"Play the lottery"

 

Dang, the new mega millions jackpot is 1.6 billion dollars. That’s insane! Ok, lets be real. I know that I shouldn’t play the lottery. I know it’s basically a poor tax, and I know that my odds of winning are minuscule. And by minuscule, I mean it’s nearly impossible. But still, 1.6 billion…

Why I’ll play the lottery

I’m not going to lie. I’m going to play the lottery. In fact, I played on Friday when the jackpot was a mere 990 million. So, if I know that my chances of winning are slim to none, why do I still play?

Well that’s easy! I’m not spending two bucks on a ticket because I know I’m going to win – I’m fairly certain I’m not. I’m spending two bucks for hours of entertainment. The fun in playing the lottery isn’t winning because we all know that’s not going to happen (though wouldn’t it be awesome?). The fun in playing is imagining what you would do if you did win! It’s cheaper than a movie ticket, and I get way more entertainment out of it!

Should you play the lottery?

Not everyone should play the lottery. If you are playing because you really think you’re going to win, you probably shouldn’t be playing. If you spend more than two bucks per person on tickets to “increase your odds of winning”, you probably shouldn’t be playing. And if that two bucks per person is money you need for something else, guess what? You probably shouldn’t be playing.

 I’d also say that you probably shouldn’t be spending two bucks twice a week every week on lottery tickets. That’s $192 per year, which doesn’t sound like much, but if you invest that money instead you would have about $18000 after thirty years (assuming 7% return).

The bottom line is that if winning the lottery is your retirement plan, or playing the lottery is breaking the budget, you probably shouldn’t be playing. However, it is fun to play the lottery every now and again, just for enjoyment of imagining what you’d do if you won.

If I won the lottery

We’ve all thought about it, right? The first thing I’d do if I won is pay off all of my debt, even the stuff that I’m just cosigned on. It would feel great to be free of all that nonsense! Next, I would write a list of the people I’d like to help, and gift them all something (obviously taking the tax obligations into consideration!). I don’t want to be mean, but I would not help anyone who isn’t on my list. Most lottery winners lose all of their winnings within five years, and a big portion of that is because distant relatives and old “friends” come out of the woodwork asking for loans. Sorry, but if you aren’t on my list, you aren’t getting squat!

Next, I would fully fund all my bank accounts. There is nothing wrong with having cash on hand! Then I would treat myself to a trip. I’d take an extravagant (for me, I don’t need any gold-plated toilets or private planes!) trip to Egypt to see the pyramids and the Valley of the Kings. But after that, I’d put the rest of the money in various investment vehicles. Id set up a trust for my future kids, niece, and nephew, and have a super diversified portfolio. I don’t even think I’d quit my job right away (even though I love to talk about it haha).

What would you do?

Are you playing this week’s huge mega millions lottery?  If so, what would you do if you won? Sharing our ideas is part of the fun, isn’t it?

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"your neighbor is an iceberg"

Hey all! We have a bonus special feature today! Ryan, from over at Arrest your Debt, is a super awesome blogger and one of the most supportive and engaging people I know on Twitter (seriously, check him out on Twitter, you won’t be disappointed!).

Ryan wanted to share a guest post about the illusion of wealth and keeping up with the Joneses for all of our wonderful Partners. And he’s absolutely right, most of our neighbors are icebergs! They look great from the surface, but the part you don’t see is extremely dangerous. Read on to find out exactly how your neighbor is an iceberg!

Your Neighbor is an Iceberg

I saw this image the other day and could not help but think about the facade we put on for others. Earlier in my marriage, my wife and I were starting to take control of our finances and spend intentionally. I was recently promoted but things were tight.

We had a couple of kids and my wife was a stay at home mom. We lived off of my sole income which made things tighter for us than our DINK friends (Double Income, No Kids).  As we socialized with other work friends, it was impossible to ignore the lives they were living.  I knew we shouldn’t judge people, but it’s difficult to avoid comparing ourselves to others.  A close friend of ours was in the same stage of life with similar circumstances.  The husband provided the income and the wife stayed at home to raise the kids. The only difference was he was a level below me and I was making more money than him. However, you would never know that by looking at us. I was, and still am, driving an older vehicle, yet he had a nice new truck and was constantly going on vacation.

What Were We Doing Wrong?

It really hit home when my wife and I would look at our budget each month and constantly ask ourselves what we were doing wrong. We did not have many extras; no cable TV, no car payments, no fancy extras. The only thing we did splurge on was a $150 a month gym membership which was certainly less than our friends truck payment. As we sat there looking at the numbers, there was no way we could afford what they had. “What are we doing wrong” was the resounding theme in our house.

