Designing your life

I am obsessed with the film Everything Everywhere All at Once. From the moment I saw the trailer, I knew the movie was meant for me. I was right. The film's bizarre blend of action, philosophy, science fiction, taxes, and juvenile humor feels specifically targeted to me and my brain.

For those unfamiliar, here's a quick plot synopsis.

Evelyn and Waymond Wang own a laundromat. Their business is failing, their marriage is fracturing, and so is their relationship with Joy, their daughter. During a meeting with the IRS, Evelyn is visited by a version of her husband from a parallel universe. He says that the multiverse — all of the many parallel universes — is under attack from an evil being named Jobu Tupaki, and Evelyn is the only one who can save it. The rest of the film is about Evelyn overcoming her skepticism and discovering her true power (and Waymond's).

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More about...Career, Money Mindset

How to change careers in 12 months (or less)

After spending a decade as a pastor, I realized in May of 2018 that I was ready to make a drastic career change...into personal finance education.

I’ve always loved to write, so I wanted to first see if I could actually make money writing about personal finance. But I made a commitment to myself. In one year's time, I was going to have a day job where I helped people learn how to handle their money wisely. The question was just in what capacity.

So I set a deadline for myself. If I hadn’t figured out a way by May 2019 to make enough money as a freelance writer to pay the bills, I would get certified as a teacher and apply to be an economics teacher at local high schools.

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Should I stay or should I go? Wrestling with the decision to quit a career

J.D.'s note: In the olden days at Get Rich Slowly, I shared reader stories every Sunday. I haven't done that since I re-purchased the site because nobody sends them to me anymore. But earlier this year, Mike did. I love it. I hope you will too.

Earlier this year, I sent my wife a text message: "On a scale of 1 to 10, how freaked out would you be if I quit my job this afternoon?"

My wife and I had only been married a short while, but she'd known since our second date that I didn't plan to work in my traditional job until normal retirement age. She also knew that I hadn't been very happy at work in recent months.

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More about...Career, Retirement

Why “follow your passion” is bad advice

When I sat down to take my AP Computer Science exam at the end of high school, I knew it would be bad. As a class, we had no idea what we were doing for the entire year. Our teacher was in his last year of teaching and had already given up on us.

We entered the gym hopeless, a ragtag bunch made up of students who really just wanted to avoid taking statistics. The test began, and immediately three boys in the first row put their heads down for a nap.

I stared blankly at the first free-response question:

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Inside jobs: What do people do all day?

Last week, I found myself revisiting the fantastic Inside Jobs project from The Atlantic. Atlantic staffers interviewed 103 American workers from all walks of life. The magazine then collected those interviews into a single, unified website.

Here's how one of the project's leaders describes her aims:

So much of my aspiration for this project was to hear from people affected by the realities that business writers so often cover: what it's like to be a minority in a workplace, or the challenges of working parenthood, or the struggle to remain relevant as an industry changes. And we succeeded in finding those types of stories — for example, the three female lawyers who started their own firm, or the coal miner who is adapting to the focus on clean energy. Continue reading...

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How to do great work

I've been frustrated lately with the quality and quantity of my work. I haven't produced as much here at Get Rich Slowly as I would like -- due largely to Fincon and its aftermath (calls and meetings, calls and meetings) -- and what work I have produced isn't as good as I would like. This lack of productivity makes me agitated, which makes me even less productive because I'm not in a good place mentally. It's a vicious circle.

Richard Hamming How nice, then, to rediscover the transcript of a 30-year-old talk from Richard Hamming, a former math and computer professor and researcher. (Hamming was also part of the team that worked on the Manhattan Project during World War Two.) Hamming titled his talk, which he presented on 07 March 1986, "You and Your Research," but his actual subject was how to do great work.

I re-read the transcript this morning while I was once more feeling exasperated with how little time I've had for writing lately. (For me, writing is my yardstick for productivity. It doesn't matter how much other work I've been doing behind the scenes here; if I'm not publishing, I'm not happy.) Although this talk discusses the work of researchers and scientists, I believe that much of the advice applies to me and to writing. I suspect that many of you will find its lessons valuable too.

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Building a better resume

Yesterday at the Financial Careers forum on Reddit, a user named /u/unfoldcareers posted some useful advice for job-seekers. "I've reviewed and screened thousands of resumes," /u/unfoldcareers writes, "and I'm sharing my preferred resume format...along with my best resume advice."

The poster notes that "bad resume format" leads most folks to get little or nor response to their job applications. To help current job hunters, /u/unfoldcareers created a free resume template that can be downloaded via Google Docs.

Ideal Resume Format

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Saving more and working longer: Two powerful ways to increase your retirement resources

The July 2018 issue of the AAII Journal -- the monthly publication of the American Association of Individual Investors -- includes an intersting article about how to "increase your retirement resources". This plain English piece summarizes some of the findings from the authors' research paper "The Power of Working Longer".

According to the article, there are three primary factors that determine "the adequacy of retirement resources". Those are:

  • When a person begins participating in an employer-sponsored saving plan,
  • What percentage of their earnings they save in such a plan (i.e., their saving rate), and
  • At what age they retire and begin taking Social Security benefits.

Until Elon Musk invents a time submarine, it's impossible for a worker to go back to their youth and begin saving for retirement earlier. Because of this, the authors focused their research on the relative power of saving more and working longer.

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More about...Retirement, Career

How to earn more money: Three ways to boost your income

If you want to build wealth, it pays to earn more moneyThere's no question that frugality is an important part of personal finance -- you can't outearn dumb spending -- but trying to get rich by pinching pennies is like trying to win a car race by conserving gas. If you want to reach the finish line fast, you can't be shy with the accelerator!

Today I want to explore a better way to boost your savings. Let's talk about how you can earn more money. Whether you're self-employed or working for somebody else, your income is determined by three factors:

  • Your knowledge and skills. If you want to earn more, it pays to learn more.
  • Your productivity. Both the quality and the quantity of your work affect how much people are willing to pay you.
  • Your ability to sell yourself. To be paid what you're worth, you have to ask for it.

If you want to earn more money, you have to become more valuable in the job marketplace -- and demonstrate that value for the market to see. Let's look at how to make that happen.

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How to negotiate your salary (and earn an extra half-million dollars in your lifetime)

Some folks claim that if you do what you love, the money will follow. Others say that a job is just a job — you're not meant to like it. The truth lies somewhere between these two extremes. There are few things worse than a job you hate; and many people enjoy fun, fulfilling careers while earning a good living.

Whatever the case, any job is more bearable if you're paid well. Plus, a high wage means more money to pursue your goals and dreams. One of the best ways to increase your income is at the source: during salary negotiations when you land a job.

Why You Should Negotiate Your Salary

Negotiating Your Salary For many people, salary negotiations are awkward or scary. But in his book Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute, career coach Jack Chapman argues that those few minutes during which you ask for more money in an interview can make a difference of tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime. Maybe even hundreds of thousands. He says you can literally earn $1,000 per minute if you do this right. Continue reading...

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