[#39] How I Became Financially Free before 30

Plus: Lump Sum vs Dump, Stablecoin Interest, Married People Are Richer (Kinda), and Wooden Credit Card

written by oz chen

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Edition 39 personal finance newsletter behavioral investing tips

Compliment of the week: You have a free spirit.

This week I’ll start with with something I’ve never written about before: my journey to financial freedom.

Plus: Lump Sum vs Dump, Stablecoin Interest, Married People Are Richer (Kinda), and Wooden Credit Card

🦅 How I became financially free before 30

I didn’t think financial freedom would be possible. At age 30, it dawned on me that my life, albeit a modest one, would be fully covered for the next decade plus if I didn’t work.

In this new guide, I talk about how becoming financially free was largely a matter of mindset and sticking to habits over a long period of time.

Read it here: How I Achieved Financial Freedom Before 30

I am not feigning humility when I say that I live a normal life by many standards – I didn’t create a successful startup, join the executive ranks of a company, or come from wealth. That’s what makes my story that much more compelling: financial freedom is more accessible than people think. Especially to white-collar workers with access to a 401K.

I plan to write more about financial freedom. If you have questions or subtopics you want to cover, reply to me with your ideas.

📈 If the stock market always goes up, should you just invest in it all at once?

If you look at a stock market history chart, you’ll see one pattern: up and to the right.

The stock market tends to rise over time. That’s something impressive to think about.

Now you, as an investor might be wonder: “If the market goes up over time, then doesn’t it make sense to plow all your money into it now when it’s lower so it can increase?”

Enter the lump sum vs dollar cost averaging debate. One study shows that lump sum investing beats drip investing most of the time.

But the right choice depends on your finances and your risk tolerance:

  • Got extra cash you don’t need? Invest it into an S&P 500 index
  • Got a big windfall or bonus? Save some cash for life stuff, then dump the rest into the market

What if you have a significant amount like $10k, $100K or even $1M? For most people, dripping your investments on autopilot is the better psychological option. If you have life changing money, you might not want to put it all into the volatile stock market all at once.

All of this assumes the stock market creeps up at to the right at 8%+ annualized returns. There’s another option that currently gives similar returns and, in my opinion, is less risky than the stock market. Continue reading about why everyone should consider earning interest on crypto stablecoins.

↗️ Stablecoin interest rates going higher

While the interest rate you can earn at banks is about 0.06% (FDIC), crypto interest rates are significantly higher. In the past few weeks, they got a nice bump:

  • Ledn‘s USDC rates increased from 9 -> 9.5%
  • BlockFi‘s USDC rates increased from 8% -> 9%, up to a cap of $40,000
  • Voyager‘s USDC rates have stayed steady at 9%

Note: USDC is a fully regulated cryptocurrency created by Coinbase, and it’s pegged 1:1 to the U.S. dollar.

Here’s why I’ve been putting converting my USD -> USDC and holding it in crypto services like BlockFi:

  1. The interest, duh
  2. Liquidity: you can easily withdraw USDC -> USD in one step. (Read my guide on how to do that with BlockFi).
  3. Less volatile than stocks

When there’s an option with relatively little risk compared to the stock market…I consider it a no brainer. I invest more per month into USDC than I do in stocks.

Not financial advice, and do your own own research…but I continue to be surprised how many people don’t know that crypto offers one of the easiest financial life hacks—even if you don’t believe in Bitcoin.

💬 The wealthy convert money into financial assets

Short thought that’s been dawning on me more as I learn about inflation. The rich put money into financial assets like stocks, real estate and alternative investments. While inflation sounds like a scary, uncontrollable thing to the public, the rich can benefit from inflation because the assets they own get inflated in price.

This is expands my understanding of why the rich get richer.

Unfortunately, lower income earners tend to hold most of their wealth in cash, which gets eaten away by inflation.

The silver lining? It’s now easier than ever to become an investor with technology, zero-free trading and an abundance of alternative assets to invest in.

👯‍♀️ Married people are richer…kinda

There’s a famous, oft-cited 2005 study about how married couples are wealthier.

Married people experience 77 percent higher per-person net worth increases than single people.”

There are two big buts:

  1. This holds true as long as you don’t get divorced
  2. The relationship has to be healthy

From a 2014 Washington University study: people with reliable partners tend to make more money, earn more promotions and feel more satisfied with their jobs. I’m thinking “Well duh, good relationships improve your life overall.

The opposite is also true. My analysis of whether it’s more expensive to be single vs in a relationship mentions that the biggest expense usually comes from transitions in and out of relationships.

The formula isn’t as simple as “get married, get rich.” And single people don’t need to feel slighted by oversimplified headlines like “Being married makes you more successful” (actual article).

Rather, a rich life is an outcome of having rich relationships ☺️. Yes I’m cheesy deal with it.

💸 Money Tip of the Week: Spend and Save Trees

If you thought heavy metal credit cards were cool…there’s a new flex. Check out Treecard, a credit card made from sustainably sourced cherry wood and recycled plastic bottles.

80% of the profits the network makes through Mastercard transaction fees will be used to plant trees. Pretty neat, huh?

Here are some other earth-friendly finance tools:

  • Aspiration is a neobank that plants a tree with every roundup
  • Joro App analyzes your financial transactions and helps you visualize your carbon impact
  • Ecosia is the partner of Treecard. It’s a search engine uses ad revenue to plant trees

Just for fun: “Wow that’s a lot of savings. We’ll give you 0.001% interest” from Reddit

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