How My Immigrant Parents Escaped Poverty (It Wasn’t Hard Work)

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Many people think the American Dream is dead – but immigrants like my parents continue to escape poverty. Spoiler: it wasn’t primarily through hard work.
It’s ingrained in the national psyche that “all you need” to achieve the American Dream is to “work hard.” But there are plenty of day laborers and minimum-wage or gig workers who will never get ahead. Hard workers are not hard to come by, but hard work is not enough to succeed in America. Truth is, America has never cared that much about hard work. Why do we keep perpetuating this myth?
My parents came to this country with very little and are very comfortable now. My parents didn’t work that hard. And by that, I mean to say, they weren’t toiling in the fields, doing back-breaking labor. They weren’t working crazy hours hustling. They worked hard on a few finite items that I believe led to their ultimate success. Here are the reasons I believe they were able to escape poverty.

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How I Afforded a Year Off from Law

how i afforded a year off from law job
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Over a year ago, I quit my steady well-paying law firm job. Despite not having a full-time job for almost 14 months, I haven’t worried about money. Here’s how I afforded my year off from legal work.

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The 50-30-20 Budget is Stupid; Here’s What to Do Instead

the 50-30-20 budget is stupid
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The 50-20-30 budget is one of the most popular budgets according to personal finance “experts.” In it, you spend 50% on needs, 20% on savings/debt reduction and 30% on “wants.” This is a terrible plan for almost every income and lifestyle. The 50-30-20 budget is stupid and I will show you a better way.

How to Waste Money on a Budget

The 50-30-20 budget has pitfalls for entry-level and high salaries alike. First, let’s consider the following hypothetical spending of a 23-year old singleton college graduate who makes a slightly below average entry level salary of $38,000/year ($30,000/year post-tax) and has 4% salary increases:

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The Benefits of Saving Even Small Amounts

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We Are Not Saving Enough

The savings rate for middle-class Americans is low. The rate jumped to 7.6% in 2019, but that’s still far below what it needs to be to put Americans on solid footing. Now that we are in unprecedented times and unemployment rates are up, savings will likely fall back. It seems easy to just give up. After all, even if you save 7.6% of your salary, it will take 13 years to save a year of expenses for an emergency fund. Thirteen years is a long time! But even if the savings are small, there are many benefits of saving even small amounts.

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If You Were a Billionaire, What Would NOT Change in Your Life?

if you were a billionaire, what would stay same in your life?
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I was chatting with someone about who’d you most like to be quarantined with and we were debating the perks of being quarantined with a billionaire. He figured that any billionaire would have a fantastic personal chef, but I wasn’t so sure. Billionaires tend to have weird eating habits. Extra money means more options – it might mean you can try things you hadn’t had before. But money doesn’t change what you like.

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How to Spend Money

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When people talk about personal finance, they usually want to know how to save money. It’s a little odd that people would be more interested in saving money, i.e. how NOT to use money, then how to use it.

Money is a tool. It’s more important to know when to use tour tool than when NOT to use it. So let’s take some of the stigma out of spending and talk about how to spend money to create a better life.

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What Happened When I Retired for a Year at 35

what happened when i retired for a year at 35
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On February 4, 2019, I quit my job. February 19 was my last day at work, and February 20 was my first day of freedom. On this one year anniversary, I’d like to look back at what happened the year that I retired at 35.

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How Being Single Helps a Woman’s Finances

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Being single seems like it would be an impediment to advancing in your career. For instance, a significant other can halve your chores and expenses and provide advice and support – clear benefits. For me though, being single helped advance my career. It turns out that my experience is typical for highly educated women professionals. Here are 9 ways being single can help a women’s career (or how being married/coupled can hurt it) and my experience navigating these obstacles.

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How I Paid off $112,000 in Law School Student Loan Debt in 18 Months

I was fortunate enough to graduate from college debt free. Then I had to go and attend law school where I racked up $112,000 in student loan and credit card debt. So you can add this to the unremitting list of “student loan debt payoff” stories. I will admit that my story is more boring than most:

My secret is that there is no secret: I got paid a salary that made it possible to pay off the debt while living a reasonable lifestyle. There are no magical tricks herein. My story is completely mathematically realistic.

The high income was the most important key to paying off my debt. Still, there were a few basic guidelines I followed that helped me pay off the debt.* Continue reading “How I Paid off $112,000 in Law School Student Loan Debt in 18 Months”

Why I Quit My Law Firm Job

why i quit my six-figure law firm job
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At 11am on a nondescript Monday in February, I noticed that nothing unpleasant had happened yet.  That was unusual. And noting that peculiarity seemed like reason enough to quit my law firm job.

I tell people it was a spontaneous decision. There was no particular day in my mind, but I knew that day I couldn’t do it anymore. Rereading my journal, however, I came across this entry:

I just can’t continue on at my job. It’s never-ending [work]. I’m constantly stressed and crying and there’s no relief in sight.

I wrote this in March of 2017, almost two years before I gave notice.

They say it takes decades to become an overnight success, so maybe it’s also true for overnight failure. I remember for so long actually liking my job that I failed to look around and notice, hey I don’t like this anymore. This is the true story of why I quit my law firm job.

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