The Cause Of Conflict: Money, Entitlement, And Poor Etiquette

Team Photo At The Mission Playground, SF

Team Photo At The Mission Playground, SF

You might have heard about all the Google bus protestors in the Mission District as techies move in and cause rents to rise. Long-time residents are displaced by landlords who want to evict and sell their buildings to buyers who turn around and rent the same units for market prices. Multi-unit buildings are under rent control, which allows for rents to rise by no more than a small percentage a year, usually under 2%.

On the one hand, the landlord should be able to sell their building and maximize profits if they so choose. On the other hand, how do we take care of the residents, especially older and disabled residents who might not have anywhere to go because market rents are double their existing price? It’s a messy, messy situation that is causing a lot of strife.

I’m a landlord, but I’ve never faced this problem before because I’m just buying property to live in. Only after living in the property for many years (10 years as is the case with my latest rental) will I put the property up for rent because I don’t ever want to sell. I would feel terrible buying in an up-and-coming neighborhood with the idea of booting out long-time tenants for profit. Forget that. There are much more harmonious ways to make money than disrupting other people’s lives.

Here’s a video that is causing a lot of uproar in San Francisco that I’d like for you to watch. This altercation is a prime example of what happens when money, entitlement, and poor etiquette come into play. Notice the racial divide as well. Having tact and better communication skills can go a long way to avoiding conflict. 

Do The Rich And Powerful Want To Keep The Middle Class Down?

poor-femaleThe one thing I wondered when reading that 100% of people who make over $500,000 are very happy is whether rich and powerful people WANT the middle class to stay poor. Popular media loves to report that money doesn’t buy happiness beyond a very average level of income. But it’s clear that the rich have successfully manipulated the gullible media into making us believe the rich are not safe and happy with their wealth, when they really are.

Part of the reason why I write is to highlight so many of the absurdities that go on in this crazy world. And for some reason, a lot of the absurdities have to deal with government-funded policies e.g. Have a $1,000 child tax credit per child if you make below a certain income level despite our reports saying that it costs $250,000+ to raise a child into adulthood. Thanks to conflicting signals, can we really blame some families for having five children and staying on welfare their entire lives?

The happiness and income survey is anonymous and provides no incentives for participants to vote differently from how they feel. Therefore, it’s highly likely that a large majority of people who do make over $500,000 a year are much happier than those who make less. The only people who say money doesn’t buy happiness are those with no money to make themselves feel better, and those who have a boatload of money and don’t care about money anymore.

In order to feel rich, you must make or have more than the average. Even if you earn only $30,000 a year, you’ll feel rich if the average person earns $20,000 a year. But if the middle class grows more wealthy, then the rich won’t feel as rich anymore.

Given the rich and powerful like to mingle within their own circles, it becomes extremely difficult for the rest of us to get ahead in society because everybody just takes care of each other. A middle class person has to be an exceptionally brilliant, hard working, or lucky to move into the rich class where hopefully they’ll stay for a couple generations until the third generation wastes it all because they don’t understand what it takes to get ahead.

Consumers Stand Up For Your Rights: Honda MPG And Recall Issues

Honda MPG Advertised

Misleading Advertisement

One of the main reasons why I bought a 2015 Honda Fit was due to the advertised fuel economy of 32 MPG City, 38 MPG Highway, and 35 MPG overall. My old vehicle was getting 12-16 MPG as a 2000 SUV, and I wanted something more economical to drive around town and to Lake Tahoe.

After going through 8 gallons of a 10.9 gallon tank (fuel light went on), I discovered that Rhino wasn’t getting anything close to the advertised 32 City MPG. Rhino clocked in a paltry 21.6 MPG, or a whopping 32.5% lower than advertised. I’ve since refueled the tank and driven another 200 miles and am now getting closer to 20 MPG in the city. I don’t know about you, but I find this difference egregious.

Here are some examples of getting 32.5% less than you paid for:

* Imagine paying $80 for a 60 minute massage and only getting 40.5 minutes worth.

* Imagine paying $100 for an NBA basketball ticket, and being kicked out 10 minutes into the 3rd quarter.

* Imagine paying $70 for a MLB ticket, and not being able to participate in the 7th inning stretch.

* Imagine paying $170,000 for a private university and only getting to attend for three years.

