The best time to retire may be under a Democratic President like Biden. Democratic Presidents tend to create larger social and financial safety nets paid for by higher taxes. For those who are close to retirement or constantly thinking about retirement, this post is dedicated to you.
In general, I've tried not to rely on the government for anything. Instead, I've been indoctrinated since getting my first job that it is my civic duty to pay my fair share of taxes to help others without similar opportunities.
However, after about the 11th year of working in finance in 2010, I started to burn out. By the 13th year, I was done for good. Sayonara!
With a heavy workload, higher income taxes and a new Net Investment Income Tax introduced under the Obama administration, I decided the marginal effort was no longer worth the marginal reward.
Although I felt bad about no longer paying $100,000+ a year in income taxes to help our great country, I found greater happiness. Instead of taking a red-eye flight for one client meeting, I could finally enjoy the parks and libraries that were supported by my tax dollars. Instead of getting into the office before 6 am most mornings, I could sleep in until 7 am.
Life was very comfortable living off less and forsaking the constant hustle for more money. The constant pursuit of money and prestige made me unhappy. So I took action to change my life for the better.
Then everything changed starting in 2017 under the Trump Presidency.
The Best Time To Retire May Be Under A Democratic President
From 2012 until the middle of 2017, life was fantastic. My stressful job was gone and my mental and physical health recovered. The gray hairs that started to sprout in 2011 went back into hibernation.
Instead of being bored in retirement, I found joy playing tennis and softball. For three years, I fulfilled a goal of coaching high school tennis for 3-4 months a year. Further, my wife and I welcomed our first child.
The period between 2012 – 2017 provided for the best “retirement” lifestyle I could have ever hoped for.
Then, in 2017, Donald Trump decided to fulfill one of his campaign promises and cut taxes. The Tax Cuts And Jobs Act (TCJA) went into effect in 2018 and income taxes were lowered.
No longer was there a 39.7% marginal tax rate. Corporate tax was lowered to 21%. Small business owners could also deduct 20% of qualified income for qualified pass-through entity business owners.
Perhaps most enticing about the TCJA was the doubling of the estate tax threshold from $5.49 million per person to $11.18 million per person. Today, the estate tax threshold is $11.7 million per person. That's massive and encouraged me to try and build more wealth.
Couldn't Fight Back Greed
Suddenly, after five years of not focusing on making much active income, the desire to make more money started rearing its ugly head again.
Greed looked back at me and said, “Come along now. The opportunity is NOW to make as much money as possible before taxes go up again.“
For years, I beat Greed back with a stick. I told him I was happy with what I had. Plus, I was busy being a first-time dad and had no desire to trade time for more money.
Despite the TJCA going into effect in 2018, I held strong against the pursuit of money. It was hard because everywhere I looked, I saw people my age work tirelessly to build their wealth. After all, your 40s are when you're supposed to make the biggest bucks.
The supplemental income I earned on Financial Samurai was more than enough to pair with our existing passive income to lead a comfortable middle-class lifestyle.
I thought I had found a balance that would last forever. I was wrong.
The Rise Of Greed
Then in July 2019, I reached a milestone of publishing 3X a week for 10 straight years. I was proud and decided to publish this post to celebrate: The Secret To Your Success: 10 Years Of Unwavering Commitment. I wrote it to help motivate others to keep going with their endeavors as well.
In my arrogant, approval-seeking mind, I thought I would receive a tidal wave of congratulatory comments. 10 years of never missing a beat and writing for free is quite a feat! Instead, the feedback was more like a quiet stream in the woods you could barely hear unless you stopped to listen.
It was during that July month in 2019 I made a pact with Greed.
I told him I would focus more on entrepreneurship and less on retirement until the next presidential election. Readers didn't seem to really care about the 10-year milestone.
In an environment where we expect everything to be given for free, yet aren't willing to work for free ourselves, I felt like I was taken a bit for granted. Therefore, I decided to be more selfish for myself and my family.
Doubting The Best Time To Retire
I told Greed that if Donald Trump got re-elected, I would continue to make more active income. If a Democrat was elected President, then I would go back to living a more leisurely life.
I also made a pact with Good. I told her that with more money, I would once again pay over six-figures in income taxes to better help society. Being richer would also better enable me to take care of my family. Good gave me the green light.
So starting in early-2019, off I went to vacuum as much money as I could from the universe while also trying to balance family time. I woke up by 5 am to focus more on entrepreneurship and less on fun online.
After a year of hustling, I made more money. But I was not happier. Instead, I became agitated whenever a business-related matter arose and I wanted to do something else. But, I felt pressure to hustle on business development and more.
The Pandemic And Joe Biden's Win
As soon as it was announced that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won on November 7, 2020, I felt a breeze of relief. When they were finally sworn into office on January 20, 2021, I finally felt I could relax.
The relief came mostly from feeling I could finally take a break from the grind. Under lockdown, the grind has been 24/7. Thankfully, things have eased up after a year and a half.
America is a capitalist country. Donald Trump is a billionaire businessman. Therefore, under Donald Trump, America had the most alpha pro-business attitude possible. It was only natural to also want to work as hard as possible to make the most money as possible.
When we pulled my boy from preschool in February 2020, the days got extremely long. Because I promised to be more business focused for as long as Trump's tax policies remained intact, every day felt like I was back to working banking hours.
And banking hours are horrible! All these analysts today at Goldman Sachs and other firms working 90+ hours a week are a sight to see. They will eventually make more than $400,000 a year, but I'm not sure they will be any happier.
With my boy now back in school, we have more free time. However, I still have to drive for 40 minutes roundtrip to drop him off and pick him off. Commuting during rush hour was one of the top things I disliked about having a job. It's funny how there's seldom ever a 100% win.
More Financial Relief For Everyone
Under Joe Biden, there will be higher taxes and more regulation to try and help the middle class and poor. For most of Joe Biden's life, he was not a deca-millionaire. Dr. Jill Biden is also an educator who doesn't make much money.
Therefore, it is only natural to want to take things easier under Biden's Presidency. The essence of the Presidency has changed. And no, Joe Biden isn't a Socialist. He is a Moderate.
After a rough 2020 and 2021, who doesn't want to take a break from the grind? Stocks and real estate did well. Then a bear market hit in 2022. Why bother grinding so much when the return on effort is lower!
It's Worth Taking Things Down Under President Biden
I'm thankful to Greed for pushing me to boost our net worth since we now have a second child. But I'm also relieved he's going to stop bothering me in 2023.
Realistically speaking, 2022 may be the last full year of low taxes. It took almost two years after Donald Trump took office for the TJCA to pass. I fully expect Biden to fulfill his campaign promise and raise taxes on individuals or families making over $400,000 a year.
Even though I'm not a fan of higher taxes due to an inefficient government, I am a huge fan of enjoying life to the maximum. Knowing there's a rough deadline for when I no longer have to chase money makes the journey easier to endure.
Two children and a pandemic have really burned me out. The exhaustion I have today reminds me of how I felt in 2011, 12 years into finance. My mind was spinning over ways to get out with a nice windfall. It felt so good to finally leave work behind the next year.
2023 is my 14th year running Financial Samurai. Maybe history will repeat itself in 2023. Maybe Financial Samurai will be sold and I will start a new venture as a multiple book author.
Who knows, but I'm ready for a change. The best time to retire is when the government decides to pull out all the stops to save the general public.
Financial Support Under A Democrat President
Historically, the S&P 500 performs well, no matter who is in power. Unfortunately, 2022 turned out to be a terrible year for the stock market. As a result, retiring under a Democrat President like Biden is proving to be more difficult.
One of the 10 worst times to retire is at the top of a bull market. So the silver lining, as the Fed destroys the stock market and economy, is that if your finances are still OK after a bear market, you should be even more confident in retiring.
Personally, I've started to relax more now that I published my Wall Street Journal bestseller, Buy This, Not That on July 19, 2022. I told myself I'd work hard for two years writing, editing, and marketing the book. After that, it was back to retirement mode for me.
In 2023, I'm going to continue moderating my workload and enjoy my “fake retirement” life. I'm a fake retiree because I still earn income doing what I love, which is writing.
More Help For Those Who Need It Most
The pandemic affected us all, some a lot more than others. Due to sheer bad luck and government-forced shutdowns, so many small businesses and its employees have been devastated. Thankfully, the economy has roared back in 2023.
Let's recap what the last stimulus package did. Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package and $2+ trillion infrastructure package did the following:
The $1.9 trillion passed rescue package includes:
- $1,400 in stimulus checks to eligible recipients
- A boost in enhanced unemployment benefits to $400 a week through September
- A boost to the Child Tax Credit to $3,600 for children under age 6 and $3,000 for those between ages 6 and 17 for a year. The credit would also be made fully refundable.
- Another PPP program for small business owners
- A $15/hour national minimum wage
- Student loan forgiveness is also on the table
If you've been able to amass a comfortable amount of money, then decumulation may be in order so you don't die with too much money. Personally, I think the best age range to decumulate your wealth is between 40-60 years old.
The Best Time To Retire Is When There's More Financial Support
When a President clearly telegraphs more financial support for Americans, Americans should feel less stressed about their financial future.
With more money from the government, Americans won't need to work as much, at the margin, to make more money.
With the proposed cancellation of $10,000 in student loan debt, more Americans can borrow to attend college without having to pay the money back. Parents won't have to work and save as much to fund their children's 529 plan. Children won't have to work as much to earn income to fund their Roth IRAs.
The more the government can provide financially, the less we have to provide financially for ourselves. As a result, at the margin, the best time to retire may be under Joe Biden or Kamala Harris, if she eventually becomes President.
Some may think it's dishonorable to rely so much on the government for financial support. Others may think that politicians are mainly egomaniacs who crave power and attention, and therefore, should not be trusted. Yes, there is some truth to these beliefs.
However, after decades of busting your butt for a better life, don't let honor and pride get in the way of getting government assistance. Goodness knows you've already paid a tremendous amount of taxes already!
Money Is Psychological
So much about money is psychological. You can follow all the “rules” of personal finance. But, at the end of the day, buying a house, buying a car, relocating for a job, investing in stocks, paying for college, and deciding when to retire is an emotional decision.
If you have a job, it is easy to pontificate about appropriate safe withdrawal rates when you don't plan to retire for years. However, deciding how to spend your money once you and your spouse no longer have steady paychecks is a completely different situation.
The reason why people suffer from the “one more year syndrome” is because they are simply too afraid to leave a steady paycheck behind. They fear they might run out of money in retirement. If they actually do retire, often there is some type of insurance policy like a working spouse.
There are many negatives of early retirement people don't like talking about. These negatives can distract you from your goals and following retirement models.
Think about how emotional it is to buy a house when you are expecting your first child. It's like going to the grocery store after not eating all day.
The desire to protect your child may ironically end up putting her into jeopardy because you overpaid. Rules like my 30/30/3 home buying rule are there to help you tame your emotions.
Emotion Tends To Always Win
However, in the end, emotion often trumps logic. Emotion is why we would rather lash out at others instead of taking action ourselves. Emotion is also why we end up in a bad relationship for too long.
The best time to retire is when you feel safe and secure. Thus, the best time to retire may also be when the government promises to spend an endless amount of money to rescue the economy from disaster.
We'll just have to thank foreigners and our grand kids for funding and paying back our debt.
Retiring Under A Democratic President
Psychologically, it should be easier to retire under a Democratic President because you know taxes are going up to fund greater social safety nets for all. For me, I've decided to at least take a two-month sabbatical to try things out.
It's better to work less and enjoy the benefits of a greater social safety net. Again, this thought process is more relevant for those who are close to retiring or constantly thinking of retiring.
The ideology changes from “every man for himself,” to “leave no man behind.” Under a Republican President, there seemed to be maximum fear of missing out on building a great fortune. That FOMO should slowly dissipate under a Biden presidency.
Example Of An Ideological Shift: Less Emphasis On Merit
A great example of this ideological shift is the abolishment of high school entrance exams for a lottery system. There's a deemphasis on merit, which means hard work may no longer be enough.
