor of the John Hancock building, where I had gotten a job working for the 3rd largest insurance brokerage in the city. And I was about to be laid off.
I’ve spent the last 8 years living in Silicon Valley. It’s a sprawling urban area with beautiful year-round weather consisting of about 10 cities that feel like one big suburb. It sits in a bowl surrounded by mountains and dotted with palm trees. Add in a bunch of tech companies, clogged highways, and houses starting at $1MM, and you’ll have a general idea of the place if you’ve never had the pleasure of visiting.
There are plenty of milestones to pass on the long journey towards the goal of Financial Independence. I see milestone posts on FIRE forums all the time. Having a zero net worth is a big one for many, since it seems nearly everyone starts below zero thanks to the skyrocketing price of a college education.
I have a hard time remembering exactly what my answer to this question was when I was a kid. I’m sure a frequently repeated answer was professional basketball player. When I was young, my dad was a high school basketball coach so we watched and played A LOT of basketball. Unfortunately, my growth spurt stopped at 5’11”, my jump shot never quite developed as much as I’d hoped, and since I’m not quite as quick as Isiah Thomas, the NBA ceased to be an option.