* Imagine paying $299 for the latest iPhone and only getting 43 GB of storage instead of 64 GB.

* Imagine selling an ounce of cocaine for $1,200 to your neighborhood gangsta who discovers that 1/3rd of the weight is actually powdered sugar. You’d probably get shot.

We buy things based on the advertised features. If the company lies about the feature, then obviously the consumer is being misled and should either get his or her money back, or get a discount based on the shortcomings of the advertised feature. I’m not going to buy the latest Macbook Pro 13″ if it performs like a Macbook from 2007.

Besides the MPG, I also bought the Honda Fit due to its short length of 160″ so I can find more parking spots. The final reason why I bought the Fit was due to Honda’s history of producing reliable cars that are hassle free.

I then got a letter in the mail from Honda.

Better Investing: Figuring Out How Much More To Dollar Cost Average

Confused on when to investDollar cost averaging is the act of consistently investing in a particularly security over a set interval of time. Most like to invest every two weeks or every month since that’s when most get paychecks. For example, let’s say you’ve got $2,000 left a month after you contribute to your 401k and pay your basic living expenses. You invest $1,000 every single month into the S&P 500 ETF, SPY, regardless of whether it’s reaching record highs or going into the crapper. That’s dollar cost averaging.

The great thing about dollar cost averaging is that you don’t have to think too much. All you have to do is not forget to invest, and eventually your financial nut will grow so large you’ll achieve make it rain status. Growing your wealth is all about practicing good financial habits that last over the long run. Sticking with a system of saving and investing will do way more than trying to uncover than unicorn stock for most.

At some point in your life you will either have a financial windfall (year-end bonus, inheritance, gift). There might also be violent corrections in the stock market as you’ll see in a chart below. Given the stock market trajectory over the long-term is up and to the right, you should come up with a framework on how to best take advantage of opportunities in a methodical way.

Here’s how I think about how much to dollar cost average. It’s kind of an oxymoron to “figure out” how much to dollar cost average, but hear me out. Hopefully my framework will help you better deploy your cash. 

The Financial Samurai Podcast Episode 2: Is Paying Down Debt Considered Savings?

Financial Samurai PodcastA reader asked on my post, The Average Savings Rates By Income, whether I consider paying down debt part of my personal savings rate calculation. My immediate thought was yes, but I realized I haven’t been including debt pay down at all when I discuss my after-tax savings rate of 50%+ in various posts on Financial Samurai.

Here is the outline of today’s 17 minute podcast.

Why I Don’t Include Paying Down Debt In My Personal Savings Rate

1) Be conservative. Don’t rely on anybody or any organization to survive. There are a lot of broken promises out there.

2) You don’t reward yourself for doing something bad. Punish yourself instead.

3) Compartmentalize your money. No co-mingling of funds.

By the time you retire, if your property is paid off and you get social security and your 401k then fantastic. If not, then you’re still OK, because you never expected anything from anyone in the first place.

The only time I would consider including paying down debt as part of my personal savings rate is when I pay extra principal down on my primary mortgage. The extra principal pay down could have been used for other wealth-building activities, so including it should be OK. The thing you want to be careful about is being house rich, and cash poor. There’s a balance you’ve got to carefully work out over the years.

Readers, Do you include paying down debt in your personal savings rate? If so, what are the reasons why?

Speaking notes: I appreciate everybody’s feedback from my first podcast entitled, Genesis. About 60% of you seem to want shorter podcasts, so I’ve decided to produce a much shorter 12 minute podcast and see how it goes. In terms of speed, pitch, and tone it doesn’t look like I have a problem based on your comments. But I’ve sped up my speaking speed in this podcast to test. A couple of you mentioned I should be more enthusiastic in delivery and not be afraid of laughing at my jokes. The style I’d like to emulate are the shows from NPR where no matter how crazy the subject, the speaker stays within his zone. I like NPR’s style, so that’s what I plan to go with for now.

To listen to the podcast, click Play to have it play within the post. You can also download the podcast onto your computer or phone by clicking Download. If you don’t see the options in e-mail, click the title of this post to come to my site. 

Related posts:

Use FS-DAIR To Decide On How To Pay Down Debt Or Invest

The Recommended Net Worth Allocation By Age And Work Experience