My Guest Post on the Your Money or Your Life Blog

I was honored and delighted to be invited by Vicki Robin, co-author of the seminal and paradigm shifting book Your Money or Your Life (YMOYL), to submit the first guest post on her new blog.  YMOYL is one of the books most frequently referenced in the FIRE (financial independence/retire early) realm. It certainly had a strong impact on my life when I read it almost ten years ago.

Happy Reading….


Social Capital – an overlooked lever on the path to FIRE

Many of us pursuing financial independence and desiring to retire early are constantly checking spreadsheets, prowling the internet for more life hacks and optimization strategies, and sidehustling our way to greater savings. One thing I don’t hear discussed much in the FI world is the concept of social capital and what a tremendous lever it can be on our path to financial independence. It became clear to me this weekend when I made a presentation to my local ChooseFI group on the topic of building social capital how few people in the room were familiar with this terminology and line of thinking. Continue reading “Social Capital – an overlooked lever on the path to FIRE”

The Problem is the Solution – Waste Stream Diversion Part III

Fear sells so the media and advertisers inundate us with messages of scarcity. Having peered into many dumpsters and watched numerous documentaries on the subject of waste it seems to me that the real issue, which gets far less attention, is poor distribution and reuse of the abundance that surrounds us. Our current version of capitalism as well as the limiting beliefs under which many of us operate discourage the re-directing of so many still usable items from food to furniture to essentially everything that gets thrown out. Continue reading “The Problem is the Solution – Waste Stream Diversion Part III”

Sustainable Side Hustles – Waste Stream Diversion Part II

So much of what ends up in the trash may not be needed by the person throwing it away, but could easily be put to use by somebody else. Unfortunately, capitalism often makes it more economically viable for businesses and people to throw things away than to re-direct them to people and businesses that could use them. My rationale for dumpster diving melds my environmental concern with the obvious economic benefit of obtaining much of the food I eat, the clothes I wear, and many other items for free. In fact, I find so many still usable items of value in the trash that I am able to generate a couple thousand dollars every year selling this “waste.” Continue reading “Sustainable Side Hustles – Waste Stream Diversion Part II”

From Diplomat to Dumpster Diver – Waste Stream Diversion Part I

Okay, so the title is technically accurate, but I primarily used it for its alliteration and click-bait potential. For two and a half years I carried an official diplomatic passport issued by the U.S. government when I represented my country at an embassy overseas during my stint as a Fascell Fellow with the State Department. After that, I moved to Washington, DC., where I lived for eleven years. It was during this time that I first heard about and went dumpster diving. Continue reading “From Diplomat to Dumpster Diver – Waste Stream Diversion Part I”

(Slow) Food Launches a Triple Bottom Line FI Investing Journey

I will always be grateful to the friend, who introduced me to Slow Food. (She also opened my eyes to Jack Kerouac, radio in Phili, and so many other cool things.) My involvement with this international movement prompted me to start gardening in earnest and evenetually led to me volunteering at the amazing, mind-blowing, waist-enlarging bi-annual event that is Terra Madre held in Turin, Italy. Imagine spending a long weekend in a huge conference facility filled with unique heritage foods and the beautiful people producing these foods from around the world: tasting these delicious foods, discussing the challenges facing these food producers, and building cross-cultural friendships. Continue reading “(Slow) Food Launches a Triple Bottom Line FI Investing Journey”

My Triple Bottom Line Path to Financial Independence (FI) So Far…

I was fortunate to grow up with pretty frugal, thrifty, financially responsible influences around me. My parents and grand parents lived well within their means and other than mortgages for homes they lived in and possibly car notes didn’t tend to carry much debt. I realized that I had grown into someone with a strong aversion to debt when I completed 3 years of service as a Peace Corps volunteer plus one post-college year of study at a university overseas and could no longer defer the $13,000 in student loan debt I had accumulated during my days as an undergraduate student. Continue reading “My Triple Bottom Line Path to Financial Independence (FI) So Far…”

Why Not Just Invest in SRI (Socially Responsible Investing) Index Funds and Call It a Day?

According to the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, SRI (socially responsible investing) is an “investment discipline that considers environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) criteria to generate long-term competitive financial returns and positive societal impact. Often SRI offerings avoid companies that derive profit from such things as fossil fuels, firearms, and tobacco.” This is a good start, but those filters, used by most SRI options don’t meet the 3P (people, planet, profit) criteria. For example, as of April 30, 2018 the top ten holdings in Vanguard’s FTSE Social Index Fund Investor Shares (VFTSX) were as follows: Continue reading “Why Not Just Invest in SRI (Socially Responsible Investing) Index Funds and Call It a Day?”

A Roundup of Sustainability in the Online FI Community

Perusing the internet over the past couple years I have encountered a handful of financial independence (FI) bloggers and podcasters who are considering the environmental impact of their lifestyles. I find it heartening to find these posts and podcasts. Through this blog I would like to provide those interested with a forum to take this conversation to the next level beyond what has currently been covered in the FI community. This involves pondering how to reach FI through more environmentally and socially conscious investments, income generation, and actions versus the more traditional methods of index fund and rental property* investing. Continue reading “A Roundup of Sustainability in the Online FI Community”

A Reluctant FI Blogger, But Nobody Else Is Talking About This

Is it possible to achieve financial independence (FI) while pursuing a triple bottom line, which values people, planet, and profit? I sure think so, but it’s not as straight forward as setting up monthly automatic deposits into low-cost broad based stock market index funds or investing in rental properties and later living off the 4% withdrawl rule, which seems to be the mainstream approach to FI currently. I certainly understand the appeal of these simpler approaches and am delighted that these options have made financial independence accessible to so many people. Continue reading “A Reluctant FI Blogger, But Nobody Else Is Talking About This”