Denali Northern Expenditure

Month: July 2015

Research Highlight: The Marshmallow Study

This study is a (very) oldie, but an important goodie. And you’ve probably heard about it. In the late 1960s/early 1970s, Walter Mischel of Stanford University did a series of experiments with preschool children. The children were given a marshmallow (or a pretzel or a cookie). If they waited to eat the marshmallow for an unspecified amount of time (until the experimenter returned), the child would be given two marshmallows. At any point, the child could ring the bell on the table to have the experimenter return, but then they would only get the one marshmallow.

early retirement

The Blessings of Freedom

Every 4th of July my large extended family meets at the Oregon Coast for a big family reunion. The kids perform, the adults chat, and everybody eats. A lot. The dessert table is spread as full as the food table. It’s a glorious occasion that has been happening for about seventy years. The event begins with a parade through the room of the kids with tiny American flags while we sing patriotic songs. Because of this tradition, the 4th of July has always been an important holiday to me. It is a celebration of family, freedom, and the country in which we enjoy those things.

This year, I thought about this early retirement journey we just embarked upon, and how these blessings in our lives allow us to do that. The reality is that early retirement is not attainable for a lot of people.

retire now

Plan Update: June 2015

The beginning of each month I’ll give an update on where we stand on our path to early retirement. Though I keep a very detailed and geeky Excel spreadsheet that tracks all of our spending, I won’t bore you with that minutia. I will mainly just give an update on the investments, the mortgage, and notable transactions from the month. Since this is the very first month, the notable transactions are:

Moving to Alaska

After ten months of unemployment during the Great Recession and feeling like failures for having to move “home” with our one-year-old, Mr. T applied for a job in Alaska. I had a cousin that lived there and she recommended applying in the state since there was no sign of a recession there. Mr. T applied for one job. Within a week of applying, he had his second interview in ten months (this time over the phone), and within two weeks of applying, he had an offer. They asked him when he could start. Since “yesterday” wasn’t an option, the start date was in two weeks. The same day we got the job offer, my cousin walked through a house with a realtor. It was the only house on the market in our price range in a decent area of town (there’s a housing shortage in Alaska). She sent us pictures of its hideous interior (ugly paint colors, low hanging ceiling fans, and oddly-placed bead board make for a great deal!) and told us it was “seven minutes and two moose” away from her own house. We made an offer. All in one day, we got a job offer and bought a house. I had been to Alaska once, but only to a remote island when I was eleven to visit my relative who worked as the local masseuse. Mr. T had never been in the state. Ready to finally live the “American Dream,” we were gifted a snow suit for Penny, and we boarded a plane to move to Alaska just before winter started.

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