5 Things You Can Do Before 2020


What's up Internet? My name's Ian Bloom. Welcome to Nerd Finance! I'm your resident financial life planner and huge nerd. In today's video we're going to be talking about five things you can do financially before 2020 to set yourself up.

The first thing you can do financially before 2020 is start tracking your expenses. Making financial progress if you aren't aware of what you're spending is incredibly difficult. Saving more comes back to cash flow, investing comes back to cash flow, being able to go out and do the things that you want to do with your money that comes back to cash flow too.

The second thing you can do financially before 2020 is set up an automatic draft from your checking account to your savings account for any amount of money you can consistently save. Then, make it a goal to not touch that money. If you don't already have this sort of system set up where you're automatically saving money on a monthly basis, you may find that it's really really hard to save and this is a very, very easy step that you can do just to make sure that you're saving and paying yourself first.

The next three tips are things that you can do financially before 2020 that involve some sort of taxable impact or making use of a benefit that you may not know you have access to. If you are within the income thresholds, contributing to IRAs is a great thing to do before 2020 and that's step three. IRAs are a way to set aside money for yourself for the future with some tax benefits now. Traditional IRAs give you a tax cut today, but make you pay the taxes later on. Roth IRAs don't give you a tax break today, but don't make you pay the taxes on the investment gains in the future. So whichever one you choose is going to be based on what's right for you.

The fourth thing you could do financially to set yourself up for 2020 is contribute to an HSA if you have one. People use HSAs when they have them usually, as just a way to get a tax break on the money that they're going to spend on medical expenses. But, HSA dollars are actually carried over year to year and can be used for any future medical expenses that are qualifying. This can be very very useful later on in retirement and you get a tax break today, so if it works for you and you have an HSA go ahead and contribute to it.

Finally, the fifth thing that I think you can do before 2020 is just go ahead and increase your 401(k) or similar retirement plan contribution by 1%. You won't notice this on a paycheck to paycheck basis because it's going to be a small percentage of your earned income. But, if you were to do this every year you would be saving a significant amount of money, probably the maximum in no time. Just keep in mind that ratcheting it up that extra 1% won't hurt you in most cases financially, but will make a difference in the long run for future you.

Before we close, I want to make it clear that all of these tips are things that you should consider with a professional. So, whether that's me or some other financial advisor or planner out there, make sure that whatever tip you choose to follow is something that works well for you. This is financial education, not financial advice. Thanks so much, I hope you enjoyed watching this video! Like, comment, and subscribe obviously or check out my website for more information like my book. I hope you have a wonderful day! Thanks for watching!

Ticket to Ride and Opportunity Costs


What's up Internet? My name is Ian Bloom. Welcome to Nerd Finance! I'm your resident financial life planner and huge nerd!

In today's video we are going to be talking about one of my new favorite board games, Ticket to Ride. I know I'm a little behind the 8-ball on this game. This game's been out for a while and I've heard it talked about a lot, but I haven't really played it. I just knew it was good.

Picture this: Here I am on a vacation with my family that's going to last seven days. It's a whole week vacation over the Thanksgiving week. As we get there we realize that Wi-Fi is decent, enough to maybe watch a YouTube video or something, but doesn't really support extended sessions of gaming or video conferencing - anything that would entertain me and break me out of the family -aden environment. A week is a really good amount of time to spend with family, but you have to do some things that aren't only family during that week, right? So we went and picked up Ticket to Ride as an opportunity for my brother-in-law, Matt, and myself to entertain ourselves a little. It gave me an idea.

Ticket to Ride is all about Opportunity Costs. Opportunity Costs are something that we talk about a lot in finance. In Ticket to Ride, you are placing your trains over the course of the game. You have the same number of trains as the other player, you have the same random chance of drawing a card that you need to place that train, and your opponent has the same amount of information that you do. The main limiting factor in Ticket to Ride is that you have a certain number of actions you can take on a turn, and that is one. You can do one thing to advance your board state or hurt your opponent's board state. So, that is an opportunity cost. Everything you do, you could have done the other action.

