When Everything Feels Upside-Down, You Need to Change Things Up

To survive and thrive, your business needs you to adapt

A jet-ski caught upside-down with the rider’s head in the water and the jet-ski above.
A jet-ski caught upside-down with the rider’s head in the water and the jet-ski above.
Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

It’s time to admit to ourselves that we need to consider that as upside-down as it may feel, this is our new normal.

I’ve been working 100% remotely for 8 months now, and counting.

At first, I loved not having to commute 45 minutes or more each way to the office. I’ll also confess that wearing jeans and a polo shirt to work each day was a big plus for me…

However, after so many months, I’m really missing the camaraderie of walking into a colleague’s office and chatting about things both professional and personal. …


Why Blindly Following Made-Up Rules Can Be Dangerous to Your Financial Health

Debunking a fake “rule” to save you a ton of money

Antique scale used to weigh merchandise.
Antique scale used to weigh merchandise.
Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

The “5% rule” was developed by YouTuber Ben Felix and written about at some length by Ben Le Fort. Felix tried to create a simple rule of thumb to help people rationally figure out the merits of renting a house vs. buying.

In brief, the math proposed by Felix tries to capture the financial cost of buying a home as follows:

  • The cost of property tax — according to Felix this is 1% of a home’s cost
  • The cost of maintenance — Felix estimates this too at 1%
  • The capital cost of buying a home’s — Felix estimates this as 3% on every dollar you pay toward the cost of the home (down payment and the principal portion of every mortgage payment, based on stocks having a 3% higher the long-term annual return than real estate), and 3% mortgage interest…


College Is Ever More Expensive — Here’s What You Can Do About It

Here’s a collection of highly effective tips from my experience putting 2.75 kids through college (the youngest is still in school)…

Female student in graduation regalia, seen from behind, with a crowd of other students out of focus in the background.
Female student in graduation regalia, seen from behind, with a crowd of other students out of focus in the background.
Photo by MD Duran on Unsplash

The cost of a college education appears to always go up.

This is especially true when compared to the flat or even drooping inflation-adjusted income of most Americans.

If you’re a parent, and especially if your kid is young, here are 5 effective tips (plus a bonus one) that will help put your kid through college without breaking the bank or taking on enormous student-loan debt.

Tip 1: Start Saving For College ASAP

I’ve been there, so I know this is not easy to do!

If you’re a young parent, you may be facing the double crunch of an insufficient income and high child-raising expenses.

Still, I’m sure you can find a way to squeeze out of your budget at least $25 a month, right? That’s the minimum regular investment required (for example) by T. Rowe Price’s Maryland College Investment Plan. If you get an average 7%/year investment return, that $25/month investment could build up to over $10k in the course of 18 years! …


Shopping for Gifts Isn’t a Competition Sport, but You ***Can*** Ace It

It’s almost the Holiday season, and here’s how you can ace your gift shopping if you start now…

Elegant young woman holding multiple bags from store purchases.
Elegant young woman holding multiple bags from store purchases.
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

With the Holiday season fast approaching, you need to read this now so you don’t run out of time and spend far too much on Holiday gifts (this was originally published in 2019, so adjust as needed to stay safe).

A Metaphor for Holiday Gift Shopping

You’re on a small boat in a wide river. The water moves calmly, almost majestically downstream. All around you are other people, each in his or her own little boat, and you’re all floating downstream. Some are caught in a little extra-fast eddy, moving downstream a bit faster. Others, in a calmer part of the river, float more slowly. …


Applying a Simplified Version of a Risk-Management Tool Used by NASA to Your Own Mission when “Failure Is not an Option”

A detailed step-by-step method to identify, understand, and overcome the 7 biggest risks to a comfortable retirement

Person jumping over a chasm.
Person jumping over a chasm.
Photo by Sammie Vasquez on Unsplash

Life is full of surprises, many of the unpleasant variety.

As humans, we’re far more committed to avoiding pain or failure than we are to achieving great results. In professional terms, that’s called being “risk averse.”

The more important a goal, the less willing we are to fail, which makes us less willing to take risks, even calculated ones. The problem is that by doing this, we cheat ourselves of bigger wins.

