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
It’s official. I’m back in the real estate business!
Before you get too excited, let me explain. Waaaay back in the day I was a third owner of a real estate partnership with my dad and brother. We bought investment properties of all kinds. We specialized in single-family homes, but owned plenty of multi-unit buildings, storage and rooming houses.
My partners were more along the lines of the silent kind. I, of course, could bounce ideas off them, but the workload fell on me. I hired maintenance staff and crews and was always interviewing potential property managers. Before we closed shop we had taken an interest in 179 buildings (not all at once). At the peak we had somewhere north of 80 units scattered all over NE Wisconsin.
We sold properties frequently once our inventory grew. We held some properties longer — our first property was one of the last to be sold.Read More
What is the largest expense you’ll have in your life?
Some will say it’s the purchase of their home or their college education. Others, thinking about it a while, feel transportation expenses lead the list of lifetime expenses. You would be justified in thinking medical costs, including medical insurance, are the biggest expense you will face in life.
Yet none of these expenses are close to what you will pay in taxes over a lifetime.
Taxes will consume over half of what the average American earns over a lifetime. This means no other expense can possibly be larger.
The list of taxes in nearly inexhaustible: federal income taxes, state income taxes, sales taxes, excise taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes and now tariffs are being added to the costs of many goods you buy.Read More
There is a reason the emergency fund — and her close cousins the sinking fund, maintenance account and working capital account — is such a widely held belief. Without the capital needed for extraordinary expenses you risk financial hardship when a large expense arises.
There is another advantage to having these accounts: avoiding the need to borrow at an unexpected times. Business owners understand the advantage of having adequate working capital. They also understand that a financial cushion is more than just a convenience in business. Adequate working capital can remove or eliminate the need to borrow under extreme situations.
The best part of an emergency fund is that you get paid a token amount of interest as you wait for the inevitable versus paying interest because you didn’t plan accordingly. This affects profits.Read More
You might notice the bloggers spouting the same gibberish get picked up by mass media outlets while your favorite blog (that had better be this one!) gets nary a mention. The reason for this is people prefer the familiar to an honest answer that could make a real difference.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
Healthcare is taking center stage once again as the political arena heats up. This will not be a political treatise. Instead, we will focus on the long-term problems in the U.S. healthcare system and potential solution to be found in the tax code.Medicare for all is something that appeals to me. When the politics are stripped there is a lot to like in the idea of expanding Medicare to everyone. Currently about half the people get some form of Medicare benefit. The old, very young and poor qualify for the Medicare program. Unfortunately, the Medicare system is set up backwards. The people who pay for it are not the people receiving benefits and the people receiving benefits don’t pay for it (with the exception of people age 65 and older).Even the elderly who pay a Medicare premium for some parts of the program are still subsidized by those earning a wage or salary, the very people who don’t qualify for benefits. The inefficiency of the U.S medical system has created the most expensive healthcare system in the world by far with sub-par results. For most illnesses it is better to travel for treatment if you want better odds at living.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