Bullshit Reasons Not to Buy a House: Refuted

Bullshit Reasons Not to Buy a House: Refuted

Look, there’s a lot of terrible financial advice out there. I had to seek out a bunch of it to write this article, and I think my eyeballs rolled too far and are now permanently pointing into the back of my head. It is very hard to type. Are my fingers still on the home row? Everything is pink and dark. Please send help.

Recently, I’ve seen some advice against buying a home, and I really wanted to examine that. On the one hand, it makes some sense—in the wake of such a damaging recession, many traditional investment truisms proved to be overstated. Financial gurus were overconfident, and occasionally dead wrong. We are collectively wise to question everything.

But in the opinion of these Bitches, home ownership is right for most people. It can be done unwisely, even ruinously—but there are very few situations where renting in perpetuity is a great choice.

Whenever someone gives you advice of any kind, you have to ask yourself: “What is their angle?” If you ask a professional tattoo artist if you should get a tattoo, they’re probably going to be very enthusiastically in favor of the idea. If you ask your Bubbe the same question, she’s probably going to be very enthusiastically against the idea. Everyone has personal preferences, biases, passions, experiences, and agendas that influence how they advise you. Their intent may not be malicious, but it could be short-sighted or unsuitable to your situation.

Let’s get a spoon and dig into this heaping pile of problematic advice.

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Status Symbols Are Pointless and Dumb

Status Symbols Are Pointless and Dumb

You guys. I just learned about a thing so utterly ridiculous it defies belief: investment purses.

What is this mysterious and logic-defying item? Well, according to the Interwebz, it’s a grossly overpriced handbag. It gets to be grossly overpriced because a famous designer’s name is plastered all over it. And it’s called an “investment purse” because you buy it with all the money you’re not investing in your future financial well-being. I’m assuming. Because what else could possibly be the explanation?

An investment purse, as it is so loftily known, is similar to a luxury car or a gold-plated Rolex watch. In other words: it’s a status symbol, a way of keeping up with the Joneses.

And status symbols, my beautiful, badass, budgeting butterflies, are fucking dumb as shit.

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Should Artists Ever Work for Free?

Should Artists Ever Work for Free?

I’m an artist. I am well paid to do my job. And I am way, way rarer than I should be.

There are a lot of historicaleconomictechnological, and cultural factors that keep the perceived value of art lower than that of professions that require comparable education and practice. Unfortunately, there ain’t shit you can do about historical, economic, technological, and cultural factors. But you can refuse to contribute, on an individual level, to the devaluation of your chosen industry.

The easiest way to do that is to refuse to work for free. Here’s why.

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I Read a Book About Warren Buffett. Here's What I Learned.

I Read a Book About Warren Buffett. Here’s What I Learned.

So I read The Snowball by Alice Schroeder. It’s an absurdly long, absurdly detailed book about one of the most famously wealthy people in the world: Warren Buffett. Notorious for his frugal ways and uncanny ability to predict the future of the stock market (no seriously), Buffett’s name has become synonymous with financial success. Which is why I read the book.

I wanted to see if the Wizard of Omaha (I know—not nearly as sexy as the Wolf of Wall Street) had anything to teach me about making lots of money.

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It's More Expensive to Be Poor Than to Be Rich

It’s More Expensive to Be Poor Than to Be Rich

Terry Pratchett had a really perfect explanation for one of the many reasons why it’s more expensive to be poor than to be rich:

“Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of ok for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”

-Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms

By this model, one reason the rich are so rich is because they manage to spend less money… and not just on boots.

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The First Time I Asked for a Raise

The First Time I Asked for a Raise

Story time. When I was 23 and only about six months into my very first big kid job, I got a promotion. It was great! I got to take the word “assistant” out of my email signature, I got to stop identifying as an entry-level employee, and best of all, I got a 22% raise.

I know, right? All was right with the world.

Fast-forward three years and my company had just merged with another company and in the resulting restructuring of the org chart I got another promotion. A big one.

But I didn’t get a raise.

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63% of Millennials Are Making a Big Mistake With Credit Cards

63% of Millennials Are Making a Big Mistake With Credit Cards

Millennials are an extremely debt-averse demographic, so it’s not surprising that they’re also ambivalent toward credit cards. 63% of people aged 18-29 have no credit card whatsoever. And 23% have only one.

I’m of the opinion that it’s extremely wise to have one credit card. I myself fall into the one-card group; it’s a valuable tool in my financial toolbox.

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Your School or Workplace Benefits Might Include Cool Free Stuff

Your School or Workplace Benefits Might Include Cool Free Stuff

If you work for a large company, or a well-connected small one, you should investigate if part of your benefits package includes any unexpectedly awesome free shit.

Many companies act as corporate sponsors of local theaters, symphonies, museums, zoos, sporting teams, and other cultural institutions. And sometimes their patronage can translate to free or discounted tickets for you.

This is also the case for many colleges and universities. Whether you’re a grad or undergrad, the right student ID can equal discounted membership, classes, and admission to any institution your school partners with. I regret not taking advantage of my college’s generous museum consortium membership more often when I was a student. (To be fair to myself, I had just discovered alcohol. So. Mm-hmm!)

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I Paid off My Student Loans. Now What?

I Paid off My Student Loans. Now What?

After spending over a year scrambling to put every extra dollar I could find into my student loans, I’ve paid them all off almost five years ahead of schedule. I’m now in the enviable position of having a big chunk of extra money every month. It literally feels like I just got a massive raise. So what do I do with it?

Building a Scrooge McDuckian money vault is far too gauche. And besides, I want to use this money to improve my financial position in the fastest, most badass way possible (with badass defined as “most profitable in the long-term”). There’s no shortage of options.

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I Paid off My Student Loans Ahead of Schedule. Here's How.

I Paid off My Student Loans Ahead of Schedule. Here’s How.

I paid off my student loans almost five years ahead of schedule.

For a little over a year, I dedicated every waking hour to stomping out these loans like the parasitic infestation that they were, and now that this monumental task has been accomplished it feels really, really good. I wiped out about the last $18k of loans in 14 months, and doing that required intense discipline and concentration. I channeled the mental fortitude of a Buddhist monk and the austerity of an Irish peasant circa the Potato Famine. Here’s why and how I did it.

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