169R | Prepared, Not Scared

With a week of market scares, this episode revisits the importance of being prepared, not scared. Plus, you'll hear about some exciting announcements from the ChooseFI community.

  • With the market drop of 12% this past week, it is easy to panic. However, periodic drops in the market are completely normal. This is not the first time the market has dropped and it will not be the last. Instead of panicking when the market drops, create your investment plan ahead of time and stick to it. Although it can be emotionally difficult to weather the downturns, steeling yourself ahead of time can help.
  • You can calculate your FI number based on the 4% rule. Simply take your annual expenses and multiply them by 25. For example, if you spend $25,000 annually, then your FI number is $625,000.
  • The journey to Financial Independence has many milestones. One of the checkpoints along the way is weathering a market downturn without selling out of the market. Instead, stay the course you’ve set for your investments and keep moving forward.
  • When you are doing your taxes, it is important to optimize for tax-free money. In order to do this, it’s important to understand the jargon. Take a closer look below:
    • Taxable income: This is the amount of money that you’ve made minus any deductions that is used to determine your tax liability.
    • Tax liability: Your tax liability is the amount of money you owe in taxes for the year. If you can lower your taxable income, then you’ll also lower your tax liability.
    • Tax deductions: A tax deduction allows you to reduce your total amount of taxable income. One example of a tax deduction is the standard deduction. You calculate your tax liability after factoring in your deductions.
    • Tax credit: A tax credit is a dollar for dollar reduction of your tax liability.
  • Jennifer was able to save $1,000 on braces for her child by purchasing a package from a charity auction upfront. Many orthodontists donate treatment plans to local schools for fundraisers, it could be a great way to save if your children need braces. It's a win-win because the money goes to support the charity organization and you get a discount on your child's braces.
  • ChooseFI now offers content in Spanish. If you or someone you know is interested, then please spread the word!
  • PopUp Business School in Charleston was a big success. Over 100 people took two weeks out of their life to attend and start their own business. Entrepreneurship can rapidly accelerate your path to FI. With that, we are excited to bring more entrepreneurship content to the show over the next several months.

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Table Of Contents

Prepared, Not Scared

Jonathan: Hello everyone, excited to dive into this week's episode and bring in your comments, your feedback. Welcome to the ultimate crowdsourced personal finance show. This is your Friday Roundup.

All right guys. Well, let's go ahead and get into it. To help me with this, I have my co-host Brad here with me today. How you doing, buddy?

Brad: Hey Jonathan. I'm doing quite well.

But yeah, this has been quite an interesting week, I guess just in the world, in the world of the stock market and such. It's interesting, in light of the episode on Monday with A Purple Life talking about hitting a number.

Jonathan: Right. When we set that episode up, this is probably the most prototypical early retiree that we have seen in over a year. To have this case study happening live in front of you, not to look back, oh, it worked, it was all fine.

But just, all right, I have a number in mind. My expenses are incredibly low objectively. As soon as I get this number, peace, I'm out. I hope everything goes okay because I'm just hitting my number. And then the market just goes straight down.

As soon as I get this number, peace, I'm out. I hope everything goes okay because I'm just hitting my number. And then the market just goes straight down.

Put yourself in that scenario, how does that change your plan? Does that nuke your plan? It's interesting just to have this opportunity to flesh this out and look at it from the perspective of prepared, not scared.

Put yourself in that scenario, how does that change your plan? Does that nuke your plan? It's interesting just to have this opportunity to flesh this out and look at it from the perspective of prepared, not scared.

Brad: Yeah, prepared, not scared. I like that. That's a good way of looking at this. I think, so would it change …? I'm not sure if you're asking rhetorically or if you're asking for my opinion here, but I'll give you my opinion anyway.

So, would it change my plan? I guess it ultimately depends on where I was in this decision … I guess it ultimately depends on where I was in this decision-making process. I guess if I had not technically reached my FI number, and all of a sudden my … or maybe even if I hadn't left my job and all of a sudden, my net worth dropped by, what did we see the markets go down? About 12% at the high end?

I think at that point, I'm not at my FI number, so that clearly changes things. We're not even getting into sequence of return risks at that point. We don't need to bring Big ERN into the conversation quite yet.

But as far as I'm concerned, if I had not reached my number or if I'm still working and with the anticipation of stopping in the near future, but all of a sudden, my net worth dropped by 12%, I'm not at my FI number. And I think, unfortunately in that scenario, I personally would keep working or keep saving or whatever it may be until I got back to that FI number. How do you conceptualize it?

Jonathan: Yeah.

Brad: It's hard, right? It's not an easy answer.

Jonathan: All right. I guess someone's going to listen to this a year from now and they're going to need some context. What are you guys even talking about potentially?

We're recording this, it's March of 2020, and in the news everywhere, the sky is falling. Coronavirus is spreading across the globe and we don't know a whole lot about it. We don't know what's actually going to happen. But the stock market reacted to the news and potentially reacted to what the anticipated effect might be, and so you saw this drop of 12% across the board.

In parallel to that, for context, this past week, this episode with a purple life, and we'll bring up the episode number in just a second here so you can listen to it.

Related: A Purple Life – An Early Retiree Case Study

This individual, she's in her late 20s, she saved up a pretty substantial sum of money, several hundred thousand dollars. I think it was approaching $500,000, but it's not a multimillion-dollar portfolio.

For her, will cover her cost of living with a decent amount of cushion in there. I think her cost of living at the time was estimated around 20,000, maybe just a little bit over $20,000 a year. She's like, “Well, once I get on my number, I'm done. I think I'm done. I'm going to check out.”

Now, with that in mind, this is not what maybe some individuals would call fat FIRE. This is hitting your number and then saying, “All right, I'm going to go do this.” Would you delay your plans?

I think with that in mind, kind of as well, where is this person? Have they already left their job? Do they have a hard date in mind? Do they have a plane ticket somewhere else? Or is this something they're tentatively planning on it?

I think with the benefit of … Now I'm going to switch out Purple and I'm going to say, Jonathan, right? This is really Jonathan at this point.

If Jonathan has $500,000 and he talks about himself in the third person. And his life costs $20,000 a year, he's set on his plan, he's good with it. That feels like a good number. I'm not even going to talk about that right now. But if that's it and then the market goes down 12% and I was going to retire that day, but I hadn't put in or I was going to retire in a couple of weeks, but I hadn't put in my two weeks yet, I for sure would just hold off in putting in my two weeks until the market recovered.

