On Tuesday, December 11th, the SEC issued a public statement for Cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings. I recommend anyone interested read this statement in its entirety.
Some particular highlights:
Investors should understand that to date no initial coin offerings have been registered with the SEC. The SEC also has not to date approved for listing and trading any exchange-traded products (such as ETFs) holding cryptocurrencies or other assets related to cryptocurrencies. If any person today tells you otherwise, be especially wary.
I have always been a money nerd. In high school I was watching the market run up and people talk about technology and telecom stocks as the new tomorrow. My 62 year old grandfather had initially taught me about investing. He was nearing retirement after a long career in the late 1990s and was due two nice pensions in his future. Additionally, he had a small portfolio and just come into some money from the sale of his parents house. He was in leadership in General Electric, but decided not to stop moving with the company in his 40s when a division was sold then then put in another 10 years as an line engineer at another company in town. He had provided a solid middle to upper middle class upbringing for his four children and continued to generously support the family.
Cryptocurrency is all the rage of 2017. Bitcoin, Erethium, and ICOs.
What the heck?
You can’t venture on to any personal finance forum or twitter without seeing passionate arguments on either side. New age technology vs. beanie babies and tulip bulbs. At the time of writing, someone else is calling Bitcoin “the most obvious bubble of our lifetime”.
There is probably something to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, especially as a means to store value for people in unstable countries. People have been using different means to store value since people developed an intermediary mean of trading. Civilization has moved from gold as a store of value to currencies backed only by the faith of a central government. If you’re in Venezuela, what options do you have? The government and government sponsored banking system is corrupt and if you hold physical money armed gangs come and steal it from you.
The abundance of free information through Podcasts is incredible. In this inaugural series, we will recognize the top podcasts each month for Financial Independence, Side Hustles, and Early Retirement.
I was not a reader of Freedom is Groovy before listening to this podcast, but I loved it. The best takeaway is Financial Independence isn’t just for 20 something engineers, finance, and technology workers. Here’s a middle of the road income couple near 40 that decides that working until 67 isn’t for them and and uses the freedom we have in this country to move wherever you want to, whenever you want to. They could have used all the excuses possible to “why” financial independence isn’t possible, but instead chose freedom, because Freedom is Groovy! Congratulations to both Jonathan and Brad for their upcoming one year anniversary of Choose FI and helping bring this movement to the masses.
I went on a cold but sunny run this Thanksgiving morning and had an hour to clear my mind of any distractions. Here are the many thoughts of what I am thankful for this year:
– I’m thankful for my wife’s health. This holiday weekend marks one year from the Sunday morning we were lifting weights together and the mysterious and debilitating “headache” started. Its not 100%, but its a lot better.
– I’m thankful for my own health, feeling the aching of my cold legs turning through the morning temperatures, cold air hitting my lungs with a bit of burn reminding me that I’m alive.
I had always marveled at Financial Independence, but I didn’t quite know why. I knew my parents struggled with money, I knew that my grandfather experienced a poor investment experience (concentrated tech stock position in his early 60s), and I thought it would be “cool” to be a millionaire by 40. I was running numbers with a financial calculator in my college finance classes and figured out this is possible with some savings and investment savvy.
We had always been decent savers, but in hindsight I was more of a “financial engineer” than a serious saver. We borrowed a little extra on my wife’s graduate school loans to fund Roth IRAs, we both contributed to get the match on 401ks, and I bought my first house at 22 which we did quite well on with a 97% mortgage and 2004-2007 price appreciation. I “invested” with the hottest fund managers in an expensive traditional brokerage. We also turned around and bought a massive house in 2007, a new truck, we heavily spent on travel (without credit card hacking), and ate plenty of expenses meals out. We still thought we were frugal, but really weren’t.
You are in the business of you! You are responsible for both total revenue and total expenses. What are you doing to increase your income today? What are you doing to increase your income potential tomorrow? Where are the best paying jobs in your field? What is the incremental value of education? The path to financial independence begins with increasing your income and finishes once you’ve optimized your expenses
Learning how to interact and influence people in person or on the phone is an important skill set for people in professional sales. So many potential employees rely on written communication which is often not effective at professional sales. The sales jobs available when I was in college usually involved going door to door selling vacuum cleaners or cutlery to all the parents of your friends or trying to sell to other broker college students. Instead of doing that, here are the best places/jobs to learn sales skills while in college:
1) Property Management: Every college is full of property management companies. Do what it takes to get into one, whether its maintenance and repairs, property showings, or answering the telephone. Learning how to sell the benefits of a crappy house/apartment in a college town is great experience in overcoming objections in professional sales. You may also pickup some skills that’ll help you develop a nice real estate side hustle/investment portfolio in your future life. Continue reading “Best Jobs for Learning Sales Skills in College”
Here are five high-paying professional sales jobs for people to consider if they’re just starting their job search out of college or are looking to change careers:
1) Commercial Insurance Agent: Almost all companies purchase insurance (and are required to purchase certain types of insurance). Commercial insurance is generally sold through independent brokers that underwrites and presents risk to various insurance companies, then helps negotiate the best coverage/price. This business is highly competitive for new agents, but agents are paid annually for both new business and retained customers and the only cap on earnings is the agent’s time. Typically new employers require a college degree and some type of sales experience.
Every finance forum has discussion after discussion related to asset allocation. The Vanguard Total Stock Market Fund is generally accepted as a solid be-all, end-all option for people pursuing early retirement. I unfortunately did not start with the “basics”. My degree is in finance and I studied for a CFA, so that combined with a naturally high opinion of myself set me off on a mission to pick stocks. Hundreds of hours were spent analyzing companies, listening to investment podcasts, and trying to find that company that’ll beat the market.
The results are a whopping 1.24% higher return on the S&P 500 over a five year period, but I am humbly trailing the market YTD. We are slowly transitioning our holdings into index funds and in hindsight, it would have been much better to focus on a side hustle or just devote more time to sales in the regular job than all the work and effort put in for a marginal improvement over the index. Continue reading “Asset Allocation Disclosed”