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BiggerPockets Money Podcast 262: Prenups, Projects, Prolific Spending, and Planning for 2022 w/ Carl & Mindy Jensen

BiggerPockets Money Podcast 262: Prenups, Projects, Prolific Spending, and Planning for 2022 w/ Carl & Mindy Jensen

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Mindy may seem like a financial superhero to most listeners of the Money Podcast, but she’s nothing without her financial education inspiring partner, Carl Jensen. Carl is known quite well around the personal finance community as co-host of the Mile High FI podcast and writer over at 1500days.com. Carl and Mindy are just closing in on their twentieth anniversary, so there’s no better occasion to have them both on the show than right now!

Surprisingly, Carl and Mindy didn’t talk about money for a significant time once they started dating. Mindy credits her faith in Carl’s money skills by how he acted more than how he spoke. Carl was driving around a used car, he lived in a house he inherited from his grandmother, and he used a coupon on their first date (smart move, Carl).

Now as a financial and romantic powerhouse, they both share thoughts on prenuptial agreements, protecting your wealth, 401k investing, and questions to ask a potential partner. Whether you’re single, dating, married, or a money-hoarding hermit, this episode sheds light on twenty years worth of money lessons learned so you can live a happier, more FI-focused life!

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Mindy:
Welcome to The BiggerPockets Money Podcast, show number 262, Finance Friday edition, special Finance Friday edition where I am going to talk to Carl Jensen about our finances.
If I were to enter into a marriage with somebody else, I now have something to protect. Having a prenup would be something that I would want to do, but back then we really didn’t have anything. I mean, what did we have? Like $40,000 in student loan debt and I had a $40,000 condo. We really were pretty much nothing.

Carl:
We had our love for each other and that’s all we needed.

Mindy:
Oh, vomit.
Hello. Hello. Hello. My name is Mindy Jensen. And with me today is the host of the Mile High FI Podcast and the creative genius behind 1500days.com and all of the dinosaurs and fart jokes you find over there. Also, we’ve been married for like 20 years or something.

Carl:
It has not been 20 years. How long has it actually been?

Mindy:
Almost 20 years.

Carl:
It’s like 19 years than 11 months, right?

Mindy:
It’s like 19 years and 11 and a half months right now. Nobody wants to listen to us complain and argue over how long we’ve been married. It’s been a while.

Carl:
If we keep arguing like this, we might not make it to 20 years.

Mindy:
Okay. So today we’re going to talk about money because I talk about money all day, every day. And I interview people about their finances, but I sit on a throne of lies. We calculated our financial independence number to be $1 million based on $40,000 of spending. And what’d we do this year?

Carl:
We probably spent two and a half times that much, I would guess.

Mindy:
Yes. So if you are calculating your FI number at X and you spend 2.5 X, chances are really good that you are going to run out of money before you get to death.

Carl:
Yeah.

Mindy:
Yeah. So we need to reign in our spending. But before we do any of that, I think we should give you a little bit more of our background.

Carl:
And before we do any of that, I would like to ask what BiggerPockets Money episode will I be appearing on?

Mindy:
Oh, as I said in the introduction, this is episode 262 of the BiggerPockets Money Podcast.

Carl:
Wow. What was the first episode I was on? This is 262. What was the first one I ever appeared on?

Mindy:
That would also be episode 262.

Carl:
Wow. I often cry myself to sleep just begging to be on the BiggerPockets Money episode.

Mindy:
Oh, whatever. You do not.

Carl:
How many years have you been doing it for? Is this four or five years?

Mindy:
Wow. Thanks for listening. Oh, wait, I’m sorry. How many episodes have you listened to?

Carl:
Wait, did the guest cancel or something? Is that why I’m on here today? Yeah.

Mindy:
Yeah. I’m scrambling to find somebody to talk to and I’m like, well, I guess I’ll have Carl on.

Carl:
Yeah. You-

Mindy:
No, I wanted to have you on, because 2022, I am going to be sharing my finances, our finances, specifically our expenses because our expenses have been going through the roof. So I am going to come clean and show everybody in real time, anybody who wants to look in real time what we’re spending, because when you plan for X spending, you need to be able to actually spend that much.

Carl:
So we are recording this at the end of December. What we could do is spend, do all of our big purchases in the next 10 days. So 2022 will look super awesome if we do that.

Mindy:
That is called cheating. We don’t do that here on The BiggerPockets Money Podcast. Maybe if you listened, you would know that.

Carl:
Whoa.

Mindy:
Whoa. Okay. So [dipping 00:03:50] aside, we’re actually just kidding. Let’s back up a little bit. In the beginning, I met this guy named Carl and I thought he was cute.

Carl:
First came to dinosaurs and then, how does the Airplane! quote work? They smoked too much and then they all died or something like that?

Mindy:
This is terrible.

Carl:
Wait, this episode or my jokes?

Mindy:
Both. This is awful. Okay. Go watch Airplane! for that terrible joke. Okay.

Carl:
Yeah. We met, geez, what year did we meet in?

Mindy:
1998. Thanks for remembering.

Carl:
Oh, that was a long time ago.

Mindy:
It was a long time ago.

Carl:
Yeah. Do you remember our first date?

Mindy:
I do. You took me to a terrible barbecue joint. I didn’t like their barbecue sauce. I don’t want to name them because they actually do a really good job with the meat. They just don’t have good barbecue sauce.

Carl:
Well, you’re not going to like your 20 year anniversary surprise then.

Mindy:
Not if you’re taking me there.

Carl:
Yeah. Do you remember what I did on that date? Because I had actually forgotten. And you reminded me of it, I think earlier this year probably. Yeah. What did I do?

Mindy:
Well, okay. This is leading the witness. You used a coupon on our first date, which I thought was rather savvy. And I was reminded of that when I saw some woman tweet out her disappointment. When she went on a date. She’s like, “Can you believe it? He used a coupon. I’m done with him.” And I was like, wow. Carl used a coupon on our first date. That’s not stupid to try and save money. He’s not being cheap to try and save money. Why pay full price when you don’t have to? And the responses to this particular comment were a lot women. “Hey, send him my way. I’ll go out with a guy who uses a coupon. I don’t care,” like blah, blah, blah. But yeah, I told you about that.

Carl:
Yeah. I admit that I was a little bit horrified when you mentioned it. I’m not sure if I would do the same thing if I was hypothetically dating in the current age. It sends a message.

Mindy:
Yeah. It better be hypothetical.

Carl:
And the fact that you remember the coupon means it stuck out, I guess.

Mindy:
I don’t know that stuck out is the right word, but it was, I don’t know. I used coupons too. It wasn’t a big deal.

Carl:
Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know. It definitely could have sent the wrong message, but I think it was a filter. One pretty unique thing, considering the place where we are now. I have a podcast about money and I write about money. You have a podcast about money. And the funny thing is we never actually talked about money when we were dating or I don’t think we even talked about it before we got married. This might be the first time we’re ever to talking about money right now.

