It’s March folks! I don’t know about where you are, but here…where I am…that basically means bipolar weather is to be expected for the next few weeks. It was 60 degrees the other day and all of the snow was melted and gone. Well, today we now have about 5 inches of snow! Why do I mention that? Well, similar to the weather, our finances can go through equally variable situations. One month you might earn a really nice bonus from work or a side-gig may be doing particularly well. The next month you could be on medical leave with your employer and generally be unsure when you are going to be well enough to work full-time again. The point being, we should plan for seasonality with our finances. Expect some months to be more and less prosperous than others and make the necessary shifts to ensure you are sticking with your budget and financial goals. And with that little tidbit of advice, let’s get to what I read this week. These articles are fairly varied in topics but all have a degree of importance or relevance in my life right now. Hopefully you too can find some usefulness in them!
- 10 Brutal Lessons You Need to Learn Before Getting Rich: First, maybe you’re like me and don’t really conceptualize being FI exactly the same as being “rich”. But, there are a lot of parallels between the two. Either way, this article provides some insight and good advice for stuff you should do or learn now to make your later years with more money a bit more satisfying and more accepting of your true desire of freedom. Quite a few of these are lessons that some of our parents taught us as kids, others are more aimed at the young millennial crowd that can often be easily sucked into the “rat race” without hardly realizing it. Either way, there is some solid advice here for anyone anticipating growing their net worth.
- How to buy your next car: If you have the need to buy a car in the near future, this is a must read! This brief article outlines 6 strategies to employ if you find yourself at a car dealership and absolutely hate car salesmen. I’m one of them! The guy who sold me my current car was good at his job, and I found myself walking out paying a bit more than I wanted. Don’t do like I did, do your research, don’t let the salesmen walk all over you. Walk in knowing what you can pay and negotiate your butt off, make the salesman remember you for a few months and remind him/her that you too have bills to pay and dreams to save for.
- Latest book recommendations from Bill Gates: I’m typically not one to repetitively follow the words or advice of society’s elites. But, I found this short article interesting because of the mood it sets. Bill Gates recommends two of his newest favorite books, both of which ironically deal with how the world is better off than we are letting on lately. Though I see the value that this mentality can create for him, I do generally agree that we are largely focusing on a lot of th negatives which could easily be resolved if we as humans just let go of a bit of our prejudice and assumptions of others. What do you think?
- You Should Max Out Your 401(k), Right? Not So Fast: Whoa, wait a minute! Am I really suggesting that saving as much as possible for your retirement might not be the best move? Don’t skip this article just yet! Well, as outlined in this article, it largely depends on your personal situation. The short of it is that you need to balance funding both your pre-retirement and post-retirement life. Having millions in your retirement accounts won’t mean as much if you are consumed by debt today. Like many things in life, it is about finding the balance and moderation that works for your life.
- Mark Zuckerberg Has Lost $3 Billion This Week: Are you still thinking you had a rough week with stocks? Yea, that’s a TON of money, but for him it is still only roughly 4% of his total net worth…at least according to a quick Google search. Point is, easy come, easy go! Everyone is bound to lose some money in the stock market, don’t let that discourage you from investing though. If anything, just do more research before you buy the next stock. Ensure you’re investing in something you can be proud of, and remember that the market has some unpredictable motion but largely is on a path toward increasing over time.
- 10 US Cities with high-paying jobs and a low cost of living: Are you one of the people that has some geographic flexibility? Meaning, you are willing to at least entertain the idea of relocating if there are enticing reasons for it. Well, if you are, this list of cities should be pretty interesting. Yea, there are a lot of other potential factors to include in your decision making process, but earning a nice paycheck in an area with a low cost of living is a pretty sweet thing to have. I was in that pool a few years ago when I was living in Missouri. It’s less of a benefit in my current location, but there are many other reasons specific to this locality that make it our best fit.
- Here’s Why I’m Not Counting on Social Security – – and What I’m Doing Instead: Whether you are already retired, nearing retirement, or even just entering the workforce, you probably have some pretty significant concerns about Social Security. This article claims 77% of today’s workers in the US expect that this program won’t be available by the time they retire. Whether that’s true or not is obviously hard to know, but either way, the sentiment of not relying on it for a financially stable retirement is a good thing. Better yet, this article outlines what the author is doing to avoid that dependence on Social Security. Their actions are nothing surprising or mind blowing, but it’s just some solid, straight-forward, and easily digested advice.
- 10 Podcasts That Will Make You Smarter With Your Money: Whether you’re earning minimum wage or earning millions, we all have weaknesses with money management. So no matter your situation very very few of us have reached a state of near-perfect efficiency with the use of our hard earned money. So what can you do about it? Well, one easy thing is to listen to the advice of people that appear to have their finances in a better place than your own. This doesn’t imply they are perfect, just that you could stand to learn something from their experiences. For me, this has taken the form of reading a bunch of blogs and listening to a few podcasts. This article outlines a significant handful of podcasts you could benefit from hearing. Try them out, maybe even during your commute to/from work!
- 4 Good Ways to Put Your Tax Refund to Work: My taxes are nearing completion and I should be getting a sizeable refund this year. Yes, I know that it would be better if instead I had that money going directly into savings accounts throughout the year, but that’s just not the reality of my situation this year. Instead, the next best thing is to use the refund as wisely as possible. Translation: Don’t go spend it on what you want, and get out of the pattern of expecting and relying on it for debt payment. Instead, treat it as a special “bonus” each year and put it toward an emergency fund, investments, or even a principal-only payment on an existing debt.
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