And what I would even do, because I'm aggressive … Yeah, I'm not really coming at this from a place of fear as much as just looking at the practicalities. I would try to be continuing to invest into the downturn. That's probably what I would do going into this.

Brad: Right. You said until the market recovered. That's just one side of it, clearly. You obviously added on, I would continue to invest. Obviously, you're continuing to work, and if you're on a path to FI, you have a savings rate.

So, it's not just one side of this equation where you have to wait out the market recovering, you are saving and continuing to buy, in all likelihood, low-cost index funds at whatever the market rate is on that day.

As we've talked about previously with JL Collins and others, when you're getting the market on sale, you're buying a little piece of 3,000 plus American and really international businesses that are now on sale. It's an interesting rethink on how you look at this. It's not just until the market recovers. There's both that and the function of savings both in there.

Since we are diving into the definitions here, Jonathan, just for that person listening a year from now, the FI number is basically looking at your expenses.

So, in this case, we said Purple's expenses are $20,000 a year. You multiply that number by 25 and that gets you to your rough FI number. Because there's this rule of thumb called the 4% rule of thumb as we call it here, where if you had 20,000 multiply it by 25, that gets you to $500,000, okay? That's your FI number.

How you look at it through the lens of the 4% rule is you multiply 500,000 by that 4% and that tells you what you can safely withdraw that year in order to keep that up going forward in all likelihood for many, many decades. That's the, as Big ERN from Early Retirement Now talks about, we can argue around the margins of what that exact safe withdrawal rate is. It might be 3.5%, it might be 3.25%, but the loose rule of thumb we use is the 4% rule.

Again, if we're going back here and trying to define things, I think that's really important. Normally, while you out there in the audience might be listening to this and saying, wow, she spends $20,000 a year. The cool thing is this is just math. It's the same math whether your yearly expenses are $20,000, if they're $40,000, if they're $120,000. You just multiply that annual expense number by 25 to get you your very rough FI number.

Jonathan: I think to really be able to put this in perspective, what this means for Purple, and if you extract past Purple to just another individual, you have to think about some context here.

Let's say that like I just did the case study, Jonathan is still working and it comes up. Yeah, I'd probably lean in.

What if I'd already left and the market went down? Well, let's just think through what that would actually mean. If this individual had already left their job, they're probably going to have some amount of cash in hand.

Now, some people believe in the bucket strategy, some people believe that that's another form of timing and you should just drawdown as you go. But many people will likely have around a year of cash expenses actually saved up. This is not them actually drawing down on their returns in a downturn market.

Then you need to ask other questions like, keep in mind, this is an early retiree. She's in her late twenties. She could always go back to work. In fact, we find that individuals that are willing to leave their current job and go across the street to another employer, usually you're able to do that and do that in the context of a bigger raise than they would have gotten in the past.

Maybe this is an opportunity to actually do a reset. Maybe this is not a retirement, maybe it's a sabbatical, and then you've got to look at actually asset allocation. So, it's a 12% drop. If you're 100% invested in VTI or VTSAX or a low-cost broad-based index fund, that's what you're seeing moving into correction territory.

You're not seeing a 12% drop in your total portfolio if your asset allocation, as you approach drawdown, as you approach retirement, was a 60-40 stock to bond. What you probably would have seen, and I don't have a portfolio visualizer pulled up here to actually confirm this at the moment, but this would stand to the test of time, this is what it's always been in the past is, your 60% stocks would have gone down that 12%, your bonds would have stayed steady and maybe even risen a little bit. Because that's just typically what happens.

If that would hold true, and this is what you see with individuals like JL Collins. JL Collins just very publicly announced on his blog this week that this is actually something he was going to do, is you would take a segment of your portfolio that was in bonds and you move that over to stock to help you buffer the storm.

So, you're actually, again, being able to take advantage of rebalancing your portfolio at a time when it's advantageous. I think that is just a very small segment. But I want to point out for people that when you are 25 years old, 28 years old, 30 years old, 40 years old, this is not 65 and beyond. You typically have a lot more options than you do when you're talking about someone in their late 60s, early 70s. Your finances are more locked in than they are for this 20-year-old.

I guess this is something that MK said a while back and I want to give her credit for this, but I also want to just use it. There's no failing with FI. You can't fail. When you have a 50% savings rate, that's your fortress of fricking solitude. That's your superpower. You got this.

Obviously, we've said FI is a superpower because it enables you to have that fortress of solitude, to have that position of power that I think a lot of people otherwise don't.

Brad: Yeah, Jonathan, I hear you. Obviously, we've said FI is a superpower because it enables you to have that fortress of solitude, to have that position of power that I think a lot of people otherwise don't.

I think, to me, that actually ties into the prepared not scared that you talked about before. I think there are a bunch of different aspects that I'd love to chat about, but prepared not scared in terms of market downturns.

We have talked about this repeatedly, that this is, as far as I'm concerned, it's a 30 to 50, to who knows, 70 plus year journey of getting wealthy. It's not, oh, what happened the last quarter? It's not what happened last week. It's not freak out. It's have a plan and stick to it. Frankly, that is not easy to do. It's not. There is no question about it.

Even though I talk about this stuff all the time, when you see your net worth drop by 10% or 12%, it freaks you out. There's no question about it. Or at least in my experience, just this past couple of weeks, I'll be 100% honest here. It freaked me out, even though, like I said, I talk about this twice a week for the last three-plus years.

But when you have a plan and when you have an understanding of this is not the sky is falling, this is something that we see corrections downturns, we see bear markets, we see 30% drops. These things happen and they happen with regularity. If you think that this is a black swan event, a 12% drop in the stock market, you realize very quickly when you look at the stats of these kinds of things happen every year or two. It's not shocking.

You need to steel yourself for when this is going to happen in the future because you know it is going to happen. That is a certainty. Even those 30% to 50% drops, if you're invested for 20, 30, 40 years, you're going to see those things. You need to figure out how are you going to react ahead of time so you don't let your emotional brain get involved in it and screw you up.

Jonathan: It was interesting hearing you say, I was freaked out.

This is not a badge of honor for me. I'm not taking it this way. I just want to say that I wasn't like at all. Now I'm not talking about … I have some concerns and I'm very much worried about the implications of what it means for people's lives just generally. If this were to really go off and cause a lot of damage, that would be tragic. From that end, that's it.

But in terms of the actual market and my money, I don't think that even crossed my mind to be freaked out. Don't get me wrong. I'm not someone that likes to stare at my Personal Capital net worth tracker and watch it go down. I'm not going to do that.

