My last article addressed how to map out a path to a better life.
In it, I recommended systematically going through every area of your life and analyzing each individually. Where are you right now in your financial life? Where do you want to go? Where are you in your relationship with your spouse? In your career? In your hobbies? In you physical health? Mental health and intellectual endeavors?
If you are trying to learn to be successful by looking at what people at the very top of their fields have done, my approach may seem counter-intuitive.
As someone who has read a lot of biographies of successful people, I have found that one of the defining factors of these characters is a singular focus and drive. They are obsessively focused on one aspect of their life and they use that focus to push them to the top.
I’m not going to tell you that that won’t work for you.
I’m going to tell you that it might, but you shouldn’t do it anyway. Continue reading “Successful Careers and Failed Relationships”
Welcome to the last in a series of articles discussing how I choose to invest.
First, we explored the different investment accounts that I utilize. Then we went into the funds that I invest in.
Today we’ll be exploring the timing of my investments.
But first, we need to get into a debate on investment timing.
Continue reading “How I Invest – Timing”
I want to share with you all how I choose to invest. In order to do that, we first need to get back to basics.
Today I want to start with the accounts that I use.
Your investment accounts are basically the buckets in which you hold your investments.
This sounds like it should be simple. You open an investment account in the same way that you open a bank account. You put money into it and then you buy your investments.
It’s not quite that easy, however.
The government gives all sorts of different tax benefits to different people for different things. In order to get those tax benefits, you need to keep your investments in specific types of buckets. This means that you can end up with multiple buckets that you open yourself and multiple buckets that are opened by your employers.
Today I want to run through the accounts that I use and how they could help you. Continue reading “How I Invest – Accounts”
Gretchen Rubin wrote a book on forming habits called Better Than Before.
There are a few other good books on habits (I recommend Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit), but Rubin’s big innovation was identifying different personality types. Some habit-building techniques work for some people, but there are very few universal approaches that work for everyone. Rubin divides her readers into four groups and then provides tips specific to each group.
Under Rubin’s framework, I am a Questioner.
“Questioners question all expectations, and they respond to an expectation only if they conclude that it makes sense. They’re motivated by reason, logic, and fairness. They wake up and think, ‘What needs to get done today, and why?’ They decide for themselves whether a course of action is a good idea, and they resist doing anything that seems to lack sound purpose.”
Beyond habit-building, this is a pretty good view into my permanent mindset. I ask “Why?” about pretty much everything, and if the answer is any variation of “Because that’s how we’ve always done it” then I’m out.
Continue reading “Why You Should Ask Why”
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”
If you want to make or save more money, you’re going to need to spend your time.
Side hustles and in-depth investment strategies take time. Cutting coupons and comparison shopping take time.
Most methods for making more money or for saving more money cost you time.
When is that exchange worth it?
Continue reading “When is More Money Worth Your Time?”
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”
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”
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”