Celebrate Labor Day! Why We Work Like Hell for Our Money

A guy leaning on his chair smiling with his computer monitor in front of him at his desk.

Happy Labor day! With many of us getting the day off from work spending our time with friends and family instead, we reflect on just how important they can be in our lives.

The FIRE movement for most of us taking it on can be boiled down to the sentence: “I want more time.” More time for friends and family, more time for my passions, and more time to do whatever the hell I want.

Labor Day celebrates the hard working men and women of this country, those who help make her the wonderful country we know her to be.

We work like hell to live the life we want or meet the needs we have to live.

We work like hell to achieve our goals…

We work like hell to provide for our families…

We work like hell to travel, expunge, and live life to the fullest…

In condensed form, we celebrate today all of the hard work from our full time, part time, contract, and side-hustles we grind on each and every day! We recognize and commend all of you honest hard working people in the world, and hope that the personal finance community contributes knowledge to ourselves and those who want to become Dukes over their castle!

Some History

Quotes taken from The Department of Labor

Labor Day became a recognized legal holiday on June 28th, 1894. It “is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It

It “is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contribution workers who have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

It was first celebrated in New York City on September 5, 1882. They organized street parades to “exhibit to the public “the strength and espirit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community”

After the parade, a festival for the workers and families was held where leaders of the labor movements would speak. It was because of the labor force the USA has obtained such a high standard of living and contributes to the GDP so greatly.

“…it is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership – the American worker.”

Have you ever heard the “I don’t have enough money excuse?”

Why the words make my blood boil!

The 6 words that make my blood boil the easiest.

It is quite understandable that if you are doing all you can, not spending your money on unnecessaries, and still struggling to make ends meet. Minimum wage employment doesn’t make it easy to save mass amounts of money or single mothers with two jobs struggling to afford everything their children need. We can’t fault those who are trying their hardest to do what is right with their money, but obtaining more is a real challenge for them.

It is NOT understandable when people who say “I don’t have enough money,” only because they spent it on “needs.” All channel Dish TV packages are not a need. Sunday ticket isn’t a need. Drinks at the bar, guess what? They aren’t a real need.

It is absolutely a requirement to consistently spend less than you earn if you want to rid yourself of such an awful 6-word sentence. The greatest part – it is totally in your control!

You’re in control

“We don’t live to work but work to live.”

Be reliable and disciplined. Work hard. Each month you get paychecks deposited in your bank account, guess who is responsible for dictating where it goes? You!!

We’re here to help – let us know if you have any questions!

Avoid the dumb mistakes

Following instant gratitude and doing something such as cashing out your 401(k) early, causing you to take the 10% penalty and pay taxes, while also giving up your most valuable asset in investing – the magic of time with compound interest, IS NOT a good financial decision.

Instead, follow the simplicity of our roadmap or research financial decisions to do what is best for the long term. One of our favorite quotes from Mr. Munger sums it up remarkably:

Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet sitting at a desk from the annual meeting.

We believe in you!

Commit

Make the choice to do what it takes!

Reward yourself

Celebrate the wins on your milestone map!

Deserve it!

There’s one easy way to achieve the life you want to – deserving it! Work hard to learn your craft. Research the financial decisions to move you in the right direction. Sacrifice and struggle. Celebrate the little things. Give back. Experience everything on that bucket list. As Will Smith says “Love living your life!”.

Wrapping it up

We work like hell not to make our life hell. Not to become indebted to the banks of the world. We work like hell to live, not to pay back credit card interest rates of 18%. We work like hell to make our future worth living for, to provide for our families, travel the world, enjoy those restaurants you always wanted to try (for special occasions). We work like hell to love our life!

Labor Day is the celebration of working like hell for ourselves and for our countries. Celebrate it!!

How do you plan to celebrate today?Why do you work like hell in your life? Tell us in the comments!

A More Perfect Union

To our fellow countrymen and women:

On this long Independence Day weekend, as you gather with your family, remember that we are all Americans. We are traversing an unprecedented political climate, one that we have searched far and wide for some historical parallel in vain: we have found no situation for comparison and lessons to learn. This is new. And it’s serious. The past six months have been absurdly comical, and we’ve all had a good laugh at memes and jokes. However, the next six months will be significantly more purposeful, as laws and regulations change and more information comes to light about the potential misdeeds of the Trump campaign and administration.

