Slicing Through Money's Mysteries
Published: 10/07/2022 by 137 Comments
Enjoy your life, no matter the economic situation. If you do, then you’ll always be winning. The key is to recognize reality and take appropriate action.
If the Fed raises the Fed Funds rate to 4.5% and keeps it there while inflation and the stock market plummet, the world will be temporarily ruined. As the global recession deepens, millions will lose their jobs, banks will go bust, and trillions of wealth will evaporate.
All the good done by governments to support billions of people during the pandemic will have been for nothing. Can you imagine struggling through a pandemic for three years, finally coming up for air only to be run over by a speedboat driven by a rich central banker?
When you are worth ~$100 million, as Fed Chair Jerome Powell most certainly is, you may not care as much about the middle class as you do about your legacy. Instead, you want the history books to emphasize how you were tough on inflation and gloss over the human suffering caused by your decisions.
What Jerome Powell, Neel Kashkari, and other central bankers fail to realize is they are quickly turning into public enemy #1. You can’t say things like, “We are seeing almost no evidence that underlying inflation is coming down,” when real-time evidence says otherwise.
In the beginning, the rich and mass affluent class will object to an overly aggressive Fed as they see their investments lose value. But nobody cares how the rich feel. The key is the middle class.
Mass layoffs always come after stocks collapse. The average person can stomach paying higher food prices. But they have a tougher time accepting being laid off while their central bankers are still gainfully employed and worth eight and nine figures.
Smart employees will get ahead of the curve and try to negotiate a severance before mass layoffs begin. After all, the first people to get laid off tend to have the best severance packages. Further, the sooner you get a severance, the sooner you can get in line to do something new.
Let’s imagine Fed governors are sipping cognac and eating caviar on a balcony at Jerome’s mega-mansion. After all, they sold before the bear market began.
They’re having a merry good time while looking down upon us peasants. Jerome nudges Lael who nudges Michael who nudges Neel to play “Hoops.”
Jerome says, “Whoever can throw an hors d’oeuvre into one of the beggars’ bowls below gets a point! Everybody else has to take a shot of XO. First to five points wins!” Everybody cackles and cheers with glee.
Please don’t depend on politicians or central bankers to help you. They spent and cut way too much in 2020 and 2021, and now they are going to constrict and hike way too much now. To enjoy your life, you must look out for yourself!
I used to think the Fed would pivot before getting to 4.5% on the Fed Funds rate. At the very least, the Fed would acknowledge the signs of moderating inflation. But now I’m not so sure.
Therefore, it’s worth thinking about what you would do in extreme situations so you can be better prepared. On the off chance an unfortunate situation occurs, you won’t be surprised.
This is typical premortem planning. You write out the three things to do in case of a car accident so that if you do get into one, you know what to do. The shock doesn’t completely override your brain.
The main thing you must decide during a global recession is whether to work harder or enjoy life more. You might want to work harder to increase your chances of keeping your job. Or you might want to coast because the return on your effort is no longer there. I believe the latter is the wiser move.
Here are my thoughts on how to enjoy life more in a situation of imprudent monetary policy according to the U.N.
Although a global recession sounds scary, usually only the bottom 10 percent of performers are let go. But the media will amplify the doom and gloom stories of those being laid off. As a result, you may feel more at risk than you actually are.
In October 2009, the unemployment rate peaked at about 10 percent. It has since steadily fallen to about 3.5 percent today. Worst case, the unemployment rate could surge back to 10 percent by 2024.
You don’t have to outrun a bear. You just need to outrun the slowest person in the crowd.
Hence, do enough at work to be in the middle 40 – 60 percent of performers. If you want to really take a gamble, you can try to be in the 11 – 20 percent of performers. But I don’t recommend it.
During a global recession your return on effort is low. Therefore, the logical move is to work less since performance isn’t rewarded. You could bust your ass working 60 hours a week only to get paid less. During a Fed-induced crisis, your company’s share price is likely to lose value.
Quiet quit harder. Ask to work from home more. Take longer lunch breaks. Leave earlier to pick up your kids from school. Refuse to travel when Zoom meetings will suffice.
The name of the game is to focus on more important or fun things while you wait out the recession. If you really want to do something new, try and negotiate a severance and explore the world.
The opportunity cost of not working during a recession is much lower. Conversely, when the economy is going gangbusters, you want to try and capture as much financial upside as possible.
Given I don’t have a day job, I can’t get fired from one. But I can do things to simplify life.
The first thing I will do is cut my posting frequency down from three to two a week. Then I will reduce my weekly newsletter to once every two weeks. I’ll probably drop my podcasting to once a month.
The frequencies should still be enough to keep readers, listeners, and myself engaged. But it will help reduce self-imposed pressure as I return to re-retirement. I told myself I would publish three times a week for 10 years starting in July 2009. So I already achieved my goal long ago. Online revenue is just a nice bonus.
Another thing I might do is shut off the comments section completely for a while. Even though it’s always interesting to read different perspectives, there is a ton of spam I have to wade through every day. Then there are the occasional hateful comments or irrelevant comments. Shutting down comments saves time and reduces stress.
Finally, what helped get me through the first two years of the pandemic was writing Buy This, Not That. Having a big goal to accomplish was a defiant way of not letting a terrible situation defeat me. Hence, if bad times are here for another 12-18 months, I could write another book to keep me busy.
You don’t get rich writing a book. But you do stay occupied and have a triumphant reward once it’s published. Financial Samurai was born out of the global financial crisis. It’s always nice to make lemonade during difficult times. Heck, I may even get into the best shape of my life!
For those with children, one of the best things to have come out of the pandemic was the ability to spend more time at home with your children. Plenty of adult children moved back in with their parents as well.
From all the feedback I’ve gotten since 2020, nobody has told me they regret spending more time with their parents, siblings, or kids. Instead, the regrets come from those who didn’t take advantage of the situation to relocate closer to parents or adult children.
Even though 2020 and 2021 were difficult times, I will always appreciate our family’s local outings. We went on so many great nature walks. Homeschooling accelerated learning and provided for better accommodations. I also learned to be a better parent.
Once you have a basic amount of financial security, money, career, and status are unimportant when compared to family.
If I reduce my Financial Samurai work from 20 hours a week to 10-15 hours a week, I will dedicate 70% of the free time to my kids.
My daughter turns three in December 2022, which means it’ll be go time for me to be more present. Three is when memories really begin to stick. It was also the age my son consistently began to warm up to me.
It’s easy to put everything you’ve got into your first child and slowly not spend as much time with every subsequent child. I’m sure I haven’t spent as much time with my daughter as I did my son at the same age. Therefore, I plan to course correct.
My biggest goals are to teach my kids how to ride a bike, scooter, and swim. At six years old, I remember the moment when I realized I was riding my bike on my own without anybody pushing me. Magical! I can’t wait for my kids to experience the same thing.
A deepening global recession will help improve our family relationships because it will reduce the temptation to spend time making money. The problem with money is there is an endless amount of money to make. It’s often hard to quit even if you have enough.
If you find new love, the sting of losing so much money in a global recession will fade away. Remember the feeling of meeting someone you like for the first time? So wonderful!
If you’ve already found the love of your life, work on improving existing or new friendships. If misery loves company, then building better relationships during a financial crisis should be easier.
Given I already have my wife, I’m good to go on the life partner front. However, it would be nice to have another close friend or two.
I tried softball, but the demographic was a little off (most were much younger than me). Tennis is the easiest avenue since I play for a couple of league teams. I’m going to arrange more doubles matches and drinks afterward opportunities.
The next way to find adult friends is through fellow parents at my son’s school. The trick is giving my son time to find consistent friends and then arranging playdates with their parents. Hopefully, we parents will get along. But it won’t always be the case.
Ideally, our families get along so well that we go on family vacations together. Finding such relationships takes effort, which is why we’re committed to going to every school-related event.
A good thing about a global recession is declining flight and hotel prices. With the pandemic winding down, there’s no time like now to travel everywhere. If you are earning U.S. dollars, it is at its strongest level in decades, making international travel even more affordable.
Given it’s tough to make money at work or with your business, you might as well take all your vacation days to see the world. Go see the ancient temples in Anger Wat, Cambodia. Visit the pyramids in Egypt. Travel to Paris for the French Open. You won’t regret it!
When you travel internationally, time seems to stand still. All the stress and responsibility back home seems to melt away. Back before we had kids, I dreamt of being a travel blogger. It was one of my favorite ways to enjoy life.
For the summer vacation of 2023, we may travel to Taiwan. Taiwan, like many other Asian countries, has finally dropped its quarantine policy for international travelers. No more do we have to isolate in a hotel room for one-to-two weeks.
Taiwan is an affordable country with friendly people and fantastic food. I think it would be a great experience for our kids to learn more Mandarin. I grew up there from first to fourth grade and have fond memories.
The great thing about traveling in June 2023 is that my kids should be old enough to remember. They will be six and three and a half. What a shame to travel to a faraway place only to not remember. The best time to travel abroad with kids is after they turn five.
