Median Income By Age And Sex In America

median-salary-by-age-and-sexDo Americans have an earnings problem or a savings problem? Unfortunately, I think we’ve got both. Take a look at the median salary by age and sex compiled by Motley Fool from the Census Bureau.

The obvious points are 1) people make more the older they get and 2) men make more than women at every single age group. Making more as you age is nothing insightful. What is insightful is how the difference between men and women’s salaries really start to grow in their 30s. A 25% pay gap is huge!

So what’s going on here? The answer must be biological (life). For example, I have a female friend who was the most gung-ho worker ever. She was an Electrical Engineer in college (one of the hardest majors) and told me that she planned to work “forever” after Harvard Business School. Two years after HBS, she was pregnant, and when I asked her whether she still planned to go back to work she said, “No way! Raising my children is the most important thing in the world to me.”

It’s been five years since she’s been out of the work force. If she decides to return at age 37, it’s logical to assume that she will have to start at a lower pay and title than colleagues who kept working while she was away. Regarding finding a solution to the gender wage gap for equal pay for equal work, the fix I’ve come up with is to have equal paternity leave rights for men and women. With equal paternity leave rights, employers are more blind to discriminate.

What’s interesting is that women have more money in their 401k on average up to the $150,000 income mark, according to a 2014 report by Fidelity Investments with 13 million tracked accounts. Women earning between $20,000 and $40,000, for example, have saved an average of $17,300 in their 401(k) compared to $15,200 for men in the same income range.

Career Advice: If You Fake It, You Will Probably Not Make It

Fake Ice Cubes: Can you tell?

Fake or real?

There’s been a huge trend towards joining startups and fast growing tech companies ever since Wall Street blew up between 2008-2010. The top companies to work for no longer are dominated by the Goldmans, Mckinseys, and Bains of the world. The Googles, Facebooks, and thousands of startups you’ve never heard of are the employers of choice now.

One of the biggest realizations I’ve had going from an enormous investment bank to consulting for various startups is that if you fake it, you probably won’t make it for very long. When you’re at a huge organization, it’s easy to hide behind bureaucracy, layers of middle management, and massive amounts of inefficiencies. If you stop coming into work for a month at a large organization, chances are high the business will continue as usual. The extreme example is an Indian government employee who called in sick for 24 years!

At a small company, you must know your stuff and produce. Small companies generally have tighter budgets, less people by some definition, and a time limit to expiration given many startups are loss-making. If a company burns $10 million a year and only has $12 million left in the bank, the pressure is on!

There’s no room for holding meetings about meetings on what to do. There’s no room for people telling others what to do without doing anything themselves. Everybody must pitch in to produce something valuable.

Now think about the dichotomy between small companies and large companies from an investor’s point of view. Do you want to invest your money in ex-growth companies where people have a tendency to come in late, leave early, and do the bare minimum? I don’t. The hustle, drive, and innovation is why I’m a big fan of investing in growth companies and private startups. The problem now is that the private equity market is richly valued.

How I Earn Over 10% Passive Income With P2P Lending

Stack of money cash

Want some cash money?

The following is a guest post from my friend Jeremy Johnson who was kind enough to help me out with a random WordPress question issue when I first started back in 2009. I’m pleased to say he jumped head first into P2P lending when we spoke a couple years ago about diversifying his savings, and is doing well. 

Peer to peer lending is one of the most simple and effective ways I’ve ever found to make passive income. It has outperformed my stock picks, selling old baseball cards, my own business ideas – everything. I’ve earned more money through it than I’ve earned at anything else except my day job. This is pretty powerful for me. I’ll share a walkthrough of how this works for me and you can use/adjust for yourself.

Is A Backdoor Roth IRA A Good Move For Higher Income Earners?

Backdoor Roth IRAThere are three primary types of retirement plans in the U.S. today: Traditional IRAs, 401(k)s, and Roth IRAs. Although there are some other plan options out there such as SIMPLE IRAs, SEP IRAs, for the most part when people are talking about their retirement funds, they are referring to one of the three main types mentioned above.

It is often debated which of the two IRA options is better: the Traditional IRA that is tax deferred, or the Roth IRA that is funded after tax. Hypothetically speaking, if your earnings and tax rates went unchanged for your entire life, both types of IRA plans would net you the same amount of money in the end – it’d just be a matter of either paying the taxes up front or deferring them until later. However, it’s unlikely you’d actually be in a situation where those two variables would stay constant for your entire lifetime, since earnings and income tax rates regularly fluctuate.