An attempt at impeachment seems to be imminent. If that process begins, we urge all of us to weigh the facts without prejudice. Trust in the rule of law to do the same and to determine the fate of the current administration in the executive branch. Most importantly, look not at your brothers and sisters who oppose you politically as enemies; they are family. A divisive “us vs them” mentality is dangerous. No matter which way the civic wind blows, we must weather this storm as united citizens. In a climate of passionate partisanship and ideology, we need to maintain our calm and not resort to violence or hatred of our fellow man.

Both sides of the struggle wish for America to be better. All of us have different ideas on how to make that happen, but we must remind ourselves that our opposition has the same goal: a better life for themselves, their family, their friends, their neighbors. Let’s achieve that goal together.

Is this the best FI/RE movie scene? (NSFW)

Great scene, eh movie

I was thinking recently about a time that a previous employer asked me to do something completely unsavory. I tried to negotiate out of it, and I was turned down. After hanging up the phone, I started thinking about this scene. I’m not a big fan of Marky Mark or the movie in general, but I’ll always remember the wise words of John Goodman. I remember sitting in the theater thinking about walking out on a boring movie when this scene started playing. Hard not to cheer when big ol’ John gets going!

Being partway there

Even if you’re not ready for early retirement, being on the path opens up doorways that previously didn’t exist. When you’re trying to save up enough money to last you a life time, you can walk away from something you don’t want to do. That’s power over your life.

Are there any other good FI/RE movies or scenes out there?

7 Personal Finance Tips for the Newly Graduated – Become a Duke!

Tips - Graduates wearing gowns on top of a hill, throw their caps in the air to celebrate graduation.

Congratulations, you have accomplished a long-term 4 year (or longer) goal of obtaining your new degree!!!

With this milestone checked off the list, you begin your transition into adulting. Many commencement speakers have shared their messages with graduates all across the country. While thinking back to our own graduations, we realized that personal finances were MIA during those crucial moments. Please allow us to share our tips with you today, hoping to spark the flame towards a very strong and fortified future kingdom!!

Tip 1: Start building your kingdom early

Get a jump-start on our roadmap, beginning with steps I-V asap!

  • Consistent Income
    • The more income you accumulate, the more money you save and invest
  • Start Budgeting
    • Control the flow of your resources in and out of your newly minted bank account. By learning to budget while your expenses are minimal compared to family life, you prepare yourself to be a better provider later.
  • Commit to a better future for your family
    • Personal finances are a war between your income, expenses, savings, and investments throughout your life. Commit now to direct your life in the direction you want to go.
  • Begin contributing to your company’s 401K
    • Bigger paychecks mean bigger tax payments, utilize your 401(k) to change up the game!
  • Emergency Fund
    • Many Americans are unable to handle emergencies in their life, causing much stress. Be different and level up your emergency fund early!

Tip 2 – Compound interest

Tip - Compound interest chart showing $100 dollars climbing to $541 dollars in 30 years.
Chart taken from https://www.investor.gov/additional-resources/free-financial-planning-tools/compound-interest-calculator

 

 

Let’s take a look at $100 invested today, compounding at 6% interest over 30 years. In simplest terms, the first year you earn 6% on $100, earning $6 for a sum of $106. The second year, you earn 6% on $106, earning 6.36, totaling $112.36. Each year you earn the same percentage, but on a greater sum of money. By year 30, that original $100, becomes $541 dollars, and you didn’t have to do a thing!

Taking advantage of compound interest by investing early = savvy financial prowess

 

For the newly graduated, this demonstrates compound interest at its simplest form. It doesn't account for varying earnings or inflation rates.

 

 

 

Tip 3 – Pay off high-interest debt!

DO NOT. WE REPEAT. DO NOT. let yourself get into high interest credit card debt. A very serious situation occurs when your minimum payment doesn’t cover the amount of interest being added to your balance each month. The cycle will never end and your kingdom will not be built.

For example (using fake numbers for easier expression):

Let’s say you owe $110 on a 20% interest  rate credit card. They are offering you the opportunity to make minimum payments of $10 on your balance. After the first month, you pay $10 on the balance, decreasing it to $100. They add the 20% interest, or $20 in this case to the balance. Although you made a payment of $10, you now owe the company $120. You’re payment didn’t touch the principal, only the interest, so each month your balance will continue increasing.

