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5 Lessons Learned In My Year As a Landlord

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I’ve been intrigued by real estate for years. I first saw it as a way to accelerate my path to early retirement. More recently, I’ve considered the benefits of diversifying out of paper assets due to high stock valuations and low interest rates.

But I’ve never been able to pull the trigger. I’ve been stuck on the sidelines for two reasons.

First and foremost, I hate having debt. You can invest in real estate without debt, but it requires tying up capital with little diversification.

Second, real estate investing seemed labor intensive. I was fearful real estate would become another full-time job.

Last summer, my wife and I found a home with the amenities, location, and price we were seeking for early retirement. The problem was the house was in Utah and we lived in Pennsylvania.

I had commitments to fulfill to finish my job, we needed to sell our home, and we wanted to allow our daughter to finish preschool. So we were a year away from being ready to move across the country.

We decided to buy the house anyway. We rented it out for a year, giving us a chance to dip our toes in the water as landlords. In the process, we learned five valuable lessons that will shape our future decisions related to real estate investing that will help others sitting on the sidelines pondering whether investing in real estate makes sense for them.
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Microadventures Before and After Retirement

Muir Trail Ranch junction

Travel, adventure, seeing and being in new places, is the spice of life for many of us. But there is never enough time. In the working years we mostly have to make do with a few weeks of vacation annually. By the time family obligations and house … [Continue reading]

July 2018 Best of the Web

I hope everyone is getting outside, enjoying the long days, and having a great summer. Next Monday, we'll resume publishing new, original, weekly content. First, it's time for the best articles we've found around the internet in the last month to … [Continue reading]

DIY Investing Resource #4: All About Asset Allocation

The following post was originally published on Eat the Financial Elephant in March 2015, shortly after my wife and I dug out from under our past investing mistakes. It is the fourth of the four most valuable resources that helped us go from feeling … [Continue reading]

DIY Investing Resource #3: The Intelligent Asset Allocator

The following post was originally published on Eat the Financial Elephant in March 2015, shortly after my wife and I dug out from under our past investing mistakes. It is the third of the four most valuable resources that helped us go from feeling … [Continue reading]

DIY Investing Resource #2: The Little Book of Common Sense Investing

The following post was originally published on Eat the Financial Elephant in February 2015, shortly after my wife and I dug out from under our past investing mistakes. I posted it as the second of the four most valuable resources that helped us go … [Continue reading]

DIY Investing Resource #1: JL Collins’ “Stock Series”

The following post was originally published on Eat the Financial Elephant in February 2015, shortly after my wife and I dug out from under our past investing mistakes. I posted it as the first of the four most valuable resources that helped us go … [Continue reading]

June 2018 Best of the Web

Before we dive into this month's best of the web, we need to take care of a little blog business. First, Can I Retire Yet? was featured in several audio formats this past month. I had the chance to sit down with Todd Tresidder for a rare episode … [Continue reading]

5 Reasons You Need A Financial Advisor

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Retire With Abundance

The following is an interview with ESI from ESI Money, a blog about achieving financial independence through earning, saving, and investing (ESI). It’s written by an early 50’s retiree who achieved financial independence, shares what’s worked for … [Continue reading]

Downsizing, 5 Years Later: Any Regrets?

Moving day

Five years ago this month we downsized for early retirement. With a series of yard sales, charity pickups, and gifts to friends, we reduced the volume of our possessions by about one-half. We then carefully staged our 4-bedroom family home where we'd … [Continue reading]

May 2018 — Best of The Web

It's been an exciting month for the blog with exposure to a lot of new readers. Welcome to those of you finding us recently. It's time to share the best items we've found from around the internet in the last month to help you save more, invest … [Continue reading]

The Perfect Storm – Demonstrating Conflicts of Interest With Investment Advice

I began writing about personal finance to create a positive outlet for the anger, regret, and pain I experienced because of investing mistakes I made as a young professional. I became a consumer advocate to help others avoid repeating my … [Continue reading]

The Worst Investment Advice I Ever Heard–Everywhere

My financial story creates an interesting juxtaposition, as I recently shared with Steve Chen on the NewRetirement Podcast. On one hand, my wife and I did many things well with our money. We achieved financial independence quickly, allowing me to … [Continue reading]

My Retirement Income Taxes: 2018

Form 1040 with pen and glasses

A few weeks ago I completed and filed my returns for the 2017 tax year. Once again, without much attention to the matter, I paid very little in taxes. And, once again, despite what many financial professionals will tell you, I didn't find taxes … [Continue reading]

April 2018–Best of the Web

It's time to explore the best articles from around the web to help you save more, invest smarter, and retire sooner. This month we start with articles focused on one of our core principles, keeping your finances simple. We also look at times when … [Continue reading]

Exploring the Pros and Cons of Retiring Before Your Spouse

I recently made the decision to retire early. My wife did not. She continues to work the same number of hours at her same job. Our path enables me to be free of a job I was burnt out on, improves family dynamics, and allows us to live with … [Continue reading]

Deciding to Retire With High Market Valuations And Low Interest Rates

A combination of high stock valuations and low interest rates creates a challenge for investors contemplating where to deploy their capital. This environment is especially scary for those approaching retirement, worried about retiring at the wrong … [Continue reading]

Leaving a Prestigious High-Paying Career in Your Early 40’s

The following is a guest contribution from blogging friend Physician on FIRE, an anesthesiologist transitioning to early retirement. Physician on FIRE focuses on issues facing high earners looking to retire early. His writing combines technical … [Continue reading]

Doing Good Better with Your Money

offering gift

This blog has always focused on saving more, investing smarter, and retiring sooner. It's about living your financial life efficiently and effectively so that you reach your goals, and reach them sooner. But there is more to life than getting … [Continue reading]

March 2018–Best of the Web

March is supposed to come in like a lion and go out like a lamb. As the month winds down, neither weather or financial markets are looking docile. Each is a great excuse to grab a hot cup of coffee, get in your most comfortable chair, and explore our … [Continue reading]