The Rise Of The Chief Content Officer: The Next Hot Job Of The Decade

Raygun Rocketship SFEvery year I tend to discover one significant thing that fish-slaps me in the face based on some sort of experience. This year, it’s the realization of the next high demand job of the decade.

You know how computer science and software engineering jobs have become all the rage over the past 10 years? I predict that any job that has to do with creating content online is going to blow UP in 2015 and beyond. For those of you still in college, take as many classes on web development, creative writing, and online marketing as possible. For others who are looking to switch careers, now is the time to build your resume and take the leap if you like this field.

The most senior of these content-related jobs is Chief Content Officer, followed by Director Of Content And SEO, and Director Of Engagement And Social Media. For the past 12 months I’ve been intimately involved in developing a content marketing strategy for a financial technology company. I’ve edited, written, sourced, curated, SEO optimized, and help grow the company’s brand online through their blog and social media channels. Brand awareness has gone up, marketing costs per result has gone down, and lead generation has grown. Such a job is slowly beginning to pop up all over the place.

A company can no longer just have a website to do business. A company must also have a coherent and effective content marketing strategy. Every single startup or established firm will be hiring a Chief Content Officer or Director Of Content soon enough. This bodes well for struggling journalists or editors of traditional media companies who have been hollowed out due to the desecration of offline content consumption. The natural path is for senior management to hire such journalists and editors due to their pedigree.

But I argue there is someone even better to fill the CCO role: the pro blogger who has organically built a brand from the ground up and displays the combination of creativity plus business savviness.

Why I’m Paying Down My Mortgage Early And Why You Should Too

Pay down mortgage have

The original bath

After buying my latest primary residence, I now have four mortgages. Three mortgages felt OK since one was a primary home mortgage, the other is a vacation home mortgage that produces income, and the last one is a rental property mortgage that is cash flowing nicely. But four mortgages feels like too much, and I plan on doing something about it by paying one off!

I’m sure only a small minority of you think having four mortgages is OK. Even though being leveraged in a rising real estate market is good for building net worth, eventually the good times will end.

What’s interesting about personal finance is that we all have different levels of risk tolerance. Some people aren’t comfortable with any debt, hence they don’t borrow anything. I admire such people for their ability to live thoroughly within their means. Other people let lifestyle inflation get the best of them and take out massive debt that is not comfortably supported by their income. Obtaining credit is so easy in America. The only people who annoy me are those who expect others to constantly bail them out.

One of the curiosities about debt is the joyous process of getting into and out of debt. There’s a certain thrill of buying things with debt. Everybody wants something they can’t have or fully afford, including myself. Then once we reach a maximum debt limit, it’s almost equally as fun getting out of debt. Each $1 that is paid down feels like a victory. We tell our friends about our progress and look like heroes. It’s a win both ways!

This post will review my thoughts on the ideal mortgage amount based off the ideal income amount, discuss the history of my first mortgage, share more reasons why I’m paying down that mortgage, and my new mortgage pay down strategy. 

Focus On Building Net Worth Even More Than Growing Income

Grow Your Net WorthIncome and net worth amounts are intricately linked. However, I’m going to argue that building a sizable net worth is more vital for early retirement/financial independence than generating a high income. Creating passive income is definitely a very good endeavor as well. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of uncertainty involved in the viability of your passive income. For example, my 4.2% CDs eventually came due, but nothing matches such a risk-free return any longer.

There’s even more uncertainty involved with your day job income. We all think our income will continue to grow to the sky for decades, but one day it’ll likely stop growing. We might get a new boss who doesn’t like us. Our company might get sold or go bankrupt. Departments might shutdown. We might absolutely burn out. All sorts of things could happen that will assail our income growth.

I thought my income was going to keep on growing to “make it rain” status by the year 2017 (age 40), but my income was slashed in half during the 2008-2009 downturn. It recovered in 2010 and 2011 before getting completely cut in 2012 after I left the finance industry. Only after two and a half years of working online has my income finally got back to my day job income days. Needless to say, my income is highly volatile and should not to be counted on at all! The only thing I have counted on is my consistent discipline to put away at least 50% of my after tax income every year, no matter what.

At the end of this post, let me know if you agree or disagree that focusing on building net worth is more important than growing income.

A Massive Generational Wealth Transfer Is Why Everything Will Be OK

Bank Of Mom And DadWhen I bought my previous home 10 years ago my 68 year old neighbor stopped by to say “hello.” He was the godfather of the block, having bought his building back in the early 70s. He gave me the inside scoop on all the neighbors, and one neighbor stood out in particular.

He said the house across the street was purchased a year before mine by a family who wanted some place for their son to live as he attended UC Hastings School Of Law. The purchase price? $1.45 million for a 2,100 square foot three bedroom, three bathroom house. The son would host at least one fraternity-like party every year, but other than that, the house was pretty tame. The son continued to live in the house after law school and now it looks like they might sell.