Mindy:
This isn’t even close to the first time we’re ever talking about money. We talk about money all the time, but he’s right. When we were dating, we didn’t talk about money. And I have said this a couple of times on the show, not that you have ever listened, but I have said we didn’t need to talk about money because we knew that we were both on the same page by actions. When you’re learning to read there’s these things called context clues where you might not know what the word means, but all the words surrounding the word gives you an idea of what that new word might mean. I didn’t need to have this money conversation with him because he drove an older car and he lived in a house that he owned and didn’t rent and it had been his grandmother’s house. And when you went into it, it wasn’t filled with trendy furniture. I think the walls were still pink when we first met. His grandmother was a big fan of pink. So pink walls, pink carpet, pink cup, pink couch. He…

Carl:
Lots of pink.

Mindy:
Lots of pink.

Carl:
And for our wallpaper. And we both had these horrible cars, but yours was way more horrible than mine. Do you remember your car at the time?

Mindy:
Yes. Yes. It was a 1987 Toyota Corolla FX, which is not standard. It’s not your normal Corolla. It’s a hatchback. It’s super ugly.

Carl:
I liked it. I like that style of car, but yours was not in particularly good condition.

Mindy:
No, I hit something with it.

Carl:
Yeah. You hit a lot of things.

Mindy:
Yeah. I rear-ended somebody really, really hard.

Carl:
Oh. And this was before phones. You weren’t even looking at your phone.

Mindy:
I wasn’t. Just the light turned green, so I went.

Carl:
And then you got that other green Toyota, which might have even been a worse car.

Mindy:
Yes. I only got that one because it was so cheap because somebody had smoked, I don’t know, 10,000 cigars in it with no windows down.

Carl:
Yeah.

Mindy:
I mean, when you don’t have any money and you need a new car, you have to buy whatever piece of garbage is on the lot. Yeah. So I used to be really bad with money. I wasn’t necessarily bad with money. I just didn’t have any money to be good with.

Carl:
Yeah. But I think that was a Limus test. The whole car thing was a Limus test. Do you remember the story about my boss at-

Mindy:
I remember, but why don’t you tell our listeners?

Carl:
So I had a boss and one day I showed up to work and she’s got this super fancy new car. And I’m like, oh, it’s pretty nice. I’m actually a car person. But I had a much older, much crappier car. And she’s like, “Hey Carl, you need to get one of these too.” I’m like, “Well, I don’t think I really need to. The car that I drive every day works fine. It’s not that old. It’s reliable. It’s not nickel diming me. Why do I need to replace this? And she’s like, “Well, you’re single, right?” I’m like, “Yeah.” And she’s like, “And you want to get married someday, right?” And I’m like, oh, this is going in a very bad place. We can see where this is going at this point. She’s like, “Well, you need ways to demonstrate that you have a good income and wealth to a potential suitor. So you should get a nice car, so you can show people that you have money.”
And she was a very good boss. I liked her a lot. Great boss, except for that. And I guess it was the whole culture of this place. I don’t know if I ever mentioned this to you, but whenever someone would get a new car at this job, they would take a picture of it and send it to the whole email list for our department. So every day you’d have a picture of a Lexus or some other fancy car. And they’re, “Oh, look at this.” And everyone would send a congratulatory high five. Were emoji’s a thing back then? I don’t think so. We’re pretty old, but like, “Oh, that’s awesome of you.”
So, yeah. And the irony is we’re still married and my boss got divorced soon after that.

Mindy:
Yeah.

Carl:
And I think we didn’t talk about money, but we had those context clues. We had the filters in there. We didn’t go to super fancy places. We didn’t go on extravagant vacations. We drove these old cars. So even though we didn’t talk about it, we just knew. Although there was one thing I did talk about and it made you angry. Do you remember what that thing was?

Mindy:
Oh, the prenup?

Carl:
Yes. Yes. That’s it. You do remember.

Mindy:
Yes, I remember. So at the time I had not talked to Aaron Lowry who had the really great line where if you are married, you already have a prenup. It is the divorce laws of the state in which you reside. And if you don’t like those laws, you should write your own in the form of a prenup. And I heard Carl say, “Well, we might not last. So we should get a prenup.” And I told him, “No, sir, we are not getting a prenup. We are going to stay married forever.” And look, we are still married. And when we started out together, what did we have? A whole lot of nothing.

Carl:
True.

Mindy:
I mean, you had a crappy car. I had a crappy car. I owned my condo. And I don’t think you had bought that house yet, actually.

Carl:
Yeah, you’re correct. I don’t think I had. So you probably should have, have got a prenup to protect yourself for me, actually.

Mindy:
I should have. I should have.

Carl:
I was looking out for you.

Mindy:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). So anyway, the prenup, now if I were to… See, I don’t even like to talk about this. If I were to enter into a marriage with somebody else, I now have something to protect. Having a prenup would be something that I would want to do. But back then we really didn’t have anything. I mean, what did we have, like $40,000 in student loan debt. And I had a $40,000 condo. We really were pretty much nothing.

Carl:
We had our love for each other and that’s all we needed.

Mindy:
Oh, vomit.

Carl:
And that’s all we’ll ever need.
Yeah. But I think prenups are a pretty good idea. It’s like insurance, you don’t buy a home insurance policy because you plan on your house burning down or a tornado coming and destroying it. You’re buying it for, you’re buying the home insurance policy on a beautiful sunny day to protect yourself against that disaster that probably will never happen. And I think divorces are probably much more likely than tornadoes or home fires. Yeah. And that’s why you should have it.

Mindy:
But should we have gotten a prenup?

Carl:
No.

Mindy:
We didn’t have anything.

Carl:
Yeah.

Mindy:
So a prenup is for people who have assets. A prenup is for people when assets are disparate. We had the same, nothing. Actually, I was richer than you. So I should have gotten a prenup.

Carl:
Yeah. You were richer. I had college debt. I had all kinds of stuff. You should have never been with me. Yeah.

Mindy:
Okay. So that is, we kicked that dead horse.

Carl:
Yeah. We should talk about how we got into home flipping.

Mindy:
Oh. We got into, oh, that was me too. Wow. I’m just like the rock star of everything here.

Carl:
Yeah. I’m pretty much worthless.