To make things worse, our friends had satellite TV, a new house which was larger than ours, and they were constantly posting on Facebook about Disneyland and their other expensive vacations. Early on, my wife and I began to become somewhat resentful at the fact that we were unable to afford what they had.  We didn’t resent them, we resented our situation and couldn’t figure out what we were doing wrong.  Little did we know at the time, we were not wrong – we were more right than we knew.

Related: Partners in Fire gets into massive credit card debt!

Heading For Disaster

As time passed, it was evident that they were not affording their life style. They were an iceberg. On the surface, everything looked great and in order. But under the surface, there was a deep dark side to their finances that was quickly catching up to them – something we couldn’t see from the outside looking in. They were making payments on credit cards and starting to drown. Their mask was quickly being removed which caused them to hit rock bottom with creditors on their heels. They had no savings, no emergency fund, and no retirement savings. After losing much of what they owned, they are now just starting to pick themselves up.

They were living the life that many of my friends subscribed to.  They believe that life is worth living in the moment. Why would they spend their young years saving when they should be enjoying their health and wealth? Unfortunately for my friends, it didn’t work out the way they anticipated.  Life has a way of knocking us down at the most inconvenient times.  As Warren Buffet said, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”  Don’t be naked my friends!!!

The Joneses Are An Iceberg

I grew up hearing that you shouldn’t try and keep up with the Joneses. That’s easier said than done, especially when the Joneses are not some figurative person, but your actual close friends. It is difficult to avoid comparing yourself to others when they are living the life you think you want. The truth is, the majority of those lives are in deep financial distress which is hidden beneath the surface.

The other day my wife and I were driving down the road when a younger guy in a sports car sped past us.  My wife looked at me and said, “Awe, he must be broke!”  I don’t think I have ever been more in love with her than at that point!  She gets it – whether that guy was truly broke or not we will never know.  For one, it made us feel better about our 12 year old vehicle we were driving, and second, the odds are he really was broke trying to portray a wealthy image.

If you find yourself trying to keep up with the Joneses, be careful. Remember what happened to the Titanic? If you try and keep up with this image, it will take you out at the knees and sink you. Don’t let the icebergs sink you!

As you continue this financially responsible life style, keep this in mind. When you become disgruntled by comparing yourself to others – realize, they are more than likely an iceberg.

Are you an Iceberg?

If you are an iceberg, I encourage you to check out my other posts, Simple Steps To Start Your Debt Free Life! , Budget Isn’t A Bad Word, and Debt is Financial Slavery!

Do you know any icebergs or are you one? I reassure you, you are not alone! Comment below, I’d love to hear your story about where you have been and where you are going. I would like to give a huge “THANK YOU” to @partnersinfire for allowing me to guest post on her blog.  Stay safe my friends -you work too hard to be this broke!

-Ryan

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My Boyfriend Sucks With Money

Hey Guys! Welcome to episode two of My Boyfriend Sucks with Money! Episode 1 was obviously a break away hit, so here we are again!

Episode 2

Our second episode was supposed to be about tracking our spending. We did cover that topic a bit, but unfortunately life sometimes gets in the way of our plans. Brian lost his job the week before, and so he didn’t have much spending to track. He was good about being careful with the money he does have, but that was because he knew he needed to be. The point of the spending tracking exercise was to show him how he needlessly spends money when he’s not worrying about money, so that will have to wait until  he gets a new job.

We did talk a little about about tracking our spending, but then we segued into the job loss. Brian and I discussed unemployment insurance, seeking help, and job hunting. Listen to the full podcast here:

 

Patreon

Did you love it? If you are loving the podcast My Boyfriend Sucks with money, be sure to check out our Patreon page for exclusive content which includes unedited podcasts and access to our discord channel!

Lessons Learned

The second episode of my boyfriend sucks with money was our first attempt at sticking to a main topic. Unfortunately, we didn’t do very well with that. We both got distracted and talked a bit too much about unrelated things. We know that in the future, we have to do a better job of staying on point. I do think that we did a decent job of acknowledging it in this podcast, and giving a reason for straying from the main topic. The episode and conversation flowed very well, which is a huge plus. However, we did advertise that we were going to be talking about tracking spending, and due to our life changes we weren’t able to give that subject the full coverage it deserved. Staying on topic is something we are going to focus on for future episodes.

We are also still very bad about talking over each other. To combat that, we are going to use hand signals and leading questions.  Another minor flaw is our idiosyncrasies. I tend to drag my words out a bit too much when I’m thinking of what to say next, and Brian uses comfort words. It’s fascinating that we have these two different methods of stalling, but we know it can be distracting so we are both going to work on that for future podcasts. This is a learning experience for both of us, so we are figuring it out as we go.  We also hope that you can learn from our challenges and not make the same mistakes when you first start podcasting! It’s a win for everyone!

