The Latest From My Blog

  • Sample Spreadsheet for Five Benefits of Tracking Your Expenses

Five Benefits from Tracking Your Expenses

Can you believe? There could actually be benefits from tracking your expenses! Crazy, right? Who would think there could be any value or gain from writing down every penny of your spending over the course of month let alone a year or longer. Many people see and feel it as pain, agony, and torture. That there are so many other more enjoyable things with [...]

  • Smiley Face with thumbs up. What's the "Ideal" Income for Peak Happiness?

$95,000 of Happiness: What’s the “Ideal” Income for Peak Happiness?

It's time to re-write the scripts and get an updated view on what's the "ideal" income for peak happiness! It's about time, right? Obviously, cocktail parties will never be the same if we are throwing around old numbers. Over the last decade that happiness income number has always been quoted at around $70,000 to $75,000. The basis for that was a 2010 study by [...]

  • What's your retirement path? Fire burning in a snow covered area.

What’s your retirement path? Playing with FIRE and ICE

Is it dangerous to play with FIRE and ICE for retirement? If so, what's your retirement path? I read a thought provoking article the other day titled "Retire Early? Work Forever? Both Are Wildly Unrealistic" by Sarah Green Carmichael. The article touches on the recent concept of FIRE (financial independence, retire early) and the other end of the spectrum with people who plan to [...]

  • Money and Marriage: Four Healthy Steps

Money and Couples: 4 Steps to a Healthier Relationship with Money

Money is definitely a theme in the music world just as it is in the world of relationships. That's probably because money is a big driver of emotions and decisions in relationships. It's rich territory for writing songs that people can connect with from their own experiences and lives.  In fact, bands have produced songs on a wide range of reflections, realizations, and advice [...]

  • Southeast Asia extended travel

The Road Today Travel Series: Southeast Asia Extended Travel

The first travel adventure article in the The Road Today Travel Series! I introduced the travel series a couple of months and you can click here to read about the background and context in that post. Basically, I highlight four foundations that are important to making travel happen - desire, health, money, and time. When those are in place, there's literally a world of [...]

  • Gardening and Your Financial Life

Gardening and Your Financial Life

It's spring! The days are getting longer, the sun is getting stronger, and the temperatures are rising. That means it will soon be time to put in my vegetable garden. I'm sure you are asking what the heck is the connection between gardening and your financial life. Let's take a look at how the two blend together! The Gardening Life I grew up in [...]

  • Prioritize Your Spending

Prioritize Your Spending: What’s your “Want to” to “Have to” Ratio?

How to you prioritize your spending? Do you spend your money on what you want to like moments and experiences, fulfillment, enjoyment, and social connection? OR what you have to like the big mortgage, keeping up the fancy house, the shiny car, and keeping up with the Jones? That's an important question to understand and consider. Why? Because it makes a big difference in how [...]

  • make budgeting simple

Make Budgeting Simple: Shackles or Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness?

Is there a way to make budgeting simple? Let's face it the idea of budgeting sends shivers up the spine of most people. Some people would prefer to have their fingernails torn off versus the joyless process of setting up a household budget. Ditto actually tracking everything over time. And yet again ditto to having to take that painful end of the month/quarter/year look at [...]

  • Living costs after divorce. Couple fighting over money

The Economics of Divorce: Will My Living Costs Go Way down After Divorce?

I divorced long ago and wondered at the time "will my living costs go way down after divorce?"  As too many people are aware, divorce is hard at many levels beyond the economics of divorce. For example, ending a marriage relationship, the stress of the divorce process itself, impacts on kids, social stigma, who gets the friends, dividing household contents, new daily logistics, etc.....and "shut [...]

  • The Importance of Investing Now - The Rule of 72 and Power of Compounding

Financial Wizardry: The Rule of 72 and Why Invest Now

Whoever said math isn't fun! The Rule of 72 is one of the better handy "hack" calculations that you can actually remember and put to good use for your financial well being. My kids will roll their eyes remembering me talking too many times to them about the power of the Rule of 72 and the importance of investing now for their financial futures. Hopefully, [...]

  • Mind the Gap sign in the London Underground - a metaphor for making sure you pay attention to your expenses and create household profits.

