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Category Archives: Financial Independence
Posted: April 1, 2020 at 3:44 am
Womens History Month offered 31 days to acknowledge the courage and sacrifices of women in history, celebrate the accomplishments theyve made, and seize the opportunities available as a result of their advocacy and dedication to the advancement of women.
Historically, the Roaring Twenties was a decade of womens independence, and the new Roaring Twenties looks like it could be a decade of embracing the strength and courage that comes from womens independence. From winning the right to vote in 1920 to fielding a record number of conservative women running for elected office in 2020, the courage of American conservative women to step up and speak out is evident.
Weve been diligent in this fight for over a century, and weve come a long way. But just as Rome wasnt built in a day, challenges remain, and one of them is the very low number of conservative women currently in positions of elected power.
Between the long-fought battles of the womens suffrage movement (the movement) and the challenges of life during World War I, the role of women in society was constantly evolving. Life during the war required more women in the workforce, including jobs they never before held. These new opportunities gave women the chance to gain financial independence, which for many also meant personal independence. When the war was over, many women were not inclined to let that freedom go.
One huge victory for the movement hit the news in 1916 when Jeannette Rankin became the first woman elected to Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives (as a Republican).
The hard work, courage, and persistence women exuded during this time led to a powerful win in 1920 the passage of the 19th Amendment. Just at the turn of the decade, women were already beginning to embrace new freedoms and independence. The women of the Roaring Twenties would later become known as the first generation of independent women and they were just the beginning.
Over the last century, women have continued to show courage and dedication in the fight for equality and a better tomorrow. While Jeannette Rankin and many others have made waves as women elected to Congress, men still hold the majority as elected officials. Of the 500,000 total elected offices in the country, less than one-third are held by women. But thats changing.
Of the 325 women ever elected to the House, nearly two-thirds have been elected since 1992, which was termed Year of the Woman following the election of more women to Congress than ever before.
This label reappeared, following the 2018 election when a record-breaking 107 women were elected to serve in the 116th Congress. These advancements by and for women are something to be celebrated, just as they were in the 1920s.
Yet, a new inequality emerged. In recent years, the left has been the dominant voice for American women, leaving conservative women feeling more unheard and frustrated than ever before. Of the 127 women serving in the 116th Congress, only 21 are Republican meaning that there are five times more left-leaning women serving in the United States Congress.
As Ellen Troxclair states in her new book, Step Up!, [w]hile more women serving in office should be celebrated regardless of their party affiliation, the statistics are a wake-up call for women who lean right of center. Shes right, and thats exactly why conservative women are acting because its more than just statistics. This fight to be heard is about making sure that everyone is being heard and represented.
Thats why GOP women are stepping up and speaking out now. In 2018, approximately 67 Republican women ran for Congress. They won only 21 seats, but Republican women are not backing down. Over 200 Republican women filed or are expected to run for Congress in 2020.
As women of the 1910s and 1920s began to find their voices and fought for their independence, American conservative women are now doing the same. Tired of being told what to do or how to do it, American conservative women of the new Roaring Twenties are stepping up, speaking out, and fighting for what they believe in.
Shelby Sterling is a policy analyst with the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
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Harry and Meghan eye Malibu properties close to where Princess Diana planned to live with Dodi Fayed – Telegraph.co.uk
Posted: at 3:44 am
TheDuke and Duchess of Sussex are househunting in the same area of Los Angeles where Diana, Princess of Wales planned to set down roots in 1997, it has emerged.
The couple are understood to be searching for a beachside home in Malibu to bring up their 10-month-old son Archie.
Harrys mother planned to move there with her then boyfriend Dodi Fayed after he bought a palatial home in the area a few months before their death in a Paris car crash.
The Tuscan-style villa, set in five acres and boasting a private beach and 130 feet of ocean frontage, used to belong to Mary Poppins star Julie Andrews and her film director husband Blake Edwards.
In 2007, Dianas former butler Paul Burrell confirmed she was planning to move to what he described as a lovely house in Malibu adding that he had seen all the plans for it.
He told ABC News: "She said, 'This is our new life, just won't it be great, think of the lifestyle the boys nobody's judgmental here in America, you don't have the class system, you don't have the establishment."'
Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, are understood to be housing hunting in the Pacific Palisades neighbourhood, one of the most exclusive areas on the Pacific Coast Highway. The Malibu region is already home to a host of celebrities including Robert Downey Jr, Mel Gibson, Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox.
Located within an hours drive of the Hollywood studios, former actress Meghan is understood to have told friends that she had always wanted to return home and raise her family there.
Over the last few months they have been looking at residences in that stretch of the city, said a source. There is at least one very high profile, high end realtor, who has been home spotting for them privately.
Meghan has made it no secret to those in her life from even before meeting Harry she hoped to live on the beach eventually.
They are currently thought to be renting a home in a quiet LA neighbourhood as they search for something more permanent having caught one of the last flights to the US from Canada where they had been living on Vancouver Island since November.
Today marks their first day as non royals having announced they were stepping down in January in a bid to seek financial independence in North America.
It had long been rumoured the couple eventually planned to end up in Malibu with resident celebrity Caitlyn Jenner having revealed on the ITV show Loose Woman that she had heard they were househunting when their split from the Firm was announced three months ago.
The former Suits actress used to spend a lot of her childhood at the Malibu beaches within an hours drive of Woodland Hills, where she grew up..
The region boasts beautiful hiking locations like The Topanga State Park and Will Rogers State Historic Park.
Her parents Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland used to take her to play at Will Rogers beach, which was the location for the 1990s US series Baywatch, starring Pamela Anderson and David Hasslehoff.
Celebrity hangouts in the area include the famous Paradise Cove Cafe, where stars including
David Beckham, Gwen Stefani and Robbie Williams have all been spotted.
Another famous Pacific Coast Highway eatery is Geoffrey's, which is a reservation-only spot frequented by the regions wealthiest patrons.
A few miles down the road is Moonshadows, a lively party bar, made famous by Mel Gibson, who was arrested outside the nightspot after a boozy session.
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Posted: March 31, 2020 at 7:00 am
Financial independence is the moment when your investments start paying more than your expenses. Once that happens, youre free.
Free from havingto work for a living.
Free from having to worry about paying rent on time.
And free from a TON of other financial obligations.
BUT how long would it take the average American to become financially independent?
Assuming you earn $75,000 a yearandyour annual expenses are about $60,000, you need to save roughly $1,500,000 to become financially independent.
When youre done picking your jaw up off the floor, Ill let you in on the process of how to get there:
There are no slick tactics or sexy ways to go about this. If youre the average American who needs $1,500,000 to hit your FIRE goal, you need to work hard and be determined. But the feeling of freedom when you reach financial independence will make it all worth it.
Were using the $1,500,000 goal based on the average salary and living expenses of Americans. If you want to find a number more specific to YOUR situation though, youll have to use the 4% Rule.
The 4% Rule is known as the safe withdrawal rate,or the amount of expenses you should be able to withdraw from your savings each year when you retire without touching the principal. (This number is based on a study from Trinity University.)
Finding out your safe withdrawal rate is the first step to learning how to become financially independent.
So how do you find out how much you need to save? Do two things:
This will give you enough expenses to withdraw 4% for years and years to come.
Heres a handy chart to show you how much youll need to save based on possible yearly expenses.
Using the above information coupled with your annual after-tax income, youll be able to come up with an annual savings rate (i.e., how much you need to save each year).
Luckily, you dont have to strain too hard with back-of-the-napkin math to figure it out, as there are a bunch of retirement calculators online. This one is our favorite. It outlines exactly how many years itll take to save depending on your savings rate.
Play around with the calculator until youve come up with a savings rate that works for you. After that, youll know exactly how much you should be saving every time you get a paycheck.
In terms of the percentage, I suggest you save 65% of your after-tax income, says Mad Fientist. That may seem like a ton but its possible. I averaged around 75% to 80% when I was saving.
