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!
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.