Frugal Living

The Master Archive!

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How Much Money Should You Keep in Cash?

By Keith Taxguy / March 31, 2020 /

Rules of thumb are an easy way to quickly see where you stand financially. Once you reach 25X your spending in liquid net worth (the 4% rule presented as a multiple of spending) you are assumed to have enough to retire under the 4% rule, regardless your age.

However, as we are seeing with the current market turmoil, the simple rule of thumb has one fatal flaw. If you reached your 25X goal a few months ago and decided this was the time to step away from traditional labor, you now face a withdrawal rate from your index funds a third higher than expected. This will reduce the account value early in the distribution phase, lowering the total amount you can get from the investment over your lifetime.

Another rule of thumb is to keep 6 months of spending in cash in case you become unemployed. Under a normal job loss or economic decline this would be a reasonable policy to follow. Unemployment insurance can provide additional cushion to the 6-month cash reserve.

Black Swan events (unexpected negative economic events such as the housing crisis or pandemic) throw the whole rule of thumb out the window. Black Swan events do not happen often, but they do occur every decade or so. Looking back at U.S. history, it seems something always happens every decade to knock the markets lower and slow economic activity. The 2010s are the only decade to avoid that fate and 2020 seems to be making up for the oversight.

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Financial Crisis Planning from The Wealthy Accountant

By Keith Taxguy / March 24, 2020 /

The stock market is down, reflecting the dim prospects for companies trying to turn a profit in a quickly declining economy. Decisions need to be made while you are under heavy duress. Should you sell an investment, or maybe buy? Is early retirement or collecting Social Security early a good move? How does your business survive if it has been deemed non-essential? The financial decisions you make today will have consequences for years to come.

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High Interest Savings Account for Rednecks

By Keith Taxguy / January 13, 2020 /

The landing page says PayPal pays 1% cash back, but PayPal gave me a $100 cash back reward for spending $1,000 in December and $25 for every $1,000 of spending on my debit card. This means with a small amount of planning I can get close to 2.5% cash back on normal spending (no crazy spending for a reward, as if I have to mention this) on my debit card before the bonus reward.

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How to Pay Another’s Debt

By Keith Taxguy / December 23, 2019 /

It started with the popular current activity of paying for the person behind you in the checkout line or fast food drive-through. It certainly is  fine gesture of goodwill. I rarely eat at fast food restaurants, but started to wonder what I would do if my meal were paid for. Would I pay for the person behind me if there was someone behind me in line to keep the cycle going?

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When Should You Kick Your Kids Out of the House?

By Keith Taxguy / November 25, 2019 /

Yes, you will miss the kids when they move out, but you will adjust to your new freedom. And odds are they will come back often, seeking your advice and for companionship.

However, you must insist the kids move out at a certain point or you will harm them, perhaps irreparably. They can’t truly grow up until they are on their own.

You bounce better when you are young. Struggle is a natural part of growing up, moving out and finding your way in the world. There will be scars. That is the natural order of things.

It hurts. Life hurts! You fought through the difficulties when you were young. It is how you got where you are. A bird never learns to fly sitting around in the nest.

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Redefining Frugality

By Keith Taxguy / November 4, 2019 /

Why do I or should you care about frugality? Does it really matter if we don’t count the freebies of life in our frugal measurements?

Actually it does if you consider your impact on the climate and the world at large. The impact on the environment is your concern as it does affect quality of life. If you dump pollutants into the air with reckless abandon you by default give permission to others to do the same. When the herd of lemmings run off the cliff in synchronized fashion it makes a splatter spot at the foot of the cliff noticeable to all. 

Keeping spending low by pushing the cost on somebody else is a bit rude, but acceptable in our modern world. The spending shift is sometimes by design of those doing the paying; those without any real frugality concerns. These gifts are nothing more than inducements to get you—or others in your sphere of influence—to take up the additional consumption.

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Cashing in at Camp Accountant

By Keith Taxguy / October 31, 2019 /

Camp Accountant is officially in the books and there was money to be made and taxes to be cut. There were lots of smiling faces and new friends made. It goes to prove you do not have to be a tax professional to enjoy this stuff. (Anything that keeps money in your pocket automatically generates…

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Health Update and Camp Accountant

By Keith Taxguy / September 30, 2019 /

Several false starts have finally ended in a real Camp. The changes were important. I was pushed to do a Camp by someone else’s rules and it kept falling apart. I finally decided to have the Camp right where I want it: a short walk from my tax office. 

I also decided I would run it my way. These things are a lot of work and I expected somebody else to do all the lifting. I would show up would be my contribution. That does not work.

Instead of the traditional FI and FIRE camps around the country, I settled on a one-day event. I brought in two speakers and all attendees get a Wealthy Accountant t-shirt. We also will tour my office so the proletariat can see how the bourgeoisie works in his natural habitat.

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