Just now getting back to writing after spending almost a month and a half on the go. Where was I? A visual probably works best: Most of my travel is about the people I see, but I got to visit some fun locations too – Marco Island in Florida has a beautiful white sand beach, and Sedona has striking landscapes even in winter. Traveling on Points I fielded a lot of questions on how my sabbatical is going, but I also got some questions about how I plan travel, and specifically using points for free travel, that I thought I’d walk through here. I doRead More →

As I did last year, I spent some time predicting what my dividend income will look like for 2020, and wanted to give an update on how things look. Using the past to predict the future Everyone has seen those “the past is not an indicator of performance” disclaimers, which is of course true, so predictions are just that – estimates that could easily be affected by market changes. In fact I saw it firsthand when my REIT ETFs underperformed thanks to the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates. That said, here’s the simple methodology I follow.  First, I look at the dividends from last yearRead More →

2019 brought some radical changes for me. I quit my job in May with the intention of taking a sabbatical, spending more time with family, and thinking about what I might want to do next and where I’d want to be. That entailed saying goodbye to a lot of friends in California and a work/social life I was pretty comfortable with, putting my things in storage, and driving cross-country back to NY. (I talk about it in my video blog update.) I’ve had some amazing family time in the last six months and great visits to friends I hadn’t seen in ages, so that partRead More →

If a carport is good enough for Frank Lloyd Wright, it’s good enough for me.  Actually, I started looking into car storage solutions when I knew I’d be spending at least part of the winter here in NY. I thought it’d be interesting to walk through the options and give an overview with costs of the structure I built with my dad over the course of a couple months. Initially I was looking for storage for just my car, but that left one of my Dad’s vehicles out in the snow, so we shifted our thinking. I’ll provide examples below for both single bay andRead More →

When I quit my job, I decided to take the time to do a couple of the long road trips I’d always wanted to take. Like my Northern CA drive, a trip south along the coastal highway was a must. The Route: Bay Area to Hearst Castle, Solvang, Newport Beach, San Diego Side Note: Don’t skip Big Sur I’d driven from the Bay Area down to Big Sur several times before and stayed at a cabin there once, the drive along the ocean in that particular stretch is gorgeous. If you haven’t spent time in Big Sur, I’d suggest taking at least an overnight andRead More →

My family has been using YouTube TV for about 4 months now. Overall it’s been a positive transition, and a huge cost savings. There have been a couple of positive announcements since signing up. First, several of the networks holding out on fast forward/rewind capability for recorded programs relented, so now every recorded show allows FF/Rewind/pause. (Personally, I never experienced this, but it’s a good change.) Second, PBS is coming to the network at some point, for the first time ever on a streaming platform. Great news, and good to see that the platform is evolving for the better over time. Interface YouTube TV looksRead More →

I heard from several of my friends while I was in California that they found the investing articles informative. I sat down a few days ago and ran through all of the numbers into November, and wanted to give an update here on progress. Recap: Dividend funds for income As you may recall from my previous post, I’ve experimented with higher dividend investing this year, vs. growth, to generate income while I’m on sabbatical. I used a mixture of ETFs as well as some stocks like AT&T. Dividends are not guaranteed and are only announced several weeks before payout (this is referred to as theRead More →

Hi all! I recently got back from a three week trip to California, it was great to be out there again seeing friends and catching up. I wasn’t able to see everyone though, and even for those I did talk to, answering the “so what’s up?” question was pretty difficult to do, the answer was either too short or too long. So, I’m experimenting by doing a long video update here. I’m sure it’s not for everyone, but if you are interested in hearing more about what I’ve been up to, and seeing a few photos, please check it out. I put some time codesRead More →

I’m behind on posts and have some updates to publish soon – a drive from the Bay Area to San Diego along the coast, as well as my 3500 mile cross-country trip from California to New York. Since I’ve arrived here I’ve been kept busy helping my parents with some home renovations, but I did want to make a quick post since I convinced my family to cancel cable and switch over to streaming services. I’ll give a quick update and feedback from their perspective. Cable TV is expensive! My parents are retired on a fixed income, and every time my Dad paid the cableRead More →

I’ve always wanted to take driving tours away from the Bay Area to see more of California, especially along the coastal roads. This June, I did long tours of both Northern and Southern California, and had a great time in each location. In this post I’ll give maps, a few details on things to do, and cover budget for the Northern trip.  Northern CA: Bay Area to Mount Shasta, west to the coast, Avenue of the Giants, Ft. Bragg/Mendocino  I found the northern portion of California beautiful. Once clear of the city and the weekend Napa/Sonoma traffic, Route 5 clears right out and it’s smoothRead More →