How did you like episode 2? Let us know in the comments!

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"blogger recognition"

Blogger Recognition Award

Wow, I am so humbled to have been nominated for a Blogger Recognition Award!  Thank you so much to Jane from ABFAB Travels for the nomination. She’s a newer travel blogger who I first met on Instagram. Jane’s been super supportive and she’s a great blogger to connect with on all of the platforms.

The Award

The Blogger Recognition Award is given by bloggers to recognize others within the blogging community. It’s a great way to recognize each other for the hard work we put in. It’s also a great way to support the bloggers we know and love.

The Rules:

  1. Thank the Blogger who nominated you (me!)
  2. Write a post as to why you started your blog
  3. Include 2 bits of advice you would give to other bloggers
  4. Nominate other bloggers and comment on their response

Why I started Partners in Fire

I started Partners in Fire for two main reasons. First, I really wanted to help people with money. Finances are such an important topic, and it really does encompass every part of people’s lives (hence the lifestyle portion of the blog). I want everyone to be able to get on a path towards financial independence. I want everyone to live the life they want.

My second reason for starting the blog is that I wanted to start a side hustle. I’m not one of those who is going to pretend that I don’t ever want to monetize my blog. I definitely want to monetize, but in a way that’s beneficial to my readers. I never want to be spammy, but I do want to turn Partners in Fire into a legitimate business one day. I’m nothing if not honest, right?

Blogging Advice

The best piece of advice that I can give a new blogger is to stick with it. Blogging takes time!  You may hear stories of bloggers getting thousands of page views in their first month blogging, and although that can happen, it’s the exception, not the rule. It takes most bloggers six months to a year or more to increase their domain authority and start getting organic traffic.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I’m in my 11th month of blogging and just achieved a domain authority of over 20 and I’m just now starting to see organic traffic through google. Stick with it and they will come.

The second piece of advice I can give is to find a niche that you can write about regularly. My first foray into the world of blogging was a travel blog, travels near and far. I love to travel, and I love to write, so I figured it would be a no brainer! I enjoyed writing it, but unfortunately, I just don’t travel enough to sustain a travel blog. However, one of my Fire goals is to travel the world, so I’m keeping the travel blog active and I’ll go back to writing for it when I have more time to travel. In the meantime, I’m loving running Partners in Fire. I have so much information to share on finance and living life, it’s been a year and I’m not out of ideas yet!

My Nominees

Its so hard to pick nominees for the Blogger Recognition Award! I’m going to go with my favorite smaller bloggers to hopefully help some of them increase their domain authorities (some of you may have higher than mine, I don’t know, I’m basing this off of when I met you!) My nominees are:

Debt and Cupcakes

Fiology

Comforting Anxious

The Poor Swiss

Financial Independence Europe

Otterwize

Help Momma Sparkle

Captain DIY

A Dime Saved

Hope you all have fun with it!

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"money goals"

Money Goals

We’ve all got goals, right? Well I’m no different, I have tons of money goals! Some are reasonable, and some are admittedly pretty far out there. But hey, life is for living right? And it takes money to do most of the things we want to do right? So, I need to set some pretty crazy money goals to get where I want to be.

All My Bank Accounts

I wrote an article in the long ago about the many bank accounts that I own. What I didn’t mention was my money goals for each account, and how I arrived at that number. Well now it’s time to dive into that!

Short term Emergencies

My target for my short-term emergencies account is 6K. I know this is a weird number, 5k seems like it’s more rounded, doesn’t it? I agree, but I chose 6k as my goal because I always want to have at least 5K in the account. I’m sure that doesn’t make any sense to you, but in my head if most emergencies cost between $500 and $1000, and my fully funded account has $6000, I’ll never go under $5000! I know, I’m an oddball, but it works for me.

The good news is that I was able to fully fund my short-term emergency account as of September! One down, way too many to go!

Long Term Emergency

My long-term emergency account is supposed to get me through a period of unemployment. My goal is to have one full year of essential living expenses saved up to get me through something like that. To figure out how much money I would need, I added up all of my monthly expenses and multiplied it by 12.

money goals 1

My yearly life costs almost 35K! The biggest expense is of course housing, followed by food & gas and then utilities. I’m sure I’d be able to cut back on some of those things if I was unemployed, but my estimates are based on what I’m paying now. I have to way of knowing what I’d spend on gas and utilities if I wasn’t at work full time.

Currently, I’m not even close to being fully funded in my long -term emergencies account. I have about four months of living expenses saved up (yay, 1/3 of the way there!).

