Find Your Own Tribe

A lot of advice for succeeding involves being different. Avoiding blending in. Not following the crowd.

Just be yourself! Be weird! People will appreciate it!

And that may all be true. But it doesn’t make it easy.

Even if being different makes sense and is logical, our brains are not built for it.

We have an evolutionary need to fit in.

Continue reading “Find Your Own Tribe”

You Do Have Time

It has become a sign of success in the modern world to say that you’re busy.

Being busy signifies that you are a hard worker. You have plenty of opportunities. You are important. And everyone wants to be important!

So you will often hear “I don’t have time.”

“I’d love to have a weekend away with my family, but I don’t have time.”

“I’d love to take up skiing, but I just don’t have the time.”

“I wish I could read as much as you do, but I’m always so busy that I don’t have time.”

You do have the time, though. We all do. We’re just choosing not to use it on that particular activity. Continue reading “You Do Have Time”

How to Triple Your Investment Returns

I fully anticipate a steep drop in the stock market in the near future. If I were to guess, I would say it will come in 2017, but maybe it will be next year.

We’re overdue for a recession. Since World War 2, we’ve had a recession about every five years on average. The last one was in 2008. I’ll let you do the math on that.

We also have a president who has campaigned on threats of trade wars and a Congress who is looking to pass an import tax this year.

So what am I doing to prepare for the upcoming dip? Continue reading “How to Triple Your Investment Returns”

Politics and the Things We Can Control

Last week we talked about the Serenity Prayer and the importance of being able to let go of things that are outside of your control. Today, we’re going to talk about why this is not an excuse for tuning out politics.

It is quite popular in the personal finance community to argue that we should be disengaged from politics. That elections don’t really matter. That we shouldn’t be wasting our time investing in candidates or caring about elections.


This was an especially prevalent topic this past November. The whole world seemed to be hanging on every word out of the candidates’ mouths, and the personal finance blogosphere was having none of it.

Today I want to present a different view.

Elections matter. Government matters. Politics matters. And we need to do the things that are within our power to influence these things to the best of our ability.

Continue reading “Politics and the Things We Can Control”

How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything

There is a quote attributed to Aristotle that is very popular in the online entrepreneur community lately.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

(It is actually a quote from Will Durant in a 1926 book providing his own summary of Aristotle’s position, but it sounds more powerful coming from a father of western philosopher than from a 20th century writer that nobody knows.)

The quote is nice. It sounds important and stresses habit building. Cool.

But it never clicked with me.

Continue reading “How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything”

Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps (and Why I Ignore Them)

Believe it or not, I have had multiple conversations about Dave Ramsey over the past couple weeks.

Dave Ramsey appears to be the introduction to personal finance for a lot of people out in the real world. While there are hundreds of great personal finance blogs, people are much more likely to stumble across the best selling personal finance book or the radio host that wrote it. Continue reading “Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps (and Why I Ignore Them)”

One Tax Season Tip to Save $9,000

I spend a good deal of time preparing taxes this time of year.

My own, sure, but also lots of other people’s. I prepare taxes as a side hustle.

As far as side hustles go, it’s pretty good. The money is solid for a side gig. I can work as much or as little as I want. I get to work with numbers, which is something that I miss in my current day job.

And yes, I recognize that that last line may not be a selling point for most people.

I have learned a lot through this job, but there is one lesson in particular that I want to talk about today.

Nobody is putting enough money in their 401(k)! Continue reading “One Tax Season Tip to Save $9,000”

Are Your Neighbors Making You Poor?

In October 2016, a study was published with the title “Does Keeping Up with the Joneses Cause Financial Distress? Evidence from Lottery Winners and Neighboring Bankruptcies.”

I suppose that’s a relatively exciting name for an academic paper, but a bit underwhelming given how interesting the findings are.

The media went in the complete opposite direction. The study was covered in articles like “Why lottery winners make their neighbors go broke,” “Living Near a Lottery Winner Has A Surprising Downside,” and “Why You Might Go Bankrupt If Your Next-Door Neighbor Wins the Lottery.” Continue reading “Are Your Neighbors Making You Poor?”

When Buying Happiness, Pay Up Front

Last week we learned that one of the best ways to buy happiness is to spend money on experiences rather than things. Today, I want to explore a trick to squeeze a little extra happiness out of those same purchases.

The trick is paying in advance for as much of your experience as you can.

This helps increase the happiness you get from your experience in a few ways. First, it separates the event itself from the pain of paying. Next, the anticipation and delayed gratification will make you happier. Finally, in looking forward to your experience, the uncertainty of what is to come will bring you some extra happiness, as well. Continue reading “When Buying Happiness, Pay Up Front”