If you want bigger wins in life, here’s a simplified version of what I learned from NASA on managing risk, and how you can apply it to your retirement plan, since “Failure is not an option!” …


It’s a Long-Running Debate, and Here’s a Nuanced Definition that Lets Us Resolve It Once and for All

And here are 7 paths for getting there…

A unicorn-shaped “piggy bank” with stacks of coins in front of it.
A unicorn-shaped “piggy bank” with stacks of coins in front of it.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

It’s a long-running debate.

Is passive income a holy grail, or is it as much as a myth as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or a unicorn?

Here’s why I definitively fall on the first side of that argument, with proof from my own personal experience of building from negative net worth (owing more than I owned) almost 30 years ago to my very comfortable current circumstances.

The Argument For Why Passive Income May Be A Myth

In a cogently argued and well-worth-reading case, Ben Le Fort says basically the following:

  • “Passive income is money that you did not have to work to receive.
  • Passive income now appears to include selling information products, affiliate marketing, AirBnB, and hosting ads on blogs, podcasts, and YouTube…


Sometimes a Simple Calculation Can Make Optimal Decisions Clearer

You’re destined to fail if you never know where you are

A man holding a map over his car’s steering wheel and figuring out his location and course.
A man holding a map over his car’s steering wheel and figuring out his location and course.
Photo by Taras Zaluzhnyi on Unsplash

It was late 1992, and my family and I just arrived in the US.

We had liquidated pretty much everything of value we owned back home to cover our moving expenses, but that wasn’t enough, so we borrowed $6000 from my parents.

Beyond our clothes, a few books we brought with us, and some toys for the kids, we really didn’t own much. That meant that our net worth, what we owned minus what we owed, was negative.

My new annual salary was $31,000 — not much to support a family of four, even in West Texas.

For years, we had to be very careful with our groceries, and those $0.20 packets of ramen noodles featured far too often as what was for dinner. …


Sharing Too Much Online Can Be Dangerous

I’ll keep sharing despite what a guy did before committing suicide

Man seen in silhouette, standing on a beach in front of a colorful sunset, with arms spread wide.
Man seen in silhouette, standing on a beach in front of a colorful sunset, with arms spread wide.
Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

I feel grateful.

When I came here, I was thousands of dollars in debt, supporting a wife and two toddlers on $31,000 a year.

I’ve come a very very long way since that time of struggle.

I decided that I should try and help others be as successful as I’ve been. Wanting to help people know that I know what I’m talking about, I shared my results online.

It turned out I had shared a bit too much.

This disturbed guy read what I shared in the interest of helping people, and used it to try and extort a large sum of money from us, using an implied threat of violence. …


Lessons Learned from My Experience as a Consultant

How you can get from zero to financially independent, by the numbers…

Horse racers coming around a bend, with snow flying up from the horses’ hooves.
Horse racers coming around a bend, with snow flying up from the horses’ hooves.
Photo by Pietro Mattia on Unsplash

I really enjoy reading well-written stories on Medium.

Especially in my niche of financial strategy, which combines personal and small-business finance for professionals.

Here’s one I read today that I really liked, by Matt Lane:

In this piece, Mr. Lane suggests three paths to financial independence. Go read his article for the full details, but here are his three suggestions:

1. “Turn your career into a consulting service

2. “Sell shirts on Etsy

3. “Make memes

I think Mr. Lane’s calling these paths ones that “nobody talks about” is a bit of hyperbole, but I agree they’re less written about than most other options. …


College Is Still a Good Investment, If You Do It Right

5 critical things to get right on your path to graduating from college on the cheap…

Student with backpack holding several books.
Student with backpack holding several books.
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

It’s no secret that the cost of a college degree has increased over time, to the point where it’s out of reach for even many middle-class families.

The average cost of attending your state’s public university for 4 years, even as an in-state student, is now higher than the median annual household income!

If you’re in the nearly 60% who take 6 years to graduate from a nominally 4-year program, that jumps to more than 20 months’ worth of household income!

Below, I offer advice in 5 areas that can save you 6 figures on your college costs, and increase your lifetime financial results by 7 figures. …

About

Opher Ganel

Consultant | physicist | sys eng | writer |financial strategist (opherganel.com) | avid reader | amateur photographer and artist ➜ medium.com/financial-strategy

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store