Hey everyone, it’s Finance Fridays again. I’ve been going through some of my recent posts and realized that they tend to be a little long. For that reason, I wanted to refocus and get back to the basics today, so I’m going to talk about “The Checklist”.
What do you mean by refocus?
Since every post I write focuses on one topic, it can be easy to forget what the original goal is/was. In a sense it may be hard to “see the forest through the trees”. That is the reason I tried to break things up into an Introduction which included “Talking the Talk” to ease my readers into the topics. It is also why I recreate a Finance Friday Roadmap every few months:
Here’s the latest one:
I do all of this because I want to make sure my readers are able to go back and find “that one post” that they read awhile ago. While wordpress does have a search function, I don’t think it works that well. I think it’s much easier to have someone categorize the posts into a more simple format so you can find the one you want again.
Ok, so what’s “The Checklist”?
Well, basically, it’s a list of priorities for where your money should go:
- Credit Card Debt
- Student Loan Debt
- 457 (if available)
- Backdoor Roth IRA
- Taxable Account
- Other Investments
I think too often when people start to think about finance/retirement they spend too much time thinking about the last one, the Taxable Account. In our heads we think investing is synonymous with “taxable account”. I haven’t talked too much about taxable account stuff yet, but I will. I will even talk about things that I don’t do (or don’t plan to do), just because I want everyone to understand. The whole point of this post is to remind you not to worry about #6 and #7 particular aspect of things until you have a good grasp of the previous 5 things on that list.
Here are two examples:
I’m glad you understand that ETFs versus Mutual Funds, and how it helps your taxable account to be tax efficient. However, that doesn’t matter if you are carrying a $20,000 credit card balance on a credit card with a 20% interest rate.
You were very lucky to be able to make $10,000 from short-selling snapchat… However, your Student Loans are still at 7% and you never refinanced them?
This is what I mean.
Remember to keep your priorities straight.
The first 5 things on that list are boring:
- Credit Card Debt is zero and auto-payed every month.
- Student Loan Debt is at a good interest rate and is being paid off steadily.
- 401k/403b in a three fund portfolio – TSP variation.
- Spouse’s 401k/403b is in a three fund portfolio as well – Vanguard style.
- Spouse’s 457 is in Vanguard Wellington (the best option available).
- Both of you have made your Backdoor Roth IRA contributions.
It’s like clockwork… and…
Also, just so you know, that’s my list up there.
So then, what’s “exciting?”
Gambling. Gambling is fun.
Performing an action that may give you money is fun.
It’s this “doing” that is fun. “Not doing” is not fun.
What do you mean?
You head to Las Vegas and throw some money on the blackjack table. You are dealt your two cards:
A 7 and a 5, so 12. Worst possible luck. Likelihood of losing increases significantly.
So what do you do? Do you stay on your 12 and hope the dealer busts? Or do you hit and hope you don’t bust?
All of you Blackjack players will ask:
“Well… what does the dealer have?”
You’d be right. Depending on what the dealer is showing it may change whether you stay on your 12 or hit. However, you’ve just proven my point.
Doing is fun.
Making money by doing:
Everyone loves to talk about their wins.
Being able to tell people, oh I went to Las Vegas and won $500 on the Blackjack tables or Roulette tables, or whatever is fun. Look at all the money I made!
It’s the same feeling as when you can say, oh I bought Snapchat at $17 when it IPO’d and sold at $25. Look at all the money I made!
Losing money by doing:
However, no one ever talks about their losses.
A “normal” Las Vegas story is “I was up $500, but I lost it all.” And by “lost it all” they mean they are probably down another $500.
A “normal” Snapchat story is probably something like “I bought at $20 and it went up to $25! But I thought it was going to go up to $30 so I didn’t sell… its at $13.81 now.” (7-28-2017)
Wait a second, I don’t treat my taxable accounts like that!
Great! I think you should treat your taxable accounts just like your 401k/403b/457/IRA, etc. Maybe you can be a little more aggressive.
However, some people do treat their taxable accounts like gambling. And some people do it before doing the top 5 things.
Keep your priorities straight.
Only gamble with money you are ok with losing.
Ok, Sensei, I get it… but when are you going to talk about taxable account and the other stuff?
I’m going to start a Finance Friday series on #6 and #7 on that list: Taxable Account and Other Investments.
I will be talking about:
A “Boglehead” Taxable Account – (a continuation of ETFs versus Mutual Funds)
And now, “Let’s Gamble”:
I will preface most of these posts with something like this:
“I don’t do this, and don’t advise this. However, for the sake for education and argument, I present them here.”
Cryptocurrency: Bitcoin versus Ethereum, etc.
Foreign Exchange Trading (Forex)
And probably other stuff too, like
The Infinite Banking Concept
that’s just off the top of my head.
People usually want to jump into taxable accounts and other stuff too early.
Make sure #1-5 on that list above is taken care of first.
Doing is fun. Gambling is fun. Not doing is not fun.
Hang on to your hats, soon Sensei is going to talk about stuff he wouldn’t do.
Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.
You don’t need to fill out your email address, just write your name or nickname.
Like these posts? Make sure to subscribe to get email alerts!