When I heard schools like Lowell High School and Thomas Jefferson High School were doing away with their entrance exam, I felt conflicted. (TJ has reinstated merit-based admissions in 2022, Lowell has not).
I had mentally committed to dedicating two hours every weekday to teach my kids for 18 years. With supplemental knowledge from their old man, maybe they'd do better in school.
Now, maybe being so involved in my childrens' education isn't as necessary. With a lottery entrance system, no matter how hard my kids study or how much I teach them, we cannot improve their chances of getting into school. We also refuse to buy our way into private schools like I hear some families do.
Therefore, I might as well spend those two hours a day on my health. Or at least feel less guilty on the days I spend less time teaching my son.
Hopefully, my kids will also enjoy their lives more with less intense studying and tutelage from me.
Less Worry About The Future
When you worry less about falling through the cracks, you have less anxiety. And when you have less anxiety, you feel more comfortable letting go of the pursuit of money. The best time to retire is when you're most at peace.
Yes, some may take things to the extreme and take advantage of government programs not intended for them. For example, there are millionaire early retirees receiving healthcare subsidies. That doesn't seem right, but it’s not illegal.
However, with more opportunities, less competition, and more government safety nets, there is simply less worry about the future.
I went to Europe many times before the pandemic. So many people there seem happier working less than 40 hours a week. Their healthcare is highly subsidized. Further, getting a college education is cheap.
Even though America's capitalist culture has produced far more innovators than Europe's more socialist culture, Europeans have also been able to greatly benefit from our hustle. Isn't it great to benefit without having to do any or most of the work? Of course it is.
Our children are going to have an easier time launching. This should lower a parent's worry.
The Need To Make More Money Has Faded
I'm looking forward to returning to retirement life again in 2023. My goal was to retire once there is herd immunity or once taxes go up, whichever comes first. Looks like neither has happened yet, but the pandemic is over.
The need to make more money has faded under a Democratic president. As a result, the need to spend time working for money has gone down. Being able to win back my time as the economy opens back up is huge!
A recap of things the Biden's administration will try to do or help you with:
- A push to make community colleges and state colleges free. As a result, there won't be as big of a need to contribute to a 529 plan. There should be less desire or need to get into a prestigious school given we'll focus more on the learning and less on the status.
- $10,000 or more of student loan debt may be cancelled, making it easier to take out debt since you won't have to pay it back.
- The estate tax threshold may get cut. As a result, it's better to spend more money now than accumulate more if your estate is forecast to bump up against the new threshold. If your estate is already above the threshold, then by all means spend to the max.
- There should be less fear of anybody going bankrupt due to soaring health care costs. Health care premiums are still ludicrous, but there should be greater confidence the worst case scenario will no longer happen.
- If you are a stressed out, dual-income professional household making over $400,000, you might start smelling the roses more given your taxes are going up.
- If you are an underrepresented or marginalized group, you may receive more opportunities.
- There should be less fear of getting kicked out of your home due to a rent moratorium that will be extended until September. There will also be a mortgage moratorium as well.
The Best Time To Retire Is Coming Soon
It was a good financial journey under Trump. Hopefully all of your investments have done well as well. However, if you're exhausted, the best time to retire may be under Joe Biden.
We could all use a break and recharge after such a stressful and uncertain 2020 – 2022. Now, let's give the younger generation a chance to build tremendous wealth.
I'm excited to make up for lost time!
Achieve Financial Freedom Through Real Estate
If you agree the best time to retire is under a Democratic president, then you should build as much tax-efficient passive income as possible. Real estate is my favorite way to achieving financial freedom because it is a tangible asset that is less volatile, provides utility, and generates income.
In 2016, I started diversifying into heartland real estate to take advantage of lower valuations and higher cap rates. I did so by investing $810,000 with real estate crowdfunding platforms. With interest rates down, the value of cash flow is up. Further, the pandemic has made working from home more common.
Take a look at my two favorite real estate crowdfunding platforms. They are free to sign up and explore.
Fundrise: A way for accredited and non-accredited investors to diversify into real estate through private eFunds. Fundrise has been around since 2012 and has consistently generated steady returns, no matter what the stock market is doing. For most people, investing in a diversified eREIT is the way to go.
CrowdStreet: A way for accredited investors to invest in individual real estate opportunities mostly in 18-hour cities. 18-hour cities are secondary cities with lower valuations, higher rental yields, and potentially higher growth due to job growth and demographic trends. If you have a lot more capital, you can build you own diversified real estate portfolio.
Read The Best-Selling Retirement Planning Book
If you want to drastically improve your chances of achieving financial freedom, purchase a hard copy of my new book, Buy This, Not That: How To Spend Your Way To Wealth And Freedom. The book is jam packed with unique strategies to help you build your fortune while living your best life.
Buy This, Not That is a #1 new release and #1 best seller on Amazon. By the time you finish BTNT you will gain at least 100X more value than its cost. After spending 30 years working in finance, writing about finance, and studying finance, I'm certain you will love Buy This, Not That. Thanks for your support!
Free Retirement Management Tool
If you plan on retiring, it's good to us a free retirement tool. My favorite one I've been using since 2012 is by Personal Capital. Personal Capital helps me x-ray my investment portfolios for excessive fees, track my net worth, and figure out my retirement cash flow.
If you have a sizable investment portfolio, Personal Capital's free tools are the best. There is no rewind button in life. Get your finances down right the first time.
Related posts about retirement:
Retire By A Certain Age, Not By A Certain Financial Amount
The 10 Worst Times To Retire Early (Or Retire Normally)
Planning For A 50-Year Retirement With Lower Return Assumptions
Readers, psychologically, do you think it's easier to retire under a Democratic President versus a Republican President? When do you think is the best time to retire?
To reiterate, this post is geared towards those who are close to retirement, constantly thinking about retirement, or are simply burned out. For all of you who are still early in your financial independence journey, keep working hard, saving aggressive, and investing wisely. And no, Joe Biden isn't a Socialist.
201 thoughts on “The Best Time To Retire May Be Under A Democratic President Like Biden”
Sorry, Sam, I’m calling B.S. on your “guilt” about not pay $100k in taxes every year.
You can donate to the US Government; details at https://www.fiscal.treasury.gov/public/gifts-to-government.html
The last time I checked, the average annual donation from across the country was less than $5,000,000 per year.
So, for all those people who talk with pride about paying their “fair share”, I’m laughing at you. And if you think your taxes are too low, then donate to the government to make up the difference and leave the rest of us – who think taxes are too high for our fiscally irresponsible government – alone.
Thanks for what you do but you really missed the boat on this one. Actions speak louder than words.
I think you misunderstand. I have guilt if I don’t pay taxes to help fund this great country. I feel very lucky to be able to make a living in America and raise a family. Someone has to pay for things like the $10,000 student loan forgiveness for people making up $225,000 a year, stimulus checks, and child tax credits. About 50% of American workers don’t pay federal income taxes, so I think it’s up to the fortunate half to contribute.
Because I am paying six figures a year in taxes, I don’t have guilt. I think this is where you misunderstand. Because to pay six figures in taxes and then donate more to taxes would feel like too much.
But if I was not paying any income taxes while making income, I would definitely donate more to the government and even more to various charitable organizations.
I hope that’s clear. Feels good to live life without guilt and contribute more than I take. What’s your situation?
So you want to remove the rest of our abilities to make money and level up in life because of some nebulous, false idea that you’re helping the “middle class and lower class”
Sorry, both of these classes were doing world’s better under Trunp. The6 didn’t have to lose 40% of their dollars value and had much more money, in general, to go around.
Sp please spare us the false assumptions that you’re helping us “little guys”. Biden did not help anyone, but the uber wealthy globalist class
Sounds like it’s every man for himself and it’s best to pay the least amount of taxes possible then. I understand your point of you. I do think it is important for those who can to get back as well.
Zadu is 100% correct
If I’m Mexican, can I invest in Fundrise or Crowwdstreet?
I would like to.
Unfortunately, I think you have to be American to invest in Fundrise or CrowdStreet. But you can still sign up and explore to understand how real estate crowdfunding works, the type of research material the platform provides, and the various opportunities.
You can always invest in a real estate ETF like VNQ, or individual REITs. They are more liquid. But they will be much more volatile as well.
Here is my real estate crowdfunding learning center page.
Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst. H.S. grad, learned a skilled trade, never had an issue finding a good career. 2 pensions, above average income, no debt. Not worried about my retirement, I am however pretty terrified about the future of this country and my childrens future.
What exactly are you terrified about? Maybe we can talk things out.
I enjoy reading your website and its probably best not to get into a political discussion that really wouldn’t make a difference. I think it’s time to focus on healthy living, friends and family. Try to make the place a little better than you found it and hope for the best. I wish the best to you and your family and everyone else.
OK, I was just curious given the word “terrified“ is a very strong word. I think if you are doing fine financially, your kids will probably do fine as well. I wouldn’t be so scared about the future.
I’ve seen the future, and it looks pretty bright to me.
I’ll jump in here and share with you what scares the living daylights out of me. Much like John I worked and learned and applied myself without “any” government assistance. Financially secure by following the rules. That in part is what’s so scary about the direction we are heading with the radicals controlling the agenda. Hard work and the success associated with the effort is now a bad thing! Being fiscally responsible is the result of white privilege. Have a different opinion and you get censored. Complete capitulation is now what’s expected in the form of “unity”. Facts no longer have any merit you either comply or be destroyed. Have we ever been in this situation before? Not in my lifetime. Self avowed Marxist are nominated for Nobel Peace prizes this would be the same people burning our cities to the ground but apparently that’s not news worthy. BLM is now providing the content for some school systems…..and of course anyone not black is a racist and must be punished. Makes my head hurt to think where we are heading as no one seems to have guts to say enough. Martin Luther King must be turning over in his grave as the race hustlers’ who defy everything that great man fought for is turned on its head. Victimhood is the excuse for a lack of personal responsibility. Denzel Washington is right the police aren’t the problem the family or lack of one is the problem. That is what concerns me. When we should be listening to Thomas Sowell, Denzel, Carver, and other great leaders we have Sharpton, Critical Race Theory and the 1619 nonsense. What will it take to get the train back on the tracks. Research your history and learn the facts how Blacks thrived in this country prior to the “War on Poverty” that’s what started this tragedy. Oh, by coincidence that program was also run by the party in charge today!
Dear John & Mike W. PBS News Hour would give you both some different perspectives, but not off our capitalist norms, so you would be safe there. Noam Chomsky, however, would disturb you. Both give US our ideals to work on, although Chomsky’s statements like we also revolted against our King because he refused to allow us westward expansion is certainly something I would want to corroborate, as well as some of his statements as they are underlaid by his progressive philosophy however, his intellect and reasoning is otherwise difficult to dispute even as it commands us to view ourselves in in lights most of us have not seen, nor most of us care to.
I really enjoy your blog. I am half Asian and feel similar pains as you from where I grew up. I am 45 now, have a great marriage, two kids, and am in good financial health. I have learned a lot from your blog. I really appreciate how you handle the comments. I am an engineer with a PhD. There will always be someone smarter than me. I try to raise my kids with a strong emphasis on values but similarly worry about their future. I am steering them towards health care so they always have the reward of helping others. After discovering your blog, I definitely spend more time making sure I enjoy life and put work in perspective. Hoping to retire at 55. Just paid off mortgage. Representation matters – please continue your blog!
I enjoy reading your articles, good stuff, I am 66, retired and on Medicare and my husband and I are collecting Social Security now. We both get pretty decent SS checks, and our home is paid off, so we do okay. We also have a healthy 401 K balance and some savings. We are debt free as well, no car payments, etc. Our only expenses are property taxes, health and home insurance, food, utilities and the occasional home maintenance cost. And when Covid 19 starts to dissipate, we hope to travel a bit. We mostly like to camp, so we keep our costs down that way by traveling in our RV. We are not super rich, but we are comfortable. My husband is 63, 3 years younger than me, and he got laid off from his job, a job he had worked for 26 years. He got a good severance package in which he was paid six months worth of salary, and he also got insurance coverage until the end of December of 2020. He had planned to work until 2022, but it worked out okay in the end. He has decided to retire for good. He had a really good, but stressful job and he’s decided to just enjoy his golden years. Instead of getting in Obamacare, he is keeping his insurance through Cobra for now. I’m hoping that Biden will be able to subsidize this as he’s wanting to do, although we are doing okay paying for the premium for now, but it is really expensive. We just want to be sure that the Supreme Court doesn’t mess with it come summer, although I know that Biden is trying to strengthen the ACA and the Supreme Court doesn’t seem that interested in dismantling for now. My hubby will also get a pension from a job he held before this last one, although it’s a small one, but it will help. I find that old fashioned thrift is what has allowed us to retire. I voted for Biden mainly because I wanted a sane president again. I got tired of all the drama of the last 4 years. But life seems okay for now, so we are joining the ranks of the retired and hoping that Biden will be good for retirees as you say.
