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TJ

Investing Taxes Travel

I Distributed My First DAF Grant!

by on February 20, 2017

My DAF is Up 3.75%!

While trying to plan my road trip itinerary, I stumbled upon the Little Hollywood Movie Museum in Kanab, Utah. I’ll only be spending 1 night in Kanab during my road trip, but I absolutely love what these guys are doing. The Little Hollywood Movie Museum has restored and maintained some movie sets from back in the old days when westerns were filmed in this part of Utah. The price of entry to tour these sets is the absolute best price you could ask for, FREE. If you won’t be in Kanab, Utah any time soon, you can check out the embedded video above.

Money Taxes

The Bank Account Bonus That I Won’t Be Churning.

by on January 30, 2017
Money

The Bank Account Bonus From Hell.

I’ve opened a lot of new bank accounts for bonuses. My mom has never been to shy to share her opinion that it’s not ethical to open a bank account, collect the bonus, and close the account.  This is an area where my mom has a different opinion on ethics than I do.

Going from memory, which is not very good, I’ve opened the following personal bank accounts for bonuses:

Chase Bank – 5 or 6 times.

US Bank – twice

Bank Of America – twice

Citibank – twice

Discover Checking – once

First Tennessee Bank – once

TIAA Direct – once

Something happened in 2016 though. This blog. I already had a sole-proprietor Chase business credit card that I opened a few years ago, and I received a coupon in the mail to collect $200 for a new business checking account. I went into the branch. Business banker was pretty cool. I shared that my business currently has $0 in assets and $0 in revenue. I doubt he cares. He probably gets paid per new account opened. All I need is an internet connection to operate my business. I don’t think you can argue that i’m not trying to make a profit. There are affiliate links. There’s the professional logo I paid for. I even paid for a blog coaching session. Hell, I’m going to a financial bloggers conference. Even if I never make a profit, you can’t say that I didn’t make an attempt at it.

So yeah. I opened the account with absolutely no issues.  About a month later, I get a phone call from the banker. “Please call me back”. It’s always a vague voice mail, but I guess they aren’t allowed to leave detailed voice mails. Either a corporate rule or a regulated rule. I hate it when people just leave messages to call them back. When a bank calls you and doesn’t tell you why, it would be natural to freak out and assume something is wrong.

Tell me why you are calling, so that I don’t freak out, and so that I can decide if I want to call you back?  I called him back, it turns out that their scanner machine cut off part of my driver’s license so he had to scan my driver’s license again. Thankfully, the branch is literally 1 mile from my job, so I can head over there after work or during lunch. It would be out of my way to drive there in the evening.

I get voice mail again in early January. I call him back, he says I have to fill out some form. Account has been opened for 3 months, but the back office needs another form signed. It turned out I had to disclose if my business is involved with internet gambling. Unfortunately, the banker didn’t offer an appointment time and just told me to come by in the next couple of days. When I went, I saw him talking to another banker and he said he would be right with me. I waited 30 minutes in the lobby.

And then I left. I was pissed.  He started calling and leaving messages again, I contacted Chase Online Banking and I’m like WTF is wrong with this banker, he made me wait 30 minutes to sign a form. Can’t I sign this stupid thing electronically?”. I was admittedly a bit of a jerk and hopefully he didn’t get in any trouble.

I got a call from the branch manager the next day that this is not indicative of their behavior and that he talked to the banker and explained that even if you are with a client and you have someone who needs to fill out a form that takes 30 seconds, you should take care of that . Waiting 30 minutes in the lobby to sign a form that takes 30 seconds is absolutely unacceptable.” So I went into the branch and I signed the form. Of course, I was rushing my signature of said form and I checked the box that declared that I *AM* involved with internet gambling. Whoops.

I’m like “can I just cross it out, initial it and check the right box?” The branch manager was like, “Yeah, that should be fine.” Literally the minute I get back to the office from lunch, I get a voice mail from the branch manager that it was not fine and I need to re-sign the form. Karma right? I go in after work, I sign the form correctly. The branch manager wants me to wait in his office while he scans it. Of course, 20 minutes later, ALL of his scanners are broken. He has to call IT and will scan it later. “It sounds like you are just having bad luck”. Maybe the worst luck of all is that my business continues to not produce revenue? Haha.