But what I will do, it's a slight reframe, is I immediately go to, oh, it's 12% off. With my next contribution, as soon as I can get in the market, I'm baking in a 12% discount right now. I say that to say, if you can make that subtle reframe knowing that you're going to have to go through this time and time again, and at some point, it will be the zombie apocalypse. This will be a blip on the radar, we've moved on, but the zombie apocalypse has landed and you still got to have the same mindset going into that.

At some point, I probably will experience that true freak out. But I think understanding your options and how you're going to react to it is incredibly valuable. It's so valuable that I think that's why we actually wanted to spend time here.

Back in episode 32 of our podcast, we recorded one with Joel. In that episode, this is from FI 180. The episode was titled the Milestones of FI, where we talk about these different points in time. You reach these kinds of markers and you know you are on the path. It's a great episode. You should listen to it.

We followed it up a few weeks later with one called the Checkpoints of FI, because we felt like there was too much space in between those and we wanted to give you even more data to grab onto and say, “Wow, I'm really making progress.”

But I realized that we didn't have the benefit of hindsight. We didn't nail all the checkpoints. And what I want to add to one of the checkpoints or one of the milestones is, you to make it through your first correction.

At some point in your life, you've invested, you've gotten all this money in. You got a windfall and you decided to drop it all in because you just trust that time in the market, how long is your money in the market is more important than timing the market. Right?

So, you've got it all in there, but at some point, you felt like it bit you, the market dropped 10%, 20%, 30% and you said, oh, I'm freaked out. But the milestone, the checkpoint was that you were able to remember this episode and how this episode is built on all the past episodes and you reframed it and you said, I understand my options, I understand the course I'm on and I cannot wait to make my next purchase and realize that I'm going to be purchasing at 20% or 30% off.

Because I think with the benefit of hindsight, two years from now, three years from now, five years from now, I'm going to be so happy that I didn't sell it all and get on the sidelines. Two, that the money I contributed over this small window that this was happening, relative to my life, I got it 12%, 13%, 14% off. That builds that intestinal, that financial fortitude that carries you through your investing career.

Brad, I know even as you were saying that you were freaked out, you're saying that from a pretty confident place like it didn't change your course of action. What I appreciate about you being honest, and to some degree, vulnerable to actually say that out loud is I know that that freaked-outedness, that fear is exhibited by a lot of people.

Even people inside the FI community. People that we believe have these concepts locked down, it's difficult to totally turn it off. Probably my radical optimism is somewhat naive to some degree. I'm maybe even an outlier over here, but I think what's important is to recognize that you're prepared, not scared. I'd love for you to really flesh out more what it means for you. If you're not actually changing your financial plan, it's not changing your investment plan, what is prepared not scared look like practically?

Preparing Yourself For The Bumps

Brad: Yeah. I think you touched on something important there, is fear is such an overriding human emotion. Like we've talked about in this episode and in many, many prior episodes, you do need to take your emotional lizard brain out of the decision-making process when it comes to investing.

I think you touched on something important there, is fear is such an overriding human emotion. Like we've talked about in this episode and in many, many prior episodes, you do need to take your emotional lizard brain out of the decision-making process when it comes to investing.

I think that's just essential because otherwise, you are going to follow the herd in all the wrong ways. You're going to sell at the worst possible time, you're going to buy when things are high and everything's rocking and rolling, and you're going to try to time the market and you just can't. I think that's important.

I think that's just essential because otherwise, you are going to follow the herd in all the wrong ways. You're going to sell at the worst possible time, you're going to buy when things are high and everything's rocking and rolling, and you're going to try to time the market and you just can't. I think that's important.

I am probably, Jonathan, the last person you would ever call a prepper. The farthest thing from a prepper. I want to set the stage here, but would I like to look at life is in terms of bets, in terms of probability. I know Annie Duke's book, Thinking in Bets has helped put some language to this that I had thought of for decades.

But now I think about just increasing the likelihood of success. I especially like to do that in basically environments where there is no downside, where it's essentially risk-free. I'm not a doctor. You're not a doctor. We have no idea on this earth. Well, you are doctor. I guess you're not, you're a pharmacist.

Jonathan: You're a pharmacist.

Brad: You're not a medical doctor.

Jonathan: Thanks Brad.

Brad: You're officially a doctor. I take it back.

All right. I am not a doctor. I have no idea what is going to happen with this Coronavirus. This might be something that a month from now we have never even remembered. But again, thinking in terms of being from a position of power and being able to do something that increases the likelihood of success for me and my family with essentially no downside.

I actually, I told my family, my parents who rely on medicine, I told them to, “You know what? Not that we know anything about this, but even if fear overtakes, and really that's probably the biggest concern, just have a supply of your medicine that is life sustaining on hand.” I don't think there's a downside to that. It's just essentially prepaying for something that is utterly essential.

For my family, Laura went out and just bought some food essentially, so we have an extra two weeks of supply. Now again, we literally did not go out of our way and purchase one item that we will not consume in the next month.

She even talked about, “Oh, should I go out and get apples? They last for three months, but Jonathan, we don't eat apples.” That's just not something that's in our diet. So, I said, “No, I don't even want to waste the $7.” I'm talking about just prepaying from a position of strength.

We have a deep freezer, we threw some stuff in there. To me that is a perfectly rational and defensible position to just increase the likelihood of success. Because if all of a sudden there's some crazy, again going back to that fear, if there's some rush on the grocery stores, even if there isn't a major calamitous issue with this Coronavirus or whatever it may be in the future, there still is going to be a supply issue if there's this fear.

If I can get ahead of it from a position of power where we have money, we obviously don't have a cashflow issue, if we can spend an extra couple hundred bucks and just throw stuff in deep storage, there's no downside to me or my family at all. Does that make sense?

Jonathan: Yeah. No, that's great. It's great advice.

MK: This is something that Jason and I have been talking about because people are preparing coronavirus like the zombie apocalypse is coming. We live in Florida. We just know we need to have enough water on hand, enough food on hand because if a storm hits, we don't want to go to Walmart the day before Irma hits. That was crazy.

We've always just been prepared and had this mindset. It's interesting to say whether it's this crisis or if you live in a hurricane zone, you know to prepare. But like Brad said, it doesn't have to be this crazy stockpiling of things you're never going to use. You know what the basics are. Stay calm. It'll be fine.

