The Carrot That Makes You Jump Through Hoops

One of my best friends is blessed with skinny genes.  At 5′ 3″ tall, she weighs all of 105 pounds.  When we go out to eat, she doesn’t just order a glass of iced tea and salad with dressing on the side.  She goes all out with mash potatoes, creamed spinach, BBQ oysters and then a nice juicy ribeye for a main course!  I gawk in amazement at her appetite while secretly groaning at trying to keep up towards the end.  After all, shouldn’t she eat 40% less than me if she weighs 40% less?  Guess not!

Despite my friend’s envious genetics, she isn’t exactly iron woman when it comes to sports and outdoor activities.  After three miles on a 10 mile bike ride, she’s pooped and waves at me to take a break.  Meanwhile, I’m going “lah, lah, lah” in my head, not even breaking a sweat as I soak in the glorious views of the Bay.  I let her catch up and we take a five minute pit-stop where she catches her breath as I go do some stretches and sit-ups.

THE GIMMICK

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!

“Capitalism: A Love Story” DVD Review & Giveaway

Michael Moore thinks he is pointing out injustices through his latest documentary, “Capitalism: A Love Story“.  Instead, Michael simply reminds us that life isn’t fair in a free market economy where those who work hard sometimes get the short end of the stick through no fault of their own.

I find it ironic that one of the wealthiest documentary filmmakers is bashing Capitalism.  Despite highlighting that 33% of “young Americans” now believe in Socialism (37% for Capitalism, 30% undecided), it’s hard to argue for a better system.  It’ll be interesting to see if these young Americans still believe in Socialism by the time they reach their thirties and make some money.  Socialism just creates a new set of problems for society.  Is it really that bad buying a foreclosed property from someone who can’t pay their debt on time?  Property vultures are necessary to provide a floor in many devastated markets or else things go to zero and more people suffer.

There is a sense of self-righteousness when Michael tells the viewer that he can’t fight the system alone and encourages all to rise up.  Michael you aren’t alone.  Thousands upon thousands of us fight for what we believe in every single day.  I wish Michael would put his money where his mouth is and donate all his proceeds to helping victims he continues to highlight.

A STRANGE PLACE

Getting Busy This Valentine’s Weekend! (Singles Especially)

Well folks, the weekend of love has arrived!  Some are going to eat by candle light, while others will walk the beach during sunset here in California or Hawaii.  For my friends out in Snowmageddonville, perhaps marshmellows in front of the fire place while playing a fun game of Scrabble.  Amazingly, there are some who believe their significant other when they say, “don’t get me anything. If you actually believe this line, you also mistakenly believe taxes aren’t going up next year!

I’m absolutely sure there are those against the Valentine movement, how it’s one big marketing gimmick for guys to spend more money than they should.  Unfortunately, you’re right, but there’s no stopping the movement. If you end up doing nothing, not even a small gesture like a back massage, you’re screwed, and not in a good way!

The one thing I caution ladies not to do is push.  The more you push about what you want or want to do on Sunday, the more your guy won’t want to do anything.  If you keep hinting about chocolate covered strawberries, you’re going to get one big fat biscuit of nothing!  So shhh, let the man figure something out and get creative.  Of course, ladies can always do something for us men too yeah?  Nah, it’s always on us men.

WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY FOR SINGLES EVERYWHERE!

Tax Refunds Are Good For Most People Because Most People Can’t Save

Bet You Can't Eat Just OneThe average tax refund is $2,400 a year, and 74% of Americans get a tax refund. I’ll consider you average for argument’s sake.  At today’s typical savings rate of 1%, you’re missing out on a whopping $12 bucks in interest income! Why $12, and not $24? It’s because you have to calculate the average balance of the year if you saved every $200/month payment diligently starting January 1st i.e. January $200, February $400, March $600 etc.

I’m definitely not a proponent of giving the government more money than they deserve, but missing out on $12 bucks in interest is something I can live with and so should you.

You have to ask yourself whether you have the discipline of saving that extra $200 a month, or using it to pay down debt. Most people are not disciplined enough to pay down debt and avoid buying junk. This is why we have such massive debt problems in the first place!  The government is essentially helping you “go broke to win big” by protecting 75% of American tax payers from blowing $2,400 a year without even knowing it.

A SIMPLE GUIDELINE & SOME COOKIES

The Public Loves Wall Street Again!

2037754785_05a628201f_bWhat is this blasphemy you say?  One of our main tenets is to observe what people DO with their money, and not what they preach.  The public clearly loves Bank of America and Wall Street again because how else would Bank of America be able to raise $19 billion from us, to pay us back?

In an “Open Letter To Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citigroup” we urged Vik to sell the 34% government stake back to the very public that bailed Citigroup out before year-end. Why?  So Citigroup can pay their employees big bonuses in 2009 by saying they are no longer under the government’s stewardship.  Sure, paying back $45 billion in TARP sounds like a lot, but Bank of America just did it!

In fact, joining Bank of America are Bank of NY Mellon Group, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and State Street who’ve all been able to pay back their TARP loans and pay their people handsomely this year.  This begs the question, what’s wrong with Citigroup, one of my main “go broke banks” used to optimize my finances.

SORRY, I DONNO

Forbes Forgot A Key Ingredient For Becoming A Billionaire

Forbes came out with a fun article highlighting the 5 ingredients helpful for reaching billionaire status.  Shockingly, 3 of the ingredients pertain to me, yet I’m far from big bucks wealthy.  The only time I ever made a move towards Warren Buffet status was last November when he lost $9.6 billion on paper and I lost less.

Maybe I'll wear the tie on Monday Steve.

Maybe I'll wear the tie on Monday.

5 Key Ingredients For Becoming A Billionaire

1) Have parents with math-related careers.

2) Born in September.

3) Dropped out of college.

4) Member of a secret society like Yale’s Skull & Bones.

5) Worked a stint at Goldman Sachs.

I remember sitting next to Steve on a plane ride from Shanghai to Hong Kong 5 years ago.  The first thing I thought was, why is he flying commercial?  The second thing I thought was, I guess he really did have a lot of acne growing up!  Sorry Steve, I’m just being honest.  He was hosting a big Forbes-sponsored conference and he started going on and on about the emergence of growth in Asia.  He gave me a pep talk and said, “FS there’s no stopping what you want to do, so just go out there and grab it!”

We exchanged business cards, his saying “CEO, Editor in Chief of Forbes Magazine,” mine saying “Waterboy At Your Service” and we went about our separate ways.  Eight months later, I get an unceremonious Christmas present in the mail with a tie that says, “Corporate Tool.” Thanks Steve, what a trip!  At least you got me thinking about your flat tax mantra that generated so many comments this past week.

There’s a 6th ingredient for becoming a billionaire Steve forgot to mention.  That’s simply to be like Steve and inherit it!

Hope everybody is having a good weekend.

Related Post:

“The Less You Have The Less You Have To Lose”

“Bank of Mom And Dad: Should We Spoil Our Children?”

Keigu,

Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

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