I’ve been playing this game called Path of Exile recently. Actually, let me correct myself. It’s more like I’ve been “living” the video game lately because I played for so many hours already. I found out that this behavior is pretty common. In fact, spending hours and hours on a game is so common for so many people that there’s actually a term for it. They call it “no-lifing” (pronounced no life-ing) a game because you spend so much time of your day in the game that there’s no life left to do anything else in your life.

My wife can’t understand why I’m so obsessed with this game. And I agree with her that there’s no reason to spend so many hours trying to get an item in the game that’s pretty meaningless at the end. But look under the hood more closely and you can see why people become so addicted. In the game, you slay monsters, and eventually, you get enough in-game currency to obtain a better item. This in turn makes your in-game character more powerful and thus lets you enjoy your life a bit more in the game as you slay monsters more efficiently to gain more in-game wealth.

Here’s where it dawned on me that this is just like our pursuit of financial wealth. You make money (and save it). Eventually, you amass enough to be able to use that money to make money. Then you can use the money to enjoy life a little bit more and be more efficient at making more money.

That’s all interesting, but can we translate this understanding into us being able to gather more wealth? Luckily, it turns out that we CAN use this information to further our path to financial independence. Can you imagine how much more money I can amass if I spend just a fraction of the time I spend on these games on activities that result in more wealth?
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I have my reservations with technology as it relates to money. I love how technology can help us better manage our money, but I’m also somewhat reluctant to turn too much of my financial management over to technology.

That’s because too much of a hands-off approach leads to poor money management and can get you in trouble financially. Technology can also be more of a crutch than a help, especially when it doesn’t work like you thought it would. In the end, you still have to know how to manage your finances manually without the help of a computer or software.

On the other hand, I can see how technology can be a great help in spending money wisely and saving money. Here are some cool technology advances associated with money.
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Did you know that many people not only get a Starbucks coffee once a day but multiple times each and every day? Well, color me surprised when I found out that my wife, Emma, belonged to this group for at least a few months.

It’s really not a huge deal when I think about it since she is frugal in other ways and our finances can handle her small guilty pleasure. If getting their sweet tea floats her boat, then by all means. After all, money is meant to help us live more comfortably and not just to be saved. On the other hand, does she know that she’s the wife of the owner of a decently popular personal finance blog that routinely tells people how skipping small purchases can add up to huge savings?

Surprise! Or at least that’s what it felt like she yelled out when she told me her routine a few months ago.
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Many people are tired of the shutdown caused by COVID-19. That’s why people around me are starting to slowly return to normal life because things seem just fine for them after so many months of hearing about the devastation of the pandemic on the news. I can understand that too. After all, it’s hard to see how bad things are out there if you don’t know anyone who was diagnosed with the disease. What’s harder to dismiss is the shock this pandemic already caused the economy though. We haven’t heard about mass layoffs just yet, as many companies borrowed money at record low rates to stay profitable. But if slow economic activity drags on much longer, there’s a real possibility that employers will start laying workers off on mass to keep their bottom line. That’s why no matter what your job is these days, you could be faced with the reality of a pay cut.

No matter why you end up with reduced income, the important thing is to make sure that your finances will survive if a pay cut happens. And, of course, if you are thinking of dropping to part-time to pursue other opportunities, or if you want to cut back on your hours in order to spend more time with your family, you will need to make sure your finances can handle the change, and maybe even downsize your lifestyle. Here are some things to do now to prepare for a pay cut later:
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Having sold a home recently, it still amazes me that people are practically stepping on top of each other to buy a home during this pandemic when no agent is allowed to host an open house. Mortgage rates are crazy low right now, but is the monthly payment the only thing you should be considering?

Sure, the economic numbers aren’t as dire as what the experts feared at the onset of the shutdowns, but aren’t there too many people thinking that now is the time to buy a home? Is the fear of missing out happening not just in the stock market but in the housing market as well? While it’s no doubt tempting to rush out and buy a house, whether now is the best time for you to purchase a home isn’t a sure thing. Give these questions some consideration before you decide.
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Do annuities make good investments? How are they used for retirement income later in life?

What is an annuity?

An annuity is a type of retirement savings vehicle usually offered through insurance companies and, in one way or another, guarantees a steady income after you retire, whether in monthly, quarterly, or yearly pay-outs.

There are various type of annuities, including:

  • Fixed or variable
  • Deferred or immediate
  • Period certain
  • Lifetime
  • Joint/survivor

While these terms can be combined to create your own personal cocktail of retirement needs, the features which make the biggest difference are: whether or not you’ll be receiving payouts immediately or in the future, and whether you prefer a guaranteed payment amount or an amount based on stock market performance.

When people talk about annuities, they are most certainly talking about deferred annuities. It’s reported that around 90% of the annuities sold are deferred annuities instead of immediate annuities. Let’s cover that first.
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