Mindy:
So we get into home flipping because I was poor. I had no money and I had been renting an apartment. And I decided that renting was throwing away my money. At that time, I truly believed that. Now, of course, I believe that there are times where renting is a better choice than owning, especially if you’re living in a high cost of living area. I was not, and renting, or buying a house turned out to be a really good idea for me. I bought a condo, but because I was poor, I couldn’t afford anything nice. I bought a very ugly condo and I made it very nice.
When we got married, he was living in his grandmother’s house. His grandmother had passed away and he had a house which, how do I say this without sounding like such a snob? I thought a house was better than a condo. So I wanted to sell my condo and get rid of it and move into his house. Plus he had a very large yard and it was nicer than my condo. So we went to sell my condo and I paid $50,000 for it. And four years later, I sold it for $75,000. And I paid off all the debt that I had. I didn’t have a ton of debt, but I paid off all the debt going into the marriage. And I thought, wow, if we could make a house nicer and sell it again, that would be really cool.
And there was this new thing out called the Patriot Act. It’s not called the Patriot Act. Something about in 1997 where you didn’t have to buy a new house with your money. You only had to live in there for two of the last five years. It’s now section 121 of the tax code, where if you buy a home and live in it as your primary residence for at least two of the last five years, you can pay no capital gains up to $250,000 if you’re single or up to $500,000 if you’re married. That’s the current laws on the books right now at the end of 2021 going into 2022. So if you’re listening to this a little bit later, things may have changed. It’s been on the chopping block for a while and it never pans out.
But prior to that, and this was 2002 that I sold my condo, prior to that 1997 law being passed that you had to take the money that you made from your house and put it into a bigger, better house or a more expensive house in order to not pay capital gains taxes on it. So like a combination between the section 121 and the 1031, and we could really nerd out if we want to, but that’s neither here nor there.

Carl:
Yeah. It was interesting. So we fixed up that house, sold that. And then we did it many more times, including the house we are sitting in right now. You can see if you’re watching this on YouTube, this part of the basement looks beautiful. But if the camera were to go over a little bit to my left, I guess on the camera, you would see a partially constructed basement. But yeah, we put ourselves through a lot of stuff.
I was thinking about it the other day. One of them we did, and it turned out to be financially good, but not lifestyle good was one that was about an hour and a half train ride away from our job. So we would wake up at like five in the morning, drive down to the train station.

Mindy:
Oh, is that Geneva?

Carl:
Yeah. And then we had to walk super far away, because the parking lot was far away. Jump on this train, ride that. And some days we’d stay up until 10 or 11 at night just working on this house and then we’d repeat the thing the next day. And it was just, yeah.

Mindy:
That was awful. And we didn’t have kids at the time. So it was different. That was the last one we didn’t have kids for.

Carl:
Yeah. I guess I would not take it back. Financially, we did well on it and we escaped the recession. We sold that one in 2006, right before the big, bad recession happened, which affected houses drastically.

Mindy:
Yeah, especially that far out.

Carl:
Yeah. And I think this one we’re sitting in will probably be our last big one. I have noticed-

Mindy:
Let me confirm that for you. This will be our last big one. I am too old for this. We’ve reached the position in our financial journey where we don’t need to continue to live in this chaotic mess to be financially independent anymore. So this will be our last big, all out flip. I will probably buy another house that has an ugly kitchen and do it the way that I want it. We just finished our kitchen, and it’s a lot of fun to have the kitchen that you want. We added a lot of extra space. He designed it. It’s gorgeous. And it’s just, it’s so much better than the kitchen that was here before. And I’m very excited about having the kitchen that I want. So I might do that again, but I don’t want to do… And I mean every single wall in this house will be touched.

Carl:
Yeah. But what if we find another one that’s a really good deal?

Mindy:
Oh, no. Just say no.

Carl:
Yeah. It had its place, but we’re done with that.

Mindy:
Yeah. In the beginning we had more time than money and now we have switched and we have more money than time. We have two children. I have a job. He’s unemployed. You’re supposed to laugh at that, so people know that’s-

Carl:
I’m employed. I’m hurt. I’m going to cry. Excuse me audience.

Mindy:
Oh, you’re not going to cry.

Carl:
I’ll be back in a minute.

Mindy:
Oh, whatever. You’re not going to cry.

Carl:
I might be underemployed.

Mindy:
Do you have a job?

Carl:
What is a job?

Mindy:
A W2 job where they pay you just show up every day.

Carl:
So anyone who’s a contract worker who doesn’t get a W2 is unemployed?

Mindy:
Oh, boy. This is my podcast. You’re not supposed to be interrogating me.

Carl:
I’m looking out for the other. I’m looking out for everyone.

Mindy:
Okay. Whatever. We need to get back to the Finance Friday.

Carl:
Okay. Let’s talk about your 401k. One of my favorite stories when we were dating is when you talked to your HR department about contributing to your 401k. Why don’t you tell that story?

Mindy:
Oh. So it was at the end of the year and we were doing 401k election for the next year. And I filled out that I wanted to contribute 100% of my salary starting in January, so that I could max out my 401k. And my HR rep, I just filled out the paperwork, she’d given it to everybody and turned it in. She’s going through all the documentation and she comes over to me and she says, “You can’t do this.” And I said, “Why not?” She said, “Because you won’t get a paycheck.” And I said, “That’s okay. I know that I won’t get a paycheck. I want to contribute a hundred percent of my pay to my 401k, so that I can max it out as soon as possible in the beginning of the year.” And she said, “But you won’t get paid.” And I said, “Yes, we’ve already established that. I’m okay with that. My husband has a job. He’ll put food on the table.”
And she came back to me three at times before she would put that paperwork through. And then even after the first of the year at the first paycheck, she came up to me and she’s like, “Are you okay?” She’s like, “You can change that at any time.” I’m like, “I don’t want to change it. I want to max it out. I want to borrow from my future paycheck so I can max it all out right now,” but she won’t let me do that, so I just have to wait. At that time, I was making $30,000 a year and the 401k contributions were $15,000 was the max. So I had to wait until June, I think before I could max out my 401k and start getting a paycheck again.

Carl:
I’m trying to think of what year, what we invested in at that time. I’m sure we have no idea. Do you remember what? I don’t think they had Vanguard.

Mindy:
That was a hundred years ago. I can’t remember what I did yesterday.

Carl:
Yeah. They probably didn’t [inaudible 00:21:08] but there’s a good lesson in that. If you’re young and you can hack it, max out your investments.

Mindy:
And at that time, I was making $30,000 a year. How much were you making? You were like 80 or 90?

Carl:
No, I don’t think it was that much.

Mindy:
70. Whatever you were making we could live off of very easily.

Carl:
Yeah. I think it was $65,000, if I remember it right.

Mindy:
Okay. So you were making 65, which we could have lived off of my 30.

Carl:
Yeah, probably.

Mindy:
So we could live off of yours. We could afford to put all of mine into the 401k. And I think you were still contributing to your 401k.

Carl:
Yeah.

Mindy:
But that was a long time ago. Anyway, yes, that’s the lesson to be learned. Max it out as early as you can. If you can’t max it out, put in as much as you can. Get used to contributing to your 401k as early as you possibly can.

Carl:
So before we end this segment, I have two questions for you. I’m going to spring these up on you and you’ve read my board.

Mindy:
Oh. Oh, okay. Good.

Carl:
So should we have done anything differently? Is there anything that you think-

Mindy:
Yeah. I should have got a prenup.

