Know Your Value

Recently, one of my friends was released from his position as a civil engineer. Being released from a position is one of the most personally trying experiences you can endure in a lifetime. Most Americans, myself included, can generally not withstand a prolonged period without a job due to financial reasons. Moreover, being released from a … [Read more...]

How Electronic Tax Returns Have Become the US Standard In the Last Generation – 1990-2013

The last week has seen quite a few articles lamenting the lack of funding at the IRS.  That lack of funding might drive the IRS to multi-generational lows in terms of the number of audits it undertakes (or at least based on the percentage of returns) in the United States, and might (further) reduce staff answering citizen calls for clarification on … [Read more...]

A Calculator: Income Distribution by Age for 2015 in the United States

In this article, we present 2015 United States data in a calculator to show income brackets for every age from 18-80, and age 85. It is from the Current Population Survey, in the Annual Social and Economic Supplement, known as the ASEC.  That means this data is for income earned between January 2014 and December 2014.  It includes all forms of … [Read more...]

A Calculator: Income Distribution by Age for 2014 in the United States

In this article, we present 2014 United States data in a calculator to show income brackets for every age from 18-80, and age 85. It is from the Current Population Survey, in the Annual Social and Economic Supplement, which is conducted in March - so this data was collected in March of 2014 for annual income data between January and December of … [Read more...]

The Gamification of Online Reviews

One of the major benefits of the internet (even if we don't talk about it enough!) is our ability to near-instantaneously take a sample of public opinion on various subjects, products, services, locations, companies - and, well, anything else we can be bothered to search. This "reputation-by-overwhelming-evidence" change to our society has had … [Read more...]

Riding the Market Weather

June 29th, 2006. It was an innocuous day as the stock market was booming in the post-9/11 recovery. The economy was torrid and the unemployment rate was 4.6% in the USA. That fall, I opened up my checking account with Charles Schwab with their floating-rate free checking account (with no minimums or ATM fees) was paying 4.50% interest. That … [Read more...]

You Need to Have Savings In Your 20s

When you're in your 20s, your greatest asset is your youth itself.  Not only does being young mean your (possibly mediocre savings amount) has more time to compound and increase in value, but you've also got to face a sobering fact: one day you won't have your youth anymore. Why Should We Talk About Savings in Our 20s? Credit where credit is due: … [Read more...]

Selling Out (Part 2 of 4 on my move to San Francisco)

In Part One of this series, I talked about my overall transition to San Francisco. In this entry, I'll talk about some of the stresses involved in moving and cleaning up the personal finance life along with the move. As I wrote about in a series of posts in 2013, I purchased a house in Texas... Lovely carpeted bathroom. Oldest and smallest in … [Read more...]

End of an Era (Part 1 of 4 on my move to San Francisco)

    Part 2 I recently moved from the Dallas area to the Bay Area. The first thing I miss is the cost of living. The second thing I miss is the food. Dallas Fort-Worth has Mexican, cajun and good barbecue. But, thankfully, the summers here are much more bearable. It's been 61 and sunny all day everyday for the past … [Read more...]

If You Prioritize Stability, Don’t Prioritize Stocks

We haven't written about Chinese markets since our epic post comparing social and political reactions to the market fall in China and recent American market falls. Safety, Risk, and the Risk of Not Having Enough At issue (or reminding us of the issue), an interesting quote in a New York Times article way back from July 6th, entitled "Chinese … [Read more...]

Don’t Overthink Your Financial Statistics

The real life equivalent of "my ears are burning" for a writer online is seeing large influxes of people from a new site in our Analytics panels.  We like to check the context of our larger links - and this article is directed at a number of new visitors over the last month or so, as our Net Worth Percentile by Age and Income Percentile By Age … [Read more...]

When Having an Emergency Fund is the Right Move – Or, At Least, Not Counterproductive

We've got a bit of a hangup with emergency funds on this site - we feel that the advice to immediately save 6 months of living expenses in a low-interest high liquidity savings account isn't the best course of action for everyone trying to reduce their debt. In fact, the demand is counterproductive, in many cases.  Savings accounts pay maybe a … [Read more...]

Geographic Arbitrage

As I mentioned in previous articles, I have moved from Texas to California. With this move came a significant increase in both salary and cost of living. This has led to my savings rate decreasing but my overall dollar savings level staying relatively the same. I wanted to explore the pros and cons of working in a high vs. a low cost of living area … [Read more...]

Why Getting an Emergency Fund While in Debt Ignores the Real Emergency

Let's not bury the lede on this one: in any actual emergency situation I can imagine (short of losing my credit cards) my first move is to... pay for it with my credit cards. My opening sentence was way too verbose, but you know I can't stop a blog post there.  Let me go over the reasons why my emergency fund philosophy has evolved to my current … [Read more...]

Taming Your Spending Per Decade

My cowriter and I briefly discussed (verbally, not through some sort of electronic medium) how spending can be roughly modeled by looking at it from different perspectives - one of the key ones being "how old you are".  Even though many pieces of advice are specific, it's the concepts which can be applied elsewhere - a 30 year old buying a house is … [Read more...]