I write about doing life and personal finance, focusing on the psychology of our relationships with other people and money. I’m anti-guru, pro-empowerment.

Preview: You can’t. You won’t. You shouldn’t.

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Photo by Vinicius "amnx" Amano on Unsplash

You can’t. You won’t. You shouldn’t.

I do my best to not prescribe thoughts, ideas, and solutions to your personal financial situation. Because personal finance is personal.

However, I will make a vehement case that emotion plays a role in your relationship with money. I’ll argue even more vehemently in favor of emotion. There’s nothing wrong with emotion, as long as you properly channel it.

In fact, emotion — all flavors of it — is awesome. Life would suck without it.

Emotion gives life soul.

Consider Anthony Lawrence’s response to my recent Making of a Millionaire article on eschewing credit cards altogether. Anthony makes a sane, logical, and effective argument — that credit cards can be excellent financial tools if you don’t pay interest and maximize the perks. …

Together, they help perpetuate the myth of the runaway American dream

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Source: Jon Carrasco — Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Here’s how Warren Buffett views passing down wealth:

The perfect amount to leave to your kids… is ″enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing.”⁣

And Bill Gates:

Bill and Melinda Gates are giving their three kids “a minuscule portion” of their estimated $81 billion, they told the Daily Mail in 2011. “It will mean they have to find their own way,” Bill Gates said at the time.

Both of those blurbs come from a CNBC article with the title: “Billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have similar ideas about how much money you should leave your kids.” …

You’re just a product of where and when your parents decided to have sex

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Quick tip: If you write for a platform that allows for responses or comments, mine these reactions. They’re often thoughtful and insightful (especially on Medium). They can lead to your next article and the one after that.

More importantly, this feedback helps gauge what resonates with readers. Who has an affinity for your weirdness and the random things you obsessively deem important. Over time, what readers say can help you unpack the most salient elements of the narratives you attempt to weave.

In this article, we explore one of the most important traits you need to not only be good with money but be a good person with money.

Here’s how I want the quest for a million bucks to end

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Although I resist the urge to focus on accumulating $1,000,000, it sure would be nice to hit that number.

If I get to a million bucks, I can picture myself — in the words of the Old 97's —

drinking rye whiskey and sleeping till 2 on a warm afternoon

more than I do now. But the reality is, I probably won’t. In fact, if I ever get to a million bucks, things might not change all that much. This is one of the principles at the heart of not focusing on the million-dollar magic number we popularly attach to retirement. …

“The struggle’s harder for the poor, but not impossible; just harder.”

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Photo by Candice Seplow on Unsplash

Shit got real in response to my recent Making of a Millionaire article about how young people stand to benefit from the one of the biggest transfers of wealth in history.

As is often the case, a Medium user, this time April Garrido Wright, set me on a thoughtful thought trajectory. I address it broadly here. In this article, I deal with the salient points April brought up more specifically. Then I tie them to my belief that almost anyone can save and invest.

It’s all about knowledge and empowerment. And it’s imperative that we spread the knowledge and empower people to take steps, even if they’re small and seemingly insignificant (they’re not), to situate their personal finance as best as they can. We can’t get past every structural obstacle that exists, but we can organize around basic principles almost anyone can put into play. …

On writing about personal finance from a place of privilege

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Source: Author / Biden Won Celebration, Silverlake, Los Angeles, 11/7/2020

There will not be a conclusion to this article. It’s not possible to write one. In fact, there probably never will be a conclusion. At least not in my lifetime.

However, I feel the need to address the writing I do about money as it relates to structural inequality and systemic racism in our society. Some of the response to my recent Making of a Millionaire article — Young People Are About to Get Rich in a Massive Transfer of Wealth — compelled me to focus on the subject:

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Thank you, April Garrido Wright, for the response. I appreciate it.

Shortly before writing the aforementioned article, I addressed an overarching theme related to this topic in another Medium…

You don’t need a lot of money for a great life. You just need to wisely allocate what you do have.

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Source: Author

I used to work in a bar. I engaged all types of conversations with all kinds of people. Once we get past this pandemic, I might go back into the industry. Just for a couple nights a week.

There’s no better place to do personal finance research than in a craft cocktail barroom.

A gaggle of people dropping $14 for craft cocktails and $11 for the same vodka/soda they could pay $5 for at a dive bar. I’m not judging. I love it. The drinks where I worked are great — especially the cocktails. …

Debt makes us feel rich until it doesn’t

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Photo by Cauayan Island Resort on Unsplash

I like Mark Cuban. He gives incredibly simple and ridiculously smart advice.

I don’t think it matters that he’s a billionaire. His advice matters because it has more to do with Cuban’s common sense than how much money he has. I don’t often quote, let alone subscribe to guidance from rich people. But Cuban’s words resonate with me.

He makes personal finance personal.

Cuban understands the psychology of personal finance. He realizes that each piece of advice fits into a larger strategy and, most importantly, a mindset that governs how we manage our individual personal finance. …

On success living far beneath your means and why you should resist spending more than you make

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I get off on the author emails Medium sends me. I have written about and discussed money on a few big platforms and for a handful of private clients. Medium readers, by a mile, bring the most thoughtful and helpful responses. It’s refreshing and inspiring.

Maybe it’s just my sample, but it feels like Medium readers get it. They’re able to table black and white, concrete thinking in favor of decidedly theoretical and conceptual approaches. …

Embrace it, love it, and do right by money so you can do right by yourself, your friends, and your lover(s)

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Photo by Dilyara Garifullina on Unsplash

As I said in a recent Making of a Millionaire article:

Setting aside other people, there’s nothing more important in your life than money.

Because of how we have socialized the role of money in our lives, I have to think this statement rubs large numbers of people wrong. But give me a chance to unpack what I mean and why I think taking this perspective can help improve your relationship with money and, subsequently, other people.

We don’t just have unhealthy individual relationships with money; we have an unhealthy collective relationship with money.

Loads of evidence exists linking financial stress with relationship strain. …

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