It's reflection time here at Financial Samurai. I'd like to go over some of the most visited posts by search, the most commented posts, as well as other posts I think are worth highlighting. I wrote over 200 articles in 2012, so there's a lot to sort through!
I've done my best to be as helpful as possible on important subject matters such as investing, retirement savings, and career moves. We've got one life to live, so we might as well get our finances in order to live it to the fullest!
The theme of this site is to slice through money's mysteries to achieve financial independence. I'm not one to shy away from providing my own opinions when I feel strongly about a subject. If I think you are wrong, I will tell you so and provide reasons why. I hope you do the same because that's the best way we can learn.
It's important that Financial Samurai never turns into a factory site with neutered content. I started Financial Samurai in 2009 as an outlet for my frustrations about the financial crisis. I hope none of us ever revisit such times, although our government is doing their best to bring us there with the budget debacle! If I ever hire staff writers, I will make sure they come with their own thoughts and not be afraid to challenge conventional wisdom and defend their positions.
Without further ado, let's recap the year 2012!
Top Five Most Read Posts Written In 2012 On Financial Samurai
1) How Much Should People Have Saved In Their 401Ks At Different Ages? (168,422 views, 431 comments) – A positive sign visitors are taking the initiative to understand whether they are on track for retirement. Although I do not think the 401K is enough for most people to live off in retirement, it's a big portion of the retirement puzzle. I get the sense that despite the growth of our government, more people are coming to realize they should only depend on themselves.
2) What Income Level Is Considered Rich? (108,232 views, 147 comments) – The term, “class warfare” was bantered around a lot during the Presidential campaign, pitting the wealthy against the not-so-wealthy. People wanted to find out what income level started to make people “evil.” There's so much hatred towards people who have more. Hopefully this post helps provide some perspective that cost of living is very different across the country.
3) The Average Net Worth For The Above Average Person (81,800 views, 233 comments) – Taking things one step beyond income to find out what above average people have in terms of net worth. Everybody believes they are above average, but that's mathematically impossible.
4) Definitions Of A Middle Class Income: Do You Consider Yourself Middle Class? (76,300 views, 106 comments) – With so much talk from Obama and Mitt about how they plan to take care of the Middle Class, everybody is wondering whether the candidates are talking about us!
5) Don't Get Fired Or Quit, Get Laid Off Instead (42,283 views, 143 comments) – There's tremendous dissatisfaction in the workplace. Studies show that less than 50% of workers are happy at their jobs and a full 25% hate their jobs. The economic downturn of 2009-2010 created pent up demand for those who want to move, but couldn't. As the economy continues to get better, I forecast a surge of people looking to find more meaning in their lives by taking the leap of faith and doing something they truly want to do.
* For reference, the most read post was written two years ago and received over 450,000 views in 2012.
Top Five Most Commented Posts Of 2012 (Outside The Top Five Most Read)
1) Disadvantages Of A ROTH IRA: Not All Is What It Seems (236 comments) – My argument as to why you shouldn't be contributing to a ROTH before maxing out your 401K or traditional IRA. At least a ROTH IRA is better than not saving at all.
2) Achieving Financial Freedom One Income Slice At A Time (210 comments) – A detailed post of the various investments I've made to achieve financial freedom.
3) How To Retire Early And Never Have To Work Again (192 comments) – The post contains examples of three people with different income levels and how they can all retire early. There's also a useful savings guide chart that shows how much in living expenses you can cover if you save XYZ amounts.
4) How To Save More For Retirement If You Don't Make Much (181 comments) – A guide for the rest of us. This post is a response to the tremendous backlash received in post #3.
5) The Ideal Body Weight Pisses Me Off (131 comments) – A discovery that after 15 years of normal exercise and eating that I'm roughly 10 lbs overweight according to the charts. I have a feeling you'll be pissed too.
* For reference, the most commented post continues to be about top income earners with over 1,000 comments.
Top Ten Editor's Picks Of 2012
1) How Much Savings Should I Have Accumulated By Age? – A realistic strategy everybody from all countries can follow for saving more money. I introduce the “expense coverage ratio” as an important metric over absolute savings amounts.
2) How Does It Feel To Be Financially Independent? – A post to inspire those to save aggressively, come in early, leave late, be a good team player, and develop a positive attitude. One of the greatest things about financial independence is that you don't let anybody insult you without fighting back.
3) The 1/10th Rule Of Car Buying Everyone Should Follow – If everybody followed this rule, I'm pretty sure we'd all be richer, happier, and healthier!
4) A Day Job Is So Much Easier Than Entrepreneurship – A post that captures my hardships as a boostrapper. Every person who complains about their day job should give entrepreneurship a go for six months. They'd never complain again.
5) I've Seen The Future And It Looks So Bright – America is headed towards the way of Europe given the growing size of government. As a result, I did some investigative reporting and spent 2.5 weeks learning from the happiest people on Earth.
6) How The Rich And Powerful Become More Rich And Powerful – A surreal party hosted by then Google exec and now Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer. There were only about 70 of us at her penthouse where we got to hobnob with Marc Pincus of Zynga, MC Hammer, Ed Lee the Mayor of SF, Rose Pak power broker, Ron Conway the grandfather of angel investing and more.
7) 30-Year Fixed Or Adjustable Rate Mortgage? – Why getting a 30-year fixed mortgage is a big waste of money. The banks have cleverly gotten you to spend more than you should. Don't be afraid of inflation.
8) Is Discrimination OK If You Aren't Being Discriminated Against? – It's wrong to sit idle and let the government run certain groups over just because you aren't being run over. Fight for equality
9) Stay At Home Men Of The World, UNITE! – I wrote this right about the time I started negotiating my severance package. It's hard being a stay at home man in today's society, so I figured I could help the cause!
10) The Gender Wage Gap And Solution To Income Inequality – It annoys to me that there is still a 15-20% pay gap between men and women for the same job. I've come up with a solution which I believe will strongly work. Everybody needs to care about this issue because we all have mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts who may be affected.
Let's Keep On Challenging Each Other
Thanks for making 2012 a great year everyone! Please keep sharing your opinions, sharing the articles, and challenging my own thoughts. If you have any suggestions on new topics to address or ways I can make this site better, please don't hesitate to share. Feel free to also highlight any favorite posts that are not on the list.
I think we've got a very special community of people who will achieve financial independence sooner, rather than later! Let us continue! Up next will be the 2012 predictions recap!
Photo: Visiting The Mayans To Tell Them Not To End The World, 2011, Sam D.
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