I’d Like To Thank The Academy…

I'd Like To Thank The Academy...

Have you ever seen one of those Kid’s Choice Awards shows on Nickelodeon? You know, the ones where no award recipient ever shows up…

“Mr. McConaughey had a previous commitment tonight, but here to accept the award on his behalf is the half-brother of the twice-removed second cousin of his former mistress. Come on up here, Guiseppe.”


I don’t want Retire29 to be like Mr. McConaughey, so today I’m finally accepting two blogger awards I’ve been given in the last few months. For the record, these awards (along with $1.06) will buy you a warm McChicken sandwich, so it’s more just a means of recognition and networking between bloggers. I answer some questions, drop some links, and boom, I’m done.

Sunshine Blogger AwardFirst Up, The Sunshine Blogger Award.

Two folks nominated me for this just one day apart. Alexander at Cash Flow Diaries and Bryan at Just One More Year. Thank you to them both.

Alexander’s Questions For Me:

1) Where is the coolest place you have traveled to?

Coolest? My favorite place is certainly Jamaica, but coolest would probably be Alaska (and I don’t mean that in a literal sense). It wasn’t really travelling, since I lived there for two years. But, the combination of untouched wilderness, stunning scenery in every direction, interesting weather, oddly timed sunrises/sunsets, and the Northern Lights make it the coolest place.

2) How long have you been blogging and what is your end result with your blog?

My first post was 11 months ago (Sep ’14). There isn’t really an end result with the blog. Once I retire I’d like to keep blogging (with some credibility, at that point), and trying to get and keep others on the path to financial independence.

3) What is your favorite home cooked meal?

Shrimp and Grits. I think we’re having it tonight!

4) What is your favorite restaurant?

I’m not a big foodie, and I don’t really like spending money going out to eat. However, gun-to-my-head, I’ll go with Shophouse Southeast Asian Kitchen (the Chipotle spinoff), or Bahama Breeze because it feels like Jamaica.

5) Do you have pets? And if so, what kind and why do you love them so much?

BlueYah, two hairless Sphynx cats. Their official names are Blue and Zsa Zsa, although we haven’t referred to them by those names in years. Here is a picture of Blue. And who said I loved them? (Just kidding guys!) They were our kids before we had kids.

Now, Bryan’s Questions for me:

1) What is the next big planned purchase in your life?

Probably a car, as ridiculous as that sounds when I say it out loud. We have two cars already, both financed. However, neither car is really suitable for our family. One, a two-seater Corvette Convertible in mint condition, will be paid off soon and sold. The second, a Mercedes E500, will be paid off shortly thereafter (Jan ’16). We can’t even drive the Corvette with a baby, so once we sell that, we’ll buy (used) something a little more fitting.

2) Where is your favorite vacation or dream location to visit?

Favorite vacation once again is Jamaica. I talk about travel in my post about My Retirementality, so “Dream Location” would maybe be Tristan da Cunha–I just think that would be amazing to feel so isolated.

3) What would be your choice for your last meal?  (not trying to be morbid)

Shrimp and Grits. Did you and Alexander plan these questions together?

4) What is your most memorable and successful work accomplishment?

Here’s the problem–I’m not sure I have one. Maybe a firefighter could say “Saving that infant from that burning car.” A surgeon could say “removing that woman’s debilitating brain tumor.” Or a teacher or social worker or counselor or nurse or, even a janitor, could say “changing that one person’s life.” For me at my day job of accounting and audit in the Government, I’m a relatively strong performer, but I won’t have a legacy. White Papers I write, processes I put in place, or transaction samples I audit and analyze won’t matter in two years, let alone ten.

That’s the problem with so many of our jobs. Even those who say that want to work forever really need to examine what kind of legacy, or value to the world, their work has. Sure, work can be fun at times, most coworkers are great individuals, but where’s the lasting value to the world? Most of our day-to-day work is five steps removed from the front lines of humanity.

I’ve never told anyone this before, but the most rewarding moment of my (non-family) life came on January 21st, 2015. The Retire29 Blog was very young, and I had maybe three comments total; a good day was like 20 page views. Out of the blue, a guy named Daniel LaReaux made this comment on my original Big Goal Roadmap:

“Dude….this isn’t insane, this is inspiring. I am going to work on a similar plan now. You may have just changed my life.”

I mean, that gave me chills when I read it the first time. I thought to myself, “I’m changing lives?” Since then, countless others have continued to comment and e-mail and re-tweet and whathaveyou, and I still appreciate anyone who just has the time to come by and read. But dang, that first comment when somebody (outside of family) said that I really mattered meant a whole lot. It still does.

5) If you won a million dollars in the lottery today, would you stop working?

