Spoiled Or Clueless? Try Working Minimum Wage Jobs

My high school home

My mansion during high school

The main reason why I quit working at McDonald’s wasn’t the $3.65 an hour pay, or the abusive, ego-tripping manager. After all, the endless supply of broken apple pies went a long way to make up for the unpleasantry at work.

I’m ashamed to say it, but the main reason why I quit was because I was embarrassed.

I lived in McLean, Virginia, a now upper middle class neighborhood where kids would drive to school in new SUVs their parents bought them. One of my friend’s even had a separate house just for his indoor pool! It was a strange mix of wealth and normality.

As the son of State Department workers, life was very low key. We had a seven year old Toyota Camry and lived in a cozy 3/2 townhouse (picture). I rode my bike or walked to school. My parents provided my sister and I all the opportunities we could ever ask for. I just knew we weren’t rich based on what I saw in comparison.

The Property Assessor Always Wins In A Bull Market – Filing An Appeal Is Useless

Property Tax Appeal Is Futile In A Bull MArketYour goal as a homeowner is to enjoy your home and minimize costs as much as possible. If you can convince the property assessor that you live in a dump, then all the better! Unfortunately, in a rising property price environment, minimizing cost becomes much more difficult due to rising property taxes.

When things are going swell, it’s easy to get lazy about reducing expenses. But I encourage you to continuously manage your burn rate while figuring out how to maximize income. In the event of the next downturn, you’ll be that much more prepared to weather the hurricane.

Some Things Money Can’t Buy – How About A USTA 5.0 Tennis Rating

USTA 5.0 Tennis ServeOne of the most comical, yet sad things every aging athlete must face is that we no longer are what we once were. Our minds are there, willing us to keep fighting, but our bodies don’t cooperate. This is a post about perseverance.

At the beginning of the year, I highlighted several personal goals in a post. One of those goals was to win just one USTA 5.0 rated tennis match. I had just gotten bumped to 5.0 after being a 4.5 for the past four years. It was a big surprise since I never believed that I belonged.

To give you an idea of the caliber of players in the 5.0+ USTA league, here are some bios:

* Cal team captain in 1998 who played No. 5 singles and owned a 25-6 match record that year.

* No. 6 singles player for USF in 2013. That’s right, he’s only 24 years old.

* Four year starter for UC Santa Cruz, and 2009 Division III National Champions.

* Four time All-American in singles and doubles at Stanford.

* Four year starter at William & Mary with a 70-40 singles record.

In other words, these guys are legit. Winning a singles match against some of these young bucks is impossible. I’d lose 1-6, 1-6 if I’m lucky. Winning a doubles match is almost impossible without a good partner. 

Who Is The Typical Financial Samurai Reader?

Financial Samurai - Samurai Alexa Ranking ChallengeEver wonder the demographics of who else is reading and commenting on Financial Samurai? I’ve always felt the community here is one of the most financially savvy on the web based on my interactions with so many of you. I just didn’t have a post to prove my belief until now!

Polls are a great way to anonymously figure out what other people are thinking and how other people are doing. Everything is relative when it comes to personal finance since we all live in one of the most prosperous countries in the world.

Everybody wants to know their position vis a vis another. It’s the reason why the following posts are some of the most popular on Financial Samurai:

How Much Should I Have In My 401k By Age?

The Average Net Worth For The Above Average Person

The Average Net Worth For The Above Average Married Couple

What Should My Net Worth Or Savings Be By Income?

How Much Do The Top 1% Income Earners Make?

Over three years I’ve conducted over 80 polls. Almost all of them received over 500 submissions, a dozen received over 1,000 submissions, while a handful rocked the 5,000+ submission level. In other words, these polls are statistically significant for a demographic that enjoys reading about personal finance.

What Happens When A P2P Borrower Stops Paying?

What Happens When A Prosper P2P Borrower Stops PayingI’ve been an investor with Prosper, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company since 2012. I usually check my account once a quarter to view my performance and to re-invest cash that has come in from borrower payments. Per my latest passive income update, the annualized return of all of the notes in my portfolio is 7.41%. Better than a swift kick in the nuts!

With rates expected to rise by perhaps as much as 2% over the next several years, I suspect the returns on P2P lending will also commensurately increase. As a result, I plan to allocate more of my free cash flow into Prosper in $10,000 increments. 

Should I Buy A Home In A Rising Interest Rate Environment? Explaining The Fed Funds Rate

Rising Interest RatesExecutive Summary:

* You’ll learn why a rising Fed Funds rate doesn’t necessarily mean rising mortgage rates.

* The main determinants of buying a home.

* Where we are in the property market cycle.

