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Why You Need an Emergency Fund Already

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It was so innocent. I mean, we just used the toilet as we were leaving the house. We had no idea it would leak in the bathroom, go through the living-room ceiling and drip on our wooden floor.

The leak had been slowly building up for the last 10 days.

The 5 Best Articles of 2015

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Happy New Year y’all!

2015 has been amazing for me on many fronts.

I started this blog in January 2015. Then I got a promotion in April. In May, I got married to my beautiful wife and went on a honeymoon to Greece in June. We bought a house in November and finally moved in right before Christmas.

Now slowly settling in, we are wrapping up 2015 and moving on to a new year. A new year with many expectations, many goals and many new challenges.

But let’s put that aside for a minute. For now, this is a time to reflect and enjoy the year that has just passed.

I have listed for you below the 5 Best Articles on The Money Mine in 2015.

Also there were a couple of interviews on friendly blogs : Financial Independence Interview from Even Steven Money and 10 questions with The Money Mine at 1500 days. Have look if you want to know some (secret) details about me!

3 reasons to have a strategy for Financial Independence

Better not get lost
Better not get lost

We all have goals. Some are short term, some are longer term and we know all too well that life has a tendency of getting in the way of our ambitions.

This is where a Financial Independence Strategy is helpful, to keep us focused on the important goals and not get lost when life gets in the way. more…

Pay cash or finance? The ultimate guide

Confused
Confused? (credits : Ryan McGuire)

There are several articles out there on the topic of “Pay cash vs Finance”, which usually conclude that “it depends”. Or do whatever ‘feels’ right. But we won’t reach FI trusting our feelings (I know I can’t!). Let’s get the real answer.

Would you like to make some more money? more…

Set yourself up for success and Join the Million Dollar Club

Don't just stand there
Having a plan could really help me! / (Jeff Sheldon)

Reaching the 1M$ net worth is actually a very simple game and most people in America
could achieve this goal. There are almost 10M of those millionaires in the US alone! When you make it to 1M$, you become part of the top 10%.

But much more importantly, you’ll be welcomed to the J.Money Million Dollar Club and be part of this 163 members strong Club. The Double Comma Club.

To give myself the most chances to join the Club, I need a plan. And a commitment. more…

How I sold my multi million dollar business by Steve Miller

Early Retirement destination / (Kris Guico)
Early Retirement destination / (Kris Guico)

Today I am featuring Steve Miller who reached Early Retirement at the age of 50 after selling his multi-million dollar software company. It’s the amazing story of a journey to FI/RE, about the power of long term goals and what actually happens in Early Retirement.

As a bonus, Steve also shares some cool pieces of wisdom throughout the article and advices for aspiring entrepreneurs.

I hope you find it as inspiring as I did. Enjoy! more…

You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate

You get what you negotiate
You get what you negotiate! / (Gratisography)

Everything in life is negotiable. Negotiations can be extremely difficult, but in my career as a negotiator, I’ve come to realize that there’s only 1 rule that really matters. It’s simple and every one should start using it right now to get what they deserve. more…

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Hope you all have a safe holidays and we’ll get back together next week for our weekly posting schedule!

-Nick

The Fed’s Rate Hike explained

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When the US economy crashed in 2007-09 following the sub-prime crisis, the banking system froze. The Fed brought its interest down to 0% and effectively ‘doped’ the economy for 8 years with very cheap money. This ended this Wednesday, the 16th, when the Fed increased its rate for the time since the crisis by a smallish 0.25%.

It looks like non-event and by itself it is. What is represents, however, is a big deal.

A sick patient

In the aftermath of 2007-09 and the collapse of Lehman Brothers, a huge issue of trust prevented the system from working properly. Banks would net lend money to each others, liquidity was missing and many businesses saw their lifeline cut. Bankruptcies followed, increasing the trust issue and re-inforcing the problem.

When businesses borrow money from the banks, the banks themselves get their borrowings from the Fed. The basic cost of borrowing comes from the interest rate the Fed applies on funds that the banks leave with the Fed overnight.