With my short-term emergency account fully funded, I started putting most of the money that was going there each paycheck into this account instead. That will definitely help me reach my goal faster! I like to call this the savings snowball method.

Fire Goals

One of my most extraordinary money goals is my FIRE goals account. My goal for this account is a whopping $150K. That’s insane, even by my standards! I know it’s not advisable to have so much money sitting in a savings account doing a whole lot of nothing, but trust me, there’s a method to this madness!

First, I’m not even close to my goal, so that’s kind of a moot point. Second, the money isn’t doing nothing. I have a savings account that pays a decent interest rate, considering interest rates on savings nationwide still aren’t very high. It’s better than nothing though.

I’m sure you are all dying of suspense, why do I want to have 150K in cash for my FIRE goals? 

Travel

If you read my post on my FIRE goals, you know that I want to travel. A big portion of that is traveling through the US, work camping my way through the national parks. Any guess on what big ticket item is needed for an adventure like that? That’s right, an RV! I don’t want anything big or fancy, but a decent (used) RV is going to set me back about 50K, if not more. Yes, I have found some for between 20 and 30k, but they are rough looking, and with inflation going the way it is, I’d rather overestimate than underestimate.

I also want to travel to China for Tai Chi, and India for yoga. These trips won’t be cheap either. I’m going to try to do them consecutively so as to only pay for one trans Pacific flight, but these two activities will still cost me about 15K total.

School

Another big expense is going back school. I want to study anthropology and go to archaeology field school. Obviously, I’m going to be as frugal as I can about this, but education isn’t cheap. I’ve done some math, and this is probably going to cost me about 30K.

Living Expenses

I also need to have at least one year of living expenses saved up before I embark upon these crazy adventures. I know, I know, I’m going to have that in my long-term emergency account, why do I need it again?? The answer is that if I’m being super conservative. If I’m going to quit my job for all this crazy nonsense, I want some cash reserves on hand in case something goes wrong.

Investing

I also want to be sure to have some extra cash on hand for when the market crashes again. Having 10K available to throw into an index fund when the market crashes will put me in an awesome position during the following bull run.

Rounded Up

I’m sure if you were following along, you’d notice that after these three things, I’m still 20K shy of my 150K goal. I rounded up to 150 because like I said before, I want to be super conservative with my cash holdings, just in case something goes wrong. It’s better to be safe and ready for an emergency than to be sorry.

 

Travel Before FIRE

My money goal for my travel account is 5K. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to achieve that because I take too many trips. But really, that’s what this account is for. I’m putting money aside to help pay for all my crazy trips.

Next Big Purchase

I don’t have a goal for this account because I don’t know what that next big purchase is going to be. It could be as cheap as a water heater, but it could be as expensive as a wedding. I make sure that I add a bit of cash to it every paycheck so that I’m prepared for anything that I need to buy.

Debt

Outside of my savings account, my other big money goal is to pay off my debt. I somehow managed to charge $6400 on my credit card in the last year, and now I have to pay that off.

I know, a lot of PF people will advise that I use my substantial savings to pay off the credit card. But I don’t want to do that. I know I’m paying more in interest on the card than I’m making with my bank accounts, but it feels good to have money in the bank, and I don’t want to lose that.

My credit card payment is my top priority. My goal is to get it paid off in the next six months, and I’m going to budget and scrimp and save to get there rather than take away from my future goals.

Keeping Track

Like I said in my first post about my bank accounts, I’m old school and I like tracking all my craziness by hand. If you are looking for an awesome modern tool to track yours, check out Personal Capital!

What are your money goals?

What are you saving for? We’d love to hear about your top money goals in the comments!

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My Boyfriend Sucks With Money

Hey everyone!  Thanks for taking the time to check out the very first episode of our (hopefully) hit podcast “My Boyfriend Sucks with Money”. This podcast is a joint effort between myself (Melanie!) and my awesome boyfriend (Brian), who unfortunately is terrible with money. During our podcast journey, I’m going to try to teach Brian financial literacy and get him on his own path to financial independence!

Patreon

We set up a Patreon account to help pay for Podcast hosting. There’s no obligation, the podcast itself is free for everyone!  But if you love it and want to support our efforts, check out our Patreon page!

Episode 1

This first episode of My Boyfriend Sucks with Money is an introduction to us. We talk a little bit about ourselves and discuss Brian’s relationship with money. Hint: It’s not good! We also talk about our goals for this podcast and for our lives in general.

So, are you ready to listen to our first episode? Check it out!

 

Lessons Learned

We are learning as we go on this podcast journey, and we want to be honest with our strengths and weaknesses. And maybe in the process we can help other wannabe podcasters! The first major lesson that we learned is to make sure the sound is correct. Brian is just naturally louder than I am, so it took some work to make sure it didn’t sound like he was yelling at me. The first draft sounded awful, but he edited it down so he didn’t sound so loud. We switched some settings on the microphone for the next recording to fix that!