Meanwhile, Physician on FIRE suggests you should actually save about 50% of your income to go towards your goals.
When pursuing FIRE, PoF says, keep in mind that youre locking yourself into the same lifestyle as when you reach financial independence. [So] if youre making too many frugal choices that dont jive with your persona, start living the way you want to and base your FI target on that.
Remember our example using the average salary and expenses? Looking at the chart, we know now that the average American needs to save about $1,500,000 in order to retire early. Our savings rate will then be about 32% of our annual income each year in order to save enough money to retire early (well go into how long itll take later).
Everyone that goes for FI has to decide something important:Should you try to live as frugally and retire as early as possible and minimize your expenses, or would you rathertake part in the finer things in lifebut retire later?
Luckily, there are two communities that embrace FIRE in different ways that can help you decide.
Bonus: Struggling to take control of your expenses? Check out my Ultimate Guide to Personal Finance to learn how to automate your finances so you can reach financial independence sooner.
There are typically two schools of thought when it comes to financial independence: leanFIRE and fatFIRE.
Though they sound more like weight loss supplements or descriptions of my latest mixtapethan systems for financial independence, theres no need to be intimidated by them.
LeanFIRE and fatFIRE are just terms for how much you plan to live on when you retire, the Mad Fientist says. Theres no better way. Just test out your spending until you find a method that works for you.
While both have the same goal of achieving financial independence, aspects such as how much you spend, save, and even quality of life can be affected by which approach you choose.
This approach requires you to have a low spending rate each year (typically less than $40,000/year).
To be leanFIRE is to subsist on a comparatively low level of spending much like most of us did in college, PoF says.
This means adopting a frugal lifestyle and sacrificing certain luxuries like cars. It can even determine the places in the world you can live in (its easier to live cheaply in Norman, Oklahoma, than NYC for instance).
On the other side of the coin, theres a FIRE movement that aims to keep up the benefits of financial independence while still retaining a life of semi-luxury: fatFIRE.
Bonus: A higher salary could help you reach financial independence sooner. Check out my huge free guide to salary negotiation to get the raise you deserve.
FatFIRE is the system of financial independence that allows you to live a more high-class lifestyle. But it takes longer to complete.
FatFIRE is to be financially independent on a more typical level of spending, PoF says. Id say to qualify as fat, your anticipated spending should probably be somewhere north of the national average.
According to PoF, thatd be an annual spending rate of around at least $80,000. That lends itself nicely to a round number of $2 million saved to have a budget with a 4% annual withdrawal rate, he says.
This is the practice that PoF embraces and his reason might convince you to pursue the lifestyle as well.
Lets assume you dont want to sacrifice your $60,000-a-year lifestyle and want to save enough money to get there. Youll need a higher rate of saving AND earning to do that
which brings us to:
Do you know how long itll take you to save $1,500,000 on a salary of $73,000 and a savings rate of 34%?
More than 26 years.
Thats a long time, and if you want to retire early, you might not want to wait that long.
Luckily theres a way to DRASTICALLY shorten that time: Earning more money.
Earning more allows you to increase your savings AND speed up your financial independence goals. While there are a lot of ways to make more money, the best way is starting a side hustle.Its a big win.
Below are our resources that have helped thousands of readers start their side hustles:
To help you get started, today, I want to show you how to find a great side hustle idea. Its one of the biggest barriers preventing people from starting their own business and making extra income. You can find a great idea by answering four simple questions about your life:
Find an answer to those questions and youll be on the same path as thousands of our students who have found a profitable business idea.
Bonus: Need help coming up with a business idea? Click here to receive your very own PDF of 30 proven business ideas.
A lot of us tend to DREAD the idea of cutting costs and with good reason. Thoughts of not being able to go to your favorite fast food restaurant or your father yelling at you when you change the thermostat just a fraction of a degree often crop up.
Scrutinize and be conscious of your spending, he says. If you see a nice BMW you think you want consider one thing: You could have the BMW or you could be a year closer to not having to work for anyone ever again. Framing it that way helps. Its not like youre saving. Youre working towards your financial freedom.
Conscious of your spending. Conscious spending
I wonder where Ive heard that before?
Conscious spending allows you to know exactly how much money is in your bank account to spend without you worrying about having to make rent and pay the bills, because its already been done for you.
How? Through automated finances. This is the system where your paycheck automatically divvies up and transfers to where it needs to go as soon as you receive it.
Heres a 12-minute video of Ramit explaining exactly how to do it.
NOTE: If youre pursuing financial independence, youre going to want to adjust the percentage of money you put away to savings when you implement your plan. You can choose to save around 65% like Mad Fientist suggests, or you can choose to put half your paycheck into your savings like PoF encourages. Or you could go a different route. Its all up to you and your savings goals.
Using a conscious spending plan also allows you to not sweat the small things you like.
Realize that the small stuff is just that small stuff, PoF says. The biggest expenses are the big stuff like housing, transportation, and travel. Dont rent or buy too much home, spend too much on a luxury auto or lengthy commute, and learn to be comfortable at a Comfort Inn.
Remember: cut things you DONT care about, to focus on the things you do. Dont just indiscriminately cut everything.
You can also learn to cut costs by leveraging retirement accounts that give you amazing tax advantages.
If you want to find out more about awesome accounts like the Roth IRA and 401k be sure to check out our articles on the topic:
But for now, I want to talk to you about an account with fantastic tax leverages you might not have heard of before: health savings accounts (HSA).
According to the Mad Fientist, HSAs are tax-advantaged savings accounts available for people who are enrolled in high-deductible health insurance plans.
He continues, HSA account holders can contribute pre-tax dollars to the account and can then withdraw money from the account, tax-free, when paying for qualified medical expenses.
So you contribute tax-free money AND withdraw tax-free money.
As of writing this, you can contribute $3,550/year for individuals and $7,100/year for families to an HSA. By maxing it out each year, you can reduce your taxable income by $3,550.
Sure, you cant take the money out other than to pay for certain medical expenses but when you turn 65 you can without incurring any penalties.
That means all that tax-free money is yours, effectively lowering your taxed income over your lifetime by $3,550/year.
You should do all that you can to legally reduce your tax burden, PoF explains. If you max out your workplace retirement accounts and an HSA [Health Savings Account], you can deduct a significant sum from your taxable income. Theres only so much a wage earner can do, but do all that you can to pay the least and save the most.
Once you have your retirement accounts set up, youve taken steps to cut costs, and youre ready to earn more money, congrats! Youre on the road to early retirement.
Now I want to offer you something to dramatically cut down the time it takes to save for retirement even MORE:
This guide will give you the exact systems you need to help you earn extra income on the side and eventually achieve financial independence (if you want it).
Youll find our tactics to:
Download a FREE copy of the Ultimate Guide today by entering your name and email below and start your financial independence journey today.
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Posted: at 7:00 am
What would you give up if someone said to you, If you give up five things, you can quit your job tomorrow and wont ever have to work again?
What else would you give up if you instead had to give up ten things? Fifteen things?
At some point it may not be worth it and youd rather keep your job but I imagine the list of things youd be happy to give up could be pretty long.
I actually thought about this a lot recently when creating the budget for The Perfect Life.
After determining what kind of life would make me and my wife happiest, I sat down to figure out exactly how much the perfect life would cost.
Before I describe the shortest path to financial independence, its probably a good idea to reiterate my definition of financial independence.
To me, financial independence is having enough income from your assets to cover your essential expenses so that you can survive without ever having to work again.
Never having to work again is very different from never working again.
Since I plan on working in some capacity after I achieve FI (on things I want to work on, rather than what my boss wants me to work on), Im not concerned with saving up enough money to cover my discretionary expenses.
Id rather reach FI as quickly as possible, quit my full-time job, and then slowly build up the amount of fun money I have by doing work that I enjoy.
