Category Archives: Personal Finance

Advice for the 25-Year-Old Me

Sharing a libation with my best bro on my 25th b-day.

Sharing a libation with my best bro on my 25th b-day.

Kate, a young entrepreneur that I’m mentoring, recently sent me this e-mail:

I’m turning 25 in two days, and I’ve asked a bunch of people from my life what they wish they had known at 25. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you’d tell your 25 year old self!

This is what I said:

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What to consider in your startup job offer

Photo credit: Unfinished Business movie stock image

Photo credit: Unfinished Business movie stock image

Every week someone asks me for advice about a startup job offer. I have no idea why people reach out to me about this. I’m not an expert on job negotiation by any means; but I have done a fair amount of hiring and deal making as an entrepreneur.

This post relays the main advice that I typically share to friends considering their startup offer. Hopefully I can use this post to direct my job-hunting network and save myself some time typing this advice over and over again. 🙂

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Calculating when you can say: F-You

Money buys freedom. Yet most people don’t know how much their freedom actually costs.

My favorite personal finance concept is F-You Money, which is the amount of money required for a person to achieve full financial independence. That is, for said person to choose to start a business around a passion, choose to work in a cube, or simply choose to sit on her couch for the rest of her life.

F-You money varies greatly depending on the individual. This article teaches you how to calculate the exact amount of wealth you need to buy your freedom.

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I lost so much money from this stupid startup decision

Shut Up And Take My Money

tl;dr: If you are a startup founder who wants an acquisition, then you probably want to form your company as a C-Corp. This might save you a crazy amount of money on federal and state taxes due to Qualified Small Business Stock.

There are very few things that I regret about how I ran my last startup, Beat The GMAT: my team bootstrapped a highly profitable business over multiple years; built a product that helped millions of people achieve their higher education dreams; and fostered a team culture that was close-knit and fun.

But I do have one serious regret: forming my company as an Limited Liability Company (LLC) instead of a C Corporation (C-Corp).

This little business decision cost me a ton of money when my company got acquired. The reason why: Qualified Small Business Stock (QSBS).

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2 weeks with Republic Wireless: Not great, but still recommend

Republic Wireless

TL;DR: Get Republic Wireless if you pay for your own cell phone bill directly as a consumer (vs. through a business); get it especially if you use your phone mostly for data and text. Otherwise…

If I were to create a list of the companies I hate most, it would be:

  1. Comcast
  2. Pretty much every mobile phone company that exists in America today.

As a personal finance hacker, I take a lot of pride in how my wife and I have been able to optimize the cost of most recurring goods and services that we enjoy each month. However, when it comes to our cell phone plan, I feel like we have been getting screwed over for years.

For the past three years, my wife and I paid Verizon $199.88 each month for a family plan that includes mostly unlimited everything (data, voice, text). Up until last year when we were running our own company, we expensed our phone bill through our business. What the hell, it was a tax deduction. But now that we are no longer running a business and are paying for our phone service as consumers, this fee feels out of control. I’m especially enraged whenever we travel abroad and see folks in other countries get unlimited, no-contract plans for like $25/month. Thanks a lot, Obamacare!

Enter Republic Wireless. This service appeared too good to be true. I heard about this mobile phone company through my two favorite financial bloggers, Mr. Money Mustache and jlcollinsnh. The plans were a fraction of the cost of what I could find on Verizon and similar carriers, and it felt like the company was genuinely trying to do right by its customers.

I’ve been field testing my Republic Wireless cell phone for two weeks now. The verdict: it’s okay, but not great. Full details below…

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