Carl:
Whoa. Whoa. Is there a such a thing as like-

Mindy:
A postnup? There sure is.

Carl:
No, not a… Well, a postnup is called a divorce attorney and-

Mindy:
No. There’s a thing called a postnup.

Carl:
Really? Okay. So we could do that right now?

Mindy:
We could, but…

Carl:
Dangerous territory. Warning Will Robinson.

Mindy:
Yeah. We’re not going to postnup either.

Carl:
Yeah. So that’s something you get. Do people? Is that common?

Mindy:
No, I don’t think it’s common, although I’m really just making that up right now. I have no idea.

Carl:
Okay.

Mindy:
I don’t know anybody that has one, but you can get a postnup if you choose.

Carl:
Okay. So we can go to an attorney right now and have something written up that says, if we get divorced, since you’re so much more skilled, I should get 95% because you’ll be able to earn money and I pretty much have no earning potential because as you have established, I don’t have a job right now. And let’s face it, I’m probably unemployable by any measure.

Mindy:
No, we’re not going to go get a postnup.

Carl:
90%? 85%?

Mindy:
What’s the other question you were going to spring at me?

Carl:
The other question was we talked about how we did not talk much about money. Just hypothetically speaking, if I was out of the picture, but everything else was the same and you were dating, what would you ask a potential suitor? And how soon would you do it? Would you bring it up right there on the first date? Like, “What’s your savings rate?” Or would you hold off? Would you bring a coupon on the first date?

Mindy:
Oh, well, not that I’ve thought about going on dates with other men, but I would probably… It’s a big deal and I would probably bring it up on the first or second date.

Carl:
Okay.

Mindy:
I don’t want to get involved with somebody at this stage in my life where I am old and set in my ways, I do not want to get in involved with somebody that I am going to have to retrain about money.

Carl:
Yeah.

Mindy:
And that sounds terrible and I don’t even care because A, I don’t even want to date anybody. You’re not allowed to die on me and you’re not allowed to get a divorce. So there we go.

Carl:
Interesting. I had a follow to it. What was it? Yeah, it’s always awkward because it’s taboo in our society to talk about money, but it’s one of those things that I think if you are dating, you should get it out of the way as soon as possible because it’s pretty difficult to change people. And money is a fundamental value, right? On the surface, money seems superficial and it seems like a shallow thing to talk about, but money informs our values. If you’ve got money together and if you’ve got a big savings rate, you probably have a lot of other things in common. So yeah, I would agree. I think hypothetically speaking, if I work to date, not that I want to or [crosstalk 00:25:01].

Mindy:
You’re not allowed.

Carl:
Yeah. I do not want to do that, but yeah, I think you should talk about it right away. This comes up all the time in the FI community, how there should be an FI dating site, like plenty of 401ks. I don’t know. What do we call it? But then I think the issue with it is you might get some gold diggers on there too. Like they know the FI community. We probably have an above average savings rate, So we have above average money. So how do you filter out the people who just want, the gold Digger types?

Mindy:
I don’t know. And I think that, well, I think it’s easy to filter them out just based on attitude. I mean, I’m not asking you, what is your savings rate? If I’m a gold digger, I’m asking you how much money do you make?

Carl:
Yeah.

Mindy:
I’m not interested in your 401k balance. I want to know how much money you have to spend on me, right? Isn’t that what gold diggers do?

Carl:
Yeah. I think so. Sounds right.

Mindy:
So I think there are ways around it. And I mean, you can tell when somebody is just interested in your money for the sake of your money. I am pretty obnoxious when I meet somebody.

Carl:
Wait, just when you meet someone.

Mindy:
Yeah. Yeah. Just when I meet them. And well, when the subject turns to money or what they do for a living. Like we met somebody at the HQ and he has some company and I was asking him all these questions about the company. And after a few minutes I’m like, oh, context clues. He’s getting a little uncomfortable. I’m like, “Sorry, that’s my job.” But he was like, “Got to go.” And then I didn’t talk to him the rest of the night. So I felt bad that I kept badgering him about it, but I was just like fascinated by his job. I thought it was very interesting. It was not a job that would’ve occurred to me. Like he created a company and I would not have created that company.

Carl:
Yeah. Yeah. Money’s always a funny thing to talk about. And it’s so interesting because everyone approaches it and everyone has a completely different view on how open we should be. I’m pretty transparent about it, and I’ll tell you why in a second. But since I’m transparent, other people who have the same mindset think they could be transparent with me. So probably at least once a month, I’ll get some person on the internet, some random person saying, “Oh yeah, here’s how old I am. Here’s my job. Here’s how much I make. And here’s how much I saved.” And it’s pretty surprising, because most people it’s like talking about sex or religion, right? That is a taboo subject. But to have strangers email you that, but I wish we were all more like that because I think the reason people sometimes do unhealthy things with money, like buy expensive things.
This was in the first paragraph of The Millionaire Next Door when they started looking to survey millionaires, the first thing they did is went to a fancy neighborhood with huge houses and nice cars. And they said what they quickly discovered is these people actually don’t have money. They want to show that they have money, but the real millionaires of the people who live in a modest middle class home. So I think if we did talk more about money, maybe there’d be less behavior like that because we could help each other out and we wouldn’t have to demonstrate wealth that we don’t have to impress people we don’t care about, or whatever that quote is. Sorry, whoever said that. I just butchered it. I think it was the minimalist dudes who said that. So yeah.

Mindy:
People email me all of the time with their financial situation. So that’s not that unusual.

Carl:
Yeah. Sometimes it’s fun. Like some people have a lot of money and I’m like, “Can I have some of that?” Just kidding. But if you would like to send us a check, our address is…

Mindy:
Stop. I said that on the Brad Finn episode and Hugh Carnahan sent me $7 in the mail to buy me a beer.

Carl:
Wow. I didn’t see that $7.

Mindy:
He didn’t send it to you.

Carl:
Wow. That could buy you a pretty nice beer, $7.

Mindy:
Yeah.

Carl:
You’re not drinking a Coors Banquet at that.

Mindy:
I’m not drinking a Coors Banquet. That is a true statement. Where did this cord go?

Carl:
So one last thing before we finished up this section is I put this shelf on like five minutes before we recorded, just so there’d be something more interesting than a blank wall. And everything on here has a little bit of significance. If you’ve read my blog or followed me, there’s dinosaurs up there, but this is something we bought on our honeymoon and it supposedly has some happy, happy, nice, nice thing. Not like the Tiki curse from The Brady Bunch or whatever that was. And I felt bad about buying this because this is pretty cool. Whoever made this put a lot of work into it. If you’re listening to this I’m showing, what is this, a Tiki doll?

Mindy:
A Tiki God?

