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”

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”

The Case Against Charity

Earlier this year the personal finance community got into a heated debate about charitable giving. The conversation kicked off with a thread of tweets from Tanja of Our Next Life.

Tanja’s thread was filled with research and nuance, but the big takeaway was basically that we fail to recognize when we are wealthy, and this leads to a scarcity mindset that, among other things, causes us to donate much less money than we are actually able.

This all seemed pretty uncontroversial to me. And yet, it led to a lot of pushback. Especially the idea that those of us with money should be donating more of it.

I wanted to understand why, so I asked. Continue reading “The Case Against Charity”

Introduction to Investing and Economics

Of the first seven months of the year, only two dealt with money. In February we learned about the basics of personal finance and in May we dove into the intersection of money and happiness.

The rest of the year had been spent on topics like life planning, productivity and time management, health, the science of happiness, and the philosophy of happiness.

In August we made our triumphant return to money with an exploration of investing and economics. Continue reading “Introduction to Investing and Economics”

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)”

Giving People Money Works (Universal Basic Income Part 2)

On Tuesday we started a deep dive on Universal Basic Income by looking at what the concept actually entails.

We explored the different problems that people believe UBI can solve and the different visions that groups of supporters have. We explored Universal Basic Income as a replacement for the safety net, as a cure for poverty, and as a protection against job loss.

But all of this is based on one major premise: Universal Basic Income works.

The question we need to tackle next, then, is whether this is true. Would Universal Basic Income work? Is giving people cash the best approach to ending poverty?

Adopting a UBI is a huge undertaking, both economically and politically. Before we jump in, we should make sure there is evidence to support it.

That’s what we’re exploring today. Continue reading “Giving People Money Works (Universal Basic Income Part 2)”

Just Give Everyone Money

We’re spending the month of October around these parts diving into politics and policy and how they affect our lives.

One policy idea that I’ve found intriguing in recent years is the Universal Basic Income. It’s a concept that has been laughed off as utopian in many circles but has gotten more and more traction among policy wonks lately.

I decided that an article on UBI would be an interesting and thought-provoking piece for the personal finance community. As I was doing my research, however, I came across a major problem.

A thorough look at UBI would require far more information than I could reasonably put into one article.

And so this article today will start a mini-series exploring the ins and outs of Universal Basic Income. Today we’ll cover the basics and the competing visions for UBI. The next few articles will dive deeper into the pros and cons, addressing concerns, and figuring out how to pay for it.

I’ve gone back and forth over the years with whether I support the idea. Over the next few articles I intend to give you all the pros and cons so that you can come to your own decision.

Whichever side you fall on, however, it’s time we start taking the idea of a Universal Basic Income seriously. Continue reading “Just Give Everyone Money”

Why We Need to Talk About Politics

We’re spending 2018 around here learning how to live a better life.

Each month, we’re diving into a different theme to learn as much as we can about how to improve ourselves in that area and use what we learn to live a happier, wealthier, and more productive life.

So far, we have focused mainly on happiness and finances, with a side of health and productivity.

This month I want to go into an area that most people view as entirely separate from self-improvement: politics.

Before diving into anything specific, though, I think I should first explain why politics and policy matters, why we should talk about it more, and how it impacts our lives. Continue reading “Why We Need to Talk About Politics”