Bottom line, I received incredible customer service from Chase Bank, the banker apologized, the branch manager gave me his business card, and they did all this for a client who has a history of rinsing and repeating the personal checking accounts for the bonuses, a history of signing up for credit cards for the bonuses and cancelling them before the annual fee is due. I know they know these things because when I’ve opened new personal accounts, bankers have commented about my past accounts. I’d guess that between credit cards and bank accounts, I’ve collected between $4,000 and $5,000 from Chase over the past seven years. And I didn’t even get in on the Sapphire Reserve. I definitely don’t spend enough for Chase to make it up on the interchange fees on my credit card transactions.

The branch doesn’t care, they get use to me to reach a quota in new accounts or whatever. And I’m sure that they also know that I will most likely be closing the business account after I fulfill the terms of the contract of leaving it open for six months. Keeping $1,500 in a checking account to waive the fees is a poor use of my capital. They have to know all these things and they still go out of their way to give me unbelievable customer service. That’s why Chase is a multi billion dollar corporation. They do a lot of things right. I’ve been with them off and on since around the time they acquired Washington Mutual and I’ve never had a problem until this most recent frustration that I absolutely overreacted to.

The irony is that Chase WAS my primary bank before I opted for Alliant Credit Union with their better interest rate and faster ACH speeds. Chase has a really good bill pay system. Chase Quick Pay was also fantastic in easily receiving funds from an old landlord. If you want the convenience of a mega bank, I would have no hesitations in recommending Chase every single time.

Why close it if I’m not closing the business? Doesn’t the business need it’s own account? I can easily enough keep track of business transactions in one of my personal checking accounts that I don’t use. The TIAA Direct account that I recently opened conveniently has no minimum balance to avoid a monthly fee. My business is not at present time a separate legal entity. My business can use a “personal” checking account. As long as I don’t commingle funds, it serves the purposes of being easier for me to keep track of.

I would highly recommend anyone with a side hustle monitoring your business transactions in a separate bank account for your own sanity of your bookkeeping and tax management. Were all these back and forth trips to Chase Bank worth the extra $200? I don’t know, but it definitely made for a fun confessional blog post!

 

 

Life Mindfulness Retirement

When The Routine Dies, Create a New One.

by on January 23, 2017
Dark Road

I Lost My Routine and I Don’t Like it.

A few months ago, I started waking up earlier to cook my own breakfasts. I told myself no internet and no social media before work. If I wasted time on the interwebs and started to run so late that I could not cook breakfast, then I’d be needlessly spending money on breakfast out. Breakfast out is generally $5-ish, but breakfast in costs me less than a dollar.  I’d spend my 8 hours at work and then I’d come home.

I would have 2 hours or so to have a snack and play on the internet, then I’d go work out for an hour, I’d come home and cook myself dinner. Occasionally I’d treat myself for dinner out. Regardless of whether I ate out or in, by the time I was done eating, it was almost 8pm at night. I’d only have a couple hours to either write blog posts, read blog posts, or do whatever else I happen to do on the internet before I go to bed. That was a nice routine.

Then Christmas happened. I started eating more cookies and chocolates. If the cookies and chocolate is okay, then the pizza is okay. Right? If the pizza is okay, then pancakes and bacon for breakfast is okay. Right? Then I had some physical pain that prevented me from working out. I got pretty sedentary.  Since then, on occasion, I’ve gone to the apartment gym. And I noticed something.

I’ve put a lot less effort into my workouts when I don’t have the instructor telling me what to do. I’ve asked around and my sister and dad are the exact same way. Do I care about the $130 that I saved by not going to fitness boot camp in the month of January? Not really. Needless to say, I will be starting up fitness boot camp again in February. At least the month of February will have some more sanity to it. If it stops raining.

Here’s the thing though. When my routine basically disappeared into the abyss, I not only stopped cooking and eating healthy, I started to have a lot more down time. I come home at roughly 4 pm. I have an entire six hours to eat and do whatever else I’m going to do before I go to sleep. You would think with all this extra free time that I would be more productive, but I’ve actually been less productive. I mean, my frequency of cooking was much less despite all the extra time. I’ve noticed that when I have less free time, I actually use the free time more efficiently. Funny how that works.

This is why the concept of an extremely early retirement is slightly worrisome. If my net worth was 10x bigger than it is today, what motivation would I have not to spend all of my waking hours chilling on the internet or in front of the TV if that’s what I do with my free time today? It certainly wouldn’t be to support charity because if my net worth was 10x bigger than it is today, I could be super duper charitable and still never worry about running out of money because my lifestyle costs just aren’t that high.

