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”

Better Life – Third Quarter Update

2018 is a year of self-improvement.

I’m spending each month exploring a different area of life and figuring out how best to improve and optimize.

As of the last quarterly update we had covered life planning, personal finance basics, time management, the science of happiness, money and happiness, and health.

Since then, we’ve added philosophy and happiness, investing and the economy, and relationships.

Let’s check in for the third quarter update. Continue reading “Better Life – Third Quarter Update”

Bonus! The Student Loan Tweet Responses

Welcome to a bonus article!

We’ve been spending 2018 looking at a different theme each month in an effort to live a happier, richer, and more productive life. We’re still sticking to that plan and will keep our Tuesday/Thursday schedule for those articles, but I felt like I needed to add an in-betweener this week.

I tweeted about my student loans a couple days ago and it connected with people a bit more than I expected. As of this writing it has hundreds of thousands of likes, tens of thousands of retweets, and over 9 million views on Twitter. It also got screenshotted by other people and ended up on Instagram and the front page of Reddit.

Much of the reaction has been either laughter, which was the goal, or support, which is great. There have also been a lot of questions and comments as well as more anger than I am used to.

I couldn’t keep up with and respond to all of the comments and mentions, so I thought it might be worth taking time to address some of the more common reactions here. Continue reading “Bonus! The Student Loan Tweet Responses”

Helping Yourself By Helping Others

We’re spending the month of September exploring relationships and happiness.

We started by learning about the importance of relationships generally to our happiness before diving into specific relationships with spouses and kids.

Now we’re going to zoom back out and look at broader concepts.

Today, we’ll be exploring the extraordinary happiness benefits of doing things for other people. Continue reading “Helping Yourself By Helping Others”

Will Kids Make You Happier?

I’m a new father this year and when I decided to explore the intersection between relationships and happiness I knew I wanted to see what the research found on how children affect our happiness.

I’ve read a lot of research on children this year, but pretty much all of it had to do with best practices in raising them. Now I wanted to see the impact that children have on adults.

Do kids make us happier?

I could wax poetic about my own experience, but if you’ve been here before you know I’d rather dive into the data. We’re all biased when it comes to our own experiences, but aggregated data is less biased.

So what does the data say? Do kids make us happier?

Well…It depends on how you define happy.

And where you live. Continue reading “Will Kids Make You Happier?”

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”

Your House is Not an Investment

We’ve been spending the month exploring economics and investing.

Not once in any of that exploration have I mentioned housing. Even when discussing what we should be investing in.

Why? Did I forget to include it? Isn’t buying a house a great investment?

In short: No. Continue reading “Your House is Not an Investment”

Don’t Buy the Dip!

We’ve been spending the month of August exploring investing and the economy.

Most recently, we learned that we cannot time the market and we shouldn’t even try.

The numbers behind this are pretty uncontroversial, but a lot of people still believe that they are the exception. Even a significant number of people that believe you shouldn’t time the market still carve out little exceptions.

One of these is the practice of saving up cash and investing that extra money when the market drops. It makes sense – if you can invest more when the market is down, then you’ll earn more when it comes back up. I’ve read this advocated in the personal finance space quite a few times and I’ve even done it myself before.

But it is wrong.

Even this form of timing the market will lose you money. Continue reading “Don’t Buy the Dip!”