Tuesday, May 19, 2015

When in Rome, Tip 10%

Okay, I know we're not in Rome. But the saying doesn't sound as good with "when in Krakow." We are finishing up our time here in Poland. As expected, we love everything and now we want to live here, along every other place we've visited. Our list of places to live is going to exceed our years left to live pretty soon. Traveling reveals a lot. But when it comes to Mrs. Done by Forty and me, it mostly reveals that we want to live in all the places, and do all the things...and eat all the things.

(Oh, and before I forget, this week I was lucky enough to be on the Stacking Benjamins podcast, talking about our worst investing mistakes and more. Please click and listen to me blather. Now, back to the post.)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

And We're In Europe...

The last couple weeks have been hectic. Scrambling to finish work projects before taking nearly three weeks off, planning out the last minute details of our trip, and, of course, there's the packing. It is amazing what can be accomplished with a hard deadline. Parkinson's Law at work. 

Anyway, last Thursday we woke up at four a.m., and swindled a ride to the airport for my wife and I, along with our couple friends who will be hopping around Europe with us, and before we knew it we were in the air. I still truly love flying. It takes so little to make me happy in general, that the reality of flying through the air in a metal tube is something of a small miracle to me. Like a small child, I still don't get how there are windows in planes. How do they not break from the air pressure? Why aren't we sucked out into the atmosphere? Our engineers are incredible. Plus, if you ask nicely, the flight attendant will give you a  whole can of free soda that can be enjoyed thousands of feet in the air. We live in an amazing time.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Side Stepping the Hustle

Everyone has a side hustle these days. It's doing the thing you're passionate about, after you come home from your day job. Instead of your nine to five, it's your five to nine. The little something on the side. For the most successful of hustlers, the side gig becomes their main gig. And maybe, it even results in more money...along with the additional autonomy, fulfillment, and whole days spent in yoga pants and flip flops.

So when I look at my income and realize how little of it is "on the side", I feel a little left out. Just like in high school, I never got the invite to the party, and don't know what to do with myself after five on a Friday night.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Dunning-Kruger and Other People's Money

Dunning-Kruger and Other People's Money
When it comes to other people's problems (O.P.P.), I'm always an expert. When a friend is flummoxed over a new job offer, and whether he should stay put or jump ship, I can give cogent advice on the spot. Unsure how to deal with a family issue? Ask away. I've got you covered. And when it comes to money, it's a whole 'nother ballgame. Despite having no formal training or certifications whatsoever, I'm happy to opine on all sorts of financial matters. With anyone. Strangers, even. At length.

Why should I be so confident when helping with other people's problems? For one, because we all are pretty confident in those situations. It's always easier to see the clear answer to someone else's problems. They can't see the forest for the trees, but we can. They're working under a variety of biases, and often don't realize it. But we, their trusted friends and advisors, see them clearly and can guide them to an optimal solution.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Middle Class Wealth

Middle Class Wealth
Last week we took a peek at income quintiles for American households: if you lined up each American household from richest to poorest, and broke them into fifths. The results were fairly shocking for me. The main lesson? We could really benefit from earning more. Sixty percent of U.S. households are making less than $66k per year. Luckily, a lot of Done by Forty readers are doing better. Let's take a look at the poll results:

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Middle Class? How about Middle Quintile?

Middle Class? How about Middle Quintile?
The great thing about America is that just about all of us are middle class. We all make enough money, send our children off each morning to learn in good school districts, and have appropriately attractive significant others. We are a nation living on the shores of Lake Wobegone. It's true: you can ask anyone. 85% of people in a recent Pew Research Center poll claimed they were "lower middle class", "middle class", or "upper middle class". When five out of six of us are in a middle class, that, folks, is economic prosperity.

The best things about these designations is that there are five of them: lower class, lower middle class, middle class, upper middle class, and upper class. Quintile opportunity!

Monday, March 23, 2015

This Year is Not Average

This Year is Not Average
Confession time. I had never calculated my annual spending before, until 2014. Which is weird, since I've tracked my monthly spending and savings for years. The prior years' data is still hanging out in old tabs of my budget spreadsheet, just waiting to be aggregated and put into nicely crafted formulas. But to pull all those individual spreadsheet tabs together, with all the organizing and copying and pasting...ain't nobody got time for that.

But then I remembered that I was trying to retire in about six years. Might my annual spending figure be important to figure out before then?

No one ever claimed that I knew what I was doing with money.