How are those New Year Results coming?

Posted in Running on February 7, 2016 by claypatten

Try some dynamic strengthening at the Clayve

 

Charitable Giving

Posted in Spiritual, Thrifty Frugality on February 4, 2016 by claypatten

After giving to your church and local charities where is the best place to give your money?  As a person who now has excess money from frugality do I save it up to have a base to give from or should I give as I feel the need.

It would seem that the more we give to others, the poorer we become, but just the opposite is true! Service to others brings meaning and fulfillment to our lives in a way that wealth, power, possessions and self-centered pursuits can never match. As Jesus said,

For if you give, you will get! Your gift will return to you in full and overflowing measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use to give — large or small — will be used to measure what is given back to you.” (TLB, Luke 6:38)

I recently read an article on The Wounded Warrier project.  They spend 40% of what they take in on administration.   I also found out about all the perks for administration.  They will no longer be getting my charitable contributions.

The bible commands us to take care of the poor.  Our country really doesn’t have very many poor people.  See the Netflix documentary Living on a Dollar a Day.   America’s poor do not compare to Guatemala’s poor.  The beggars on America’s street corners make much more than a dollar a day.  One news article found a man soliciting donations with over $8000 in cash in hand.  He was his own bank for others charitable giving.

I like the charity Samaritan’s Purse.   Here is their blog.

Samaritan’s Purse is very much like ADRA which is the Adventist Disaster relief charity both are great charities but since I am no longer an Adventist I no longer give to ADRA.

 

 

Financial Blogs, why now?

Posted in Running on February 3, 2016 by claypatten

Is it because blogging just got started around 2005- 2006 or is it the market down turn of 2008 that started all these financial blogs.   I started this blog in 2007 as a running blog and don’t recall too many people blogging prior to 2007.

Early Retirement Extreme  ERE started in 2007 and appears to be the first blog on this type of finance.  He beat the market down turn of 2008.  On Rock Star Finance’s list of blogs I see most started in 2008 or later.  There are actually very few even in 2008 which makes me think the reason they got started is wealth disappeared quickly and SAVING more income and living more frugally became more important.

I think I may have set a record with the number of posts on this blog last month.  Since I cut back on spending money and exercising I have more time on my hands and I am doing a lot more reading.

The average savings rate for Americans is 5%.  The Gen X and Millennials know that they owe themselves as of last week 19 trillion dollars of national debt.   I think it is time to rethink our savings rates and start living well below our means.

Social Security appears to be doing pretty well until 2033.  I am one of the last baby boomers and it looks like I get to retire with full SS at age 66 years and 10 months.  With both of us getting SS it could add up to 30-40% of our total retirement income.   Those born after 1960 can get full SS at age 67.   As time goes on only the economy and laws from congress will determine if the retirement age gets pushed back or they start means testing for SS.

 

 

Attitude

Posted in Spiritual on February 1, 2016 by claypatten

Another financial blog that appears to take a more moderate approach than the extreme frugality blogs.  It is called Eat the Financial Elephant and if you click on that link you will find a post that puts things into perspective.

The Netflix documentary I mentioned in my electrofrugality post at the bottom also puts things into perspective.  It is called Living on a Dollar a Day.

Root of Good is another blog and his page link to many other financial blogs that I have already mentioned.

Another 2 blogs by the same guy Budgets Are Sexy  and  Rock Star Finance and his list of best early retirement blogs which is one of a list of 8 blog catagories he calls the best of the financial blogs.  Best book on his list of best books is The Richest Man in Babylon in paperback on Amazon for $6.  Based on a 79% 5 star review of over 1700 people it became a best seller on Amazon.  You don’t often see that kind of % on that many reviews for a book.  Looks like I will be reading this one.

Savings Rate Calculator is always a good way to find out how your savings rate is going and how close you are to having your expenses met by your net worth= FI

 

 

America’s Economic Freedom Has Rapidly Declined Under Obama

Posted in Retirement on February 1, 2016 by claypatten

Millions of people around the world are emerging from poverty thanks to rising economic freedom. But by sharp contrast, America’s economic freedom has been on a declining path over the past decade.

America’s declining score in the index is closely related to rapidly rising government spending, subsidies, and bailouts.

According to the 2016 Index of Economic Freedom, an annual publication by The Heritage Foundation, America’s economic freedom has tumbled. With losses of economic freedom in eight of the past nine years, the U.S. has tied its worst score ever, wiping out a decade of progress.

The U.S. has fallen from the 6th freest economy in the world, when President Barack Obama took office, to 11th place in 2016. America’s declining score in the index is closely related to rapidly rising government spending, subsidies, and bailouts.

Since early 2009:

  • Government spending has exploded, amounting to $29,867 per household in 2015.
  • The national debt has risen to $125,000 for every tax-filing household in America—a total over $18 trillion.
  • The government takeover of health care is raising prices and disrupting markets.
  • Bailouts and new government regulations have increased uncertainty, stifling investment and job creation.

This is not something to take lightly. Economic freedom is the foundation of U.S. economic strength, and economic strength is the foundation of America’s high living standards, military power, and status as a world leader. The perils of losing economic freedom are not fictional.
It is painfully clear that our economy has been performing far below its potential, with individuals, families, and entrepreneurs being squeezed by the proliferation of big-government bureaucracy and regulations.

As documented by the index, and by other scholars, America’s economic freedom has been declining at an alarming pace.

Indeed, as The Wall Street Journal recently summed it up succinctly, Obama is “a champion when it comes to limiting economic freedom, and American workers have the slow growth in jobs and wages to prove it.”

