Historic Inflation – The most important # you need to know is 3.22%

So another finance piece today. I am not going to go through my normal disclaimer hopefully by now you understand you should be diligent about your finances and obtain information from multiple sources. I’m thankful you consider me one, today we are going to talk about inflation. Yes, its real, and it isn’t exclusive to one region we have global inflation. The numbers I will use in this post will be U.S. numbers but in my research it tracks, mostly, globally.

You are probably wondering what the 3.22% is, that is the historic average inflation rate over the last 108 years. That’s ON AVERAGE, which is important. We have years in there where we have 13.5% inflation (1980) so it’s really important to have good perspective here. Historic inflation isn’t as important as “life time” inflation. That metric is the inflation rate in YOUR life time. For me? Its 3.95%. None of the numbers I am throwing at you include 2022 which right now is approx. 8.5% (give or take). As it isn’t a full year of data we can’t use it for these purposes.

Here is a link to the historic chart I am using. So a few important things to remember.

  1. The distinction between historic and life time inflation rates.
  2. The likelihood of sustained inflation.
  3. Globalization

I distinguished the 1st item already, but items 2-3 are intertwined. We had a sustained period of high inflation in the U.S. from 1973 – 1983 (roughly) that’s a long time. That was in my life time, it might be yours too. What normally happens, and is happening now is wages increase as inflation increases but rarely at the same rate. As an example, it’s likely that in 2022 we will come in between 6-10% inflation for the year, it’s unlikely that your income increased by that same amount. The thing that is a killer about sustained inflation is multiple years where your income doesn’t match or exceed inflation = less wealth overall.

Inflation decreases your purchasing power.

You may make more but it doesn’t buy as much, basically. Globalization is a fairly new phenomenon in the inflation equation. In the 70-80’s it was far less then it is now. So what happens in one major country affects the global consumption and production metrics. If China can’t produce as much of X as it normally does, the price of X goes up, or inflates. Add in a pandemic here and there and well you get the picture.

There is only one sure fire way to combat inflation for you personally and that is increase your income by more than the current inflation rate. The problem is most can’t do that. So the second best way to combat inflation is to ensure your income and investments are increasing more than the average inflation rate in your life time. So for me, that means I need to increase my income and investments every year by 3.95%. Now that is just to remain as is, if I want to improve my financial situation (my ability to consume more) I need to increase my return by MORE THAN 3.95%.

Take a look at the link above and see what your life time inflation rate is. This is the minimum target you should be striving for in all of your investments and your income. Trying to figure it out monthly or on an annual is probably not going to work, but hey if you can make 8.5% in these markets I tip my hat to you. For now, shoot for 4% minimum, 6-8% would be ideal and reasonably attainable if you have investments.

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How to improve as a man – Accepting an unpleasant reality

Society has come a long way in terms of equality. It is true that at many points in the past there was gross inequality in nearly all aspects of life. Are things perfect? No, are they better? Yes. As a man you have a very unpleasant reality staring you in the face. At one time men enjoyed the fruits if in-equality. Maybe you were alive for that, so you think it doesn’t apply and that’s largely true but society has evolved to the point where it is now common place to shame/cancel people for things that happened decades prior.

That’s an unpleasant reality for everyone. What is the unpleasant reality for men that we have to accept? That Women, Pets, and Kids are loved unconditionally, and a man is loved only when he provides something. Of course this isn’t an absolute, it’s not 100% of the time but you look at the current cultural and social norms and this is a truism. Is it right, wrong? I’m not here to debate that or get into an argument over men’s rights or feminism. I am here to help men improve and for today’s lesson on improvement, men have to accept this reality.

There are organizations all over the world that help women, children, pets. When was the last time you saw an organization that was dedicated to helping men exclusively? I’m betting it’s not often at all, and are you a white heterosexual male? LOL good luck…

Don’t fight battles you know going in you can’t win.

How we improve here is by accepting this social dynamic reality. Fighting against it is wasted energy at this point you will be overcome by wave after wave of individuals whom want you silenced. I’m not here to discuss their motivations or why we are where we are but to offer you a way to excel in this reality. Embrace the notion that your value will be based on what you can provide to others. It is not and never will be unconditional like women, pets and children. As a man you will be measured by what you offer, for now anyway.