I also have this grand plan of living in various cities for years at a time until our kids hit high school. I grew up in Manila, Lusaka, Kobe, Taipei, and Kuala Lumpur until the eighth grade and loved the experiences. But it was gut-wrenching to leave my friends behind in middle school.
Hence, we would probably stay in one place from seventh grade until high school graduation. We have the ability to live anywhere. The question is whether we will have the motivation to live exciting lives.
Here’s a picture of reader Steve with best-seller Buy This, Not That (Amazon) at Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. His career enables him to live abroad and help countries develop. What a fantastic combo!
Reading more great books during a global recession is one of my absolute favorite activities.
Without going through the global financial crisis, I wouldn’t have started Financial Samurai. I would probably still be working at my boring job with a lot more stress and health problems today. If that was the case, I’m sure I would be constantly wondering whether there was more to life.
But instead, the global financial crisis pushed me to change. It spurred me to finally propose to my girlfriend, start this site, and figure a way out through a severance negotiation. Despite having less money, I was happier due to having more freedom.
So let’s look forward to a Fed-induced economic meltdown! It will finally spur us to do things we’ve been putting off for too long. Because once the water of money recedes, you’re left focusing on what’s most important.
Readers, how do you plan to enjoy life more after the Fed ruins the world? All ideas welcome! Does a global financial recession reduce your temptation to make money? Or are you working harder to try and not lose as much money?
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Filed Under: Career & Employment, Health & Fitness, Motivation, Retirement, Travel
Author Bio: I started Financial Samurai in 2009 to help people achieve financial freedom sooner. Financial Samurai is now one of the largest independently run personal finance sites with about one million visitors a month.
I spent 13 years working at Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse. In 1999, I earned my BA from William & Mary and in 2006, I received my MBA from UC Berkeley.
In 2012, I left banking after negotiating a severance package worth over five years of living expenses. Today, I enjoy being a stay-at-home dad to two young children, playing tennis, and writing.
Order a hardcopy of my new WSJ bestselling book, Buy This, Not That: How To Spend Your Way To Wealth And Freedom. Not only will you build more wealth by reading my book, you’ll also make better choices when faced with some of life’s biggest decisions.
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October 10, 2022 at 3:03 pm
you guys think a 4.5% rate is high? you are kidding right?
October 10, 2022 at 5:21 pm
Not for people with lots of cash. It’s great to be able to buy Treasuries yielding a risk-free 4.5% for years. Passive income going up!
The question will be how long the fed funds rate will stay at 4.5% as inflation on the stock market crashes. As a retiree, I’m focused on cash flow.
October 10, 2022 at 10:03 am
I could never do what you you did working that long in investment banking, an absolutely soul sucking meat grinder of an occupation. No wonder you plotted an escape – good for you.
I’ve been in technology sales since the dot com bubble and it has been an incredible ride, one where I’ve rarely worked 40 hours a week, let alone the hours you had to put in. Being in Silicon Valley I see and know lots of very successful people, from friends met throgh kids to friends I’ve made at my golf club and customers, and the one common element with the most successful people is they are still working. Some of them are very competitive golf and tennis players yet once you’re in the big leagues in technology there is a rush that’s hard to replicate.
A few questions as I am a first time poser:
1. Why do you live in SF with kids? So many nicer parts of the Bay area to reside with great preschools that aren’t social status proxies.
2. Do you think your passive income real estate investing strategy is going to be impossible to replicate moving forward as the Fed seems determined to punish the mis-allocation of capital to real estate over the prior 2 decades?
3. Don’t you think Quiet Quitting has deleterious psychological effects for most people with a brain that likes intellectual competition?
Finance is super boring and requires lots of hours, but sales is pretty easy if you have the personality and can learn how to create value.
Keep up the great work on this blog.
October 10, 2022 at 1:07 pm
It’s great you have found an occupation that provides meaning to you, that you enjoy. What kind of Tak do you sell?
I did enjoy Finance for about 10 years, then it got boring because it was the same old thing and then the market collapsed in 2008. I really wanted to focus on doing something that was more helpful.
1 What other places do you recommend in the Bay Area to raise kids that are better than Sam Francisco? Where do you live?
2 I think real estate is going to be an even greater demand once the correction is over. People losing so much money in Stocks now is a great reminder of how much more stable and sticky real estate and real estate rents are.
3) No. I think they provide positive effects because people can improve their mental health and focus on doing things they enjoy.
A great thing about life is that we do things we enjoy and stop doing things we don’t. Everything is long term rational.
October 10, 2022 at 4:08 pm
Thanks for the response.
Background is in software, spent most of my career in silicon but am now back in software and loving it.
You know the good areas – Piedmont or LaMorInda if you wnat EB, Peninsula down to South Bay if that better suits you. Bay Area outside SF/OAK has the best public schools in the state. Our local South Bay high school is an ideal 50/50 asian/caucasian mix with the elementary/middle/high schools all within walking distance. Friday Night Lights, the whole bit.
Your real estate strategy worked because of cheap credit, which is a thing of the past. We are entering an era of permanently elevated inflation driven at its core by onshoring – having spent a few years very intimately involved with billion $ levels of hardware mfg I can tell you there is NO China substitue for mfg – endless supply of migrant labor that is conditioned to work as hard as they can to please mgt and they always work the OT. Try getting that level of productivity out of a factory anywhere else, not to mention losing the benefit of the world’s supply chain in the Pearl River Delta…inflation and high rates are here to stay for a while. I also feel the Fed is signaling hard their intent to crush the speculative and income real estate sectors and force dollars back into Treasuries and equities, and force people back into the labor market to boost labor force participation rate. Killing these 2 markets with expensive debt and no govt backstops will restore traditonal pricing signals and, ther Fed hopes, drive down rents by making income real estate investing unprofitable at current valuations. I see the 30 yr hitting 9% next year and staying elevated for the rest of the decade.
I don’t think Quiet Quitting generates a positive mindset for people working now – if anything it likely creates more stress. My sector (cloud software) is booming and I am super excited for what the next 10 years until I plan to retire holds.
October 10, 2022 at 5:11 pm
Glad you find software sales to be very meaningful. I’ve had the exact opposite feedback from people in software sales who told me they quit because there was no meeting to their software sales jobs. They told me that when they look back on their lives, they won’t feel good trying to hit monthly quotas to sell software for productivity management or whatever.
So that just goes to show you how lucky you are to enjoy what you do and that everybody has different feelings about their occupations. We have to decide what moves us and change if we don’t like what we do. I disliked my banking job after 10 years, but some people I used to work with in 2012 are now on their 20th or 30th year.
I really enjoy the beauty and diversity of San Francisco. I think there’s a high correlation of satisfaction between whether you can comfortably afford to live somewhere or not. And people will rationally be supportive of where they live, especially if they move. The more expensive a city, the more people will dislike it. It’s just the way it is.
Do you expect rents to go down in an inflationary environment? Because so far, I have not seen this at all. Rents tend to follow inflation. But of course, double digit rent increases cannot last.
Higher interest rates are also great for retirees. I am thankful to be able to earn a 4.4% risk free return on Treasuries. Check out my post on buying Treasures. $44,000 in risk-free income without having to pay state taxes on a $1 million investment is pretty nice. Just last year, we could only get $15,000 a year in risk-free income. As a result, there is no need to work as hard if you have the capital.
October 10, 2022 at 5:33 pm
I’m super happy about my private real estate and physical rental properties. They are doing phenomenally well in the spare market. Rents continue to go up and I wish I had even more real estate. So I will be waiting for some opportunities to buy real estate over the next 18 to 24 months.
October 10, 2022 at 7:35 pm
Yeah, the outperformance has been incredible so far in 2022. Returns will fade, but 2022 is another reminder why I prefer investing in real estate over stocks, especially as a retiree. I’m glad I invested congruently with my beliefs. I hope everyone does!
October 10, 2022 at 8:19 am
Nobody can see the future, but with all the upheaval, we felt that slower times were probably coming and that is one of the reasons we decided to expand our family again. I’m also doing another professional credential in the down time and putting more energy into my volunteer job with the family centre.
That should keep us busy!
As for the job market, well the wages aren’t high enough for my husband to go back to work and I work casually just to keep a little more status than SAHM. I’ve already been mailing it in forever and work seems to put up with it. At my new job, they promoted me to an easier position with more money this last week. Maybe the whole underdog ruse is the way to go!
October 10, 2022 at 1:08 pm
Sounds like a plan! Love being the underdog. Lower expectations and easier to outperform if we want to.
October 10, 2022 at 6:40 am
This post has me scratching my head. What will I do to enjoy life in a recession? The same thing I do to enjoy life at any other time. Money might make life easier, but my happiness and fulfillment don’t depend on the economy.
October 10, 2022 at 9:16 am
I agree, Mary, we should always focus on being happy. I didn’t come from much and my Dad always said: 1. There’s nothing wrong with not having a lot of $. At least you know people are being friends with you for you and not your $. 2. When you have $, share it, because you can’t take it with you.
