I’ve Seen The Future And It Looks So Bright

Copenhagen Sunrise

Part of creating great wealth and happiness is anticipating the future, understanding the future, betting on the future, and adapting to the future.

With President Obama in power until 2016 (and Hilary Clinton likely succeeding him after), he can be more aggressive with his policy initiatives given he no longer has to compete for another term. If Obama gets his way, taxes will go up for higher income citizens, government spending will go up to help care for our most impoverished, debt will increase, and more people will be saved from the perils of capitalism.

In other words, America will become more like Europe. We just need to be careful not to be Europe in its existing form where too much debt torpedoes our entire economic livelihood. But even if we go overboard, there will always be the Federal Reserves of our greatest nations to help us out. As the world police, they owe us!

Given America is becoming more like Europe, I decided to go to Europe and see for myself what our future might be like. You thought I was just going on a 2.5 week vacation to inject $10,000 into the Eurozone to help save the world didn’t you? Au contraire mon frere. My main purpose was to conduct some front lines investigative reporting to provide readers with unique, real-time insight into how to live and prosper over the next four years!

WHAT AMERICA WILL BE LIKE

Zynga Rejected My Application So I Unleashed The FURY!

One thing I plan on doing in retirement is find a potential encore career.  As a computer and internet junky who has built up a reasonable size blog, a foray into the social media sector seems like a natural extension.  I want to make sure that I exhaust all options before I really kick back and harass my father on the golf course a couple times a week.

Applying to positions is so easy now thanks to the internet and LinkedIn.  It takes around five minutes per online application and you will get an e-mail confirmation immediately after pressing send.  For those who don’t know, Zynga is an online social game maker of Farmville, Words With Friends, and other names that rely predominantly on Facebook’s user platform to make money via ads and virtual goods.

Given I’ve been reminded about Zynga with Mark Pincus’ handsome face all smiling down below in my post, “How The Rich And Powerful Become More Rich And Powerful,” I figured why not shoot them an application despite their horrendous reputation for long work hours and ruthless management..  I didn’t talk to Mark at Marissa’s party, but I did swing by their sweet offices once in the SF Design District.

For most of June and July, Zynga’s stock hovered around $5 a share, a 65% decline from its recent March 2012 high of $14.20.  I figured in my ever optimistic self that it was better to get options at $5 than all the poor folks who joined earlier in the year at much higher levels.

And so, between scrubbing my chiseled pecs during bath time earlier this month, I submitted my application.  A couple weeks later I got this rejection letter:

 

TIME TO UNLEASH THE FIST OF FURY!

So You Want To Be Rich Eh?

Palace of Fine Arts San FranciscoIn “How Do You Become Rich?“, Finance Fox pens a 1,200 word post on what it takes to reach the promised land.  I immediately checked out the post because I’m always fascinated about how others define rich and how others plan to get rich.  Eddie’s definition of rich is “having a fortune over $1 million bucks.”  $1 million bucks is a good amount of money, but at what age?  At 35, that’s pretty darn rich.  At 70, not so much.

Eddie then goes on to ask what is the secret of successful rich people?  My answer is almost always, PERSEVERANCE.  The ability to solider on and not give up even in the worst moments.  Every single wealthy person I know has had some tremendous disappointments in their lives, but they don’t stop trying.

The more critics there are, the greater the wealthy person’s fire is to succeed.

What I Learned While On Sabbatical

Baker Beach San Francisco Golden Gate BridgeJust like that, 30 days have gone by and my sabbatical is over. I truly enjoyed my time off and have learned a number of things I’d like to share with those who are thinking of taking a sabbatical or are just curious in general.

I haven’t taken more than two consecutive weeks off since the summer after college and I highly encourage everyone to take a sabbatical if they’ve been working for at least five years.

SABBATICAL REVIEW

* Free time is joy.  The best feeling of being on sabbatical is knowing that nobody is there to tell you what to do.  You don’t have to set an alarm clock and you are free to plan your day and week as you see fit.