I also realized that I talk way too fast for audio. I need to slow it down! I’m going to work on that for future episodes. Brian realized that he talks over me on occasion. He gets super excited and wants to add something, which is normal in casual conversation. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come across well over audio. It’s something that we need to work on for future episodes.

What do you think we need to work on for future episodes?  We’d love to hear your input and make this podcast better for everyone!

 

 

 

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"money fail"

I don’t know what happened. Last year around this time, I had my credit card completely paid off. Zero balance – go me! But now, just one year later, I’ve managed to rack up a little over 6K in credit card debt. How did this happen? How am I failing so badly at maintaining zero balance on my credit card?

Racking up the Credit Card Debt

A lot has happened this past year, and some of it was expensive. Some of the credit card debt was due to repairs and unforeseen circumstances, while most of it was just me failing to say no to wants (yes, personal finance bloggers have weaknesses too!)

Unforeseen circumstances

House repairs

A good portion of my credit card debt came from issues with the house. We had a blockage in an air conditioning tube that led to a huge leak in the ceiling, a few plumbing issues, and a landscaping disaster. These unforeseen expenses cost about $1500.

Car Issues

I also had a few car issues this year that cost me. I needed new tires and had a problem with my electrical system. These repairs in total cost about $700.

I know, I know, this is exactly what an emergency fund is for! I should take the money I have in my short- term emergency fund and pay for these unforeseen events. This is where I fail at personal finance. I know the math adds up. I know it’s better to pay off the debt. But I just can’t bring myself to do it. I like having money in my emergency fund. I like knowing it’s there if I need it. I want the fund to be fully funded before I start taking from it. I know that’s a whole basket full of insane, but psychologically that’s where I’m at.

Related: Destroying my Credit 

Travel

Although I’d love to blame the majority of my credit card debt on unforeseen circumstances and minor emergencies, that just isn’t the case. The majority of this debt came from travel and adventure. I paid $500 for my PADI certification this year, $500 each on trips to Vancouver and Los Angeles, over $1000 on two trips to Orlando (once for Universal, and again for Disney), and a little over $3000 on my trip to Germany. I just can’t seem to say no to experiencing new things. And, although I have a separate account set aside for my traveling expenses, there wasn’t nearly enough in there to cover this year’s adventures.

To be fair (or as an excuse), I only went to Germany because my friend was getting married. I definitely would have put off having an international trip this year if it wasn’t for this once in a lifetime event. I know I shouldn’t be spending money I don’t have on traveling, but my mantra has always been that you only live once, and you have to enjoy the time you have. You have to make exceptions for the important things in life, because if you don’t, what are you living for? Obviously going into debt for this isn’t ideal, but it happens. Saying no to stuff like this isn’t easy.

I feel more comfortable about having the debt knowing that I could pay it off tomorrow if I really wanted to, but like I said above, I feel better having debt and money in savings (I know how wrong that is!!!).

 

Money Goal – Pay it Off!

So now my number one money goal is to pay off my 6k in credit card debt. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do it in about 6 months without resorting to using my savings accounts. I’m also going to hide my card so I can’t use it. I’ll keep you all updated on how I’m doing!

What is your biggest money fail? We all have money weaknesses, what’s yours? Let’s help each other get through it.

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"What to do when the market crashes"

A market Crash is coming

We all know that a crash is coming. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) just came out with a warning that the world economy could be on the verge of another recession, housing is becoming unaffordable in many cities, and wages have been stagnant. We also know that everything is cyclical, and the market can’t go up forever. So what should we do when it all hits the fan again?  What should you do when the market crashes?

When the Market Crashes

When the market crashes, there is going to be a lot of turmoil. Investments will definitely lose value, and people may lose their jobs. Companies may shut their doors for good, and the economy may move back into a recession. With all this uncertainty surrounding jobs, the economy, and the market, what should you do?

Job Loss

I get that losing your job really sucks, especially when you depend on the income. Therefore, if you lose your job when the market crashes your first priority is finding income. Hopefully, you have a decent emergency fund that will get you through for the first few months at least (If you don’t, now is the time to start saving!).

Even if you don’t have an emergency fund, there are lots of things you can do to start getting some income in: you could take a part time job, start a side hustle, sell some stuff, or even switch industries.

You could also apply for unemployment insurance to get you through the rough patch. I know that everyone hates the idea of applying for unemployment, but seriously folks, you pay into this system and that’s what it’s here for. There is no shame in getting a little help to see yourself through.