If you can accept that, then you can begin the process of building the basis by which what you are offering is in demand. That is the secret here, understanding the social dynamic and creating the conditions by which you “fill the bill”. Maybe you want to fight against this and find it hypocritical and detrimental? I would recommend you research MGTOW if that is the case. If you want to prosper as a man in the 2020’s what you offer to others will dramatically increase your value.

Examples of “offerings”

  1. Financial stability
  2. Good moral compass
  3. Physically fit
  4. Great hygiene
  5. Leadership
  6. Willingness to do the work others wont
  7. Honesty

I am not suggesting this is a great situation at all, its problematic for everyone because in the end what happens is resentment. Resentment is the poison that kills relationships. You’re going to resent people because you have to deal with this reality. Meantime something happens to a female and there are 800 different resources for them to draw from to recover. You? You’re on your own. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you will become stronger and have more to offer.

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How to turn your anxiety into a super power

For years now I have been doing posts on anxiety where I seek out articles and cite them for the purpose of giving people information. Inevitably many of these articles come boil down to a very simple proposition: change the way you think. I mean anyone with anxiety will tell you If they could do that they would. We get these over simplifications in many areas of life and its tiring. I found an article here that somewhat does this, but gets to the critical aspect of the identification process.

From the article: “Suzuki talks about “the superpower of productivity,” which you can tap into simply by listening carefully to the actual content of your worries. “A very, very common manifestation of anxiety is that ‘what if’ list that comes in your head: What if I get sick with Covid, what if I don’t get an A, what if I can’t remember what the professor said on this part of the test? The superpower that comes with that anxiety-induced what-if list is shifting that into a to-do list,” she explains to Newman. “ 

Chronic Anxiety is like having an itch that you can never scratch.

So the critical point here is identifying the source of the anxiety. Worried about an exam? Study more. I know simple right? The point here is identifying sources of anxiety and attempting to address them directly. This action begins the process of the infamous “change how you think” narrative and why this article is so valuable. You are likely never going to escape anxiety completely but if there are reoccurring issues that create anxiety, identifying them and working toward addressing them directly is going to bare a lot of fruit for your mental state.

Many of us, myself included have a multifaceted issue. Meaning it’s never just one thing, it’s an accumulation of many small issues that converge and lead to intrusive thoughts and debilitating mood swings. Take one issue at a time, if its work, well what part of work specifically? Try and drill down here, get into the weed and really figure out what is driving your anxiety. When you do this you create the conditions by which you can recover faster as you can in many cases address the issue directly and resolve it.

One down, hundreds more to go but its progress….

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How to move mountains

Time – The most valuable commodity in the world

I haven’t done a piece on time recently. As I contend in several of my blog posts over the years, Time is the most valuable commodity in the world. How you spend it largely determines how happy you are. Today’s lesson is relative to “years”. I am going to give you a popular phrase below, you’ve probably uttered it yourself or know someone who has.

“They (you determine who the they are) just turned (you fill in the year) so I have a good “X” amount of years left with them”

Let’s hone this a bit……

“My dad just turned 72, so I probably have a good 10 years left with him”

We usually end there. There is another question we rarely propose and to truly value our time we have to start asking it. With my example above that question is “how many times a year do you see your dad?”

Maybe you see him every day, that’s cool move on to the next person. Maybe he lives across the country and you see him twice a year. That would mean that, by our logic above that you have “a good 10 years left with him” then you are only going to see him 20 more times. Could be less, could be more. That’s not so many is it?

Time is the most valuable commodity in the world and every day we lose more of it.

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Anxiety: Back to Basics

Let me start this post off with a link to a great resource the Anxiety and Depression Association of America . This site has excellent information for anyone who thinks they have an anxiety disorder or knows they do and you just need more information. This website has a lot of information and resources and can assist with a multitude of issues. I strongly recommend taking a look at the site and the reference material it offers.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is essentially a catch all for nonspecific anxiety triggers most of us call them phobias. “GAD is diagnosed when a person finds it difficult to control worry on more days than not for at least six months and has three or more symptoms” . When I read this I realized that at several points in my life this applied to me. GAD isn’t a constant condition it can come and go but I’ve found in my travels that more often than not it is always present just to varying degrees.