Carl:
Yeah. And I thought it was really cool. We stopped by this roadside stand on Maui, and these two guys were carving these things on the spot. And this is a super elaborate carving. And I’m just like, “Hey, I’ll give you 20 bucks for it.” And they’re like, “Oh yeah, sure. Take it.” And then I have a look and there’s a price tag at $23. And I always felt bad because I didn’t mean to pay them less than they deserved. So sometime we’ll have to go back to ma and if we find those guys, I’ll give them the $3-

Mindy:
Yeah. We’ll find those guys.

Carl:
Plus a tip. Yeah, we probably won’t actually find them, but there you have it.
Should we talk about our 2021 year in review?

Mindy:
Whew, 2021 year in review is ugly. We based our FI number of $1 million on spending $40,000 a year. We were quite certain that we would be spending $3,000 a month, which is $36,000 a year. And we gave ourselves a little bit of a buffer in case something weird came up. So we estimated did we would be spending $40,000 a year on our life. And then we hit that number and you didn’t retire. We doubled that number and then you retired.

Carl:
Yeah.

Mindy:
Right. And you’ve been retired for four years?

Carl:
April of 2017. So coming on five years, yeah.

Mindy:
Coming on five years. And last year we spent $49,500 on home improvements, just home improvements, the basement, the washer and dryer, the flooring, the solar panels, the shed, the kitchen all adds up to $49,500. And we also spent money to live.

Carl:
But the house spending is always a little bit easier to justify. For example, we spent $15,000 on a basement remodel, but I took 500 square feet of unfinished space and pretty much finished the basement for that much. If I were to pay someone, it would have been probably $75,000. Labor is so expensive.

Mindy:
Yeah.

Carl:
So we added a ton of value to the house for only $15,000. The kitchen, we spent $10,000 on that. I think we’re going to show some kitchen pictures on the YouTube video and it’s incredible. It’s night and day. And it was a lot of work. Again, we do this work ourselves. I don’t know if we said that or if people know that, but-

Mindy:
I think people know that, but we didn’t say that here. Yeah. That is one of the reasons why we were able to only spend $49,500 to completely redo the basement or I’m sorry, to completely finish the basement, to buy a washer and dryer to install flooring in, well, we bought the flooring for the end tire house. It’s not all in yet. The solar panels, the shed and the kitchen.

Carl:
Yeah. Just the kitchen to basement would’ve been well over 100,000 if we would’ve paid someone. They’re up to $25,000 now. Do you know how much we’ve paid people to do work? I’m thinking about it right now and I know the answer.

Mindy:
On this house?

Carl:
Yeah. We’ve paid people to do two tasks.

Mindy:
There was the electricity in the backyard.

Carl:
Electricity in the backyard. Oh, yeah. I guess three tasks.

Mindy:
There was the drywall here.

Carl:
Yep.

Mindy:
I don’t know what else we paid for. Oh, the concrete on the shed.

Carl:
Yeah. So that was the concrete was like $1,000. I think the drywall was $2,000 and the electric was 200 bucks or something.

Mindy:
He charged $2,000 for the drywall?

Carl:
Yeah.

Mindy:
Whoa. He needs to raise his rate.

Carl:
Yeah. It was a pretty good deal. He did a nice job.

Mindy:
He did a great job.

Carl:
He was here for a month, but that’s it. We try to do whatever we can or ourselves. And part of it just is labor is so expensive here.

Mindy:
Well, and finding somebody to call you back is so hard.

Carl:
Yeah.

Mindy:
You can call 15 people and not one person answers their phone and none of them return your call. And it’s really frustrating. So I mean, that’s how we started in the first place doing it ourselves was because that plumber never called you back.

Carl:
Yep. So we spent $49,500 on home improvements, but we’ll get all that back and much more at some future point in time. So that’s an investment in our future. But that spending and living in a house that’s a construction zone also cost increases in other spending too when you don’t have a kitchen for a month. And how long did we go without the kitchen for?

Mindy:
It was like a month. And we went out to eat a lot. I don’t even want to look at our November, December going out to eat budget.

Carl:
Yeah. I have-

Mindy:
So I’m not going to.

Carl:
Mindy’s probably going to throw me under the bus at this moment. And she’ll rightfully do this, but the solar panels on top of the house were a big job. And I was doing that and the kitchen simultaneously, which probably wasn’t the greatest of ideas.

Mindy:
Wow. If only somebody would’ve said something like, “Hey, maybe don’t do two giant projects at the same time.”

Carl:
Well, I was so worried about, there’s been all these shortages with materials. So I’m like, we have to order this stuff now. And I want the tax credit for the panels before the end of the year. Like we might order it now and we won’t see these materials for a month or two months. And in both cases, we ordered the materials and then they’re like-

Mindy:
Instant.

Carl:
Like, “We can deliver it by the end of the week.” I’m like, “Really?” Like, oh, wasn’t expecting that. So it’s my fault. All this stuff showed up and then I went to work on it. I wanted to get the panels done before it got cold. I don’t know why I wanted to get the kitchen done so fast. The old one was horrific.

Mindy:
Well, and you wanted to get the panels done. You’re not a, I can sit around kind of guy. If the stuff is there to do, you will do it. And it’s great I don’t have half finished stuff, but you don’t seem to take any time for yourself.

Carl:
And I wanted to have the kitchen done for you and your birthday.

Mindy:
Oh, shut up.

Carl:
I just made that up right now.

Mindy:
We didn’t even start it before until after my birthday, you big weirdo.

Carl:
Yeah, that’s right. Whoops. Yeah. Okay.

Mindy:
Yeah. Okay. You wanted it done for your birthday.

Carl:
Were the solar panels done for your birthday?

Mindy:
No.

Carl:
Happy birthday. Here’s some free electricity.

Mindy:
Here’s some free electricity. So I will take a moment to say that the solar panels, you said we’ll get all of our money back. All of that $49,000 we will see. That will definitely come back to us. However, $14,000 of that was for solar panels and we live in an area of the world that gets 330 days of sun every year. And our city buys electricity from us at retail rates, which is not normal. Most cities when they’re buying your excess electricity from solar panels buys it from you at the wholesale rate, which is a significantly lower rate. So we are making a lot of money off of our solar panels. What are we generating, twice as much as we need?

Carl:
Yeah. I put 200% of our annual usage on the roof, which is the maximum that you can do per Colorado law.

Mindy:
Yeah. So we’re making more electricity than we need and we’re making money off of the solar panels. But solar panels, while they’re a great thing for the environment, they don’t add any value to your house. Not even in Colorado where we get all this sun, not even in our city where we have this high rate the electric company buys from us. Solar panels are still not a really great thing from a house perspective, but we did it anyway because they’re good for the environment.

Carl:
Yeah. And I’m a nerd. I can’t and stand the thought of free photons. That’s the thing that the sun shoots out. They take eight minutes to get here. They hit the panel. They create the electrolytic effect, which moves electrons, causes them to come out your outlets or back into the grid, depending on how much you’re using. And yeah, I can’t stand all that free energy, hitting our roof and just heating up our roof, actually destroying our roof. Now we have free energy.

