Welcome New Visitors

Greetings to all new readers from the Radical Personal Finance podcast!  I thoroughly enjoyed being on Joshua’s show because it helped me distill some of my thoughts into bite-sized chunks of information.  Thanks for suffering through my spotty Skype connection and stream-of-consciousness yammering.  If only I could deliver my message as smoothly as Joshua!  I will shoot for a smoother performance on my next podcast appearance.

Here some of my most popular blog posts over the years:

Let me know what you think of my ideas.  I look forward to your comments and questions.

Good luck achieving your financial and life goals.


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Investing:  The majority (90%+) of our money is invested at Vanguard.   If you know of a better low-cost option, please let me know.  Why Vanguard?
Net Worth Tracking:  We use Personal Capital to track our various accounts.  Personal Capital is an great way to aggregate all of your financial accounts at one easy-to-use website.  (If you have less than $100k in assets, please register with this link.)
Banking:  We have used USAA for our checking and savings accounts since 1997.  We also have checking and savings accounts at three credit unions:   AlliantElements Financial, and Navy Federal.  Finally, we have an online checking account with Simple.
Health Savings Account:  We use Elements Financial to access commission-free, low-cost Vanguard ETFs at TD Ameritrade.
Phone Options:  My wife loves her $10 a month plan at Republic Wireless (new plans now start at $15 a month).  I had the same plan and liked it too, but unfortunately I broke my phone in Mexico.  I currently use a WiFi-enabled phone at a cost of $0 a month thanks to three Google apps: Voice, Hangouts, and Hangouts Dialer.  We also have a Skype subscription with its own number for unlimited U.S. calls ($80 a year).
Travel Rewards:  If you'd like to learn how to get "free" flights and hotel rooms, take the free course at Travel Miles 101.  When we slow travel, we use Airbnb to find low-cost, month-long rentals.  Whenever possible, we try to use Uber instead of taxis.
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Click here for my recommended:  Blogs, Books, and Podcasts


  1. Hi Ed, I’ve been a regular listener of the Radical Personal Finance and really enjoyed the show that you were one. It was encouraging and you gave me a few more things to consider.

    I am working toward my million and hope to reach that point in 4.25 years. After that, the goal is to travel and see what happens.


    My wife and I are both maxing out our retirement funds through work. We are also saving at least $1,500 a month and placing it in a Vanguard index funds. You mentioned lowering your taxable income as much as you can. If you are already investing $17,500 in retirement funds, is there anything else you can do to lower your taxable income?

    I was also wondering how you got your Internet bill so low? I live the the same area and am currently paying $64 because my intro offer has expired.

    Thanks & I’m looking forward to digging into your previous blog posts.

  2. Hello Terry! It sounds like you and your wife have a 401k at work, right? That adds up to $35,000 of income to your side of the ledger. You could also add $5,500 each for another $11,000 off your taxable income. Of course, you might not be able to contribute to an IRA if you income is “too high.” (It looks like the cut-off point is $96,000 for 2014; consult your tax pro.) If you have a HDHP, you could open an HSA (health savings account) and park $6,650 in a tax-deductible account.

    My wife and I have the benefit of having the use of two 401k-type plans: the 403b and the 457. These plans make it very easy for us save money and reduce our taxable liability. I don’t know of any other teaching couples that max both accounts. That really helps us! It sounds like you guys are doing great, but I don’t know of any other ways to reduce your taxable income.

    As for the low-cost internet, I am currently on a promo rate of $25 for this year. I think it goes up to $45 after a year. In 2012 when we moved back to LaGrange, GA, we got internet for $29 a month. After a year, they tried to raise the price up to $54. I thought that was a big increase, so a called an negotiated a rate of $39 a month. Give your provider a call and see what they can do. You might be surprised.

    Good luck hitting your goals and thanks for reading.

  3. My wife and I both worked at the hospital in town and had a 403B. I recently left and I have a 401k at my current job, which has Vanguard as an option. I couldn’t wait to move my 403B over to my IRA at Vanguard.

    I’ll have to check and see if I have a HDHP at my new job. I think our current income is too high to contribute more to an IRA. I thought that we were doing all that we could, but I wasn’t sure if there was another way.

    I’ll give Charter a call tomorrow and see what can be done. I work from home and need the Internet so I’m lacking any kind of leverage. In the past I’ve just switched to DSL when the cost got too high.

    I started this adventure with ‘Early Retirement Extreme’ and then moved over to ‘Mr. Money Mustache.’ Now I get most of my information from Radical Personal Finance. I have the ERE book on my list to read this year, so that should give me a good motivational jump.

    My son graduated from LaGrange High in 2010 and is now stationed in Seattle, WA. I told him to check out the podcast.

    • Ed Mills

      K, Thanks for stopping by. I too am a big fan of the Mad Fientist. I think I’m going to give monthly updates on our savings progress…look for one in the next few days.

      • K

        Looking forward to it. We are in a different stage of life – hubs (67) retired a few years back, and I (now in mid 50’s) retired to become Mom & housewife long ago…however, I am still learning much from you and the new FI boys & girls and hopefully it’ll help with us when we start doing withdrawals in a few years and in guiding our children thru their own earnings/savings/retirement cycles. We were more in the Jim Duggar (19 kids & counting) mode of ‘buying used and saving the difference’ frugal mindset as we were neither in high paying industries. It seems you’ve done very well by taking the old adage to heart – “It isn’t what you earn, it’s what you save.’

        I am in the learn travel hacking mode. Having done a bit of traveling it’s sometimes more about the ‘get away’ than it is all the bells & whistles of different places and I’ve found that most U.S. cities have become homogenized so traveling outside the country will be more my flavor in the future.

  4. Hey Ed,
    It was great connecting with you at FinCon. It seemed like we had a lot in common with FI goals, travel, foreign languages, and sports.
    I love your site and the year by year details of your savings/net worth progress. Very cool!
    My wife is a Spanish teacher, and when we first met she had a stack of tiaa-cred letters sitting unopened in her kitchen. She thought she might have to do something important, so she avoided it! Lol. It had gotten better since then.
    So I look forward to reading more going forward and sharing them with my wife. We do a lot of real estate investing (house with amortizing loan for each kids college fund;), but we also have retirement funds and HSA funds, so I look forward to learning more from you.
    Let’s stay in touch!

    • Greetings Chad,
      I also enjoyed meeting you at FinCon. It was awesome to be around so many interesting people there. I’ll be doing another net worth update in a few days, so it’s nice to hear that someone finds value in those posts. My November net worth post should be interesting because our house should be sold by then. Our net worth will be going down a little, but our freedom will increase a lot. We are looking forward to being without a house.

      When we buy our next home (in a few years), I will most certainly pick your brain. Mortgages and home ownership are your strength and our weakness. If you or you wife ever have any 403b or 457 questions, fire away…I’ll help as best I can. Going forward, it looks like I’m going to transition from Spanish teacher to extensive traveler. I expect to write a few posts from Mexico, Brazil and Quebec…wink, wink!
      Until we hook up again,

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