Greed, just like anything else, is a choice. If you chose to get back to work because of tax cuts, blame yourself, not the person occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C.
At any rate, we haven’t had a president who was qualified for the job since George Washington. All anybody in D.C. wants to do is borrow money to prop up a failed system that’s making the rich richer.
Please stick to what you do best. Politics stink. Both sides of the aisle. Doesn’t matter if you’re from the Left Coast or the Always Right.
Politics is closely intertwined with personal finance, considering how large our govt. is. You can’t avoid it.
Good and thoughtful post – as usual (and thanks)!
It’s clear how you read the economic incentives as a younger, (potentially)productive member of society. Higher tax rates (and 1% labeled as evil for being successful and wealthy) is a disincentive to work harder and create a more productive society (jobs and wealth for others). The less hard you work/create, the less tax dollars there will be to feed the government from taxes.
The government only gets money by ‘printing’ it (making the dollar worth less) or by taking it from productive parts of society (businesses and individuals) that actually pay taxes. These elected leaders then act like they are ‘generous’ by employing bureaucrats to give other people’s money to other people who pay less taxes…an inherently inefficient and expensive process, even if it’s going to the ‘right’ causes.
Yet, we are told Keynesian economics work? 81M Americans voted for the new regime…only 74M voted to keep the status quo. It may not be economically logical, but Americans want this.
This is an interesting post. I was involuntarily retired due to covid and its impact on my industry. I worked in oil and gas in Texas. I’m only 55 and I am not ready to fully retire. More from a desire to be out and about, interact with people, feel like I am creating something, feel useful. I am not rich in the media idea of rich but I have enough to eat, maintain a roof over my head, meet my bills. Not enough to take mega trips or buy vacation homes or a bunch of spending. Being able to maintain a safe abode and regular nutrition is rich enough for now. I will not be touching any retirement funds for at least 5 more years.
I am thankful that I have always saved and lived thriftily, which is enabling me to sit out the pandemic and wait. I am finding the whole visual of everyone being masked up all the time very distressing. I miss seeing smiles and facial expressions! I try to use my voice to convey cheerfulness but it is not ideal and I look forward to the end of it.
While I have been in this enforced idle time, I have (decluttered my whole house) identified two small businesses I plan to create/pursue and I am not pursuing them to become a mega millionaire but to stay mentally active, have something to focus on and see if I am able to grow something from nothing- like a little green experimental garden.
More important to me is to see if I CAN create something from nothing- just to see if I can. Do I have that talent? I was always told I could be an excellent entrepreneur and now I can validate that. I am very self motivated, upbeat, persuasive and very energetic.
When I worked for my previous employer (Fortune 500 company) I would put in looong hours as an IT project manager on global projects- I have learned a lot of useful skills and I am excited to try them out under my own steam and see how it goes. Plus I look forward to not having any throttle on my personal innovations. I am quite excited about that.
I have no fear of failure because I have no financial impacts in the negative from it. Plus I believe in nothing ventured, nothing gained. I, literally, have no where to go but up. I also plan to keep my future income under the taxable threshold. I had already gamed that out before I was forced to take early retirement. And I also own a bit of rental property which I paid cash for and don’t owe anything other than taxes on.
I have a wonderful husband, one child, a college sophomore attending a small private college who attends based on a combination of scholarships and student loans. My home is paid for, I have no debt only future renovation dreams. I love where I live and have a supportive group of friends and neighbors. So far, I have good health, for which I am extremely grateful and work on to maintain it as reasonable as possible.
I just want to live in a legal / political environment that allows me to be free enough to try new things, not have too many legal regulations that discourage trying to create an idea into a business (from scientific to customer service focused to inventor) I don’t know what is ahead but no one ever does if you look at it holistically. I try to take the long view. I am also the child of an immigrant and spent 11 years in the home country. The U.S. is a wonderful place to live. I am grateful to live here.
I have my personal political preferences but much of what goes on is outside of my ability to change it and I can only impact what happens to me, my circle, my family and so on so I will try to focus there and vote when possible but not take it personally if the political winds are not my preference.
I try to stay upbeat no matter what circumstances come my way and like many others- I have had life’s ups and downs. I choose to stay positive while acknowledging when something negative has occurred but not letting it beat me down. That is my personality and I cannot and do not want to change my approach. It works for me and I can only advocate for myself since I have to live with me :).
I think retirement means many different things to people. It can be scary because the parameters are so fluid. To some, it is a whole new beginning to do things they were unable to do before due to responsibilities and life events.
To others, it is non stop travel experiences, and to some others it is a lot of resting and a loss of steady income. I don’t really know what a retirement for me will be. And not being inhibited by fear of failure…. I am choosing to use the time and opportunity to create something new to see where it leads me.
Sometimes when I think I am going to destination ‘A’, I get side tracked by a road that leads to a whole new discovery I had no idea existed. I am sort of hoping for a side journey along the way and to model to my child that one can reinvent themselves and not be stuck in a rut or afraid of change and have a fulfilling life as long as they have the desire and it is okay to make changes.
I am ignoring all the media and their fear porn on politics and the pandemic. I am focusing on things local and strengthening my local bonds. I am not going to go through life perpetually angry and perpetually terrified. That is not living.
Thanks for your years of article writing. They have been very educational and enjoyable and I am grateful you chose to do them. If you choose to retire, I wish you much happiness in whatever way you choose to spend your time. You have a great talent and I will be sorry to no longer be able to avail myself of it but grateful you shared it with us for as long as you did. You have been an excellent motivational catalyst. Best to you and your family.
I am focused on the full retirement 2022 idea. I just turned 58, I am retired, and I have hit the milestones per “all the charts” to know I’m ok, even more than ok. I could work on recession proofing my retirement more, but there is always something, right?
I’m sorry I missed offering kudos for the 10 years of writing achievement! I hope the intangibles of honing your talent, and helping many more than weigh in on the comments is a reward of a different color.
I don’t have kids, and I live in Dallas (cheap relative to friends in SFO, or NYC no doubt). So my only pull back to greed is to create some incremental and crazy travel porn trips, or get into vacation homes (renting exactly where I want to go seems so much lighter). Anyway, I digress.
Finally, getting to the comment I set out to make here, is that if you retire Financial Samurai completely it will be sorely missed. Of course, only you can know what is right for this phase of your life, but I hope you consider a down size or some other creative forward path. Most commentary I find in this space is dull and doesn’t challenge my thinking, or more importantly lay out the math and back it up. It’s not 2022 yet, so I’ll stay tuned and see how it unwinds for you.
I was going to reply how disappointed I was with your post but I think the replies so far have summed up my feelings.
But to add to the previous posters, this back to the future set of programs has never worked and just made poor people poorer and rich people with asserts richer.
Why would we want to go to more socialism? Just Rich and Poor? I appreciate your past information but you lost me on this last one if you truly believe what you posted
Why do people think Joe Biden is a socialist and is for Socialism? He’s not. Raising taxes on only households making $400,000 is not socialism. Are you nuts?
Being disappointed by someone who personally wants to take it easy after grinding for so long and so hard is also nuts. Why don’t you worry about your freeloading self?
What have you done to help other people improve their finances and their lives? I’m assuming probably nothing, which is why you criticize others.
Sam help me understand this notion of poor people being left behind? As a former “poor person” no one left me out of anything. When I went to work and was exposed to personal finance for the first time and saving and investing and dreaming of someday joining those who achieve a level of success where your money makes enough money to replace the need to “earn it” or “go to work for it” was motivation enough for me. I didn’t go to a fancy MBA program I went where any poor person who wants to learn, apply, and achieve can go to learn all I needed to achieve my goal “the free public library”. We need to stop with all the victimization sanctimony, we need to stop making excuses, and we need to get to work. Hard work, success, financial independence isn’t a bad thing although you’d never know that in this commie, left wing, brain washing environment we find ourselves today.
Biden will not be good for poor people unless you are under the impression “the war on poverty” was a success? About the government helping you…..I just got my latest Social Security statement @ 62 I’d receive $28,000 per year. If all my contributions had been put into an S&P 500 Index the account would be worth over $2M……if you included my employers contributions it would be over $4M……thanks for the offer but every American would be much better off if the government starting doing a whole lot less for all of us, regardless of where you are on the wealth curve!
Great post Mike W. I like the FS, but I am at a loss to hear that we should be happy and welcome all the handouts that will be presented to us by the government. Who will be paying for this? Our kids, grandkids, great grandkids, etc. Not only the rich will be paying for this but the “middle class” and they provide the largest number of voters. We need to rely on ourselves and our own ingenuity/drive rather than asking for more help from the government. I wonder how many people who don’t need this government help will actually send back. Probably none because it is “free”.
Well said, sir. Well said.
As a self made person who started as an orphan, you’ve got it. The government does nothing for the truly poor but exploit them.
Joe Biden promised to govern as a moderate. On day one he signed EO’s:
—Letting biological men take over women’s sports & locker rooms
—Calling for amnesty for millions of illegals
—Killing thousands of good paying jobs
So, in less than 72 hours, Joe Biden:
– Killed 70,000+ jobs
—Eliminated women’s sports
—Sent troops into Syria
—Left the National Guard to freeze in a garage
—Admitted he doesn’t have a plan to fight COVID
—Broke his own mask mandate EO
—Ended US energy independence
At least it sounds like it’s a good time to retire!
but hey at least we got rid of the bad orange man
Oh you must be referring to the President who achieved the highest level of employment and increased wages for the working class more than any predecessor in the last 50+ years. We’ll see how you feel a year after the commies have been in office.
I know writing angry posts feels good and all, but doesn’t it feel silly after you’ve hit submit?
For the record, my post was sarcasm.
Not angry just stating the facts.
No. Just angry. Keep spinning it however you want in order to make yourself feel angrierv and reinforce that feeling. It won’t change anything. Maybe try to adapt to the situation instead. Compromise a little, you know, like in marriage or relationships.
With respect to you, some of us have come out of Communist systems. My family is horrified and see this election as a definite turn to a serveillance/communist system. We’ve lived it in the former Czechoslovakia so we know what communism is. It’s not an intellectual construct for us. Things aren’t going to be what people think. I sincerely wish I was wrong but once you’ve lived under that system you know Exactly what it is.
For those who think taxes don’t have much influence, I give two different examples:
1) There is a $3.8 trillion dollar muni bond market, whose bonds pay less interest than equivalent taxable bonds. If taxes don’t influence, why does it exist? Or are people just dumb and don’t look at the rate when they buy a bond.
2) The rocket fuel that propelled Amazon during its earlier years was the ability to allow its customers to skip out on sales tax. This is one reason they were able to displace Barnes and Noble so quickly in their early life.
I’ll give you a third one. I buy ADR stocks, and always look up the country specific non-resident tax penalty on their dividends, which varies between 35% (Switzerland) and 0% (UK). It affects by choice.
Good example on Amazon and ADRs! Can you offer a specific tax example of owning an ADR?
Long time reader. I cant believe what Im reading from Sam.
“Under Joe Biden, there will be higher taxes and more regulation to try and help the middle class and poor. “
Explain this. Under trump, the avg middle class family household income went up 6k. Under the previous two administrations (bush / obama), it went up $300. In fact, household income rose faster from 2018-2020 than any year since 1984.