Is Travel Just a Deflection?

In the past, I’ve convinced myself that the answer to the lazy question is “Well, this is just a contained 6 hours (or a contained weekend), if I have several months straight without any job obligations, I’ll be able to travel and take advantage of last minute discounts on a whim.” OK. That sounds great. But what about those days where there aren’t last minute travel discounts? Do I just sit around being lazy and wait for the next travel opportunity? I’ve always had work as the “something productive” to pass that time in between travel adventures.

And what happens after I get burned out on travel? The answer to that question is one I absolutely need to find a solid answer to. Because if I can’t answer that question, I’m going to be a pretty unhappy person after the travel is over. The exception might be if I can make my next career be travel-focused. Maybe that’s the answer. To get paid to perform a task that I enjoy while traveling very well could be the solution. I’ve been pondering about the purser department on the cruise ships.

Yeah, you have to work 7 days a week, but you get 2 months off in between the 4-6 months contracts. Purser department involves my passion (and volunteer HOA experience) of managing money and dealing with financial transactions with my actual work experience of extensive customer service etc. I’d also get to meet a ton of travelers from all over the world. My lifestyle expenses would be almost zero. If you love to travel and have debt to pay off, and don’t mind being away from home for extended period of times, definitely don’t rule out a cruise ship career. Plus, after you have a cruise ship career (say, 4-5 years or more), you are super marketable to work in resorts, hotels, etc. Who has better work ethic than the folks who are willing to work 7 days a week for more than 8 hours a day?

I guess my problem with pursuing early retirement or whatever you want to call it has been my life mantra of working hard now so that I don’t have to work hard later. If I get the homework done in the class room, then I can relax and do whatever I want to do when I get home after class. I never understood why people would procrastinate because it seemed so counter-intuitive. I was always the anti-procastinator. That works in school. Does that work in real life though? When you extrapolate that “get all the work done early” mentality from a single day of homework and onto a lifetime of actual life, is abundant relaxation time the ultimate life goal for the remaining many decades of living of one’s life? It’s probably not. At least not for me.  

 I Picked the Safe Route….and I Was Wrong.

A few years ago, a friend of mine convinced me that maybe it was not such a bad idea for me to stick with the family business. I convinced myself that I would be able to boost my portfolio, and would put myself at a level where I’d feel financially comfortable to try something different. And I did . That’s all well and good. At the end of the day, I chose fiscal responsibility and financial safety over a fear of the unknown. I think her advice was absolutely spot on. Just maybe it was not the right advice for me and my circumstances.

Because the reality is that the equity in my condo alone would have been more than enough to allow me to start a new life somewhere and try different things.  Do I regret the past 3 years of my life? Of course not. I love all of the additional job skills that I’ve gained from spending another three years at my current employer. Obviously, I’m glad that I have a bigger pile of money at my disposal today vs. what I would have had 3 years ago.

That buys me so many more options in life going forward. Such as the aforementioned potential travel career. I would never say that’s a bad thing. But, I could have taken the less safe route three years ago. If I did, maybe I could already be living the life that I don’t want to retire from? That sounds a lot more exciting than not having a clue what my ideal life actually looks like.

A few weeks ago, I commented on some blogs that my 2017 goal was to think less about money. I think I have a new goal though. And it’s rather simple: To create a new routine that i’m excited about living every day. It might include a traditional job, but it might not.  I have full confidence in my abilities to develop a new routine with a fresh start somewhere. We shall see what happens!

Blog Stats

The Rockstar Finance Effect

by on January 20, 2017
Money

That time I was on Rockstar Finance!

So, I wake up Thursday morning to a few comment notification emails on a post that I wrote a week and a half ago. I don’t typically get new comments more than a few days after a post was published. I went about my morning, took a shower and didn’t think anything of it. When i got out of the shower, I finally looked on Twitter and this is what I saw:

Rockstar Finance Tweet

 

Well. I can say that this was not at all the way I expected to start my Thursday morning. Absolutely no time was wasted to add the badge to my sidebar. I was so excited that I ended up running a bit late to work and picked up a couple of Middle Eastern donuts from the halal grocery store. (You can get a cinnamon roll there for 50 cents…but they were all out, hence middle eastern donuts. What’s a middle eastern donut? Well, it’s called sweet bread and the pastry I had had some sort of dry chocolate flavoring rather than typical icing.)