 The point is, a job loss is not the end of the world. You will get through it and you will find better opportunities. Who knows, maybe it will give you the chance to build that side hustle into a full-time gig!

What not to Do

When you lose your job, it’s super tempting to cash out of any employee sponsored retirement plan you might have held with them. Bonus money when you need it the most, right?

Wrong!

Don’t do it! I get that you might need money, but taking it out of your retirement should be the very last of all the last resorts. You’ll hurt yourself in the long run when it comes to retirement income, and you will lose out on any investment gains that result from this investment cycle.

What to do instead

 Instead, try some of the options that I mentioned above to get some money coming in, and roll over your employee sponsored plan to an individual plan (IRA). You’ll get to keep your hard-earned investments growing and you won’t have to pay any early withdrawal fees or taxes. You also won’t be stealing from your future self.

Investments

When the market crashes, your investments are going to lose value. That’s the nature of the economy. And it’s going to be rough!  You’re going to watch your investments loose 20%, 30%, maybe even 50% of their values! It’s definitely going to be hard to watch that.

What Not to Do

 Emotions are running high, and you may think that the most prudent thing to do is to pull out of the market to hold onto whatever money you have left.

Wrong!

Please check out the difference between realized and unrealized losses before you make any rash decisions on pulling out of your investments. As long as you are diversified, staying in the market is your best chance at recouping your losses and making huge gains. According to a CBS article in 2011, investors who stayed the course with their investments throughout the crash were the biggest winners.

Don’t let your emotions prevent you from winning big during the next downturn.


 

What to do instead

Instead of pulling out of the market, you should be investing more!  I know, it seems counterproductive, but if you don’t want to listen to me, listen to the number one investor of our time, Warren Buffet:

“Be greedy when everyone else is fearful, and be fearful when everyone else is greedy”

A market downturn is the best time to be greedy. It’s basically a huge sale on stocks. The one thing I would advise is to be careful with individual stocks. You don’t want to put all of your eggs into the next Circuit City’s basket. In my opinion, its best to buy index funds, because they are automatically diversified and you have the best bet of recouping any losses with them.

If you have your heart set on individual stocks, do your research. Buy strong dividend paying companies that you know aren’t going to go under. During the last recession, I bought 200 shares of BOA when the stock plummeted to ten bucks a share. It’s now trading at thirty dollars a share, and my reinvested dividends have purchases 15 more shares. I plan to hold the stock through the next bear market (and possibly buy more!) because although their business practices are sometimes shady, they do have strong fundamentals.

But I am also aware that banks took a huge hit during the last downturn, and many of them went out of business. I know that owning individual BOA stock is a much larger risk than owning index funds. Fortunately, the majority of my eggs are in Vanguards total market fund.

If you are retired/near retirement

A lot of this advice applies mostly to people with at least ten years until retirement. If you are closer, your options may be a bit different. Hopefully, if retirement is on the horizon, you have a good portion of your nest egg in safer investments, such as bonds CDS and even cash. If not, the prudent advice is still to maintain your investments. A good option would be to work for a few extra years during the downturn and keep investing.

If you can’t work (or really don’t want to, I get it!) try to rely on Social Security and or other sources of income before tapping into your investments. If you can stay invested during the worst times, your portfolio will bounce back with huge gains.

Prepare Now

Thankfully, the market hasn’t crashed yet, so you don’t really have to worry about these things. But I’m writing this because we all know that it’s coming, so we need to be prepared. We need to be thinking about what we are going to do when the market crashes, if we lose our jobs, if our investments tank. We need to be preparing now for the next market crash so it doesn’t destroy our financial security.

Have you been preparing for a crash? What will you do if you lose your job or if you lose half of your portfolio?  Lets talk about it!

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"prepare for a market crash"

Last week, we wrote about the impending stock market crash; so this week we thought it would be a great idea to tell you how to prepare for it! Because like I said, it’s definitely coming. We just don’t know when.

Being prepared for a stock marked crash is definitely not a one size fits all type of thing.  The steps you should take to prepare yourself vary wildly depending on your individual situation. Because of that, we are only going to give general instructions for three basic scenarios. Obviously, everyone’s individual situation is different, so there are people who don’t fit into any of these categories. If that’s you, check out the category that’s the best fit, and drop a comment if you still need some advice. The general categories are:

 

 Lots of time to invest with a secure job

Lots of time to invest with a not-so secure job

 Not so much time to invest/retired

 

How to Prepare for a market Crash

Lots of time to Invest with a secure Job

You are in a great position to handle a market crash. If you know your job is secure even in the harshest of economies, you have a lot less to worry about if the stock market crashes. You also have a lot of time to recoup any investment losses

My best advice for you folks is to ensure that any individual stock holdings you have are solid enough to survive a downturn. If they aren’t, you may want to consider reallocating some into index funds (I recommend investing in index funds over stocks in general though!). You should also be putting some cash reserves aside so that you are ready for the big fire sale on stocks!

