How I Wasted Over $13,000 Refinancing My Mortgage

In 2004, my first mortgage was a 30-year 5/1 ARM at 5.25%. If that information confuses you, don’t worry. I was completely confused too when I signed up for it at 22 years old.

I didn’t care though. After saving up $20,000, I was thrilled to put that money into my first house down payment. I was proud to be a homeowner.

That’s what we’re supposed to do, right? Buy a home so we’re not wasting our money on rent?

Well, homeownership can be a smart move for some, but not the way I did it. I made two mistakes right away with my first home:

  1. Signing up for a mortgage that I didn’t understand
  2. Committing to homeownership costs that I could not afford

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10 Pillars of Financial Independence with Jonathan Mendonsa

Popularized by extreme frugality rock stars like Mr. Money Mustache, the Mad Fientist and Jacob from Early Retirement Extreme, the Financial Independence or FIRE community has grown in popularity over the past 5-10 years.

This is a subset of the personal finance world that encourages earning a solid income early in your life, saving a boat load of cash and retiring earlier than most of your peers.

For a frugal guy like me, this concept makes a ton of sense. Work hard, save and invest early so you can enjoy the majority of your life doing what you love.

But what happens when you’ve retired early? You still need something. You need a purpose or a goal to work toward.

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How to Increase Your Net Worth by $700,000 in 7 Years

One fall night in 2010, my wife Nicole and I were watching the Suze Orman Show. (Yes, I used to DVR it). There was this fun segment where someone would call in and Suze would analyze that person’s financial health and give them a grade. It was called How Am I Doing?

One term that we kept seeing over and over again on this segment was “Net Worth”. Since we were personal finance newbies, we had no idea what this meant. Nicole and I were making a combined six-figure income together so we figured our net worth must be HUGE.

After the show was over, we decided to see how rich we really were. There was no doubt in our mind that we’d be better off than most of the jokers that call in to the show and get an “F” grade from Suze!

via GIPHY

We walked upstairs and started to write down all of our numbers on a big white board. By separating our “assets” (what we owned) and our liabilities (what we owed) into two big columns, we started to discover that we weren’t rich.

We were kinda broke.

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How to Build Your Credit Without a Credit Card

Without the right discipline, credit cards can cripple our ability to build our cash savings, our retirement savings and our overall wealth. It’s so easy to swipe that little piece of plastic without even thinking twice about how much money we actually have in our checking account.

My guest today, Whitney Hansen, has developed a business that helps people battle the temptations of the all-powerful credit card. After becoming completely debt free early in her life, she now supports others in doing the same.  For most people, that journey to debt freedom starts with their relationship with credit.

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How to Get Your 5-Year Old to Help Around the House

On a recent Friday evening, I came home from a long day of work and to my surprise I saw my 5-year old daughter Zoey vacuuming our kitchen. I asked my wife what our little one was up to, but she was just as perplexed as I was. We’d been working with Zoey to do her chores every Saturday morning for the past year, but she’s never taken the initiative to do them on her own.

After Zoey finished vacuuming, she asked my wife and I to leave the kitchen while she put away the silverware. She told us that she wanted it to be a surprise.

We let this cleaning frenzy go on for another 15 minutes before we stopped her and asked, “Why are you doing your chores today, Zoey?”

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Is Debt Freedom Impossible in a High Cost of Living Area?

This week’s question comes from Michelle in response to an article I wrote about paying off our mortgage early:


MICHELLE:

Hi Andy,

I find myself in a unique position.  I understand the steps you’ve outlined in your mortgage pay off article. I’ve read a few books on that process by Dave Ramsey.  

What advice would you give to someone who lives in a very high cost area?  

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