Mustache Family on the Move Next Week

Hooray, it’s time for another one of our roadtrips. The schools will be throwing out all the kids for the  holidays, so we figured we’d take our own son out for another real-world geography lesson for the next ten days or so.

We’ll be leaving on Saturday and driving South to Santa Fe, New Mexico for a couple of days, then moving further Southwest to the Phoenix, Arizona area for some hiking, exploring, warm weather, and other neat things that the city has to offer. Not to mention swimming and hottubbing and luxury-resort-hotel-squatting.

You see, various Travelocity credit card rewards points and discounts happened to align perfectly directly under the watchful eye of Mrs. Money Mustache, so we ended up booking a week in this very opulent resort in Scottsdale for virtually no cash out of the pocket. It was an offer we couldn’t refuse, since all of us love visiting the warm deserts in the winter anyway. To complement the frugal nature of this little vacation, we’ll probably take the little car instead of the van, saving a good chunk of fuel over the 1800 mile round trip.

If you happen to live in the Santa Fe or Phoenix/Scottsdale areas and might want to get together, drop me some words! It would be fun to meet some locals and get the inside scoop on these nice cities. We could arrange a bike ride, or a hike, or a feast or beer drinking event depending on your style.

Blog activity will of course be unpredictable during this time. But there are a few ideas moving along for stories that need to be written up:

  • We’re getting really close to completing the “foreclosure project” renovation, and there were lots of neat experiences that need to be described there. Fixing up a very old house is always a real can of worms – a mixture of neat opportunities and annoying inconveniences. But right now it is time to whip up a nice marketing page about the property to be posted on Craigslist for rental, since we hope to find a tenant sometime in January.
  • I just finished reading a book on investing called, “The Intelligent Asset Allocator” by William Bernstein. I also have a newer book he wrote called, “The Four Pillars of Investing” which I’ll bring to read on the trip. Why all the stock market books? Because I might be selling my current overly-pricey rental house within the next year or so, and splitting the proceeds between smaller rental houses or some sort of multi-unit, combined with putting much more back into stocks and other financial instruments – with an eye towards things like dividend income and stable performance rather than just capital gains. I want as much knowledge on these options as possible before taking the plunge. (Hey Dividend Mantra – if you are reading this would you be interested in writing a guest posting for us on the fundamentals of dividend investing?)
  • Also on the book tip, I’m writing up a “Reading List” page for this blog where we can start keeping track of good books.  It will start with just the books I’ve read recently that seemed worthwhile including the ones already reviewed, plus the books that readers have recommended strongly to me which I plan to read in the near future. Then we can expand it from there. The main idea is to have an easy link at the top of the website that should allow the newer readers to catch up on everything we’ve been learning for the last year.

That’s it for now – have a great weekend!


  • iterations December 16, 2011, 6:26 am

    I just finished reading “The Four Pillars of Investing” myself. Bernstein really tells a compelling story in there. If anything, it makes you realize how farcical many of the “experts” out there really are. He does a nice statistical analysis of the performance of various fund managers and shows that the group performance is actually just slightly worse that a distribution you would expect from random chance (and that is before they charge fees). The short-term-successful (and even some long term, chance says given 100,000+ experts a small handful are going to be consistently lucky) investment “leaders” are really just “lucky”.

    That alone makes a compelling foundation (Pillar?) for his main point about indexing and whole market diversification being a reasonable approach to investing for most people.

    It also has an entertaining section about the history of markets going back to Roman times and before.

    Anyways, have fun on your trip, “Four Pillars” is a much easier read than “Asset Allocator” so it should work for a vacation read.

  • rjack December 16, 2011, 7:17 am

    FYI…ERE has a recommended list of books in his wiki:


  • Bob December 16, 2011, 8:29 am

    My girlfriend and parents would love to hike with your family and grab a couple beers afterwards when you’re in Scottsdale.

    As two suggestions, we could take on Tom’s Thumb in the McDowell Mountain Preserve or Camelback Mountain in the center of the city.

    • Mrs. Money Mustache December 16, 2011, 8:40 am

      Awesome! That would be splendid, Bob. You can contact us through the “Contact” link at the top and we can figure out a day/time to meet.

      Camelback mountain looks like it might be good for the kiddo (he loves to scramble!), although he would probably be fine on the other one too. He’s pretty good with hikes, as long as there is a fun trail (not flat and not paved/gravel) and it is 3 miles or less found trip.

      Anyone else interested?

  • BrookeJ December 16, 2011, 9:23 am

    Looking forward to the reading list, love that idea!

  • Tanner December 16, 2011, 9:37 am

    Great time to come to Scottsdale! There is some great shopping to be had! We’ve got a great route planned; First to Scottsdale Fashion Square then the Brigada shopping plaza and then to Kierland Commons. We could make a pit stop at the BMW or Porsche dealership before heading to Desert Ridge to end a shopping spree bonanza! JK!

    But really Scottsdale & Phoenix have great bike paths and parks if you guys are considering bringing your bikes or we could let the kids run around on the playground? I sent you a message through the ‘contact’ link if you are interested in getting together!

    • Amonymous August 8, 2016, 9:10 pm

      You got me good there, Tanner. Reading the first paragraph I was like… ‘You’re kidding, right ?’ and thank heavens you were.

  • Ramses December 16, 2011, 9:38 am

    This is where the “schedule posts” feature of WP comes in handy. That way regular updates continue and us readers aren’t even going to be mad.

    And of course, twitter updates (with corresponding images) of your adventures are always welcome.