Jonathan: I feel calmer already. MK, I'm curious when you said you store water, I know this is going to sound silly, but is that just buying one-gallon jugs? Did you buy the five gallons and you filled them up from your tap? What is storing enough water to be a substantial amount actually look like?

MK: We know for hurricanes that the first 48 hours are our own, I think it's 48 or 72. So, we have enough individual water bottles that we could just store, take them out and go.

When we knew that Irma was about to hit, we actually took, you know those big cups you get at stadiums with like free refills? We have a bunch of those from over the years of going to football games, and we filled up all of them with water because if a hurricane hits and the water lines are down, you do not want to like bathe or drink any of that water, you'd have to boil it.

So, we filled up all of these cups with water and then we evacuated, and we came home and nothing happened. Our place was fine, so we just had lots of cups of water sitting around. But that was an extreme case for where we thought that we would not be able to bathe, that we just have our case of water and then we're fine.

Jonathan: Gotcha. You know what's interesting, is when you think about prepared from the perspective of someone on the path to Financial Independence versus just not being on the path, just drifting. If you actually think about the advantages you already have, and it's not to gloat about it, it's just a practical reality.

Think about the fact that if something got quarantined or work had to get shut down and your small business, they weren't offering pay for the time that you were out. You could weather that storm, it's going to be fine. Or you could say, “Hey, I don't really want to be working at work. Can I work remote? I can do that.” You could start making these requests. Maybe you could even do that ahead of time.

If you needed to be home, you wanted to have your kids out of daycare, out of preschool, you could handle that. All these kinds of built-in advantages, if you can go several weeks without drawing a paycheck, like this doesn't really have anything to do with whether or not you're still working or not working. It really has to do with more of the superpower of a 50% savings rate over time, you can weather financial storms and there's a spillover effect for all the practical aspects of your life.

Now, there are some places where there's a buying opportunities that are not worth it. For instance, when your cruise ship offers you a cruise right now for 80% or 90% off, not worth it, even if you can afford it. Brad, is there any dollar amount that I could pay you to go on a cruise right now?

Brad: Not right now.

Jonathan: All right. Friendly advice from your friends here at ChooseFI.

I wanted to mention one more thing just as we talk and go back to Purple's story because her case is so interesting and there are some challenges, but there's also some unique advantages for this “early retiree.”

We actually, in a couple episodes here, it's going to be episode 172, we're bringing on Michael Kitces. Now, you may or may not be familiar with that name, but I'm telling you, he's one of the unsung heroes of the Financial Independence community.

The work that he's done is really a lot of what we lean on when we're talking about Roth conversion ladders. When we're looking at the 4% rule and how to extrapolate it out to our own situations. He is really someone that has leaned into this content and we're all benefiting from it whether or not you know that name or not.

We actually had him on the show, and with this episode in mind, we asked Michael to help tailor the episode toward flexible spending rules for the early retiree. When can you spend more and when you need to reel it in to make sure that no matter what happens, you're good to go.

So, if you're excited about that idea, you want to hear more, make sure you stay tuned. That's going to be episode 172. 172 of our podcast, just in a couple of weeks here.

Optimize Your Taxes For Free Money

Jonathan: All right everyone, we're going to be moving into some really important content in the next few weeks here. We actually have a great case study series set up where you're already talking about how a capital gains tax brackets can be used and why you need to understand them as you plan out your drawdown strategy and your retirement plan. That one's really important.

But I think as we're building out this content in a stepwise, linear, logical fashion, one of the things we needed to actually circle back to was a free money conversation. Just for some context back in 2017, we talked with The Millionaire Educator, it was episode 13 of our podcast.

In that episode, there were two things embedded. One was talking about the power of the 457 for state employees. The other one was talking about understanding the rules and how to plan out your free money. He has a great article series that he updates each year. We'll have a link in the show notes.

But I thought for this conversation, really to understand this capital gains case study that we have coming up. We needed to first spend a little bit of time on this free money concept. I always refer back to this because while taxes in the United States are not fun, it could be simpler. They're not that simple.

I guess Brad's probably sitting right next to me and saying, “Well, it's perfectly logical for him” But it gets murky. But this free money can take this murky concept of taxes and marginal tax brackets and break it down to something that you can understand and weave a story around, and just by having an understanding at a simple level, at a 101 level. It allows you to do some pretty impressive tax planning around it.

So, Brad, I thought we could have a conversation around this.

Brad: Cool. Yeah, that sounds good. Just to start this off here, and the free money as The Millionaire Educator's talking about is really what you can earn in a year that you ultimately pay $0 of tax on.

He looks at this through, I believe two main aspects. The first is the standard deduction. That each year on your taxes you, obviously you put all of your income, your W-2 wages, your interests, your dividends, cap gains, everything goes on there and you get deductions. But the most obvious one is the standard deduction that now has recently been increased in the last couple of years with the tax overhaul.

So, in Jerry's case here, he is filing a tax return with his wife. So, it's a married filing joint. For 2020, the standard deduction is $24,800. Let's say hypothetically, all of their income added to $24,800, they would then immediately take the standard deduction and then wipe that down to zero. That is their taxable income of zero.

Now obviously the tax liability or the tax you owe will be $0 dollars on taxable income of zero. That's stands to reason, but it's important to get this terminology right.

So, you have taxable income, which then the tax rates are applied to, which gets you down to your tax liability or the total amount you owe to the government. It has nothing to do with how many payments you have on file, what you withheld. That's all after the fact. But the tax liability is the total amount of taxes owed for that calendar year.

Jonathan: Yeah, and as you're having that conversation, you actually have to talk about kind of two different ways of framing the tax.

You have your marginal tax brackets and then you have practically, for individuals, their effective tax rate. I think when some people say that, “Oh, I'm paying so much in taxes, I'm paying 22% or 24%,” that is, if you were to say 22% and I make 100K and I'm going to pay 22% tax, you say, well you're paying $22,000 in tax. But that's not really the case.

Let's do a breakdown for individuals because we actually have these marginal tax bracket. So you pay 0% on a certain amount and then 10 and then 12 and then 22 and then 24, and it kind of goes up from there. Let's do it with no kids, let's not talk about the child tax credit yet.

Brad: Right, and I did leave that loop open. The other thing that he factored in was the child tax credit. We'll get to that in a minute.

Jonathan: Let's break this down, both for married filing joint and filing single. We'll do married filing joint first. The 10% bracket, so the first $44,550 you make, all of those are taxed at 10%, but it's a little better than that because married filing joint, you get a standard deduction of $24,800.

