Interest rates have barely lifted from ground level and are already headed lower. In the U.S. short-term interest rates are at least positive. My EU and Japanese readers are not so lucky, facing negative rates.
Low interest rates are bad enough, but watching your bank balance decline is a downright nightmare for savers. If you are close to or in retirement this can cause great financial harm.
Because rates are likely to stay at these low level for the foreseeable future and there are many safe alternatives paying more, I will publish a special report each month highlighting one of these short-term, money market-like investments. Every effort will be made to address opportunities available to as many readers across the planet as possible.Read More
Traditional retirement plan contributions come with a loan attached to it with a variable rate of interest, to be determined at a later date by the tax code and your income level.
We all know that traditional retirement accounts get a tax deduction at your ordinary tax rate to the retirement plan contribution limits. We should also know that these account grow tax-deferred and that all distributions are taxed at ordinary rates.
This is a real problem if your goal is to maximize your net worth. In the early years the tax benefit makes it seem like it is the best deal on the planet. But as time passes the math tells a darker tale.Read More
It is unfortunate that climate change is such a political hot button when it is such a good tool to build wealth. Much of what I say will cause righteous indignation from both sides of the political isle. Good thing we will have a full wallet to sooth our nerves.
Too much focus is on “if” there is climate change and how much is “human” caused. These are the wrong questions to ask and the reason why so little is being done to remedy problems climate change can bring.
Since we are discussing a difficult issue I will start by outlining where I stand on climate change (no throwing tomatoes). Then I will show some reports of fear mongering that are really exciting economic reports we should all want if that is as bad as it gets. We will finish with an actionable plan to deal with climate change on a personal level and investments.Read More
Once I digested that it was only a number I decided to do what I always did. I try lots of things, grow my business and expand my sources of income, much of it passive.
You see, I learned the most important step of all: It’s the journey that matters, not the destination. And I had the best mate in the world along for the ride.
It was that day when I was a 32 year old man that I learned to live life for the first time. Live, for Real.Read More
Because a lot (most) of your gains are deferred anyway with an index fund and the tax rate is lower when you do sell (compared to traditional retirement accounts) and there are no RMDs or early withdrawal penalties, non-qualified accounts should play a central role in the portfolio of most investors.Read More
Debt can destroy any dreams you have of a financially independent future. That is why it is so important to reduce debt and even maintain a relatively high credit score.Debt is and of itself isn’t the entire problem. Excessive debt is a drag on wealth creation, but what debt does to the household budget is even more damaging than the original debt itself.And debt can sneak up on anyone. Student loans, medical bills, job loss or a failed business venture can turn a bad situation into a nightmare even bankruptcy can’t deliver you from.Once calamity strikes it is near impossible to shake the effects in every financial aspect of your life. A medical issue or mounting student loans can lower your FICO score which leads to higher costs in almost every other area of your life. Auto and homeowners insurance rates are higher for those with lower FICO scores. Many landlords refuse to rent to people with a FICO score below a certain level or charge a higher rent.Read More
Frequently we look for political solutions to income inequality and the wealth gap. While the issues can be improved slightly from political action, there are two additional ways to close the wealth gap and level income.
Politics is the messiest way to fix these problems and history offers ample warning for those who seek answers from this source. One need not look further than Mao’s China or Stalin’s Russia to see how abysmal political leveling can be. North Korea is a modern example of how not to level the playing field.
Let’s turn our attention to the second way income inequality can be reduced. Walter Scheidel in his book The Great Leveler provides what he calls the “Four Horsemen” of leveling: war, revolution, collapse and plague. Historically these four horsemen have been the leading cause of leveling income and wealth.
Once again this is not a comforting thought. You can read Scheidel’s work for an in-depth review of his research. The record is clear, however; it takes great dislocation, pain, suffering and death for income and wealth to level naturally.Read More
Retirement, or at least the ability to to live a hedonistic lifestyle, appeals to many people. Age has nothing to do with it. Punching a clock working for the man get old real fast when you don’t have perspective. Until you realize how useless life becomes when you spend each day creating no value and have no real reason to live. Then the job looks more appealing. Or starting a business. In either case you get real interaction with people on a similar mission and it brings the spice back to life. (Redditors, fire up your engines!)
But I contend, as I often have in this blog, that retirement had nothing to do with the FIRE movement. It was never about retirement; that was the dream sold to get victims in the door. FIRE has always been about wealth, about independence and freedom. People never wanted to be retired like and old worn out machine. They wanted meaningful activities. Financial independence allows the freedom to choose and that is what people really wanted all along.Read More