As Mr. Money Mustache described in his First Retire, Then Get Rich article, its likely you will make more money and spend less post-FI than you anticipate. Therefore, Im happy with this plan and am in no way worried about living a boring life after financial independence.
So how can you achieve financial independence as quickly as possible?
The first thing you should do is list your current essential expenses. This will allow you to understand how much you spend per month and will help you better predict how much you will need to spend after you quit your job.
The number you computed in the previous step assumes your post-FI life will resemble your current life.
Most likely, this will not be the case. When you no longer have to work, the number of expenses that you incur should decrease.
This step is the fun part.
If you really envisage your post-FI life, you can quite happily drop expenses that are no longer necessary or important to you.
We currently own a house but plan on renting after reaching FI. There are a few reasons for this:
The decision to rent smaller apartments/houses in cheaper places will allow me to decrease my future monthly expenses significantly!
Sadly, we currently require two cars for me and my wife to both get to work. The costs associated with these cars is ridiculous and if I never have to own a car again, I wont. Post-FI, we wont need to own a car.
Not having a car will probably result in additional public transportation costs but by cutting out automobile ownership from our future expenses, I can decrease our future monthly expenses even further!
Im sure there are many expenses in your life that youd be happy to substitute for free alternatives post-FI if you take some time to think about it.
Theres a big, exciting world out there with many amazing, free things to do so why not start with those and then move on to things that cost money after you get bored of all the free options?
Library books instead of TV. Running instead of gym membership. Rock climbing on actual rocks instead of on a fake climbing wall that costs money to use.
You get the idea.
This exercise may help you decrease your current expenses even before you achieve financial independence.
If you ask yourself, would I give up x if it meant I could quit my job tomorrow and you answer yes, why would you continue paying that expense now? It is obviously not that important to you so why not remove that expense now and instead use that money to get one step closer to achieving FI?
The beauty of saving enough to only cover your essential expenses is that it will force you to really scrutinize your discretionary spending after you achieve FI.
If you have to go out and make extra money to buy something, youll most likely only buy things you really need or desire. You will truly be trading your free time for stuff so you will most likely only do that for things that are really important to you.
Theres no need to wait until FI to see if you can limit your discretionary spending to what your supplemental income can provide.
If you start developing supplemental income streams by doing things you enjoy now, youll be able to increase your savings rate while cutting out the discretionary expenses that really arent meaningful to you.
In conclusion, here are the simple steps to achieve financial independence as quickly as possible:
What would you consider giving up if it meant you could quit your job tomorrow?
Want to shorten your journey to financial independence even more? Check out this comprehensive guide How to Optimize Your Journey to Financial Independence
Posted: at 7:00 am
Reaching financial independence is the holy grail of personal finance. But what does financial independence really mean? In this post Id like to determine the various levels of financial independence. Thats right. Even in financial independence there is no one size fits all since everybody has a different desired standard of living.
Contrary to what you may think, financial independence is not all about having enough money to cover all your expenses and then some. Financial independence also means being able to overcome your psychological fears to truly live free.
For example, I have peers who have millions in net worth, yet still make their respective spouses work because they do not feel 100% financially secure. Common reasons include the need for health care coverage or their spouses love for their job even though theyd rather be doing something else.
Here are the three levels of financial independence Ive come up with. All three levels of financial independence should meet the following basic criteria:
1) No need to work for a living because investment income or non-work income covers all living expenses into perpetuity.
2) Net worth is equal to or greater than the number of years left in your life X living expenses e.g. $3 million with 30 years left to live is FI if your living expenses are no more than $100,000 a year.
If your household income is less than ~$40,000 a year, you are considered lower middle class. Dont be offended. Its just a definition based on millions of datapoints. The current official poverty threshold is an income of $25,000 per year fora family of four and $19,000 for a family of three.
If you are happy with living a lower middle class lifestyle, then you would need between $800,000 $1,600,000 in investable assets returning 2.5% 5% a year to replicate the $40,000 in gross annual income. Of course if youve been investing in the bull market for the past 10 years, youve likely seen a higher return than 5%. But over the long run, its best to stay conservative since downturns do happen.
Given the 10-year bond yield is at ~2.5%, everybody should make at least 2.5% a year on their investable assets risk free. If youre losing money during your financial independence years, you havent been investing properly.
This category of financial independence is interesting because theres a lot of tradeoffs the individual or couple still make, such as:
The question many people have in this stage is therefore: Are you really FI if youve got to do one or many of these things? Many who work a day job argue no, but it doesnt matter because nobody can tell you how to live your FI life. If you dont have to work a full time job and can cover your expenses, you are Budget FI as far as Im concerned.
Budget Financial Independence is where I found myself between 2012 2014. I was earning about $80,000 in passive income, which was more like $40,000 since I lived in San Francisco, and had negotiated a large enough severance to last for 5-6 years of living expenses.
Even with these numbers, I was still afraid that I had made the wrong choice leaving a job at 34. As a result, I tried to sell my house and downsize by 70%, but nobody wanted to buy my house in 2012 thank goodness.
Further, my wife and I agreed that she work for three years until she turned 34 (hooray for equality) to give us enough time to figure out whether we could both leave the workforce. At the end of 2014, she negotiated her severance as well before her 34th birthday.
Related: What Is Lean FIRE?
The median household income in the United States is roughly $60,000. $60,000 is therefore considered a comfortable middle class income for most Americans. If you didnt have to work for your $60,000 a year income, then life should be better, maybe even fantastic.
Based on a conservative 2.5% 5% annual return, a household would need investments of between $1,200,000 $2,400,000 to be considered financially independent. Once youve got at least $1,200,000 in investable assets and no longer want to work again, I dont recommend shooting for an overall return much greater than 5%. You can carve out 10% of your investable assets to go swing for the fences if you wish, but not more. There is no need since you have already won the game.
Remember, once youve reached financial independence, you no longer have to save. Everybody striving for financial independence tends to save anywhere from 20% 80% of their after tax income each year on top of maxing out their pre-tax retirement accounts. Therefore, if youre able to 100% replicate your gross annual household income through your investments, youre actually getting a raise based on the amount you were saving each year.
If you have 20 years left to live and only require $60,000 a year, having $1,200,000 can also be considered enough even if you make zero return. The only problem is that your purchasing power will decline by ~2% a year due to inflation. The other problem is that you dont know exactly how many years you have left to live. Therefore, its always better to have more rather than less.
My blogging buddy Joe from Retire by 40, who is six years older than me, is a good example of having enough money, but finding it difficult to overcome the fear of not working. Every year, he questions whether his wife can join him in retirement, even though hes been retired for over five years, has close to a $3 million net worth, and has online income and passive income to more than cover their annual living expenses. Every year I tell him she could have retired years ago, but hes adeptly convinced her to keep on working.
Related:Achieving A Two Spouse Financial Independence Lifestyle
This is a level of FI that Ive been trying to achieve since I was 30 years old. I decided back then that an individual income of ~$200,000 $250,000 and a household income of ~$300,000 was the ideal income for maximum happiness. With such income, you can live a comfortable life raising a family of up to four anywhere in the world. Given Ive spent my post college life living in Manhattan and San Francisco, it was only natural to arrive at much higher income levels than the US household median. Remember, half the country live in more expensive coastal cities.
These figures are partially due to a highly progressive tax code that was implemented in the mid 2000s that really went after income levels above these thresholds. Further, I carefully observed my happiness level from making much less to making much more. Any dollar earned above $250,000 $300,000 didnt make a lick of difference. In fact, I often noticed a decline in happiness due to the increased stress from work.
Using the same 2.5% 5% return figures, one would therefore need $5,000,000 $10,000,000 per individual and $6,000,000 $12,000,000 per couple in investable assets to reach Blockbuster Financial Independence. In addition, it is preferable if your home is also paid off.