I will say that I don’t share all of the doom & gloom on the economy for a few reasons: 1. Global inflation has been impacted by Covid supply chains (which are getting better every day), China (sigh), and the Russian war (UKR is doing their best to kick ass and end this ASAP) and I think most of this will ease up over the next 3-6 months. 2. I think the political climate is a bit amped-up heading into the midterms but I think the Dems narrowly hold the house and gain seats in the Senate, allowing them to make some policy decisions that will help things out (I know politics is a sensitive issue and many feel differently, so I am moving on from this). 3. I think the Fed will back off on things and not make them (any) worse. 4. There are just over 1 million fewer people here with us now due to Covid. 5. The unemployment #s are still really positive. We have about 6 million more job openings today than eligible workers. The unemployment rate for college grads with 3+ years of experience is 2.3%. Our economy & demographics were quite different in 2009.
because of all these factors, I believe that this downturn will not be anywhere near that level of severity. On top of all the other employment #s right now, many more boomers are retiring and there are not enough people to fill their positions. We have new roles in alternative energy, newly built assisted living and retirement facilities, blockchain, and crypto firms…all new in the last 13 years with many fewer people to work them. I think some people will be laid off. Unfortunately, likely those that can afford it the least, but I don’t think there will be nearly as many layoffs as some are predicting. We have been running on fumes when it comes to employee headcount for years and still need more people in most areas. Will a bank lay off some people in their mortgage processing area? Yes. Will that bank lay off thousands of people? No. They are going to train some of these mortgage people to do other roles in their firm that they haven’t been able to fill for the last 10 years (I know this for a fact, as I have discussed this exact situation with several banking clients) and I believe this will have a significant impact and eliminate the need for many of the layoffs. These factors added together will help make the dip short and less severe. The makeup of our workforce is very different than at any time in the past 100 years. For once, I think the ball bounces our way and this helps us move through this quickly and get things humming once again. Just my .02.
October 10, 2022 at 10:27 am
We won’t get all political here but any prediction that Dems will hold the House seems to be wishful thinking at this point. I just looked at 7 different polls and not one of them has the Dems holding the House and these are a collection of both liberal and conservative-leaning polls. The average consensus of all 7 polls has the Republicans up by 11 seats.
To be fair, these are still tight and anything can happen over the next 4 weeks but as confidence in the current administration continues to erode, that only favors the non-ruling party in a mid-term election. Dems do have a better chance of holding the Senate but that will also be close and definitely not a slam dunk.
October 10, 2022 at 1:09 pm
Wonderful! And it’s really great you are in a financial position where bad things in economy don’t matter to your lifestyle.
What were you doing back during the global financial crisis?
October 10, 2022 at 6:37 am
Long time reader, first time commenter.
Pretty much doing all except #3 as I have many good friends a wife already. Currently, travelling to europe then asia and home-basing in southeast Asia while I raise my 1 year old for a couple months.
October 10, 2022 at 4:42 am
Fun read; interesting perspective too.
I think maybe career stage plays a part in your cavalier attitude; it’s pretty logical to choose “living it up” over “work harder” when you’ve reached a level of wealth where the marginal benefit of another dollar is somewhat low.
I’m choosing the work harder route, but this is probably because I’m at a much earlier stage in my life. Not to mention that lean times call for lean measures, and there’s rarely a better time to earn that “workplace goodwill” than doing the job that no one else is willing to at the worst time. If you want to pull ahead from the pack, the best time is when everyone else is resting on their laurels.
October 10, 2022 at 6:36 am
I think you have a very healthy perspective and one that makes sense for the stage of your career and current net worth. I would never encourage everyone to give less than their best effort but I would encourage folks to work smarter and not harder where possible. To me, working harder should come with a tangible benefit to the one doing the work.
October 10, 2022 at 1:10 pm
Great attitude! And you are definitely right about how my perspective is different from others because I am at a different stage my career.
Building a goodwill during downtime is important to protect yourself and to benefit from the inevitable upswing. Best of luck to you!
October 10, 2022 at 3:17 am
Sam, your replies to many of the commenters on this post are very polite and graceful. My blood was boiling while reading some comments.
I took a few months off from work to work on my health due to burnout from work.
I booked a trip to the UK with my kid! Excited to go on an international trip, it’s been 3 years! Looking forward to stretch my USDs over there.
October 10, 2022 at 1:12 pm
Thanks Ceci. The comments come with a territory of being a blogger. After more than 13 years, I’m used to it. I just try to enjoy the process and observe the mood of readers based on what they say. It’s pretty fascinating how some interpret what I write.
I’m glad you were able to take some time off and heal! Enjoy the UK!
October 9, 2022 at 11:48 pm
Great article Sam! I didn’t just quiet quit my job. I fully quit my job and it is the best decision I ever made. I am spending more time with family and finally getting enough sleep. I am buying treasuries just like you. The I bond is an amazing deal and now with treasuries paying well I may never need a full time job again.
I may at some point take a job just for something to do, but the pandemic really put the importance of family in perspective. I enjoy college football a lot and one of the things I will never give up are my great seats to football games.
Enjoy all the freedom you have earned Sam, I read this blog regularly and love your take on life.
October 9, 2022 at 8:07 pm
I’ll probably read fewer blog comments, too much work…
October 9, 2022 at 7:39 pm
Wow! You’ve really brought out some of the crazies with your post on enjoying life more! lol
I guess nobody wants to face reality the Fed won’t pivot and bad times are likely to continue for a while.
My company’s stock price is down and management said cost-cutting measures will be conducted by year end. This is also a way to manage lower bonus expectations. So I will happily be “quiet quitting” and spending more time with my family!
We’re also planning a trip this winter to South America, where it’s summer. It feels good to take things down and not have to work so hard for the almighty dollar anymore. We all need a break!
October 9, 2022 at 6:42 pm
The over the top irrational irritation of the comments should cause concern…people are scared.
Your responses to objections sounds like a poker player on a losing streak… it’s been my experience from personally waisting way too many hours playing poker that winning only brings in happiness of 20% compared to the misery of 80% (4times as much) when you lose.
Your not used to losing in the stock market…
You really haven’t lost money in the equity markets, yes you have had set backs but the Fed always had your back…
Now the Fed actually has to do it’s mandated job and it’s not what the “investing class” likes…but it’s job to stabilize inflation and keep employment full.
You were wrong about inflation and interest rates.
Now your acting like a poker player that is on a losing streak… blaming the dealer or bad luck.
You like so many others have been on lucky streak because of Fed/ Government gifts…now you actually have to succeed on your own….good luck!
October 9, 2022 at 7:17 pm
For sure. The vast majority of my gains and wealth are due to luck. Maybe 70-80%. I’ve written about this before. With gains mostly due to luck, giving them up doesn’t feel as bad bc a lot of it felt like funny money.
Not sure if you are aware, but I have gone through the 2000 dotcom bubble and 2008 global financial crisis with significant investments. But again, surviving the downturns were also mostly due to luck.
I’m assuming you are doing very well in this environment. If so congratulations! The rest of us will have to just stay patient and maintain their cash flow.
Why do you think more commenters don’t share how they plan to enjoy their life more during a global recession? This is the main point of the post, yet most commenters, including yourself don’t discuss it.
What are your plans for living it up now that money is harder to come by? Also, all suggestions for building more wealth in this bear market are welcome!
October 9, 2022 at 7:30 pm
I think it’s because the negative commenters, including Jim, are losing a ton of money. And when you are losing a ton of money, most people can only focus on the negatives, instead of looking at the positive side of things like you are.
It totally makes sense to spend your time and effort doing more enjoyable things than working to try and make money when it’s so much harder to do in a recession.
I’m going with the boys flyfishing in Montana next summer. It’s going to be our great trip. And we will go to Whistler this winter for some snowboarding. Things are cheaper in Canada with the strong dollar!
October 10, 2022 at 5:41 am
I have never been a believer in the stock market. Between my kids 529 accounts and my small 401 k I have less than 3% of my net worth in equities. All my net worth and cash flow comes from warehouse/ factories and companies I own. Rents are going up.
I have not changed anything in my life to “enjoy life more during a global recession”. Each day is a gift, I walk, enjoy my kids and and wife and try to be as thankful as possible. I never watch TV news anymore, TV in general. Your blog is the only one I have ever commented on. I am impressed with all you have done for good for FREE!
“What are your plans for living it up now that money is harder to come by” is hard for me to relate to. I have too many people counting on me. I enjoy each day, but I will succeed global recession or not…
I think equities investing will be difficult for many years to come. The combination of the Feds QT and rate hikes and strong dollar will make it difficult on equities. I am going to invest $ in Portuguese real estate. In addition its a good time to have “dry powder” as I see hardship opportunities in 2023-24 for cash buyers in real estate.
October 10, 2022 at 12:35 pm
sell A little real estate, park your proceeds-monies in some safe CDs or bonds, than reinvest in solid stocks when you see market drop another 15 or 20%.
October 9, 2022 at 4:16 pm
Interest rate is just a lever: low interest rate favors investors and rent seekers, high interest rate favors savers and wage earners. After 2 decades of zero or negative interest rates, finally Fed decides to give workers and savers a break. It’s bizarre that boomer media portrays neutral interest rates as detrimental to our economy, like boomers want negative interest for the next century so their assets can go to infinity?
