Politics and Your Wallet – Warren’s Wealth Tax

In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a race for president that’s been going on in the United States. For the past 14 months. That will last another 9 months.

Sigh.

With that in mind, we’ve been spending time exploring the intersection of politics and personal finance. If we’re going to be figuring out which candidates to vote for then we might as well learn how their proposed policies would affect our wallets.

We’ve already looked into Kamala Harris’s LIFT Act and Cory Booker’s baby bonds proposal. (Both have since ended their campaigns but, as I noted in those articles, they are still members of the United States Senate and will presumably continue to push their respective plans.

Today we’re going to look at something a bit more complicated: Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax plan. Continue reading “Politics and Your Wallet – Warren’s Wealth Tax”

Personal Finance and Politics

You may have noticed that I talk about the intersection of politics and personal finance from time to time. To time. To time. To time. To time. Etc.

I always get some pushback, but I keep going because it is important. A conversation about money without discussing politics is only developing part of the picture. If we, as personal finance writers, really want to help our readers, we should be giving them the full picture and the full suite of tools to take control of their money and their lives.

It is also a severely under-covered part of the personal finance discussion.

I give this background as a way to provide context for a conversation that took over personal finance Twitter recently.

Continue reading “Personal Finance and Politics”

Politics and Your Wallet – Baby Bonds

While many writers in the personal finance community shy away from politics, we should instead be spending more time understanding and explaining politics to our readers. The decisions that politicians make directly impact our lives, so it is important to understand what politicians stand for and what they will do if elected.

Understanding politics gives you the power to advocate for politicians and policies that will improve your life and the lives of those around you.

With our Politics and Your Wallet series, we’re working on looking at different economic policy proposals and how they will affect you. Our last investigation was into Kamala Harris’s LIFT Act, which would send monthly checks to 80 million Americans.

Today, we’ll be looking at Cory Booker’s “baby bonds” plan, which would fund an investment account for every child in the United States.

Even if Booker does not win the presidency, he will still be in the Senate and will keep advocating for this plan. It has even recently picked up a champion in the House in Ayanna Pressley. So while Booker’s prospects in the primary look remote at this point, this policy is still worth a closer look. Continue reading “Politics and Your Wallet – Baby Bonds”

Politics and Your Wallet – The LIFT Act

People in the personal finance community tend to avoid talking about politics like the plague.

I understand the inclination. Politics can be divisive and we want to bring people together. We want our message to reach the widest possible audience. And, for those writers who monetize their blogs, they want to bring in traffic without turning anyone off.

But this inclination to avoid politics hurts our readers.

Politics matters. We need to stop pretending that it doesn’t.

All of us that are writing about personal finance are doing so because we want to help people live better lives. The policies that politicians enact directly impact whether that goal is easier or harder to reach.

This is true of all sorts of policies, not just economic. But there is absolutely no ignoring the fact that economic policies created in Washington directly affect our wallets and our lives.

We all can affect what those policies look like and which get enacted, both through our votes and through your voices. If we really want to empower our readers to make the best decisions for improving their lives, we can’t ignore politics. Continue reading “Politics and Your Wallet – The LIFT Act”

A Response to a Manifesto

Last week, an 8,000 word blog post called The Alt-FI Manifesto was published on the Freedom is Groovy blog. It got a huge number of reactions in the personal finance community, and none of them neutral.

The post was essentially a lengthy argument that a libertarian approach to financial independence is the correct approach and that the progressives in the field are wrong.

A lot of people (especially early on) shared the article and sang its praises. Many others who joined the conversation found it misinformed and wildly offensive.

The post opens by acknowledging that people will be offended if they “have a delicate constitution” and makes a plea for reasoned discussion if people disagree.

I am going to honor that plea here. Continue reading “A Response to a Manifesto”

Advocating for Women Has Helped My Career

I recently talked to Tanja from Our Next Life about feminism and being a male ally for the Fairer Cents podcast. The episode will go live on Wednesday (2/6/19) and you will be able to download it from the Fairer Cents feed on your favorite podcast platform. (But then, why aren’t you already subscribed?)

One of the questions that Tanja asked was about the negative consequences for men that speak up on behalf of women. This is a fair question and there are certainly negative consequences and risks to putting yourself out on a limb.

But today I want to put a bit of a different spin on that. Today I want to talk about the positive consequences of speaking out. Continue reading “Advocating for Women Has Helped My Career”

Building a FIRE UBI (Universal Basic Income Part 6)

Before going into year-end mode, I want to take one last dive into the Universal Basic Income pool.

I promise this won’t be another 5,000 word tome. In fact, this will be a lot lighter on policy detail and a heavier on big picture ideas.

To recap our journey so far, we started by learning what Universal Basic Income actually is. We then looked into whether it works and addressed some commonly-raised concerns. Finally, we figured out how to pay for it with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.

Today I want to step back and try something new. I want to apply a bit of FIRE thinking to UBI. Continue reading “Building a FIRE UBI (Universal Basic Income Part 6)”

How to Raise Trillions of Dollars (Universal Basic Income Part 5)

It’s election day in America! Make sure you get out and vote. If you want to have a say in government policy, you need to make your voice heard. The government is going to act in your name whether you like it or not, so do something to shape it. Grab a friend or three and get to the polls!

Today, we’re picking up where we left off with Universal Basic Income.

First, we learned what it is and what the different visions for UBI entail. Then we explored the evidence that giving people money works and responded to concerns that people have about Universal Basic Income.

Most recently, we started tackling the biggest question with regards to UBI: How will we pay for it? Last week we figured out how much money we needed to find and looked for some spending cuts that could get us started.

Today we dive into everyone’s least favorite topic: raising taxes. Continue reading “How to Raise Trillions of Dollars (Universal Basic Income Part 5)”

Where’s All That Money Coming From (Universal Basic Income Part 4)

We’ve been spending the last couple weeks diving deep into the details on Universal Basic Income.

We’ve explored the different visions for it, looked into the research showing that it works, and addressed a whole string of questions and concerns that people have raised about it.

The biggest question about Universal Basic Income, however, is: How will we pay for it? That’s what we’ll tackle today.

As I researched and drafted this article, it grew to be quite long. A quick Twitter poll suggested that you all would rather read such a lengthy discussion in two parts.

To that end, today will cover the background of funding a UBI, how much it will cost, and what spending we could cut to help pay for it. Thursday will get into the details on what taxes could be raised and where else new revenue could be found. Continue reading “Where’s All That Money Coming From (Universal Basic Income Part 4)”

Answering UBI Questions and Concerns (Universal Basic Income Part 3)

Last week we started our deep dive into Universal Basic Income.

First we learned what UBI actually is and what the different visions for it entail. Then we dove into the research to learn that giving people money works.

Today we’re going to tackle a whole range of other questions and concerns that people have about UBI.

(Today’s post is going to reference information we learned in the last two posts, so if you feel like you’re missing something, feel free to double back and catch up!) Continue reading “Answering UBI Questions and Concerns (Universal Basic Income Part 3)”