Look, it is clear you dont like trump. Honestly, nobody “likes” him, even his wife. However, policy wise, he has been one of the best presidents we ever have had domestically. Not to mention he was the first president in god knows how many decades that didnt drag us into a single war.
Im glad you feel cozy with joe biden as president. As if he is actually in charge. His policies will not be good for the middle class. Opposite in fact. Itll be great for rich and poor people.
I try to see the good and bad in any administration. The goal is to understand the nuances to take action to lead a better life. If you start just focusing on the bad, your attitude will decline and you’ll become less happy.
What are some ways in which you believe Biden will hurt the middle class? What is wrong with him being great for poor people who have been left so far behind in this boom?
Trump help enable capitalists, which I’m assuming most of us are reading and writing about personal finance, to get richer during his time. Capitalists who want to capitalize will still get richer under Biden. However, at the margin, for those thinking about retirement or want to retire, I believe Biden will help.
Tell me about your financial situation. Where are you in your financial journey?
How exactly is Biden going to help the poor?
Biden has already starting moving more troops into Syria. I expected this but on his second day in office! And to protect the oil fields while he kills a pipeline project that has employed thousands.
Are you saying Biden wants to hurt the poor?
Bigger financial support from the government through healthcare subsidies, increasing the minimum wage, etc. may help the poor.
What are some things Biden will do to you that hurt you? I’m trying to understand why you are so fired up.
I don’t think a president makes a massive difference. President makes more of a marginal difference to peoples lives given all the checks and balances and variables that go on in the world. Thx
The poor already qualify for medicaid. If they begin to make more money they end up having to purchase a crappy health insurance often with deductibles in thousands of dollars. It is a disincentive to even find better work. I met a truck driver on a greyhound bus who explained how terrible the policies he could afford were nearly useless.
I am most disappointed after seeing his cabinet of neoliberal war mongers and one of his first actions is to illegally send more troops to Syria. It saddens me that the American public has such disregard for the lives of those in other nations.
Obviously late to the party here but how do you feel about Biden being a warmonger now that he withdrew from Afghanistan? I suppose because he botched the withdrawal maybe the criticism will just shift to that?
If we all slow down what will happen to tax collections? The next step from the “regime” will be to find more sources of taxes and that will you yet again. And don’t worry, once it’s all said and done “the regime” will make sure that the peons are working. This time is really not different from countless other examples of socialism successes.
I don’t think we’ll all slow down. Taxes are only going to get raised for the top 2% household income earners. Therefore, the majority will continue to go about hustling as they normally do.
What has caused you to think in extremes?
They always say “Oh this new tax is only for the rich”. Then later on, it gets expanded. When the income tax was started it was “only for millionaires”. Now look who pays. Add up the costs of Biden’s “free stuff” plans. $9 trillion a year. Either they will print till we have runawy inflation (and our wealth becomes worthless), or they will have to raise taxes on everyone. As an example, even if you took 99% of the net worth and 99% of the income from the 1%, you would only fund “medicare for all” for 5 months. Look at the Nordic countries as proof- the marginal tax rates on the MIDDLE CLASS workers ranges from 40-70%.
At least the Nordic countries always rank as the happiest countries in the world, for decades.
Perhaps it’s not so bad if everybody pays more taxes and pitches in to support our country.
I agree. The problem is that many liberal politicians in the US would have us believe that we can all just have unlimited free stuff in the rich guys will foot the bill. If we want to live like the Nordic countries that’s fine by me what the public needs to understand that you personally will pay more taxes. Not Just the rich guy
Our tax rates, or put another way… our ‘economic freedom’ (when combined across the board) are actually very similar to many European countries. We’re already a very high taxed country. Around every corner a politician is coming up with a brilliant idea (e.g. a tax!) that will solve a problem (usually that they created) and then sell you a watered down pseudo solution that does not work for its purported constituency.
The first rule for all politicians should be that they and all family members are required without exception to use any and all public facilities that they have voted on. Thus all their children and grandchildren must attend public schools, public universities, public day care centers; they may have no private security – they must rely upon the police; etc; no private planes, boats, etc. – they must utilize public transportation and only carriers available to the general public (no skipping TSA by using private airports). All too often they make the rules and then exempt themselves.
Sam, nice article as usual. I’m sorry you were disappointed on your 10 year post, but I think you know your readers appreciate your efforts. Which is why we keep coming to your site, and making you the big bucks. I’m always confused when you speak of yourself as retired. Do you consider yourself currently retired? To me, what you do with this site seems like a job. You spend hours writing and curating articles, and then spend hours replying to bunch of mostly overworked random people on the internet ragging at you and taking out their frustration at you. Personally, I would not want this job. But more power to you, and you are very good at it. Your articles read like a well thought out in-depth research note you’d find from the top analysts at Goldman Sachs. Except you are allowed to say what you want. I’m also constantly confused by why you need to keep producing the massive active + passive income when your stated expenses and needs are so low. I imagine this cash flow is 7 figures annually and your net worth is in the 8 figures at least, based on the clues you drop on your articles. I am not surprised that you feel like this is a good time to wind down though. With such high taxes and after working so hard after you left your day job in 2012, it seems you have accumulated much more than you and your kids will need to live a great life in Hawaii. Totally agree with the conclusion of your article. Good luck selling financial samurai, I hope whoever buys it doesn’t realize that it will be worth close to nothing without you.
It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it!
The Reality is, I enjoy the banter. It’s fun to learn new things from different people. I really wouldn’t continue, at least not at this pace, if I wasn’t having fun.
But what I have found is that a lot of people like to just criticize, but they don’t share anything about themselves or their thoughts on the topic in any type of depth. As a result, I often end up wasting my time responding. Therefore, to be more efficient with my time, my goal is to write more matter of fact posts we’re no banter is required.
For example, I can review more financial products, write plain definition post, and so forth. Still helpful and also good for business.
What kind of work do you do? And where are you on your financial journey?
Btw, I haven’t told anybody I’ve been retired since 2013. In this post, when I write I plan to retire again by the year 2022, the implication should be that I am not retired now. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.
No need to apologise, your article was very clear. The confusion was just me. I thought I’d read in some of your previous articles that you were retired.
I work as an investment manager, reading things written by Goldman analysts! On my financial journey, I’m in the one more year phase, been stuck there for a few years. My work doesn’t suck enough, I can’t figure out how much money I need, the target keeps changing, and I can’t figure out how much my portfolio can generate and if it will consistently meet needs and any unexpected large ticket items. Like you, the higher upcoming taxes make me question whether it’s worth going for more or just packing up shop.
If you enjoy your work, and are making good money, then you might as well just continue.
Have you reached a $10 million plus net worth yet like Joe Biden? I feel that $10 million is now an amount many people start feeling like they can do other things, retire, take it down a notch or take more risk elsewhere.
“If you enjoy your work, and are making good money, then you might as well just continue.” aka one year more syndrome!
Had no idea How Biden was worth $10 million. Good for them I guess. I’m almost there. Assuming you are already past that goal, what did you decide your next goal will be once you reached 8 figures? I’m guessing this game never ends. We just pivot and change the names and rules a bit. I’m afraid taking it down a notch doesn’t really happen if you have little kids. Time at the desk (or pre-covid an office) can equate to time off for many parents, letting them recharge and in turn become more patient and better parents. Of course this is tough for the stay at home spouse. Kids are tough work, but more than worth any effort.
True, Taking care of young children is definitely a full-time job. It’s much more difficult than having a day job. How many kids do you have how old are they now?
Once you get to $10 million, you can then reassess your life. But hopefully you constantly do that before then as well. Some new goals include building a certain passive income amount, working with underprivileged children, setting up a foundation, and so much more.
Heck, you might even want to start a website to help people for free in whatever field you have a tremendous amount of interest in. It’s really rewarding!
Working outside the home with small children is the hardest job ever not one or the other. It’s a luxury to stay at home with small children here in The Bay Area.
It’s interesting how I think working outside the home is so much easier than taking care of young children all day, and I worked in banking where it was pressure and 60+ hours a week. What occupation are you in?
I was a loan officer and I think lots of parents would love to have the option to stay at home with their children but, again financially. It’s not an option. Being a parent is the hardest job you’ll ever love.
I agree Sam, taking care of young children is full-time job, much more difficult than a day job (I have one of the most demanding day jobs well known for quick burnout). Of course we are talking about taking care of kids properly, not half assed like many parents do. You obviously are a hands-on actionable responsible parent. Little kids are naturally energetic, curious, and demand constant attention. I have 2, 6 and 8 years old. I wish I had more. Children, a good spouse, close family and friends are true wealth after the basics of life are taken care of. So if you are hesitant still, please don’t waste your time and put the third one in the oven.
As for reassessments, those are constant and if anything I need to slow down and smell the roses. Starting a business or website is of no interest to me, to do those properly I would have to give it all my energy, like a baby, and I don’t want to detract from my family. Also, eventually the goal of profitability ruins all creativity and freedom as you have to cater to your clients/audience. Helping underprivileged children sounds great, I have no expertise but would love to try.
$10 million is not the amount that makes me comfortable. I am 57 and live in California, with high taxes and a high cost of living. I have $10 million equity in 3 properties (personal residence, vacation home, apartment building) and about $5 million in cash and investments. To retire or take it down a notch, while at the same time keeping my 3 properties, i figure i need a net worth of around $18 million. I have read your article estimating the net worth of the top 1% and I feel your numbers are low.
Shoot for $10 million per person given the estate tax threshold is $11.58 million.
Honestly, I’m just happy to have a president again who is reality-based, interested in solving our countries challenges and doesn’t constantly try and pick fights and create drama. Worrying about tax rates is at the bottom of my list right now. Hopefully this marks a return to being able to have productive debates over policies rather than just “owning” the other side. My mental health has already improved since a week ago from that alone.
I do wish we’d all stop throwing around the word “socialism”. It’s long since lost its original meaning and just gets thrown around by both liberals and conservatives to mean pretty much anything. Instead, let’s have a debate about specific policy goals and how to achieve them.
Frankly, the same thing goes for debates about taxes. Talking about lowering or raising taxes in a vacuum is meaningless. Instead, let’s focus on what needs to be done and how to pay for it. Yes, I get there can be stimulative effects to tax policy at the margins, but there are also more focused ways to achieve the same ends.
I think this pandemic has shown that there is a place for government to step in and do things that aren’t practical or desirable on a private level. Looking around there are some pretty obvious issues (infrastructure, health care, education, etc) that will require some level of federal government involvement to really address adequately. I don’t consider myself a liberal, conservative, socialist, or capitalist. Just a realist.
Well said and Amen!!
Rich underscore R, by mentioning that you are, “just happy to have a President now that is reality based…” are you referring to his comment about desegregation and racial jungles?
I hope you are able to take it easier, Sam. Even if the reasoning is more fear based on what Biden MIGHT do. That grind is killer for mental health in the long term.
Thanks. I don’t have any fear about what Biden will do. Biden is much more moderate, and raising taxes at the $400,000 household income level is quite reasonable versus the proposal of raising taxes for household to make over $250,000 back during the Obama era.
And given I believe $300,000 a year is the ideal income amount for maximum happiness for a family of four, all is good. I just want more unity, and this pandemic to be conquered.
I have hope and excitement because I see the finish line. It’s like the excitement of anticipating a vacation after a pretty focused and hard-working two years. It’s gonna be great!
it’s like you going FIRE all over again! Also dont feel bad about people not commenting on the ten years. I am sure you have a lot of lurkers like me that are happy for you but dont necessarily post much as we are not contributing any greats ideas in the posts.
I know, right?! So exciting!
I’ve learned from my past, so I plan to do retirement better this time! Although circumstances have changed a lot.
Reading your site resulted in me thinking about money, life and my happiness. I have been married for 48 years. This relationship is more important than money. When my wife and I get mad our relationship suffers and I don’t care about money. We can never stay mad longer than one day because we hate it
Have you ever seen a couple at dinner in a nice restaurant and they never say a word. This is misery.
Money is important to me, but it means nothing if my marriage is out of wack.
Relationships first. Money second.
You miss the point entirely why in Gods name would we give one red cent to the incompetents who woefully manage the $3.5 trillion we pay in federal taxes already? Given them more money is like trying to get sober by drinking more!