    Enjoy the break!

    • MMM December 16, 2011, 3:22 pm

      I do know about scheduling posts, of course – I do it every time I finish an article! But I’ve been a slacker of late and don’t have any finished ones ready to go. We’re on the just-in-time delivery system for now. Or the not-in-time. But that doesn’t matter, because this is just an amateur blog and not a professional one. There is no schedule. It helps to reinforce the retirement lifestyle vibe :-)

  • jlcollinsnh December 16, 2011, 9:49 am

    cool plans. have a wonderful trip. NM is one of my favorite places and when the time comes to move on from NH it’s high on our list, but then, so is Ecuador.

    While you didn’t ask, here’s my take on investing:


    Investment RE is also a profitable choice and I did well with it back in the day. but at this point it is too much like work for my taste. :)

  • Matt December 16, 2011, 10:24 am

    There’s a pizza place in Phoenix (Pizzeria Bianco, 623 E Adams St., Phoenix) that is one of the best in the nation. I’ve been trying to think of reasons to go to Phoenix just to try one of their pizza’s but haven’t gone yet. There’s also Grimaldi’s with ties to the famous Grimaldi’s in NYC under the Brookly bridge. I had my first ‘real’ pizza this summer in New York and ever since I’ve been on a quest to find great pizza (I’ve even made a wood fired pizza oven).

  • Bullseye December 16, 2011, 11:40 am

    ‘We could arrange a bike ride, or a hike, or a feast or beer drinking event depending on your style.’

    This sounds like just what I write when I’m heading somewhere new. Except I usually do all four things! Let us know when you’re headed back to Southern Ontario.

  • ghyspran December 16, 2011, 11:45 am

    If you’re looking for beer in Scottsdale, I’d check out the Four Peaks pub. Their main brewery is a bit further south, in Tempe. I like the Kiltlifter ale myself.

  • John E. December 16, 2011, 1:16 pm

    Have fun! It’s a beautiful part of the country. If you happen to be east of Phoenix, have a look at Tempe near the college. Lots and lots of restaurants and bars, all of them good.

    Who knows, you may even get some exercise for your stash and find a good happy hour or coupon (yes, I know you don’t typically use them) deal.

  • Mary December 16, 2011, 1:57 pm

    HI. I LOVE your blog. I want to know more about credit cards and rewards points. I’d love to figure out how to get free travel. Are you using the American Express Travelocity card? I just looked it up online. My husband keeps saying we need to get a credit card that gives rewards points.

    • MMM December 16, 2011, 2:58 pm

      Yup – the travelocity amex one is a good one as long as you travel enough to use up the points you earn. When you do the math, it works out to a 10% rebate on travel (flights, hotels, rental cars) purchased through travelocity and 2% on everything else.

      There is a $25 annual fee that kicked in after the first year, which I might call and waive this year – but considering how the card saves us $400-$1000 per year because of some special situations involving buying plane tickets on behalf of family members and for business, the $25 is worthwhile for us.

  • Dividend Mantra December 16, 2011, 7:59 pm

    Wow, hey…thanks for the shout-out! It’s much appreciated. I’d love to put something together. Maybe a “dividend investing 101”? I’ll start putting something together this weekend and shoot you an email.

    Have fun on the trip and enjoy it. Sounds like one of the many luxuries of ERE/FI…to take a nice family trip like that.

  • Andy December 17, 2011, 12:28 pm

    The Bernstein books are well worth reading. Some of the details in them are very US centric, so I’d recommend Smarter Investing by Tim Hale for UK readers.

  • et December 17, 2011, 1:16 pm

    A reading list would be great.

  • Untemplater December 17, 2011, 5:12 pm

    Sounds like a fun trip! From the pics I’ve seen of Arizona it looks amazing. Lots of great places to see and go hiking which is the type of vacation I like the most. Have a great time! -Sydney

  • Frugal Vegan Mom December 17, 2011, 8:43 pm

    Happy Holidays MMM Family! It’s one of my dreams to be able to do road trips with my kids when they’re older.

    Love the reading list idea too.

  • Sean December 18, 2011, 11:39 am

    The southwest is a great place and the skiing in the Santa Fe/Taos area has been really great (there is more snow on the way, so I hear).

    Have a wonderful break and enjoy the holidays!

    Sean @ http://www.economicallyhumble.com

  • Brian December 18, 2011, 1:14 pm

    Is this the same rental house that your currently fixing up, or do you have another rental house? I support the dividend investing model, something I try to follow myself although we are just starting out on that road.

    Enjoy the trip.

  • bw December 19, 2011, 2:54 pm

    The Bernstein books are good. If you get into portfolio theory (which is what he basically describes somewhat repetitively in both books), another recommendation is David Swensen’s “Unconventional Success.” It is pretty dry but thoughtful. Unless I missed it, I think the concept of rebalancing is somewhat underrepresented in what you’ve written so far.

    Your thoughts have really broadened my perspective on wealth creation (more so than my overpriced mba) – really appreciate it and keep up the good work.

  • Uncephalized June 12, 2012, 3:38 pm

    Damn! If only I had discovered MMM a few months ago instead of a week ago, I would have been around to go hiking and beer-drinking too!

    Maybe the Uncephalized Tribe will have to make a trip up to CO one of these years… as soon as we finish paying off our very un-Mustachian credit card debt (it’s shrinking rapidly and yes, I am living on almost nothing but beans, rice, oats, bananas and eggs until it’s gone!) and have a decent ‘Stash to call our own. :-)


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