One benefit you notice immediately is this summer traveling in Europe, everything is cheap: food/entertainment/housing are cheap, their public transportation are brand new and working (unlike NYC or SFO), and nobody needs a car let along a Tesla. In Rome you see seniors riding buses and walk everywhere, here in America seniors get fat and weak living in senior home because they couldn’t drive or can’t afford a car.
When assets inflation is gone, what does American dream even mean? Should we beg the Fed to keep rate at 0% so the party can resume?
October 9, 2022 at 2:00 pm
I love all the guys here virtue signaling they will work harder and that other people should too, during a global recession, as a way to have more fun and joy.
Americans really have it backward. Living to work is terrible and it shows Americans are trapped I this never ending desire for more status and more money.
Open your eyes wage slaves! Life is not all about work! Travel to Europe and see how much better work-life balance is. Oh yeah, most Americans don’t have a password.
Only in America will people get upset about people focusing on more important things like family and friends during a recession.
Well done Sam for exposing all the workaholics, politically hooked, and miserable people in the world.
I’m happily spending more time on travel and family if my investments and work compensation isn’t increasing.
If you want to kill yourself at work, feel free! Just don’t get mad at people who rationally have better work life balance if they aren’t properly compensated.
October 9, 2022 at 3:29 pm
As a German who works hard, the obsession Americans have with making money and never taking time off is surprising. It’s unhealthy, which is also one of the reasons why American never ranks in the top 10 happiest countries in the world despite having so much money.
October 9, 2022 at 4:21 pm
I totally agree. This summer we travel in Italy and see for ourselves how enjoyable Italian lives are, compare to US: All the fat people walking around in Rome are Americans, Italians are lean and fit from living in a walkable city, there’re a couple of restaurants around every corner, people living their life (surprise!) and unlike Americans whose dinner conversation you overheard were always about stocks, interest rates or their real estate prices in Austin, Texas.
October 9, 2022 at 1:11 pm
“All the good done by governments to support billions of people during the pandemic will have been for nothing.”
October 9, 2022 at 12:17 pm
How stupid is this article. This is EVERYTHING wrong with this generation. “Quite quit harder” “try and negotiate a severance” as a business owner who busted thier ass to get to where I am. I would never gave gotten here by “quite quitting” if I had taken this advice I would still be a bank teller and never advanced my career. You need to work hard save money and open a business of your own. You will NEVER get there by “quite quitting” The publisher leaves out the part about how hard it is to get another job when you were laid off for horrible performance or to reinvent yourself when you’re in your 40’s. No one wants to hire the 40 yr old with no experience. Take it from a small business owner with decades of experience. If you quite quit you will only get your hours reduced till you’re forced to quit or worse get fired. Severance packages are for executives not for low level employees in a small business. I would rather have an EPLI insurance policy and get sued for wrongful termination than pay an employee a severance package for “quite quitting” So don’t get your hopes up for being rewarded for doing the bare minimum. If you want to spend more time with your family and less time working good luck trying to take your kids to a ball game on unemployment. It’s easy for “bloggers” and people without “real jobs” to tell the world to “quite quit” and reinvent yourself and get a job that magically pays double one day down the road. You will have to go to school get another degree and start FROM THE BOTTOM! Please people look at reality and think for yourself…does it make more sense to do the bare minimum to get ahead in life, or work as hard as you can while you’re young build up capital and invest in a business and THEN enjoy spending time with your family and a work life balance.
October 9, 2022 at 1:14 pm
Thanks for your comment I guess I’ve been out of the loop for too long since I last had a day job in 2012.
How does working even harder during a global recession with less compensation bring more joy to someone’s life? The purpose of this article is to figure out how to enjoy life more during bad times.
I definitely do believe there is a lot of satisfaction and some joy in working on some thing you really care about. But I’m not sure that’s the case for all people with jobs they don’t love.
October 9, 2022 at 2:24 pm
I put myself in a situation where I had to continue busting my ass for the last decade. Blaming no one but me. Having said that, it has paid off. We are enjoying life, kids are grown, yeah. And for what it’s worth, the whole “quiet quitting” conversation is amusing. If you don’t need the job, just quit, cupcake. If you don’t want to work hard, don’t. But don’t bitch about those who do, whatever their motivation. It makes you look weak(er) and petty.
October 9, 2022 at 3:12 pm
Not sure why people are moaning about people who aren’t willing to work hard? It’s their life. They can do what they want and except the outcome of their efforts. Everything is rational.
The last 10 years of a bull market were a pretty good time to work hard. Now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of our labor.
My goal is to work hard on parenthood while the kids are still at home. And then I might consider working hard and making money after the kids are gone. I know it’s backwards, but I think it makes sense if possible.
October 9, 2022 at 3:49 pm
October 9, 2022 at 1:48 pm
October 9, 2022 at 1:54 pm
Nick, do you know how stupid you sound for telling people to work overtime when they are not being properly compensated. If working more is your definition of enjoying life more, then you are the perfect work slave.
Do you need a job? Because I’m hiring at a big discount and I require you to work 70 hours a week. Let me know if you’re interested.
October 9, 2022 at 2:36 pm
I think the point of quiet quitting is to only temporary ride out the storm, not continue it indefinitely.
It also depends on many factors. In many cases entry level work doesn’t necessarily reward effort. Things like raises are determined by distant corporate offices and given equally to all employees. Promotions are often few and nearly non existent. In other cases, maybe for mid sized businesses not governed by faceless distant corporate overlords, hard work is seen firsthand and raises given more consistently. Workers need to be smart about how the delegate their energy.
October 9, 2022 at 3:04 pm
Back when I was working for a large aerospace company and lay offs were imminent, I was really worried about being laid off before age 55 when I would be eligible to receive my “Magic 75” early contributory retirement plan payment. But then I heard the boss man refused to lay off anyone who was within three years of retirement because he “didn’t want to pay people to retire.” Since I had less than 36 months to go before turning 55, I figured, “why should I worry? I’m golden. Boss man isn’t going to lay me off because he doesn’t want to give anyone close to retirement a severance package.” Do you think I would be motivated to work extra, extra hard for boss man? No. I knew I was safe until retirement. I guess that was a form of quiet quitting before quiet quitting was even a thing.
October 9, 2022 at 3:22 pm
Nick, maybe you have a reading comprehension problem. The publisher talks about being a middle of 40% to 60% performer, not the 90%+ performer who doesn’t get reward during a recession.
FS has been a proponent of the grind for over a decade. How else could he and others retire early?
You don’t sound like a fun person to be with. Work harder is your idea of fun? Haha. Quiet quitting is about not going above and beyond your day job requirements and pay. Not about slacking off.
October 9, 2022 at 3:38 pm
Have you looked in the mirror today? You sound very angry and unhappy – the feelings you are projecting must be reflecting anger and frustration in your own life. Happy people don’t attack others like you’re doing. You chose to do things one way that was hard for you, but what you felt was the best way. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t other best ways for other people. And the way you’re attacking like this actually makes your views look worse man. You sound way too stressed and need to take a step back and chill out for a minute.
The reality is the current working generation, which is majority millennial, is not the same and never will be the same as your generation. Quiet quitting is often misinterpreted. It’s not telling people to be lazy. It’s about still meeting expectations at work but not overstressing and getting caught up in the rat race if your employer isn’t going to reward the extra efforts anyway.
October 9, 2022 at 12:15 pm
Great post, Sam. Your premortem is a really good perspective in which to move through a recession. Thank you!
October 9, 2022 at 10:50 am
Don’t Fight to Feds, we are seemingly in the Quick Sand market to recession. The past 12 years of low interest rates have built empires and new millionaires alike. Feds have failed at their job of maintaining price stability. Neat thing about inflation and the recession is that touches all of us. A Fed pivot or hint of slowing down hiking would on cause the Wall Street idiots to run the S&P back up to 4500 in less than a week. Never waste a good crisis, now America must take its medicine. No one likes a quitter.
October 9, 2022 at 8:08 am
I’m heading to Japan for the month of December and looking forward to it being deeply discounted.
Hotel rates are down about 40% in yen. Then the exchange rate of 140 to the $ makes it another 20% cheaper than the usual 105 to 115 over the last 25 years. My wife’s from Japan so we go every year – haven’t been since December 2019 due to Covid.
Thanks for another great Sunday read.
October 8, 2022 at 8:11 pm
Henry= 300k/yr job
Rich= 500k/yr based off 5% return on 10mil in assets
Every year Henry falls behind!
If Jerome brings Rich’s assets down to 5mil, now Rich’s income is only 250k
Now every year Henry catches up by 50k
Conclusion: Jerome is a friend of the working class and an enemy of the rich.
October 9, 2022 at 7:48 am
Go Fed! But let’s hope the HENRY does not get a pay cut or get fired during the downturn. Then, the HENRY loses again.
October 8, 2022 at 8:02 pm
I’m never sure if your posts are serious or not.
But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you are just baiting people with your crazy statements, to get more clicks.