The first $24,800 that you make are going to be covered by the standard deduction if you're married filing joint. The end of the 10% bracket is $19,750, so you have to add both of those together. What that tells you is that if you were to make the sum of those two, which is $44,550, the tax that you would owe on that would be $1,975. Now, you could probably quickly do that math and realize that's far below 10%.

In fact, 10% would be your marginal tax bracket. Your effective tax rate, which is just the 1,975 divided by that larger number 44,550 is 4.43%. It's a very generous and low federal tax bracket.

When you do this on the other side for a single filer, your standard deduction is $12,400, the upper end of that 10% bracket is $9,875. That means when you add both of those together, you get $22,275 and what that means practically for you is that you're only going to owe $988 on that first 22,275 again, bringing you down to an effective tax rate of 4.43%.

Understanding this is critical to your tax planning because we can scale this out, and if you understand this and you understand how to leverage tax-deferred vehicles, you can quite literally pick your tax rate.

Brad: Yeah, Jonathan, it is interesting when you look at that effective tax rate versus marginal.

Marginal is what is the next dollar of income getting tax at? I think that's what most people look at, like you said a couple of minutes ago, oh, I'm in the 24% bracket. I paid 24% in tax. No, it's usually dramatically, dramatically less than.

You show this, this is an interesting example with 10%, now and that is, obviously the lowest of the marginal tax rates. But even still, the effective tax rate or what you're paying in tax liability over your total income, that's what effective tax rate is still less than half of that 10%. It's only 4.43%.

This is before we even get into, like you said, you have the ability to really work with your tax rate more significantly than this when you talk about 401ks and HSAs and IRAs, traditional IRAs. You're talking about tax-deferred money that you get the tax deduction in the current year.

You can really make dramatically more money than this, and this is before we even get into the child tax credit, which gives you more free money. You can make dramatically more in terms of income and still pay essentially zero in your actual tax liability.

It's fascinating how much wiggle room we have here. Again, it's from this position of power. That is the beautiful thing about having a savings rate of keeping your expenses relatively low or whatever that means to you. But having this savings where you can say, all right, you know what? I don't want to pay tax at my highest marginal rate this year. I want to max out my 401k, not just get the full match, which is, in my opinion, the absolute bare bones table-stakes, is you need to get your company match.

I would love it if you could max out your 401k, max up both spouses 401ks. You're talking, in that case, $39,000 of tax deductions in 2020 just for that. That's before you get into HSA, which is over 7,000. These are all just things that just further lower the taxable income and ultimately your tax liability.

Jonathan: When you layer onto that, as you mentioned, the child tax credit. And let me just preface this by saying, having a child to get a child tax credit is the dumbest idea that has ever been stated on a podcast. That is not what you're hearing out of this. Just dumb.

MK: That's like waiting in line for Black Friday deals to get $10 off of $1,000 TV.

Jonathan: I think it's dumb. I think that idea wins. But let's talk about the tax implications when you have kids.

So we'll use again the married filing jointly to start with. Forget about effective tax. Let's just talk about total free money. When you, with one child tax credit, and each child tax credit covers up to $2,000 of additional tax. As long as you make less than, I think it's like $400,000, that's like the cutoff.

Brad: Right. Jonathan, that $2,000, this is a tax credit, which is a dollar for dollar reduction in your tax liability. Again, these definitions are important because so many people know, sadly so little about the taxation system in this country, and it's really important that we in the FI community understand this.

This is a tax credit, which means once you've calculated your tax liability, then you pull $2,000 straight off of that, so it is a dollar for dollar reduction in that liability. That is contrasted with a tax deduction, which is just taking it off of your income.

So the standard deduction, like we said before, if you had, let's say $100,000 of income, the standard deduction reduces that income by $24,800 to get you then to down to your taxable income at which then you calculate your tax credit liability.

Long and short of it, a tax credit is dramatically more valuable than a tax deduction.

Jonathan: Basically what Millionaire Educator's doing here, which I think is awesome, is instead of even worrying about effective tax rate, we're shooting for how much can we make with an effective tax rate of zero.

Forget marginal versus effective, just a tax rate of zero at the federal level with one child married filing jointly, $44,758 tax-free, effective tax rate of zero.

With two children. I'm going to work all the way up to five. With two kids, it's $61,425. With three kids, it's $78,000. I'm going to leave off the change here. With four kids, it's 94,000, with five kids, it's $108,000 that are tax-free at the federal level. That gives you a pretty substantial amount of room to work with.

Brad: Yeah, that is a really cool calculation and it's interesting how he works backwards. That's really the work that he's doing here for you. We said this is a $2,000 tax credit, but what Jerry did was he worked backwards and said, okay, if you're in this situation and you have this standard deduction, you have this much room in the different tax brackets.

So what he did was he actually said, okay, you're going to take up, let's say $19,750 at the 10% bracket, but that only gets you $1,975 of the full credit. And then some of it is at the next tax bracket, which is 12%. He's doing all the work for you. He's trying to tell you, in essence, that tax credit of $2,000 what that's worth for you on the front side in terms of total income that you essentially get down to zero.

Again, using the terminology here, it's technically not a deduction, but he's giving you, in essence, apples to apples of what this would look like if it were a deduction.

Jonathan: I think he's thinking about it or talking about it like a human, instead of maybe an accountant. I'm not throwing you under the bus, just saying.

If you're filing single, then the numbers on The Millionaire Educator page, and I'm looking here, the numbers, you have to adjust them slightly. The standard deduction for filing single is $12,400, so with the one-child tax credit, your free money would be $30,708. With two, it'd be about $47,000 with three it'd be a roughly $58,000, four, 67,000 and five children would be around $76,000.

If you were to take that information, pull it back and apply it to the situation of Purple, we have someone whose life costs roughly $20,000 a year, and knowing what you know about free money, her effective tax rate, she has the ability to control this at an extreme level.

Brad: Yeah, hers is actually below the 4.43% we set up in the initial example. I'm calculating it here at 3.8%. And this is just the ultimate back of the envelope, because we're just saying she has no other deductions, she has nothing else. Just assuming $20,000 of income.

Let's even assume that all the $20,000 she's using for expenses are coming as straight income, which is extremely unlikely. In all likelihood, her effective rate is going to be, like you said, closer to zero.

But even assuming worst-case scenario, it's all taxable income, she takes $20,000 of income, takes off the $12,400 standard deduction, which gets her down to a taxable income of $7,600, that's at the 10% rate. So she's at $760 in federal tax liability.

