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Ask a Ninja

A business man got on an elevator in a building. When he entered the elevator, there was a blonde already inside and she greeted him by saying, “T-G-I-F” (letters only).

He smiled at her and replied, “S-H-I-T” (letters only).”

She looked at him, puzzled, and said, “T-G-I-F” again.

He acknowledged her remark again by answering, “S-H-I-T.”

The blond was trying to be friendly, so she smiled her biggest smile and said as sweetly as possibly “T-G-I-F” another time.

The man smiled back to her and once again replied with a quizzical expression, “S-H-I-T.”

The blond finally decided to explain things, and this time she said, “T-G-I-F, Thank Goodness It’s Friday, get it?”

The man answered, “Sorry, Honey, It’s Thursday.”

Ha!! Lucky for us, it really is Friday. I love Fridays. And in honor of wrapping up another work week, it only seems appropriate to also take a break from the typical personal finance mumbo jumbo. I blog anonymously, but that doesn’t mean that I’m scared of getting personal. I figured we might try something new today. I’m gonna give you all an opportunity to ask me anything you’d like, and assuming it’s not a sketchy question, I’ll comment back with my response. Here are a few to help get the ball rolling…

Question: Why’d you name your blog “Punch Debt In The Face?”

Answer: Umm, because it’s questionably one of the most glorious PF blog names of all time. I can’t take credit for the inspiration, however, this idea came from a much higher power…. a unicorn. Okay, not really. The name just popped in my head one day.

Question: What’s your favorite piece of financial wisdom

Answer: I loved learning that you don’t have to make a ton of money to end up rich. Discipline, drive, and luck go a long way.

Question: Did you watch Captain Planet growing up?

Answer: No. The Parental Ninjas didn’t like the political undertones in the show. I also wasn’t allowed to watch Ren & Stimpy because it was too crude. I was a deprived child.

Question: What do you and Girl Ninja look like?

Answer: This… (minus the awkward black bars running across our faces)

Question: Any siblings?

Answer: Yes. An older sister who is a freakin’ genius (no joke, she skipped 3 yrs of school and graduated college at 19 with a B.S. in computer science), and a younger brother who is 6’7. No really, he’s Six Foot Seven. Wait, does that make me the little brother?

Question: What mutual funds do you own?

Answer: Three different Vanguard funds. VTSMX, VGTSX, and NAESX

Question: Why did you start blogging?

Answer: Honestly, ’cause I wanted to see if I could make a name for myself in the PF blogososphere. Oh and make  money doing it. I’m shallow, I know.

Alright, you get the point. You ask. I answer. Pretty simple huh? Ask away…

p.s. If you all have no interest in me or my life, you can watch this beatboxing flutist instead…



    • Hmmm, honestly I can’t really think of anything. I’m in a great spot right now. Soon to be married, great job, great friends, great living situation. I don’t know if I would change anything currently. The only thing I can think of is, like I mentioned the other day, I probably would have gone to a state college instead of a private one. Would of kept me from ever having to punch debt in the face in the first place.

    • That will totally depend on how my portfolio performs. If I’m a multi millionaire by 40, I guess I could consider retiring then. My guess is I’ll work pretty hard until at least mid 50’s. Then consider the option of semi retirement, or possibly a significant career change. I don’t like the idea of sitting on my butt or playing golf all day. I’ll probably always work in some capacity, just maybe for less pay or in a completely random location. I’m not so concerned with retirement, as much as freedom to work wherever the heck I want…when I want.

  1. Interesting I own 3 vanguard funds too and we share two of them in common VGTSX, and NAESX.

    Would you ever consider moving to another country to retire early (say 40) and where your cost of living would be dramatically lower? Given that you visit that country first to scope it out.

    • I don’t think I would. I’m a pretty die hard fan of America. I really think it’s the place country on this planet…even though we definitely have our issues. I don’t really have a desire to eat cats or horses (common meals in some countries with low cost of living). I’m not really much of a traveler anyway though, so I’m probably a little biased.

    • One fear and one fear only. That I wont be able to provide for my family. I plan to be the breadwinner and that freaks me out a little bit. I never want my family to have to worry about dinner being put on the table or paying the mortgage. I take my role as the male very seriously, and don’t want to let Girl Ninja or our future Baby Ninjas down.

      I also hate rollercoasters. They scare the bajeezus out of me.

    • Being that I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s. You know I’m gonna have to go with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Specifically, Donatello.