Technically, it’s the best and lowest interest rate available on the market so everything else is priced based on that rate: mortgage rates (eg. 30 years), car loans (eg. 5 years) and credit card rates (eg. 1 month). But savings rate (consumers lending to the bank) are also affected by this rate.

And a powerful medicine

Prior to the 2007-09 crisis, the Fed’s rate was set at 5.25%, meaning this was the cheapest rate at which the banks could borrow cash overnight. After the crisis started, to boost liquidity and promote lending, the Fed decreased its lending rate 10 times in 14 months to almost 0%.

This dramatic decrease remained within the 0% – 0.25% range for almost 6 years.

With all this cheap money and the subsequent Quantitative Easing, debt became very cheap and the housing market started to turn around. Companies borrowed at very low levels, regained confidence and started to hire again. Unemployment has fallen dramatically and companies are now making record profits.

Debt is so cheap that companies have started to borrow to buy-back their shares to boost EPS, pushing stock prices higher still. Awash with debt and equity, M&A deals have accelerated. Too much of a good thing can be dangerous and the Fed is also aware of that.

What comes down must go up

All this cheap money has been a boost to the economy and lowering interest rates is one of the easiest ways a central bank can control inflation and therefore growth. When the economy stalls, it lower the rates to stimulate it. When the economy overheats, it increases the rates to cool it down.

As long as the rates are set at 0%, the Fed doesn’t have much leverage to dope the economy again were it to go into recession again. Additionally, when rates remain low for a prolonged period of time, inflation expectations also go down towards deflation. Deflation becomes a problem when people and business stop spending in anticipation of future costs being lower than the current costs. Another vicious circle that feeds itself. This is why the Fed has a target inflation of around 2%.

Why it’s a big deal

An increase of Fed rate by 0.25% is by no mean going to impact your life or mine tomorrow. Maybe mortgage rate will go up a little and possibly the interest that we get on our savings account will start to increase next year. But other than, impact is negligible.

What will be visible to you and me and every consumer is what comes next.

According to the latest’s FOMC minutes, the Fed’s expectations are that rates will keep increasing for the next 3 years:

  • 2015: 0.4%
  • 2016: 1.4%
  • 2017: 2.6%
  • 2018: 3.4%

In 2018, mortgage rates could be around 7-8% again. House prices should come down as a result. Savings account may finally generate more than 0.1%, making people more wiling to save. Bond yields will increase and as the risk associated to a 5% return decreases, investment in stocks should decrease as well. Stock prices should then be expected to grow more slowly, or not grow at all.

Conclusion

So the rate hike that the Fed triggered this Wednesday is no big event in itself.

But the indication that it is on a path to raising rates back to normal levels over the next few years is a significant change.

Till then, many of us still have a Christmas celebration to prepare and gifts to buy wrap. Enjoy the good time with your friends and family. We are taking a 2-week break ourselves, starting this week-end and we will be back in January with lots of a good stuff. Stay tuned 🙂

Happy holidays everyone,

-Nick

How to Forecast a Market Downturn like Warren Buffett

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No-one can predict the movements of the stock market in the near future. But it is possible to forecast how it will evolve long-term. In fact, this is precisely what Warren Buffett does for a living and he has taught us how to forecast

And it tells us that our investments are at risk.

6 Podcasts to Reach Financial Independence Faster

I am so relaxed. This blanket of warmth and peace around me feels amazing. This hour of yoga yesterday really did have a powerful impact on the quality of my sleep. If only people knew how great it is, everyone would be trying yoga.

A few seconds into this bliss and my phone vibrates, indicating that it’s time for me to get up, stop dreaming and get to work. It’s 5:50am and I’m… what? It’s 5:50am! The alarm should have rang 30min ago. My 7am meeting looks dangerously close.

Hurried breakfast. Expedited shower. A few (20min) later I’m in my car driving to the office half asleep awake.