If you are generating $250,000 $300,000 in passive income without having to work, life is good, really good. At my peak in 1H2017, I got to about ~$220,000 in annualized passive income, but then ended up slashing ~$60,000 from the top after selling my rental house to simplify life. Therefore, Ive still got a long ways to go, especially now that I have a son to raise.
The way many people reach Blockbuster Financial Independence with income of $250,000 $300,000 is through a combination of investment income and passion project cash flow. Since FI allows you to do whatever you want, heres your chance to follow the clich, follow your passions and the money will follow without worry that there will be no money. My passion so happens to be this site.
But due to fear of not being able to comfortably provide for my wife and newborn, I worked too much in 2017 on Financial Samurai to my healths detriment. Therefore, until I can reach $300,000 a year in passive income or never let Financial Samurai stress or tire me out again, I wont be reaching Blockbuster FI any time soon.
Overcoming The One More Year Syndrome To Do Something New
What Is Fat FIRE? The Best Way To Live Life In Retirement
The Pyramid Of Financial Independence
Even if you find yourself in the Budget FI category, its still better than having to work at a soulless day job with a long commute and a terrible boss. Most people who find themselves in Budget FI are either on the younger side (<40), dont have kids, or are forced to live frugally. Ive found that in many cases, folks in Budget FI long to lead a more comfortable life so they either get back to work, do some consulting, or try to build a business within three years to move up the pyramid.
The only way Ive found to successfully overcome the fear of not working is by either negotiating a severance, building enough passive income to cover all your living expenses for at least 12 consecutive months, or trying out FI living first while your partner still works. Feeling comfortably FI doesnt just happen with a snap of the fingers.
There is this natural urge to still make financial progress by continuing the good financial habits that got you there in the first place. And wonderfully, the progress you make is like finding loose diamonds after youve already found a pot of gold.
Related:Ranking The Best Passive Income Streams
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After you link all your accounts, use theirRetirement Planning calculatorthat pulls your real data to give you as pure an estimation of your financial future as possible using Monte Carlo simulation algorithms. Definitely run your numbers to see how youre doing.Ive been using Personal Capital since 2012 and have seen my net worth skyrocket during this time thanks to better money management.
FIRE and the implausible millennial movement to save, invest, and quit the American workplace – Vox.com
Posted: at 7:00 am
Part of Issue #12 of The Highlight, our home for ambitious stories that explain our world.
Rebecca, 33, grew up in a single-parent household and graduated from college with a music degree in 2008, at the pit of the recession. She lived paycheck-to-paycheck until she took a job at a Fortune 500 company while putting herself through business school, at which point she paid off about $15,000 of student loan debt she accumulated during undergrad.
Rebecca felt the pressure to earn. Since she was 23, she has financially supported her mom, who was laid off in 2008; its one of the reasons she left music. It was really all about money in the beginning, she says.
But she quickly discovered, as she wrote on her blog, I dont like to go to work.
It wasnt the work that Rebecca hated; it was the work environment, the Sisyphean cycle requiring deft navigation of office politics and frustrating management, early mornings, and the surrender of nights and weekends in order to climb. On her blog, she would describe the relief that washed over her at the end of a workday, writing: I get home, plop in front of the TV to block out the miserable thought that this [is] my life until birthday #65.
So, for seven years, Rebecca who blogs under a pseudonym and asked that her real name be withheld to keep her financial information confidential and her husband, a freelance musician, saved and saved, and invested and saved. They made a combined low-six-figure income, though his was sporadic and hers steady. They also received two inheritances from her grandfather and father, money they put directly into their investment portfolio.
The less they spent on lattes, clothes, new iPhones, and the like, the sooner she could leave fluorescent-lit 9-to-5 life behind. Rebeccas goal: to amass a net worth of $1 million by the end of 2019.
Rebeccas extreme retirement plan wasnt necessarily of her own design. She was inspired by FIRE a movement that takes its name from the acronym Financial Independence Retire Early. FIRE is buzzy and blog-friendly, attracting followers in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who reject the notions that income earning must steer the bulk of adult life, and that the reward of retirement must wait for their golden years. What if, they propose, a better plan is to live frugally, save intensely, and retire in the prime of life?
Guesses at how big FIRE has become are vague at best, but there are some clues: There are currently more than 700,000 members in an active Financial Independence subreddit founded in 2011, and popular blog and podcast network Choose FI has registered more than 1.6 million downloads to date. Another FIRE-related blog, Mr. Money Mustache, reported last year that it had been accessed by more than 30 million unique viewers since 2011.
In November 2019, Rebecca hit her target and retired. But as her FIRE date drew near, anxiety crept in; she feared walking away from a high-paying job. Rebeccas mom totally freaked out when Rebecca shared her plans. So did her in-laws. Who could blame them? Theres a not-insignificant amount of risk involved in FIRE, as the stock market roller coaster and economic ripple effect in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic have recently made worryingly clear. Not knowing whats next is really scary, and I didnt think it would be as scary, Rebecca told Vox before leaving her job. I think about it all the time.
Her fears are well-founded, particularly for her generation. Many millennials were laid off in the Great Recession (8.7 million total lost their jobs across all generations), or struggled to find paid work after graduating, and many are still playing a losing game of financial catch-up as a result. Today, millennials remain strapped with an unprecedented student loan debt crisis and ballooning housing, health care, and child care expenses. As a result, they overwhelmingly put off homeownership, medical and dental visits, and having kids because they cant afford it. All the while, but especially now, evidence has grown that another economic crisis may be imminent.
The rise of FIRE runs strikingly counter to that financial picture. How can anyone dream of quitting their job when they can barely stay afloat?
Yet the existential dread Rebecca felt about work is far from uncommon. Gallup has reported that more than half of millennials describe themselves as not engaged at work, or not emotionally and behaviorally connected to their job and company. That dread, and a growing sense of burnout, may in fact be feeding millennial interest in FIRE. The Harris Poll found in 2018 that Google searches for Financial Independence Retire Early rose 96 percent in five years.
If you have a conversation long enough about FIRE, you end up getting into this existential crisis of, like, What are we doing here? says Scott Rieckens, 36, a filmmaker who chronicled his familys entry into FIRE in the documentary Playing With Fire, released on iTunes late last year. Because it is about your time, this nonrenewable resource. ... So what are you going to do with the life that you have left, right?
Financial freedom, as FIRE proponents call the salvation bequeathed by quitting their day jobs, comes with a cost, however. Saving intensely some FIRE leaders recommend saving 50 to 70 percent of your paycheck is an expense in and of itself. To get there, FIRE requires life optimization to the extreme, optimization that can edge out folks without a 401(k) or more than $400 in the bank at any given time, those who dont make six figures by 30, those who dont have partners with whom to split the mortgage, and those who have $40,000 in student debt. And in the end, no one, not even a millennial with a million in the bank can say for sure that the hustle to save will result in the thing that eludes them: happiness.
FIRE is more complicated than telling your boss to get bent, hightailing it to the beach, and never answering another high priority email again.
The first and most crucial part is the FI: Financial Independence. Achieving FI is what the movement, and all of its corresponding blogs, podcasts, forums, and subreddits, hinge on.
Adherents to the FIRE model reach FI by obeying an austere financial diet: Cut spending, eliminate bad habits, pay down debt, and come up with target numbers for how much net worth to accumulate and when to accumulate it by. To come up with their FI number, FIREs followers multiply the total amount of their yearly living expenses by 25. This formula uses whats known as the 4 percent rule, derived from a 1998 academic paper referred to colloquially as the Trinity study that recommended withdrawing no more than 4 percent of your portfolio (savings, retirement funds, stock market investments, etc.) every year post-retirement. According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average American saves a little more than 8 percent of their annual income after taxes. FIREs followers aim to save half, if not more.
