2018 New Years Resolution: Achieve the Pillars of Financial Independence

So I’ve been blessed to be able to make and save a decent amount of money and it’s allowed me to live comfortably in a new country for a bit of time, but I started to wonder what else I could do with my money. It doesn’t make sense to spend it on things I don’t need or want, but I felt like there were better ways to save it too (and maybe eventually give it). I had read about personal finance before and then I started reading more advanced finance techniques, the goal of which is to achieve what is called Financial Independence or FI for short. As I’ve read more and more about what people have done to achieve Financial Independence, I realized it was a rather big topic, but luckily I found the Choose Fi podcast and found an episode they did called The Pillars of FI. This episode summed just about everything that needs to be accomplished to achieve FI and since I heard it right around New Years, I decided to make achieving all the pillars my new year’s resolution for 2018. Yeah, I think I’m kind of cheating a bit, because I’ve already done a few of things and no I won’t achieve FI this year, but I think putting these things in place will get me closer to that goal, so I felt like I should just try to wrap it up now. Let’s review shall we:

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Me at The Voices Karaoke and Dance Club in Frankfurt

If there’s anything you should know about me, it’s that I love karaoke and I’ve been trying to hit up a karaoke bar in every city I visit (if I can find one). I was on the German leg of my “European karaoke tour” last Saturday and found the Voices Karaoke and Dance club in Frankfurt. The song selection is good (like most a lot of places these days, they actually have more songs in the machine than they print in the books; just look on the website for the complete list) and I like the fact that they purposely stop karaoke and go to full on dance club mode during some hours and later on at night. Apparently Voices also has a channel on Twitch for live streaming the singing and dancing. I’ve embedded the video below of me singing Bullet with Butterfly Wings by Smashing Pumpkins. Sadly the audio doesn’t come back to the video until I’m like half way through the song, but hope you enjoy those last few minutes.

Watch (GER) LIVE Karaoke & Dance Party im Mix ** Inklusive deutscher Moderation & versch. DJ’s #karaoke #musik #dj #unterhaltung from voicesclub on www.twitch.tv

Update: Looks like they cycle the videos pretty quickly. Guess the video is down. If they had the full recording, perhaps I would have recorded a copy. Oh well.

Stuff I Use: Jackery Bolt Battery Pack

This is a great battery pack if you don’t have a USB C device. It comes with two cables built in, one for micro-USB and lightning for iOS devices (and can simultaneously charge both), has a USB port for another device, and even a built in LED flashlight (which is very useful). I find a very handy gadget for day to day use and very food for traveling (via the Wirecutter).

Stuff I Use: Pocketmonkey

I’m surprised there are a couple of these card shaped, omni tools out there; basically, they pack a few tools in one card. They’re kind of like swiss army knives, minus the knife. The one I use is called the Pocketmonkey. I keep it in my wallet for the occasional screw driving and measuring, but I’ll admit the bottle opener is what I primarily use it for.

7 months in and somehow I still can’t believe I’ve moved to London

Me at "Platform 9 3/4"
I know nothing about Harry Potter, but when in London…

I’ve left this blog pretty dormant for a while, because, well frankly, I haven’t had a lot to write about (or at least nothing I felt like writing about anyway).  Recently, though, I’ve made some big life changes and I thought I’d write about them and what I’ve learned from these life changes. The big change is that in April of 2017, I moved away from Los Angeles and am now living an ocean and continent away in London, England. Why there? I’ve worked for a multinational company for a little while now, and honestly, I had been hoping for just an excuse to come out to Europe for a week or two. As I kept hearing about opportunities more and more, I prodded and patiently (and not so patiently) waited for a opportunity, and when my bosses told me they were giving me a visa to move, I knew I had to take the chance because I never would get another chance like this again.

I thought today I’d share some quick hit observations about the move to London, and perhaps if I get interested or (if a reader is interested), I can write up about a topic more at a later time. Here are some observations I’ve made about London since I’ve moved here:

  • Immigration is hard. And to think I did mine fairly easily, as my job paid for a lot of moving expenses, I make a decent salary, and I didn’t have to learn a new language or learn too much of a different culture. Even with open borders in Europe, I’d still say things can be tough for moving from country to country.  I told my parents after I moved here that I couldn’t imagine how they did immigration back in their time. I’ve learned to appreciate their situation back in the day more for sure even if I didn’t fully experience it myself (thank goodness I didn’t).
  • On a lighter note, there are two Youtube Channels I really recommend before any one comes to the UK as a tourist or as an immigrant: Anglophenia and City Hacks London.  They both have pretty good explainers on things about Britain and London itself that I wish I had known before I left.
  • A friend of mine told me about a great website for any one who is moving to another country: Teleport. It has two major features: 1) it asks you personality questions and gives you possible places you would like to live based on your answers and 2) it provides checklists for the process of moving to your destination of choice.   Was definitely handy for sure.
  • Banking is much better here than in the states.  Yes, while the United States has for the most part eschewed paper checks, they’re still a far more common sight than they are in Europe.  Your primary banking account isn’t even called a checking account, but called a current account here in the UK.
  • Unfortunately, because of American tax laws, there are a few added complications being an American living in another country.  I’m still dealing with this and don’t know much about it right now, but since I like personal finance, I’ll probably write a blog post at a later time talking about dealing with money in both countries.
  • Food is better than I expected.  I’ll admit, I still make fun of British food (as let’s face it, the country isn’t known for it’s cuisine quite like Italy, France, Japan, or Thailand), but there’s a lot of variety in food more than I expected here in London.  There’s a lot of different kinds of food just like in metropolitan cities in the States.  It’s been fun exploring these different places for sure.
  • Weather is terrible compared to LA. That’s true of most any place in the world, but I think that’s very true here with all the rain.  If you like that though, you’ll love it here.
  • Perhaps I’m using them wrong, but seems like common household fixtures and appliances aren’t as good in the UK as they are in the US.  Toilets seem to sometimes require a few flushes and dryers take much longer than in the states.  It seems a bit odd.
  • I like taking the train to work a lot, though I will say I miss my car for the grocery store.

Alright, those are some quick thoughts I have on my move to London so far.  I will have more blog posts on travel, finance, and perhaps a few other thoughts on London and other places.  If there’s anything else you want me to over, let me know in the comments below.

WP Photo Sphere Smooth

WP Photo Sphere Smooth is a fork of WP-Photo-Sphere that uses a faster Javascript library from Damien Sorel. Use it to embed photo spheres and panoramas like the ones linked below:

Rachel Rubenstein Art Show at Malibu Living

I had the privilege of taking a few photo spheres at my friend Rachel Rubenstein‘s art show at Malibu Living

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My Photo Sphere of Rachel Rubenstein’s Santa Monica Art Studio

I recently got a Google Cardboard kit (an inexpensive virtual reality kit that can be used with your smartphone) and have been looking to make some content for it. Inspired by the Orbulus App, which has a cool art studio view, I asked my friend, artist Rachel Rubenstein, if I could use her studio to make a similar view. I made a Photo Sphere of the studio which you can see below:
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