I have to say that I’m feeling pretty good about my decision to use SiteGround to host my blog, because if I was on the commonly recommended colored host, I’m pretty sure I would have experienced down time at the worst possible time on my blog. It’s now Friday morning, and to my knowledge,  my site never went down. And if you want to know what the Rockstar effect looks like on your traffic? It’s almost a quarter of my all time page views as calculated by JetPack as of 7 pm pacific on 1/19. The final number for the day ended up being 2190 in Jetpack. For whatever reason, my Google Analytics statistics on my all time pageviews are much higher. (and my pageviews for yesterday are slightly higher on Google as well)

Rockstar Effect

Since I’m still not totally public (as private as one can be blogging under their name!), I shared this unexpected milestone in the Camp Mustache facebook group. I figured some folks there might appreciate this accomplishment. JD Roth liked it. That’s pretty damn cool.

RockStar Facebook

 

As I mentioned in the Facebook status directly above, it’s absolutely surreal to me that people are actually reading what I have to say. I’m blown away that Jay or Cait would find one of my posts rockstar worthy.  I didn’t have any idea that my blog was on the radar for either of them. I’ve been reading J$ since almost the very beginning. I joked about starting a personal finance blog way back in 2009 / 2010-ish. It took me a whopping seven years to actually get started on one. I was always a bit concerned that writing under my name would draw unwanted attention, but I can’t say I’ve actually received any of that. And talking to Pete at Camp Mustache, the percentage of the population reading this stuff, even a massively popular blog like his, is just super tiny.

I never thought that anyone would be interested in my stubborn opinions on personal finance (or anything else). Of course, my stubborn opinions today are very different than my stubborn opinions from seven years ago. Anyways, I’ve amazed at the friendships that I’ve developed through the short time that I’ve had this blog. I had great skype conversations with two wonderful friends.  I’ve had offers to catch up with people during my travels. it’s truly unbelievable.

I definitely think anyone who is passionate about personal finance absolutely should start a blog. If you don’t put yourself out there, you won’t allow yourself to develop the amazing friendships that are formed.

 

 

Life Travel

The Camp Mustache Experience

by on January 17, 2017
Dirt Trail

I Survived Camp Mustache!

This past weekend was a new experience. The closest parallel I can come up with is when I went to Bloggers in Sin City back in May 2011 and May 2012. The biggest difference there is that it was short flight to Las Vegas from here. This past weekend, I had to connect through Charlotte on the way over and Atlanta on the way back. I’ve never had to do a domestic connection before. I was reminded that I don’t particularly like air travel. Sitting in airports. Sitting in planes. I’ve always preferred longer vacations to maximize the time investment of the flights. The upcoming travel by automobile will have a much larger time cost for sure, but at least I don’t have to sit on a giant tube of metal or wait in a crowded place with overpriced meals for one.

Things I Would Do Differently.

I definitely cheaped out by taking a red eye on Thursday night. This was because I didn’t want to take a 3rd day off from work and I didn’t want to pay for a hotel. Might as well sleep on the plane. I didn’t get any sleep on the plane. I can afford these things. My decision to stretch my dollar absolutely effected my enjoyment of the camp. And that’s unfortunate. I went to bed pretty early 2 of the 3 nights because I was exhausted and I definitely missed out on some conversations and perhaps friendships. That’s unfortunate and I hope readers can learn from that example and not make the same mistake. I misjudged the affect a cross country red eye would have on me.

 Highlights

People were so unbelievably nice. It was pretty cool to have actual conversations with Mr. Money Mustache, Joshua Sheets and JD Roth. I even did a quick interview with Joshua for Radical Personal Finance about my real estate story and the upcoming road trip. We shall see when/if that get’s published. When you’re sitting in the hot seat and you’re not sure which questions are going to be thrown your away, it’s so easy to mis-remember some of the facts and make little mistakes.

I didn’t mis-remember anything too egregious, but still. Here I with my voice on a podcast rattling on information that I recalled at the time that wasn’t entirely correct. The perfectionist in me wishes it was perfect. But…c’est la vie. A lot of the blog posts that you see here tend to go through several iterations before I actually click publish. It’s obviously not like that when you’re speaking in real time on a mic.

