Tag: retirement (Page 1 of 2)

Why Are We Afraid of Boring?

Why Are We Afraid of Boring?

Everyone lives their lives trying to not be boring. They don’t want to live like everyone else. They don’t want to seem average. People prove they’re not boring by buying nice houses, interesting cars, fashionable clothes. “I couldn’t possibly be boring. Just LOOK at me!” In this cycle of trying to prove we’re not boring, we also expect boring answers to be wrong.

The Boring Answers are the Best Ones

People want shortcuts. They want to hear the anecdotes and not the research. Everyone wants to be in shape and everyone wants to be rich. Why do you think the weight loss and financial industries are so large? We want a pill or a get-rich scheme. Do you know how to get in shape? You exercise. You actually work the muscles you want to be strong. Do you know how to get rich? You save money. You let money grow by not touching it.

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How to Choose a Fund Manager

How to Choose a Fund Manager

Over the past year, I’ve come across some pretty interesting studies about fund managers. Based on the research, let’s take a look at who the ideal fund manager is:

Top Performing Fund Managers:

  1. Drive “Practical but Unexciting” Cars – Fund managers who drive sports cars take on more risk… but the risk doesn’t translate into better returns. So, make sure you’re checking the parking lot before choosing your fund manager!
  2. Are from Poorer Backgrounds – It turns out privilege puts people in positions they don’t necessarily deserve to be in. Fund managers from poorer backgrounds may have to prove themselves more because of their lack of connections or status, so the ones that make it are smarter and have more grit than the ones that got a “leg up” to get there.
  3. Actually Do Very Little – This article is about Nevada’s 35 billion dollar fund manager. He describes his method as “bare-bones.” The article says: “The Nevada system’s stocks and bonds are all in low-cost funds that mimic indexes. Mr. Edmundson may make one change to the portfolio a year.”

Be Your Own Manager:

The key, as Mr. Edmundson from the Nevada fund would tell you, is low-fee index funds. Even if you don’t choose Vanguard funds, you can thank Vanguard for creating The Vanguard Effect – The combined savings of Vanguard’s low fees added to the driving down of prices in the industry leading to a savings of over $1 Trillion to the consumer!*

Maybe this is the end of investing as we know it if everyone jumps on the passive funds train. Or maybe you think index funds are communist (I don’t make this stuff up!). Then make up your own mind… but for now, I’m going to drive my sensible car and put my money in index funds and leave it alone!**


*This is similar to the “Costco Effect” in Anchorage. We’re told to be grateful we live in Anchorage after Costco came because before that, prices were much, much higher. 

**I can’t claim I don’t have the privilege card, because I do

It's Time to Face Your Financial Reality

It’s Time to Face Your Financial Reality

Last week, in celebration of Halloween, I shared a tweetstorm of the scariest things you could say to a Personal Finance Geek. Maybe you read that and felt bad about yourself because you have done some of those things (or still do). DON’T. I shared the original tweets. What I did not share were all of the conversations that followed. SEVERAL of these tweets inspired responses from other personal finance bloggers that said things like “Me 2 years ago,” “…said my husband,” “been there!” or “still paying off that debt!”

We are not better than you. And you are not worse.

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retire now

The State of Retirement in the U.S. in 2016

It’s sad.

<End of post.>

Alright, alright. I’ll get into details if I must. First, the good news:

According to the 2016 Retirement Confidence Survey published by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, people are starting to move out of their recession fears. The percentage of workers “very confident” in having enough to retire, went up from 13% in 2013 to 22% in 2015. This year it went down slightly to 21%, but overall, people are feeling a bit more confident in these insane market days.

The question is: Should they feel this confident?

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Saving a Million Dollars is Easy!

Saving a Million Dollars is Easy!

How Easy is it to Save a Million Dollars?

Do you know what my favorite posts to read are? The ones about how saving a million dollars is totally easy! And guess what? There are THOUSANDS of articles about how easy it is to become a millionaire! I decided to aggregate a few of my favorites to drive the point home. Saving a million dollars over a long period of time is actually very simple!

How Much to Save Each Day to Become a Millionaire

Interest rates matter quite a bit when it comes to saving money. This Business Insider chart gives you a daily savings need based on 3 different return rates to save $1,000,000 by 65!

Saving $1000000

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Don't be a retirement newsletter poster child

Don’t be a Retirement Newsletter Poster Child

Periodically, the company that runs the retirement funds at Mr. T’s employer sends out a retirement newsletter. This is the standard single-fold document that tells you to save more money, think about your future, and think about your taxes.

Here’s the Problem:

I read this newsletter religiously (mail about saving more money!? Yes!). It’s terrible. One of my earliest posts rewrote one of Mr. T’s newsletter scenarios because I think someone should jazz this stuff up!

This past newsletter threw in some more horrible stories. I’m changing the names (so I don’t offend the real fictional dummies), but everything else is the same. I’m not making this up!:

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One Change

The Impact of Making Just One Change

A few months before we dove into purging our stuff, Mr. T got new socks. I was reading The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up to prepare for the big event. I was just reading the socks section when Mr. T was unpacking his new socks. “This book says you should roll your socks to let them rest.” Probably more to get to me to stop talking about the book, Mr. T dutifully rolled all of his socks. For two months, those perfectly sushi-rolled socks taunted me. They actually seemed happy. Socks. Happy. Crazy? Right? I wanted our whole house to feel that way. Every time I saw his socks, I wanted more! I wanted to dive right in and make it all better.

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How Parents and Significant Others Impact Student Finances

On Monday, we discussed how people are sometimes dumb with money and love, but it’s not all bad news. Today, we highlight research that shows love can positively influence our finances. The first study, published in December 2015, followed 693 University of Arizona students. The (mostly white, female) students were extensively surveyed toward the beginning of college (ages 18-21) and then again toward the end (ages 21-24). The 693 study participants were all included because they reported being in a serious, committed relationship at the second survey. The study was trying to figure out the impact parents and romantic partners have on the financial behaviors and attitudes of college students.

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Recalculating: A New Financial Plan

Welcome to the culmination of a week of numbers! On Monday, we took a look at the historic spending of the Banks family and emerged with an ideal early retirement budget of $51,300 with an after-kids budget of $47,000. Remember that these numbers are all based on maintaining our current lifestyle in our current home in Alaska. Moving will most likely decrease those needs, but since we have data about what we currently spend, we’ll build projections based on the life we currently live.

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Are You a Saver or a Spender? The Why.

I had an interesting conversation with Penny last week. It went something like this:

  • Penny: McKinley is a saver. I’m a spender.
  • Me: What makes McKinley a saver and you a spender?
  • Penny: McKinley just saves all of his money. I buy things. Like my waterproof camera. Well, I guess I’m more of a saver, then a spender.
  • Me: What’s the point of McKinley saving his money? What is he going to do with it?
  • Penny: I don’t know. He just keeps it.
  • Me: Dad and I are savers. But do you know why we save money?
  • Penny: So we can go on vacations and dad doesn’t have to work until he’s old.
  • Me: Right. Money isn’t worth anything if it doesn’t have a purpose.

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