What’s your solution?
You’re not giving more money if you don’t make more than $400,000 in household income.
You might actually be getting more money back.
Again you miss the point entirely it doesn’t matter who is paying more or less giving an increase of tax revenue to the morons who have spent us into oblivion is not the answer.
Ok since u know the point. What is the solution? I’ve decided to re-retire.
What do you plan to do? Solutions are great. Otherwise, you’re just complaining. Thanks!
Ok Sam I accept the challenge so here goes the solution I’ll offer. Personally, I’m balanced between after tax money, IRA, and Roth so I can withdraw strategically whatever I need without incurring much tax regardless of what the hack politicians do for the next 7 years before mandatory IRA withdrawals will increase my liability to some degree. That also provides me 7 years to move money around and further reduce that liability. As for the bigger question of how to solve the issue I’ll offer the following:
1 – we need term limits these hacks who have been in office for decades have completely bastardized the meaning of Public service and turned it into a cottage industry for themselves selling our freedom to the highest bidders via “tax free” PAC contributions. My suggestion at a federal level two terms and you’re out. Period end of story, back to the real world no more career pimps / politicians.
2 – While the hacks complain about income inequality and the rich not paying their fair share don’t forget they are the ones who voted to change the tax code to allow such inequities. Hedge funds pay minimal income taxes because of “carried interest” how do you think that happened? The hacks sold taxpayers down the river to enact that tax policy in exchange for personal benefit.
3 – eliminate PACs and all political advertising. Federal elections would allow candidates free time for presentations over national TV as well as debates since the airwaves are public assets the networks should be forced to comply.
4 – All votes need to be made in person and you must show picture ID. If picture ID is required for airline travel or to buy a quart of beer, or drive a car I don’t think its to much to ask for one of our most important privileges’ as citizens in a free society.
5 – Cap the amount of money any one individual can contribute to eliminate blowhards like Bloomberg attempting buy elections.
6- Organizations of any sort should be barred from contributing one cent to politicians, that goes for corporations, unions, etc.
7 – The IRS and the tax code should be reduced to “zero deductions / write-offs” and a simple flat tax.
8 – Government – federal and state should have mandatory balanced budget requirements. If you can’t pay for it you don’t buy it just like the way most Americans live.
9 – We need a serious antitrust / breakup of monopiles in this country to eliminate “to big to fail” and bailouts of any sort. Financial institutions like JPMorgan should be broken into several separate companies vertical integration is unhealthy and uncompetitive. Mortgages separate business, Brokerage separate business, Private equity separate business, Credit card separate business, Consumer banking separate business, Corporate banking separate business.
Media – pre Reagan caps on how many TV stations, radio, Movies, cable, internet operations any one media company can own. Today we have propaganda because of a monopoly of media companies. Ex. Disney should also be several separate companies.
Internet companies need to be broken up…..Google, Facebook, Twitter, have zero accountability make hoards of money and basically censor whoever they please without any repercussions. As a matter of fact for all the Dems harsh words they benefit exclusively from this government sponsored censorship, in term Silicon Valley bankrolls the Dems almost exclusively and that not something even the media propagandist would debate.
More companies, more competition, more creativity, less power in many more hands, zero liability to the tax payer for reckless behavior.
10 – Completely stop the Fed from performing as the backstop for private companies, hedge funds, etc. Bailouts to any public company should be outlawed as the idea completely flies in the face of business risk and reward also known as capitalism.
Ok Sam there is my solution / recommendation. Never forget the hacks in office for decades are the ones who created all the issues they complain government needs to solve, when in fact gov. is the cause of the problem in the first place. Case in point the student loan crisis. When did it explode onto the scene shortly after the government outlawed private lending and made it a gov. program = zero qualifications to borrow, unlimited loan amounts, zero oversite of any sort, result a multi-trillion dollar disaster of governments making, and there answer = make the taxpayer fund the bill because its the students right to borrow without regard because college is a right. Bernie Sanders is a self avowed communist take him at his word “by any means necessary”.
You know I think this is a bit of refreshing post and I actually get the spirit of what you are saying. Many of these comments are not rooted in actual facts. Biden is not a socialist. If he was, he is doing a horrible job at it. lol. I actually would imagine that many of your readers are very smart and its troubling that they are drawn into these false narratives.
But I digress, as a dual income household with no kids and income over $500,000 I do agree with you that the pursuit of money is not healthy. Even with no kids, the quality of our lives is affected by the constant grind and the associated stress. This past year has given us time to think about what is truly important. Money is a means to end. To that point, we bought 2 vacations home in the midst of Covid for more passive income. Retiring and not working is not realistic for us. We like our professions, but to be able to to choose when and how to work is freedom. I think your site helps people make intelligent decisions on the “how/why” of making money work for you; instead of the other way around. Keep it up. I enjoy your insights.
Until they start taxing unrealized capital gains. D(I)RE is my only option. No Inheritance for me, so just DRE.
This post certainly does echo the change in the air that I’m feeling!!
My plan is to retire in the next several years, so I hope I can benefit from the perks you mentioned. However I’ve felt wary of the unpredictability of the stock market and started diversifying including buying a rental property.
I also bought REITs but they aren’t doing well in lockdown life.
Keep analytical posts like this coming!
Perhaps someone here can help me see how Biden is not a socialist? How is printing many trillions of dollars supposed to be something we all applaud? How is increasing the minimum wage supposed to help the small businesses who have been suffering throughout 2020 due to lockdowns? How is forgiving student loans at all fair to those who already paid off their loans? How is stopping rent while lenders are still requiring loan payments and the gov still wanting property taxes fair?
These are genuine questions and for someone in their early 30s trying to set myself up financially with a high income and investments, I don’t see how one can be optimistic over the next few years. Would be great to hear your thoughts.
You are right. Forget what u just read. Sam is wrong. You must create your success. Who is president doesn’t matter. Don’t be fooled. If you want a house near the ocean, you will need the money to buy it. Biden isn’t giving it to you. If you want to not work and live in a crappy apt., Biden may have a program to pay your rent. With food stamps, Biden may have a program to buy you day old bread.
The world has not changed.
how Biden is not a socialist? He is. So was Trump. Biden a little more so. It’s a spectrum.
How is printing many trillions of dollars supposed to be something we all applaud? It’s not supposed to be unless you are very short sighted and think your $1200 check has no long term costs.
How is increasing the minimum wage supposed to help the small businesses who have been suffering throughout 2020 due to lockdowns? It won’t.
How is forgiving student loans at all fair to those who already paid off their loans? It isn’t.
How is stopping rent while lenders are still requiring loan payments and the gov still wanting property taxes fair? It isn’t.
If there is no Fed and Fed Gov’t support, your investments will likely crash. Hence, you may want your belief of Socialism to help with your version of Capitalism.
Care to expand on this?
My investments were doing just fine prior to COVID. But since the lockdowns (which mountains of data indicate are useless) and the lovely fed government (which is telling people to live freely off of others), some of them are completely dark and I have lost a lot of money since things like property tax and repairs are still mandatory.
Sure. What are the details of your investments (type, purchase price, income, market price etc) that have lost money and what is “some of them are completely dark” mean?
Family bought a gym here in California for about $14M. Income was $850K a year and we finished off the loan portion late 2019.
They haven’t paid us rent since March 2020. Meanwhile, we are still responsible for all CAM and all property taxes which was well over $150k. No help from the government with regards to getting the property tax deferred. Gym can’t open because our incredible governor thinks it’s okay to shut down businesses indefinitely.
As it is right now, property won’t sell for what we bought it for.
I’m a fan of FS, not trying to sound like an asshole in any way. I’m just finding it hard to be optimistic about the direction this country is headed. I appreciate your perspective and I’m trying to understand how you see things so that perhaps I can adopt the same mindset.
I hear you on the frustration you’re feeling regarding the governor keeping outdoor dining, gyms, etc. closed. It is not only frustrating, it is maddening. If the government is going to force shut downs, then at least there needs to be specific bail out package is for small businesses. And then to top it off, with Gavin Newsom going to eat at French laundry for $1000 a head, that’s some BS right there.
On the bright side, your family is rich enough to pay $14 million for a gym! Even if this was your only family asset, I put you in a top 1% net worth. If the family gym is only a part of your net worth, then you’re obviously even richer.
I strongly do believe things will get better by the second half of this year. And then your customers will start coming back and the income will start being generated.
May I ask how you guys build enough wealth to buy a $14 million gym? And what other type of assets do you guys own?
I’m always pleased to discover the many ways readers have build wealth over time. It’s pretty awesome and inspiring!
Sam, I am grateful for my family’s economic status and we’re still doing well thankfully. But yes, the frustration has been high. Other gym operators have filed for bankruptcy but our tenant is one of the last few who haven’t. If they do, it would be disastrous as they would break the lease and renegotiate the rent at a much lower price point. They’re open in other states now but they have many locations here in California.
I hope you’re right about the second half of this year and I’ll keep that in mind moving forward.
My parents came here as immigrants in the late 80s. My dad started an accounting firm and all the cash he generated he put towards investing in commercial real estate throughout the 90s. He then got into residentials during the 08 recession and that is when I hopped on. Pretty much all residual income has gone into real estate while the accounting firm grows organically through referrals. Fast forward 30 years and here we are.
I’m the only person in the family to continue these businesses/investments and so I’m feeling the pressure. I want to not only preserve/protect what my parents built, but also continually grow it. This has been hard for them as they left their country because of a civil war, government corruption, etc. and now they’re seeing the start of something similar going on here.
Gotcha. The responsibility is a great one. Hang on for at least 6 months. Things WILL get better!
And congrats again for being richer than 99%+ of Americans during these hard times!
It’s interesting how you squeeze in as many as GOP talking points into your seemingly apolitical writing. Half of what you state is factually incorrect. For businesses, Republican policies have been great in the very short term and disastrous in the long term.
Politics matter for work behavior, investing, and our wealth. It’s important to understand both sides and adapt accordingly. To not do so would be foolish.
Can you elaborate on what the disastrous policies are for businesses long term? As an investor and business owner, this is important to me. There’s just too many folks from both sides throwing out terms like “disastrous” without presenting cogent arguments.
Wife and I are right around the $400K AGI mark. Biden’s tax plan to stick it to those making over that amount is nice in the sense that at work I no longer feel the need to try to move up or into management. There’s no way I’m going to take on more stressful work to make 40 cents for every dollar. Time to coast!
If you’re not stressed making $400K, then that certainly is the ideal income for maximum happiness and returns! Congrats!
Haha, I wouldn’t say not stressed, but it’s manageable from a cost/benefit analysis though. But I’d have to be clearing closer to 70% than 40% of additional dollars for the type of work required to people manage.
Max great job with the nice income just remember the high income rich individuals do not play by the same rules Biden’s plan attacks high income earners not those that have assets producing qualified income or capital gains. I do not believe he will change the taxation of capital gains because Wall Street would have adjusted and sold off. Be safe.
Ah, well if there is stress.. .it may be more stress than you actually realize or is healthy for you.
You may want to try taking things down a notch to $300,000 and see if you’re happier, if you have variable income.
I’ve found about $200K is ideal for an individual… ~$300K is ideal for a family of up to 4.
You can keep your greed in check by committing a percentage of your income to philanthropy. It accomplishes the same purpose as taxes (as you describe) without first being whittled down by a large, inefficient machine like the government. The gov’t will even match your donation by ~30%!
Sounds good to me! However, lots of people are tired, including myself. 2020 was a doozy, and 1H2021 won’t be much better.
I feel the optimism of this post (which I appreciate) misses the possibility of the government changing its stance on taxing retirement income. What’s to stop them from ratcheting up?
As someone who lives in Illinois, this is my biggest source of tension when thinking about being here in old age, Lord willing I make it (currently 33). Illinois is definitely an outlier given their horrendous budget management, but I can see this going state-by-state and eventually graduating to a federal level.
Call me a pessimist, genuinely interested in what others think about this.
Illinois is tough…. highest or second highest property taxes in the country. Bad budget management pre-pandemic, and now things are worse, like everywhere else.
