One of the cool things about running a blog is that sometimes people send you cool stuff.
You get a bunch of crap/spam/nonsense as well, but fortunately the gems help make up for it :) (Here was the last piece of fan mail I received – “I don’t really care to read about your life for the few nuggets of financial advice you give. My time is too valuable.” Haha… Love you too!)
One such gem appeared last month when I received a “bank box” from Capital One that had some funky contraption in it called an “Echo.” I’d never heard of it before, but from the shriek my wife let out when I opened it (“OMG!! WHERE DID YOU GET THAT??”) I got excited to learn more ;)
From Amazon (Amazon makes it):
Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. Echo connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantly. All you have to do is ask.
Why did Capital One send me it? They teamed up with Amazon so Capital One customers can get real-time access to their accounts faster, and they thought it was cool enough that I’d share.
It worked :)
I’m still unboxing all my stuff from our recent move so I haven’t tested it out yet (more on the move later – so glad it’s over with!!), but I use Capital One for my business accounts and excited to break it open and see just how lazy it ends up making me, haha… Gotta love technology!
Then last week I got another shipment, this time from the folks at Tip Yourself, who generously shot me an iPhone 6 so I can (finally!!!) test out their app. I’ve been wanting to do this for months now as they’re making it SUPER easy to save money on the fly anytime you want to tip yourself (see what they did there? ;)) but since I rock an Android these days with Republic Wireless I’ve been out of luck until they get that version out the door.
More on Tip Yourself later, but if you’re looking for a new way to save, check ’em out and see what you think. Whereas my beloved Digit automatically saves for you, Tip Yourself gives you a bit more control over it and plugs you into a community of other Tippers doing the same. Which hopefully motivates you further. I’ve been thinking of it as a way to impulse save instead of impulse buy – a much better way to reward yourself :)
[UPDATE: Tip Yourself is now defunct.. They sold it to another company who eventually closed the doors on them, womp womp…]
The gem I really want to get into today, though, came in the form of a simple little spreadsheet that a Wilfred Waters sent over to help you gauge when you can retire.
Now this isn’t the first time we’ve featured spreadsheets like this, as we just showcased a beast of one two weeks ago, as well as my own “early retirement” spreadsheet in recent years, but it IS the first one to ever mention “death” in the same spot. And WHY would one ever want to do such a thing??
I’ll tell you: PERSPECTIVE.
I was giving it a once over thinking it would be similar to all the others I’ve seen over the years, and then BAM! – “Years to live at goal” comes up and knocks the breath out of me. Wowwww… What a great thing to reflect on!
Here’s a snapshot so you can see what I’m talking about:
Scroll down to line items #18-#20 and let it soak in for a bit…
- Year at goal
- Year at expected death
- Years to live at goal
For all the time we spend tracking our pennies and peering into the future, nothing says “REMEMBER TO LIVE, DUMMY!” than a calculation like that telling us how much time we’ve got left, ack! Whether we’ll be spending it in retirement, or not!
The fact of the matter is that each of us only has a set amount of years left on this planet, and death doesn’t care whether we’ve hit our goals. Not that you should quit and get all YOLO up in here, but it’s a good reminder to appreciate our days as best we can regardless of future plans.
We’re alive for today only, so far, and adding a reminder like this straight into a spreadsheet you look at on the daily is a great way to keep it top of mind. Especially if it shows you’ve only got a handful of years left from the point you expect to hit your freedom!
I’ll be incorporating it into my own spreadsheet starting today – and thank Wilfred very much for it.
Here’s the link again to it if you want to try it out: Financial Life Plan
He calls it a financial “life” plan as you can see there, but I’m dubbing it the financial “death” plan going forward ;) Because seriously, have you ever seen such a thing??
The rest of the spreadsheet is fine too, btw – nothing too fancy or anything (enter a few numbers at the top and it’ll give you an idea of when you could expect to retire’ish), but it was that death part that really hit home with me. And you’ll probably want to swap out “savings” in the template with “investments” too as no savings these days are ever going to return anything good. Especially considering inflation, which is also accounted for here as well (though taxes are not, because “I am an expat in Kuwait” he explains. The surprises just keep on coming!)
So yeah. Death and finances – good times!
PS: I’ve mentioned this before when I was going through my death period last year, but I still can’t get over how crazy this is… In 100 years from now, EVERYONE we know and love and follow and even despise will all be dead. All friends, family, celebrities, presidents, even most of the babies being born right this very second. In 100 years the Earth will be inhabited by a completely new set of humans and there’s nothing anyone can do about it! SURREAL!
PPS: Here’s a list of other Early Retirement spreadsheets collected over time too – more info can be found at the bottom of this page here:
- J’s “early retirement” spreadsheet v1 (v2)
- Robert’s “monster retirement budget” spreadsheet
- Hannah’s “early retirement + real estate + pension” spreadsheet
- Tawcan’s “early retirement + dividend investing + passive income” spreadsheet
- Kate’s “early retirement + taxes/distribution simulations + roth ladder” spreadsheet