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Financial Panther Posts

Wealth Is Relative – Remember This And Be Happier

January in Minnesota isn’t always the best place to live.  The average high during this month hovers right around 23 degrees, with temperatures occasionally dipping below zero.  When temperatures get that low, you really appreciate the days when it gets above freezing.  Luckily for those of us who live here, we’re in the middle of a heat wave!  Check out the latest 7-day forecast for those of us in the Twin Cities: Depending on where you live, those temperatures could be either really warm or really cold.  If you’re out in Southern California, you might wonder how people even live…

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The 529 Plan Hack For Current Students

We don’t often think about 529 plans as a way to reduce our immediate tax liability. But I was recently talking to a friend of mine who pointed out an interesting strategy that might help him reduce the amount of state income taxes he would owe this year.

Traditionally, 529 plans act sort of like a Roth IRA for college. You put money into the 529 for your child’s future college expenses, allow that money to grow over time, and then withdraw that money tax-free so long as you use it for college expenses. If you start right when your children are born, you can basically get yourself 18-22 years of tax-free growth. Considering the fact that the S&P 500 has never lost money over a 20 year period, you’ve got pretty good odds you’ll come out with some tax-free money for your kids by the time they enter college.

The above scenario is the traditional way to use a 529 plan. But a 529 plan can be opened up in anyone’s name, including your own. This opens up a number of interesting possibilities that most people don’t think about…

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What Does Financial Panther Invest In?

Welcome to Part 3 of my series detailing how I invest in my employer sponsored retirement plans. Today, we’re going to look at the exact funds I contribute to in each of my employer sponsored retirement plans. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Part 1, where I discuss my general investing philosophy, and Part 2, where I discuss the different types of employer sponsored retirement plans.

For those of you that don’t know, back in June 2016, I switched jobs (taking a $50,000 pay cut in the process). I ended up rolling over all of my 401(k) contributions from my prior employer into my new employer’s 457 plan. Then I needed to figure out how to put my money to work.

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Pay Off Your Student Loans Now – It Doesn’t Get Any Easier Later

I recently realized that I’m turning 30 in a few weeks. As I was reflecting on entering my 30s and the things I’ve achieved, one thing occurred to me – I must be in the minority of recent lawyers that will be entering their 30s with absolutely no student loan debt remaining.

This is sort of interesting when you think about it. Student loans have become so normalized in our society that we just expect everyone to have them now. This is especially true for most high income professions that require many years of post-college schooling. When you include all the time spent accruing debt in grad school, it’s not uncommon for someone to keep their debt around for a decade or more. A lawyer graduating at age 25 could easily still have their student loan debt kicking around until they’re 35 or older. I know of dentists that will be paying their student loans well into their 50s!

A common refrain is that you’ll pay more on your student loans sometime in the future…

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December 2016 Side Hustle Report

Welcome folks to another side hustle report! People seem to love these reports because they give some insight into whether any of these quirky side hustles that I do actually make me any money. It’s not every day that a “big shot” lawyer hops on a bike and becomes a delivery man!

Now for the usual background. For those of you new to this, each month, I document what I earned doing various side hustles outside of my day job. These side hustles are primarily done using sharing economy and gig economy platforms (think of things like Airbnb and Uber). The great thing is that anyone can do these type of side hustles. You don’t need to get a business plan or invest any capital. Instead, just utilize the skills and resources you already have.

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