Recession-Proof Yourself

In our exploration of investing and the economy, we’ve touched on a few more pessimistic topics.

We explored how the value of work is declining and how good jobs are disappearing. It’s important to face these facts with a clear, unbiased view so that we can prepare ourselves and avoid being left behind.

This is also true in assessing whether a recession is coming.

Based on historical trends, we are overdue for a recession. On top of that, we’re in the midst of a trade war that some economists think could push us into a recession.

Whether you agree with that assessment or not, it is important to make sure that you are prepared for a recession so that if and when one does hit, you don’t lose your financial footing. Continue reading “Recession-Proof Yourself”

Good Jobs Are Disappearing

Around these parts we’re spending the month of August diving into investing and the economy.

Last week we learned the numbers behind why investing is necessary and Tuesday we learned that we should be investing because work is becoming less valuable.

Today we’ll explore another reason that we need to be building our investment portfolio as quickly as possible: Jobs are disappearing. Continue reading “Good Jobs Are Disappearing”

The Decline of Work

Last week we opened our exploration of investing and the economy by learning why we need to be investing.

We discussed the loss of pensions and the threats to social security. We learned about how inflation eats into our savings to rob us of our spending power. We explored the power of compound interest.

These are all important reasons to invest. But there are others, as well.

We are in a new economy that treats us much differently than it treated our parents. The rules of the game are changing.

Investments are becoming more valuable, while work is becoming less so. Continue reading “The Decline of Work”

Financial Independence is Simple and Necessary

For 2018 I am spending each month working on improving a different area of my life and discussing it with all of you. January was life planning month and we’ve spent February exploring the basics of personal finance.

In the personal finance space, we tend to treat the concept of financial independence as a more advanced money topic. We view it as something to move on to after you’ve mastered the basics.

I don’t think this is the right approach.

I think we need to teach financial independence as an introductory personal finance topic. It should be a basic of learning about money.

I say this for two reasons.

Financial independence is simple.

Financial independence is necessary. Continue reading “Financial Independence is Simple and Necessary”

Everything You Need to Know About the New Republican Tax Plan

A lot of people in the personal finance space tune out politics and recommend that their readers do the same. I don’t agree with this approach. I follow politics closely and stay up to date on policy proposals and all sorts of nerdy wonkery.

That said, when approaching topics for this blog, I make sure that every article has a takeaway that you can use to directly improve your life. That rule helps me stay focused on helping people with my writing rather than just writing about areas of my own interest. This also means I usually don’t discuss policy proposals making their way through Congress.

In the case of the current tax overhaul, I decided that it is worth discussing here. Continue reading “Everything You Need to Know About the New Republican Tax Plan”

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”

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

beep boop beep boop
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 pitch for saving.

Today will be a bit less optimistic. It will be about a sad truth of our modern economy. (And, more positively, what you can do about it.)

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)”