To be clear, you still want to make sure that your financial house is in order. You should be establishing an emergency fund and investing in a retirement account. But these are things that you should be doing whether a crash is coming or not.

Related: Realized vs. Unrealized Gains & Losses

Lots of time to invest with a not-so secure job

Unfortunately, a market crash and recession could lead to job losses in a variety of industries. If you work at an industry that is at risk for job losses and lay-offs, you need to be preparing now for a stock market crash.

There are a few things you can start doing to make sure you are ok if your industry suffers in the next recession. First, you can make yourself indispensable at work. Continue increasing your skills so that if downsizing comes, you will be spared. Update your resume to ensure that if you do lose your job,  you will be able to find a new one quickly.

Next, you need to shore up your emergency fund. If you are at high risk for a layoff, you should try to fund your emergency fund with six months of living expenses. Not only will this get your through a job loss, but it will also help keep you afloat if the first job you find pays less (which happens a lot in recessions!).

Related: Beginner’s Guide to Investing 

A third thing you can do is create additional income streams. A side hustle is a great way to turn a hobby into extra income. That extra income will be super handy if you lose your main job. The point is the time to make these preparations is now, before the market crashes and before your job is at risk.

As far as investments go, if you have a lot of time to invest, you shouldn’t worry much about your losses. You should continue contributing to your retirement accounts as you normally would, and only adjust your holdings if you are invested in individual stocks that are at risk during a downturn. If you stay invested, you will most likely recoup any losses.

Not so much time

Your preparations are going to look a lot different if you don’t have a lot of time to recoup any investment losses. If you are at or near retirement, you may want to look at transitioning some riskier holdings like stocks into safer investments, such as bonds. This is especially important for money that you may need in the next five to ten years, because it may take that long for the market to recover from a crash.

The downside to reallocating is that if you do it too soon, you could miss out on some gains. The market is still experiencing record highs, and we don’t know where the peak will be. This isn’t an easy decision.  It’s impossible to time the market, impossible to pull your money into the safety of bonds and CDS right before the market crashes.  If I were just a few years from retirement, I’d definitely start safeguarding about fifty percent of my nest egg against a crash. I’d want to make sure that I had enough safety money to survive until the market recovers. I’d keep the rest invested though (in index funds!), to reap the benefits of the current economy and to reap the benefits of buying on sale during a downturn.

Not One Size Fits All

Obviously, it is impossible to give specific financial advice to everyone in a blog post. That’s not my goal here. My goal is to give you general guidelines so that you can prepare for the pending crash. We don’t know when it’s coming (currently, economists are predicting a recession around 2020) but that doesn’t really matter. We know that it’s out there, waiting, and it’s best to start preparing for it.

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"tenth month"

Partner’s in Fire did pretty well during our tenth month. However, we didn’t meet our goal of a thousand users and we had about 150 less users than last month. What did we do wrong there? 

Outside of not reaching our user goals, we had some big blog wins during our tenth month and did a lot of things right.  Read on to find out what our strengths and weaknesses were during our tenth month blogging!

Our Tenth Month

Posting

As I mentioned in my ninth month updated, I skipped three blog posts this month due to a trip to Germany. Outside of that, I stuck to a very consistent posting schedule. We published seven blog posts this month; publishing every Thursday and Sunday that I was home. I do think that consistency is important when blogging (or you-tubing, podcasting, and pretty much anything that requires a return audience). If you stop providing content, people will stop coming. I learned that the hard way during my six-week hiatus, so outside of planned vacations, I hope to not skip anymore blog posts. It was extremely hard this month though, because I also had a good friend visiting from the other side of the country for five days. I sacrificed a small bit of time with her to ensure that I stuck to my posting schedule, but good friends are understanding and supportive of your goals. 

Readership

I knew we were going to struggle with readers this month due to the vacation, even as I was hoping it wouldn’t happen. You can clearly see in my stats where my average daily users dipped for a few days in the beginning of the month. Other than that, my readership remained fairly consistent during the course of the month. I had between 20 and 40 users almost every day during this period (except during vacation time). What I found interesting was the fact that I lacked the huge spikes in readers on certain days that I had last month.

I think this is kind of a good thing. Those spikes generally corresponded with a lot of spammy looking user registrations, which I didn’t get a lot of this month. I’m hoping that means the majority of my users this month were real, engaged visitors rather than robots.