Mind the Gap: “Unseen” Expenses and Household Profits

A while back I wrote about Running Your Household Finances as a Small Business. In the post I discuss the goal of a household like a business is to have revenues greater than expenses in order to generate a profit aka "the Gap". Ever since writing that I keep hearing Mind the Gap (audio) in my head and the concept deserves further unpacking. Besides being [...]

  • Plane at airport: The Road Today Travel Series

Introduction: The Road Today Travel Series

This past fall I was having a hairball. As background, I've had a big travel bug this year, which I have pushed forward with an extended trip to Southeast Asia, a couple of long weekend trips to visit family on the other side of the country, and a two week road trip across the northern states of the US. Here's the fact. My hairball was [...]

  • Building an emergency fund one step at a time. Piggy bank with coins around it.

Living Paycheck to Paycheck: How About Building an Emergency Fund?

What's the alternative to building an emergency fund? I was listening to the news the other day when a story about many Americans living paycheck to paycheck totally captured my attention. The news piece was commenting on the impacts of the government shutdown on federal employees. It referenced a Federal Reserve study called the "Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2017 " [...]

  • View of big house raises question why house size matters

Why House Size Matters and Stuffing Your House

Why does house size matter? Bigger is better, right? Apparently so because in the last 45 years the average new single family home in the United States is 1000 square feet bigger! Another way to look at that is the average square foot of house per person has gone from 551 square feet to 1058 square feet - nearly doubling! Two reasons: bigger homes and [...]

  • Couple holding hands with baby shoes. Analogy is running your household as a small business is worth the effort.

Running Your Household Finances as a Small Business

I bumped into this idea a few months ago when I was negotiating with a contractor on some work that was performed at my house that had some bumps and issues in the process. As I was imaging our negotiations beforehand, I was ready for his statement along the lines of "but we are a small business" to justify his services. I certainly have respect [...]

  • Classic car in pristine condition on show. Analogy - Comparison to others leads to negative self talk

Comparison to Others: Drives Negative Self Talk into Overdrive

Let's get real on comparing our financial life to others and the resulting negative self talk. "Look at that. Look at them go. Wow, they are doing so well. Everything always goes right for them. How did they do it? Geez. I could never do that. I'm so far behind. They just got lucky. I'm not good enough. I'll never make it. I don't deserve [...]

  • Food market with vendors selling fruits, vegetables, and more. Analogy - having fun with intentions for good food and financial well being.

Financial Intentions: Can Packing Your Lunch Become a Pot of Gold?

I enjoy food and good eating. I like to cook a wide variety of good and tasty meals. Ethnic food is definitely a treat to me with all the variety of spice flavors and food combinations. It's a never ending smorgasbord of food tasting opportunity. It's also important to share meals together with family and friends. Sitting down together offers great conversations, better connection, [...]

  • Dirt road heading to a beautiful rock outcropping in an open landscape. Analogy of your financial practices journey.

Financial Practices: What’s in It for You the Reader?

I've been a reader of financial blogs for a number of years and have learned much from these blogs. I've been able to incorporate bits and pieces from various sites over the years which have been instrumental in my building deeper financial practices. Overall I'm grateful and appreciative of these insights shared by many gifted people. Nonetheless I find myself wanting something a little more, [...]

  • Vista over the Grand Canyon expanse. Analogy for seeing your complete financial life.

The Road Today: Daily Financial Practices and Financial Independence

Life is interesting with all of its twists and turns. Sometimes we plow forward in  life with our head down, then sit up one day only to notice that we are not exactly or even remotely close to where we expected to be in areas like careers, marriages, relationships, health, financial practices, and wealth. It reminds me of the lyrics in the Talking Heads [...]

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About Doug…

I’ve been on many great adventures as well as a few twists and turns in my years including many financial highlights and lowlights: Married. Two kids. Divorced and sold house in 2010 at bottom of real estate market. Downsized twice by big corporations. Experienced the DotCom Crash and the Great Recession. Started a business, walked away with $100,000 less. Paid 90%+ of my kids’ college. Now an empty nester and Airbnb host in Denver.

Through it all, my daily financial practices have helped me survive the big mistakes and achieve meaningful accomplishments, while continuing on a path to financial independence. Imperfect. Yes…and that’s why I’m journeying on the Road Today toward financial self mastery.