Hobbies: Do you need to go all-in?

touring bicycle

My Wise Friend The other day I was talking to a friend of mine whose husband wanted to learn to play the guitar. Wisely, instead of just buying him the guitar, she instead got him a rental one and some lessons so he could decide if he actually liked it. He did and then he bought his own. My Unwise Friend Or, I had a friend a few years ago who was buying a bike.…

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YOU are taking a vacation?

As I exercise, I listen to podcasts and once of my favorite financial ones is Suze Orman, author of The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke. She takes calls on her show from people who have serious financial problems, but are quite often in just as serious denial. Examples of the Financial Crazy 1. Someone has $60,000 in credit card debt, but they just leased a $20,000 car. 2. Another person is struggling…

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Respect the $10- It’s how you become rich

Thanks Mr. Money Mustache I was just over at Mr Money Mustache and was reading this article, “A Millionaire is Made 10 Bucks at a Time” and felt inspired to post. The Quick Summary Basically, the article talked about how we seem to have lost respect for the $10 bill and that we don’t actually think of it as that much money. We just spend it without even thinking about it, but it can actually…

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Indecision

I waver back and forth when it comes to moving back to Canada, quite possibly forever and making a life there, or living the expat life which is kind of amazing in a lot of ways. I mean, who wouldn’t be happy working at a university in Korea where you get paid an astounding amount of money for a very little amount of work. I go on exotic vacations a couple times a year, cruise…

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Writing an Ebook: it’s a big project

I’ve started writing my new book about personal finance for English teachers abroad, which I hope will have a broader appeal than my first book, How to Get a University Job in South Korea: The English Teaching Job of Your Dreams and have now realized just how serious of an undertaking this actually is. There are so many rabbit holes one could get lost in and never escape out of. Thankfully, I have plenty of…

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Book Review. The Global Expatriate’s Guide to Investing: From Millionaire Teacher to Millionaire Expat

Disclaimer: I was sent a free copy of this book by Andrew Hallam, The Global Expatriate’s Guide to Investing: From Millionaire Teacher to Millionaire Expat in exchange for reviewing it on this blog. Overall, I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to any expat looking to get into the investing arena and do it right the first time, instead of through trial and error and losing a lot of money in the process. I…

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How much money do you need to be happy?

I was listening to a recent podcast from The Best of the Left (Capitalism Will Not Set You Free) and they were talking about how the law of diminishing returns can apply to your salary and happiness level. Up to around 75 000 US, people’s happiness increases as their salary does. But, after that level, it kind of has no effect and there are even some examples of happiness decreasing such as when someone wins…

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November 2014 Passive Income Report

November 2014 Passive Income came in at $288.14. For the breakdown and comparison to the previous few months, check out: Passive Income Report The bulk of my income came from dividend paying stocks and Hubpages (formerly Squidoo), as usual but a nice addition was $42.68 in sales from my my new Ebook, How to Get a University Job in South Korea: The English Teaching Job of Your Dreams. Compared to previous years: Nov. 2013: 268.98…

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The “I have the best students” trap

In the world of English teaching in Korea, there is a whole hierarchy of possible jobs, starting from the worst of the worst private institute (Hagwon) to a top job at a university or international school. Anyone with a bit of ambition and some networking skills can move up in the world onto bigger and better things each year beyond their first year. And why not? You’ll have some combination of: higher pay, more vacation,…

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Teaching ESL as a Career

When I peruse the personal finance, early retirement and digital nomad blogs around the Blogosphere, it seems like a lot of people were working at “serious” jobs making “serious” money by being a lawyer, working their way up the corporate ladder in some other field or selling things and making lots of money doing it successfully. Then, they left these jobs after hating the 9-5 or more often, the 9-9 kind of life they were…

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My Stand-up Paddleboard and Cost/ Use: Update

I talked a few months ago about the cost/use model and how it relates to the rather expensive stand-up paddleboard that I bought back in May. Now that I’ve had the board through the summer, I thought I’d update the blogosphere about how much I’ve actually used it and whether it was a worthwhile purchase, or not. It’s been almost 5 months since I bought the board, and I’ve been pretty consistent about taking it…

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When things break…go big or go small?