 

"tenth month update"

Traffic Drivers

Organic search

Organic searches were our biggest driver of traffic for the first month ever. We had 203 users from organic searches this month!  I think this increase is due to the fact that our domain authority is steadily growing. For our first few months, our domain authority was at a paltry one. When you typed Partners in Fire into a google search, you’d have to scroll through pages upon pages of firefighters to find our website.

I recently checked my domain authority, and it was at 20! I know that’s not great, but it’s way better than one!  Also, I ran a google search of Partners in Fire on a computer without the website in the cookies, and we were the first result!  Apparently, we are doing something right with SEO.

Unfortunately, I still can’t see what people are searching for that brings them to our site, but they tend to stay for more than a minute and look at more than one page, so that must be good!

Direct Hits

We got quite a bit of traffic through direct hits this month as well. We had 175 users come to us directly during our tenth month. I think this is because we are slowly but surely increasing our subscribers (I think the pop-up, although annoying, has helped!) and people are remembering our name. That’s what I’m going to tell myself anyway.

Social Media

Social media was only our third biggest driver of traffic during our tenth month. We had 162 users from social media this month. This is obviously quite a decrease from the 244 we had last month. With my vacation and my friend visiting, I wasn’t as active on all of my social media pages as I was last month. I’m definitely ok with that though. I sacrificed some time with my friend to post an article  and market it at least once, but I wasn’t going to sacrifice more time with her to participate in Facebook groups and remain active on Twitter and Instagram. She is more important to me than marketing, and I’d definitely make the same choice again.

Pinterest

Pinterest was our top social media traffic driver during our tenth month. We had 72 views from Pinterest, which is the only traffic source that increased during the period. Thank you, Tailwind! I use Tailwind to schedule my pins, and my queue is full weeks in advance. So technically, I was still active on Pinterest even though I wasn’t doing much else.

Twitter

I still love twitter, and it was the second largest social media driver of traffic this month!  We had 46 users from twitter, which is only twenty less than last month. This is great considering I didn’t post as much!  I think that really goes to show how important it is to engage with and grow your Twitter community.

Facebook

I had less than stellar performance with my Facebook page this month. Only 27 users came from Facebook, a huge decrease from the 81 we had last month. Unfortunately, I think the main reason for this is the content I was producing this month as opposed to last month. Our friends and family were really interested in my shift in mindset about having kids, and a lot of them found those articles via Facebook. Unfortunately, those relatives aren’t as interested in becoming a Twitch Affiliate or Complaining on Twitter.

However, people in other communities are interested in those topics, and I’m not just writing for our families. I’m writing for myself, and for everyone else. Not everyone is going to care about every topic that I write about, and that’s ok.  Finance is  related to almost every facet of our lives, so there are thousands of things to write about. I’m sure most people will get some value from at least one of my topics. At least that’s what I tell myself.

Instagram

I had half the number of users from Instagram this month as I did last month. Only 17 users came from Instagram during this period. And I even tried to post consistently!  I think that I had the same problem here as I had with Facebook…Instagram users (at least the ones in my community) seemed far more interested in articles about children than they did about the content I was producing this month. Like I said above though, that’s ok. Different people like different things. My Twitter audience (where I have gamer friends) loved my article about Twitch. My Instagram audience did not. In the future, I may try to take this into consideration and avoid posting content that a certain community may not care about.

Referral Traffic

We had 157 users come from referral traffic this month. Unfortunately, I think the majority of this traffic is spam, because it has the highest bounce rate of any traffic source. This is really bringing down my average! Not all of it is spam though. We got featured on Little Bytes News somehow, which brought some decent traffic, and we also got a bit of referral traffic through two awesome financial blogs, Tread Lightly, Retire Early and Wise Money Home.

Blog Win for the Month

Though we had less users this month, we did have one awesome blog win. We are working towards monetization, and to that end I posted an article about skincare with affiliate links to products that I use and I strongly believe in. We actually had a few people purchase the products that I recommended! I’m so happy that I can provide useful information, and that our fans trust us enough to try something that we recommend. Thank you so much for your continued support, and I promise you won’t be disappointed with the moisturizer.

What’s Next?

We are going to stick with our goal of trying to get over 1000 users. I don’t have any vacations or visitors planned for the month of October, so I should be able to stick to the posting schedule and remain active on all of my social media accounts. We also have a bunch of useful, interesting, and engaging content planned for the month, which I’m hoping will attract even more users!

We are still going to work on monetizing (hosting a blog isn’t free you know!) through affiliate links, but we are also going to sign up for Patreon to see if we can at least recoup our hosting fees through donations.

Our biggest new project is a financial Podcast. We did a practice run this week which I think went really well. We are going to rely heavily on Patreon for the podcast, as monthly hosting fees can get costly. Be on the lookout, it’s coming soon!!

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