      • Great post, fun that you are letting people ask whatever questions they want about you…

        So here are mine i guess.
        1.) Did you like where you grew up?
        2.) What do you miss most and least about it? (friends/family excluded)

        Sidenote to previous question on favorite ninjas…Ninja turtles are rad but what about the 3 Ninjas? That movie rocked my socks when i was younger

    • Oh man, this could be a whole blog series in and of itself. Long story short. My best friend and Girl Ninjas best friend both went to college at the University of Washington. They began dating, and eventually married. My friend met Girl Ninja one day and called me immediately after. He said “Ninja, I just met the girl you are going to marry and she is going to your college in San Diego in two years”. Fast forward two years from that phone call. Girl Ninja enters freshmen year of college (I was a junior). We casually hang out for six months (with no interest in dating each other), and then eventually I realize “I want to date this chick.” Four years later, we are getting married. It’s been a crazy ride and I’ll definitely have to blog about the start of our relationship as it was VERY different from the norm.

  2. Do you thank GirlNinja and MamaNinja everyday for putting up with you and your punning? jes sayin’…

      • Girl Ninja, yes.

        Mom Ninja. Hell no. You think I’m out of control, you should meet Mommy. She is 10x more sarcastic than me. She’s crazy 🙂

  3. What’s you fairly typical “day at work?”

    You’ve mentioned that you often work from home, but it sounds like you might have to drive around to interview people or go to a federal office for an interview. Is that an accurate assumption? Do you work much with local law enforcement?
    And then you had an assignment in Miami – do you continue to travel out of state?

    It sounds like you don’t carry a weapon in this job, but you were looking at a job where you would (how did that pan out, by the way?). You’ve also mentioned that in some interviews, people have given you a hard time because of your age. Does that happen more often than not?

    • Ahh, I should have known a question like this would surface. I’m gonna speak very generally as the whole reason I anonymously blog is because of my profession. I’ll tell you this. I start my day at home, but am out “in the field” a good chunk of the day. As for what I’m doing during the day, I can’t/won’t really go in to those details. Travel? Yes, there is almost always an opportunity to travel. I usually volunteer every three or four months to go somewhere.

      As for the other position. I was called in May and told I was “approved for hire” meaning they are going to take me on board. They also told me to anticipate going to the academy in early 2011. As sweet/well payed/dangerous as the job is, I don’t think I will accept. It’s been a hard decision, but ultimately I think it will put too much of a stress on my new marriage. I would be required to go to academy for 4-6 months (Girl Ninja would not be allowed to come and live with me there) and then after that we could assigned to a location neither of us have any desire to live in. If I was single I’d take the job in a minute, but my marriage comes first and I’m super excited about getting to explore other options.

  4. Do you have a name besides PunchDebt or Ninja?

    If I were to guess your name, would it be:

    – Andrew
    – Horatio
    – Steven
    – Jason
    – Mike
    – Jonathan
    – Ted
    – David
    – Luke
    – Chad

    or something else altogether?

    • Haha. Do I seem like a Horatio? None of your guesses are even close. In fact, my name doesn’t even start with any of those letters. And for the record. My birth name is Ninja….just kidding.

      By the way. I wanted to personally thank you, Larry, for always poking in and leaving your two cents. Your comments are always thoughtful, and I know you will keep me accountable. As I write posts sometimes, I literally think to myself “I better make sure this is right, otherwise Larry will tell me otherwise”. Haha. Thanks!!!!

      • Yes, but how can you be certain my birth name is Larry? It could be Xavier, Irving, Mortimer, or Matilda for all you know.

        Nonetheless, thank you, Ninja, for those very kind words. Of course I realize your right and need to remain pseudonymous. I have a number of handles I use to post on various Internet forums myself. All of which, naturally, confirms my strong suspicion that your name truly is Horatio and by denying it your intention is to throw me off the scent.

        But we’ve learned that your true name must start either with B, E, F, G, I, K, N, O, P, Q, R, U, V, W, X, Y, or Z. Aha! I have it. Quentin. It must be Quentin. How could I have been so blind.

        • Well Wilbert, I guess neither of us will know eachother’s true names. I would never be stupid enough to tell you my real name is Michelle. That’s right. I’m actually a woman!

  5. Pirate Vs Ninja? Its the age old debate, how would you handle yourself if face to face with a swashbuckling pirate?

  6. If you didn’t land your awesome government job with a very healthy salary, do you think you still would have made the financial choices you made to A) get out of debt and B) have the same lifestyle? I know that you try to live below your means but what if you’re ‘means’ were much less than what you have now? Would you change anything?

    • Would I have still made the choices? I think so. I started making those decisions when I was making $38K (which isn’t a lot here in San Diego) and stuck with them over the last 2.5 years.

      Would I have the same lifestyle? Probably not the same, but pretty close. I haven’t increased my standard of living at all, even though my salary is now over 20K higher than when I started. I drive the same car, live in the same apt, wear the same clothes, etc. That said. Without those income increases I wouldn’t have gotten out of debt as quick as I did. I probably wouldn’t have been able to afford Girl Ninja’s engagement ring and our honeymoon to Aruba.

      If my income was cut in half today. I would still live my “day to day” life the same, I just wouldn’t be able to put as much in to saving or retirement as I do.

  7. Please State Your Preference

    Unicorns or Dragons?
    Dinosaurs or Jet Planes?