To get that effective rate, you just take 760 divide by her total income of $20,000 and that gets you to 3.8%. That is the worst-case scenario, assuming no other deductions and assuming that all of the money that she's using to cover her life expenses are coming from income, which again is really, really unlikely.

Jonathan: For other individuals, so this is her in her drawdown, but you also need to think about it from the perspective of when you're accumulating the money. The advantages of getting this money out, so let's say you're making $80,000 year somewhere, maybe $100,000 a year plus. That money if you were just to take it, is going to throw you in this higher marginal tax brackets.

What you're doing is you are deferring as much as possible income that when you're in the higher marginal tax brackets, you're deferring it by putting it into your 403(b). If you have access, your 401(k), probably should have started with that one. That's probably the most relevant one for most people. Your 457, if you have access to it, your HSA, if you have access to it, traditional IRA, if you're eligible for it.

Then once you've kind of moved through those, and potentially another option would've been a Roth IRA would potentially be another option, and you could make that case based on your marginal tax bracket that you find yourself in.

But then you're going to still have some leftover and yes, you're going to have to pay taxes on that remaining, because you're drawing an income, but at that point, you're getting into your investment accounts and that's where capital gains actually come in, and we'll talk about that in a couple of weeks. What we try to do is reduce your structural expenses, Purple's an extreme case.

But reduce your structural expenses, design the life that you want, not a life based on deprivation, but the life that you want. Figure out how much that's going to cost. Understand the rules of financial events. How much do I need to save? Then come up with a strategy as you approach that time where you're no longer working in your corporate job or otherwise, how do you want to draw that money down in a way that won't have you engaging with your lizard brain? I quote Brad. I can visualize that now.

Reduce your structural expenses, design the life that you want, not a life based on deprivation, but the life that you want. Figure out how much that's going to cost. Understand the rules of financial events. How much do I need to save? Then come up with a strategy as you approach that time where you're no longer working in your corporate job or otherwise, how do you want to draw that money down in a way that won't have you engaging with your lizard brain? I quote Brad. I can visualize that now.

This is all just like have a plan, follow the plan. Life is lumpy, life's going to happen. It's not always going to go straight up. That's okay. We're going to think about that ahead of time and then we're going to react from a place of confidence and strength, not from a place of fear

This is all just like have a plan, follow the plan. Life is lumpy, life's going to happen. It's not always going to go straight up. That's okay. We're going to think about that ahead of time and then we're going to react from a place of confidence and strength, not from a place of fear. All right, so MK in a week of darkness, do you have any joy for us? Any blips of positivity? Any wins, financial wins or otherwise this week from the community?

Wins From The Community

MK: We do. Yeah, we have several wins to share. It's very exciting. We got this email and from Chase, the person, not Chase the credit card company or bank.

Chase said, “I forget which episode it was, but I remember Jonathan talking about the class-action lawsuit that was following through for the Nexus 6P smartphone. I feel like he mentioned this in passing and jokingly said that all of us with this phone should sign up for the opportunity to be included. Well, I did and to my surprise, I received $150 today. I was totally not expecting anything to come from this, and I barely remember filling out the form. Just wanted to say thanks for the heads up. As usual, you guys keep adding value to my life, so thanks.”

Jonathan: Well, they sent one to you. They didn't send it to me.

Brad: Maybe you didn't follow through.

Jonathan: I did. Of course, I did. Come on now.

Brad: Oh, that's awesome. That's a nice win by Chase. That actually reminds me of rebates. Whenever you see a rebate, the company expects, essentially expects you to not follow through. I think they anticipate fewer than 10% of people to actually follow through.

I wonder what the rate would be for people in the FI community. I imagine it's many, many times that. It's free money, right?

Jonathan: We will break you. That's awesome. Congratulations. All right. What else?

MK: All right. Well, our other big one that we had today came from Jennifer. She said that she's sharing a big one, saved $1,000 on braces.

“The orthodontist that our older boy goes to donated a set of braces to our school auction fundraiser. We had already had a consult for our younger son who is slated to need them later this year.

Because of our progress with FI, we had cashflow on hand for a larger spend like this and knew what our ceiling was during the bidding process. We just saved over a thousand dollars based on what we would have paid out of pocket after the insurance portion. Added benefit is that the school is getting a sizable donation too. Our orthodontist makes several donations like this to area schools like the others do as well.”

That's an awesome win, Jennifer. Way to go.

Jonathan: Wow. You know, Brad, we actually coined a term for this that I feel like we have done an injustice by not mentioning recently, and it was, just rolls right off the tongue. Just totally.

Brad: I'm scared.

Jonathan: No, come on. FWOTW. Frugal win of the week. As I was going back listening to some of our archives, I remember us introducing that, and I realized that I'd always had this dream of turning that into a sticker.

If you get, or bumper sticker or whatever, if your cars, your FWOTW, if you lock down something and it was your frugal win of the week, whatever that is, you could just label that sucker. Because once it's labeled, now it exists for perpetuity. I don't know. What do you think, man? Is that worth revisiting? Does the world need more bumper stickers?

Brad: I don't know if it needs a tangible bumper sticker, but maybe, but I do like it. Frugal win of the week.

I love these wins, and MK, thanks for bringing them into the community here. Jennifer, it's cool because that is actually something that our local orthodontist does as well. We have a silent auction up at the elementary school and I actually talked to Laura about this, that if we ever needed braces for our kids, that is a really smart idea.

And like Jennifer said, it's a win-win for everybody. It's thousands of dollars for the local elementary school and we're getting a discount and something that we would have paid out of pocket for. You look for opportunities like that from this position of strength.

Jonathan: What do you think the dollar amount would be to lock that thing down? What's the sweet spot? What would you bid? Because it's silent auction, right? What would you bid? Huh? Your strategic brain, what would be that number?

Brad: Well, I mean …

Jonathan: I don't want you to give away your secrets, but I'm just …

Brad: Are you asking for the truth?

Jonathan: Yeah, I want the actual number.

Brad: Okay. The true strategy would be, I guess it would depend on the percentage likelihood that my daughter needed the braces. If it was 100% and I had the actual dollar figure, I would pay any amount up to $1 less.

Jonathan: No, no.

Brad: That's the obvious thing.

Jonathan: No, that's not obvious at all. That is not actually what you would do. You would not …

Brad: In terms of game theory, that is what I would do, but no, realistically, certainly if I could save $500 to $1,000, I would do it without even batting an eyelash.