Not surprisingly, our economic dynamism and innovative capacity have been measurably reduced. Self-inflicted wounds include:

No wonder the labor force participation rate has remained at near record lowsafter more than five years of steady decline.

Worse, vibrant entrepreneurial growth has been stymied by greater policy uncertainty and mounting debt. And a disturbing trend toward cronyism has gravely eroded the rule of law and distorted our free-market system.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, keynote speaker of the official release of the 2016 Index, recently stated:

It’s been almost seven years since the Obama “recovery” began, and our economy is barely out of neutral. Why does America have to settle for this?

Restoring economic freedom is prerequisite to revitalizing and brightening America’s future. 2016 is the year to reaffirm the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and rule of law so that we can reconstitute an America where freedom, opportunity, and prosperity flourish.

What you need to know in a do it yourself investment world

Posted in Retirement on February 1, 2016 by claypatten

Go-Curry Cracker the bloggers that avoid taxes have a great post on Betterment which is the low fee “robo invester” that some of the other financial bloggers are gong with due to it’s low fees and tax harvesting ability.  I have no idea if what he is posting is credible because I am a novice investor but it certainly warrants a look.  You have to click on all the links for some very valuable information.  It will take me weeks to get through all the linked links off of his linked links.    UUGGHHHH  so much to learn!

http://www.gocurrycracker.com/why-betterment-has-zero-of-our-dollars/

here is the ending conclusions of the post.

Portfolio Longevity

cFIREsim is a powerful tool for analyzing portfolio longevity, and is very helpful for determining the long term impact of a 0.15% increase in fees.A $1 million portfolio with $40k annual inflation-adjusted withdrawals and 0.09% annual fees has a success rate of 95.7%. Increasing the fees to 0.24% reduces the success rate to 94.8%. A 1% reduction in success rate isn’t substantial.

But the impact to median terminal value is massive! Over 30 years, assuming equal performance the higher fees reduce the average terminal value by ~$200,000! That is 20% of the initial portfolio value!

This, based on a decision we made as kids some 30 years ago, when we didn’t know anything.

Basis

Actively harvesting tax losses over an extended period reduces overall basis.

During retirement we want the opposite. This is why we are actively raising our basis by harvesting capital gains, all part of our plan to never pay taxes again.

When basis is low, a greater percentage of our wealth is considered income when we spend it. As part of total income, it is subject to taxation and may impact healthcare subsidiesand taxation of Social Security.

Conclusions

All things considered… the prevalence of free high quality asset allocation advice, lower performance than our own simple portfolio, questionable robo-choices, the substantial impact of higher fees to portfolio long term value, the ease of do-it-yourself tax loss harvesting while working, the limited to zero value of tax loss harvesting in retirement, and the advantages of high basis, I don’t see any advantage to having a robo-adviser manage our portfolio.

This is why Betterment has zero of our dollars.

This is only half of the question, of course. Also to be fair, Betterment would say I’m not their target customer. Would I recommend robo-advisers for someone else?

There is a certain customer that should consider adding their assets to the $3 billion that Betterment already manages.

  • Young
  • Suffering from Paralysis of Analysis
  • Plans to work to traditional retirement age
  • Zero interest in learning about $; even 2 hours is too much
  • Earns enough to save $35k+/year/person while still falling in the 25% tax bracket ($50k+/single, $100k+ for a married couple.)

If you match this profile, that’s cool. Investing via a robo-adviser is better than not investing at all. I think I’ll apply for one of those affiliate links and paste it right here.

I notice that Vanguard is used in all the Lazy investment profiles due to the low fees.  www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Lazy_portfolios

Frugalelectrosity or electrofrugality

Posted in Thrifty Frugality on January 31, 2016 by claypatten

IMG_5002

Finally made it into Tier 2 on Jan 29th so cost went up from 15 cents a kWh to 21 cents but fortunately it happened on Jan 29.  Last month it occurred on the 12th of December and the bill ended up being $164.   Last month avg daily kWh usage was 24  this month it is down to 14!!

Simply by being more aware of usage and I check sce.com every day, and yes I am no longer using the dishwasher as it just doesn’t do a great job (probably need a new one but that is not going to happen during my frugality binge)  My bill this month should be $63.

Saved $101 over last month.  10% of total savings for January 2016.   Had all 5 family members living here until Jan 9 so you can see the drop off in electricity usage on Jan 11.  Hit the lowest mark of 8.85 kWh on the 29th.  It has become a bit of a competition as has saving in all areas.   Last van fill up was Dec 17 and I have used only 1/4 of the tank to date.

No expense for me on eating out None! Zippo!  In fact all my expenses in January have been prescription drugs.  BOOOO.

My workouts are limited to the Clayve, it is hard to push myself being on so many drugs.

Watched Making a Murderer on Netflix this weekend.   A 10 part Netflix documentary about Steve Avery and his dealings with Wisconsin justice.  A very sad tale.

Also watched on Netflix  Fed Up  a documentary on the processed food industry keeping Americans Obese.  This goes along with my recent post on The Power of Fructose and features the same MD that gave the lecture Sugar:  The Bitter Truth.

Also watched Living on a Dollar A Day  about 2 international studies students being filmed who went to live in a small town in a poor part of Guatemala and tried to live like the people there in poverty with little shelter, no electricity and subsisting on $1 a day average.  They grew radishes to increase their spending to $2 a day.    This puts my frugality to shame!

 

 

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