    On a more serious note, what do you think the worst decision that you could have made financially but did not?

    • Do you have to ask the first question? I’m a total UNICORN fan. Heck I even had a post titled “Debt Unicorn”. Those things are bada$$.

      I guess Jet Planes. I’m not convinced Dinosaurs are real. I think they were made up by scientist so they could make museums less boring.

      Hmmm, worst financial decision that I could have made, but didn’t? Probably cost of living. My rent payment is only 9% of my gross monthly income. It’s not the greatest of places, but it does alright. I could easily be living in a MUCH nicer place and be paying about 30% of my income towards rent, but chose not to so I could do other things like save/invest/pay down debt. Cheap rent is AWESOME!

  8. Did your ninja parents influence you towards your frugality, or did you just one day have an epiphany?

    Is their any hope for a married, 35 year-old son with 2 children who lives from paycheck to paycheck, has no emergency fund, and will not listen to his Dad about budgeting? This drives me up-the-wall!

    • I didn’t really grow up in a frugal house. My parents make a very generous income and make sure they treat themselves every now and again. I think my frugalness came from working my first job. When you make $38K and live in So Cal, you have to be thrifty, otherwise you end up in a world of hurt. My parents helped me, by not helping me. I knew I had to make it on my own. There was never an option to have mommy and daddy pay my rent for the first 6 months after graduation.

      Any hope for your son? Probably not. At least, there is nothing you can really do about it. Just make sure you aren’t enabling his behavior. If he knows he can always hit dad up for money in an emergency, why would he create and E-fund for himself? Hopefully one day he gets his crap together, because he is putting his wife and children in a very unstable position, which in my opinion, is pretty selfish.

    • I don’t really know the answer to that question, but I can think of a few reasons. I’m a really picker eater. I don’t like chocolate, seafood, pork, cooked vegetables, etc so part of my is scared by other cultures dining selection. But more importantly I just don’t have the itch. I can’t really explain why. My brother loves traveling (he backpacked Australia for 6 months), but I just don’t. I guess I must not think it is worth the cost?

      • I felt the same way about travel until I met my wife. I think it is more fun to travel and share the experience with your significant other. I would think your obsession with photography would get you to travel to take pictures of interesting places.

  9. Do you have siblings and where are you in the mix if you do?

    Do you have any long-term plans for PDITF?

    What is the worst financial decision you have ever made?

    • Yeah I have siblings. You didn’t read the post did you…haha. That was one of my example questions in today’s blog 🙂

      Plans for PDITF? Not at this point. I’m more curious to see how the blog/marriage balance is going to play out. I don’t envision GN being super stoked about me sitting in front of the computer for an hour or two each night typing.

      Worst decision? Consolidating my student loan. Read about it here…

  10. Is the reason you have those black boxes over your eyes because you and girl ninja are both cross eyed?

  11. Do you ever worry about some psycho or cyber stalker getting obsessed with you that will someday find you and eat your young? Or am I just being paranoid? (Top reason I never started a blog).

    • Yeah in my About Me page I said I blog anonymously cause I’m scared someone will come cut my skin off and wear it. That said, I realize that anyone that is clever with a computer can probably find some way to figure out who I am. I don’t write anything I wouldn’t be okay with being associated to my real self.

  12. Seeing as we had some very interesting conversations while in Miami, there are very few questions that I could ask that I don’t know or that you would actually respond to on here… so……

    1) Is the current life state of you and girl ninja to hectic to hang out with this guy and his wife and child one night next week? (totally understand if it is… wedding is pretty close)

    2) Do you want a frosty?

    • 1) I don’t think it is. GN is on summer break now and we just wrapped up pre-marital counseling. I’ll hollar at you and we’ll put it in the books.

      2) Are you buying or am I?

  13. Accidentally posted this in reply to someone’s comment above oops…

    Great post, fun that you are letting people ask whatever questions they want about you…

    So here are mine i guess.
    1.) Did you like where you grew up?
    2.) What do you miss most and least about it? (friends/family excluded)

    Sidenote to previous question on favorite ninjas…Ninja turtles are rad but what about the 3 Ninjas? That movie rocked my socks when i was younger

    • 1) I loved where I grew up. Super awesome place with some of the coolest people I know. I don’t think I’d ever move back, just cause I don’t want to be a townie. But I would love it if my kids were raised in a similar location.

      2) Cost of living. I miss how a dollar goes a lot farther than here in CA. No income tax is huge, on top of cheaper houses, etc. I plan to establish myself in WA when it comes baby ninja time. I also really miss Ixtapa 🙂

      And you’re right. I spaced on 3 ninjas. I was totally obsessed with them as well. I think TMNT still takes the cake though. I was a big Colt fan though. I’m guessing you were a tum-tum kid…haha

  14. Vanguard’s a nice series of funds to own. Very low expenses. Can’t beat the simplicity of it. =D

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