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”
There has been a lot of talk of recession lately.
Based on historical trends, we are overdue for a recession. Add in the fact that the President of the United States is considering starting trade wars over his advisers’ objections, and it becomes even more likely, according to economists. Continue reading “Brace Yourself for the Next Recession”
Over the last couple weeks I’ve run through a lot of my philosophy behind saving and investing. I discussed that I invest at least as much as I spend every month because I want to buy options for my life, because I see the value of labor declining over time, and because I don’t want to need to start a new career path if mine gets automated out of existence.
The big question for most people at this point is: “Is it worth it?” Continue reading “Is It Worth It? (Why I Save So Much, Part 4)”
On Tuesday I started trying to explain why I save and invest such a high percentage of my income at such a (relatively) young age.
In that post, we spent some time exploring how a high savings rate can buy you options and can free up how you spend your time in the future. It was an optimistic pitch for saving.
Today will be a bit less optimistic. It will be about a sad truth of our modern economy. (And, more positively, what you can do about it.)
Hard work doesn’t pay.
At least, not as much as it used to. Continue reading “Hard Work Doesn’t Pay (Why I Save So Much, Part 2)”
The United States Congress has a new member this week.
After losing the race for governor of Montana in November, Greg Gianforte turned around and won a special election to fill Montana’s one seat in the House of Representatives.
Most people are talking about how he won his seat despite body slamming a reporter the night before the election.
Instead, I want to talk about his views on Social Security and retirement.
(And yes, I recognize that only a personal finance blog can be interested in retirement policies while a politician is beating up the press. But we’re all nerds here, and we’re okay with it.) Continue reading “An Obligation to Work?”
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)”
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”
When faced with a tough decision, most people choose to do nothing.
This is the basis of the Status Quo Bias, first proven in a series of experiments in 1988 out of Harvard. The general idea is that people are emotionally attached to the current state of affairs and are skeptical of any change from that baseline.
This means that we tend to need overwhelming proof to make a change, even when that change would be the better option. Continue reading “Why We Have Trouble Making a Change”
What if I told you that you have access to an investment account that is better than a 401k or an IRA? An account with tax free contributions, tax free growth, and tax free withdrawals for qualified expenses. You even avoid paying Social Security and Medicare taxes if you contribute directly from your paycheck. (That’s more than you can say for any other account).
Today I want to explore the Health Savings Account (HSA) and how you can use it to build wealth and retire earlier. Continue reading “Get Rich Faster with an HSA”
So now we understand the 4% rule and we know how to figure out our retirement number. We also know how to invest and use compound interest to help us hit that number.
If you stop and think about this for a moment, you will realize that there is no connection between the numbers above and any sort of age. We’re not saying that you will be able to retire when you hit 62 or 65 or 59.5.
You can retire when you hit your number.
And that could be sooner than you thought possible. Continue reading “Introduction to Financial Independence”