The Fed is just the janitor here…. Cleaning up the mess of insane government spending.
As stated by others, the Fed being forced to raise interest rates is just a symptom of our country’s hard left turn toward socialism….
Socialism has been unsuccessfully attempted over 300 times in recorded history… We’re just following the pattern with excessive government spending causing runaway inflation…..
The only cure is to vote out all the liberal clowns in the current car…
In the interim, let the fed do its job and pray we don’t get a repeat of the 70’s….
PS. If by chance you actually believe what you wrote, please read a history book about the 70’s inflation yo-yo before responding….
October 9, 2022 at 7:50 am
I wonder if you and the Fed think the Fed had anything to do with inflating assets by cutting rates to 0% and leaving them there for so long?
That would be interesting if the Fed ends up blaming the federal government for too much stimulus and then the federal government starts blaming the Fed for too loose monetary policy for too long.
If we see institutions passing the buck, then it’s another sign to focus on taking care of ourselves first.
October 9, 2022 at 11:29 am
I was about to give you grace as it dawned on me that you are not old enough to have lived through the 70’s….
Then I glanced over and saw the sponsor of this post is the Watauga “Democrat”
Nothing new under the Sun….
I assume you would have bashed Paul Volcker as well….
And in case you don’t know who that is, please Google him before responding
Very disappointed reader,
October 9, 2022 at 12:03 pm
No worries. I forgive you too. That’s the Buddha’s way. I hope that when I am in my 70s, I’ll be as open minded as you.
Who is the Watuaga Democrat?
October 9, 2022 at 12:29 pm
Like I said, I never know if your comments are serious or not.
The 1970’s were a period of high inflation. Several half-start attempts were made by the Fed to raise interest rates to curb it. However, every time it started to work, people complained (sound familiar?).
It was an extended period of misery before a new Fed chair named Paul Volcker finally ignored all the whiners, and fixed it. (by raising the FFR higher than inflation)
If Volcker had read your post back then and succumbed to the “pressure”, who knows how it would have worked out….
As for your question of “who is the Watauga Democrat”, apparently it’s one of your paid advertisers unless you posted their banner on your site just for fun….
October 9, 2022 at 2:03 pm
Honest question. Is it inevitable that I’m going to grow grumpy, combative, hooked on politics, and miserable like you when I get older?
This post has nothing to do with politics, and it’s like you’re sitting in your rocking chair yelling at the laptop for no reason.
What happened to you?
October 9, 2022 at 3:32 pm
People grow old, think they know it all, and are not flexible in their ways anymore.
Craig Tester is probably in his 60s and not really happy person. You can just tell by the way he writes and tries to pick a fight. Sad.
October 9, 2022 at 4:47 pm
Sam is writing an article saying “the Fed is the enemy”.
That is an extremely political premise, which is what Craig Tester is correctly pointing out.
Craig is right that the root cause of inflation is too many dollars being created out of thin air – through massive government spending.
The Fed is not the enemy. As Craig says, he is just the guy being asked to clean up the mess….
You should not attack Craig Tester for pointing this out, or the Fed for doing its unenviable job….
Sam is on the wrong side of this one, and it looks like you are too…..
Don’t take your frustrations out by attacking the only grown up in the room…..
If you don’t like inflation, attack the spenders, not everyone else….
You make me embarrassed to be called a millennial, Maria
October 9, 2022 at 5:06 pm
Can you elaborate what the “right side” is? To me, nothing the Fed does will really matter. I may become poorer, but I won’t be going back to work or changing my lifestyle. In fact, I’ve been buying treasuries to earn the 4%+ guaranteed return, which is pretty sweet.
What is your current situation? And does what the Fed does matter to you?
October 9, 2022 at 5:03 pm
Well, to answer your “Honest question”, I’ll need a little more info (Though I gotta say, its not looking good)
So what can you tell me about yourself other than you like to randomly attack strangers on the internet for speaking the truth?
Or perhaps more to the point, what specific point that I made do you disagree…?
October 9, 2022 at 3:44 pm
lol the banner ad you saw is reflecting your own search history bro. Nobody else here has seen anything about “watauga democrat” haha Hilarious how some people like yourself believe something that has nothing to do with politics is because of banner ads that are reflecting your own interests. You should find something better to do with your time than attacking Sam.
October 10, 2022 at 3:02 am
Haha, agreed. I was thinking the same.
October 9, 2022 at 3:58 pm
Very true . All of this started as soon as Biden took office . It’s that clear …. !
October 8, 2022 at 6:46 pm
Great post Sam, its funny the same people who got us into this mess are trying to get us out, it’s like the fox guarding the hen house. Sad thing is, they really dont want to help middle class folks, they just simply want to control them.
I would love to go to Taiwan or Cambodia, mainly I’d like to see that part of the world. The people seem genuine and the sites look amazing. Ever try pickleball Sam? It’s a very social sport and since you like tennis, you’d likely be pretty good at it. Just a thought!
October 9, 2022 at 7:51 am
You should definitely go visit Southeast Asia. Wonderful people with a relaxed and more balanced way of life than here in the United States.
I like pickle ball, but I’m too focused on tennis right now. I finished 25 USTA matches so far this year with probably four or five to go. The battle is great!
October 9, 2022 at 2:37 pm
“$160k of my passive income…” Are you serious with this post?! Of COURSE you can use a recession to travel, see family, pick up origami, whatever.
You are trying to give advice to the middle class from your completely out of touch financially free Dreamworld in the upper class with just PART of your passive income being $160k! You said it yourself: No one gives a FK how rich people feel.
Umm, that’s you. You were a banker at GS and CS. You already hunted and pillaged the financial markets long ago for what I’m sure was an absurdly over paid salary and bonus. 5 year severance package? GFY !
Yeah, I’m envious, bitter and feel cheated, but so what, it doesn’t change the fact that you exist in a crystal citadel, doing a labor of love you don’t have to if you don’t want, and are literally free. Not just financial. You have no business trying to advise the plebs.
I’m your age (I checked) and my “work my ass off , college degree educated, professional ACTIVE income” is half of your passive at least. Passive income in the real world is at best a few grand a month if such a thing as PASSIVE even exists outside of capital appreciation and real estate income.
Congrats on your success, I’m sure you deserve it and are a great person. But don’t write BS articles like this trying to appeal to “the middle class” when you have no freakin clue what you’re talking about and what is actually possible for the average Joe. It’s insulting and I wish I could have the time back I wasted on reading your ridiculous suggestions when I could have been spending time on my 2nd Full Time Job- oh, I’m sorry, I mean my “Passive Income Streams” that take, ya know, WORK and TIME I don’t have.
Do your readers a favor and change the title of this post to cater to only those with 7-8+ figure net worths. Geez what a crock of dung.
October 9, 2022 at 2:59 pm
GFY too! But do you play pickle ball though? That was the question from this thread. It’s a pretty fun sport that might help you relieve stress and meet new people. But you’ve got to be nice to make friends.
October 9, 2022 at 3:05 pm
Dear Middle Bitter Child, nobody cares. Try harder!
You only have a few thousand dollars a year in passive income in your 40s? Now whose fault is that spending excessively and not saving and investing in your 20s and 30s? Go ahead and blame others for your problems.
Being a bitter loser will only keep you a bitter loser. It’s so evident you self-sabotage yourself. If you have no friends or partner, just look at yourself in the mirror to find out why.
October 9, 2022 at 3:48 pm
The only thing positive in your comment is that you recognize that you’re envious, bitter, exhausted, and have middle child syndrome.
Attacking others shows you need to go back to school because you forgot how to play nice and have respectful conversations with others. Even if you have different opinions, don’t be an ass about it. Sheesh
October 9, 2022 at 4:59 pm
Google or You Tube vehicle crashes in South East Asia. It is as crazy as Happy Hour in Russia. Scary…& Deadly.
October 9, 2022 at 5:04 pm
Thanks for sharing. What are some things you are doing to enjoy life more during a recession?
October 8, 2022 at 4:13 pm
I sold a majority stake (60%) of my company a year ago in anticipation of the unintended consequences that would follow the unprecedented measures taken during the pandemic. No one knows the timing for sure but I wasn’t willing to risk going backwards and losing all the value built.
By selling we hit both Financial Independence and Financial Freedom. As you very well know, we will always overshoot in both directions and I’ve been a big fan of constantly de-risking during good times – even when that means leaving money on the table.
We also sold my wife’s business and she will be done working at the end of the year. I officially went down to 4 days a week starting this month. I’m still leading the business for another 4 years but don’t plan to put in nearly as many hours that I did pre-acquisition.
We have built up a passive income stream of ~$225,000 from RE, Stocks, and ownership in private businesses. This doesn’t include the profit share of $400,000+ from the remaining equity I still own – assuming the business is as recession resistant as I think it is. We are also sitting in enough cash to fund our life for 15+ years…which really means we have lots of dry powder to back the truck up to take advantage of things overshooting to the downside during a recession.
We will be very focused on picking up additional units of ownership in assets with attractive returns. We will work hard but not long hours. We will be spending more time with our young kids, our relationship, and our health.
