The Best Of Financial Samurai 2021

When I started Financial Samurai in 2009, my main goal was to make sense of the Global Financial Crisis. That was a scary time period that created massive uncertainty for our careers and our investments. As things got better, I've tried to tackle interesting topics to enable us to live more meaningful lives.

Given the bull market has created so much wealth for investors since 2009, one of the challenges I've faced is maintaining the motivation to continue writing 3X a week. When things are going well, why not slack off a bit right?

The main reason why I didn't write less this year is because I spent more time at home. If the pandemic was going to restrict some of my freedom, I would make the most of it by writing more. During uncertain times, I also want to be more helpful.

Further, I still enjoy writing and exploring new topics. There are an endless number of things to write about when you address real-life situations versus just writing articles to generate revenue. During the process, I often have these ah-ha moments that always feel satisfying.

Let's go over the best of Financial Samurai 2021. These posts are either the most read, the most commented, or the most interesting in my opinion.

The Best Of Financial Samurai 2021

Here are the best articles by category. Financial Samurai received over 10 million visitors and over 15 million pageviews in 2021. Not bad!

Best Real Estate Investing Articles For 2021

I'm obsessed with real estate. It is my favorite asset class to build wealth. Rental income accounts for roughly half of my overall passive investment income.

At the same time, real estate is also the asset class that gives me the most stress in a relatively low-stress life. Therefore, I'm gradually investing in more real estate online as I get older. The goal is to earn more passive income and spend less time dealing with maintenance and tenant issues.

Foreign Real Estate Investors Are Coming To Buy Up American Homes 

If The U.S. Housing Market Gets As Hot As The Canadian Housing Market

Why The Housing Market Won’t Crash Any Time Soon

Why Real Estate Is Less Risky Than Stocks And The Irony That Follows

Best Homeownership Articles For 2021

Given we all are spending way more time at home, I spent more time writing about our personal residence.

Income And Net Worth Requirements To Buy A Home At Every Price Point

The Best Time To Own The Nicest House You Can Afford

Remodel With Permits Or Without Permits? A Cost-Benefit Analysis

Primary Residence Value As A Percentage Of Net Worth Guide

Enjoy Your Forever Home For Now; It Will Likely Change

A 15-Year Mortgage Is Probably Best, But It Has One Big Disadvantage

Best Tax Articles For 2021

There weren't many big tax changes in 2021, only a lot of proposals. But to prepare for the inevitable, I wrote some articles to help us better allocate our time and assets.

2022 Income Tax Brackets And The New Ideal Income For Maximum Happiness

Why The Stepped-Up Basis Must Be Preserved For Our Children

A Capital Gains Tax Hike Should Alter Your Income And Selling Strategy

Surviving Off A $400K Income Biden Deems Rich Enough For Higher Taxes

Best Wealth Management Articles For 2021

Planning for the future is key to a wealthier future. There are so many tools at our disposal. Here are some of them.

The Problem With Target Date Funds: 529 Plan Case Study

A Roth IRA Conversion Is Probably A Waste Of Time And Money For Most

Your Umbrella Policy Needs To Be Updated Thanks To A Bull Market

Use A 529 Plan For Generational Wealth Transfer Purposes

Best Retirement Planning Articles For 2021

I think interest rates are going to stay low for the rest of our lifetimes. As a result, it will take more capital to generate the same amount of risk-adjusted returns. In other words, retiring and staying retired may be harder.

As someone who left corporate America in 2012, retired for about a year and then got back to work online, please know that retirement is far more than just crunching the numbers. There is a huge meaning-of-life component that can only truly be experienced until after you leave a steady paycheck.

Two Retirement Philosophies Will Determine Your Safe Withdrawal Rate

10 Million Dollars: The Ideal Net Worth Amount For Retirement?

The Best Time To Retire May Be Under A Democratic President

Investment Returns Versus Active Income: When Work No Longer Matters

Preparing For A 50-Year Retirement With Vanguard’s New Return Assumptions 

FIRE Confessionals Part II: A Bull Market Phenomenon

A Pre-Retirement Checklist For Post-Pandemic Life

Best Investing Articles For 2021

What another fantastic year for most risk assets. The greater our investment returns, the easier our lives get because we don't have to work as hard for our money.

The Best Asset Class Performers From 2001 – 2020

The Ultimate Source Of Financial Security: Your Strong Mind

Unsure About An Investment Decision? Go Halfsies

DIY Investing: An Easy Guide To Investing Your Own Money 

How I’d Invest $100,000 Today For Reasonable Returns And Some Joy

Day Trading Is A Waste Of Time And Money, Don’t Do It!