We ask you future Duke, spend less than you earn, and NEVER fall victim to this construction halting catastrophe.

Tip - South Park character holding ski poles, with the text on the image stating: "If you use credit cards irresponsibly, you're gonna have a bad time"

Tip 4 – Make independent decisions for your finances, as traditional wisdom isn’t always true

Adulting is hard work. It takes learning from experience and sometimes learning from experts in areas you don’t have intellect in. The old saying, take it with a grain of salt comes to mind. Why? Because financial advisors don’t always have your best interest, and Billy down by the inn doesn’t know what he’s talking about. When it comes to your LIFE and your FINANCES, you must be in control. Research or seek proper help before making big life decisions that determine your future stability.

In 2007, experts and neighbors alike were loving the house market boom, until it all fell down! People lost their homes, couldn’t afford payments, and held upside down loans. People were investing in areas they didn’t know anything about because he-say, she-say recommended it. It ended up causing the Great Recession with many filing bankruptcy (due to all of the subprime mortgage loans that increased rates) who couldn’t pay their bills. After the crash, many were very scared to invest into the stock market. The investors who independently decided that rather than sell, they bought many shares of stock at very discounted rates – growing their wealth in the recovery. Both examples show why independent can save or make you money in the financial world.

For those too young to remember, check out the The Fall of the Market.

Tip 5 – Order the same sets of Pyrex Storage Containers

One of the most frustrating parts of food prep is searching through a bunch of different lids, trying to find the right lid for the right containers. Instead, buy the Pyrex containers below with lid coloring and various sizes. It will make your Sundays easier for the times ahead.

Pyrex Containers on Amazon

Tip 6 – Experiences are where it’s at!

Two scenarios:

  1. Spend $100 each weekend in a month bar hopping downtown
  2. Save $80 by spending $20 on frugal activities each weekend, then scheduling a weekend get-away with your friends or spouse

The experiences at the bars downtown are consistent. New weekend, same drinks, same people. Experiences, like hiking to a waterfall and staying at a national park log cabin, will be a memory full of pictures that lasts a li, like hiking to a waterfall and staying at a national park log cabin,

ey always bar hop though! Live for the experiences by prioritizing what is most important to you in your life, then do what it necessary to make those bucket list experiences happen.

Tip - a man standing beisde a water fall with his arms in the air.

Tip 7 – Easy to incorporate frugal habits

Concluding Thoughts

A huge step in our lives begins when we start to receive that first salaried paychecks. The first time you take a peek, you’re going to be flabbergasted and scream hallelujah!! With barely any assets or family, the world is yours. It is in that moment we hope to inspire you to recognize the opportunity you have. By making smart decisions from the get go, you won’t have to make a comeback in your finances. You will dominate the game from tip off!!

Can you make a comeback in your finances like the Patriots? Of course you can!

A picture of turf with a white line to show boundary.

Backgrounds:

Atlanta Falcons – The Underdogs:

Potential:

A young team looking to win their FIRST Super Bowl in franchise history (what an achievement). They are led by QB Matt Ryan, who had an amazing year that landed them in Houston to complete one of the biggest stages in the world.

Result:

Coming out strong on offense and defense, they had us all thinking it would be a very one-sided, boring game. Their 25-point lead in the 2nd half appeared to be a sure win based on historical statistics of the postseason As the stock market saying goes, “past performance is not an indicator of future success,” it wasn’t in the Super Bowl. The underdog story ended with an overtime championship loss, the first in history.

Relation:

Underdogs: No matter the current state of the union of your personal finances, you can still make it to your financial super bowl.

Starting strong: The journey of building a strong financial kingdom doesn’t have to be completed in record time. It doesn’t have to start like Tyson Gay from the sprinter blocks. As the Falcons proved, starting strong doesn’t win the game or  a roman empire will be your future. The tortoise wins this time friendly race. Personal finance is a long, constant, and never ending war of decisions that provide reinforcements to your ever growing bank accounts.

 

New England Patriots – The Veterans

Potential:

A veteran coach, quarterback, and team looking to strengthen their franchise empire. Multiple records were at stake: most games (5) won by a head coach (Bill Belichick), most passing yards for a game or career in the Super Bowl for a QB (Tom Brady), and many others.