Financial independence and its pursuit predates the term FIRE by a few decades, going back at least as far as the landmark personal finance book Your Money or Your Life, which became a bestseller in 1992 after its co-author, Vicki Robin, appeared on Oprah and shared with the audience some simple math: If it takes X time to make Y money, and you need Y money to buy Z stuff, then stuff equals time. When Oprah waved her hand over a rack of jewel-toned clothes and asked Robin to impart her algebraic wisdom, Robin who retired at 24, in part thanks to an inheritance from her grandmother responded, This is six weeks of your life.
But Robin and her co-author Joe Dominguez proffered a solution: Become financially independent, i.e., accumulate enough net worth to quit your job, and you will be freed from the binds of stuff because of the plain fact that you will no longer have a seemingly endless supply of money with which to buy it. The book didnt lead legions to embrace extreme frugality en masse (though Your Money or Your Life sold 600,000 copies in the first five years, and more than 1 million to date). It did, however, attach a personal price tag to capital-W Work, and would become a foundational text for other folks desperate to find a way off the hamster wheel of capitalist life.
Your Money Or Your Life didnt lead directly to FIRE either, exactly. Tracing FIREs history is tricky, in part because its tenets were developed on disconnected personal blogs, largely helmed by people who either believed that theyd discovered some secret sauce, or who discovered one another (and Your Money or Your Life, whose co-author was eventually considered FIREs godmother).
Its even unclear when the FIRE-specific brand took off. The movements reluctant and beloved de facto leader, Pete Adeney, doesnt even know. Your guess is as good as mine in this department, he says via email.
Adeney, 45, doesnt love the name FIRE. He prefers retired to fired or FIREd, which is how some prefer to describe their voluntary unemployment status. More specifically, he prefers Mustachianism.
Youd be forgiven if youre not familiar with Mustachianism, a philosophy of financial freedom through badassity that Adeney spun out of his popular blog, Mr. Money Mustache. But within the FIRE community, Mr. Money Mustache is required reading, a colorful compendium for anyone serious about achieving FI, and Adeneys word is near-gospel. A former software engineer, he retired at 30 and started the blog in 2011 to proselytize his idiosyncratic version of personal finance. (It was his blog that inspired Rebecca.) More a Gen X-er than a millennial, and having long settled into retirement, Adeney serves as a model within the FIRE community of what is possible.
Once you are off the [tread]mill, youll feel like Neo did when he unplugged the suction cups from his pale naked body in The Matrix and looked around at the other imprisoned humans, Adeney blogged in his very first post. Holy Shit!, you will say. Ive been living in this ridiculous slave world and never noticed...and everyone else still is! WAKE UP DRONE PEOPLE!!!
Its supposed to be a bit of a cult, Adeney told the New Yorker back in 2016. The rest of society oppresses us. We have our own symbols. The bicycle, the hatchback. Adeneys language is evocative, to say the least. Americas Car Clown culture and Exploding Volcano of Wastefulness aside, Adeney is after a revolution. [A]s we lift up the poorest among us, we also need to cut back the environmental destruction that we rich people are causing, Adeney who says his annual expenses in Longmont, Colorado, are under $25,000 tells Vox via email. Culture, he says, must change from the top down.
In many ways, it already is. Were in a moment in which giving up stuff, not acquiring it, is an aspiration. Look to the declutter craze inspired by Marie Kondo; the zero-waste movement that celebrates reducing ones garbage output to one mason jar a year; and the trend away from consumerism with the Buy Nothing Project. Millennials prefer experiences to stuff, we hear again and again.
If the popularity of these concepts is any indicator, the idea of freedom from capitalistic tendencies isnt so abhorrent for plenty of people. Striving is a millennial way of life, and in that way, were a generation primed for FIRE. As Robin told the Wall Street Journal last year, millennials understand that the system their parents built is coming apart.
Adeneys ascetic lifestyle is clearly inspirational to those who have followed his blog over the years. The message is also transfixing, channeling our worst fears about capitalism and our powerlessness over stuff. Most of our spending is a sign of weakness, Adeney told The Tim Ferriss Show in 2017, and its a bunch of stuff that we do to compensate for our weaknesses, because we couldnt solve the problem in a smarter way. For Adeney, its not really about luring the American workforce into early retirement, but instead about breaking moneys grip on the masses, about the end of Work to Buy and Buy to Maintain. Abstaining from consumerism is evidence of piety, restraint, and dedication to the cause.
But the flip side of this message is that those who still participate in that cycle are weak and dont have Adeneys problem-solving skills. FIREs bootstraps outlook, however, isnt necessarily accessible to the vast majority of Americans who work not to buy, but to survive. Nearly 17 million households live in poverty, including 5.3 million households headed by a millennial; and credit card debt is a major hurdle for millions of US households, too, with more than half of credit card holders owing debt. A quarter of US adults have no retirement savings, and 28 percent dont have a rainy day fund for emergencies. Any single one of these factors could make it impossible to retire early, let alone a combination.
Adeney acknowledges that hes not talking about the working poor or to them when he makes these sweeping statements. As he puts it to Vox, Getting rich people excited about consuming less is by far the most effective way to [protect the environment], which is why I mainly write articles targeted at my fellow wealthy Americans.
Elizabeth Willard Thames, who blogs about her young familys frugal lifestyle, has been candid about how privilege allowed them to retire early to the woods of Vermont. On her blog, Frugalwoods, she catalogs a number of factors that made her and her husband, in her phrasing, advantaged from birth: They were raised by parents with college degrees, they didnt grow up in poverty, their families are loving, intact, and they are white. She also cites a number of smart decisions weve made thanks to our privilege, namely that they went to college, have never been in debt (apart from their mortgage), worked in high-paying jobs, are healthy, and delayed having children.
I wish I could say that if everyone would just save a little more, and live a bit farther below their means, and avoid buying an SUV, theyd be able to quit their jobs and live the life they crave, writes Thames. But thats not the reality. Theres structural privilege inherent in our ability to pursue financial independence at a young age.
Personal finance expert Erin Lowry, author of Broke Millennial, is a self-described cynic when it comes to FIRE, though she understands its appeal. Its aspirational in a lot of senses, she says, to have that level of autonomy over your life at such a young age, to feel like you can opt out of the traditional workforce and have a lot of control. However, there are certainly some pieces of the puzzle that do not fit together quite as neatly as it sometimes gets presented.
Sometimes (not always), an inheritance eases the road to FIRE, as it did for Rebecca and Robin. Sometimes (not always), a successful career in a lucrative industry helps, as it did for Adeney. Sometimes (not always), one-half of the household continues to earn income. And often, early retirement means leaving the grind, only to change careers.
Much digital ink has been spilled on FIRE blogs and forums about the definitions of work and retirement, definitions that dont necessarily align with how critics, average Americans, and the dictionary define both. Many FIRE-ers continue to work. Operating real estate rentals and picking up side gigs are two common FIRE recommendations, not to mention pursuing passion projects.
This is where FIRE draws some flak from its critics. While FIREs seductive premise is that followers can retire early and quit work wholesale, some of the most public-facing FIRE-ers arent living solely off their savings and investments. Their work, often FIRE-related, translates into money podcasts monetized through ads, blogs that earn money through ads and affiliates, speaking engagements, book deals, etc.
Our Next Life blogger Tanja Hester, who declared herself retired at 38, does not monetize her blog, and calls for income transparency among other FIRE bloggers. She has noted she did receive a small advance for her book published last February, appropriately titled Work Optional.
Thames monetizes her blog through affiliate links, earning a commission each time a reader buys something through that link; she also made money off her book deal, and her husband continues to work remotely. [W]e work because we enjoy what we do not because we need the money, Thames writes on her blog. This is the extraordinary privilege of financial independence.
True dictionary-definition retirement, FIREs followers argue, isnt the goal, anyway. Its being able to do what they want. And sometimes they want to make money albeit in a different way.