From the Website: “GAD affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, in any given year. Women are twice as likely to be affected. The disorder comes on gradually and can begin across the life cycle, though the risk is highest between childhood and middle age. Although the exact cause of GAD is unknown, there is evidence that biological factors, family background, and life experiences, particularly stressful ones, play a role.”

stressed-out-woman
Anxiety doesn’t care about your ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

I thought this excerpt from the site was particularly potent. 6.8 million adults… Ya we aren’t alone. I found it very interesting that they claim women are twice as likely to be affected. I can logically extrapolate some instances why, pregnancy, physical appearance and family pressures come to mind. The worse part though is the multitude of factors and the lack of specificity as to why this occurs.

Essentially anything can trigger this, maybe you went to a concert Saturday and your ears were ringing when you got up the next day “am I going to go deaf?” you ask yourself. A common seemingly sterile situation right? So the next time you don’t hear something correctly are you now delving back into anxiety? Technically yes, again its degree’s but you are anxious about a future outcome based on an example of the past. You can’t absolutely say that your past experience will be identical to your future outcome but it’s your best gauge.

Then you begin to think “god if I just didn’t go to that concert I wouldn’t have this issue” and on and on it goes. That’s just one very simple example but it’s a prelude to Generalized Anxiety Disorder. There is no definitive moment as to when it begins for anyone, but when you are “in the moments” of anxiety you know it. The sensations are unique to everyone but if you’ve had panic attacks you know the gambit it can run. You can be highly functional and then for days struggle to get out of bed because you can’t overcome the anxiety.

Then, one day you feel good. Not perfect, not “wow that was silly I am free and clear” but the fog clears for you and you go on without worrying about it at all. This is GAD and it can flip day to day, week to week for your entire life. Knowledge is power and remember you aren’t alone. There are millions of people all over the world that have anxiety and deal with it sometimes daily, sometimes randomly sometimes just situationally with specific phobias. Hang in there, one day at a time.

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How to be a better man: If you entertain clowns, you join the circus

One of the key aspects of being a better man is really being honest about who you invest your time into in your life. Let’s be blunt here we all have toxic people in our lives, it’s really a matter of degree’s. When you entertain/invest time into them you become part of their circus act. This isn’t gender specific either. I’m not talking exclusively about your buddy from high school who still pounds a 6 pack before going out on Friday night.

I’m also talking about GF’s who are drama queens, exes who float in and out of your life to keep you on the line. Crazy uncles who always seem to need help with something, or siblings/parents who constantly fight and or cause issues. I’m not saying you have to cut people like this out of your life completely but you have to be honest about who these people are. If you are at family functions and Uncle Ted continues to bring up the incident at thanksgiving from 2001 it’s because he has either not gotten over it, or he wants to create drama for the people associated because he thinks THEY aren’t over it.

This is an example of how a clown works. They fixate on something that was painful, embarrassing or a highly emotional episode of the past and just keep hammering on it. Sometimes years later. Now there are degrees of this of course. If your current partner is reminding you of something you said 2 years ago you have to think about that and the current context. If you are hearing about this event regularly it means they aren’t over it and or are not happy about how you handled it.

Unclutter your life

People like this can sap your emotional energy. The circus ensues when you engage in this banter and it is used to bludgeon you over and over. The same theory applies to people in your life who have episode behavior. As an example, you go out for drinks, there is a designated driver or uber. There is always one person who says they can drive (when you know they can’t) even WHEN you have done the right thing and set up an alternative means of getting home they continue on. Another example, you are out to eat with your partner and no matter where you go, no matter what you order there is a problem.

If you continue to indulge these behaviors you are sending a signal that it is acceptable, ergo you are accepting a role in the circus. Maybe the example is mild and you are okay with it/tolerate it. Fine but what you normally find is the circus grows over time and more and more “situations” occur in new settings. You have to identify who these people are in your life and really think about your time investment into them.

It’s okay to have a circus once in a while, life should be spicy. That said, to be a better man you have to have balance and be very careful how much the circus consumes your time.