* You can always refinance. You can never change the purchase price of your home.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen has signaled her crew will be raising rates by 2016. As a result, you are hearing everybody from real estate brokers to market pundits in the media say, “Buy now before it’s too late!” There’s nothing like a little Fear Of Missing Out to get people to make big decisions without thoroughly thinking things through.

The instant response everybody should have when fed this line is: Don’t higher interest rates make homes less affordable at the margin? If homes are less affordable, doesn’t that hurt property demand? And if demand for property declines, doesn’t that mean prices might go down instead?

Whenever you are talking to someone whose main source of income is through transactions, be a little suspicious. After all, from a real estate broker’s point of view, it’s always a good time to buy or sell!

This post aims to explain how to think about a home purchase (or sale) in a rising interest rate environment. We’ve already discovered how to invest and potentially profit in the stock market when rates rise.

My hope is that this post educates future homebuyers, reduces the number of future debt welchers, and creates a stronger America as a result!

Solving Financial Insecurity To Live More Freely

Curing Financial Insecurity In Order To Be FreeWe all suffer from financial insecurity to some degree because society can be cruel and the future is always unknown. Financial insecurity is the reason why we tend to stay in cash long after the signs of a recession are over. Financial insecurity is the reason why we work long after we need to because we fear some financial disaster might wipe out all our wealth. Financial insecurity is why we buy insurance!

In a positive light, being financially insecure helps us become more financially secure because we take action to get rid of such an uncomfortable feeling. But after a certain point, financial insecurity may become debilitating – ruining relationships, limiting potential, and creating a sea of regret.

Here are some signs you might be overly insecure about your finances:

* You constantly tell others how much you make for the purpose of making yourself feel better.

* You crave constant adoration or at least reaffirmation that you aren’t one of your insecurities e.g. weight, education, product.

* You enjoy constantly checking yourself out in the mirror, taking selfies, and posting pics of yourself for all to see. There’s a correlation between physical fitness and financial health.

* You sometimes lie awake at night, unable to sleep because you’re worrying about your liabilities or potential liabilities.

* You buy nice cars, fancy clothes, expensive jewelry, and nice watches to show off your wealth or make up for shortcomings.

* You have multiple-years of living expenses saved away, but still work at a job you hate in order to save more money you don’t need.

* You feel your friends are all more successful than you, despite having an income or net worth well within in the top 25% for your age.

Let’s see if we can provide some help to a reader who writes in about his financial insecurity!

It’s Virtually Impossible To Escape The Allure Of Money

Impossible To Escape The Allure Of MoneyWhen we’re young, we have this idealist image of the way the world should be. Then we enter the work force, get beaten down by the system, and fork over a good amount of our earnings to the government. Suddenly, we’re no longer as much about helping other people or higher taxes anymore. Instead, we’re trying to figure out things for ourselves.

During the summer of 2014, I got to know several MBA interns. One of them went to Harvard for undergrad and was attending Stanford for her MBA. Before Stanford, she worked at a private equity firm, one of the highest paying industries today.

She was now interning at a startup that paid much less than what she earned before business school. She was a dreamer who longed to do more.

Passive Income Update For Financial Freedom 2016

Financial Samurai Passive Income Update 2015 - 2016 - Leaf On River by Kathy Kettner Creative CommonsIn early 2012, I made it a goal to try and achieve $200,000 a year in passive income by 2H 2015. The idea was to somehow make a large enough sum of money to comfortably provide for a family of three or four in Honolulu or San Francisco. With $200,000 a year, I wouldn’t have to go back to work ever again. Instead, I’d rest easy working on building Financial Samurai into a lifestyle business.

Creating a lifestyle business has always been a dream of mine because it helps mix entrepreneurial passion with the ultimate end goal: living a better life. Killing myself for the next 10 years to try to make something huge in order to live a nice life sounds a little backwards. Why not live a nice life now?

Growing passive to semi-passive income from ~$78,000 in 2012 to $200,000 is a daunting task, especially given our low interest rate environment. But when we write out our goals, I firmly believe we’ll figure out ways to eventually get there. Let’s see if I made it or not!

Use The Family And Medical Leave Act (FMLA) To Negotiate A Severance Package

Most common FMLA requests

FMLA’s Most Common Reasons

It’s been three years since I first released How To Engineer Your Layoff to the world. It’s become a niche product specific to helping people break free from a job they no longer care about by negotiating a severance. Growing old and being filled with regret is a terrible way to live.

Negotiating a severance is not easy, and this bull market has made jobs more bearable as people more often get the raises and promotions they hoped for. Ironically, it’s during a bear market where book sales will probably skyrocket as employees nervously try to figure out what’s in their future. I just realized that my book is actually an income hedge. Sweet!