October 8, 2022 at 10:40 pm
Kudos! Thanks for sharing. These are the types of posts that hold lessons for eager and hungry folks starting or building a career or a business.
October 9, 2022 at 3:21 pm
The problem with Dom is he is not humble. He never highlights his failures, only his winners.
October 8, 2022 at 1:42 pm
After I read that the very first advise is quiet quit harder, it turned me off. Quiet quit will never be a good thing. Management is not stupid, it is very easy to identify the quiet quitters. During a financial down term, those quiet quitters will be the first ones to let go. if one relies on a regular salary, it is better to secure that income.
October 9, 2022 at 7:54 am
The highest skilled quiet quitters are undetectable. This is especially true things to work from home. Even my friends who run companies and our managers love working from home because you have more freedom.
October 9, 2022 at 3:07 pm
re: “The highest skilled quiet quitters are undetectable.”
That is so true. Efficient workers can quiet quit and still run circles around perhaps 50% of their work office colleagues.
October 8, 2022 at 1:41 pm
We did a bunch of post Covid travel in 2022. While I had not planned on a repeat, that trip to the UK just might need to happen in 2023! I also plan on using more time to continue to build my cooking skills, keep in good shape and look to take advantage of the kids off days to do staycation activities when we aren’t traveling.
I’m also very much looking forward to taking advantage of the inevitable Fed pivot (or at least pause), which I think can be an excellent mid term money making possibility for 2023.
Meantime, good enough at work will be, as you point out Sam, good enough.
October 8, 2022 at 1:17 pm
I think the Fed will pivot when the US financial system is about to collapse. This seems to be happening currently in England. Then the pound will collapse. Hence the “crack-up boom”.
Japan and Europe are likely to be next. I watch their currency exchange rate closely for early signs of weakness / breakdown. Then maybe Australia / China. If China fails, Australia’s economy probably go down with them.
Canada and the United States could be ok. Except if there is two continents in recession, it will be nearly impossible for the US banking system to withstand the shock. The Fed pivot would happen at this point in my opinion.
How am I preparing for this ? I am 100% invested in equities, but mostly in defensive sectors (food, energy, utilities). The volatility should be extreme. But companies that do not fail during that time will be worth much more after those events – with less competition.
I’m also looking at dislocations in the market to see if there could be good deals to buy. For example, Lumen Technologies 2042 bonds are currently yielding 12.1%. Also, TD Bank (one of the most solid bank in the world – rated AA) just issued 8.125% LRCN bonds yesterday.
But it may be too early to make a move right now. I expect many companies to go bankrupt in the coming months. When things will get bad enough, that’s when we will have the best deals and the best environment to buy. If the Fed has already pivoted at this point, it will be even better.
October 9, 2022 at 5:37 am
Am new to FIRE and Financial Samurai blog!! Have never purchased bonds other than I-Bonds from Treasury Direct.
How does one go about buying Lumen Technologies 2042 & TD Bank 8.125% LRCN Bonds?
October 9, 2022 at 12:14 pm
You have to find a broker that sell those bonds. That’s not an easy task. My broker doesn’t offer US bonds at all. So I’m looking for similar opportunities in Canada.
My guess for the best brokerage for specialty bonds would be Interactive Brokers. But I’m not on this platform and I have never used their services yet. So I can’t really guarantee you this is the place to go.
If bonds become even more attractive, I’ll have to have a more serious look into moving to another broker.
October 8, 2022 at 10:36 am
An English teacher in one of my former lives, I wonder if I am reading an unreliable narrator in this piece? You champion “quiet-quitting” and “riding things out” but clearly the overall tone is frustration with a government that is championing mediocrity and selfishness. Very thought provoking.
My personal belief system is that I am never very happy when I focus on making my life easier. All that happens is I become very big and the world becomes very small. This is never a recipe for happiness and joy in my book. I propose that this is the perfect time for working harder than ever and challenging myself to be the best I have ever been -maybe not for financial gains but for achievements that raise the human condition. Now more than ever we need heroes, not quitters.
So personally I plan to teach history for a few more years than I intended because of the suffering I see experienced in the children who weren’t adequately “homeschooled” for a variety of reasons often beyond the control of loving parents. These kids need vital and caring teachers now for socialization they didn’t receive in a “pandemic free” middle school experience. Because I am slowing down with age I have arranged my schedule so that I can take more of my sick time ( without the dreaded substitute teachers) so I can exercise, rest and take care of a few medical issues. Mostly this means I skip all staff meetings and professional developments. I have been developed enough professionally, I believe.
I have committed to traveling in the abundant vacation time of which I am blessed. I have begun skiing, hiking, backpacking again as well as learned how to paddle-board. I have begun studying for my Graduate in Gemology degree and was GIA certified in diamond grading this summer. My thought is when I do retire I will be able to work for my favorite charities in providing certification for tax purposes at charity auctions or provide certification for fair market jewelry endeavors . Please do not think I am promoting myself as some kind of martyr. Far from it. I have a huge ego and constantly need to be reminded what a small and grateful part I play in this amazingly complex world.
October 8, 2022 at 12:41 pm
I’m glad you are going back to teaching! The world needs more teachers, and I did enjoy teaching them high school tennis for three years until the pandemic began.
Can you elaborate on what you mean by this? “All that happens is I become very big and the world becomes very small.”
How do you become bigger if you take things easier? Thx
October 8, 2022 at 1:53 pm
What I mean by I become “big” is that I become very self centered and lack all sense of proportion for my “first world problems” compared to what is happening in the world around me. I forget to be grateful and then I get petty and become miserable to be around. A good example is this: A friend of my retired last year as so many teachers did in the pandemic. She moved into a Del Web retirement community. Now they argue about the plants everybody puts in their front yard and if the Christmas wreath is taken down in a timely matter ( no kidding – HOA says it has to be before February.) Meanwhile I keep teaching and one of my students is two weeks late to joining my class. I begin to get on my soapbox and list all the make up work she will have to do. Then she apologizes earnestly and tells me she just got out of Afghanistan and almost didn’t make it after the US pulled out. I tell her with the greatest humility she has an A for the quarter so far, no make ups required. I am back to my right size. I never want to argue about Christmas wreaths in February.
October 9, 2022 at 12:15 pm
Why do you think some people get so petty and grouchy as they get older? The stereotype about the homeowners association is so true. And you can see a couple commenters here on this post that are very grouchy as well.
Like am I destined to be rich, fat, argumentative, and grouchy like the old people you mention and “Craig Tester” below?
October 9, 2022 at 3:09 pm
re: “Mostly this means I skip all staff meetings and professional developments.”
Ummm … the way I understand “quiet quitting,” skipping staff meetings and professional developments would be a form of “quiet quitting.” Quiet quitting means not giving every last minute of your life to your employer.
October 9, 2022 at 5:09 pm
I think what she means by skipping staff meetings and professional development is that she is much closer to the end of her career than the beginning and she no longer has a need to climb the ladder or network in order to position herself for things that no longer matter to her. She has other priorities now that she is near the sunset of her career and would rather pivot to those things that matter more to her.
October 8, 2022 at 9:23 am
Root causes of inflation have been brought on ourselves and will not end soon:
1. Reversal of globalization will create higher prices as we onshore production that was previously done at much lower labor rates overseas. We’ve benefited from these lower costs since the 80’s and now we are seeing higher prices due to much higher cost of domestic production.
2. Higher energy costs due to several reasons. a) much lower investment by domestic energy producers and refiners over the last 10 years has reduced supply; b) the extortion by Russia and OPEC limiting supply; and c) the transition to carbon neutral will have a huge up-front investment.
3. Lower labor supply as there are 2.5 million less workers employed today versus 2020 pre-Covid. Also multiple long term reasons including; a) lower birth rates, b) more people “dropping” out of the work force due to early retirement, unavailable child care, or gen x living a lower lifestyle; and c) a drop in legal immigration from over a million annually to less than 100,000.
For every action, there is a reaction, whether it is anti-Chinese, anti-Russian, anti-immigration, or anti-subsidized childcare. In this case, these all are contributing and will continue to contribute to higher inflation.
Not being political, just stating facts.
October 8, 2022 at 11:27 am
Choice of facts = political leaning. Here is my attempt at a balance:
1. Increases in cost for offshore labor, costs, international trade cost and availability uncertainty, and production inconsistencies mean the benefits between offshoring production and keeping it stateside have inverted.
2. Points b) and c) only exist as reasons because the U.S. and Europe began barring increased production and consumption of fossil fuels before it had a viable solution for green energy. OPEC+Russia sees this as a window of opportunity to get what they can out of us now, before a viable green solution presents itself. Add to this Point D) safe, cheap, proven, and carbon neutral nuclear power being wholly ignored means affordability is being sacrificed in the name of optics.
3. Fewer workers can be a deflationary force due to lower demand, except when the Fed pumps new money into the economy. You have to look at Money Supply/GDP. Production is the pie, currency is the knife.
Indeed, there are fewer legal immigrants than previously, but legal + illegal immigration is at an all-time high as a percent of the US population. This is a lever the US has always been able to pull to keep it’s population and production steadily growing.
