Honeymoon At Last

Sanjib Saha

Sanjib retired early from software engineering to dedicate more time to family and friends, pursue personal development and assist others as a money wellness mentor. Self-taught in investments, he passed the Series 65 licensing exam as a non-industry candidate. Sanjib is the president and co-founder of Dollar Mentor, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization offering free investment and financial education.

Honeymoon At Last

Sanjib Saha  |  Jun 13, 2024

I’VE BEEN MARRIED TWICE, yet neither time could I take my newlywed wife on a proper honeymoon, let alone a lavish one. Hearing the honeymoon stories of others always left me feeling wistful, tinged with a hint of envy.
My first marriage was a bit rushed. My first wife—now my ex—and I wanted a no-frills civil marriage followed by a simple reception. But my parents insisted on a traditional Bengali wedding with its array of rituals,

Read More

Money Misconceptions

Sanjib Saha  |  Jan 11, 2024

AS I’VE TRIED TO HELP folks understand financial issues, I’ve come across numerous money misconceptions. I wasn’t surprised—because, before I learned better, I too misunderstood some of these issues.
Here are the top eight misconceptions I’ve encountered:
Misconception No. 8: Consumer prices drop when inflation falls. Inflation measures the pace of price increases. Declining inflation simply means that prices aren’t rising as fast, but they’re still going up, albeit at a slower rate.

Read More

Final Chapter

Sanjib Saha  |  Jan 8, 2024

SIX YEARS AGO, I MADE a big life decision: I opted to scale back my work week with an eye to easing into early retirement.
I stayed in the same role, but reduced my hours and responsibilities, took a proportional pay cut, and bid farewell to potential future promotions. Essentially, my human capital shifted from a growth investment to an immediate-fixed annuity for the remainder of my part-time employment.
The change turned out to be far more fulfilling than I’d anticipated.

Read More

My Two Cents

Sanjib Saha  |  Nov 10, 2023

AN UNPLEASANT PRICE shock awaits those who grew up in a low-cost-of-living nation and then relocate to a high-cost country. Coming from India, I experienced it firsthand, as I routinely converted prices into Indian rupees and compared them to the cost of similar items back home. In my initial years abroad, this made it challenging to open my wallet. Everything appeared overpriced.
It took time to come to terms with the fact that, despite higher living costs,

Read More

Changing My Mindset

Sanjib Saha  |  Oct 13, 2023

WHETHER MONEY BUYS happiness is a matter of debate, but a recent incident reinforced my conviction that financial security does indeed help. The incident would’ve caused me considerable distress a few years ago, when I was earning more but was still dependent on my fulltime job’s paycheck. My newfound financial security, however, transformed the situation into a truly memorable experience.
My wife, Bonny, and I both enjoy attending Indian music and dance performances. We make it a point to see the live shows put on by local groups and,

Read More

Affordable Mistakes

Sanjib Saha  |  Aug 29, 2023

WHEN I SET OUT TO improve my financial knowledge, sites like HumbleDollar didn’t exist. Instead, I garnered insights from books, investment seminars and like-minded people. Still, my greatest lessons came from my own financial mistakes.
I’ve made many, and I still occasionally stumble. A few missteps were costly and had lasting repercussions, but the rest were less damaging, especially considering the lessons I learned from them. Here are six of what I call my “affordable mistakes.”

Read More

Aging Well

Sanjib Saha  |  Jul 3, 2023

LIKE MANY IMMIGRANTS living in the U.S., I regularly return to my hometown to visit family and friends. My trips to Kolkata are usually short and jam-packed, seeing not just contemporaries, but also the older generation, including aunts and uncles, my parents’ friends and my friends’ parents.
My two recent visits—one last fall and the other this spring—were no exception, but I had mixed feelings this time. Most of the older generation are now in their 70s and early 80s,

Read More

Bracing for the Worst

Sanjib Saha  |  Apr 6, 2023

BACK IN 1989, AS I was finishing the final semester of my undergraduate degree in India, I managed to bag two decent job offers. The first was from a government organization in my hometown, and the second was from an out-of-state private company in western India. I had a few weeks to make up my mind.
I was leaning toward the second offer. Not only did the idea of living on my own in a faraway town sound adventurous,

Read More

The Poor Millionaire

Sanjib Saha  |  Feb 18, 2023

HOW WE SPEND DEPENDS on how we feel about money.
To be sure, we’re supposed to spend according to our financial situation and needs. But life experiences can so badly distort our attitude toward money that our financial decisions end up being ruled by fear and insecurity rather than questions of affordability. Such is the case with an acquaintance—let’s call her Satee—whose money habits are at odds with her financial standing.
Satee grew up in a typical Indian family of four.

Read More

Marginal Benefit

Sanjib Saha  |  Jan 14, 2023

I’M A BIT EMBARRASSED to admit that, until I started toying with the idea of early retirement a few years ago, I was pretty ignorant about how Social Security worked. I didn’t even pay much attention to the FICA payroll taxes that were deducted from my paycheck.
As I looked into it some more, the prospect of receiving lifelong monthly checks from the government came as a pleasant surprise. I started researching how much I might get.

Read More

Relative Affluence

Sanjib Saha  |  Dec 6, 2022

WHEN RESTRICTIONS ON travel eased this year, I visited Kolkata, India, where I grew up and my mother still lives. The airline ticket and other travel costs were almost 75% higher than my last visit four years ago.
This year, I’ve grown used to price shocks at every turn, from groceries to gas, so the steep ticket price didn’t shock me. What did surprise me was my feeling of affluence once I arrived.
Traveling to a low-cost country as a tourist doesn’t necessarily feel like a bargain because most items still have an international price tag.

Read More

Mounting Costs

Sanjib Saha  |  Aug 14, 2022

INFLATION CROPS UP in almost every conversation I have with friends and acquaintances. Everyone’s getting squeezed by higher prices. Folks complain not only about where prices are today, but also about how quickly they rose.
Prices today seem shocking compared to last year or the year before that. But how do they compare to prices from 10 years ago? To find out, I calculated the average annual inflation rate over trailing 10-year periods using the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).

Read More

A Narrow Escape

Sanjib Saha  |  Aug 12, 2022

I ENVY THOSE WHO can remain patient and calm in almost any situation. Thanks to my neurotic personality, I find it hard to wait for an outcome over which I have little control. This year, I narrowly escaped that sort of agonizing experience. What happened? We found ourselves selling our home during 2022’s suddenly cooling real estate market.
I was surprised last year when the red-hot property market pushed our modest home past the $1 million mark.

Read More

Grateful Debt

Sanjib Saha  |  Jul 18, 2022

THE AGE-OLD DEBATE about not borrowing to buy depreciating assets came up again in a recent HumbleDollar article. Despite being a big proponent of debt-free living, I could relate to the story of borrowing to buy a car. In fact, I’m guilty of having gone deeply into debt in my younger days to feed my passion for music—and I don’t regret it.
I grew up listening to Indian music of various genres,

Read More

Options in Disguise

Sanjib Saha  |  Jun 28, 2022

DO YOU INVEST IN options? Think twice before saying that you’d rather go to Vegas. My bold claim: Options investing has a lot in common with investing in stocks and corporate bonds.
Intrigued? Let’s recap a European style call option. It’s a discretionary contract that allows someone to buy an underlying asset at a set strike price at a future date. Let’s say the buyer of the call, Bob, has an option on a stock with a strike price of $100.

Read More