Mindy:
You are a nerd.

Carl:
And the $14,000 by the way is before the tax credit. So we’ll get about 26% off of that.

Mindy:
Do they just send us a check or how does that work?

Carl:
No. It’s a tax credit. So we’ll owe less than taxes.

Mindy:
Oh, you said that. I’m sorry.

Carl:
Yeah. It’s okay.

Mindy:
Let’s see. What else do we do? We did the basement. Oh, washer and dryer. Why is that a project?

Carl:
We moved the washer and dryer upstairs. They were in the basement.

Mindy:
That’s very generous that you say we to include me in that. They were just right over here and we live in a split level. And so you have to walk up one to three flights of stairs to get from where we live to where the washing machine was. And in one of our past flips, he had made the washing machine up on the main level or the bedroom level and it was heaven. So he moved it up there. We have a stackable washer and dryer. He took some space out of our master bedroom closet and moved the washer and dryer up there with the help of the guys who moved the refrigerator.

Carl:
Yeah. And again, you mentioned that you did not do any of the work. I did it all, but again, I did it for you with the intention of having it done for your birthday.

Mindy:
Oh wow. It’s getting deep in here.

Carl:
I just made that up.

Mindy:
You did just make that up. The flooring, we moved into a house, I can’t believe this even exists, we moved into a house with white carpet. And our kids are like, it was white, how about some ketchup? How about some black slim? How about just stains everywhere? So we knew we weren’t going to keep the white carpet. So we didn’t really try real hard to keep it clean. And our kids are like, well, let’s make that really awful. So we have been slowly replacing it with luxury vinyl plank, which basically it’s made out of PVC pipe or the white outflow pipe for your water in your house. And it is 100% water proof, not just water resistant. And our kids are testing that theory out too by spilling stuff all over the floor now. But it just wipes right up.
So we have it in the basement. We have it in the fireplace level. We have it in the next level and we just don’t have it yet on the bedroom levels. And that’s the last level to do.

Carl:
Yeah.

Mindy:
But that was $5,000. We bought it all at once, so that we didn’t not have enough to do the whole house. We wanted it all done in the same flooring. We’ve lived in houses that had what, 10 different kinds of flooring in there? That’s not so great.

Carl:
Yeah.

Mindy:
We talked about the solar panels. The shed he has, oh, our last house we had a garage mahal. And this house we have a two car garage that’s very, very tight. And he owns every tool that Home Depot sells. So we needed a place to store them. You should start locking that.

Carl:
Yeah. I should start to lock it. And I wanted to have the shed done in time for your birthday. I think I did have the shed. Yeah.

Mindy:
That’s so sweet of you.

Carl:
Yeah. I figured it could be a backup house or backup studio for you if you ever want to move out there.

Mindy:
Yeah, I don’t. It doesn’t have electricity.

Carl:
It’s like you ever read Walden? That could be your Walden. You can go out there, that’s peace and quiet.

Mindy:
Peace and quiet, that would be nice. And then the kitchen, which we will show pictures of. We will have before and after pictures in the YouTube video. And I will include them in the show notes, which can be found at biggerpockets.com/moneyshow262. We’ll just do a quick before and after. I am also going to do a rundown of my experience with the Ikea kitchen. We did cabinets from Ikea, countertops from Ikea and there’s pros and cons to an Ikea kitchen. It looks gorgeous. As you can see in the pictures, if you’ve gone and checked out the pictures. Or if you’re watching the video, we’ve had our video editor, Joel splice in some pictures. So you can see how beautiful the kitchen looks now. I’m really excited with the way it turned out. And $10,000 is practically free for a kitchen of this size. And that is one of the pros of the Ikea kitchen is that it is so inexpensive.
But back to that $49,500 price tag, we did not make our financial independence number based on spending all of this extra money on these projects. And we knew we were going to spend this money on these projects because we do the live-in flip, where we move into a house, we spend money making it nicer, and then we sell it for a profit after two years. We’ve actually been here for two years now and we’ll probably stay here until our youngest, who is in sixth grade currently is out of high school and maybe longer. So we’re not really looking for a super quick flip on this one. Normally we would get that money back rather quickly because we sell the house. So this money is going to be sitting there for a while, but we also spent a lot of money outside of that. We didn’t just spend our $36,000 this year.

Carl:
Yeah. This leads us to our wins and losses for the year. The floor caused us to spend more money because when you’re super busy with stuff, a lot of times you don’t feel like making dinner. If you don’t actually have a catch done, you can’t make dinner except for microwave popcorn in the basement. And that gets old after a while.

Mindy:
You can make, I mean, if you have a job and you’re planning ahead, if you don’t have all this stuff going on, you can make crockpot meals and you can have salads all the time. And there are ways to do it if you have more time than money, but we don’t have a lot of time. So we decided that we were just going to go out to dinner, which is stupid because by the time you get in the car, go to the restaurant, sit down, order, they make your food and bring it to you and you drive home, you could have already been done cooking and cleaning up your dinner at home without having to go out.

Carl:
Yeah. Do dishes in the bathtub. We’ve been there and done that.

Mindy:
Yeah. Doing dishes in the bathtub, the best ever.

Carl:
The shower’s like a dishwasher, especially if you’ve got the head you can remove and you’re just like a human dishwasher, right?

Mindy:
Yeah. That’s awesome. I totally recommend that.

Carl:
So I think our spending was a little bit higher there. We probably spent about $50,000 outside of home improvement expenses, which isn’t too bad.

Mindy:
Well, it isn’t too bad in the context of our financial situation. We can afford that, but it is too bad in the context of our financial independence number, where we truly thought we were going to be spending $36,000 a year.

Carl:
Yeah. Well, it’s been a couple years too. And we get to ratchet it up for inflation as well, but probably we would not be at $50,000.

Mindy:
I’m pretty sure that we didn’t just spend $50,000. See, and that is another thing. We didn’t really track our spending this year. And when I say didn’t really, I mean, not at all. I think I started in January for a week and a half or something in January of 2021. I was tracking my spending and I’m like, I just keep forgetting to enter things in. So in 2022, there’s a link in the show notes. I believe biggerpockets.com/ mindysbudget. M-I-N-D-Y-S-B-U-D-G-E-T. You can follow along with my real time spending tracker. You can see where I am coming in at, or under budget, where I am going way over.
Some of these numbers because I haven’t been tracking, I have no idea what to put in our food budget. And I have no idea what to put in our electric budget. I’m going to go back based on the electricity that we had last year. And we do have the solar panels. So there’s a little bit of mental gymnastics there because we did take out a margin loan to pay for the solar panels. Do you want to talk about that?

Carl:
Yeah. Now is our super steep time to buy money.

Mindy:
Borrow money.

Carl:
Yeah. What did I say, buy money?

Mindy:
Buy money.