Nothing is stopping the gov’t from ratcheting up taxes and retirement age limits. Therefore, your goal is to build as large of a TAXABLE investment portfolio as possible so you have more control and more passive income.
Yes, the Roth IRA, IRA, 401k… you can’t be 100% certain what the gov’t will do. Hence, build your real estate empire and taxable investment portfolios.
My goal is to always b 100% King of my wealth.
Thanks for the reply! Real estate has been attractive for years, I just have a consistent failure to launch given the tough barrier to entry.
Nice article. While we’ve incorporated a lot of FIRE principles into how we manage money, we don’t plan on retiring early. So we have a ways to go. We are targeting 60. Hopefully Medicare gets lined up with the IRA retirement age. That 5 year gap bothers me. Or, at a minimum, line it up with the early SS distribution age.
When we do get close to retirement, got to imagine all these points will come into play. Hopefully we are in the position to be able to make this type of decision.
Thanks. How old are you guys now?
We’re both turning 38 this year. My wife homeschools our kids and we’re, for the most part, living a minimalist lifestyle. We “spend” money on time with our kids. That’s the main reason why we homeschool. Being in a one income household is scary, especially in times like this. My wife definitely has her hands full though, but she loves it. I got the easy part for sure.
Yes, being a full time child caretaker is much harder than a day job. But I think the time goes quickly, and no parent will ever regret spending more time with their children when they were young.
Lots of disagreeing views. That’s a decent indicator that you are causing people to challenge ideas and revisit their points of views. The world isn’t static, and we shouldn’t be in assessing our beliefs either. Keep it up!
Will do. People are free to work as hard as they want to build their fortune. Free country and everything is rational.
I’ve chosen to look at the positives of higher taxes and more regulation by taking things down.
I’m curious what your thoughts would be about increasing the estate tax up to 100% above say… $100k? Meaning, almost nothing would be passed from parents to children. I know this is completely absurd and not realistic and has no chance of ever passing into law, but hear me out.
Once you’re over the initial reaction of, “Oh my god, that’s absurd! Of course I want to leave things to my children.” Imagine a world where everyone starts off at a more or less even place (I know this isn’t perfect, but it’s a close approximation.) Imagine if everyone had to earn their own fortune and success. Imagine if there wasn’t a glass floor where mediocre children of wealthy people didn’t have a glass floor and could do literally nothing and inherit tens of millions. Would this be a better or worse world? I think right now the biggest determination of success in this country is the zip code where you grew up, but imagine if instead success was based on hard work and intelligence. How would the psychology of people change if parents knew they could leave nothing to their children? This is such an interesting idea that perhaps it warrants its own article.
Sounds good to me. But what about the children with disabilities, or who are underrepresented people with no connections and are marginalized groups?
I welcome you to write a guest post if you feel strongly about it. Provide the pros and cons and how it can help society you’re better.
What about those groups now? Compared to the families who leave their kids millions, those groups are worse off. A policy like this would only work to close the gap and make things more equitable across the board. This would push towards a world of “equality of opportunity.” Note: This is not socialism. Socialism is equality of outcome. I think equality of opportunity is a more fair and more just system. Additionally, I think the maximum to leave a kid should maybe be the expected cost to raise a kid to 18 in the situation that the parents pass away before the child is able to provide for themselves. That feels more reasonable.
That said, a policy like this would not solve all problems or every edge case. It would just move the needle slightly towards a meritocracy. In an ideal world, there would be additional policies to further move the needle.
Your guest post is going to be wonderful! Shoot me a draft when you’re ready. Present your thesis, explain your background and where you are coming from, and offer actionable steps to take. thanks
Over 80% of those who are millionaires these days made it on their own… they didn’t inherit it. In any event, there are ways around estate taxes, and those with $$ know how to use those means.
AI Corrupt, spot on.
Interesting idea, but would never work unless the whole world was in on it. Noone would stay in the country if they knew they couldnt pass down their wealth. one of the biggest drivers for accumulating wealth is creating a legacy for your family.
You’re right, but creating a legacy for your family is fundamentally harming the country. A person’s offspring are no more deserving than anyone else in the country. It’s purely a luck of birth. But I agree that this is impractical. It’s merely a thought exercise at this point.
Robert something to consider when you and many others discuss making everything in life more “even”. Your idea is to tax everything over $100K. Ok, who is going to control the collection (the government?) and who will do the re-distribution, and what will the criteria be for who gets how much? You see how complicated this all gets and just to ponder one other thought how well has the government managed anything? SS should be over funded by trillions of dollars but some how is in trouble because the government / politicians do what they always do recklessly spend to advance their own careers. Think about this entire “unfair” argument the gutless pols pushing this narrative are the ones most responsible for the financial mess this country is in. They have been in office for decades spending us into oblivion and you think the answer is to give them control of more money? The world isn’t fair, not everyone gets the same of anything …looks, brains, genes, etc. that’s life. This country provides the means for anyone to achieve anything they want and those who suggest otherwise should move to all those other alternatives they are so convinced is better…..Cuba, China, Russia, NKor. wherever. I came from nothing financially, struggled and succeeded, anyone can but then again I didn’t sit around bitching about how unfair life is and someone else owes me something. My Dad taught me otherwise…..put your nose to the grindstone and good things happen…….and you what? They Do!
One should add that the govt will always take care of itself first. I retired from the Foreign Service and I have many former coworkers as fb friends. I was shocked to learn that the Department of State starting vaccinating younger so called essential employees in the very first round. I now have an aunt in her 70s battling covid who was not scheduled for a vaccination until a few days ago. There is no excuse for younger non health care workers to ever have been given a preference.
Mike, your response is that of someone completely ignorant of reality in this country. To say that anyone can succeed is completely wrong. Did you know that the number one factor that determines your success in this country is the zip code in which you grew up? Being a white male in this country means your “struggle” in life is going to be trivial compared to anyone who isn’t a white male. Sure you came from nothing financially, but you know what, you also probably started at 0. A large number of people in this country are starting their lives severely in the negatives. The world in which you live is not a representative sample of the people living in this country right now.
Additionally, my comment was about making the ESTATE tax to include everything over $100k. You should google what that actually means because you seem to think that it affects people while they are alive. And once you educate yourself on the estate tax, I challenge you to argue how it wouldn’t make things more equal. I think you and I agree that everyone should earn their own way in this country. Inheriting a bunch of money from your parents is fundamentally unequal. Going back to zip code being the biggest indicator of your success: If your parents are wealthy, the chances that you’ll succeed with minimal effort are almost guaranteed. THAT is what I think is unfair.
Lastly, the reason the government has a bad reputation is because of lack of transparency and because the goal of one party is to completely defund it. The reason social security is underwater is because taxes aren’t high enough (specifically on the rich) and because of policies that defund it. On August 8, 2020, the president issued an executive order deferring payroll tax obligations for social security. That is a direct attack on a government program that you think should be over funded. There needs to be a law that prevents actions like that from being taken. And the way you get a law like that is not to criticize that the government is inefficient, but instead to vote for better elected officials who will protect and strengthen programs like that.
I love how somehow you want to make this a race issue rather than a socioeconomic problem. The poorest zip code in America is in fact nearly all white. A white male in that zip code is at a much greater disadvantage than a person of color in a rich zip code. I wish people would quit pretending that racial injustice is an excuse for everyone’s ills. Imagine if the NFL decided tomorrow that the racial makeup of their teams must be equal to that of the general population. I assume you are ok with the current black majority. Now if so why is racial injustice only applied when people of color are underrepresented without looking at the reasons behind this.
Robert wake up….zip code…where did you get that pearl of wisdom? I came from a terrible zip code and some how managed to do quite well without anyone making things more “fair” for me and I’m admittedly nothing special. Just like many others, hard work, focus, personal responsibility. I also went to college with many of those from select zip codes who turned into basket cases. You are naïve if you think its just zip code my friend. And don’t feed me that liberal BS about others starting with less than zero. Go read Dr. Ben Carson’s story your limits are what you imagine they are.
And I’m well aware of the estate tax / death tax and when it takes effect. Inheritance is “unequal”. Wrong its called progress, I haven’t worked a lifetime to hand more assets to some empty suit hack politician to decide who should be molly coddled.
SS isn’t unfunded because of a lack of taxes the federal government takes in $3.5 trillion dollars in federal taxes….not enough. Not a tax issue rather how wasteful government is. Just look at the Stimulus bill $1200 per eligible taxpayer costs $285B dollars size of the bill $1.9T. Hundreds of billions to bailout liberal states who have spent themselves into oblivion over the last 20 years and taxpayers are supposed to underwrite their corrupt spending!
Wake up career politicians have been looting the SS trust for decades but no one seems to discuss that little fact on CNN. Instead we should Raise taxes so the career hacks can further plunder our resources to advance their pathetic careers. Ever wonder why these prehistoric creatures refuse to retire! Its not zip code Robert. Life isn’t fair it’s what you make of it. Stop thinking the government is going to fix your problems.
Robert you claim SS is underfunded because we aren’t taxed enough or because Trump wanted a 90 SS tax holiday? Are you serious or is this some kind of stand up act. SS has been around for what 7 decades and you’re laying blame for a bankrupt government Ponzi scheme on a 90 day tax holiday? Robert if the SS “trust fund” was legally supported the way any normal “trust fund” was the money grubbing hack politicians wouldn’t be able to touch it and if that happened all those years we had multiple workers contributing vs. those receiving the revenues accruing in the trust fund would be so overfunded SS could support all current and future needs without any future taxes. Even if the funds were only invested in T-Bills over the decades. However that’s not the case because politicians setup the fund so it could be raided every year to fund there pet projects and advance special interests and their careers. And your answer to the problem is to give these self serving loathsome dogs “more” money.
When politicians talk about the rich paying their fair share, when will the trust fund looting hacks be held to account? Never while people like you get sidetracked by their misdirection strategy “blame others for the problems they are responsible for”!
Worse yet they talk about “fair” share, yet the system is set up so those toward the bottom pay “no” share when it comes to federal and state taxes. If you have no skin in the game, it is easy to ask others to pay more. Biden’s promise of $2000 checks should have been considered bribing voters. The better solution would be a flat tax with zero deductions.
Disappointed in this post. Even if I’m not paying more taxes, I believe other people should pay more taxes to share the wealth. Who cares if you are burned out. I’ve got a family to take care of and think about too you know!
Then get to hustling more, go get it and earn it! Why should others foot the bill for Others laziness or frivolous spending? By the way this is coming from someone in the 24% tax bracket 48, fully retired and living very comfortably. I was raised in a low income family. You made the family, I didn’t.
I’m already working hard enough. If people have more opportunity, they should share the wealth.
Instead of getting up at 5 am to write posts to help us achieve financial freedom, Sam should get up at 4 am and do more.
T, you should pay more than 24% in taxes as well.
Yeah, let me get right on that to support you. Go and grab your piece of the American Dream. I worked my ass off and got out of the lower income bracket to secure me and my family. I currently give plenty of my time, talents and money to causes already. Go get it, it’s out there for all.
Lmao, yeah I will get right on that to help you. I already donate plenty of time, skills and money. The best part is I do it anonymously as I don’t need the spotlight. Once again, Go Get It!
You got it! Setting my alarm now for 4 am so I can make more money to pay more taxes to help you and my fellow citizens. Let’s rock!
But once there is herd immunity, I’m going to start sleeping in until 5am or 5:30 am again.
I enjoy this type of humor
Max, So do I!
I certainly don’t blame you! Stay in the bracket. Not worth it! You can’t get back time.
When did your family become someone else’s burden? Share the wealth said another way “those undertake the burden to succeed are responsible for those who don’t bother”?
Sorry I can’t support that logic.
“If you are a stressed out, dual-income professional household making over $400,000, you might start smelling the roses more given your taxes are going up.” That speaks to me: what’s the point of both spouses working if the lower earning’s spouse’s income is taxed at the highest marginal rate (which in some states, will be over 50% under Biden’s plan), and the cost of child care increases because minimum wage increases, and all the money we’ve saved in 529 plans becomes less relevant because state universities are now free, and our real estate investments are underperforming because our tenants have decided to milk the moratorium for as long as they can and live rent free at our cost? What’s the point? Maybe it is time to start contributing and start healing!
