Blog
Retirement
2

This sheet tells you when to get out of the rat race

One of my favorite movies of all-time is American Beauty. The 1999 award-winning film stars Kevin Spacey who played Lester Burnham, a 40-something guy who hated his job and was on the brink of a mid-life crisis. The inflection point was when he saw his daughter’s gorgeous 16-year-old cheerleader friend, Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari), perform during a half-time dance routine at a high school basketball game.
Lester becomes so infatuated with Angela that he began having sexual fantasies with her. He becomes obsessed with youth that he started to live his life like he just graduated from high school. And when he was told that he was about to get laid off, he instead blackmailed his boss for $60,000. He then quits work anyway choosing to work as a crew in a fast-food chain instead– the position with, in his own words, the least amount of responsibility.
But what really caught my attention is the scene where Lester Burnham wonders in his cubicle while seeing a reflection of his image on the monitor, which resembles a guy trapped in a jail cell. With the numbers on the spreadsheet forming the jail bars in his mind, it’s pretty obvious that he felt imprisoned by his job and wanted an escape. A feeling that many people can sympathize.

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Financial Planning

Saving for retirement or paying off debts: The Dilemma

Whether to prioritize a retirement saving or pay off debt is a vital question to assess for people who are in debt. Some people think that paying off debt first makes sense. But what about the retirement? If you don’t save for your retirement, you may have to work for a longer time than an average retirement age.The dilemma is genuine.

On the other hand, the conventional wisdom says that people should start saving money for their retirement before paying off debts. Because, the sooner you start saving, the more time your money will get to grow.

If you have multiple debts with a higher interest rate, then the debts are costing you more money every day. Because it is a matter of assessing the interest rate that you are accumulating. You are actually losing money by paying the interest rate on the debts. You have to take initiative to pay them off to save money on the painful interest rate.

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Career

LinkedIn to Millionairedom

When you hear someone asking “Why are so many college dropouts successful in their life?” Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg probably all come into your mind. The problem is that the question makes an erroneous assumption that there are “many” of them. The not-so-obvious truth for many is that these extremely successful dropouts are just drops in the ocean. No pun intended.
The majority of people who didn’t bother to acquire any marketable skill, let alone a college degree ended up in lower paying, dead-end jobs. Not to belittle people who actually work their butts off in low skilled jobs, but that’s the sad reality.
Of course, anything is possible in America. It’s just that being complacent with your education may ruin your chances of getting ahead. In this game we call life, investing in yourself is enormously important to improve your odds of winning.
The traditional advice that your grandma gave you: earn good grades, finish college, get a high paying job, and save for the rainy day, is still the best strategy for most people in any economy. Your heeding to the advice could spell the difference between earning a great income or settling for a minimum-wage. When you hear someone asking “Why are so many college dropouts successful in their life?” Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg probably all come into your mind. The problem is that the question makes an erroneous assumption that there are “many” of them. The not-so-obvious truth for many is that these extremely successful dropouts are just drops in the ocean. No pun intended.
The majority of people who didn’t bother to acquire any marketable skill, let alone a college degree ended up in lower paying, dead-end jobs. Not to belittle people who actually work their butts off in low skilled jobs, but that’s the sad reality.
Of course, anything is possible in America. It’s just that being complacent with your education may ruin your chances of getting ahead. In this game we call life, investing in yourself is enormously important to improve your odds of winning.

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Credit
2

Cars that I’ve driven and the lessons that I learned from them

My cousin-in-law who works as a registered nurse in Saudi Arabia texted me the other day. She’s excited to tell me that she’ll be moving to Texas soon as her visa and working papers are now being finalized. The chat messages then quickly turned to which model of cars she should …

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Financial Planning
4

Don’t make a new year’s resolution, start a plan.

One of my proudest personal accomplishments is being able to finish our basement with my own hands. It now comes with a full bathroom, laundry room, home theater, and an exercise area. I did almost all of the labor myself including the electrical and plumbing working mostly weekends with occasional …

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Giving
6

Give cash on Christmas day. There’s no greater gift is there than cash.

At least that’s what I think former Wharton professor and economist Joel Waldfogel is implying in his book Scroogenomics: Why you shouldn’t buy presents for the holidays (Princeton University Press).
In a 2012 interview with Bloomberg, Waldfogel argues that Americans end up wasting billions of dollars on presents during the holiday season every year:
“Normally, when we spend money on ourselves we only buy things that they’re worth at least the price. So if I see something worth $50 to me, I’ll buy it. Normally, spending provides some measure of satisfaction.”
He then contrasts this to giving gifts to others.
“Gift giving is really different. If I set up to spend $50 on you, I’m operating at a huge disadvantage– I don’t know what you like or what you already have. I could spend $50 and buy something that is worth nothing to you.”

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Black Friday
Saving ideas
6

My worst Black Friday experience

One source of amusement that my wife and I both enjoy is watching early shoppers wait in line outside the Best Buy store near our house on Black Friday eve. The store used to open around midnight to enable eager consumers to get their hands on the latest high-tech gadgets at substantially marked down prices.

Back then she worked night shifts, so right after picking her up, we would spend the time to drive around the store’s parking lot to check out the shoppers camping outside, sometimes for days at a time. We can’t help but be amazed by what people will attempt to do just to save a couple of hundred bucks.

Now that my wife is doing day shifts, I found myself on the other side of the coin. On my way back after driving her to work, it suddenly crossed my mind to stop by the store. Best Buy now conveniently reopens at 8 am. I figured I wanted to experience the euphoria over the shopping deals myself so I can write about it on this blog.

This post highlights my suffering spending at my favorite brick and mortar store. Yes, I still buy stuff from the store that issued me the card that ruined my credit in the late 90s.

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Motivation
2

Don’t cry over spilled milk, be thankful for what you have

Do you often wonder what your life would be if it spun the other direction?

You are not alone. Pretty much every one of us has stories of our failures. May it be that test that you flunked, the business opportunity that you overlooked, the failed relationship, or the embarrassing email that you sent to work that got you fired.

But what if those failures suddenly become successes? What if you were able to turn back the time and made the other choice? Have you ever thought about what your life would have become?

If you think that you’d automatically become the highly successful person you’ve always aspired for, you’re absolutely mistaken.

There’s no guarantee that you will ultimately succeed. Like what Mike said in the movie, one’s destiny is a very complicated thing. Every choice, decision, or event in our life, affects everything else that follows it. There is always an element of luck or if you’re religious, divine intervention.

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Lifestyle
4

9 signs you probably won’t need a retirement nest egg

It’s a fact, people in developed countries are living longer. For instance, life expectancy for women is predicted to surpass 90 years in South Korea by 2030, according to the study published in The Lancet, one of the world’s oldest and most respected medical journals. Of course, the study assumes …

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Insurance
4

What Rihanna can teach you about liability insurance

There’s no denying that Rihanna is one of the hottest artists today. No offense to JayZ, but when it comes to overall talent, I honestly think Rihanna will give Beyonce a run for her money. Not only can she sing better, her moves are smoother, more spicy and hypnotic, enough …

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