I quit my job, which was very comfy, and made a lot of money in terms of what I was doing, but I wasnt happy, says Jamila Souffrant, 37, of her former life as a commercial real estate executive. Souffrant and her husband, who live in Brooklyn with their three young kids, paid off debt, saved and invested $169,000 in two years, and left corporate America behind. (Her husband continues to work as a teacher.) She started her blog, Journey to Launch, to chronicle her path to financial independence by 40; now the blog, along with a corresponding podcast and her personal finance business, are Souffrants full-time work. This is a freedom that everyone looks for and wants, she adds.
Theres freedom, too, many in the community argue, to decide how intensely to FIRE. For that reason, the FIRE community uses certain tags Fat FIRE for less stringent savings and a longer road to upper-middle-class retirement; Lean FIRE for minimalist lifestyles and retirement ASAP at whatever cost. Barista FIRE for those picking up part-time work in retirement (such as becoming a barista).
Fat and Lean and all the rest are largely irrelevant labels for Kiersten and Julien Saunders, though they dont abide by frugality dogma on the one hand, and are well on their way to financial independence on the other. FIRE, for them, is a little bit of art and science, says Kiersten, 35.
Kiersten adds that despite the current lack of diversity, the community is one of the more welcoming ones shes participated in, and the space is changing for the better. But the disparity, they say, comes down to cultural differences. There are expenses they prioritize that are specific to their lives as people of color that might otherwise be considered expendable by FIRE die-hards.
Kiersten cites self-care as critical in helping people of color heal from microaggressions and trauma endured in daily life, and high-quality day care as essential in giving black children, and black boys in particular, the best chance at lifelong success. Their budget, as a result, doesnt resemble some of the more spartan budgets elsewhere in the FIRE world. We give ourselves the freedom to let life happen, and then stay on the path to the best of our abilities, adds Julien.
Souffrant is after work flexibility. I think thats more realistic for a lot of people, versus, theyll never work again and retire in five years, she says. I dont think that necessarily can be possible depending on peoples lifestyle and goals. Souffrant adds that shes not particularly frugal herself. Im not like, Oh, I want to only spend $20,000 a year. Living in Brooklyn is expensive. Kids are expensive. Souffrant made FIRE fit her lifestyle, not the other way around.
Lisa Harrison thought that her future was FIRE. In 2015, the now 44-year-old corporate scientist Googled phrases like extreme savings, budgeting, and how to become rich, and stumbled on the Frugalwoods and Budgets are Sexy. Even in 2015, I didnt know what a blog was, she laughs. She read personal story after personal story, and just like that, she had a new life plan.
Im working in corporate America, and Im sitting under those fluorescent lights in a cubicle, so it really spoke to me, says Harrison, who lives with her husband and 10-year-old daughter in suburban Pennsylvania. They paid off their debt, and took a hatchet to their budget, line item by line item; anything inessential, from their Pizza Fridays to Coffee Date Sundays, was out. Soon, Harrison and her husband had achieved a savings rate of 70 percent. Shed even started a blog to document her journey to FIRE, too. And they were miserable.
Harrison grew up in a trailer, the youngest of four. Money was always tight, and shed put herself through night school while working in a factory, soldering electrical components together. She never expected the frugality she adopted for FIRE to dig up memories of the deprivation she used to feel. But it did. I feel like sometimes thats what happens with the FIRE movement. Youre so entrenched in, Do it cheaper, do it better, dont do this, dont do that. And you dont allow yourself to enjoy the journey. We want to enjoy our lives both now and later.
Mental health is a big concern for FIRE critic Lowry. The movement almost gets presented as this cure-all for angst and anxiety that youre feeling in your day-to-day life, says Lowry. A lot of money and quitting your job is really not going to be the solution to anxiety and depression that some people think it might be.
Suze Orman has heard of FIRE, and has her own critiques. I hate it, Orman, the Matriarch of Money told Paula Pant on her Afford Anything podcast last year. Ormans issue isnt with FI, but with the RE, as it is for many FIRE critics. To Orman, FIREs followers are unprepared for the cost of unforeseen illness and health emergencies such as accidents, living expenses rising after 60, paying for kids educations, paying for aging parents care, inflation, stock market crashes, missing out on the compounding years of a retirement plan by drawing down early (even if you dont plan to), and on and on. You want to retire early? You can do it if you want to, Orman concluded; it would just be the biggest mistake, financially speaking, you will ever, ever make in your lifetime.
The FIRE communitys response was swift. Robin called Orman a wet blanket on FIRE on her blog. Adeney dubbed Ormans appearance a crazy interview on his blog. [M]oney will not cure your fear, as mega millionaire Suze proves so clearly, wrote Adeney. If you are afraid of what might happen in the future, you have a mental problem rather than a financial problem.
Some FIRE recommendations make sense. Achieving any savings rate, much less a high one, is a step in the right direction, especially considering that a quarter of Americans have no savings at all. And the advice to invest in low-fee index funds, says Yale University professor of finance James Choi, is a good idea, in part because it allows for diversification of your portfolio at a relatively low cost. FIRE-ers, by and large, do not advocate drawing down on traditional retirement accounts early, and Choi agrees.
But is FIRE based on good advice? Or even tenable advice? Its not crazy advice, says Choi, but it is complicated. Dividends paid from investments may not provide a sustainable stream of income, as Choi puts it, to your net worth, particularly as worries about an imminent recession have returned. And this months dramatic spiraling of the stock market amid Covid-19 fears revealed how quickly the value of an investment portfolio a key element of FIREs financial model could simply disappear. On the Frugalwoods blog, Thames responded to the corona virus-related instability by acknowledging those fears, but doubled down on her faith in the market: I can tell you what my husband and I are doing with our money: were not touching it. Were not tinkering with our retirement investments, were not selling our taxable investments, were not buying tons of stock, were doing nothing.
The 4 percent rule raises concerns for Choi, too. That rate only makes sense if the stock market and personal investments are humming along well and if your individual spending needs dont go up. And for retirees who will eventually tap into Social Security, the fewer years they work and the less they earn, the fewer Social Security benefits they collect. Theres a lot more risk if youre trying to finance 50 years of retirement and not run out of money, says Choi.
But most important is the hard truth: For most people, all of this will sound like meaningless steps toward a fantasy. As life expectancy goes up, the US faces a retirement crisis, because much of the aging baby boomer population will not have enough money saved to retire.
Teresa Ghilarducci, a labor economist and retirement security expert at the New School, says that about half of middle-class people will be poor or near-poor retirees.
Rebecca is quick to point out that the family inheritances she received were critical to her achieving FIRE; she didnt need to start out on her path to a million-dollar net worth from zero. Robin, too, started her journey to Financial Independence in 1969 with an inheritance of $20,000.
But thats one of the little secret sources of wealth that most people dont have, says Ghilarducci, adding that FIREs irrelevance to the great majority of Americans lives renders it somewhat elitist. Thats an argument that FIRE-ers rebut, arguing that you dont need to start out with a lot of money to spend less and save more, and that FI simply emphasizes personal responsibility.
This criticism arises from the mistaken all-or-nothing assumption that you need to reach full financial independence before you get the benefits, Adeney tells Vox. In reality, the principles I am teaching are the opposite of elitist they make a bigger improvement in your life the lower you are on the income scale.
Still, says Ghilarducci, Its very, very, very expensive not to work.
When Rebecca quit her job in mid-November, it was ahead of the deadline shed set for herself. Since then, shes been traveling. Her physical health has improved, she tells Vox via email from Australia. She wakes up earlier, watches less TV, exercises regularly, and eats less junk food. Still, she worries about money. She has to remind herself to stay positive, that she did the math right, that she has the cash reserves to do this. Ive always struggled with being too self-critical, to the point where it has been detrimental to my mental and emotional health, she writes. Hitting my FIRE number hasnt helped me with that. What it has done, however, is to give me the time and space that I need to look more inward and let me begin healing.
