How to Succeed in the Modern Economy

Neil Irwin of the New York Times published a very interesting article on rising income inequality in America earlier this week.

The article was published by the Upshot, a team of wonks over at the Times who write nerdy, in depth, data driven policy articles. My favorite type of article.

The article took a nuanced look at the evolution of corporate culture and the rise of income inequality. It is worth a read in its own right.

But today I want to pull out just one piece of that story. A part of the story that struck me because it is a drum that I keep beating.

We are living and working in a fundamentally different economy than our parents.

Continue reading “How to Succeed in the Modern Economy”

Don’t Bank on the Mortgage Interest Deduction

Every conversation that I have had discussing the benefits of buying versus renting has eventually turned to the Mortgage Interest Deduction.

(What? Doesn’t everyone have those conversations? Just me?)

If you itemize deductions on your tax return, the Mortgage Interest Deduction allows you to deduct the interest that you pay on your mortgage from your income. This ultimately lowers your taxes and, in turn, your cost of home ownership.

This perk is often mentioned to me as a key reason for buying a home rather than renting.

There are a number of reasons why I disagree with this approach, but today I want to explore one in particular.

The Mortgage Interest Deduction could be gone soon.

Continue reading “Don’t Bank on the Mortgage Interest Deduction”

How to Earn More Money

Everybody is always looking for ways to make more money.

The Internet abounds with articles about side hustles and negotiating raises. There are entire television channels devoted to following stock market investments. Being a co-host of a show about angel investing can help catapult you into consideration to be a vice presidential candidate.

But from what I’ve seen and read, it looks like most people are taking a scattershot approach to making more money.

People try a little bit of this and a little bit of that. They jump into a side hustle and then when that doesn’t work they try another.

Like most other things that I talk about, I think it makes sense to look at earning money in a more systematic way. If we really want to make more money, we should understand the landscape. Continue reading “How to Earn More Money”

Brace Yourself for the Next Recession

There has been a lot of talk of recession lately.

Based on historical trends, we are overdue for a recession. Add in the fact that the President of the United States is considering starting trade wars over his advisers’ objections, and it becomes even more likely, according to economists. Continue reading “Brace Yourself for the Next Recession”

Is It Worth It? (Why I Save So Much, Part 4)

Over the last couple weeks I’ve run through a lot of my philosophy behind saving and investing. I discussed that I invest at least as much as I spend every month because I want to buy options for my life, because I see the value of labor declining over time, and because I don’t want to need to start a new career path if mine gets automated out of existence.

The big question for most people at this point is: “Is it worth it?” Continue reading “Is It Worth It? (Why I Save So Much, Part 4)”

The Onslaught of Automation (Why I Save So Much, Part 3)

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Is this guy coming for your job?

Today we’re back talking about why I save such a high percentage of my income.

Last week we talked about buying options and how hard work is paying less and less over time.

One of the reasons that we are being paid less for our labor is the increasing reliance by companies on automation. This increased automation is a serious enough concern that it gets its own article today. Continue reading “The Onslaught of Automation (Why I Save So Much, Part 3)”

Hard Work Doesn’t Pay (Why I Save So Much, Part 2)

On Tuesday I started trying to explain why I save and invest such a high percentage of my income at such a (relatively) young age.

In that post, we spent some time exploring how a high savings rate can buy you options and can free up how you spend your time in the future. It was an optimistic and positive pitch for saving.

Today will be a bit less optimistic. And less positive. It will be about a sad truth of our modern economy.

Hard work doesn’t pay.

At least, not as much as it used to. Continue reading “Hard Work Doesn’t Pay (Why I Save So Much, Part 2)”

Why I Save So Much

I save and invest a lot. I track my spending and investing and have a goal of investing (between retirement accounts, health savings accounts, and taxable accounts) more each month than I spend. I have successfully hit this goal every month for the last three and a half years.

I recognize that this is unusual.

I have spent a good deal of time preparing taxes for folks in a pretty well-off area, and I am aware that most people don’t save like this. It is especially unusual for young people. Continue reading “Why I Save So Much”

Platinum Cards and Status Symbols

You may have noticed that I have a strong interest in politics. Because of this I listen to a lot of political and policy-related podcasts.

One of those podcasts recently covered a topic that I found quite relevant to the personal finance and financial independence space. Continue reading “Platinum Cards and Status Symbols”

An Obligation to Work?

The United States Congress has a new member this week. 

After losing the race for governor of Montana in November, Greg Gianforte turned around and won a special election to fill Montana’s one seat in the House of Representatives.

Most people are talking about how he won his seat despite body slamming a reporter the night before the election.

Instead, I want to talk about his views on Social Security and retirement.

(And yes, I recognize that only a personal finance blog can be interested in retirement policies while a politician is beating up the press. But we’re all nerds here, and we’re okay with it.) Continue reading “An Obligation to Work?”