There is no point. I promise you, you will NOT be happier working more to make more money over $400,000.
I would assign a 85% probability you will be LESS happy if you do. I hav carefully chronicled how I feel making various income levels, and I truly believe $200K/individual and $300K/family up to 4 is around the ideal levels.
Sam what about CHINA? If we slow our production…they will surpass the U.S. and then we become subservient 2 the CCP and Xi!
China overtaking the U.S. is an inevitability. They have 4X the population and are hungrier because they are poorer and have less freedom than us. Hence, it’s a good idea to develop better relationships and learn Mandarin for our kids.
“I’ve tried not to rely on the government for anything. Instead, I’ve been indoctrinated since getting my first job that it is my civic duty to pay my fair share of taxes to help others without similar opportunities.”
Oh cool so I guess:
1) you won’t be taking social security?
2) you’ll buy private insurance when you’re 65+ and not use medicare?
3) I assume you’re in favor of defunding the police since, apparently, you don’t rely on them. Ditto the fire department and the united states military budget?
In furtherance of your generosity I’d be happy to be the recipient of your social security checks! I wouldn’t want you to dirty your excellent reputation by profiting from any of that evil socialism.
I’m sorry you think the government and socialism are evil. So many people have been hurt during the pandemic, we need to do as much as possible to help these people today. I think the gov’t tries to do good to support all its citizens. It’s just not as efficient as many would like. Biden is a moderate, not a socialist.
1) For Social Security, employees pay a 6.2% FICA tax up to $142,800 of their income for 2021 ($8,853.60 max per person). Therefore, employees pay into the system. The employer also pays 6.2% FICA tax as well. If you have your own business, you pay both sides, or 12.4%. Social Security isn’t free. Americans pay into it. Some prefer not paying into it and investing their money how they see fit instead.
2) Most likely. We already pay $2,250/month for private healthcare, unsubsidized for a family of four. However, the Medicare tax rate for 2021 is also 1.45%, for an unlimited amount of income. Therefore, Americans also pay for Medicare.
3) No, as someone who pays a hefty property tax, income tax, state tax, and investment tax bill, I believe our support and protection system should have continued funding. Now that Biden is President and we are OK with raising taxes, erhaps we should even introduce a Renter’s Tax so that 100% of inhabitants, not just property owners pay for these services. This is controversial, b/c nobody likes paying more taxes. But now may be the best time to do so.
If you are in need financial assistance or hurting in any way, I can try and help you if you let me know exactly what is bothering you. Even if you don’t like the new regime, I suggest looking on the bright side of things. There’s always a bright side.
Chin up! Try to embrace the good in every current regime. You’ll be happier if you do.
Related post: Socialism As A Means To A Brighter Future
Here here Sam. What’s got your shorts in a bunch “A”?
He realizes that socialism brings everyone down to the same level (except for those in power) rather than providing the opportunity for pretty much anyone to be successful. Those advocating socialism are lazy. That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t help those out who temporarily need help, but multi-generational welfare has destroyed the desire for success.
Well said Al. Sam is a socialist apologist who should happily give up his money to the government and bow down to the government and be thankful for the bread crumbs they will generously provide him while they get wealthy.
Is that a conflicting view Robert? How does one give up his money to the government when one wants to take things easier and pay less taxes?
What is your financial situation and are you working hard enough to pay a top tax rate? If not, why not work harder and smarter?
You can takes things even easier by giving up your money to the government, supporting socialism, not working at all and let the government take care of you completely. Then the few elite can get weathier while we all enjoy the bread crumbs. Socialist paradise!
You are a martyr. Maybe you should ask for donations so you can play
Not a bad idea. It costs about $100,000 to build a top-quality tennis court. But I first need to buy the land.
Cheer up Charles! You’re rich and in your 70s! Enjoy you money to the max!
As a longtime reader (sorry for not giving you a comment shoutout on the 10 years of writing -> fantastic achievement for what it’s worth!), you can gleam that you have grown your net worth well into the 8 figures and are pulling in 7 figures of cashflow annually. This is an admirable achievement that you should be proud of.
However, the potential for rising taxes provides another avenue to consider which is charitable giving. You have alluded in a few posts that your son may have a vision impairment that has become a cause you support. You could create a charitable giving machine to help those with that condition or any other cause you deem worthwhile. Given your CA taxes on top of what might be 40%+ marginal federal rates, you could really magnify the impact of donations.
Running a 501(c)3 could also provide another source of purpose and fulfillment. In addition to teaching your kids about money (which I’m sure they will be set for life), you can both make the world a better place and lead your children to see the impact they could make on people around them.
Given what I think is your A-type personality, that might be an option to consider versus turning into a prune in your hot tub. That probably brings you a lot of joy because you have other things to do than sit in it for 12 hours a day.
This one of the areas that irks me the most. I have no problem with people giving to charities but it should never be to the detriment of the middle class. The wealthy get a significant tax reduction by donating to charities and that shortfall in taxes has to be paid by someone else. The current laws allow the rich to decide who they want to benefit while those less off are forced to have to accept the government making those choices and essentially subsidize the charities of choice of the wealthy. The ultra wealthy like Gates and Buffet can easily afford to do both.
This is not the most well thought out comment. Sam is saying he is contemplating working less as the marginal value to him is getting smaller as his marginal tax rate increases. If he (or any of the many people in his situation) works less, there not only is there no charitable giving there is also no income to tax. This suggestion basically says he is volunteering his time for a cause(s) that make sense to him. How does this hurt anyone?
I don’t get the comment that this subsidizes anything. The “rich” people donating getting tax deductions only accounts for a fraction of the money they give. They end up with less cashflow personally than paying the tax and keeping the rest. People that have the brain horsepower to earn this kind of living can do simple cashflow math. If they can’t direct the money in a way that makes sense, they simply reduce their output to maximize their personal utility. You’re better off thanking people that they have a personal giving nature instead of just accumulating a massive wealth that truly serves no one like certain public figures. Speaking of which, it’s not that hard to legally pay next to zero in taxes while creating massive wealth without giving a penny. Your anger and frustration is misdirected.
I give one million dollars to charity x
I save at least 350,000 dollars in federal taxes.
The federal government has lost 350,000.
Thus the charity is receiving the equivalent of a 350,000 dollar subsidy from the federal government.
Now who makes up that 350,000 shortfall?
Of course, it is legally possible to pay next to zero taxes and that is the essence of the problem. Charitable deductions are just part of a much larger problem but one that tends to get overlooked because of the essence unselfish giving.
That’s not the same here. Here the situation is:
1) I make $1.0mm and give $1.0mm. Net effect, $1.0mm given to worthwhile causes and $0 tax paid.
2) I sit in my hot tub and make $0. Net effect, $0 given and $0 tax paid.
There is $0 tax shortfall here. The taxes won’t be generated one way or another. Depending on what the charity does, it probably even helps mitigate government programs that would otherwise have to provide the service instead. That indirectly reduces the need for taxes in the first place if people voluntarily solve issues, potentially more efficiently.
You defined the problem with one word – worthwhile
Is the NRA or Planned Parenthood worthwhile? I suspect it depends upon your political viewpoint yet both are qualified charities and benefit indirectly from tax dollars. I for one do not want my tax dollars going to either.
I’m sure Sam is still making much more than the average American even while sitting in his hot tub!
Your tax dollars aren’t going to either. That is the point. The person donating is channeling their resources how they see fit. My original suggestion was something along the lines of medical dollars (research, paying for treatments, etc) for childhood issues, which is a bit different than the NRA… but what do I know?
Yes, Sam likely is making plenty either way. The whole point of this article was taking his foot off the gas and not making more. This gets back to your non-existent “tax shortfall” that will not exist in either scenario. Either he doesn’t make more and incurs no extra tax or he does and donates and still does not incur tax. No shortfall or redirection of your taxes.
If you feel so strongly, you could create a 7 figure business and donate all cashflow to publicly outing the shortcomings of charities you do not like and swaying their donors away from them. There are non-profits that focus on exposing other corrupt non-profits. That could be your worthwhile cause.
Regardless of “worthwhile”, you are still ignoring the basic concept that no one is stealing from the tax base here and forcing you to somehow make up for it. Also, if you think that getting a 35% deduction against donations somehow works in the donor’s favor… feel free to write me a million dollar check. I will gladly send you back $350,000. I’ll even gross it up for any taxes on that so we don’t “create shortfalls”. How about you send $1mm and I send back $500k?? win/win?
New idea. Go make enough money to give it to whoever you want and stop complaining about people donating to charities. Omg
I love the debate about how much and how we think other people should give their own money to charity!
Check out: https://www.financialsamurai.com/the-average-percent-of-income-donated-to-charity/
However, let’s also focus on how we can give more too.
Nice idea, maybe something he could consider when his kids are teens or have left the nest. I think he clearly has too much on his plate right now hence his desire to take things down a notch. I have small kids myself and it is rewarding and also crazy tiring man. The pandemic has really raked parents over the coals with distance learning and being home 24/7.
I’ve set up several perpetual giving machines. One for a couple charities, another this site given all the content is free, and one more.
Can you share what are the perpetual giving machines you’ve created and how you set them up? It’s good to trade notes to help more people. thx!
Instead of selling the business have you thought of having your readers submit articles. You could edit, combine, etc. and still have a platform bringing in more points of view. From good to bad.
I have! Anything you’d like to contribute?
This year, I’ve had two people disagree with me, so I welcomed a guest post. They said yes, and were supposed to send their drafts last week, but nothing. If history is any guide, the success rate is less than 5%.
I think people realize it is harder than they think in writing something coherent. But I welcome you to break the odds and try! Let’s do it!
This was my least favorite article I’ve read from your site. Is this how the wealthy think in our country? This is exactly why I encourage my child to find something you love to do and make a living from it so that you’re not making decisions based on how much taxes you pay or by money. As an immigrant I wasn’t given this kind of choices but I feel it’s important so we don’t look through the world with the lens of money only & how much taxes one will pay. Also spending time to teach your children shouldn’t be all about getting to the best schools. I got depressed reading this article and then more so reading most of these comments.
Live here long enough and watch the government closely enough and you’ll see how inefficiently the government uses tax dollars. Then you might change your mind. Also, I think you are unaware of how much time Sam spends with his kids. Easily 5x more than the average father, probably even higher. He’s been a stay at home dad for his kids’ entire lives. Chin up. This post isn’t depressing. Maybe something in your own life, finances, career, or family is stirring up your emotions.
Sam has a history of tongue-in-cheek posts every once an awhile. That’s I how read a good portion of this article but I’m not so sure if I interpreted correctly.
Sorry to hear. It’s precisely because I think there is a unhealthy desire for money and prestige in this country, that I am encouraging more people to find some thing that I love to do and not chase the money so much.
Under the new administration, I think over the next four years is a good time to try to “smell the roses” more often. There is less of a need to make money to survive, which means this will allow your child to do more things that he or she loves to do.
It is interesting to see how different people view this post so differently. I look at it with a positive, and optimistic light. I’m excited!
If you’re interested in sharing your immigrant story and your philosophies, I welcome a guest post!
“I think over the next four years is a good time to try to “smell the roses” more often.” In other words, the Biden administration will put the economy in the dumps and everyone can get lazy now. Oh joy, a lot to be optimistic about!
Why do you think the Biden admin will put the economy in the dumps? If so, he loses power. Please be specific. What are some of his policies that will hut you? thx
Specifically, like on day one in office, when he killed around 52,000 American jobs and cut billions in wages. Look up keystone pipeline. This while the country continues to struggle with unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Job losses, higher taxes, higher energy costs, etc. sounds like a great recipe that Biden is cooking! Raising minimum wage has worked so well, just see Seattle and other places that have done it before. Look to California where they pay the highest taxes, yet have the highest amount of homeless.
Robert, are you experiencing financial difficulties? If so, maybe we can help you? It is clear from all your comments that you are very disappointing with the change in regime. Maybe you can share something about yourself, where you are on your financial journey, and what are some of the difficulties you are facing.