* There are plenty of people wandering around during the day.  It didn’t matter when I went out to do errands, play tennis, go on a hike, or whatever between 7am-5pm, it was always crowded!  A bullish sign for the economy no doubt as you read on.

The Ideal Body Weight: Finally Losing The Last 10 Pounds

Financial Samurai Weight

At the beginning of the year, I discovered that I was not in ideal weight and it pissed me off.  At 167-169 pounds, I thought I was doing pretty good for a middle-aged guy standing 5′ 10″ until spending a couple hours of research online for the post.  It turns out that based on the majority of reports, I was actually about ~10 pounds overweight, which is a lot since I don’t weight that much to begin with.

With tennis season just three months away at the time, I didn’t want to be out of shape.  My teammates were counting on me.  In competitive sports there’s the triumvirate mind, body, and skills for winning.  The body is the EASIEST thing to optimize, which means during competition against high caliber opponents, they are all in great shape.  Having an ideal body weight is standard (ever see an overweight professional tennis player?), and therefore one is able to focus their energy on mental strength and specific skills.

For well over a decade, I had an enormous mental block that I had to overcome.  I told myself it was IMPOSSIBLE to get under 160 pounds, even though I was a lean 155 pounds in college.  I kept saying there was no way I could break 160 because of work and a slower metabolism.  I accepted weight creep and the ideology that people automatically gain 10 pounds every decade.

PLEASE TELL ME ANOTHER EXCUSE 

Is The Top 1% Better Than The 99% At Raising A Family?

Thomas Jefferson's MonticelloI stumbled across a very crafty Twitter feed called “GS Elevator Gossip” @GSElevator the other day.  The idea behind the Twitter feed is to share with the public random elevator gossip from one of the most hallowed, and vilified investment banks in the world.  Given the average compensation for Goldman Sachs employees runs around $300,000-$500,000 a year, it’s safe to say that Goldman Sachs has its fair share of 1 percenters.

Some of the Tweets are quite witty.  And others are downright offensive.  The key to all good snark is to be witty, a little offensive, and contain a good dose of truth.  One of the Tweets that piqued my interest is this one:

“I’m in the top 1% because I want the best for my family. What does that say about the 99%?”

ZING!  Let’s discuss the merits of this statement, shall we?  I’m assuming that most parents in the 99% won’t be in agreement with the statement.  We’ll also touch upon why the 99% is better than the top 1% as well.

WHY THE TOP 1% IS BETTER

The Psychology of Wealth Book Review And Giveaway

The Psychology Of Wealth Book CoverSince the very beginning of Financial Samurai, I’ve sought to delve into the psychology of wealth by focusing on stories about wealth and moving beyond numbers.  My favorite is, “The Curse Of Making Too Much Money And Not Pursuing Your Dreams“.  It’s infinitely more interesting to learn about what makes people happy, and what wealth means to everyone.

Most of us are born into relative wealth given America, Australia, and the United Kingdom, are where most of you readers hail from.  There are hundreds of millions more people born into relative poverty and can’t get out.  Go anywhere in India for a couple weeks and it will change your appreciation of what you have, forever.  You’ll probably no longer complain about why you don’t make X, and you’ll likely lose some weight as well upon realization of so much waste.

The psychology of wealth is more than just having a net worth of $1 million dollars by the time you retire.  That’s pretty straight forward if you have your head on straight the day you graduate from college.  The psychology of wealth is about being wealthy, no matter how much money you have.  It’s about “understanding your relationship with money and achieving prosperity,” as Dr. Richards writes.

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF WEALTH REVIEW

What Is The Real Meaning Of Wealth?

Fisherman Over Bosphorus BridgeAuthor bio: The following is a guest post from Steve the Money Infant. There he blogs daily about money; how to save it, make more and avoid wasting it. You can also find him on Twitter every day sharing great posts from all around the PF blogging world.

Do you think you are wealthy? In fact, what is wealth really? The Free Dictionary defines wealth as follows:

  1. An abundance of valuable material possessions or resources; riches. The state of being rich; affluence.
  2. All goods and resources having value in terms of exchange or use.
  3. A great amount; a profusion: a wealth of advice.