Jonathan: You would do 75% of market price. Is that kind of?

Brad: Yeah, I guess if we're saying it's probably going to cost $5,000 or whatever it is. And if I could save $1,000, even honestly, Jonathan, even 500, I mean, that's a true $500. It's 10% which sounds paltry in, setting up your example of 75%, but it's $500 saved just by timing it differently. Again, if I was 100% sure that she needed braces, I think that's something I would do.

Jonathan: Okay. All right. Well, take it and run.

All right, well I want to go and make a couple announcements. The first one I'm really excited to announce that Jillian just released the new season of her podcast Everyday Courage.

If you remember the first season which came out earlier this year was really about planning your best year, your best decade. This season aptly is good with money. Brad, I know that the first episode actually featured Mr. Money Mustache and you were devouring it.

Brad: Yeah, it was fantastic. It was really cool. It was like this fireside chat between Jillian and Pete, and it was at this retreat she had in Montana.

It was cool to hear Pete talk about things that I've never heard him talk about before. He talked about when he first graduated college and where he lived and how he saved money by doing something fairly unconventional. It was really, really cool.

Highly recommended, like we've talked about before, Everyday Courage is the second podcast under the ChooseFI umbrella. We're just so proud of what Jillian's doing there. It's really phenomenal. So, if you're listening to this show, just go to search on your podcast player, type in Everyday Courage and hit subscribe. You will not regret it. It is a phenomenal show.

Jonathan: It's timely here. Next week she's actually flying to Richmond. We're going to be recording season three. I love the response that we've gotten from the community. I'm glad that it's found a home and that it's resonating with people.

Definitely, if you haven't yet checked it out, give it a shot. I think you're really going to get some value from it. If you want to access the entire season ahead of time, you can just go to choosefi.com/courage and binge listen today.

Speaking of reaching people where they are, I believe we have another pretty significant announcement. MK, go on and tee that up for us.

ChooseFI In Spanish

MK: Yeah, so we have received a lot of requests over the years for Spanish language resources. The team with the ChooseFI International Foundation decided to do a small free experiment to see if there was true demand for it.

Spanish is the second most used language in the US. It's spoken globally, and we realized there's a large population we could be missing out on by being an English-only enterprise. So we decided that we were going to test the waters. There's a lot we still don't know, but we're going to be putting out a digital download called FI Made Simple and pairing that with an email series that will be in Spanish.

If you are part of the Hispanic community, if you know somebody who could benefit from the message of FI and they live abroad in a Spanish speaking country, or they live here, but Spanish is their first language and maybe their preferred language for some of these concepts, please share this with them.

While the content of FI Made Simple, for tax purposes and investments, is US-centric, a lot of it is applicable anywhere that you live, a lot of the big FI concepts. If you have family or friends that could benefit from this, or if you would just like to read it in Spanish, definitely check that out at choosefi.com/spanish, or choosefi.com/espanol but the n does not have the tilda on it.

We really want to give a big shout out, a huge thank you to the people who have volunteered to make this happen. So we knew our own limitations and we decided to go out to people who would know this best. So we had some really great help from Sandra Quintero, Loreno Munis Holiday, Nancy Alvidrez, Arnaldo Bermudez. They did an amazing job. We could not have done this without them. So thank you. Thank you so much for everything you've done.

As a fun fact for Jonathan, since we know you love fun facts, FI is reversed in Spanish. It is IF or Independencia Financiera.

Jonathan: Wow.

Brad: Wow.

Jonathan: Just flipped my entire world on its head.

PopUp Business School

Brad: Yeah, it's really amazing to see this concept spread around the world, and certainly spread around here in the US. We talked about, Jonathan, you and I were going to head down to Charleston, South Carolina for, Alan Donegan was going to do a free PopUp Business School there.

And actually unfortunately because of an illness in my family I was unable to attend, but I heard you and Ed talk about it and it sounded amazing.

Jonathan: Yeah, it was pretty cool. There's actually a lot embedded in this and I don't think we'll have time to pull it all out today, but there's a lot of really cool things that are going on.

So, much in the way that ChooseFI and the Financial Independence community at large has really captured the imagination of the world. PopUp is seeing the same thing. PopUp Business School, Alan Donegan, he's a friend of the show. He's been on the show many, many times. He's the founder of a business called PopUp Business School.

The purpose, the noble cause, the vision of PopUp is to kind of flip the business model on the head. The old dated business model says you need to have this massive business plan, you need to take on venture capital or debt. It's high-risk, right? Whenever you take on high-risk propositions, it makes the fear of failure and the realities of failure much worse.

So PopUp says, what if you didn't? What if, instead of creating a 30 or 40 page business plan and going massively into debt, you could just have an idea, take action on it and do it and replace venture capital, with just creativity, right? And get proof of concept, get a sale, and then if you can get a sale, then go build the product. Do it all in reverse.

There's tools that you don't really consider that you don't really know that you need, things that you don't take … You don't realize the power of sales and understanding how to craft a presentation and a pitch and market your idea and building a website. All of these different things. You don't really realize the mechanical aspect of this because nobody has taught you this, nobody has trained you to this.

PopUp has seen, really over the … they've been working on for the last eight years, but over the last two years, that hockey stick trajectory where massive attention, both from our community, from the outside community, from mainstream media is continuing to highlight this, and realize, recognize that this is the future of business building, much in the way that Financial Independence is the future of personal finance. It's a parallel conversation. It's a natural path.

What we actually saw is individuals that have completely beaten the game using entrepreneurship, like this was their vehicle to Financial Independence and realize the power of that want to see this for others that are coming behind. So, Shawn Jenkins is a good friend of ours, actually is on our board of directors at the ChooseFI International Foundation, sponsored a PopUp business school to bring it to his hometown of Charleston.

They had over 100, so for two weeks, over 100 people show up every single day, and close to 100 businesses, maybe even more were actually started over that two weeks. You had individuals that went in with fear like, can I do this? Is it possible, getting their first sale inside of a mall that's being revitalized, and truly it's the future of entrepreneurship and it's so inspiring.

We had our video team go down, create a small documentary series around it, and there's a lot more projects in the work there that I'm not prepared to announce yet, but just it was a massive source of encouragement for me to be a part of it, to see it and to recognize that our community is going to be benefiting from this content, continuing to become increasingly mainstream.

Brad: That is remarkable. Yeah, I'm obviously very sad that I missed it, but yeah, all the work that Shawn and Alan and the entire team did down there, it just sounds remarkable, to have 100 people take two weeks of their life out to be in a position where they can move forward and get over that fear.