I’ve been a staunch opponent of the Roth IRA because it’s never a good idea to pay taxes up front to a government who excels at wasting money. So long as you have your money, you can figure out ways to shelter your money from the government in a myriad of legal ways.

But what if you are a super pessimist who believes taxes have to go up because the budget is so poorly managed? Furthermore, you’re inept at navigating the many legal tax savings rules. In such a scenario, even those of us in the lowly 25% and under federal income tax brackets are probably not safe.

Should I Invest In Oil Stocks? Learn About Oil Price Fundamentals First

Oil price collapseOil is a popular topic due to its surprising ~50% price drop from June 2014 to mid-2015. Nobody could have imagined such a quick collapse in oil. I certainly didn’t when I decided to buy a Honda Fit instead of a Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited last summer! If I had known I could pump my rolling 4th bedroom for less than $2.90 a gallon, I might very well have opted for the bigger car.

Given knowing what the hell is going on in the world is part of being a functioning citizen in today’s society, I decided to do some research into what happened. After all, I did purchase the oil ETF USO, a couple major integrated oil companies, an airline stock, and some auto stocks in my newest diversified investment portfolio for 2015 to try and make some money.

So what caused this significant drop, and how does this affect businesses, the economy, and our everyday lives? Is oil poised to rise once again? Let’s explore these questions and more.

Does Remodeling Pay Off? Probably Not!

Property Renovation

Manhattan Brownstone Living Room

In “How To Make A Lot Of Money In Real Estate: Focus On Expansion,” one of the questions was on whether remodeling really recoups the cost and provides such a large return.

One of the biggest fallacies homeowners have is thinking whatever they spend on remodeling will automatically bring them great returns when it comes time to sell. I used to think this way as well until I started remodeling and property expanding myself.

Let’s be clear. Almost all property remodeling does not recoup the cost spent remodeling based on national averages. Only in super expensive cities does remodeling sometimes bring in extra value to a sale because time is more valuable to higher income buyers. In such cases, home buyers in places like San Francisco, London, or New York may be willing to pay a premium to avoid the hassle of remodeling.

In order to create more value, remodeling (renovation) must include expansion. Do not confuse remodeling with expansion!

The Startup Journey: Alternative Investing With Sliced Investing Founders

Founders of Sliced Investing. Top: Akhil Lodha. Bottom: Mike Furlong

Top: Akhil Lodha. Bottom: Mike Furlong

One goal after leaving my corporate job of 11 years in 2012 was to learn more about the startup industry in Silicon Valley. I was coming from the old school finance industry where there was relatively little innovation compared to many financial technology companies today. Life was getting a little boring and I kept watching company after company we took public grow into great successes.

One of those companies was Google. I remember being excited seeing Sergei Brin, one of Google’s founders give a lunch presentation in downtown San Francisco during their IPO roadshow back in August, 2004. It was standing room only, so I wasn’t able to eat one of the manufactured plates of rubber chicken. We were one of the lead book runners, and I was inspired at how quickly Sergei, Larry and team were able to build something so huge, so quickly.

We are living in the golden age of tech/internet innovation. Five years ago, at age 32, I told myself that if I didn’t create something internet-related on my own or join a startup while having so much access living in San Francisco, I would kick myself in the face when I’m old.

Today, Google is one of my largest sources of traffic and revenue for Financial Samurai. Maybe it’s good karma for helping them go public, even though the IPO seemed shaky at the time with the last minute price decision of $85/share. Yes, we all should have piled in back then! It’s crazy how life comes full circle.

I discovered Sliced Investing on AngelList while vacationing up in Tahoe over Christmas break. With my tag-line “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries,” I wondered if destiny was calling once again as I shot the founders a note to say I’m interested in helping them out. They kindly responded, and here I am.

I wrote off hedge fund investing until 2015 because I didn’t have the $500,000+ minimums to invest. It was just as well since the markets have been on fire since 2009 and hedge funds have underperformed. But in a way, I have been creating my own equity hedged portfolio with my accumulation of structured products since 2012. Give me 5-10% returns every year with low volatility, and I’ll happily invest all I can.

Sliced Investing smartly crowd-sources investor capital in order to make investing in hedge funds and alternatives more accessible to more people due to their minimum investment of $20,000. With the bull market entering its sixth year, I’m beginning to wonder how much more this baby can run. I’ll take under a 10% return for the S&P 500 for 2015 if anybody wants to take the other side of the bet!

In this interview, I want to understand the mindset of an entrepreneur. We’ll talk about risk-taking, the why, and how things came to be with Mike Furlong and Akhil Lodha, founders of Sliced Investing. I’ve got to imagine many people would love to be their own bosses and create a company one day as well.