Following His Dreams To New York City

Every now and again, people surprise me.  One of the greatest feelings is when you want to laugh and cry at the same time.  For years I’ve had the most wonderful tenant.  Timothy, was always courteous and kind, and never more than 10 days late on rent.  When he told me in January of his plans to move back East, he did so in a hand written letter that was so kind.

Saddened by his impending departure, I wrote a post asking a basic question, “Is It Better to Rent To Males or Females?” to help deal with the preparation ahead.  Most of you mentioned you prefer females, however all of the past five tenants have been males.

WHO COMES HITHER?

Hire A Personal Trainer Or Get Buff On Your Own?

Working out sucks.  I hate it with a passion because I find it so wasteful to expend energy on doing nothing.  I would rather use the energy to build a house in Somalia, landscape the backyard, or play sports than lift some stupid weights.  That said, working out is also convenient because there’s a gym right across from me that I attend before every team or client dinner outing.  I figure I better pump some iron and jog a little before blitzing my diet!

One of my goals in 2011 is to win a tennis tournament.  To do so, I have to improve my endurance given I faded in both tournaments since we had to play back to back matches each day.  The season really gears up in March, leaving me with a solid two months to get in shape.  I know there is no way in hell I will be able to go to the gym 3X or more a week so I’ve thought about enlisting a personal trainer for help.

THE BIG BUCKS MIGHT BE WORTH IT

Financial Samurai Goals And Resolutions for 2011

Dear Readers,

The list is long, and the funny thing is, I have another 5 goals to achieve which I’ve left off the official list.  There’s just so much I want to do in 2011 that it’s important to write things down so I can revisit them every month to evaluate my progress.  I’ll be bookmarking this post and checking back regularly for sure.

I’m under no illusion that I’ll be able to achieve everything on the list, but I will certainly try.  A lot of the goals and resolutions below are doable if I adjust my lifestyle accordingly.  In fact, practically everything on the list is something I really want to do, hence maybe I will be able to achieve them all!

GOALS AND RESOLUTIONS FOR 2011

The Comfortable Lifestyle Business or The Big Payout?

Contemplating the Lifestyle Business In HawaiiOver poker one night, we got to talking about what we always talk about: entrepreneurship.   Out of a table of 10, four work at start-ups, three are at Google, one is a high-tech lawyer, one works as a medical correspondent for CNN, and then there’s me, a hybrid.  I had just got done working on Yakezie.com for three hours after working an 11 hour day, and needless to say, I was a little bit tired.

I love going to Friday night poker mainly because I get to bounce ideas off of really smart and incredibly hard working people.  When I hear stories of one start-up player working from 7am to 3am every night for two weeks straight to launch a product offering, I get pumped.  When the Venture Capitalist player recounts his firm rejecting a pitch by Tim Westergren, Pandora’s founder in 2008, I wince, but daydream in amazement.

THE LIFE AND BUSINESS QUESTION

My First Car Was A Heap Of Junk How About Yours?

Joining Uber As A Driver With $50 Gas Promo

Rhino Joins Uber

After getting my driver’s license at 17, I talked to my parents about finally getting a car.  I don’t remember why I didn’t get my license at 16, but perhaps it was because I had such a spiffy bicycle the ladies loved.  *Ring a ding a ling * was the sound of my bell every time I rode by a hot girl.

It always felt odd that I had to walk or ride my bike to school when other kids got to drive their new Ford Explorer SUVs, and VW Jettas.  Even my parents drove an 8 year old car at the time.  Oh well, I thought to myself.  Perhaps one day.

THE HIDDEN GEM THAT WAS NOT A GEM

The Secret To Early Retirement

Sometimes I feel like a genius.  Sometimes I feel like a financial dumb ass.  Today is not one of those days of stupidity.  It hit me during bath time the other evening that the secret to early retirement isn’t spending less than you earn, saving at least 30%+ of your after tax income, buying only what you need and living a frugal lifestyle.  Nope.  That’s just status quo where one should be living that lifestyle anyway.

What I discovered is so much deeper, and so much more powerful than anything ANY of us personal finance “gurus” have discussed.  The secret to early retirement and leisurely living is so amazing that I don’t know if I should even share with you guys since I could probably write a book, do a video, and make tons of money in the process.

Alas, I’m a nice guy, and am down with helping my fellow brothers and sisters get ahead so I’ll share with you the secret.  There aren’t any gimmicks, just the straight up truth.  Before you click the “read more” button, see if you can guess what exactly it is I’m talking about.  Think long and hard.  Now that you have, know that you could have just clicked “read more” anyway because you’ll never figure it out!

THE SECRET TO GREAT RICHES AND KICKING BACK

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!

Personal Finance Bloggers Cause US Retail Sales To Plunge!

May retail sales drop 1.2% or the most in 8 months as more and more people turn to personal finance bloggers for frugality advice!  I’m pretty certain nobody has ever come up with this statement, but think about it for a little bit.  Why is it that the public should take personal finance advice from BusinessWeek, for example?  The articles are written by relatively well-paid writers who are on a mission to report the news.  They do a fine job at that, but perhaps not as fine a job making things visceral like the personal finance community.  What’s more personal than a real person like Jeff delivering pizzas to get out of debt?  Not much!