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Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade? – My take

This blog rarely delves into politics, sadly politics has invaded nearly all aspects of citizen’s life. As many of you probably know a draft decision was leaked from the U.S. supreme court that reads as they are going to overturn the landmark decision of Roe v Wade, effectively ending federal protections of abortion. This is a big deal. This is one of the most controversial laws in the U.S. for the last several decades. I am surprised that they want to overturn this, and even more surprised that this was leaked. First to the leak, whoever did it REALLY stuck their neck out because that in of itself is unprecedented. They could face serious time in jail for that, best of luck…

So if this happens (it is not set in stone that it will) then effectively abortion becomes a state issue. That means every state in the U.S. can set up their own laws. This doesn’t preclude congress from passing a new law pertaining to abortion but the immediate impact will be states get to decide. So depending on where you live, abortion might be outlawed completed. Now keep in mind any state legislation that is proposed to affect abortion law will likely be challenged legally.

This is a polarizing social issue (like we need more of those). You will see protests, maybe riots it won’t be pretty. There is a lot of speculation that this was done for political reasons to invigorate democratic voters. Look that is plausible but I don’t know. Long term this is a good outcome because what this means is states will be responsible for abortion law. This puts it one step closer to the actual voter base. A state senator in Michigan is much more beholden to Michigan voters then the federal senator for Vermont.

Vote
Liberty is paramount

The bad news is in states that do not want abortion, this will affect women in those states disproportionately and that was the underlying strength of Roe v Wade, it protected women’s right to choose in states that would otherwise remove that choice. Now for wealthy Americans you could always go “over the border” and get it taken care of but what about low income individuals who don’t have those resources? Tough questions are ahead for sure.

My take: I am a libertarian. So for me I believe in the liberty of the individual. I believe that government should be excluded from the matter. To be clear, I believe a woman should have the right to decide if she wants to carry a child to term or not. As that child is reliant on her body to sustain the child it is her conscious that has to deal with the reprocusions of the choice.

I believe that governments job is to ensure the health and safety of its population. This means that government should be supporting the woman’s choice with reasonable accommodation. Reasonable accommodation, to me means, not creating obstacles for that woman when she makes her choice. Roe vs Wade achieved this to a degree, it wasn’t perfect but it minimally provided federal protection against a state legislature prohibiting this action.

Ideally, neither the state nor the feds would be involved. A woman who is pregnant consults whom she wishes too on the matter (ideally the father) and then once the decision is made she purchases the service (the abortion).

I concede fully that this issue teeters on many social, spiritual and religious issues. I can’t tackle them all here, what I can do is proceed with my value system of liberty. Some might say “god provides your liberty” fine, you are entitled to believe that. At the end of the day, if Roe v Wade is overturned this will have a profound effect on the social construct. I’m going to lean to the side of a woman’s choice here. I think the best outcome is to have individuals responsible for their individual circumstances and governments should help them achieve that outcome not hinder it.

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Anxiety: How to deal with a Recession

Yes, you are going to hear this word “Recession” more and more. Let’s establish clearly what a recession is. A recession, in economics, is a downward trend in the business cycle characterized by a decline in production and employment, which in turn causes the incomes and spending of households to decline. Inflation is part of this but basically the best way to measure a recession is to check on what the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is in your country. If it decreases for two consecutive quarters, it’s a recession.

The GDP is a broad measure, but it encompasses many different economic factors. In the U.S. the 1st quarter of 2022 declined from the previous quarter. So in July we will get the 2nd quarter results for the U.S. and it’s likely to decline again based on the inflation we are seeing. We also have the oddity of the economic conditions from the Pandemic. Manufacturing was silent for long periods decreasing supply (which makes things more expensive). You also had governments increasing their production of currency in the form of aid (increasing the money supply, makes it less valuable). Last, you had many people leaving the workforce. Boomers retired and many people went to the “Gig” economy.

This is putting pressure on companies as there are not enough workers. When you have a shortage of labor, what generally happens is the higher end positions fill up first. What is left is the lower pay jobs that most don’t want to do. So you get this weird situation where there are jobs to be filled but those looking for work don’t want them. Then you get a war, which impacts commodities (oil and wheat) which inflame all of the above.

A storm is brewing, are you ready?

So this is a perfect storm of economic factors. It would be a real stretch to say that a recession isn’t coming. For those of us with anxiety this is going to be the next fear proposition. This will come at a time in the U.S. where mid-term elections are happening as well. It’s going to be a mess if you have anxiety. I wish I had some wonderful advice to get through this, I really don’t. Over the summer the noise will pick up, you will be bludgeoned with it. If a recession drags through the end of the year earnings will be impacted for companies and the employment situation might flip as well.

