It’s Saturday, October 31!

Spooky! I’ll be dressed as Waldo tonight. Last year I counted 13 Waldos at the Halloween shindig I went to, so it ironically won’t be that easy to spot me.

The awesomeness of not being important by Steve, thinksaveretire.com. This is a great, if under-appreciated, goal to achieve in one’s career.

Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal has a long, complicated history by Megan Geuss, arstechnica.com. This has been a really interesting story to follow, both from an engineering point-of-view and a business point-of-view. This story goes into depth over the history of why (probably) Volkswagen did what it did.

Financial Independence: How Long Will It Take? gocurrycracker.com. An interesting look at how tweaking some numbers can make early retirement much more feasible, or at least move that retirement date a little closer. Always run the numbers!

The IRS Tax Code Makes No Sense – What You Should Know About IRA Tax Deduction Phase Outs, genyfinanceguy.com. The tax code is complicated. It’s especially interesting how marriage isn’t the financial benefit it once was, too.

BONUS: What I’m listening to this week:

Photo: I’m in this picture somewhere. Can you find me? 

It’s Saturday, October 24th!

Spend $25,000 to Save $9,000? by J. MONEY, budgetsaresexy.com. I don’t make quite enough money to have these problems just yet, but it’s interesting to see how the tax code works sometimes, and how the government kind of wants you to save for retirement.

A 23-year-old Google employee lives in a truck by Kathleen Elkins, businessinsider.com. I would definitely do this if my company served breakfast, lunch, and dinner for free. And if they made me work 100% of my waking hours. Relevant Dilbert.

How much is your job really costing you? by Steve, thinksaveretire.com. Unless you live in a truck, probably a lot more than you think. And if you live in a truck because you work 16-hour days, it’s probably costing you more than money, too.

My Three Favorite Really Stupid Reasons Not To Save For Retirement, proceeduntilapprehended.net. I’ve fallen guilty to every single one of these. No more! On a related note, I just upped my 401k contribution, so that’s cool.

BONUS: What I’m listening to this week!

Good Charlotte is in my fall music playlist, and since I’m currently in Oklahoma City and it feels more like fall here than it does in Florida, I pulled out some music that I used to listen to in middle school for all the nostalgia.

Photo: This is why I’m in Oklahoma. My first time climbing a wind turbine, and what a view!

So, A Lot Has Happened Recently

Yep. I know it’s cliché for a blogger to say “sorry for not posting so much!” but really… it’s been hectic lately. Let’s run down the list!

First, I got a new job. Same company but a different location, new boss, mo’ money, etc. It’s much more interesting than what I was previously doing, and it came with some other perks as well. I’ve been spending a lot of time transitioning to my new office and my new role. I also work longer hours but it’s offset with “flex time” so I’m pretty happy there too.

The only downside is that since the new job is in the city, I wasn’t too comfortable riding my motorcycle to work every day. When I commuted 50 miles a day into desolate, swampy south-central Florida it wasn’t a big deal because there wasn’t ever any traffic and about 95% of the drive was on divided highways. The new job is a much shorter commute but it’s stop-and-go traffic through some congested roads. That’s not good for motorcycle safety. So I bought a car.

And, since I’ve mentioned it before, I didn’t get a new car. Although I did think about it! I was in the Honda dealership about to buy a Fit when a particular manufacturing detail caught my eye and caused me to abandon my pursuits. Let’s just say that I’m worried that Honda is going to have the same problems that Volkswagen has in North America, but that’s a topic for another post. Hint: it has nothing to do with diesel.

So I bought a Mercedes. And not just any Mercedes: A 31-year-old turbo diesel. I picked it up for about what my down payment would have been on the Honda, but it did take me about three weeks’ worth of work to get it running again. It had been sitting unloved for about four years, so almost every day when I came home from work I’d open the hood and twist bolts until the sun set. I’ll be writing a little bit more about this soon, since I’m a big proponent of buying antique cars as a way to save money.

And yes, I do have my Volkswagen still, but it seems to have decided that now would be a really good time to blow out its rear main seal. I’ll have to drop the engine to fix that but sometimes old cars take some coaxing to get back on the road. I’m not particularly upset about it because I know it comes with the territory of owning an older car. Plus, I don’t consider the Beetle reliable transportation; it’s a fun project that keeps my engineering brain sharp that I could sell at any time for essentially the amount of money I have in it. It’s win-win for me!

Oh, and I did sell my Yamaha motorcycle, so that went to offset the cost of the Mercedes a little bit. I got it essentially for free when I bought my house, so I’m chalking that up as a win too.

Speaking of the house, though, I started doing some repairs to my detached garage… which quickly turned in to more work than I was expecting. So that’s been going on too.

IMG_20150918_134943

This was what was holding up my roof. Sort of. You come across things like this when your house was built in the 40s and you live in a really wet area with lots of termites.

Let’s sum up. New job, still writing for a few blogs on the side, mowing a few lawns in the neighborhood on the other side, new old car that needed fixing to I could get to work without fearing for my life, old old car needing major repairs, garage in shambles. Oh yeah: my first priority regardless of all of my projects is generally to get to the beach and surf if the waves are up. And the past three weeks we got epic surf from Hurricane Joaquin. And I do not use the word epic lightly.

It was like this for three weeks. That’s unheard of for South Florida, especially since we’re still in the rainy season. And my bike got stolen too. Aww! So there’s been a lot on my plate, but I’m back now!

Photo: Not your grandmother’s car, but close. 

Saturday Links! September 5, 2015

Welcome to the next great month! It might be fall for you, but it is still very hot here in South Florida. It’s great how technology can span the distances so well, and allow me to provide you with this great reading material.

Your job vs. your work: Retirement police, listen up! by Steve, thinksaveretire.com. A great piece about why people want to retire early, and it often involves much less golfing than you would imagine. If it were me, my hobby-turned-profession would be working on classic cars, or writing, or surfing, or any number of other cubicle-less activities.

5 Ways to Make Minimalism Work for Your Budget by Sam Lustgarten, nosidebar.com. A gentle reminder that minimalism and living inexpensively don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. You can let anything get out of control. Be aware of everything you do, even if you’re doing less of it.

Shadow Work and the Rise of Middle-Class Serfdom by Brett and Kate McKay, artofmanliness.com. I’ve certainly noticed this in my daily life, I just never realized there was a name for it. One thing I have noticed, however, is that when conveniences are added to our lives, we rarely use them as opportunities to slow down. Rather, we use them as opportunities to cram more into our lives.

BONUS! What I’m listening to this week:

The latest from my favorite West Palm Beach band, Raggy Monster.

Photo: Spring 2010, surfing in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I took a week long surf trip on the road with my truck and one of my friends from high school, covering every surf break from Virginia Beach to Jacksonville.