Best Financial Status Articles For 2021

Everything is relative in finance. Therefore, it's a good idea to know where you stand. At the same time, comparing yourself too much to others will ultimately make you unhappy. Therefore, try to only compare your own progress to your previous self.

Are You A HENRY? High Earners, Not Rich Yet

When Do You Finally Feel Rich? It’s Not Always About The Money

Why The Smartest Countries Are Not The Happiest

The Number Of Millionaires In The World Is Exploding

How To Convince People You Are Middle Class When You’re Actually Rich

How To Become A Millionaire By 20 The Old-Fashioned Way

Best Education Articles For 2021

Education will set us free. At the same time, it is absurd tuition is rising so much when practically everything can now be learned online for free. Some parents can't help themselves when it comes to spending money on their children.

Why More Public Schools Will Eventually Rank Higher Than Private Schools

The Differences Between Public School And Private School People

How To Get Into A Great Preschool Or Private Grade School

Best Health Care Articles For 2021

If you've got a day job with health benefits, be grateful! These two articles chronicle the battle my family undertook not to get price-gauged.

The Cost Of Calling An Ambulance And The Nightmare That Ensued

A Broken Emergency Medical System (EMS) Means Lots Of Surprise Bills

Best Meaning Of Life Articles For 2021

Money is a tool to live a better life. Please don't make money the end goal.

If You Want To Naturally Be Nicer, Get Richer: A Surprise Apology Letter

Overcoming The Downer Of No Longer Making Maximum Money

You Will Never Truly Be Free Unless Your Loved Ones Are Also Free

The YOLO Economy Is Here To Stay: How To Live Your Best Life

Revenge Spend Time! Spending Money To Get Back At Life

Best Work And Career Articles For 2021

The pandemic has been positive for workers who've been able to work from home. I'm actually kind of envious due to more work flexibility, health and retirement benefits, and rising pay.

The Best Time To Work May Be During Or After A Pandemic

Don’t Make Over $400,000 A Year: Look At How Goldman Analysts Suffer

The Best Money-Making Solution After Being Rejected By A Company

In Search Of The 2-Hour Work Day

Ask People What They Do, They Might Surprise You

Best Automobile Articles For 2021

I used to be a car junkie in my 20s and early 30s. But now, not so much. All I really want is a reliable and safe vehicle to transport my family.

How To Avoid Buyer’s Remorse When Purchasing An Expensive Vehicle

The Ideal Length Of Time To Own A Car Is Not Forever

Best Family Planning Articles For 2021

I could probably spend 70% of my time writing about family planning and fatherhood. I am endlessly fascinated by child development, parenting, and what the future holds for our children.

Marrying Your Equal Is Better Than Marrying Rich

The Best Age To Get Life Insurance Based On Logic And Reasoning

The Bank Of Mom And Dad Strategy To Buying A Home And Having A Family

The Cost Of Raising Many Children Isn’t Just About The Money

The Average Amount Of Time Parents Spend With Their Kids A Day Is So Low

When Is The Right Time To Travel Or Live Abroad With Kids

Best Entrepreneurship Articles For 2021

Once the pandemic began in 1Q2020, I decided to become more entrepreneurial. I figured, if I had to shelter in place, I might as well try to make more money online. It was my way of giving the pandemic the middle finger.

Reflections On Making Money Online Since 2009

Your X-Factor Is Key To Being Rich, Happy, And Free

A Great Year For Personal Finance Writing

I hope you enjoyed the best of Financial Samurai 2021. Each article takes hours to research, write, edit, and prepare. If I find the article boring or unhelpful, I won't publish it. At the end of the day, I just want to write the type of articles I enjoy reading.

Although writing over 310,000 words in one year might sound like a lot (the equivalent of writing three, ~340-page books), it's doable if you can write a little bit each week. The same goes for tackling anything large, such as losing weight, improving at a sport, building a business, and learning an instrument. Just do a little bit consistently and sooner or later you will reach your goal.

How to stay plugging in:

I always welcome different perspectives, no matter how contrary they are to my own. So please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. Instead of looking for confirmation, we should all be truth-seeking.

Related posts:

2021 FS Personal Review: Investments, Family, Writing

The Best Of Financial Samurai 2022

Readers, are there any Financial Samurai posts you like the most? Any posts that I left out that made an impression? What are some topics you'd like me to discuss in 2022?

For more nuanced personal finance content, join 50,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter. Financial Samurai is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites that started in 2009. I help people get rich and live the lifestyles they want. 

