• Should You Prepay If You Are Nearing The End Of Loan Period

    I recently wrote a post on whether one should prepay loan or invest if you have extra savings lying around. A reader commented that a friend had a different opinion about prepaying loan when she is already at the end of the loan period. Here is the comment again for your reference – “Not used to loans, but different view from my friend. She had availed personal loan for 4 years (if I’m correct) and was in 3rd year when she received a good bonus that she can close her loan but instead she didn’t. When asked she said as part of EMI she had paid all interest and what she is paying is her principal and very minute interest so she said it’s unworthy to repay the loan. She had a point there”. While she is correct in that, one is paying more of the principal than interest towards the end of a loan period, the benefits of prepaying still remain.

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  • Black Belt In Shotokan Karate

    I finally received my Black Belt (1st Dan) in Shotokan Karate after training for it for nearly 7 years and I am super proud of it! I know it took a bit longer than a few others but I am too old I suppose :). I have heard of people, in fact kids receiving black belt in 2 or 3 years. I can tell you that at least in Shotokan Karate, it is almost impossible to receive any kind of black belt with in 5 years. It takes even longer for kids because they still have to build up the strength. My daughter who joined almost at the same time as me is now in Brown Belt (4th Kyu). Of course, if you are young, fit and dedicated you can still achieve in 5 years time.

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  • Six Years In Retirement

    I cannot believe that it is already six years since I retired early. I retired exactly on this day in 2018. In these 6 years I have seen several interesting things, met a variety of people, changed our lifestyle and health in more ways than one. It was a good ride. Of course it might not have been any different even if I was working but things would not have felt so leisurely and I certainly wouldn’t have time to write about it. The finances are going as per plan. Physical health is fine. Coming to things I wanted to do after retirement, or as I like to call as hobby projects have been going amazingly well. Even better than I originally planned and I still have a lot more to look forward to. But best of all, I am thoroughly enjoying the time I get to spend with my daughter. I also have more time for family and friends too.

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  • A Farm By Any Other Name

    I love the quote by Steve Jobs “You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. You have to believe that the dots will connect and that will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path and that will make all the difference.”. We had absolutely no idea that somehow, our decision to unschool our kid, quitting the rat race, minimizing our lifestyle and retiring early will lead us to our dream of owning a farm. There are so many dots that eventually connected. But at the time when we were making those decisions which lead us off the well worn path, we had no idea that they will connect. After all the many twists and turns, we eventually found a farm that we loved and knew that it has our name written on it.

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  • Should We Go With 3% Rule?

    I recently wrote a post about asset allocation in which a reader commented whether we should be using 3% safe withdrawal rate in Indian context instead of the 4% safe withdrawal rate that is generally accepted in the US (at least in the past). The commenter also provided a video supporting the 3% rule. I strongly encourage you to watch that first. It makes some good arguments. If you are interested, I’d also suggest you read the paper which contains all the details, assumptions, data and methodology used for the simulations. According to the research paper, it is recommended that one should go with a 3% safe withdrawal rate instead of the generally well known 4% rate.

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  • How Not To Teach

    So this other day, me and my daughter were watching a video where the author was talking about infinity and how if you divide a number by zero you get infinity. My daughter could not understand how anything can be divided into zero parts. Or how attempting to divide something into zero parts blows up into this huge number that we call infinity. Being the smart alec that I am, I thought I could explain her how division works and how something divided by zero gives you infinity. As you can imagine, I made a huge mess of it and it showed me how little I knew about teaching to kids. If you take pleasure in seeing a grown man fumble with math, go on.

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  • Is The Stock Market Peaking?

    I am a little bit concerned. The stock market has been giving great returns for the past 3 years or so. Since the COVID-19 pandemic there has never been a long drawn bear market scenario. How long can this continue? On top of it, I see more and more people getting involved in trading. Some are even quitting their jobs to do trading full time. Generally, when there is euphoria in the market, you see these kind of events happening. New traders, who think they are investors and think they have the know how, enter the stock market just as the market starts peaking. Then, armed with a bunch of algorithms based on back testing, start to do algo trading. When you see more and more of these people, you know the time has come for the market to crash.

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  • Wisdom From Farm Owners

    After having decided not to buy a managed farm and also not to buy farm as a group, we finally settled on what we want. Next we thought it would be a good idea to talk to a few owners of farms to get an idea of what we are going to deal with once we own a farm. We know a couple of folks who are unschoolers and also own a farm. We asked them if we could visit their farm and gain some wisdom. Both families graciously agreed and we visited their farms on two separate occasions and spent a lot of time understanding their philosophy, why they were doing farming, what they learned and what difficulties they faced and how they overcame them. We learned a ton, but in this post I summarize some of our learnings.

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  • Don't Be Fully Invested

    While I encourage everyone to invest as much as possible, I’d also like to advice you to not be fully invested. I know this sounds a bit contradictory, but it actually makes sense if you analyze it. Some of us are excellent savers and investors to that point that any amount that we can save, we immediately think of investing. This is as much of a problem as people having trouble controlling their spending. If you optimize your investments to the point that you no longer have any buffer or flexibility left for unexpected expenses, you are in trouble. I have seen this happen to a couple of friends in the recent past and thought I’d pass on the advice so you can avoid similar mistakes.

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  • Changes To Solar Controller Setup

    A few days ago, we got the exterior of our house painted. I had to move a lot of things out of the way for the painters so they can paint in every nook and corner. During that time I had to disconnect my solar controller electronics setup. What that means is that the solar charge controller takes over the responsibility of deciding when to charge my battery and when to disconnect the grid and let the load run from the battery + solar etc. Unfortunately the way it handles switching between battery, solar and grid is not as optimal as I’d like. Don’t get me wrong, it does a good job, but I always want something better which is why I built my own electronics and software intelligence to go with it to optimize the hell out of the solar panel output.

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