For 10 years, the son not only lived for free, but he probably made rental income as well thanks to his two roommates. His $120,000+ law school tuition was also probably full paid for by Bank of Mom and Dad and I’m not sure how he paid for his $60,000 Audi S4 unless you make a lot of money as a law student? If the house ever sells, I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets to keep the $1 million+ in profits.

It’s clear to me that my neighbor is going to be quite alright, even if he doesn’t work for the rest of his life. If you’re willing to accept so much assistance that’s beyond what you can afford, then why bother working at all? Just mooch off your parents forever!

My Other Neighbor

About two years ago my 32 year old next door neighbor came home in a brand new, $48,000 Toyota 4Runner Limited. I thought it was a quizzical purchase because the car couldn’t easily fit in his garage. I saw him struggle for five minutes just to get the beast in.

Even so, I was intrigued and wrote a post about it called, “Dealing With Money Envy” because I was jealous. He’s lived in his parent’s flat for the past 11 years since college while his parents lived in their other home in the South Bay. With the average SF rent for a two bedroom at $3,800 a month, of course he could afford a new 4Runner. He’s saved $400,000 in after-tax money by not paying rent for 11 years.

My neighbor is a nice fella who now works in real estate with his father. For 2.5 years he got to travel around the world in his 20s without holding down a job because he could. His mother would stop by and share with me how his son was having so much fun. Meanwhile, I worked my ass off all throughout my 20s just so I could be able to afford the house at age 27. His carefree lifestyle is what made me the most envious. The car was just an extra kick in the nuts.

When I was moving out he asked whether I’d like to sell my house to him (to the family really). If he could really afford my house, then his finances must be in great shape because valuations have gone a little nuts as you can see in this chart.

Confessions From A Spoiled Rich Kid

Flying Over San Francisco

Flying Over San Francisco For Fun

The following is a guest post from long-time reader, Samurai Marco.

When Sam first mentioned that he was accepting guest posts from his readers, it made me wonder what, from my financial journey, I could share. After all, you’re already all a bunch of financial samurai’s yourselves, right? Is my journey interesting enough? At 43 years old, have I made enough mistakes?

I grew up a spoiled rich kid in Cupertino, California, about an hour south of San Francisco. My father was a one of those, and I hate to use this term, “Serial entrepreneurs.” He started a lot of technology companies, a couple went public, some were acquired and, of course, a few failed. I remember my Dad, back in the early 80’s, bringing home the first prototypes of the Macintosh and Compaq computers and even the first cell phones.

His summer parties were filled with the “who’s who” of Silicon Valley. I remember, in particular, one Christmas party in 1997, Gil Amelio and Steve Jobs made the deal for Apple to buy NEXT that night at my Dad’s house. The Forbes reporter, who was there, leaked it the next day I’ve gone flying with my Dad and Larry Ellison. I’ve talked stocks in the swimming pool with Eric Schmidt. So yes, I was surrounded by a lot of money and power and got a lot of attention for being my father’s child.

To say I grew up spoiled really is an understatement It’s taken me a long time to realize how “out of touch” my reality was back then. We flew first class to Italy every summer, sometimes twice a year, to visit family. We lived in a big house with a swimming pool in a “safe” neighborhood. My parents bought us whatever we wanted.

Are You Smart Enough To Act Dumb Enough To Get Ahead?

Are You Smart Enough To Be Dumb Enough To Get Ahead?The smartest people in the world are listeners, not speakers. If all you’re doing is speaking, how do you learn anything new?

There was once this portfolio manager I covered who had this uncanny ability to make you feel uncomfortable without saying anything at all. He had a poker face when you spoke to him, and when he felt like changing expressions, he’d go from solemn to smiles in a millisecond. We nicknamed him Crazy Eyes. It turns out that he was literally a genius with an IQ over 160. He also consistently beat his index benchmark for eight years in a row and made millions because of it.

The earliest examples of acting dumb to get ahead starts in grade school. You know what I’m talking about. Those kids who were too cool to study and too cool to sit still in class as they flicked spitballs from the back of the room. These kids weren’t just acting dumb, they really were dumb.

When you purposefully waste your opportunities growing up, you’re not only disrespecting your parents, but also the millions of other kids around the world who will never have the same opportunities.

This post will do the following:

1) Argue why acting dumb is a smart move to get ahead.

2) Provide some tips to help you look and seem a little dumber than you are.

3) Share three personal examples of how acting duhhh, has helped in work, stress management, and relationships.

The Top Financial Samurai Articles Of 2013

financial-samurai-banner-jai

I’m always curious to figure out which are the most read and most commented on articles of the year. The determinants are based on search engines, social media, and what you the community decides to share. With over three million page views for the year, the results are a partial reflection of society.

One of my biggest goals as a writer is to entertain and educate at the same time – no easy task when it comes to a subject as dry as personal finance! Each article takes anywhere from one hour to 10 hours to create. So if you like an article please help share them over social media or e-mail them to your friends.

