Josh Bruce
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Finances

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Talking about money has always felt foreign to me. It's one of those things that's socialized to be taboo. If you're doing poorly, people may not like you. If you're doing well, people may not like you. So, just don't talk about it. At least that appears to be the American ethos when it comes to money.

Historically, I haven't been good at earning money; however, I've always been decent enough at knowing what to do with it when I have it. I worked at a credit union for six years and was trained on multiple topics there. I worked in the call center and was introduced to all sorts of individual strategies. As a coach I often recommend reducing friction to decision making. I have found establishing values, principles, practices, and tools early helps tremendously in automating decision making. These values, principles, practices, and tools don't need to be limited to the topic area; there's room for overlap.

The following sections begin with my personal values, principles, practices, and tools with additional elements that I may not incorporate into my personal set but still think are viable. If you think any are missing, please let me know.

Values

  1. Autonomy: When I do the Motivators exercise on myself, the ability to "choose my own adventure" ranks second; every time.
  2. Index funds over managed funds; index or mutual funds over individual stocks and bonds.
  3. My values and principles over social norms and mores.
  4. Intellectual legacy over financial legacy over genetic legacy.
  5. Businesses over governments, state governments over federal governments.
  6. Cooperative business structures over privately held over publicly traded.
  7. The most constrained over the most funded.
  8. United States over International: 70 to 30 percent plus or minus 30.
  9. Corporations over governments.
  10. Equities (ownership) over bonds (lending): 70 to 30 percent plus or minus 5.
  11. Local governments over federal governments: 70 to 30 percent plus or minus 30.

Principles

  1. Corporate profits favor owners; owning equity shares makes you an owner of the company.
  2. The borrower is slave to the lender; owning bonds makes you the lender to the government or corporation.
  3. Dividends created in a vehicle don't need to compound in that vehicle.
  4. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
  5. Rising tides lift all boats and don't get caught skinny dipping during receding tides.
  6. Money is food, not blood.
  7. Be in the market and don't try to beat the market.

Practices

  1. Maximize revenue, minimize spending.
  2. Combined expense ratio less than 1%.
  3. Dividend promotion.
  4. Maximize the number of people directly and indirectly supporting your progress.
  5. Always think in terms of meeting in the middle.
  6. Pay yourself first.
  7. Promote dividends earned in vehicles returning less than 7% per year to vehicles that historically return higher.
  8. Decisions should consider everything else before trying to generate higher than average rates of return. (See principle 7.)
  9. Building Wealth Paycheck to Paycheck.

A note on number 7, I have a savings account at a credit union that earns roughly 6% on the first $500 when you meet certain criteria and 0.15% for each dollar above the first $500. I would like all the dividends to be promoted to index funds. Further, I plan on using my bond funds as simple interest savings accounts where I deposit an initial amount and have the dividends not reinvest. More on this in my investment policy.

Tools

  1. Personal Capital for tracking the majority of my portfolio; some vendors aren't accessible to them at the moment, but it gets me close enough. In particular I appreciate the "You Index" and "Asset Allocation" tools.
  2. Wave for personal and business account transaction aggregation and budgeting.
  3. Stripe and Square for payment processing, appointments, and the like.
  4. One insured spending account: All non-business outflows come from this account.
  5. One or more federally insured, interest bearing savings accounts.
  6. One or more regulated retirement accounts.
  7. One or more regulated taxable accounts.
  8. A well-maintained investment policy.