You are right to say that every action has a reaction. These topics are complicated, and there’s probably no silver bullet to any of them, so it becomes a matter of which downside do you prefer more? Right now, the Fed is fine with stifling demand and production to maintain the value of the dollar.
October 8, 2022 at 7:08 am
If the fed fund rates go even higher, how come we haven’t seen the interest rates on money market funds and CD’s go higher.
I remember in the 90’s when the Vanguard money market fund paid around 4.5-5% interest.
Could you please explain how the fed increasing rates affects CD’s and money market funds. We’ve seen the increase in mortgages and auto loans, why not the instruments I mentioned?
October 8, 2022 at 1:15 pm
Savings rates, treasury bond yields, and cities are indeed going higher. It’s a decent correlation, not the best.
CIT Bank is at around 3.6%. 3-month Treasury bills are over 3.6%. You can get 3-5-year CDs at 4% too. They are there!
See this post on Treasury bond buying strategies.
October 8, 2022 at 6:03 am
As a business owner, I’m not a big fan of quiet quitting, but I can get behind spending more time with family, making new friends, and traveling more.
October 8, 2022 at 7:07 am
As a business owner, are you working hard in a recession or enjoying life more?
I’m not a believer in working harder to just run in place or go backwards, hence why I’d rather take things easier. It’s like working harder while taxes are being increased. No thank you.
October 8, 2022 at 11:20 am
Unbelievably bad advice for anyone! Samurai? Should change to Sabbotage Financial. Let me guess, you got a trophy when your team lost?
October 8, 2022 at 12:33 pm
Actually, you get no trophy for working less hard. Instead, you reap what you sow. Everything is rational. But employers love you for going the extra mile in a recession, even though they probably won’t pay you more. So feel free.
Why would one work more when they have enough passive income to cover their living expenses? What is the benefit to that? And why does me not working as hard as you matter? Great psychology!
What are you doing for more joy during the recession?
October 9, 2022 at 12:12 pm
He’s probably staying miserable, arguing with people on the Internet about things that don’t need to be argued. I love seeing grumpy comments that serve no purpose but to reflect their own problems and insecurities.
October 9, 2022 at 2:00 pm
I’m beginning to understand why Sam is considering turn off comments …
October 8, 2022 at 5:17 am
Good perspective as always Sam.
Fortunately, not a lot of economic stress in our family, and we’ll be able to help others through this mess.
Through years of work and planning, we’re debt free, and able to focus and family, relationships and some deferred travel. We homeschooled 5 kids (23 years with another 7 to go!) and owned several businesses, so travel wasn’t always an easy thing to pull off. While we enjoy the occasional dinner out, we love going on a free hike to the waterfalls in the Olympic rainforest.
Scheduled to close on a planned merger of our main business the end of October. That will lock-in a significant cash windfall and allow us to “retire” worry-free. Still plan on. Working for another 4 years in the new firm, until age 60 and then it’s “Peace, Out!”
October 8, 2022 at 4:59 am
What is your suggestion on what the Fed should do in this situation (other than not exist in the first place, which would’ve been my preference)? The simple fact remains that government spending has been out of control for decades, starting with an endless war, continuing with a pointless bailout, then onto some increased entitlement spending and finally getting put on overdrive with trillions in pandemic spending that was unnecessary had we all taken a more pragmatic and logical approach to the situation after it became clear very quickly that a massive shutdown of our economy was likely to result in much more dire results than the alternative. Not to mention other ancillary factors like the illogical push to end reliance on fossil fuels overnight, which pushes prices higher all the way down the supply chain.
This bill was always going to come due. We have attempted to print and spend our way through the last 30 years as the modern monetary theorists have taken hold of our economic strategy. Now we’re faced with the solution being either massive inflation, reduced government spending and increased taxes, or even something more nefarious if you subscribe to the notion of a great reset. The Fed is a symptom – doing what it’s supposed to do by trying to thread the needle to reduce inflation which you correctly point out will screw the middle class.
Unfortunately, the middle class (really just most people in general) was always going to get screwed no matter what happens. This is the outcome of an increasingly stronger tie between corrupt politicians, central bankers and a “global economy”
I really do enjoy your blog, and agree with your advice to start focusing on what is really important in our lives – family, friends, etc. I’m not smart enough to know what we do now to get out of this mess.. I just wish we all would’ve done a better job at not standing idly by while we watched it happen.
October 8, 2022 at 3:42 pm
The main piece completely ignored the cause of the need for tightening. Thank you, Frank for telling the truth that I suspect Samurai already knew… but gotta keep the angry internet people coming.
Middle class dude who would rather not have Venezuelan inflation where the rich do just fine and everyone else basically starves. We middle class will be okay, just gotta quit being entitled Americans for a while.
October 8, 2022 at 3:15 am
Man, I’m working too hard. I had to do a double take when I read the heading “Make better friends or find a new love.” I could have swore it said “Find a new Lover”! Ha!
October 8, 2022 at 1:54 am
Definitely needed to see a post like this given the current circumstances. There really isn’t much positive sentiment out there!
October 8, 2022 at 12:47 am
I can see the United States going the way of Japan for the next few decades. Massive everything bubble following a decade of cheap borrowing.
Your stocks and real estate could be on the steady decline for the next 30 years. Hard to see a bright outcome to this situation for sure. Idk what boomers will do, as you mentioned that most have their wealth tied up into their primary residences.
Maybe a massive political shift will occur, and the US will cease to be (great reset of sorts) but nobody really knows for sure. Guess we just have to accept that there is always a chance life as we know if will change for the worse for the remainder of our lives.
A pessimistic perspective for sure but one we should consider.
October 7, 2022 at 10:51 pm
Before you go maligning the evil Fed for staying the course to gain control of inflation, perhaps you should get a cheap education on what happened in the 1970s and 1980s. Back then, the Fed pivoted two soon and ended up having to hike the Fed Funds rate to 20% before inflation finally started reversing. Be aware, Sam, that the Fed’s job isn’t to prop up Wall Street or Main Street, despite what ex-investment bankers like yourself might want to believe. It’s true that if Powell et. al. had acted much sooner, instead of making delusional pronouncements about “transitory” inflation, this could have been nipped in the bud last year, possibly with a soft landing. Now that they have finally turned hawkish, a recession is indeed inevitable (we met the official definition last quarter, though politicians with much to lose categorically deny it). If the Fed keeps ratcheting until inflation moves down meaningfully – if they pivot too soon – inflation will get entrenched and we’ll repeat the Paul Volcker era perfectly, with Fed Funds rates in the high teens or low 20s. Wouldn’t a peak rate of 6-7% and a shallow recession be a preferable alternative? I just hope the Fed doesn’t cave to pressure thanks to short-sighted and ignorant attitudes like the one in your post.
October 8, 2022 at 4:14 am
Jerome, is that you? Hope you’re using your non-work phone. I know you and your fellow board governors will be OK. But try to think about the middle class too.
What are some some things you’re doing to enjoy life more during this recession?
October 8, 2022 at 4:37 am
The middle class is losing 9% every year adjusting wage increase and inflation -from San Francisco fed governor. If the inflation is not controlled, soon people will just take free food from Walmart and Costco. I see almost nobody in the high price meat section of Costco (>20 $/p). You may cry because you lost a few m/b$ but I do not think it is for the better of middle class.
October 8, 2022 at 7:10 am
It’s all relative. I’d rather lose buying power to inflation than actually lose money in my investments, take a pay cut, or lose my job.
But your comment and others makes me realize that caring for the middle class and encouraging them to get their finances right and not rely on the government may not be worth it. Maybe we should not try to help people gain a stronger control over their finances and to just focus on ourselves.
But that feels bad. I think if we have the ability to help, we should.
Anything you’re doing to enjoy life more as we head into a deeper recession?
October 8, 2022 at 10:08 am
Sam, capitalist economies have boom and bust cycles. Look through history. The period from ’09 to ’20 and that ridiculous 40-day recession we had at the onset of COVID lulled investors and the middle class into complacency. Now we’re shocked that after 12 years of almost unabated good times, there’s a recession? Let’s not be a Polyanna here.
The writing was on the wall in 2021. It didn’t take much thinking to see where this was headed, but most investors and workers were too fat and happy to believe what was happening. Everything done in response to COVID was inflationary. Stimulus payments, QE, and near-zero interest rates were like poison to an economy with 3.5% unemployment. The demand/supply imbalance persists, even with three 75 bp raises. There’s a ways to go.
Based on your cutesy response to me, you either don’t understand or refuse to acknowledge what got us here and that the Fed’s actions are absolutely necessary. I would think that your professional expertise derived from your 13-year career would help you explain why this is happening and what folks can do to prepare. Instead, you chose to lament reality and tell people to throw on blinders and sing kumbaya. Normally I enjoy your posts, but this one was very disappointing.
October 8, 2022 at 12:47 pm
The writing was on the wall in 2021, which is why many of us asset-allocated accordingly.
But the key really is to think about and help the middle class, for the greater good of society. Unless you’re a rich central banker, why not care for them too?