I’ve gone a little overboard with the number of articles highlighted because each one is like my baby. There are a lot of subtleties scattered throughout my articles that are easy to miss. They are like out of place stones in a garden acting as markers for remembrance when I’m old.

Out of the roughly 180 articles published in 2013, I’ve curated 35 of the most viewed and discussed. Please enjoy!

TOP VIEWED ARTICLES WRITTEN IN 2013

1) Explaining Why The Median 401(k) Balance Is So Low – People really want to figure out what’s wrong with America’s favorite retirement savings plan. It would make sense if you don’t want to work forever you should be saving a ton more money, but that’s not happening. The article shares case studies from various economic groups on what derails people off of my recommended 401(k) amount by age chart.

2) How Much Should My Net Worth Or Savings Be By Income –  There’s a handy dandy chart based on an income multiplier to determine your net worth or savings. The chart should serve as a good guide no matter how much you make, what your work experience, or your age.

3) The Average Net Worth For The Above Average Married Couple – The article provides three main guidelines to determine the average net worth for financially conscious married couples. There’s an interesting discussing on spousal relationships for each of the three scenarios that got readers going. Everybody thinks they’re above average, but we know that’s statistically impossible.

4) Recommended Net Worth Allocation By Age Or Work Experience – It’s not enough to just save money. You’ve got to also invest your money to hopefully provide a positive real return. This article breaks down my thoughts on stocks, bonds, real estate, risk free assets, and your X Factor. See also: The Proper Asset Allocation Of Stocks And Bonds By Age.

5) The First Million Might Be The Easiest: How To Be A Millionaire By Age 30 – This article talks about champagne dreams and caviar wishes for those who want to strike it big in their 20s. I make an argument that it might be easier to get rich when you’re younger because you have more energy, more enthusiasm, less cynicism and are less scared of taking risks.

6) Which Is A Better Investment: Real Estate Or Stocks? – A candid comparison between the two most commonly invested asset classes. My personal preference is for real estate because it’s less emotional. I like the tangibility of real estate, the tax benefits, and the ability to make improvements.

7) How To Better Management Your 401(k) For Retirement Success – Despite the 401(k) being a woefully light retirement instrument, it’s still one of the largest retirement assets for the middle class. I show readers how to create different retirement scenarios in order to plan better.

8) How To Pay Little Or No Taxes For The Rest Of Your Life – After paying six figures in taxes every year for a decade, I decided to go John Galt and protest government waste. If you’re sick of paying taxes and getting very little in return, then this should be one of your favorite articles.

9) Benefits Of Converting A 401(k) Into A Rollover IRA – After leaving my job in 2012, I converted my 401(k) into an IRA. It was one of the best moves because a rollover IRA provides more flexibility and tons more investing choices. The risk is that you become hooked on trading.

10) What Does Early Retirement Feel Like? The Positives And Negatives – Here’s a candid assessment of early retirement life the first year in. Not everything is great. I may do a follow up article every year or two to see if my feelings change over time.

11) How To Build Passive Income For Financial Independence – An update 1.5 years after writing, Achieving Financial Independence One Income Slice At A Time. The new article starts to incorporate the X Factor into the passive income equation. I really try to get into the nitty gritty of passive income with a discussion on mindset, action items, and charts. The next update will probably be in a year and show how I’ve reallocated my CD assets.

12) How Do People Live On Less Than Six Figures In Expensive Cities Like NYC? – To live comfortably (not luxuriously) in places like Manhattan, San Francisco, Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Tokyo, you’ve got to make at least $100,000 a year. I spent a week with my buddy who makes a little over $100,000, and after maxing out his 401(k) which equals ~17% of his salary, he’s left with little to no disposable income every month. I’m still waiting for people who live on less to highlight their budget in a guest post if anybody is interested.

13) CD Investment Alternatives: Why I No Longer Invest In CDs – My 10+ year run in methodically allocating ~30% of my savings into long term CDs is coming to an end because rates are pathetically low. The 10-year bond yield is at roughly 3% while a 10-year CD is only at around 2.5%. This makes absolutely no sense, and I don’t recommend CDs anymore. I’d much rather keep my money in a 1% online money market account that is fully liquid and invest in a muni fund or P2P.

14) Horrible Jobs That Can Eventually Make You Rich – Bad jobs builds character. The worse the jobs, the more you’ll appreciate your future work. The more you appreciate your work, the better you’ll do, the happier you’ll be, and the more money you’ll make until you eventually burn out and contemplate the meaning of life.

15) Subsidy Amounts By Income Limits For The Affordable Care Act – There are four charts to highlight subsidy amounts for Obamacare for singles, couples, a family of three, and a family of four. The charts clearly show how much the government will help you out on a sample Silver Plan. Obamacare is still going through massive growing pains, but it’s a gift for entrepreneurs, people who work at jobs they hate just for their health care, and early retirees.

** The most viewed articles of the year tend to be the ones that get published earliest in the year because they have more time to be viewed.