Get Rich Slowly was one of the first personal finance blogs I was exposed to. That would have been towards the end of college/ early stages of my working career. JD gave us a fantastic presentation with some exercises to help us create a mission statement for our life. That whole purpose thing has always been a bit of a struggle for me. That 15 minute exercise definitely affirmed that I still have a long way to go. Hopefully, in between all of the new places I explore in the coming months, I will make some progress in creating a mission statement for my own life. I also learned so much from Keith, our resident tax expert, just by keeping my ears open to the various conversations. Hooray for mustachian boating.

Camp Mustache Canoes

Unexpected Surprises

I was pleasantly surprised at how valuable some of the sessions were. In my opinion, some of the real estate financing advice was a bit dangerous and ethically questionable, but other than that there was a lot of solid information and I learned a lot of new things. I really had no idea what to expect at a Camp Mustache. There was less money talk than you might expect, but it was definitely amusing to hear real life arguments over the merits of an emergency fund.

Then there was Lauren, my new financially independent introverted physician friend. When she told me her dividends were double her expenses, I got a bit jealous. The first night we talked a lot. Probably because we felt super comfortable with our co-introversion and were exhausted from having the same introductory conversation roughly 30-40 times.

I even had people offer up their guest room for me or offer to show me around their city. The likes of Chicago and Florida weren’t originally intended to be on my road trip route. Yet it would be fun to reconnect with such fun friendly people. Especially since there are already other bloggers I haven’t met yet who I would love to meet. Sometimes the friendships are more important than the geography. But at the same time, I feel like the geography can make it tough to maintain the friendship. As evidenced by the fact that I probably met 75-100 cool bloggers at Bloggers In Sin City across the two years, but I maintain regular contact with less than 5.

The food was not overly healthy but I can’t complain. I even tried stuffed peppers for the first time.

Would I go to a Future Camp Mustache?

I can see myself attending for any of the following three reasons: It’s local to me, I want to meet someone who is going, or maybe if it’s in a locale that I haven’t been to before. So, I probably would not go to the Southeast version again unless I happened to be living in or visiting the Southeast at the time.  I felt like there might have been bit much self promotion from some people, but the majority of people were not annoying about it. I didn’t even mention that I had a blog or that I was soon to be going nomadic to the group at large because the purpose of my attendance for this event was not to promote myself but rather to get to know like-minded people.

Plus, California has been cold and rainy. The weather was beautiful in Florida.  There was no humidity, or at least I didn’t notice it.  Had a great time out on the water and on the trails. There was even some kickball and basketball games going on. I passed on the archery. Note to all: when people tell you to pack hiking shoes for Florida, you probably aren’t going to actually need them. Never took my hiking shoes out of my backpack, my regular running shoes were just fine.

 

Canoeing

 

 

Investing Money Retirement

Invest Even When You’re Not Sure What to Invest In.

by on January 9, 2017
Money

So, what feels like forever ago now, I contributed to Maggie’s ROTH IRA Challenge where I dug up some super old W2’s and did some nerdy analysis on how my finances might have turned out differently if I contributed to a Roth IRA going back to my pizza delivery days. I was painfully ill when the post was published and didn’t really do a good job of promoting my guest appearance at the best Alaskan personal finance blog on the internet. I felt horrible.

To complement that post, I was also able to locate all of my my year-end records for my actual Roth IRA contributions from the very beginning until now, and this post is to show you that even though I didn’t start as early as possible, I still have done fine. I messed around and tried different things. You don’t need to be some sort of investing guru nor do you need to hire one. I did so many things that I would tell all of you not to do.  It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s all a part of the learning process.

As you’ll see below, I fiddled around with funds. I also fiddled around with strategies. And, while it doesn’t show you the whole picture of my finances, it literally shows you how I started with nothing in an IRA on January 1,2010 and as of December 31, 2016 I’m well over $60k. There were no mega backdoors or 401k conversions or any other sneaky business to juice this number, I just maxed out my IRA every year starting with the first year of my first professional job. Because that’s what all the financial gurus on the internet were telling me I was supposed to do.

Life Money Taxes

The $17,000 Christmas Present.

by on December 19, 2016
Money

 I opened a Donor Advised Fund at Fidelity Charitable!

If you’ve been paying attention, I’ve been going back and forth on whether I should put $5k in a DAF.  For a few days, I even convinced myself that I was NOT going to put $5k in a DAF. I don’t want to take $5k out of my savings account for the road trip when I have $7k in payroll deductions going to an HSA in the next 2 months and of course $5.5k going into a 2017 IRA as I always do in January. That’s basically my entire salary through the end of January.

