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”

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”

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”

Work Optional – Your Money or Your Life for the Modern Pragmatist

If you write, read, or even dip your toe into the financial independence space, then you’ve read Our Next Life. In only a few years of existence, Tanja Hester’s blog has rocketed from a brand-new site to Rockstar Finance mainstay to 2018 Blog of the Year. Tanja has become a major community builder in the personal finance space and has launched a podcast (with plans for another) and hosted her own conference.

On top of all that, she has a new book coming out today! The book is Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way. I’ve read it, and I wanted to share a few thoughts.

As a note: Tanja is a friend, I’ve been reading her work for a long time, and she sent me a copy of the book. I make no claims of being unbiased. 🙂 That said, I fully believe and stand by everything set forth below.

Continue reading “Work Optional – Your Money or Your Life for the Modern Pragmatist”

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”

Personal Finance 101

Today we’re continuing the journey we started last week traveling through the different subjects that we’ve covered this year.

Last week we took a big picture look at life planning, which was our topic for January.

Today, we’re diving into our February research, which was on personal finance basics. Continue reading “Personal Finance 101”

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)”

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)”

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”

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”