Book Review & Giveaway: The Simple Dollar By Trent Hamm

The Simple Dollar book comes as close to a page turning thriller as a personal finance book can get!  I read the book in a couple days when I went on a business trip and just enjoyed how Trent integrates his personal life with personal finance teachings.  If you’re a personal finance junkie like me, when you finish the book you’ll be wishing for more.

The book is a quick read at just 255 soft cover pages long.  Trent’s writing is quite eloquent and captures the reader’s attention immediately.  Furthermore, Laura from the FT Press/Wharton School Publishing has promised to provide a three book giveaway!  Thanks Laura!

I used this opportunity to get in touch with Trent to pick his brain about blogging, his financial viewpoints, as well as learn more of his story on how he came to be.  Hope you guys enjoy, and follow the directions at the end for your chance to win!

THE INTERVIEW

If You Plan To Speak Forever, You Can Blog Forever

One of the best things about running your own blog is that you can write whatever you want, whenever you want.  There’s really no pressure to do anything really, and I don’t understand why some would feel otherwise.  Several blogging buddies have gone straight up cold turkey, not writing anything for months.  They tell me they can’t keep up with the schedule of writing great content.  Who says content has to be great?  They say new jobs lead them to not have the time.  Are you working 100 hours a week?  I’m sad because I miss their posts and our interactions.

Blogging shouldn’t be a chore, it should be easy.  Blogging is writing, and writing is like speaking, which comes as naturally as breathing.  Surely you speak everyday to people, whether in a fun or work setting no?  If so, why is it so hard to put some words together on paper and press publish?  Oh yes, we’re afraid of what people will think of our writing.  Yes, it’s sometimes a debilitating feeling.  We feel we should always try and write something meaningful and profound.  Gimme a break.  We’re bloggers for goodness sake, not the authors of Crime & Punishment and The Invisible Man!

Look around the blogosphere.  There’s hundreds of non profound posts out there.  There are posts about doing this and that when the author has no clue.  Boring makes up an extraordinary majority of articles on the internet, so don’t worry one bit if your post has the personality of a waxed figurine.  Although we’re only a small micro fraction of the web, I’m pretty confident that someone will find us interesting.  Don’t believe me?  Try putting the worst piece of crap on Craigslist, and I guarantee you tons of people will ping you to pick it up.

If you speak at all, you can write.  And if you plan on speaking forever, you can write forever!  Come back blogging buddies, come back.

Bloggers, what are your reasons why you don’t write more often?  Is blogging easy or hard?  Non bloggers, share with us your excuses as to why you’ve stopped working on some endeavors such as a New Year’s Resolution?

Regards,

Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

The $300 Million Dollar “A” Yacht Owned By A Russian Billionaire

Well, well, well.  Not everyday does a $300 million dollar mega yacht stop by the San Francisco Bay Area!  The creatively named “A” yacht is owned by 38 year old Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko and his lovely supermodel wife Aleksandra!  Andrey made his money in fertilizer, banking, and energy and is worth a reported $4.4 billion dollars.  Interest alone on $4.4 billion at 4% is over $178 million a year!

The “A” looks like something out of a James Bond movie.  Can you imagine all the crazy parties on this bad boy?  Wow!  I rode my bike to the very north end of San Francisco to take a look and boy oh boy is it big.

Some nice mouth watering yacht stats for all you billionaire wannabes out there!

I’m Going To Kick My Own Ass

Are you afraid of hard work?  I’m not.  You can lock me in a room, tell me to demolish it down to the studs and build it back up again.  I’ll do it even if there’s only a sliver of hope of something good waiting at the end.  As many of you may or may not know, Yakezie.com will launch this Monday, August 16th.  A tremendous amount of hours have been spent formulating the game plan, working with Chris the web guru to implement features, and create content.

Everything always seems so calm on the outside, but behind the scenes there is nonstop debugging, planning, and trial and error.  Major respect to anybody who has ever tried to start any collaborative project!  Our Google Groups is alive with discussion, and the ideas are endless.  Yet, ideas are useless without implementation.  I often wonder how on earth we’re supposed to coordinate the talents and ideas of so many.  I’m worried that great ideas will fall by the wayside because we’re too focused on narrow objectives.  As a result, we’re going to do our best to capture them all.

With the August 16 deadline, I feel like I’m back in school, working on a project that will determine my final course grade.  Yet in reality, there’s simply no fear of failure except for the fear of not doing.  What a pity it would be to never launch Yakezie.com with so many diverse and passionate members, each of whom have something special to offer.  After all, the Yakezie.com is not for me, but for all the members who participated in the challenge, as well as all the potential new readers out there who are looking for unique insights.

Weekends are meant for relaxation, but not this weekend.  It’s crunch time and I’m going to kick my ass to ensure that everything goes according to plan.  See y’all over at Yakezie.com this Monday!

Readers, for those of you who run multiple sites any tips on how to manage?

For those who only have one site, have you ever thought of starting another site and implement what you’ve learned from your first site?

When was the last time you kicked your own ass at something? Haiiiii yah!

UPDATE: Yakezie.com is up and we are currently working out all the kinks.  Please feel free to share your feedback!Regards,

Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

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View Your 401K Like Social Security And Write It Off

Every month I contribute $1,375 to my 401K so that by the end of the year, the 401K is maxed out at $16,500. Unfortunately, $16,500 a year is a ridiculously low amount of money to save for retirement if you really do the math. After 10 years, you might have $200,000, and after 30 years you might have $600,000 to $1 million depending on the markets and your employer’s match.  Whatever the case may be, the 401K is simply not enough money to retire on, especially since you need to pay taxes upon distribution.

The government needs to get it together and raise the amount of 401K contribution for those in the later part of their lives.  How is it that a 40 year old executive who makes $250,000 can only contribute the same amount in his 401K as a 23 year old kid out of school making $40,000?  It just doesn’t make sense.  Instead, the government should allow pre-tax contributions to increase by $5,000 every 5 years so that by the time one has served 20 years in the work force for example, s/he can contribute $35,000+ a year to their 401Ks until retirement.

Let’s talk about the pencil geek IRA retirement plan for example.  If you’re one of the fortunate who are allowed to contribute, you can only fund $5,000 a year!  Whoopdeedoo!  $5,000 X 30 years later, assuming you don’t lose it in the market yields $150,000-$300,000 maybe!  Great, just enough to buy me a Honda Accord sedan when I’m grey.  Get it together government and raise that $5,000 contribution amount higher with better tax incentives.  Furthermore, let hard working Americans who make over $120,000 the opportunity to contribute regularly, and not just through odd year loop holes.  Empower people to want to save for their future!

DIFFERENT STROKES