I know it’s fun to vent, but it’s much better to take action. We’ve only got one life. We might as well live it to the fullest.
I definitely feel the need to slow down as well. It makes no sense to work yourself to the bone and make money that is going to be taxed at an even higher marginal rate.
You get fiercely penalized higher than certain income levels where benefits get completely phased out. These financial cliff points make earning more money far less desirable.
I am trying to slow down my practice (search of adding a partner and potentially go to part time). At this stage of my career the income is not as important as time. Plus passive income already meets my basic needs and then some.
You should! You’re already making big bucks with just you and your partner. I would throttle your clientele so you two aren’t miserable (according to your post)!
I definitely feel my current practice is unsustainable for me if I am going to maintain my sanity.
It is a little more difficult for a radiologist because we do not have standard patient visits like docs in other specialties. If I was internal medicine doc for example, I could say I only want to see 20 patients a day and have the scheduled booked accordingly.
In my practice I am more at the mercy of what my partners are ordering imaging wise. It’s a balance of trying to make them not upset if there patients can’t be scheduled in a timely fashion (had some breast surgeons complain for example that it took over 2 wks for a diagnostic mammogram to be scheduled in my practice so the board mandated that they extended hours for mammograms to be taken and opened up 2 rooms on Saturdays instead of 1).
That takes care of getting patients through but then it means all those studies have to be viewed by myself or partner.
Only option is trying to hire another radiologist (trying that option right now but it is a tough market to get one) or find someone to offload some of the workflow with teleradiology or locum work (both have their own issues as well).
Hoping things slow down since it is beginning of the year, but end of 2020 was bonkers in my department and I definitely got burnt out (having a follow up burn out post this Tues detailing the emotional rollercoaster physician burnout causes).
I think I might be with you Sam. People aren’t exactly jumping out of windows to hire this 53 year old guy. I’ve been exploring a lot of contract/temporary roles, but what’s the point if it’s only a 3-6 month gig with no decent benefits that pushes me over the ACA subsidy cliff? Like you, there were many years where I paid 6 figures in taxes, so I don’t feel bad about kicking back and taking the ACA subsidies and unneeded stimulus checks now. People don’t like multi-millionaires taking the subsidies? I guess they shouldn’t have voted for the people that passed the law. Elections have consequences. The ACA is simply part of the tax system. I didn’t write the law, but I sure as hell know how to do math and how to do a cost/benefit analysis.
“but I sure as hell know how to do math and how to do a cost/benefit analysis.”
That might be why the people complaining aren’t multimillionaires, as they won’t learn this.
You and Ramit are probably my two favorite people to read. He’s incredibly optimistic while you come at life from off angles in a disconcerting yet appealing manner. I’m finally retiring from my retirement consulting. And I do think this administration may make that easier. You probably could become a billionaire if you wanted it badly enough. But I think you’d rather be a great dad. That was my target too. A wise choice I think.
Same here, Steveark. Sam and Ramit are two of my fav financial people to follow with their different perspectives as you mentioned. Not to get off topic or hijack a post, but here’s a good podcast he just did on The Art of Manliness…
Podcast #674: How to Land Your Dream Job
My takeaway from that on your career seasons and landing the “dream” job…choose the one thing is the most important, only one…
Are you willing to work longer and harder at the risk of losing time but gain in salary, pay, rewards, career trajectory?
Do you want more time and work/life balance to spend time with children, parents, friends, traveling, etc?
Do you want to change titles/industries to completely mix it up and change the landscape?
I personally choose and have chosen #2 in the last 10 years as I have two young kids and also enjoy my own personal free time to be engross in my hobbies. At 45, I am seeing more and more that life is short and flies by quickly (as family, friends and people I’ve known have passed away) so cherish each day to the max!
Yikes this was a tough and surprising post to read. Essentially this read as “I’m glad someone got elected so I dont have to work as hard, even though if I work hard I will be rewarded more under the previous president”. Cant tell if its satire or not. Reads much more socialist leaning rather than capitalists that has made this country great.
It seems as though you are encouraging people to just be mediocre and not work hard (similar to encouraging your children of that). But the ironic thing is working hard put you in the position that you are in now. I dont believe you should ever encourage people to be mediocre, this country was not built on mediocre people. Sure there is a validity to not working yourself to the bone and being happy because of it, but there is a middle ground where you can work hard, keep as much of your own earned money as possible and not give it away to a govt that has proven time and time again to be inefficient with its spending.
This post is geared more towards those are close to retirement, constantly thinking about retirement, went back to work after retirement and want to go back to retirement, or are super burned out after a difficult year.
I have received a lot of feedback since I left work in 2012 from readers about how to overcome the psychological barrier that prevents them from retiring. There’s always the one more year syndrome that keeps people holding on longer than they want to.
Under a Democratic president, at the margin, the decision to retire becomes easier. I will always encourage those who are not close to retirement to work hard, save aggressively, and Invest Wisely.
Where are you in your financial journey?
Ryan, I found myself nodding vigorously through every sentence of your comment. When I think about what America stands for, what you said is spot on.
Agree with Ryan and AmericaForAces.
You’re thinking of what America stood for, not what it currently stands for. Joe Biden just won in a landslide as the most popular president ever, remember?
Sam’s post resonated very strongly with me and I can’t fault him for wanting to take his foot off of the gas given what the future is going to look like. I’ll be doing the same.
Great post, Sam, you definitely given me something to think about.
Selfishly, I hope you don’t sell Financial Samurai, as I’d still like to learn from you during your next retirement. At least start by scaling back the frequency with which you post (and you could supplement with guest writers to keep the engagement high) before considering a sale.
I’m certainly not going to be happy about paying more taxes. It’s very easy for politicians to spend other people’s money. If they do such a great job poverty wouldn’t exist in America. I’m coming from a libertarian viewpoint. I was also born in a communist country and prefer the less government the better. I have learned a lot from economist Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell
Initially, I was very excited (agitated) about the prospect of higher taxes. As a small business owner, I’ve worked hard to provide employment and benefits, often times working after hours to meet with customers while my daughters were young and at home. I also mentioned before on this forum, that I have rental properties that I have purposefully rented at below and well below market rate. I too, will step back from my business and work just enough to pay my bills, travel (when available) and invest. But I will not work as hard. There is no incentive to work harder only to pay more in taxes. I will also raise my rents correspondingly, with my increased tax burden. I Wont retire yet, but I’ll be semi retiring!
When I read about buying a house is emotional… no doubt. My wife and I had recently made an offer on a house where we had wanted to retire, but due to COVID were able to accelerate that plan by at least 10 years.
And then we felt sick with the idea of moving. Realized that we hadn’t put enough weight to the importance of our family and friends being close by. During that morning we found out our offer was accepted.
In the end, we backed out of the deal as the sellers were gracious.
Everything on paper was logical as we planned this… the emotions let us know what we really wanted. I will not shake my head when people pull their money out during a market downturn… they just learned too late that their risk tolerance was not as high as they thought.
Fantastic post. I hope you never sell Financial Samurai. You are irreplaceable. Who has the talent to write like you?
Thank you Rose. That is very kind of you to say. Although I’m sure there are many more great writers out there!
+1 on this
Nice. Looking forward to more posts on early retirement again from you :)
I disagree with stimulus checks as I believe the money does not end up being spent where it is needed most, at those small businesses that have been shuttered, but rather ends up with Bezos and kin.
However, if the govt is going to send them out then they should base it upon something other than your 2018 or 2019 agi. There are a fair number of people whose income dropped considerably in 2020 but are not eligible.
Good article and I agree that now’s the time to relax a bit
My mother-in-law uses her stimulus checks to pay her property an Federal income tax (she pays them quarterly.) The check comes and goes right back to the government.
This is an interesting argument. What about those who live in low cost of living areas? A concern that many estate planning professionals (CPAs and attorneys) have is that the estate tax exemption will be drastically lowered, perhaps to lower than it was before Trump entered office. One million dollars is a lot of money to retire on comfortably in Des Moines or Kansas City, when combined with Social Security. Please keep publishing. We readers enjoy your insights.
I think the estate tax threshold will eventually be lowered as well. Maybe back down to the $5-6 million range per person before TJCA.
If you live in a low cost area, the lowering of the threshold shouldn’t be as big of a deal yeah?
I’m sure there will be loopholes. But I hope more wealthy people just spend their money and/or give it away, if their estates are worth far more than the threshold.
It’s all good until their economic illiteracy breaks everything completely, right?
Wow Sam, that’s quite a post. Your points are all valid and accurate, but that’s a hell of a lot to worry about.
I think the best time to retire is when you’re ready.
But that’s one of the points of the post. At the margin, there’s LESS of a fear of falling through the cracks due to a likely larger safety net. Hence, it’s easier to retire or take things down.
Under this regime, there’s no way Social Security will be cut or the retirement age raised, as another example.
And if you are a tired, high income earner, now is the time to downshift to enjoy life more.
It’s easy to say the best time to retire is when you are ready. But what does that really mean? There’s so much psychology behind retirement.
Intriguing food for thought! I never really thought about tax policy and what’s going on the presidency in terms of retirement before. I can see your points about wanting to earn more money when tax changes are going in one’s favor and vise versa. I was surprised when the estate tax limit was raised so high. Wouldn’t surprise me if that gets slashed significantly in the next year or two.
I hope this year brings you more relief and balance. Feeling burned out is so hard mentally and physically. Even though a lot of people are feeling similarly for sure, the effects of burnout on entrepreneurs and small biz owners is at a whole ‘nother level. Try to soak in the sun everyday you can even if it’s just for a short break.
For sure. I spent some time in the hot tub today just listening to a podcast and relaxing. With the combination of a bull market in stocks, today was as good a day as any to enjoy the fruits of our labor and the risks of our investments. Go NFLX!
It’s been 70° here every day for the past two weeks in San Francisco. I’ve played so much tennis on my shoulder feels like it may fall off. I wish there were more things open so we could do more things with more peace of mind. I think it’s time to go hiking in the Marin headlands.
If you are poised in the right position and you portfolio screams dividends and more dividends, it is really hard to go “backwards”. Today was close to a 2% day and you don’t need many 2% days to thrive when you portfolio is million plus. As a lot of these Contrarian Investors are finding out, there are 6/7/8% dividends that their NVA ( I believe that is the term) also grows!
And then live like a Minimalist and your money will be working for you passively!
Great post. Tongue in cheek I presume. All true but without having to say the obvious. A vote for Joe is a vote for mediocrity or excellence with greater punishment . Good call going into super glide. Let those with expertise in burning and looting and rioting run the world for awhile. J.
I agree. “Taking it Easy”, “studying less”, are all the result of socialistic thinking. Don’t worry the government will take care of it.
Exactly BW. Clown on here promoting socialism. i will be waiting for them to donate their millions to the government.
Teach your children to give them knowledge and help them make better decisions, not to get into a better high school.
True. How old are your children and what are they do for a living if they are adults? What are some of the things you would have done differently if you could start all over?
My daughter is 8 and I think long & hard about the values we are giving her. My husband is a public school teacher who can retire in 8 years (she’ll be 16 then). I am only 47 but I’m thinking about taking a few years off in my 50s when my husband retires so we can travel together as a family. My worry is that my daughter may not have our work ethic if she sees us traveling and relaxing when she’s in her late teens… but I also worry that I’ve already done enough damage by working so much while she’s young. The pandemic has been very eye-opening for me. I used to travel alot for work. These last 10 months I’ve been working at home, spending every evening with my family and being present with my family. My hope is that post-pandemic life will include more balance. I will still work, but I will prioritize family & friends over work.
My kids are adults, one works in real estate the other in the public elementary schools with disabled children. Both brilliant, kind and beautiful. I would have spent more time with them and less time working. I would have slowed down and never said to them, “ come on, let’s go – we’re going to be late,” I would have just savored and enjoyed each moment of their company more.
Enjoy your writing. Hope you will keep it up. Your point makes a lot of sense but I also think you will see a lot of hardworking people who are now vilified in our culture pull back on their work, and then $400,00 will be reduced to $200,000 for these taxes. Hope I am wrong.