FIRE_4% safe withdrawal rate

FIRE-ing in Developing Countries: Does the 4% Safe Withdrawal Rate Apply To Us?

For the past few days, I’ve been trying to write a post about challenges in achieving FIRE (financial independence, retire early), comparing the situation of those who live in developing countries versus the experiences of people who live in developed, Western countries.  It seems obvious that our experiences in developing countries will be different from the experiences of people in the West but I want to still write these challenges down to serve as food for thought for people like me who are on this FIRE journey, as well as to start a discussion. This is not that post. Although

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Akhal Teke riding experience in turkmenistan

Riding an Akhal Teke Horse in Turkmenistan

This article was first published in my travel blog, Erudite Traveller, in 2017.  While doing my research for the Turkmenistan leg of my Silk Road trip, I stumbled upon the existence of the Akhal Teke horse. The Akhal Teke – also called Golden Horses and Celestial Horses – belong to the world’s most ancient existing horse breed. For 3,000 years the Teke tribe living in Turkmenistan’s Akhal region selectively bred these horses, keeping the horses’ ancestry by oral tradition. Sun touching the Akhal Teke’s coat. Image from Wikipedia taken by a much better photographer than me. Akhal Teke horses are

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Cross Border Investment

Taxation on US Stocks of Non-Resident Aliens

A few months ago, I opened a TD Ameritrade account to invest in US index funds because I believe this would help me achieve my financial goals faster. I have my been buying Vanguard ETFs regularly since and plan to hold these investments for a long time. I’m also glad to say that my TD Ameritrade post received a lot of feedback from my readers and some of you were able to successfully open accounts while some were not due to restrictions set by the government of your country of residence. After sharing with you how to open an online

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How to Build a Strong Financial Found

How to Build a Strong Financial Foundation as an OFW

Congratulations! You just got confirmation that your contract has been finalized and you will now get to work overseas! After months, even years of job search and interviewing, not to mention researching and planning, you finally got an offer lucrative enough to entice you to leave the Philippines for greener pastures. Your and your family’s minds are now filled with visions of a better life. The future looks so much brighter. Somehow, the sun is so much sunnier. You are full of optimism and magnanimity, saying yes to a parent’s request for new home appliances and agreeing to finance your

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Parthian Citadel in Old Nisa

A Stopover in the Parthian Citadel in Old Nisa

About 30 minutes away from Ashgabat is the ancient Parthian citadel in Old Nisa dating back to 250 BCE at the time of Arsaces I, founder of the empire. A man so manly that all Parthian emperors hence were officially named after him. The root word of his name meant, obviously, manly.  The remains of Nisa, called Parthaunisa or Nisae depending on which old historian you read, traverses the modern-day villages of Old and New Nisa, separated by Bagir village. Ancient fortresses and various ruins dating back to the Parthians can still be found reasonably preserved in these two villages.

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Clothing Care Shoes Care

Save Money By Caring For Items You Already Own

Starting the beginning of this year, I pledged to continue being frugal when it comes to fashion by recycling whatever I have in my closet. So far, I am succeeding. As a professional woman in my 30s in a conservative working environment, I am slowly overhauling my wardrobe by upgrading pieces while still using my existing clothes and shoes, keeping them well-kept, tailoring them for my figure, and taking care of them in general. In this post, I will share my most important fashion tools and hacks to maximize existing clothing articles. I’ve searched for these solutions for a long

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Ashgabat Trip

The Wonderfully Strange City of Ashgabat

After my short visit to Ancient Merv, I had a simple dinner at the canteen beside Mary’s train station to wait for my 11 pm overnight train to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan’s capital 360 kilometers to the west. I asked Sergey*, my tour guide, to book the train tickets instead of driving to the capital since I wanted to experience traveling in Turkmenistan using public transportation but also wary of riding the marshutka as I don’t speak the local language. Name changed for security reasons. The train compartment had 2 bunk beds. Naturally, I took one of the top bunks even before the

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Guide to PERA instruments

Ultimate Guide to PERA Investment Instruments

It’s been almost 3 years since the implementation of Personal Equity Retirement Account or PERA at the end of 2016. Up to this time, most Filipinos are still in the dark about what PERA means and what it can do for them in their retirement. Many of those who have heard of PERA opt to avoid putting their money in it due to a combination of lack of information regarding PERA investment instruments and confusion on how PERA fits in their financial plans. Earlier this year, I wrote a primer on PERA and why all of us need it asap. I’m

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A Visit to Ancient Merv

A Visit to Ancient Merv

After my relatively painless border crossing from Iran, I was pumped to finally start the next leg of my Silk Road journey. This time visiting Ancient Merv, located near one of Turkmenistan’s largest cities, Mary.  Waiting for me right outside the border gates was Sergey*, my local tour guide. My first request to Sergey was to find me a bottle of Coke, stat! I have been bamboozled into imbibing Zam zam – Iran’s version of Coke – due to its suspiciously Coke-like packaging. Like its originator Pepsi, it wasn’t good enough for my discerning palate. I swear my taste buds

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LIGHTING A FIRE (financial Independence, Retire Early)

Lighting a FIRE

The FIRE or financial independence and early retirement community is the fastest growing personal finance movement online. The dream of acquiring enough money and assets in the form of real estate, stock and bonds portfolio, and other investments that you can live off the proceeds and retire while still relatively young is the DREAM. For a long time, this dream was unreachable for mere mortals. Not anymore. A lot of people have demonstrated that retiring early is achievable. Mr. Money Mustache FIRE’d at 30. Sam of Financial Samurai retired at 34. Paula Pant became financially free through real estate investing

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Katie Scarlett

Katie Scarlett

is a personal finance advocate working towards achieving financial independence and early retirement (FIRE).

Read her story here.

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