I’ve had my blender for about 8 years and I use it almost everyday because I eat green smoothies for breakfast 9 days out of 10. I bought it third-hand off an expat who was leaving for $10. I’d say it was quite a good value and my cost per use is less than a penny! Unfortunately, it broke yesterday and I need to buy a new one. But, what to do? It’s common knowledge…

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Where does all the money go, Part 2

Yesterday I was wondering where all my money went and how I could possibly spend around $2000/month since I generally try to live quite frugally. I’ve thought more carefully about it and been looking at some of my spending via online banking and have figured out the following areas where I actually spend quite a bit of money: 1. Transportation. My car: I paid cash for it (of course), but gas in Korea is very…

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Frugal Living: Using Things at Work

This post is most definitely NOT about doing sketchy things like stealing office supplies and using them at home. It is about taking advantage of what’s on offer at the office or school in order to live frugally. Here are a few of my tips to make the most use of things at work: 1. The printer. At my job the teachers have access to a fabulous office, complete with printer/copier/scanner, etc. There truly is…

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English Teaching and Passive Income Building

I was just talking to a coworker of mine this morning about how he views the job that we do as more of a part-time thing and that he has other stuff going, as I do with this blog and other online ventures. And I guess that that’s the best part about the English teaching overseas gig – most jobs are not really “full-time,” as in 40 or 50 hours a week, but are generally…

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Life, post English-teaching in Korea

These days, I’ve been seriously contemplating what my life is going to look like, post-Korea. I have 1.5 years left on my contract and there’s a 99% chance I’ll be leaving at the end of it. I rarely say never, but unless there’s some very compelling reason for me to stay, I’ll go. Going to my homeland of Canada isn’t really an option either since the death-like cold and very short winter days just don’t…

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Here’s an insightful comment from a reader in response to this post, It’s Simple, but it Works. “I agree with everything you said except buying a house. There is an opportunity cost if you pay cash for a house and then your money is tied up doing nothing for you. Your house will appreciate at the same rate whether you own it outright or you leverage it to the hilt. At today’s historically low interest…

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It’s not all about the money

I think a misconception that “poor” people have about “rich” or “well-off” people is that it’s all about the money and rich people are constantly checking their bank accounts or obsessing about how to get more money continuously. I’m certainly not rich, but I do have enough money to live a comfortable life and for me, it’s not all about the money. I only check my stock brokerage account around once a month, and when…

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Stagnation, and the Day-Job

For my day-job, I work at a university in South Korea, teaching anything under the general umbrella of “English.” I’ve been doing it for the past 7 years and can honestly say that there’s really no class that I haven’t or couldn’t teach. I’ve moved onwards and upwards in this small world so that now, I’m at the top in terms of the classes I teach, the salary I make and the total freedom I…

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Big Purchases and the Cost Per Use Model

Making big purchases (those over $200 maybe?) on hobby or entertainment type items can be a big decision that is hard to make for non impulsive spenders like me. I will usually deliberate for months and even years before I decide to pull the trigger and buy whatever I wanted to buy. I don’t deliberate because I don’t have enough money to afford it, I do. I deliberate because I wonder if I will actually…

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Retirement and the 4% rule

The often-quoted model of how retirement works is that you need to save up a huge chunk of money which you invest in stocks and bonds, and upon quitting work, you can withdraw up to 4% of it per year and in theory, it should last you until you die. I don’t hate this model, but it seems to me that it’s kind of outdated for the following reasons: 1. People are living a lot…

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Gardening: the Ultimate Frugal Hobby

Back when I was a kid, my parents had a Garden that started off small, but which kept getting bigger and bigger as the years went by so that now it takes up a huge portion of their backyard. I remember eating peas and raspberries, straight off the plant for a snack when I was playing outside and got hungry. And the compost-turning “garbage” into rich, beautiful soil was always a source of fascination for…

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Travel Tips: the Useful stuff

You may have noticed a sad lack of updates these past 2 weeks-it’s because I was traveling around Malaysia. Overall, it was pretty good but I wouldn’t recommend going there during Ramadan. Lots of places will be closed during the day and people are perhaps a wee bit less friendly than they’d otherwise be due to fasting (from all food and liquids) from sun-up to sun-down. Anyway, the friend that I was visiting and I…

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