Life Goals

When I first started this blog, my intent was to house some posts for another website that was going the way of the dodo bird. I didn’t want that content to disappear forever (even if no one ever ended up reading it) because I had put in considerable time into writing up that content. (It was for some homebrew recipes.) After creating my own online space for homebrew experimentation, I then branched out into BBQ, and then of course baking. So, the blog then became a place “experiments in the culinary arts.”*

And having an online library of past (read: failed) recipes was a good to have. It serves as a resource with which to remember what the ideal temperature for brisket is, and the best technique for incorporating vanilla flavor into an oatmeal stout.

But now I’m going to broaden the theme of this blog one more time. I’m going beyond beer, and even beyond food. That new theme will be pretty everything I want to write about.

Financial Independence

Of late, I’ve been reading and listening to a lot of stuff about the early retirement / financial independence (FIRE) movement. (This has also been referred to as a fully-funded lifestyle change (FFLC).) In fact, I’ve been talking about it so much, that I’m quite confident that I’m getting on my poor wife’s nerves. I believe she used the word, “obsessed.” Her word choice is fair.

But, convenient enough, I believe the mere title of this blog lends itself well to the topic of FI. Because, that’s what you do with FI – go after pursuits of passion, such as mastering the perfect bottle of home-brewed beer.

Stuff I Want to Do with FI

The more I read about FI, the more I realize that are just so many things that I want to do (homebrewing included), and that I will simply never even come close accomplishing if I have to work 40 hours a week (or more) until I’m age 65 (or more). What are these things that I’m so eager to accomplish? To name a few of them . . .


Right now, I’ve got a batch of homebrew sitting on the secondary fermenter. And I want to bottle that batch, and make a million more beers. On my list for near-future recipes include another super-light session IPA, a coconut stout (as inspired by a recent Hawaiian vacation), another bourbon beer, and kombucha. But, precious weekend time is so very finite. Each weekend comes and goes, with the current and future homebrew projects getting pushed to the back burner.


I’ve got several (poorly-read) blogs. I joke about them being poorly-read, but it is true. Perhaps they would be better-read if I put out more valuable content. But, good, valuable content will only come with more practice in writing that very content (at least for me).

To be clear, my goal is not to get people to read my work. My goal is to write. Having readers is just a nice side benefit of writing (with engaged readers an even better benefit). Writing is the reward. It is the end.

So, I want to write about FI, and all the fun stuff I’m get to do with FI (i.e. homebrewing), and my journey to FI here. I want to write about deeply nerdy and complex financial topics at, and more basic finance 101 at Define Financial’s blog. I also want to keep writing utterly nerdy academic journal articles for the Journal of Financial Planning and other venues.

But writing takes time. Lots of time (especially for me because I’m not the greatest writer). And there’s no way I’m going to come close to tackling this amount of writing with my current 40 hour/week** schedule. This is why FI is a must for me.


If you read one book a month for 10 years, you’ve only read 360 books. ~Steven Rocha

I don’t read enough. (I’ve been starting to do more of it lately, though.) And, I want to do more of it. But reading takes time. To even make a dent in my growing “for later” list on the public library website, I’m going to need more time.

The growing list of books I want to read. This doesn’t include the books I already have!


Right now, I’ve got a goal to do Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) four days a week. Sometimes, I get there. Sometimes, it’s just two days a week. Ideally, I’d be doing some sort of exercise six days a week – be it BJJ, or cycling,or running or hiking the dog.

Side note: At $165/month, BJJ is not inexpensive. (And $165/month is me asking for a negotiated rate.) Likely the subject of a future blog post is how to get this cost down.

Second side note: I’d like to get our poop factory more exercise, more outdoor time. We’re not even getting him on a hike once a or right now. I want that to change.

This guy is so good at making poops.

Home Improvement

If you own a house (and not a condo or townhouse with a Home Owner’s Association to outsource everything to) you know that this is a monster. Here’s a list of stuff I want to do to the house but have not gotten around to because of finite weekend hours and the nature of priorities:

  • Caulk the front windows
  • Replace the front door trim/insulation
  • Replace the rear patio door trim
  • Feared the front cityscape (again for the third time)
  • Fix the garage door sensor
  • Create a front walkway with pavers/flagstones
  • Lighting for the front walkway
  • Fix the light assembly above the garage door
  • Insulation for the attic
  • Fix the A/C wiring
  • Fix the A/C duct mounts
  • Fix the laminate flooring that is water-logged by the kitchen and generally out of sorts elsewhere in the house (which should also fix the sliding doors)
  • Touch up the poor paint job performed by contractors we hired when we moved into the house

Side note: I don’t think I’ll ever hire anyone to do anything ever again, if I can ever avoid it. Why not? Likely because whoever I would be hiring could not give a fuck about their work. It’s not their home/property/etc. they are working on. They don’t have to live in it. So they just don’t care? They don’t!

