Retire Early Helen Blog

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Lessons I learnt from the 2007-2008 Financial Crisis

Ten years ago, the 2007-2008 Financial Crisis rocked you, me and the whole world.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) peaked to 14,164 on October 9, 2007, and hit the bottom of 6,507 on March 9, 2009.  DJIA dropped by 54% from the high of October 2007. I was very scared.  In less than one year and half, my investment portfolio had dropped by more than half.  It...

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2018 – a new financial start

Happy New Year!  I hope you had a great holiday. New Year means a new financial start.  Now it’s the time to take a fresh look at your finances, and see what can be done better in 2018. You might ask:  why do I have to do that?  It’s because money can’t take care of itself.  You have to be on the driver seat, and take actions to...

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Celebrating New Year’s Eve and Friendship

The clock is ticking, and 2018 is on the way.  How are you going to celebrate the New Year’s Eve? The New Year’s Eve reminds me of the beautiful movie “Waterloo Bridge” (1940) starring Vivian Lee and Robert Taylor, and the theme song “Farewell Waltz – Auld Lang Syne”.  In China, the song was renamed into “Long Live the Friendship”.  And the movie was translated to “Hun Duan...

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Wrapping up 2017 – Roth IRA Conversion and Book List

2017 is almost done.  Did you have a great year? I look forward to 2018.  The New Year always brings me hope and excitement.  Part of the reason is that, I love spring.  It’s the season when it gets warmer, flowers start blooming, and trees and grass become green. I have retired for 2.5+ years.  Life has been very good.  One day I was at a doctor’s office. ...

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My English teachers – Jimmy and his wife

I feel very lucky I had so many great teachers all those years.  They inspired me, and guided me to the right direction.  I want to say:  “Thank you, my teachers.  You made a huge difference to my life”. Today I like to share some of the stories.  This is about my English teachers Jimmy and his wife (sorry I forgot her name). Jimmy enjoyed teaching and smiled...

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Gift yourself

Christmas is on the way, and many people are working on their gift list.  The gift could be for their spouse/partner, kids, parents, siblings, friends, on and on.  Do you give a gift to yourself?  If you just bought a 4K TV, you are probably okay.  If gifting yourself was never in your mind, I suggest you give it a thought. This is why: you worked so hard...

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How did I retire early?

To many people, retiring early is their dream.  It means that, one day they will be able to quit the rat race, and live the life they want.  Some described the retirement life as 3 NOs:  “No clock, no boss, and no worry”. How to get there?  What should I do in order to retire early?  These are the questions many people ask.  I retired in early 2015,...

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My Book “Dad’s Bicycle” and Life in China

After retiring in 2015, I always wanted to write something about the place I grew up.  I wanted the world to know about that remote village in northern China, as that’s part of who I am.  Finally my mini-memoir “Dad’s Bicycle” was published on Amazon last year. The village I grew up is totally different from Beijing or Shanghai.  The life there is still primitive.  There is no...

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Why is retirement so distant to many Americans?

Once upon a time, part of the American dream was to work hard for one company for many years, get the decent pension after retiring in their late 50s or early 60s, and enjoy their golden years.  Now this pretty picture is gone.  I guess the word “pension” is probably going to disappear from the dictionary very soon.  The reality is very bleak. Social Security is totally a...

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Lending money to a friend or relative

Are you willing to lend money to your friend or relative?  One day, you might get a call from a cousin.  He wants to borrow $2500 for a used car.  His old car was wrecked last week.  He could not get a car loan due to insufficient credit or income.  What are you going to say?  “Oh, I don’t have that much money.” Or “Sorry, I can’t lend...