Retiring by 40 is all the rage these days. After all, what could be better than leaving behind the drudgery of an office job to travel the world and Instablog about it? Unconstrained by a job, the possibilities are endless.
Is saving important? Absolutely. Can a personal finance guru tell you exactly how much you need to save? Not a chance. I’ve never liked the use of formulas or bright lines as a measure of financial success. The best anyone can offer without knowing the specifics of your situation are guiding principles and habits, such as living below your means and planning for financial emergencies.
Money touches all aspects of our lives. It has the power to bring us great joy as well as ruin. The topic of money implicates the full spectrum of emotion, so it’s no wonder money causes more marital conflict than perhaps anything else. Learning to wisely manage money with a partner is something not taught to most of us, let alone modeled for us in a healthy way.
April is National Financial Literacy Month, so I’ve been reading stories of everyday people working through money struggles. My favorite read this month has been Make Your Kid A Money Genius (Even If You’re Not) by Beth Kobliner. The ability to stick with it and persevere matters more than your IQ and educational background. Studies show that grit leads to a more satisfied life, as well as higher income and net worth. And here’s the best part: grit can be learned, both by kids and adults.
The new tax law means you likely saw a bump in your take-home pay starting in January. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean your 2018 taxes will go down. Now is a good time to review your tax withholdings and to ensure your budget leaves sufficient cash cushion to cover any tax payments next year if there's any uncertainty.
Ten years ago, Warren Buffett bet $1 million that a passive index fund would outperform a basket of actively-managed hedge funds selected by his counterpart in the wager. Buffett was right. Boring doesn’t mean mindless. Be thoughtful about where you hold your accounts, what you invest in, who you receive advice from, and how much risk you’re willing to take.