Yes. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. What if I die in two years, but I decide “just to be safe, let’s keep working one more year in case a million isn’t enough.” That’s crazy. A million (or $600k after taxes) would be more than enough to buy a nice house, invest a pile, and generate enough passive income to clear my living expenses. Although, I wouldn’t stop Retire29. I’ll never stop Retire29.

Liebster AwardNow, for the Liebster Award.

I was nominated by Claudia at Two Cup House and Vawt at Early Retirement Ahead.

First, we have Claudia’s (10!) questions from Two Cup House.

1. Describe the moment you decided to start your blog and publish the first post.

Right here, baby.

2. What do you think is the best use of your money?

It goes by the name, AAPL.

3. Are you using your money the best way you can today? If not, why?

I’m quite heavy on AAPL right now, but otherwise, HELL NO! We still have two luxury cars that we are quickly paying down, we have cash-flow potential in our rentable-if-it-were-finished basement, and we have a pile of credit card debt (no interest) that needs paying. The problem, at this point, is liquidity and discipline. I need some more liquidity, which I’m slowly gaining a foothold in. This is still the lingering effects of living $5k/month in the negative for a whole year–New York City wiped out all of my liquidity.

4. If you could travel anywhere in the world (costs aside), where would it be and why?

Tristan da Cunha, see here.

5. What is an experience that changed your life for the better?

Going to a coworker’s going-away party on March 20th, 2009–and sitting across the table from my future wife.

6. If you could meet one famous person, who would it be?

Elon Musk. He’s our Renaissance Man.

7. What is your favorite thing about the area in which you live?

Washington D.C. has a ton of free stuff to do (museums, parks, fairs, zoos, memorials, water, and oh so much more) that you can never take full appreciation of.

8. What would early retirement or financial independence look like for you?

In other words, my retirementality. This post also gets into what I want from my early retirement.

9. If you could fix one world problem, which one would you choose?

Dirty drinking water, probably. It just seems like such an easy one to fix with minimal investment and with profitable outcomes for all parties.

10. If you’ve been to Alaska, what do you love about it? If you haven’t, what do you think Alaska is like?

Loved Alaska, and would love to go back! I’m very outdoorsy, so Alaska is an outdoorsman’s paradise.

11. What one piece of advice has served your life well?

Happy Wife. Happy Life.

Lastly, Vawt’s questions from Early Retirement Ahead…

What are your best and worst financial moves so far?

Best: Maxing out my 401k every year I’ve been in the workforce.

Worst: Everything in this post, and living in NYC for a year at -$5k a month in cash flow.

Where do you see your journey to financial independence in five years?

In five years I’ll be retired and fully financially independent–living off of dividends while still doing a little writing and part-time work in things I enjoy.

What is your favorite asset class?

Stocks, baby. Over any ten-year or greater period in all of history, no asset class has performed better.

If you could own only one stock, what would it be?

AAPL. A little bit why, here and here.

What are your plans after reaching financial independence?

My Retirementality. Maybe make a documentary, learn an instrument, go to culinary school, learn a second language, blog way more, be a full time dad, volunteer more, travel the world, so much more.

What is your ideal family vacation?

Jamaica with the kids and grandma. Grandma watches the kids when we need her to, while Mommy and I do whatever the hell we want.

What hobbies do you enjoy outside of blogging?

Fantasy Football. Watching the stock markets. CNBC. Wrestling with the baby. Going for walks (serious).

What book or books have influenced you (does not have to be financial)?

For Perspective: Battle Cry by Leon Uris. For Reinforcement: The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley. For Inspiration: Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. For Business: From Worst To First by Gordon Bethune.

What is the meaning of life?

If I knew this, Retire29 would have more than 110 subscribers.

I’ll throw a Liebster nomination at Cash Flow Diaries because I love his writing and how simple he makes rentals seem. Plus, it’s like 2:30 a.m. and everyone I’m looking at right now already has this award.

I’ll also throw Sunshine Blogger nominations at No More Waffles and Islands of Investing because they write in a free-spirited and fun way. I never miss their stuff.

I’m going to ask five questions of these gentlemen:

  1. If you could only own one stock, what would it be?
  2. What do you hate most about financial independence bloggers? (If hate is too strong of a word, what is your pet peeve about them?)
  3. What is one thing you’ll overspend on that other people would think is ridiculous?
  4. What is the dumbest thing you’ve ever done financially and non-financially? (So, I’m asking for two things, here.)
  5. How old do you think you’ll actually live to? Seriously.

Thank you for reading Retire29 (especially if you made it all the way through this one).