She opted to not tell her bosses about FI, or that what shed done was not actually quit this particular job but leave the grind altogether. Instead, she said that shed be taking time off to travel. She worried that there were misconceptions that being financially independent meant being a megamillionaire.
She was surprised at how calm she remained during the short exchange. Her bosses were taken aback, but asked no follow-up questions.
I wish I could say that it was like on TV, where I poured my heart out and then danced a jig as I left the building, Rebecca blogged later in a celebratory post. But she didnt. I didnt want to burn any bridges.
She might need them later as a reference.
Stephie Grob Plante is an Austin-based features writer and essayist. Her work has appeared at The Goods by Vox, the Atlantic, Smithsonian Magazine, The Verge, Curbed, Southwest: The Magazine, Playboy, and elsewhere.
Posted: at 7:00 am
The pandemic affects everyone even cats and dogs that are clearly surprised at the change in routine.
Younger children might not understand everything that's going on, and older ones might realize life has changed but not know how to get clarity from their parents.
The current situation is different from anything anyone's experienced in our lifetime, says Wendy Mays, 49, who has a podcast on financial independence for families.
And kids know it.
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The clues are everywhere. Most parents are home. They might realize that grocery stores are barer than usual.
Informing kids in a positive way can be difficult and challenging, says Lionel Hush, principal of Roosevelt Middle School in West Orange, New Jersey. Everyone's home situation is different, and while some people are financially sound, hourly workers may not have the money rolling in. "For some parents, children knowing about their finances is the last thing some parents want," Hush said.
"I think the big thing is to have age-appropriate conversations and be reassuring," said Mays, who lives in San Diego.
Mays needed to chat with her kids, who range in age from 5 to 23, about the need to think more carefully about food. "You can't just go into the pantry and have whatever you want," Mays said. "We can't just go to the store whenever we want."
Wendy Mays, 48, says kids may find the advantages of a quarantine may eclipse some of the financial hardship.
Source: Wendy Mays
When every facet of life has changed, have open conversations.
"At the same time, I address the concerns," Mays said. "I don't want them to feel afraid."
Going to the store used to be a family event. Now Mays goes alone because of the need to keep as isolated as possible.
"The fact we're having the conversation and we're here to talk to is the key," Mays said.
If money needs to be limited, Mays says it's best to explain that you have the family's long-term security in mind. You could say something like, 'If we spend too much now, we won't be in the best possible situation later on.'
Some families may want to help others, and current spending could cut into that ability. "We just want to make sure we're not spending on things that aren't necessary right now," Mays said.
Helping kids feel confident is a challenge, Hush said. Remind them the country can handle this, based on our ability to recover from tough times in the past.
"Just having faith in the economy being able to bounce back is a conversation that has to happen," Hush said.
Tell your kids about programs offered through local and state governments, as well as the federal stimulus package that was passed on Friday. "As a community and as a family we're here to take care of each other," Hush said. "If things get very bad, there is a safety net."
Parents should tell kids about the available options, whether family or friends, or a possible job opportunity. "We, the adults, are taking care," he said.
When it comes to money conflicts, hold a family meeting.
Thomas Henske, a certified financial planner with Lenox Advisors in New York, recommends doing this at a table though not over dinner or in the living room, where family members can face one another. He suggests making comments like, "We are going to have to temporarily change. The good news is, it gives us a chance to think creatively as a family and work as a team."
It's time to bring out your best rah-rah game face. That teamwork message is your general theme, Henske says. "If you don't set the stage that way, you wind up being on the defensive with every [money] question that comes in," he said.
Kids may not always have the right language to explain their fears.
"For example, if they were afraid of dogs, you'd say, 'What makes dogs scary?' " said Henske.
Another good tactic: Ask how their friends are reacting as a wayto ease into the conversation. "Hey, do you think any of this might be scaring some of your friends?" What should they be talking about with their parents?"
You'll have a better idea of how to help kids work through their fears when you have a better grasp of what's upsetting them.
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How Three Generations of Bernards Have Survived The Markets Worst Crashes
No client is too big or too small. Choose The Bernard Wealth Management Group, because we think youll like it here.
Donald A. Bernard Jr.
Age: 56Hometown: Reno, NVEducation: University of Nevada, RenoTitle: Senior Vice President/InvestmentsDesignation: Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF)Career: 1988-1990: Bateman Eichler, Hill Richards1990-2010: Wells Fargo Advisors 2010-present: StifelFamily: Wife Sallie; Daughter Brooke; Sons Donald III and CollinPast President: Saint Marys Hospital, Truckee Meadows Boys and Girls Club, YMCA of Reno, Prospectors Club of Reno Community Involvement: University of Nevada, Reno and Our Lady of the Snows Church
Donald A. Bernard III
Age: 26Hometown: Reno, NVEducation: California State University, Fullerton (Mens Cross Country/Track and Field)Title: Financial AdvisorDesignation: Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF)Career: 2015-2017: Newcastle Financial Advisors 2017-2019: Franklin Templeton Investments 2019-present: StifelBoard member: Truckee Meadows Boys and Girls Club (Young Leaders Committee)Community Involvement: Our Lady of the Snows Church
50 W. Liberty, Suite 100Reno, NV 89501www.bernardwealthmanagement.com
Over 50 years ago, a family investment brand began. An investment brand built on one word: reputation.
The Bernard Wealth Management Group at Stifel story began in 1964, when Donald A. Bernard Sr. (retired) established a brand and a reputation, which answered that question.
Since the beginning, Don Sr. consistently communicated the importance of being prepared financially, if something happened to you, which was out of your control.
Whether it be a worldwide crisis, market crash, lost job, freak accident or no source of income to rely on, Don Sr. preached the importance of saving money and accumulating assets, as doing so would provide you a source of income should the well run dry.
You must take care of your own needs first, Don Sr. said. In fact, doing so is a moral necessity. Taking care of yourself makes you stronger for everyone else in your life. During times like now, the world needs you at your best.
The Bernard Wealth Management Group at Stifel manages hundreds of millions of dollars, across the country and within all regions of Northern Nevada. For over 50 years, three generations of Bernards have been recognized as leaders by guiding their clients through various crises and market crashes.
The most notable market crash for Don Sr. came during the year of 1987.
During the Black Monday stock market crash, we saw U.S. markets fall more than 20% in a single day, Don Sr. stated. It is thought that the cause of the crash was triggered by computer trading models using risky derivatives and options for portfolio insurance.
I will never forget the panic calls from clients and I recognized the significance of having saved money and accumulated assets. My clients and I had spent years working towards this. We made it a priority. Yes, the crash hurt us in the short-term, but we never had to rely on someone else to maintain our financial independence and financial security in the long-term.
During that time, Don Sr. realized his purpose for getting into the investment business.
The bottom line was, I wanted to help others financially, but if I was going to advise them on financial matters I had to be credible myself. I had to prove that I had everything and more that I was telling my clients to do. This credibility didnt come over night. It took years to build.
Donald A. Bernard Jr. pins his personal and clients success on being in a position to seize opportunities, even at unlikely moments.
Like his father, when these moments come, Don Jr. stresses the importance of financial independence and financial security because being prepared for any crisis or crash, allows you to manage your situation and increase your odds of success and survival.
If you can take care of yourself first, then your focus can turn outward Don Jr. insists. You can allow yourself to be in a good place at a bad time. My focus in life is to help others experience that feeling financially.
Don Jr.s unlikely moment came in 2008. The Financial Crisis.
The decline in stock prices reflected real economic problems Don Jr. said. It was a perfect storm made of a mortgage crisis, a credit crisis, a bank collapse and a government bailout. Once major financial markets lost more than 30% of their value, a steep recession began.
In the midst of any crisis or market crash, The Bernard Wealth Management Group at Stifel has had a rule: to continue to build their family investment brand on their reputation. Don Jr.s reputation as an established, trustworthy and clear-headed financial advisor, has allowed him to help others, who are serious about building and preserving their wealth.