This is what we've talked about the whole episode is get over that fear. Don't let it paralyze you. You can take small steps. We talk about 1% better here at ChooseFI. Take little steps, little actions each day to make your life better. This is not little, this is massive.

Jonathan: One thing that we both though huge debt of gratitude to Alan for was really telling us that we weren't putting enough focus on entrepreneurship very early on in our show. In fact, he messaged us privately right after we released episode 21 of our podcast, the pillars of FI and said, “The pillars are great, but you're clearly missing entrepreneurship as a massive vehicle for FI.”

We heard that, took it as corrective criticism and realized that he's completely right and changed our entire, like added it into our philosophy. That has been born out that that is true. And now, I think if you look at our philosophy now, and I think in general, even the FI community, I don't feel like the FI community talked about side hustles three or four years ago the way that they do now, where you realize it's such a powerful tool.

We have this equation. What you earn minus what you spend is equal to this difference, this gap. You can focus on earning more, you can focus on spending less and you focus on how to invest the margin better.

When you talk about earning more, there's three primary vehicles, there's infinite micro options, but at the macro level, there's three basic options. You can start a business, you can crush your day job, or just switch careers, salary negotiate, etc, or you can get into rental real estate. Every business under the sun, I think is like falls under one of those three categories.

Every path to FI from the earn more perspective falls under those categories. I think that with the benefit of Alan kind of helping us bring this information in, I feel like we're really well prepared to go into the next five years to try to highlight the stories of individuals that made one of those three choices on the earn more side.

Did they go into real estate? Did they start a business or did they salary negotiate their way up or change careers or really dial in on the career they had? What was their path to earn more? I think it really provides us an interesting framework to create content over the next several years.

I would be remiss, and not pointing out, as we just highlighted local groups and the power of community that, while we were down in Charleston, we actually had a ChooseFI meet up at a local brewery, the Rusty Bull, it was fantastic, well-attended, 75 to 100 people showed up that night. It was a great time. I think we closed the place down at some point.

It's really cool to see people wanting to get a chance to get together and just hash out these different ideas because once you start seeing these ideas, you can't unsee them, and it starts opening up a whole new line of questions. What do I want to do next? You're not limited to just one question, right? You can do one question today and you keep adding new information to your toolbox to figure out what you want to do next. I get very excited about seeing the power of these communities really coming together around this idea.

Local Groups

MK: Well, that's great you guys had such a good time at the local meetup. Speaking of our local groups, we have some new groups to talk about today.

There's a new group in Eastern Utah. So if you are in Eastern Utah, there's now a ChooseFI local group for you to check out. And to go along with our announcement for our translations, we now have a ChooseFI and Espanol group. So all the conversations will be taking place in Spanish so you can communicate there. Then we have an LGBTQ plus and friends group that started as well.

So really excited to see this community growing.

Brad: MK, people can find all the local groups and all those associated cohort groups, etc, at choosefi.com/local.

Book Winner

Jonathan: All right, well, unfortunately, that's going to bring this episode to a close. Now, as you know, we'd like to finish every episode by doing a drawing for a copy of a book that we have found useful. Actually, this has shifted over time as we've moved from just having one book to really being able to say that ChooseFI actually has a publishing arm.

The stated goal of the publishing arm is to find authors that are writing about content that the FI community, specifically the FI community really wants to dive deep into and be able to pull those ideas together and give you a manual that you can take with you. That's really the stated goal for this. It's been cool to flesh that out, MK. I know you've had so much fun working with the writers and there's several books in the queue that are very exciting to talk about.

But for the sake of this drawing, we have two books that we can offer. The first is our book ChooseFI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence.

And the other one is The Simple Startup series. This is by Rob Phelan. Rob has created a manual for both teachers and students to use, to really start to flesh out their first entrepreneurial venture, very much tied to the themes that we just discussed with PopUp. It's really meant as a classroom tool.

If you would like to win a copy of one of those options, all you need to do is just go to choosefi.com/itunes. Follow the instructions there. Leave us a short written review at [email protected]com, letting us know that you left a review and what screen name you left it under.

We give away one book for every five written reviews that we get and we announced the winner on the Friday Roundup. So MK, how many winners do we have today?

MK: Well, guys, today we have one winner and that is Melody. Melody writes, “I'm the kind of person who loves to learn and this podcast delivers something valuable every week. I've made many changes in my life since binging ChooseFI for several weeks.

Brad and Jonathan make personal finance seem relatable and I've may change us for the better as a result of the content. The best part though is that ChooseFI goes beyond finances and creates opportunities for personal growth and reflection that have made a world of difference in my life.

As a divorced mother of two, I've often fallen into the habit of sacrificing every bit of my time and energy into my kids in their happiness. This podcast reminded me that it's okay to get excited about things I want to do and opportunities to explore my passions.

As a result, I'm a better mom, a good example of a strong and resilient woman for my kids. Thank you Brad and Jonathan for sharing this content and changing my life.”

Jonathan: Wow.

Brad: Yeah, that's amazing. Congratulations to you, Melody, for listening and taking action. That's the hardest part. Actually, taking steps to make your life better, so huge thanks to you.

Jonathan: To our audience, maybe this is the first episode that you have ever listened to, and maybe part of you is saying, “What did I just get myself into? Sounds cool, but how do I get started?”

Let me just encourage you. Get started today. We've tried to make it easy. We realized there's three years of content and you could, definitely could just start at episode one and work your way through, but if you want to deep dive into the content, we've created a completely free infographic for you, which helps you get into that core content as it fits your life.

To access that, just go to choosefi.com/start. Get started on your path to Financial Independence today. All right, my friends, we'll see you next time as we continue to go down the road less traveled.

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4 thoughts on “169R | Prepared, Not Scared”

  1. Great episode. I totally agree with adding “surviving your first market drop” as a pillar. There are so many younger people in this space who have mainly experienced a straight up market, I think more attention should be given to dealing with bear markets and corrections.

  2. with the market down…would now be a good time to convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA? It seems like it would limit the amount of capital gains and you could put the money into the same exact investments in the Roth…is my thinking right?

  3. Guys,
    Can you perhaps go back and review 165R comments? This show was great as usual, unfortunately in 165R there were a few mistakes with the reference to the tax treatment on 401k and IRA accounts. I heard the correction to the TSP issues, but haven’t heard a discussion of the other issues that a few of us noted on that episode. Again, love the show.

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