Just because you’re financially fine doesn’t mean we should ignore them. Instead, let’s help folks survive through a downturn and thrive on the upturn.
As a writer, I’d love to understand more about your background so I can understand why you think the way you do. And I welcome my guest post as well. Taking action is always better. Thx
October 8, 2022 at 10:35 pm
Sam, I work in marketing for a large healthcare business, but like you, I have an MBA and have been an active and passive investor for over 30 years. I have a fair amount of exposure through private syndications in commercial real estate and other alternatives, specifically chosen due to their light or non-existent correlation to public markets.
I learned a long time ago that we cannot expect the government (or our employers) to take care of us. The best advice I have for the middle class is to recognize this, save as much as you can, learn about true diversification, and set up an all-weather portfolio. This will allow wealth to grow in good times and bad, and make sleeping easier – well, much easier. For some time now, I have had very minimal stock market exposure, and it’s mainly via some cash-covered puts. I’m keeping dry powder in a trading account and 401k money in cash equivalents until inflation is under control and the Fed pivots for real. Dollar cost averaging works fine for many, but I believe the only real way to “buy low and sell high” in the stock market is to exit when the macro picture starts looking really bad and have idle cash available for after the crash. I’ll probably tiptoe back when the S&P is under 3,300, and if it dances near 3,000, I’ll go all in.
Your middle class readers are likely eager to learn these types of strategies (I know I was). Short of blind luck, it’s the reliable way only way I know of to jump classes over time, have a financially worry-free retirement, and leave a legacy for your children and/or favorite charities. Ask 100 reasonable people, and all would agree that this is an outcome they would like.
October 9, 2022 at 12:07 pm
Congrats for making so much money off the middle class by charging exorbitant healthcare premium rates! Market the crap out of your product and make a fortune. All the middle-class others, healthcare executives get richer and richer. You must feel so proud of yourself.
But maybe you haven’t made that much money yet because you’re still working after 30 years of marketing healthcare. What an irony.
October 8, 2022 at 12:55 pm
Hear hear Paul!
We rich folks gotta stick together! Not sure Sam wants to write posts to help the masses get through a difficult situation.
Its’s better to write about how we can make money off people who sell their assets at fire sale prices!
October 9, 2022 at 7:50 pm
Costco still has their $1.50 hot dog and soda so I will be OK eating that every day for lunch and dinner…
October 8, 2022 at 6:26 am
Deflection. The sign of a post that is spot on and a liberal can’t defend. Great.
I do tend to agree with you a bit on something and that is that if we can’t get energy prices and governmental spending under control raising the interest rate alone won’t do much good in the end. However, for a guy like you and if people listened to your principles the raising interest rate would have too much impact on them. Only borrowing should occur for homes and car loans. My mortgage is fixed and I have enough financial freedom to buy a car at 2.9% interest and just did.
October 8, 2022 at 7:06 am
Sounds good. What are some things you plan to do to enjoy your life more? I’m looking for ideas as we wait out the storm.
Congrats on your car. You may enjoy this post: The 1/10th Rule For Car Buying Everybody Should Consider
October 9, 2022 at 12:09 pm
It’s weird how people get political on a non-political post. It’s almost as if they watch Fox News or CNN all day and just go crazy. Whatever they do or think I have to be political. It must be some kind of disease.
October 8, 2022 at 7:29 am
I agree! Screw the middle class and the poor. This is capitalism and a dog-eat-dog world.
Fed Governors got cleared of insider trading and got out at the top of the market. So did I and many other rich people.
The more others suffer, the more we gain Paul! We rich people have to stick together and like our rich governors crush inflation. Then we can scoop up assets at huge discounts and get richer as the economy inevitably rebounds.
October 7, 2022 at 10:26 pm
Great post and very insightful. My wife and I have been growing our online info business for 6 years, and are finally able to see the light. We will be able to coast, starting in Jan 2023, for the next few years!
I plan to work 15 hours per week or less, start a family, continue traveling the world while working remotely and kitesurfing.
Most importantly – I’m going to put my full effort into write awesome music with friends and using my acquired marketing skills and excess capital to disseminate our tunes to as many listeners as possible.
Funny how we must, at times, put our greatest passions on the back burner in order to generate wealth and abundance.
No more! Music, kiteboarding, and travel to the max. Thanks Sam for the great post.
October 7, 2022 at 9:46 pm
My solution has just been to make sure that I have my living expenses for the next 2 years plus already paid for. I don’t have to stress about living paycheck to paycheck, therefore I can plan in the future rather than worrying about the present. It’s been remarkable for reducing stress.
October 7, 2022 at 9:20 pm
I love this post and I’m in complete agreement that Jerome Powell is doing way more harm than good. So why the hell did he recently get reconfirmed for another 4 years?!?! This seems like a total catastrophe. What am I missing here? It makes absolutely no sense.
October 7, 2022 at 9:21 pm
He got reconfirmed before he started the interest rate ramp. The problem is the aggressive cuts and aggressive hikes both ways. Creates boom busts, which whipsaw people into difficult situations.
October 8, 2022 at 2:58 pm
Bummer, I suppose we have no way of stopping him now? Stuck with him for 3 1/2 more years of this???
October 7, 2022 at 9:05 pm
Great perspective! I am actually making some career moves myself since finding the joy is important.
I would actually love to hear more from you about your childhood moving around abroad. Our kids are receiving a bilingual education (Mandarin/English), and as older parents who also plan to retire early, we are interested in slow traveling abroad. I know there are international schools, the “world schooling” concept and more. In some ways, I think our money would go further living abroad (depending on location) but I also wonder if the education costs in dollars and the social costs in terms of childhood friendships would be worth it?
October 7, 2022 at 9:22 pm
Maybe I’ll write a post or do a podcast about it. I loved the experience. It was all I knew until I came to the U.S. for high school. The U.S. was very boring compared to living in Kuala Lumpur for middle school, for example.
I would have loved to have stayed in K for high school and graduated, the Ngo to college in the U.S.
I highly recommend the experience. It’s an adventure worth living!
October 7, 2022 at 7:02 pm
Must be nice to have enough money to do all that. Speaking of real middle (and lower) class, some of us cannot afford to lay back and “reduce our blog posts from 3 to 2 times a week”. We have to do what we can to put food on the table and roof over our heads. What you do is being rich and write for the rich.
October 7, 2022 at 9:24 pm
It is nice to have options after grinding for so long. But don’t underestimate the difficult of writing and editing a coherent blog post! Give it a go and see for yourself. You can even write a guest post here on any topic if you wish.
Related: Achieving Financial Independence On A Modest Salary
October 7, 2022 at 11:38 pm
I so love the way you deal with haters and unuseful and nasty comments.
October 8, 2022 at 9:33 am
I’ll just keep on doing what I’ve always done. One day at a time. Work part-time and look forward to seeing my grandkids at Halloween. Just a thought since you’re now that age:mid-life crisis perhaps?Whatever your decision, I enjoy your writing.
October 7, 2022 at 4:54 pm
I love your comment about looking for another friend of two. That shows how meaningful relationships are to you, Sam! Which we readers already know. You’re on the right path to getting involved in your kids’ schools- you will make lifelong friends that way! You have a common interest and you get to hang with your kids. It’s a win-win! Just make sure you align with parents similar to your style. That’s a whole separate post!
October 7, 2022 at 9:26 pm
Thanks Christine! What’s better than a wonderful relationship with anybody right? I look forward to what the future brings. Let’s just hope the global economy doesn’t get too bad beforehand.
October 7, 2022 at 4:11 pm
Man it’s hard to imagine thinking about the economy coming to an end all over again especially with the pandemic finally starting to feel like a past memory. I would be so disappointed if all the progress we’ve made goes down the toilet.
In any case, what would I do? I’d try to get more balance back in my life, stress less, help my parents more without getting overwhelmed, be a better parent, and preserve capital as best I can. Life is accelerating and I don’t want to continue feeling out of balance.
October 7, 2022 at 9:26 pm
Let’s spend more time with our parents! We will miss them when they are gone.
October 7, 2022 at 2:54 pm
I am converting some large chunks of my Traditional IRA to my Roth IRA, so I can capture the eventual recovery in 2023-2024.
For real fun, I am adding some metabolism boosters (NAD supplements) and working out more.
This too shall pass.
October 7, 2022 at 3:50 pm
Smart move! Not exactly enjoying life more, but logical move nonetheless.
October 7, 2022 at 2:45 pm
I would emjoy reading a travel blog from you, especially if it had BTNT-style travel tips.
October 7, 2022 at 3:51 pm
Ah, I would enjoy reading a travel blog from you!
My goal is to enjoy life more and work less in a global recession, not work more.
October 8, 2022 at 8:57 am
Except I don’t travel much except for work. I need to take vacations vicariously, and I’m guessing you could write it off 🙂
October 8, 2022 at 9:36 am
I encourage you to see the world Kevin! I think you’ll have an amazing time experiencing different cultures and perspectives. International travel really does make time stand still and make a lot of problems go away.
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How To Enjoy Your Life After The Fed Ruins The World – Financial Samurai