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RFG is the place to find practical, real world information on personal finance, real estate, investing, stock options and more.

Hello from the Real Finance Guy

Hello from the Real Finance Guy

Time to move beyond the basics

Lets face it: there are thousands of articles on reducing credit card debt, creating emergency funds, and socking away money into a 401k. Those are all intelligent and valuable things to do, but they have already been covered in such depth there’s frankly no point in going over it. My goal for this blog is to provide more detailed, practical, and advanced, financial guidance than is typically available on the internet.

There’s an almost criminal shortage of advanced information for people who have reached a more stable, but challenging point in their financial lives. My own challenges (and opportunities) began after working at a startup that had just IPO’d. Thanks to some ISO grants (“stock options”), I was making more money, but also running into increasingly complex and confusing problems like the Alternative Minimum Tax, and trying to plan the most efficient way to exercise my options.

As an economics major in college, and having worked at a wealth management company, I was aware of some tools and methods that were available to me but otherwise it was difficult to find information beyond “consult a financial advisor”. When I actually DID do that, I ended up paying $500 for the privilege of someone telling me I should diversify, and that the exercise and and sale of my ISO’s would likely lead to some tax implications. In other words, I got to pay for information I already knew.

I should have known better. Working in wealth management I had seen the outrageous fees and cookie cutter advice. The worst part was the returns though - I still can’t fathom how people who managed to create $100m fortunes would pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to underperform their benchmark by 5%.  

 

The point is, I decided to become my own financial advisor. Along the way I actually did end up diversifying into a traditional stock portfolio, and now real estate. But, for me, the exercise of learning how to do it myself was interesting and valuable, and now I’d like to start documenting that experience. It’s partially for myself, as a way to synthesize my thoughts, but I hope it’s also valuable to you. Don’t take this as advice -my road will be different from yours- but at the very least you can learn from the wrong turns I took along the way.Thanks for reading.


 

Setting a financial foundation

Setting a financial foundation