Yes, this is a mess. So as someone with anxiety how do we deal with this? STOCKPILE CASH NOW. I normally recommend people have a 3-6 month emergency fund, I would now recommend 6-9 months, a year if you can. What is that? You take the average of your monthly bills time 9 months and that amount of cash should be sitting somewhere for you to easily access it. I know that’s a tall order for many but that cash will allow you to weather a short to mid-term storm.

Start tightening up the budget now. Start selling extra possessions you don’t really need/use and bank that money. Hopefully you don’t need it, but I suspect 2022 is going to be a down economic year for the world. I don’t see things improving much until after the U.S. mid-term elections and even then there are no guarantees. Build up your cash reserves now.

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Oscar Wilde

Trusting Billionaires and Millionaires

I am continually baffled by the ever growing cult of personality we see in modern society. From politicians, to celebrities, to business moguls why is it people gravitate towards the extreme 1%? I understand there is a romantic notion out there of how cool it would be to have that kind of money etc. but have you ever taken a deep dive into how some of these people accumulated so much wealth?

We are seeing this somewhat with the Musk takeover of Twitter. As if this is some heroic attempt to further free speech on a clearly biased platform. Sure that might be a nice residual effect but you do realize that the amount of data alone he would have access too by acquiring twitter would be worth likely trillions? You think Google has a lot of tracking/resale of data? What do you think a genius entrepreneur with billions in capital is going to do with all that? Sit on it and just keep twitter open “for the good of all?”

LOL, he’s going to make it a highly profitable PRIVATE entity. That’s what Musk does, he did it with Tesla. It’s likely going to come as a surprise to a lot of you but Musk didn’t start Tesla. He did what he is doing at Twitter, he made a huge investment into the company to become a large shareholder and then changed the corporation into what it is today, nearly 2 decades later. Look I’m not saying he is a villain here but be careful whom you place on a pedestal.

Hero, Visionary, Villain ?

Same for politicians. I remember millions of people online and elsewhere shouting something like “Trump is an idiot” ya he’s so stupid he made millions in NYC real-estate, then made more millions on a successful TV show, then the buffoon was so dumb he became president of the united states. What a moron…. Look at your state senator, let me guess a multi-millionaire right? What a shocker.

Point here is folks the 1% the ultra-rich are cunning, intelligent and extremely savvy. Sure some of them are lucky but many of them play the cult of personality game very well. They are nuanced in their approaches to business, public perception etc. Yes, many of them had a leg up when they started, like Trumpy (he got money from his dad) but he took it to another level. Be careful how much power and adulation you give these individuals.

The Zuckerberg’s, the Musk’s, the Clinton’s, Trumps. They are the equivalent of your ancestor’s aristocrats. Believe me if their hold on capital, information and power is threatened (which you saw in 2020) they will do everything and anything to hold on to power. They will cancel you, lock you down, create obstacles for you to vote on and on and on. It’s about economic class, not race, not gender, not political affiliation.

The haves want to keep us at each other’s throats. If we are fighting each other over ridiculous “ists”, who is watching them?

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Anxiety – An hour matters     

This is going to be a quick post today but I think it’s a critical “add on” for your life that if you can execute your anxiety will improve. All of us have things going on, work, kids, pets, significant others, parents. On top of that we have 24-7 access to screens which enable us to view every bit of information (good or bad) that is occurring in real time. The environment for anxiety is horrible right now.

There is one quick thing you can do, take an hour. Yes 1 hour a day where the screens are shut off and you do something else. “Well what the hell am I supposed to do?” That’s a good question, below is a list of things I do on my hour.

  1. Go for a walk
  2. Read a book or magazine
  3. Take a nap
  4. Stare at the ceiling
  5. Sit in my car
  6. Go for a drive

Now of course some of these activities aren’t going to be a full hour, they may be more or less. The point here is you have to invest into yourself and recapture time. Time is the most valuable commodity in the world, hands down. By taking 1 hour for yourself you are creating a habit. Ideally this habit grows and you start demanding more then an hour. Soon you will be creating time spaces in your life where you are doing the things you want to do, when you want to do them.

But first, you have to find and take an hour. You can do that.

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