About The Author

27 thoughts on “The Best Of Financial Samurai 2021”

  1. Yo Sam, you asked for suggestions on what articles I’d like to see next year. I’d like to learn more about private markets investing (VC’s). In particular guidance on comparing performance of funds and firms, any advice on private market investment % to NW ratio. Minimum investment required, tiers of investment-to-return (I’ll assume there some preferred status with additional investment) and how engage with the firms of choice…

    Thanks for another great year, appreciate what you do!

  2. Thanks again for the excellent blog which I try to check at least weekly. Special thanks to your posts about I Bonds and increasing umbrella insurance policies this year which both spurred me to take action. You have done a great job covering a wide range of personal finance and investment topics and your work volume is astounding. It is much appreciated.

    Happy New Year and go Bears!

      1. Yes cheers to a good 2021 Sam, thank you for your blog. Because of your articles about REITs we are going to expand our portfolio to include it in 2022.

        I checked out the Credible site you recommended for refi. We never really thought about refinancing with our current 3.5% 30 year mortgage but as you mentioned with interest rates so low why not borrow and and put it to work.
        Question – when you refi- would you pull out extra cash for home improvement? Our home is currently market value $675k we only have $225k left on the mortgage.. Thinking about refi to a 15 year and taking $150k cash out to add on to the house/finish the basement etc.
        Oddly Credible application says we don’t qualify and they’ll send us an email why. We have zero debt other than the mortgage. We’re a 2 income HH so cash flow isn’t a problem either. We could pay cash for the home improvements but why do that when I “should” be able to borrow that at a lower rate and keep our cash invested.

        Interested in your thoughts….

  3. Hi Sam,

    I currently have $300k to invest. This would be outside of my SEP IRA which I max out every year at $57k. I’m thinking of investing into the following and wanted to get your thoughts:

    $100k into Fundrise (I currently have $75k invested since ’19)

    $100k info AcreTrader or Farm Together (This would be my first time doing so, though not really wild about the 10 year holding period)

    $10k into Crypto ($5k bitcoin/$5k Etherium). This would be my first dip in so just starting small

    $90k into my brokerage account of which I hold a portfolio of 20 growth stocks.

    I’m looking to diversify as the SEP holds the index funds, my ROTH (which I can’t fund due to being over the income limits) holds my REITs, and the brokerage holds individual stocks. I have an additional $300k I’m using to buy a home in 2022 and will put down 20% and finance the rest.

    Is this sound or do you have any recommendations?

  4. Hi Sam,
    Hope you had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year. As I’ve previously mentioned, thank you for the extensive content you produce on a variety of topics.

    Speaking of a topic, can you please consider writing a post on the differences of the infection rates between COVID and the flu? According to the CDC, “Flu activity was unusually low throughout the 2020-2021 flu season both in the United States and globally, despite high levels of testing.” You are very skilled and “slicing” through the issues and would be interested in your perspective.

    Unfortunate that you spent so much time away from your parents due to COVID.

    I look forward to your next post and best to you and your family for 2022.
    Semper FI,

    1. Hi Luis,

      Thanks for reading. Although we have all become armchair experts regarding COVID, i’m not qualified to do an analysis compared to the epidemiologists out there.

      At this point, my thought is that if you are vaccinated, fit, and have no pre-existing conditions, getting back to normal life seems logical.

      There is never zero risk in doing anything. We just got it be aware of the risks and take the necessary precautions.

      I didn’t plan to travel for the first two years after my daughter was born at the end of 2019. But seeing my parents after two years was the right move for me. Everybody has to make their own choices.

      Best of luck!

      1. Even with vaccinations, the breakthru rates was omicron are very high, up to half the medical residents in some hospitals are infected and off work. Always remember to wear a mask.

  5. Happy holidays to you and your family! Thankful for all the helpful articles that you write. I’m signing up for a $1m term life insurance via policygenius thanks to you!

    Looking forward to your book.


  6. Merry Christmas to you, Sam. One thing that I am thankful for is that you decided NOT to sell this site, which I’m sure you had multiple offers for from people who are salivating over the revenue potential.

    I’ve been following your journey since like 2014, you were one of the first people whose journey I followed, starting from the penny hoarder the the like.

    I hope you never sell your site and still bring your authenticity and personal story behind each post. Let’s make 2022 the best year yet!

  7. Terri Leighton

    Merry Christmas and thank you Sam. I want to spend the morning re-reading several of these splendid articles and I wrote on my to-do list a reminder to purchase our I bonds. But what I truly loved was the compilation of your work. From your example I am going to take the time at the end of this year to write down all the accomplishments of 2021. What a positive message to put it on paper and give it perspective. Thank you for this gift.

  8. I’ve become a fan, full stop. I’ve been reading your posts for quite a while now and thought it was time to share some gratitude as we approach the end of 2021.