What happens when you hire someone who doesn’t care because it’s not their own home they are working on? You get to light your own money on fire for the privilege of cleaning up someone else’s mess. No thanks. I’ll never again hire someone else for something that I can teach myself to do.

  • Install a ladder to the attic.
  • Update the 70’s era bathrooms
  • Maybe install crown molding. This is at the end of the list of house projects. I actually cut this off the list of jobs we paid the contractors to do because we were spending too much money on the house.
  • Refinish/paint cabinets and do something with the hardware

I hope to come back to this blog post over time and strike out items on this home improvement list.


I could be better at this.


I’ve had a couple successful ventures with gardening in the past. It was awesome!

We grew carrots once.

I’d like to get back into it – gardening and growing stuff. Related, I’d like to get the vermi-compost back up and running as well.

Lettuce, tomatoes, and herbs are high on my list. Artichokes would be an amazing project.


I’m writing this on a return trip from Maui. It was amazing, of course. But, as with every single trip planned by my wife, it was rushed. Given limited vacation time, the result is a tight itinerary with simply too much to do, and never enough time to relax. And while it’s fun to do fun stuff, being rushed fucking sucks. And given that not doing all the stuff my wife wants to do is just not an option, I just need more time for travel.

Hawaii sucked. Just kidding – it was awesome!

Related note: The other thing is that (and depending your particular amount of life experience, you may disagree), I am approaching the age of dirt. And when you’re dirt, you can’t do as much. I don’t want to wait until I am 65 to travel the world. I want to do it now while I still can, and I can enjoy it.

On our recent Maui trip, we did a four -mile round trip hike to see an 80-ft. waterfall by Hana. It was awesome. But I felt like a feeble old man navigating the muddy trail, afraid I’d slip for another time. That experienced sucked. I’m not in terrible shape. But, I’m also not in fantastic shape either. But, I’m very cognizant of the fact that my body is aging, and it’s only going to get worse. The solution is to exercise more now, and do those awesome traveling adventures now.

More garbage photos of us in Hawaii having an awful time.

New Life Goal: Build an Imu

If you know me or read this blog, you know I’m into barbeque. But true barbeque isn’t turning the dial on your propane-fueled stove outside. It’s not your charcoal burning kettle. It’s not even your wood smoker. Real barbeque is digging a pit in the ground, filling it wood embers, and then covering that when rocks, then wherever you’re cooking, and then dirt, and letting that marinate for half a day.

I really need to do that before I die. It’ll be a be a neat party trick.


Recently, my associate had to move homes. He shared with me that he was surprised at the amount of stuff that he had. He said it made him (figuratively) sick.

I couldn’t agree more. The amount of stuff I have also make me sick!

We’ve managed to acquire a lot of stuff. Too much stuff. Stuff we never use. Stuff we forgot we had. I need to get rid of a lot of this stuff.


I can mend stuff. And I really enjoy it. But I want to be able to use a sewing machine. This means I can alter clothes and fix them more easily and professionally.

I’ve been leaning on my wife to sew stuff with the sewing machine for me. But it’s really a chore for her. So, I want to be able to do this myself.

I’ve lost some weight recently (a good thing) and my clothes need some work.

Other Stuff

Fix stuff: It’s really satisfying to fix stuff, especially over and above buying it new. I’ve gotten a couple inflatable sleeping pads that need patching.

Save more of the planet: Just generally being a little more environmentally conscious would be nice.

Organize the garage: Such a mess. I’ve already started this, but I’ve got a long way to go.

Learn to play the guitar: I’d do this if I had infinite time. I had learned a few chords once to surprise my wife for my wedding proposal. I ended up selling the guitar because I just never found the time to practice. I did enjoy it.

Spend more time outside: This could be as easy as reading a book in the backyard or bicycling somewhere instead or driving, or as involved as going for a hike or going to the beach. (Fortunately, there first two lend themselves well to minimizing spending.)

Learn to surf: Not high on my priority list, but it seems amazing. With more time, I’d take this on. I even had a few folks offer to teach me.

The FI Plan

How will I do all this? That’s a great question – and the subject for a future post!


*As my wife would point out, that sounds a little pretentious.

**To be clear, I still want to work. I don’t want to stop working. I just want to work a little bit less – and absolutely only want to work on the things that I absolutely love – like writing blogs posts, trading client accounts, doing financial planning, and creating original research.