Every now and again when I read through the headlines on my favorite money news sites, I see the same desperate-for-attention headlines proclaiming that “retirement is dead” and that we basically have no hope of ever saving enough money. How do they draw those conclusions? The usual suspects cited are the decline of pensions, the deflating of Social Security and the rise in costs as reasons why none of us can save and why we’ll all need to work until we are 80.
And then there is my personal favorite: The 401k. They talk about the 401k like it’s a James Bond villain. When they compare the pension vs 401k, they describe it as a horrible and inefficient means for retirement. Basically, their message is that the 401k killed retirement.
That is complete nonsense. The 401k didn’t destroy our chances at the American Dream … we did.
Sometimes when you have a hard week at work, the only thing you look forward to is getting home to spend a quiet evening with your spouse. Not going out or painting the town. Just curling up together with some wine and watching “This is 40” together … which was incredibly hilarious by the way.
The following post is a contribution from Todd. He’s the co-founder and content manager at the Men’s Blog Fearless Men. It’s a blog on Manliness that inspires men to grow strong, get fit, be wise, kick fear in the face and become a better man.
What I admire most about My Money Design is the tagline “Designing Financial Freedom.” I believe that just because you have a dream or a goal doesn’t mean you’ll get there by accident. You won’t wake up in 6 months or 6 years and fulfilled your goal without having done it on purpose. You must plan, you must design how you’re going to build toward financial freedom.
Want to be financially free? Stop living in Financial Fear. A leading cause of paralysis with investors, savers, planners and thinkers is fear. And it’s rarely fear of the unknown. It’s fear of the past, the present, and how our shortcomings can affect our future.
What financial fears might be holding you back from designing your plan for financial freedom?
If you think that having $1,000 or so in your emergency fund is going to cut it, think again! I’m normally not a huge promoter of this topic, but over the last 2 weeks, I’ve had to dip into my stash more than I’d like. And if I didn’t have access to emergency money, I’d be up a creek either paralyzing one of my investments or taking on unnecessary debt.
Here’s my story of what happened:
Talk about kicking a guy while he’s down … Not only was it another stressful week with work, but we also got hit in the wallet with one of the worst kind of expenses: Car repairs. I’m not talking like you took the car in and they want $500. Try 4 digits! I’ll have a post to follow telling the whole story. I hate you car …
The following is a guest post by fellow personal finance blogger William Cowie from the site Bite the Bullet Investing. In the post Reader Debate – Would You Borrow Money to Invest in Stocks?, William commented with a great story about his experiences with borrowing against 401k funds to purchase stocks at what he believed was a critical opportunity.
He has graciously volunteered to expand upon that story in this post. If you are interested in being a guest contributor for My Money Design, please feel free to contact me.
Do you hate debt? I do, quite passionately. Few things suck the joy out of life more successfully than debt.
I didn’t always feel this way. Business schools do a great job extolling the virtues of using Other People’s Money. Even the great Warren Buffett has literally billions of dollars in outstanding bonds (which are nothing but the pig of debt with designer lipstick).
But debt kills.
How do I know?
When it comes to planning for retirement, people both young and old always ask the same simple question: When can I retire? It’s a seemingly harmless question, but it is also one that can be ambiguous to find a direct answer for. The reason is because retirement isn’t something that simply comes with age. You could retire today or even ten years from now if you really wanted (with the proper plan in place). Unfortunately, I hate to answer a question with a question, but the response to “when can you retire” is simply “how badly do you want to”?
It’s been a while since I used the “Weekend Wind Down” title for my weekend posts, but unfortunately my jar of originality is running pretty low. I hate to be really dull, but this week was all work, work, work! I barely had any time to write new posts, research material, or comment on other blogs. But that’s the way it goes though, right? Whenever things get busy like that, it reminds me how important my financial efforts truly are.
In this month’s issue of Money Magazine, I came across an article entitled “When the Wilder Ride is Worth It”. The article was addressing how sometimes a company’s stock and dividend payment can be a better prospect for stable income than its bond. To make this comparison, they looked at the return of the bond against the dividend appeal (which was largely based on the dividend payout ratio) and any inherit stock risk based on the company itself.
Whenever I find an article like this about semi-guaranteed income, I tend to pay extra special attention to it – and with good reason. Strategies such as taking advantage of dividend payouts will be important to my financial situation because it will be one of the key elements that helps me to achieve a successful early retirement.
If you’ve had a website for any length of time, then you’re probably already aware that every 3 months or so Google will give you “grade” called a PageRank. Your PageRank is simply a score of how prominent your website is, and it can have a lot of implications on other factors like your earning potential, rank placement, and more.
If you’ve been struggling to figure out how to increase PageRank within Google, rest assured you are not alone. My Google PageRank was pretty much stagnant for 9 months at a PR2 before it finally increased to a PR3. Even though I’m not an expert on search engine optimization, I have tried a number of things to get my rank to increase. Consider this a “regular guy’s guide” of straight-forward strategies that I have personally used and had some success with.