You did everything right: maxed out your retirement accounts, invested in index funds, paid off all debt, saved half your gross income, and did every home project and car repair yourself to save money. If you are like me this describes you to a T. I save a massive amount of my income in tax advantaged retirement plans and stuff non-qualified accounts, too. Very few jobs are off-limits to me. The roof is bad; I go up there and spank on another set of shingles after tearing off the old ones. A bad light switch is an easy fix after a short visit to the hardware store. I clip my own lawn at home and the office; I grow most of the food I consume; I bike to work even though it is a 30 miles round-trip; change the oil in the car; and I have no problem with a paint brush.Read More
Ryan Holiday has come a long way since writing Trust Me, I’m Lying: The Tactics and Confessions of a Media Manipulator. From his personal experience and stories of great men and women from today and in history, Holiday outlines how the ego gets in the way of aspirations, success, and even failure in his latest book: Ego Is the Enemy. This book is a guide on how to live life well with a healthy dose of Stoic philosophy so you can live happily too.
This is the best book I’ve read on living right since reading A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy. From the beginning to the end Holiday provides example after example of how ego has harmed great men and women over the ages. He also gives examples of ego as it applies to aspirations and success. Holiday is not afraid to expand the narrative to include his own failures in life, bringing a personal touch to the lessons taught.Read More
Media continually warns of impending inflation due to all the money printing by central banks around the world. The concern is real. If inflation spikes bonds will suffer massive loses and stocks will also suffer a painful decline. It is past time we look at the facts about inflation, how fast it rises, and what causes prices to spike.
Planning for retirement and when reviewing investments, inflation is a consideration. A review of historical inflation data will help in the decision-making process. By reviewing the historical data also clearly shows why inflation accelerates, including solutions to protect yourself. We will focus on inflation data in the U.S. I have reviewed price data for other countries and further back than the U.S. data. The conclusions are the same.Read More
Rewards for a good week of work show up on a regular basis from the boss in the form of a paycheck. There is a special sort of glee when payday arrives as a dance develops in everyone’s prance around the office. The initial excitement gives way to an understanding you will go another week before one of these bad boys show up again. You would love to have more money; who wouldn’t? If only the boss paid a little bit more, life would be so much better.Read More
Life started poor in my household. No grand inheritance (no inheritance, period) to give me a lift off into adulthood. Sheer hard work, determination, and persistence led to gradual wealth accumulation. Soon the numbers started to grow. Money started pouring in faster than my young mind could imagine. The stock market was on fire so my investments made me dizzy and scared it might crash (it did in 1987). I had to protect my future by diversifying into alternative investments since the stock market was so high.
My dad is a gun nut and loves going to gun auctions. Somewhere around 1990 he convinced me to join him. He encouraged me to buy a gun. Personally, I don’t care for guns. I have no problem with you owning a gun; I just don’t feel a compelling need to own a firearm myself. He kept pressing the issue. A gun is useful against marauding hoards, the government, and the impending apocalypse. I still stood my ground.Read More
A couple of weeks ago the police started calling. It started with my cell phone which is unusual. Anyone who knows me knows I never answer my cell phone; I actually keep it on mute most of the time. Calls from my phone generally are from my youngest daughter, Mrs. Accountant, or Tabatha at the office. The best way to reach me for business matters is by calling the office and speaking with Karen; for personal matters call Mrs. Accountant. By calling me directly you will not get through. Yes, I write a blog, but I have also weaned myself from most modern instant communication stuff. I think it is unhealthy to be tuned in and turned on non-stop.
The police are a persistent bunch. The officer calling left several messages. It was important. He had to speak with me and only me, but would not indicate what it was about. I ignored the calls; I knew what it was about. Then he moved on to the office and started leaving messages there. I’ve been down this road before. When a police officer calls outside his jurisdiction something is up and it is less than honest. The police from a small town in a different county do not call for “official” business with only a vague “important” message.Read More
I have noticed a trend involving wealth building that is all wrong. I see it in comments on other personal finance blogs a lot lately. I am sure it has been there all the while and it only jumped out at me recently for whatever reason. The misinformation is so important it needs clarification.
The comment goes something like this: I am not saving right now because I am paying off student loans/credit cards/car loans/making extra mortgage payments. When you pay down debt you ARE saving and also building your net worth. The real question is: How can you balance debt reduction with retirement savings for maximum net worth building?
Paying down debt removes the most caustic item on your balance sheet holding back wealth creation. Debt interest is an expense you can only slay by destroying the debt (paying it off). Debt is not a bad thing in and of itself when used as a tool, but most consumer debt is bad. Mortgages are the exception if used properly.Read More
Grandpa told us stories of how they increased fuel economy during World War II rationing years. The technology has advanced over the years, but the goal is the same: increase the miles traveled on a gallon of gas. Today we call this behavior: hypermiling. Rationing is no longer the motivation. Saving money and reducing our personal impact on the planet are the two main drivers (pun intended) behind hypermiling today. I will share the best methods I use to achieve 46 miles per gallon in a 2007 Toyota Camry. If you are willing to work the technology harder your results will probably be even better.Read More