Result:

Being down by 25 mid way in the third quarter, chances were slim for the veteran team. Yet they never gave up. With four minutes left in the 4th quarter, down by 8 points, Tom Brady once again led the Patriots down the field, securing a tying touchdown and two-point conversion. In overtime, Patriots return the kickoff needing a touchdown to win, and win they did. Records were set, tears were shed, and the greatest comeback in history was mission completed.

Relation:

Never give up: Curve-balls happen. Life can hit you hard with an unexpected job loss. Your car may need emergency work to keep it running. You have a long journey ahead of you to spiral back out of debt. Take a deep breath. It’s all good. You can do it, for your future self and family, never give up!

Embrace the challenge: When curve-balls give you every reason to put your head down. When another tough month puts your finances on edge. When it feels like you just can’t get ahead. When you’re down 25 in the third quarter and the past tells you it’s a loss. Its YOUR TIME to take the challenge head on and show the world what your made of! Find the alternative solution and keep on trekking!

 

You vs You

I can still remember back in my younger days thinking to myself I can’t do one more down-up, my legs are too tired, my shoulders hurt, or I’m running out of energy. Then the team would hear the whistle “wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew!!!” Down, then up we go! Sweating, panting, aching, and hoping for that quick succession of three whistles to end the agony. Afterwards, you notice that you managed to never miss a down-up. Throughout the battle, you realized, it’s just you vs you to get through the excuses and just do a damn down-up. The coach offers motivation like in Remember the Titans: 4th quarter, 4th quarter, 4th quarter. Players puke, players scream, and most importantly they continue on! I don’t believe in overworking and understand the side effects this can have. I’m strictly talking positive, character building strength and endurance exercises. In athletics, it doesn’t matter what great motivation your coaches are screaming. It doesn’t matter what excuses you have. There is only one person that will make you do that next up-down. That person..…is you.

Making smart financial decisions initiates the same battle within. Do I really need this? It’s OK if I can treat myself. It’s just one night out at the bars. Do I really need to save this month? Then you see your budget hit red and its back to “oh shit” I made a mistake mode. Just like in athletics, mistakes happen. The greatest part of life stepping up to the plate, adapting and growing to make the better decision next time. To reiterate, it’s truly on you to forge through the strong current of mistakes and be stronger from it.

Long term goals

Background: Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan’s first season was 2008. He tossed it down field 434 times, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He averaged 215 yards per game with a 3.7 touchdown percentage. Fast forward to 2016. Matt threw 38 touchdowns in 534 attempts with only 7 interceptions. He averaged 309 yards a game for a 7.1 touchdown percentage. From 2008 to 2016, he averaged 94 more yards per game, and increased his passer rating from 93.6 to 117.1 (23.5 increase).

Background: Tom Brady

In the history of football, no team has won after being down by more than 19 points in the post season. The Patriots were down 25. Their team was off in the first half, but they hunkered down, tied up their laces, put their helmets on again, and kept grinding!! They pulled off the great comeback in NFL Superbowl history! I ask you to keep stories like this in your mind as you address your current financial state. You may have credit card debt. You may have a huge chunk of student loans. Your income may not be where you want it to be. It is time to lock down your bank account, stop using your credit cards, begin snowballing your debt, and make the comeback of your life, begin building the life of a duke!

Persistence = Growth

NFL teams and their owners each year strive for the highest glory known to football, winning that Superbowl trophy. Matt Ryan didn’t give up after losing in the wild-card round of the playoffs in 2008. To the contrary, he continued building his body to be in better shape, watched film to be a better quarterback, and worked with his receivers for precision timing. Nine years later, he was quarterback of an unstoppable Falcons offense, racking up 6,653 total offensive yards in the 2016 regular season.

Relation

Each day, week, month, and year we go to battle. Spending vs. savings. It is a war with constant struggle as life happens to us all. The winners of wars are those who persist through the losses into the next battle, motivated and ready to win again! Each of us have different financial goals with varying priorities. But we each have a war, as a duke, we are on our road map to victory!!

Concluding comments

Inspiration and motivation comes in many forms. We aspire to inspire you to make a better future, not for us, but for yourself. This week we will be posting our first analysis, completing the budget series, and looking into saving rate correlations. We Look forward to hearing from you!

Sources:

Matt Ryan stats – NFL.com

NFL Statistics – NFL.com