Carl:
Oh yeah. Maybe we’re buying money. Anyway, you can get a loan for 1% through a lot of brokerages, like Interactive Brokers or for E-Trade, I think over the long term my money will do a lot better than percent and probably even the short term as well. So we paid for the solar panels with a margin loan and we’ll use the dividends that come from our investments to pay off that margin loan. The risk to that is if rates do go up and there’s been threats of that lately because of inflation, if rates do go up, the margin loan rate is variable. So we might be in a situation where we do have to sell stocks eventually. And I guess the risk to the whole thing is that we’re selling stocks, there’s future time to pay off the panels and there’s some big market disruption, so we’re selling them at a lesser value than they are now. But yeah, I like to play around with things a little bit, maybe too much.

Mindy:
Well, and this is a $14,000 loan. They gave us a limit that we could borrow and we’re nowhere near our limit. And this is something that we could pay off fairly easily. I’m a real estate agent. If all of a sudden we need to pay this off, we could swing a couple of months of higher interest rates while I’m waiting for a house to close and take the commission and use it to pay that down.

Carl:
Yeah.

Mindy:
We have a lot of different levers we can pull. We’re not just dependent upon one.

Carl:
Yeah. I’m not too concerned.

Mindy:
No, I’m not too concerned either. It seems a little risky with the phrase margin loan, but the amount that they said we could borrow versus the amount that we actually borrowed, there’s a huge delta.

Carl:
Yep.

Mindy:
Yeah. So next year I think the keys to our success in getting our spending under control is tracking our spending and being cognizant of where our money is going actively. I do it best when I’m constantly tracking it.

Carl:
And that brings up a question. We’ve used the spending tracker that the Waffles on Wednesday blog people invented. You’ve had them on The BiggerPockets Money Podcast before. And they’ve been on the Mile High FI Podcast. The thing I like about that tracker that a lot of people don’t like is that it’s manual. It’s not like mint or your credit card company might send you an itemized list of what you’ve spent it on. And I know you can do that online now, but this forces you to put it in. And it’s like, if you buy something stupid, you have to sit there and enter it in like a little walk of shame after you do it. So I like the active nature of it. Do you like the active nature of it? Do you want to use that tracker?

Mindy:
Yes, I do want to use that same tracker. I’ve got it all set up, so we have to.

Carl:
Okay, cool.

Mindy:
But I like the active nature of it because I am doing it in real time. And when we first started tracking our spending back in Parker, we had that notebook out on the countertop. And every time I would come in through the garage, that’s where I’d put my keys and I would, oh, I’ve got to write down my expenses. And we would add them up as we were going. And it was shocking how fast your spending adds up when you’re just not thinking about it. And seeing it in real time adding up and you’re like, oh, I spend $3,000 a month. And then you’re on day eight of the month. And you’re like, I’ve already spent $2,500. How am I only going to spend 500 more dollars for the rest of the month when I’ve already spent $2,500 so soon? Clearly I’m not spending what I think I’m spending.
So having that in your face is very sobering. It’s very helpful to keep you accountable because when you’re not thinking about it, your dollars just fly out of your wallet. And when I’m doing this tracker, it’s not showing me the adding up all the time, but I know that you’re looking at it all the time.
And this is where I’m not quite sure how to phrase this, so I’m just going to blurt it out, you don’t control my spending. I can spend whatever I want to. I just don’t because I don’t need all this garbage, but it’s a lot easier to spend $20 on makeup that I don’t need when I’m going about the course of my day and I don’t have to be accountable to you. But when I am going through, oh, I’m at T.J. Maxx, and I’m just going to buy this. Well, I know that you’re going to ask me, “What did you buy at T.J. Maxx?” Not in an accusatory tone, not in a we’re not going to be able to eat because you keep spending money at this store, but just, “Hey, what did you buy there? We didn’t really talk about this.” And I’m not trying to throw you under the bus, but it sure sounds like you are a dictator.

Carl:
No. Well, I do think it comes out of respect. Like you could buy whatever you want.

Mindy:
That’s it. It comes out of respect. This is our money and I’m not at all concerned when I’m buying something for the family, like food. I’m not going to call you up and be like, “Hey, can I spend a hundred dollars on groceries?” Because I know your answer’s going to be like, “Yeah, I don’t care.” But when I’m buying frivolous things that I don’t need, there needs to be some checks and balances. You also don’t spend money on dumb stuff.

Carl:
Sometimes I do.

Mindy:
Well, yeah, sometimes you do.

Carl:
But yeah, I don’t think any of us, either of us would ever say, no, you can’t buy… Although, the toilet brush thing at the store-

Mindy:
You have to replace your toilet brushes because they get gross.

Carl:
Do we have to do it every week though?

Mindy:
I don’t replace my toilet brushes every week.

Carl:
It seems like it.

Mindy:
Okay. You can email, what is the email address that you publicly-

Carl:
[email protected]

Mindy:
Okay. When I go to Ikea and it has been approximately a year since I have a new toilet brush, I will buy a toilet brush for every bathroom that we have. Yes, I am spending like that. And I have a 99 cent Ikea toilet bowl brush in every single bathroom, because I don’t want to carry that around my house and drip toilet bowl juice all over my house. It’s disgusting. So I keep them in the bathrooms and when they get all gross and chewed up at the bottom, which is a disgusting term, then you throw them away and you get a new one. And we were just there and I bought three and he got all frustrated.

Carl:
Maybe you’re brushing too aggressively, the fact that they don’t last.

Mindy:
Maybe you need to clean the toilet and you have to aggressively brush. Anyway, that’s an issue. So please let him know. Email me, [email protected] and I will forward to him and let him know just how frequently you change or replace your toilet brush.

Carl:
Yeah. I’m trying to think. What’s something we spend a lot of money on. There’s not many things.

Mindy:
Food.

Carl:
Like our daily drivers, the Honda element and the Mindy van as Mindy calls it. That’s a 2010 Mazda 5. So we don’t have fancy cars, so then you have cheap insurance. Like I’m trying to-

Mindy:
We don’t spend a lot of money on our day-to-day. And when we’re paying attention to it, I truly believe we can live on that $36,000 a year. But when we don’t pay attention to it, when we’re not tracking our spending, it’s just so easy to go to taco bell or go out to The Pump House or go wherever we’re going. And the money just floats away and there’s nothing to show for it. There’s nothing. Like I bought a pair of shoes because Claire wanted a pair of shoes. I didn’t need that pair of shoes. She didn’t need that pair of shoes either. So we just need to be more cognizant about it. And honestly, it turns into a game. Very quickly after I start tracking every expense, it turns into a game. How much, not how much, how little can I spend for the rest of the month? How little can I spend on groceries for the rest of the week? What meals can I make out of the pantry, so I don’t have to go to the grocery store and buy things? How little can I spend?
And what’s our mortgage payment, $1,300 a month?

Carl:
Yeah, I think so.