I think that many and possibly most people focus on the 1st meaning of wealth. We are so concerned with material wealth while there are many other kinds of wealth that we should be striving for. It hasn’t always been this way though. The word “wealth” actually comes from two Old English words; “weal” (meaning well-being) and “th” (meaning condition of) which when combined means “the condition of well-being”. That is significantly different when compared with the common usage of the word wealth these days.

While I certainly wouldn’t try to denigrate the usefulness of material wealth, in many ways my life has become a striving for wealth in the Old English sense of the world. I do not claim to have a great deal of wealth. Much of what I owned was sold before our move to Thailand. My investments are sorely lacking and my income, while sufficient to satisfy our meager needs, is certainly not that of what you would consider a wealthy person. What I do have on most days though is what I would call inner wealth; a great sense of well being or inner peace.

Outer Wealth

What Income Level Is Considered Rich?

Boat on Lake TahoePresident Obama considers single people making over $200,000 to be rich. He has specifically called for raising taxes on singles making over $200,000 and couples making $250,000 every year he’s been office. Yet, he’s been unable to pass any tax increases because I don’t believe most people agree with him that $200,000 for singles and $250,000 for couples is rich. Thank goodness there was at least a compromise with Congress at the end of 2012 for raising income taxes for those making $400,000/$450,000 and above. Why $400,000 + $400,000 doesn’t equal $800,000 for a married couple to pay more taxes, I’m not sure. The government still harkens back to its old days of believing one spouse should stay at home.

There are two aspects of monetary wealth we can focus on: Income and Capital. Some make a lot of income, but have only a little amount of capital since they are either starting off in their careers, or haven’t saved and invested an appropriate amount. That’s not going to happen to you because you read Financial Samurai and will follow my savings guide to ensure capital accumulation.

Meanwhile, there are those with a tremendous amount of Capital, with little income given they may have inherited their wealth but have no income generating skills. Capital heavy people may have invested skillfully over the years, built great companies, or were incredibly disciplined in their savings. There are many different types of folks in the Capital heavy category. It’s not a bad place to be at all.

Ideally, it’s best to have both high income and a large capital base. This is my goal, and therefore my goal for all of you as well.  In this post, we’ll focus on the income side of the equation and what to strive for just in case we don’t have a trust fund from mom and dad.

HOW MUCH INCOME DO YOU NEED TO BE CONSIDERED RICH?

How To Save More For Retirement If You Don’t Make Much Money

Hawaii Sunset* $180,000 by age 30

* $500,000 by age 40

* $1 million by age 50

* $2 million by age 60

These are the rough estimates for what I think everybody needs to have in their 401Ks or savings accounts to have a reasonable attempt at a comfortable retirement. Of course these figures aren’t set in stone and there are many other things you can do to help your retirement quest. I advise keeping an open mind and using these figures as targets.

If you read the comments from my “401K amount by age” article, you will notice that those in their mid-30s and below tend to disagree with these amounts, while those older generally agree, verify, and accept.

I don’t know why younger folks aren’t willing to follow along. It’s often times just rebel and justify why they aren’t saving.  “Live life!“, they say.  True, but who says you can’t live life while saving?  The easiest way to learn, is to listen to an older person who has gone through what you will go through. Perhaps it’s immaturity, or the way things are where every generation needs to question the next generation and the status quo.

There’s really no mystery to money. The more you have, the more you can make.  It’s all about building the NUT large enough so that when you make a fortuitous 10% return, you’re pulling in an extra $50,000-$100,000 on your $500,000-$1 million portfolio.  Get going so you can have more significant returns.

If you aren’t on retirement track based on my 401k age chart and disagree with my figures, just do the math YOURSELF and see whether you’ve saved enough to retire on. I don’t think you’re going to like the results.

There’s one question that kept coming up over and over again, and that’s, “How can I save so much, if I don’t make so much?” It’s a fair question that needs addressing. One commenter mentioned my table must be of “California Currency”, which made me chuckle. The problem of not making enough and therefore not being able to save enough is an honest problem which I’d like to address via a change in mindset and a chart.