The most basic advice I can give to people, looking to prepare themselves for the next crisis or market crash is: First, pay off your credit cards in full. Second, put six months worth of expenses in a money market account. Third, have the drive to take what is left over and invest it in the financial markets, real estate or both. Finally, have the discipline to never touch those investments and continue to add to them until you retire.
Many people have asked me, Don what is the secret to financial success? Its as simple as that. Its a constant battle to achieve these things. It requires endless sacrifice, time, focus and energy but the reward is so much greater than the sacrifice. I promise you that.
Like every other crisis and crash that preceded him, the means in which Don Jr. prepared has never changed.
Youve got to be a bit selfish to be a successful person Don Jr. stated. When you are, you dont cause worry and stress for those who care about you. You can be a role model and people will see the fire in your eyes. I am proud to be able to look my clients in their eyes and know that I am one of the most credible advisors out there.
Often times, issues are beyond our control but if you have saved money and accumulated assets, you give yourself freedom and options to succeed, no matter what circumstances are thrown your way.
I live for moments like these Don Jr. declared. Because this is when our family investment brand and our story is everything. This is an opportunity for me to be a leader for the people of our community.
My father built our family investment brand and it was my job to take it to another level. Now my son must ride for the brand and do whatever he can to help others better their lives financially. He couldnt be doing a better job.
Along the way, Don Jr. has groomed his son to ultimately take control of the family investment business.
As a child, Donald A. Bernard III would crawl on the ground of his fathers office while he was working. 26 years later, he is building his own book of business and helping his clients work towards financial independence and financial security, during a time of war with an invisible enemy.
Just like his grandfather and father, Don III is experiencing a crisis and crash of his own. This one is much different than the two that came before him.
COVID-19 has rattled everyone inside and out of the financial markets Don III stated. Even the best and the brightest didnt see this virus coming. Not only have we have seen markets plummet, we are seeing many in our community out of work with no income to rely on.
The decline in stock prices has reflected concern and uncertainty over the global spread of Coronavirus. Stock prices have fallen over 35% due to awareness towards disruption of supply chains, free movement of goods, social distancing and a shock to demand, as consumers and businesses cut back on consumption and investment.
The market is broken but it will fix itself in time Don III insists. No one knows how long it will take to make a recovery, but believe me this isnt the end of the market. This pandemic will eventually end. Stimulus will kick in. The market will rebound and there will be many opportunities out there. My optimism believes we are in a good place that looks like a bad place.
Mandatory and temporary closures to essential and non-essential businesses, have wreaked havoc on the local economy and governments ability to maintain services in the coming months. Moreover, we are seeing thousands and thousands of individuals and families with no source of income to rely on.
When you have no source of income or savings outside of your employer, you lose all of your freedom Don III said. This crisis and market crash should serve as a wakeup call to build financial independence and financial security. If you dont get your personal financial engine running right, you place a burden on everyone from your family to the country.
If you can do that, you are able to invite uncertainty into your life. Then you can survive it, appreciate it and take advantage of it.
Once the fog of war clears, opportunities to own high quality investments will present themselves. These will be opportunities, which we havent seen since the Financial Crisis over a decade ago.
At the end of the day, The Bernard Wealth Management Group at Stifel will be there to help you. Why? Because their reputation says so.
And as his grandfather and father consistently asked those around them, Don III asks you:
When the next crisis or market crash comeswill you be prepared?
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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex sign off from royal life with final message on their Instagram account – Tatler
Posted: at 7:00 am
On the eve of their final day as senior royals the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared a message of thanks on their Sussex Royal Instagram account.
Alongside an image that thanked their followers for their support, inspiration and commitment to good in the world, they wrote a lengthy caption that both addressed the current coronavirus pandemic and also their work in the future.
'As we can all feel, the world at this moment seems extraordinarily fragile,' it begins. 'Yet we are confident that every human being has the potential and opportunity to make a differenceas seen now across the globe, in our families, our communities and those on the front linetogether we can lift each other up to realise the fullness of that promise.
'Whats most important right now is the health and wellbeing of everyone across the globe and finding solutions for the many issues that have presented themselves as a result of this pandemic.
'As we all find the part we are to play in this global shift and changing of habits, we are focusing this new chapter to understand how we can best contribute.
'While you may not see us here, the work continues.
'Thank you to this community - for the support, the inspiration and the shared commitment to the good in the world. We look forward to reconnecting with you soon. Youve been great!
'Until then, please take good care of yourselves, and of one another.
Harry and Meghan'
The message promises that they will continue working on their charitable endeavours behind the scenes, spotlighting worthy causes, and that they will be back soon to 'reconnect'.
The couple announced their decision to stand down as senior working royals in January, and have recently moved from Canada to California with their 10-month-old son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. They are now pursuing financial independence away from the Royal Family, which has so far seen Meghan doing the voice over for a Disney documentary and Harry speaking at a JP Morgan summit.
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Posted: at 7:00 am
On March 18, 2020, McGill students everywhere opened their inboxes to discover that McGill would be shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with classes for the remainder of the Winter and Summer terms being taught remotely. Canada is now in a state of lockdown due to a government-mandated quarantine. The COVID-19 virus has spread rapidly, with approximately 6,320 cases reported across the country as of press time. With a litany of businesses, schools, and workplaces shut down, many people find themselves confined within their homes, unable to leave due to social distancing measures. This situation is particularly alarming for survivors of domestic abuse, who may find themselves trapped with their abuser and isolated from their friends and family. Refusing to self-isolate does more than just spread the virus: It may also prolong the length of time that survivors are forced to spend with their abuser in quarantine. Quarantine and social distancing policies set by the government must be taken seriously: It is during such extreme circumstances as a pandemic that Canadians must consider the needs and vulnerabilities of others above their own.
The quarantine has forced many people to work from home or lose their jobs altogether. These potential financial losses strips domestic abuse survivors of the independence and resources that they might use to protect themselves and their loved ones from an abuser. A lack of financial independence further increases the abusers control, making it harder for survivors to leave. Many people will continue to remain out of work until the pandemic is under control, which can, in part, be helped by social distancing, until then, many survivors will be faced with co-inhabiting with their oppressors.
Government-mandated isolation also forces abuse victims to be isolated from their support systems and loved ones. Often, survivors find respite in workplaces and at school, as they provide a physical distance from the abuser. Additionally, educational institutions and places of work can offer survivors social support. These environments provide a measure of control that the victim does not have at home. The COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in many shelters for domestic violence victims becoming overwhelmed, many women will be forced to remain in crowded shelters to care for their children, putting them at a higher risk for contracting the virus. With the shelters reaching full capacity and facing the trials and tribulations the virus brings, some women may find themselves unable to seek refuge from their abuser at these shelters. These shelters will continue to be overwhelmed until the virus is under control and the curve is flattened, prospects that heavily depend on how strictly individuals choose to practice social distancing.
Although many shelters in Canada have turned to online and phone support for women in crisis situations, many have ceased physical measures of support. As healthcare systems nationwide become overwhelmed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, survivors are faced with delays and a lack of healthcare resources as the pandemic is prioritized, making the situation more dangerous and difficult. Until the pandemic is contained, the healthcare systems will continue to be overwhelmed, making it difficult for survivors to seek adequate care and support, further exemplifying why people choosing to socially distance and self-quarantine is crucial to help contain the virus to alleviate the burden on the health care systems.
During a pandemic, it is important to understand that social distancing and isolation prevent the spread of disease, but also to shorten these measures. As members of the Montreal community, McGill students have a responsibility to practice social distancing, meaning that opting to quarantine with several friends and hopping from apartment to apartment must cease. Refusing to isolate out of resistance to giving up everyday life prolongs the pandemic and in turn, heightens situations of domestic violence for others, because as long as the virus continues to spread, Canadians will continue to be forced to remain indoors.
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