It’s very hard for the mass media to compete against a team of personal finance bloggers such as the Yakezie.  We’re real life people responding to comments and putting ourselves out there.  There’s a two-way street with us.  If I were Editor in Chief of any mass media publication, I’d go out and hire an bunch of influential personal finance bloggers and put them on my payroll.  $75,000 a year will do or perhaps $150,000 a year if you want us to write an article a month exclusively for you.  By doing so, the Editor will inject new life, new readers, and therefore a wealth of new advertising dollars to the publication.

As evidenced by May’s retail sales figures, we are creating the news with our frugal ways instead of just reporting the news.  There’s a movement underway, can you feel it?  Maybe we’ll band together and talk about how we should never buy new cars again, causing June’s new car sales to dip.  Or maybe we’ll discover how amazing one person’s unsung journey is to fight poverty in Uganda and direct millions of dollars their way.  That counts for something.  Let’s make a palatable difference with the words we write.  Someone is out there listening.

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Passive Income X Factor – Starting Your Own Site

It’s been around six years since I started Financial Samurai and I’m actually earning a good passive income stream online. The top 1% of all posts on Financial Samurai generates 31% of all traffic. The average age of the top 1% posts is 2.3 years old. In other words, after putting in the hours to write some very meaty content over two years ago, 10 posts consistently generate a monthly recurring income stream that’s completely passive. The posts probably won’t continuously rank high in search for years due to tremendous competition, but that’s partly why I continue to write 3-4X a week.

I never thought I’d be able to quit my job in 2012 just three years after starting Financial Samurai. But by starting one financial crisis day in 2009, Financial Samurai actually makes more than my entire passive income total that took 15 years to build. If you enjoy writing, connecting with people online, and enjoying more freedom, see how you can set up a WordPress blog in 15 minutes with BluehostIt’s cheap and easy to start.

Updated on 3/2/2015. Let the bull market continue!

Samurai’s Alexa Ranking Challenge Update: Progress Through Adversity

Financial SamuraiIt’s been just over a month since the Samurai Alexa Ranking Challenge was announced, and I’m pleased to report we’ve made tremendous progress!  With 35+ members strong, we are actively helping each other achieve our respective goals.  I’d like to use this opportunity to recognize several Yakezie members for their achievements and initiatives in helping the team.

* Daniel-San from Sweating The Big Stuff took the initiative to compile the list and keep track.  His efforts have in turn created a home for us members to visit once a week and get pumped.

* @Elle_CM from Couple Money has been amazingly selfless in retweeting my posts and many other posts.  She is exactly the type of member the Yakezie Group seeks.  @FinEngr created a Yakezie Twitter Group to keep track of us and follow.  Pls follow so the group can follow you back.

* Monevator, The Amateur Financier, Evolution Of Wealth created weekly wraps to specifically highlight posts from the Yakezie Group.  Meanwhile, Money Funk wrote a derivative post on how to increase your Alexa ranking.

* Eliminate The Muda and Planting Dollars have busted through their 200,000 goal and should obviously now shoot for top 100,000!

THE RULES HAVE CHANGED AND WE WILL ADAPT

Charles Farrell From “Your Money Ratios” Speaks! Part II

Social Security Act FDR

The following is the second and last part of my interview with Charles Farrell, the author of “Your Money Ratios“.  We discuss the much maligned 401k, whether Social Security will survive, and crowd favorite, how raising personal income tax levels further will ruin America!

The 401K AND ALL ITS GLORY

Question: Why do you think there are so many detractors of the 401k plan? Furthermore, do you think it is fair that the pre-tax limit contribution is only $16,500 for some 22 as well as someone who is 45? Presumably, the average 45 year old is making much more than the average 22 year old, so how come the government doesn’t propose an increased pre-tax contribution scale the older one gets?

Answer: Many people don’t like 401(k) plans because they believe the burden of funding retirements should fall on employers and not employees; thus they would like to see us go back to defined benefit plans that are funded by employers. Well, that is just not going to happen. Employers have no appetite for guaranteeing to pay their workers for 30 or 40 years after they stop working for them. And DB plans are not flexible enough to accommodate a globally competitive marketplace, plus they discriminate against individuals who change jobs or careers. Moreover, many DB plans (particularly government plans) are significantly underfunded and many who thought they had guaranteed retirements may be unpleasantly surprised at some point. So I think the “romance” with DB plans is misguided, but many people would like to see those types of plans again. I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

Then there is another set of individuals who don’t like 401(k) plans because of the limited investment choices and sometimes high expense structure of the plans. I agree with people on this front, and there are problems with some 401(k) providers, particularly those smaller plans that can’t drive better deals on their investment platforms.

But, most plans do offer competitive options and are low cost. It’s important for readers not to lose sight of the primary reason to use a 401(k) plan, which is the huge tax benefit provided to those who contribute; and if you get a match, that is just makes it more attractive. The tax deduction, the match and the tax deferral on growth are incredibly valuable tools to help build your capital. So even with some restrictions, the plans are basically the best place to build your retirement assets.

Regulators Are The Problem! (401K Con’t)