In finance, it's the same way. You know how many dollars you are going to be receiving as earnings in a given year - with a few exceptions - bonuses, raises, yadda yadda yada. For the most part, you know exactly what you're going to be earning that year. You have those dollars with which to advance your future or increase your current happiness. So that is the opportunity cost you are always managing whenever you make a financial decision. The question is how are you going to manage that opportunity cost, right?

In financial life planning, we look at it as this: "Does this action align with my values and the life that I want to be living?" So, does this action either make it more likely that I'll have the things that I want and need in the future or does this action increase the way that I'm living my life to align it better with my current values today?

There's a little bit on opportunity costs and Ticket to Ride. If you're ever going to beat your opponent in Ticket to Ride you have to evaluate exactly which moves you need to make in order to get the most points for yourself while denying your opponent some points. I hope this video was interesting to you and provided some thought-provoking content. If you'd like more of it, obviously you can like, comment, and subscribe or you can find your way over to my website for some other financial tips. Finally, thank you so much for watching. Have a wonderful day!

Gratitude - Happy Thanksgiving!


What's up Internet? My name is Ian Bloom. Welcome to Nerd Finance! I'm your resident financial life planner and huge nerd! And guess what? Happy Thanksgiving!

This video is about gratitude because that's the day that it is. I think gratitude is something that's extremely important, so I'm going to use this moment as a platform to talk to you about why I think gratitude is important. This Thanksgiving I figured I'd share a couple of things that I'm grateful for in my own life and then talk about the practice of gratitude and what sort of ways you can practice it for your own benefit.

The first thing that I'm really grateful for is my wife. My wife is an amazing person who is going through some difficult times, but I am constantly thankful for the way that she seeks to give back to children and her community. And the ways that she cares for me. So first off, thank you Rebecca! The second thing that I'm grateful for is my family. My family includes some amazing parents, some wonderful friends some great siblings, and actually my wife's family, of course, my in-laws. I'm thankful for every one of them and the ways that they contribute to my life. Finally, in a little bit of a touching way, I wanted to take a moment to thank somebody who indirectly touched my life greatly. A gentleman by the name of Ed Jacobson, who is a mentor within the financial planning community, passed away recently. He was a mentor of my father-in-law's, who was a mentor of mine. I learned a lot about appreciative inquiry, or asking questions about what's good in the world and how we can get more of it, from his teachings. Whether it's the book Appreciative Moments, attending one of his speaking sessions, or talking to Steve about all the great things in the world... so I really appreciate Ed Jacobson and I just wanted to take a moment to be thankful for him.

You may be watching this and hearing all the things that I'm thankful for and saying "Oh that's great you know it's Thanksgiving we love to practice thankfulness!" but, I would encourage you to continue to practice gratitude elsewhere within your life. As a financial life planner part of the 'life planning' part of what I do is helping people understand the good things in their life and getting more of those good things. So, identifying what those good things are is a big part of that. Do you really love the relationships that you have? The place that you live in? The little things that you get to do each day? Your routines? All of those things are on some level important to you... and so be thankful for them. Write down those things from time to time. Whether you want to keep a journal of things you're thankful for or maybe don't, but there are a whole list of reasons, quotes, and things related to gratitude that demonstrate that having gratitude on a day-to-day basis is a good way to make sure that your life is more enjoyable and more beneficial to others. So, practice it. Think about the things that have made a difference in your life and be happy that you had them.

Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks so much for watching this video! I hope you enjoyed it and if you did please make sure to like, comment, subscribe, and interact with the video in any way that you want. Then make sure to find your way over to our website at openworldfp.com. There you can find the blog which features all the videos that I've produced, but then it also has a transcript of all those videos. Thanks so much and have a wonderful day!

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