Now I have two options to wake me up during my commute:

  1. The Rock Station that satisfies my earbuds,
  2. The Personal Finance podcasts that turn my brain on.

Now if you’re like me, you know how difficult it is to wake up at 5am when you tend to be more productive after midnight.

But what a delight this is to commute and learn something in the process. I’ve listened to many podcasts this year, here is my selection of Personal Finance and Entrepreneurship podcasts.

Smart Passive Income Podcast with Pat Flynn

Smart Passive Income Podcast

One of my favorite podcasts. Pat is an expert in affiliate marketing and the creation of passive income. His interviews cover a wide range of businesses models but focuses on the entrepreneurs and how they created successful business models. I like these podcasts because they are ‘to the point’ and a great source of knowledge for anyone interesting in entrepreneurship.

Duration 45min — Periodicity 1 / week

So Money with Farnoosh Torabi

farnoosh_so_money podcastFarnoosh started her career with Jim Cramer to start TheStreet.com TV and, by the way, recently interviewed him. She has interviewed many celebrities of the Personal Finance Community including Paula Rant (#187), Mr and Ms Money Mustache (#173 & #164), J. Money (#43), Robert Kiyosaki (#8) and much more. Check it out!

Duration 40min — Periodicity 5 / week

Financial Independence Podcast with Madfientist

Madfientist podcast

The Madfientist podcast isn’t exactly the most regularly updated, but each episode is great. I especially like the fact that I can hear about my favorite bloggers like JL Collins NH, Go Curry Cracker, 1500days, JD Roth and Mr Money Mustache. It’s perfect for a 2-week Madfientist podcast binge.

Duration 30-40min — Periodicity 3 / year

Entrepreneurs On Fire with John Lee Dumas

EOF podcast

Possibly the most active podcast that I know of, there are over 1000 episodes as of this writing. Similarly to the SPI Podcast, John interviews entrepreneurs but focuses more on their story, how they became entrepreneurs, the best advices they have received, their habits for success… The EOFire podcast is a daily dose of motivation for all (aspiring and current) entrepreneurs!

Duration 30min — Periodicity 7 / week

The Fizzle Show

The Fizzle Show PodcastAs opposed to all the podcasts above, the Fizzle Show is hosted by 4 energized presenters that make entrepreneurship discussions highly entertaining. The combined wealth of experience  that the 4 hosts bring the audience is high quality. It’s a format that will appeal to folks who prefer the a dynamic talk show to a 1:1 interview.

Duration 1h — Periodicity 1 / week

Unemployable with Brian Clark

Unemployable PodcastBrian is the cofounder of CopyBlogger and CEO of Rainmaker digital and I like his approach to conducting interviews and doing business. He has a clean and simple approach that makes the topics highly accessible.

Duration 25 min – Periodicity 1 / week

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Hope you find interest in these podcasts as much as I do. If there are other podcasts that you like and listen to, please share in the comments I’d love to know!

-Nick

Happy Thanksgiving and a big Thank You!

Thanksgiving is upon us and for many it means a break away from our full-time jobs and quality time with our loved ones. It’s also a time for me to thank you, my dear readers!

Should you Buy Mortgage Points?

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As we move forward with our home purchase, this week was the occasion to discuss with our lender the purchase of mortgage points. Points can be a great investment, but not necessarily for everyone. So should you buy points on your mortgage?

The Fed is Having a Party and Everyone Has Left

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Last week, the NYTimes held a conference where investors and CEO were interviewed on the theme of “Playing for the Long Term”. Because, after the conference, you really understand that the short-term does not look good.

4 Articles and 1 Podcast that made me smarter this month

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As a Personal Finance blogger, I love the diversity of view-points and topics that are around us and some of the content is really great. It helps me understand some of the big trends and make better decisions on my own journey to Financial Independence.

I’ve selected for you 4 great articles and 1 podcast that made me smarter in October.

3 Ways to Check that a Rental Property is a Good Investment

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The purchase of a house is the largest investment we typically ever make. It would sure be a good idea that it’s also a good investment. But how do you calculate the yield on a house?