Mindy:
So our mortgage is $1,300 and we purposely have a mortgage payment. So that’s it’s never going to go below $1,300. We will have other expenses. I don’t think we can get it much below $2,000 a month.

Carl:
No.

Mindy:
But that might be fun to try.

Carl:
Yeah, maybe. It’s the one time expenses that get you, like the-

Mindy:
Yeah.

Carl:
That $1,300 doesn’t include our property taxes, which are pretty reasonable here in Colorado, but still they’re almost $3,000 a year. The auto insurance twice a year. There’s all those little one time expenses. Apparently your shoe purchases that you did not tell me about. That’s fine.

Mindy:
I didn’t tell you about it. Yeah.

Carl:
Do you still have the receipt? You said that neither of you needed the shoes.

Mindy:
Oh. We didn’t need them, but we’ve both worn them. So you can’t return them now.

Carl:
Wow. I don’t think I’ve bought shoes this year. Not that I’m [crosstalk 00:55:45]

Mindy:
Oh, yes you have.

Carl:
I don’t know. Our neighbors worked for Crocs and they gave us Crocs. That doesn’t count.

Mindy:
Yes, but you bought tennis shoes.

Carl:
Yeah.

Mindy:
You bought your new KEENs.

Carl:
Oh yeah. I guess I did. Sorry. And those were expensive too.

Mindy:
I think you got boots. Yeah, Mr. Spendy Pants.

Carl:
Well, you bought the boots for me, so does that count? I blame you for that.

Mindy:
Yeah. Okay.
So I had an episode with Ramit Sethi, and in the episode we talked about spending more money and not being so tight with the purse strings. And this is in direct conflict with that, but what I want to do is spend more on experiences with you and the girls and do less frivolous, mindless spending day-to-day. And I think keeping track of our expenses on these little things that easily get out of hand is going to be the key to that.

Carl:
Yeah. What is an experience that you would be willing to spend a chunk of money on?

Mindy:
Riding my bike.

Carl:
Riding your bike? That doesn’t cost. That saves us money because we’re not paying for fuel, and fuel’s expensive.

Mindy:
Going on a big bike ride.

Carl:
Okay. Oh, like a multi-day, organized.

Mindy:
Yeah.

Carl:
Okay. Yeah. That’d be fun. And I think we might have a European adventure this summer if COVID doesn’t ruin that.

Mindy:
We might have a European adventure. Our daughter is going to Germany?

Carl:
Yeah.

Mindy:
And we’ll go and visit her. Maybe, maybe not depending on what’s going on, but that’s the plan. And that’s the thing, I don’t go to Germany every day. We’re not Jake. We would like to go and see things. And that’s the spending that we have always been leery of doing where if you go on vacation, oh, we should go and have a really great dinner. Well, we’ll try to cook in the Airbnb that we’re staying in. And if there’s not a really great restaurant to go try, that’s fine, or if it’s breakfast, who cares. But if we’re in Germany, I would like to try some German food, some, not all of it. Some of it’s gross. Sorry, Germany.
I want to experience the things and go to the places because that’s maybe not a once in a lifetime opportunity, but we’re not going to go there again for a long time.

Carl:
Yeah.

Mindy:
I want to see the things and do the things. And I don’t want to think to myself, well, that’s $25 a person. I don’t know. But I can make dinner at home for a month to counterbalance that. You know what I mean?

Carl:
Yeah.

Mindy:
So that’s where I’m at.

Carl:
So as I see it, I think we have two main goals for 2022 and maybe a bunch of sub goals under that, but the first one is to slow our lives down a little bit. We were very busy with these [crosstalk 00:59:12].

Mindy:
Did you say a little?

Carl:
A lot. COVID interfered with my home improvement plans and I felt I had to catch up to some of that. And I wanted to give you the kitchen, the shed, the washer and dryer, the basement for your birthday. And I think I was successful. I’m not sure which birthday. It might be a future birthday-

Mindy:
Yeah.

Carl:
Because they’re still not done yet, but yes, slow our lives down. And this goes hand in hand with that, be more conscientious of our spending. And we weren’t that way all the time because we were so busy. It’s easier to spend a little bit of money to make your life a little bit easier and to save a couple minutes. But now that we won’t be rushing around so much, I think it’ll be easier to spend more wisely.

Mindy:
I agree. And yeah, if you have any words of wisdom for Carl about slowing down and taking his time, you can email me [email protected] and I will forward them on to him. Or don’t you have a website, an email address that’s your Mile High FI?

Carl:
Yeah, I think so. [email protected], F-I .com. Financial independence.

Mindy:
Yeah. And we’ll link to that in the show notes.

Carl:
Yeah.

Mindy:
But yeah, I want you to understand that it’s okay to take time for yourself. It’s okay to read a book that doesn’t teach you something.

Carl:
Is it?

Mindy:
Yes. Oh my goodness. You make me nuts.

Carl:
Yeah.

Mindy:
Do we have anything else we want to talk about?

Carl:
I think that’s it. I look forward to 2022 keeping track of our expenses once again. And I think the other thing I like about that is it changes your behavior, especially now that apparently all your listeners are going to be watching. We can’t buy something stupid or else they’re going to see it and call us out on it.

Mindy:
I hope they do call us out on it. I should get you an email address, [email protected] That’s not actually it. That’ll go to one of our developers. [email protected] Yeah. Call me out if you see me doing dumb stuff with my budget. And I’m going to be doing some dumb stuff with my budget because it is a learning process and I know the basics of it, but there’s always something that’s going to pop up. And I have a slush fund. I have stuff that I forgot I have to pay for, for the kids every month fund, because there’s always something weird that comes up with the kids.

Carl:
I think we should do this. So I’m going to create this. We have created it, but I’m going to add a line item for toilet brushes in there. So if your-

Mindy:
Oh, shut up.

Carl:
Do your listeners know what a pivot table is? There’ll be a category in there and they can see your Ikea toilet brush spending for 2022.

Mindy:
From episode 262 of The BiggerPockets Money Podcast, he is Carl Jensen and I am Mindy Jensen saying happy new year. I hope to see you around in 2022. And please let me know your financial goals for the new year.

Carl:
Yeah. Thanks for having me.

Mindy:
Yeah. Thanks for finally showing up.

Carl:
Wow.

Mindy:
Wow. Is this like a whole episode that you’ve listened to now?

Carl:
No, I wasn’t listening to most of it.

Mindy:
Ah, okay. You’re fired.

Carl:
Okay.

 

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In This Episode We Cover

  • When a prenup is worth having and whether or not it will protect your wealth 
  • The telltale “context clues” of dating someone who has a frugal mindset
  • Frontloading your retirement accounts so you can build wealth faster
  • The importance of tracking your expenses and regularly updating your FI number
  • Margin loans and getting low-interest debt on your stock portfolio
  • When to start talking about money with a potential partner 
  • And So Much More!

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