Ignore the noise and stick to the basics

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My brother has a knack for making and saving money. At just 28 years old, he’s managed to build up a sizable net worth. With his current pace, I suspect he can probably be financially independent by his mid-30s.

What makes his net worth growth really astounding is that it pretty much happened by accident. While he’s always been good at making and saving money, my brother has never been so good at actually knowing what to do with that money. For a long time, he put his money in a regular savings account. When he finally did start investing…


Investing doesn't have to be hard — here are simple investment portfolios you can use that will stand the test of time

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The hardest part about investing, I think, is the very beginning. You’ve opened up your first brokerage or retirement account, but then find yourself stuck. What are you supposed to do next? Unlike a bank account, just putting money into your brokerage accounts isn’t enough. You have to invest it too. And with so many different investment options out there, it’s easy to end up paralyzed with indecision.

Here’s the good news though — there are lots of easy, straightforward investment portfolios that will allow you to perform better than the vast majority of investors over the long term.

Remember…


There’s more to it than just paying off what you borrowed

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Every once in a while, I like to listen to a little Dave Ramsey. And while I don’t agree with a lot of the things he says, I do concede that he does a good job of motivating people to pay off their debt. His secret is how simple and doable he makes paying off debt seem. Listen to him talk, and you can’t help but feel like you’ll be able to crush any debt really fast.

Take the typical call he gets from someone asking about how to handle their student loans. It usually goes something like this.

Someone…


You can learn a lot about what work and life are all about from these food truck owners

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Whenever I need a little motivation, I like to hop on YouTube and watch videos profiling food truck owners. A few years ago, CNBC profiled a dumpling food truck in New York. And the YouTube channel Munchies has a regular series where they profile food truck owners, ranging from complicated food truck operations with award-winning food to people doing simple things like running a hot dog stand or a breakfast cart or selling wood-fired pizza out of a pickup truck in a parking lot.

I find food truck owners to be an interesting group of people. They’re extremely passionate about…


We know there are things we should do — but we never do them. Here’s why.

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When I quit my job a few years ago to become a full-time writer and blogger, I knew that I had a few housekeeping tasks that I needed to complete. This included rolling over my 401k to my Solo 401k and getting myself health insurance.

Of course, both of these tasks, while seemingly pretty simple to do, required a bit more than just clicking a button. In many cases, I had to print out some forms or call someone — two things that I, as a millennial, never want to do!

What ended up happening was pretty predictable. I waited…


I don’t think they really do — so what’s the point of having bonds in your portfolio?

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When it comes to investing, it seems like most long-term success comes down to a few things.

First, you have to pick a reasonable asset allocation, which generally means investing in a broadly diversified, low-cost portfolio (I recommend Total Stock Market Index Funds like VTSAX, FSKAX, or the like).

Second, once you’ve picked a reasonable asset allocation, you then have to either forget about your investments completely or you have to have the willpower to not freak out when things get rough.

The willpower thing isn’t easy. I was a broke college kid back in 2008, so I never did…


Times will get tough — but you can be ready

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One of the formative periods of my life was the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009. It’s an event that I think defined my cohort. We graduated into one of the worst economic periods in history, and if the studies are right, it might have set us back financially for the rest of our lives.

Strangely enough, even though the Great Recession had such a large impact on my life, it barely registered as an event to me at the time. I was insulated from it by the fact that I was in college and had no money. …


You can do better than most investors by using only a single fund — here’s how

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There’s a common misconception that investing has to be complicated. You need to have a ton of different investments and asset classes and do all sorts of things to get your portfolio just right. And if you don’t create the perfect portfolio, you’ll inevitably end up broke.

But the truth is, investing doesn’t have to be complicated and it certainly isn’t about creating the perfect portfolio. In fact, since none of us can see into the future, creating the perfect portfolio isn’t even possible. The best we can do is good enough. That is, invest in a way that’s going…


It’ll be harder for some, but no one accidentally pays off their debt. And it’s never an easy road.

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One thing that I beef with is when someone tells me that paying off debt is easy to do if you’re making a good salary. Maybe I take it too personally, but it does feel like a knock on my accomplishment. After all, I managed to pay off $87,000 worth of student loans in 2.5 years, but I also had a good salary that made it possible for me to do it.

Was it easier for me to pay off my student loans compared to if I had been making less? Of course. But getting rid of my student loans…


A mindset shift that will help you avoid lifestyle inflation and save more money

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By almost any measure, I hit the jackpot when I graduated from law school back in 2013. I had worked really hard for three years and managed to land a six-figure job at one of the largest law firms in the country. Here I was, a 26-year-old kid making a salary that put me in the top percentiles of income earners in the country (and definitely near the top of income earners at my age). Before this job, I think the most money I’d ever made in a year was about $20,000.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the…

Kevin Ha

Writer, Side Hustler, & Blogger at FinancialPanther.com. I write about personal finance, financial independence, and side hustling in the gig economy.

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