  1. It is great getting a little more perspective on your philosophies of personal finance all round up in one huge series of questions! I used to be a governmental auditor (I audited municipalities, school districts, and counties) and I know the feeling that what you are doing doesn’t have a ton of impact. I think that is one of the things that is continuing to push me towards financial independence. I think it is only natural to want to try and make an impact and if you don’t believe you are, you push towards a great goal. That is partly why I started my blog was to try and help others! I look forward to catching up on some of your older posts and reading the new ones!
    Thias @It Pays Dividends recently posted…3 Simple Changes to Start Saving MoreMy Profile

    • The work certainly leaves something to be desired. It’s a good job, and we have good clients and I have a bunch of great bosses. So, I’m not complaining at all–at this point in my life I still need to work. However, it’s clear to see (for me at least) that this sort of work doesn’t have a lot of potential to leave a legacy.

      Retire29 recently posted…I’d Like To Thank The Academy…My Profile

    • I love Fantasy Football, so this next month is a pretty exciting time. My leagues have entry fees to keep it exciting, but it’s a small figure. It amounts to like $10/week total for three leagues. Plus, I usually make it back.

      Retire29 recently posted…A Tale of Two CompaniesMy Profile

    • Bryan,
      It seems like wayyyy less than 11 months for me. Probably because I really only get seriously into it in January. I look around at what so many others have accomplished in their first year and I get a little bummed out.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Retire29 recently posted…July 2015 Financial ReportsMy Profile

    • Hi Steve,
      Yah, Alaska is awesome. I’d love to go back and live there for a year or two; it’s truly unlike anywhere else. McLean is alright :), pretty expensive to live and work there, though.


  2. Wow you are a popular person. 3 nominations! You are like this year’s Sam Smith at the Grammy Awards. I only know about that because my GF was watching it and she forced me to watch with her! So if you don’t understand, Sam Smith is a new singer who came on the scene about a year ago and won the most grammys out of anyone this past year.

    Ha! Anyways, dude those are some crazy looking cats! Also I didnt realize you were living in the DC area. That is where I am from. Born there and raised in the area for the first 24 years of my life. Good stuff!

    Thanks so much on the Liebster Award Nomination.
    Alexander @ Cash Flow Diaries recently posted…How To Find Crime Statistics On Rental PropertiesMy Profile

    • 3 Nominations? Four! I kept getting notifications in my email, and when I realized they weren’t just duplicates, I decided I better accept these so that other deserving blogs can get their nods.

      When I first saw a sphynx cat I though it looked a little odd. But, once you get ahold of one, you’ll never go back! No shedding, super cuddly. And, best part, they feel like a warm water bottle.


  3. Wow, a Corvette convertible in mint condition and a Mercedes E500! I would not have expected that at all. 🙂 It is very interesting reading your answers and learning more about yourself and lifestyle.

    I fully understand how it was difficult for you to name something in your career. Your statement: “Sure, work can be fun at times, most coworkers are great individuals, but where’s the lasting value to the world?”

    I am agreement with you that some of the little things with blogging have been more rewarding than work.
    Bryan@Just One More Year recently posted…YOLO: You Only Live OnceMy Profile

    • Yah, those cars are somewhat the bane of my existence. They are super expensive to maintain, insure, and pay tax on. They are both premium gas. The list goes on. Worst part is, neither car really “works” for us anymore. They were cool for when we were dual-income no kids, but now…more of a curse.


  4. Thanks so much for the nomination Eric! I’m working on my responses right away!

    Great effort answering that abundance of questions thrown your way. I totally hear you on the work front. Any rewarding experiences I’ve had are usually the small things, like a meaningful conversation with a client or more junior team member. I definitely love the value and creativity that a blog can provide.

    Also loved the Rational Optimist, but haven’t read the other three, and have been on the lookout for a few new good reads!

    Can’t believe you could feel bummed about what you’ve achieved in 11 months! Comparing to others is never a great approach for happiness, especially when you choose the best as your benchmark – just keep running your own race! You’re doing some great stuff here Eric, keep at it and keep enjoying it!
    Jason @ Islands of Investing recently posted…Slowing down to get more out of lifeMy Profile

    • I don’t read too much, maybe two or three books a year, but those all stood out to me. I read Peaceful Warrior like 12 years ago, right after I graduated HS, so I’m surprised I even remembered that one.

      I get you. I shouldn’t be comparing to others. But, it’s just tough to see other, even newer, blogs surpass me in viewers and income. Oh well, I just need to keep my mind on the purpose of this blog–not money, but to share my story and life.


  5. Ah, to be loved, huh? Thanks for linking to your retirementality–I hadn’t had a chance to read that post yet. I wouldn’t say I’m looking to “retire,” either. As you mentioned, I’m looking for flexibility and freedom to use time differently, perhaps to go back to Jamaica (one of my favorite places, too). And thanks for participating in the award! 🙂
    Claudia @ Two Cup House recently posted…How We’ve Managed to Stop Wasting MoneyMy Profile

    • Hi Claudia,
      Thanks for the nomination! Jamaica is a great place. Somehow, whenever I go there, I just feel like that’s where I belong–and not just the resorts or whatever. It feels like home when we’re out among the locals.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge