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”

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”

Managing Your Time

Around these parts we’ve spent each month of 2018 exploring a different topic for self-improvement.

As we approach the end of 2018, we’re spending the last several weeks of the year reviewing what we’ve learned.

We’ve already recapped our January deep dive on life planning and our February explanation of personal finance basics. The next subjects we dove into were time management and productivity. Continue reading “Managing Your Time”

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”

How to Plan Your Life

2018 has been a pretty big year.

New baby. New job. And lots of introspection and self improvement.

Around the blog we’ve been focusing on a different subject each month and learning everything that we can in order to try to live a happier, wealthier, more productive life.

Because we’ve covered so much ground, I wanted to take some time to review rather than plowing through to a new topic. Learning new things is great. But it’s tempting to learn them, move on, and forget them.

Because these are all things I want to incorporate into my life on a permanent basis, it is worth doubling back to revisit, both as a reminder and to measure how I’ve done.

Today we’re going to start by reviewing our January topic: life planning. Continue reading “How to Plan Your Life”

Where’s All That Money Coming From (Universal Basic Income Part 4)

We’ve been spending the last couple weeks diving deep into the details on Universal Basic Income.

We’ve explored the different visions for it, looked into the research showing that it works, and addressed a whole string of questions and concerns that people have raised about it.

The biggest question about Universal Basic Income, however, is: How will we pay for it? That’s what we’ll tackle today.

As I researched and drafted this article, it grew to be quite long. A quick Twitter poll suggested that you all would rather read such a lengthy discussion in two parts.

To that end, today will cover the background of funding a UBI, how much it will cost, and what spending we could cut to help pay for it. Thursday will get into the details on what taxes could be raised and where else new revenue could be found. Continue reading “Where’s All That Money Coming From (Universal Basic Income Part 4)”

Loan Forgiveness (or Why Dave Ramsey Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About)

“Oh! You’re the student loan tweet guy!”

This is a response that I heard a lot while introducing myself to people recently at FinCon, a conference for money writers and podcasters. It’s a strange thing to be known for after spending two and a half years writing about finances without ever really touching on the topic.

That said, the tweet led to a lot of interesting conversations, both in person and on Twitter, about student loans. In particular, a lot of people were very interested in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program in which I am participating.

Some people objected to the program on financial grounds, but many raised political or policy issues.

Because of this, I thought that the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program would be a topic worth exploring during our month of politics. Continue reading “Loan Forgiveness (or Why Dave Ramsey Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About)”

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”

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?”