Money Real Estate Retirement

Consider a Co-Op in Early Retirement

by on December 12, 2016
Condo Photo

Hello friends,

I’ve recently learned of a housing option that makes “early retirement” sound a lot more feasible for me as a young single dude. One of the biggest variables an early retiree will face without a robust portfolio is the inflationary rise in rent. One solution is to purchase real estate or take on a fixed rate mortgage, but then that potentially eats into a portion of your portfolio. Some are willing to just move somewhere cheaper when the inevitable rise in rent happens, but what if, like me, one of your goals of early retirement is to immerse yourself more in your community? It’s hard to do that if you have to start over every couple years.

Investing Money Real Estate

When $6,000 Turns Into $111,000 In Five Years.

by on December 5, 2016
Condo Photo

 The Backstory

I’ve struggled with the right way to tell this story. I’ve attempted to write about my privilege in the past, but I’ve never been overly happy with the posts. A lot of people, especially my own family, tend to tell me that I’m “good with money”.  I feel like part of that is because my idea of a super fun Friday night is reading about money on the internet. The thing is, I didn’t start out as a “money expert”. I think that writing directly with some actual numbers is just the best way to do this. The big numbers here are public record. Therefore, I don’t see a reason to try to keep it a secret.

In 2010, I bought a 2 bedroom condo in Southern California. It was less than 5 miles from where my job was.  I bought a condo not because I was some investment wizard, but because my dad scribbled on some paper and showed me the comparison of costs of me paying rent vs. me paying monthly expenses of a mortgaged condo after tax deductions. Thanks dad! In other words, he was probably just gently telling me that it was time to move out.

When I started looking at real estate, I did not have any retirement accounts. There were no taxable brokerage accounts. I had somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000 in an ING Direct Orange Savings Account. It might have even still been paying over 2% around that time.

I Didn’t Know A Lick About Investing.

My obliviousness to investing during my college years (2004-2009, ages 19-24) shielded my life savings from one of the more massive drops in U.S. equities during my life time. You could say that was the very beginning of a long road of “good financial luck” as I began the process of distancing myself from being fully financially dependent on my parents to where I am today, talking about taking an extended break from work.

That’s huge. How did I get there? Mostly because of real estate and debt.

I’m sure that my dad might have believed that it was a “good time to buy” relative to what the local real estate market had looked like in the years prior. Looking back, I  certainly recognize that it absolutely was. But I had no idea about any of that at the time. I wasn’t counting on real estate appreciation when I made my real estate investment. What I did understand was that by having a cheap mortgage instead of rent, I would have more cash flow to blow on pizza and chicken wings.  So I bought a condo. And potentially a lot more pizza vs. if I were a renter.

§121(b)(4)

When I got tired of living there, I rented it out for a couple years. I could have sold it right away, but I didn’t go that route. It actually went up in value some more. This article from San Jose State University  has a great explanation of Internal Revenue Code §121(b)(4), the tax code exception which allowed me to rent out my condo for a couple years and still keep all of the capital gains tax free. I actually didn’t know about that part of the exception until I did research to file my 2015 taxes, so that was pretty exciting. I thought I had to split the gain between 60% personal use and 40% rental use, and I wanted to sell before it was 100% rental. At that time, I totally thought that renting it out (and making the gain partially taxable) was going to end up being one of those financial blunders I quietly ignore on this blog. Instead, it was yet another turn of random good luck in my personal financial life. Ha.

Money Travel

Have You Considered #VanLife? Info From Actual Van Lifers

by on November 30, 2016
How Much Does Van Life Cost?

How Much Does #VanLife Cost?

if you’re pursuing any sort of extensive road trip, you’ll notice that there’s sort of a shortage of financial particulars.  I did the logical thing. I asked my friends. I even asked one of my mother’s friends. True story, my mother sings in a choir with a woman my age who pursued van life. Since I know I’m not the only one who has considered the possibility of van life, i’m going to share the wealth of knowledge that was shared with me with people who are actually doing van life. Most of these people do not have a van life blog, so they aren’t trying to convince you to consider van life and click their affiliate links and fund their lifestyle. They’re just living the dream. Do I sell my car and go full out for #vanlife ? Do I go for a test run with a 3 month van rental in “low season” to go up and down the Pacific Coast ? (The cost would be about $1k per month for a 3 to 6 month rental – in case you were curious.)

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