    Your grasp of the subject matter; your honesty about your own personal experience – as in, the “authenticity” you bring (e.g., about your healing journey, your international upbringing, various racial issues); the importance of what you write about; your genuine interest in helping people meet their goals; the high standards you set for your readers while making it feel attainable; your occasional sense of humor coupled with a self-deprecating touch (e.g., April Fools Day); the way you weave in up-to-the-minute events and corresponding predictions (e.g., around Covid), never with a “doom and gloom” mindset but with solution in mind; and the breadth of the subject matter you cover as demonstrated by your end of year post; all these attributes are extremely admirable and of great value to those of us who follow your work.

    As a gay man without kids, I probably don’t fit the average profile of your readers, but my husband and I have put aside a sizable nest egg and I care deeply about the subject matter you cover. Thank you for keeping us on the path of prudent decision making and financial health. You’re the best.

    1. Thank you Greg for reading and sharing your kind thoughts! So nice to hear from you. I really appreciate it.

      May you and your husband have a wonderful New Year! I’m excited about our future.

  9. Hello Sam,

    Long time reader, never post. Wanted to wish you and your family the warmest of Holiday wishes and extreme gratitude for your site and the content that you continue to post with relentless tenacity. Thank you, your efforts have never gone unappreciated!

  10. Merry Christmas! Thank you for all of the financial tips and advice you’ve shared us throughout the year.

    Sam, I’ve been meaning to ask if you’ve heard about Some remote workers are working two jobs in order to achieve financial freedom quicker. Do you know anybody doing something similar and what are your thoughts on the matter? It’s legal but employees often hide that they’re working another job, and block out their calendars accordingly in order to maximize efficiency while working on both jobs.

  11. Holy smokes you are a writing rock star! This is like a trophy medal roundup across so many different topics. W-O-W! And gosh I do believe it when you said you wrote the equivalent of three 340-page books. But I think you’re forgetting that actually wrote four if you include the new book you’ve been working on! Very, very few people can say they did the same amount of writing as that!

    One of my favorite posts was the two retirement philosophies. That was like an aha moment for me.

    There are so many others that really resonated with me. Plus, I learned so much this year I didn’t know before on target date funds, 529 plan features, stepped-up basis, I bonds, changes with foreign real estate investors, what a HENRY is, changes to college rankings, the insane reality of ambulance costs even for those with insurance, and the broken EMS system.

    THANK YOU! And Happy Holidays!

    1. Ah yes! The 4th book. Gonna keep it under wraps as I await the final stage copy editors to get back to me with their edits in January. Amazing to have four sets of eyeballs review everything and try to make the book as good as possible.

      It’s funny, but I haven’t thought about the YOLO Retirement Philosophy since I left in 2012. I always wanted to leave money to others during and after death. Therefore, having a lower safe withdrawal rate was important.

      I didn’t realize plenty of people are happy to spend it all, hence a higher SWR and why I had so much backlash about suggesting my FS SWR formula. But it makes sense! The U.S. savings rate is low and we like to spend!

      Ah-hah moment indeed.

  12. Many thanks for all the hours before (thinking), during (writing) and after (comments) all the great articles you write. They’re all either very entertaining or very insightful, or both.

    All the best to you and your family. And here’s to an even better 2022!

  13. Thank you for all your great work this year! Your content is provides such a great value, especially your content on being a dad. I hope you are having a great holiday season.

  14. Sam, I love your site – I am not a usual commenter, but thought I would tell you my favorites this year include the ambulance, the life insurance and the bond S1 articles. Super practical and relevant to me this year.

    Timely was your first class article – I booked a work trip for January for me and my husband and spent the extra 300 each to go first class for a 3.5 hour trip. The rest is being reimbursed and the 300 can be written off. I always have such a hard time justifying that, even though I am a high earner!

    Next year, I’d love to know how some of your readers deal with college age kids that don’t have to pay for college. How do you ensure that those kids grow up with the same hustle that you have? I have three – the first works hard but tbd on the other two. I’m sure your older readers have some tips here!

    Thanks again for having the right balance of wisdom and levity. You have definitely helped me improve my financial situation.

    1. So happy to hear Ann! Thanks for your feedback. I really could spend the vast majority of my time writing about kids, college, and family. So much to do and think about! – Sam

    2. I made my kids take out the max for student loans. Good idea to give them “some skin in the game” and what if something happened to me while they were in school. We had money saved in their 529’s and used it all up.

      They all hated it, many of their friends had to pay nothing. BUT…now that they are graduated I believe they are starting to see the benefit.

      I didn’t want to give my kids everything. We paid everything else (tuition + room + board) – student loans, regardless of where they went or how much it cost.

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