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You Don’t Have To Be Alone

For the first year in retirement, I murmured this phrase over and over again, “I’m bored.” After regularly working 60 hours a week and interacting with clients, I suddenly had too much time on my hands. Instead of being bored, maybe what I really felt was loneliness.

After my wife took the bus to work at 8:30 am each morning I was left twiddling my thumbs. After 13 years of working in finance, I had been accustomed to waking up by 5:30 am. So I spent my time writing while she was sleeping instead of writing while she was away.

The vast majority of my friends couldn’t play tennis or hang out during the day because they had jobs. Therefore, there was a constant struggle to fight FOMO as they went on to do bigger and better things. Eventually, I found more productive things to do by consulting for startups.

The pandemic seems to have exacerbated the loneliness epidemic as more people distance themselves from others. Here’s the data to prove it.

The Rise Of Loneliness In America

The first chart is from The Washington Post and the American Time Use Survey by the BLS. It shows since 2013, Americans 15 and older are spending nine hours more alone a week today. Americans are also spending four-to-five hours less time a week with friends and companions.

The rise of loneliness

This second chart is from The Financial Times and analyzes the same American data. It shows:

  • Male and female Americans ages 15-33 are spending about 100 more minutes alone (50% more) a day today compared to in 2011.
  • Loneliness starts to tick up between ages 38 – 40 and doesn’t stop until death.
  • More women start spending time alone after age 60.
Minutes per day spent alone by women and men

Feeling Sad About The Loneliness Data

Life isn’t as enjoyable without a companion. The loneliness data makes me feel melancholy. But it also makes me want to take action to counteract the loneliness epidemic.

At 45, I’m at an age where the data shows I will get dramatically more lonely from now on. As an extrovert who loves taking action, this is an undesirable outcome I plan to fix.

At the same time, I’ve come to realize maybe there’s no need to fix anything in my life. All that’s needed are some minor adjustments that you or I can do to increase our happiness.

Here are some solutions to loneliness I can think of. I’ve come to the conclusion feeling loved and less lonely takes effort. Therefore, maybe we don’t have to follow the path of the Rônin if we don’t want to.

Solution To Loneliness #1: Have Children Later

As an older parent, I used to regret my decision for focusing so much on money and career. However, I’ve come to realize we older parents can actually spend way more time with our children than if we had children earlier.

The second realization I have as a writer and as an older dad is that since 2017, there is almost never a moment of loneliness! 100% of my free time can be filled with the demands of our two children. We are like magnets to them where they want to cling to us 24/7.

I can’t wait to give my kids hugs and play with them after I finish writing this post. However, as two stay-at-home parents, sometimes we feel like we spend too much time with our kids. As a result, we sometimes feel like we need alone time to decompress.

Therefore, the solution to not feeling more lonely after age 40 is to have children later! Instead of having your first child by age 25, maybe have them at age 35. Alternatively, just have a lot of children throughout your adult life.

If you have your first child at age 25, they will potentially be out of the house by the time you turn 43. So much loneliness thereafter! But if you have your first child at age 35, they won’t be out of the house until you turn 53, at the earliest.

The latest U.S. Census Bureau figures show that, for the first time, the average age of women giving birth is now 30. So at least the trend is going in the right direction to counteract loneliness. However, there are significant risks to having children later.

To combat loneliness, having children later. Fertility and abortion chart by age

Solution To Loneliness #2: Retire Later

Loneliness is another reason why the ideal age to retire is not before 40. In this age range, there are simply too few people available to share time together during the day.

Once you get to your mid-40s, the ideal age range to retire, you’ll find many more people to drink mimosas with during the weekdays. If you’re working 60+ hours a week until you’re 65, it’s much harder to have any alone time!

Although I disliked my career enough to retire early, I also enjoyed a lot of my time with colleagues and clients. For example, every year, I’d fly to Hong Kong to attend the Asia Investment Conference. The conference always coincided with the Rugby 7s tournament, which was one huge party.

Not only would I go out and bond with clients every day for dinners and drinks, but I’d also have fun with colleagues from other offices. After the conference was over, sometimes I’d tack on trips to China, India, or Taiwan for more company meetings.

One of the negatives of early retirement is not having a sense of purpose. Until you find something you enjoy doing, you have to be OK with feeling like a nobody.

Even if you retire to something, chances are you will still feel this huge emptiness inside for an unknown period of time. Be forewarned. Loneliness in retirement is real.

To cure loneliness, retire later. The percentage of Americans who retire by various age groups

Solution To Loneliness #3: Find An In-Person Hobby

Finding a hobby other people also enjoy doing is one of the best ways to counteract loneliness. People come together due to a shared interest. The hobby can be in the arts, sports, activism, philanthropy, and more. The more hobbies you have, the better.

For my entire early retirement time period, I’ve played league tennis. The hobby is perfect for keeping loneliness at bay due to the formation of teams. You make friends with team members and have a unified goal to be the best team in your district. If you win districts, you move on to sectionals. Fun!

Having online friends is better than nothing. But I think an online friendship is equal to no more than 5% of an offline friendship. There’s no substitute for in-person relationships, which is part of the reason why there’s a strong push for many relationship businesses to go back to the office. Don’t confuse your follower count with meaningful relationships.

During the pandemic, I enjoyed playing lots of softball. However, due to the risk of injury, I’ve decided to focus more on Pickleball, which is way more action-packed. It’s been great getting to know a whole set of new people from the San Francisco Pickleball community.

People who become fanatical about a hobby also become fanatical about keeping in touch.

Solution To Loneliness #4: Add More Value

The more value you can add to society, the more people may want to spend time with you. You will be invited to more parties and more events. From there, you will grow your network and potentially find more companions with shared interests.

For example, I partnered up with a woman named Shannon to play Pickleball the other day. It was our first time meeting so she asked me what I did. I told her I am an author. She asked about the title of my book and I mentioned, Buy This, Not That.

She then said, “I know that book! Other parents at my daughter’s school were mentioning it. They told me I had to read it because it talks about education, marriage, and divorce. Maybe I can organize a get-together with other parents who’ve read the book?”

Small world! I’m always surprised when someone says they’ve heard of my book or Financial Samurai. But maybe I shouldn’t since this site has been around since 2009.

It’s nice to know I can meet a bunch of potentially interesting new folks who are all parents. If my daughter wants to attend this private school one day, perhaps I can more easily gain recommendations. But I must say “yes” to the invitation and make an effort.

The longer you can help people without asking for anything in return, the more people may want to help you down the road. Hence, if you don’t want to be lonely, start giving more of your time and money today. Volunteering is great for loneliness because it makes you feel good that you’re helping others.

Not only might you get rewarded with unknown favors in the future, but you might also make new friends. At the extreme, the wealthiest people who give the most are always getting invited to fundraisers. But that doesn’t mean they are less lonely given it depends on the strength of their relationships.

Solution To Loneliness #5: Make A Bigger Effort

Now that we know the data about how much more lonely we are, we can be more intentional to counteract loneliness. Reverse engineering the data is easy. Perhaps we have more power to be less lonely than we think!

For example, since the start of the pandemic we are spending at least three more hours a week by ourselves. If we have a problem with this, then we can intentionally plan for three more hours with friends and companions a week.

Three hours can be knocked out with two lunches, one long hike, one sporting event, or a nice date night. Reach out to friends and loved ones to make plans. Put the plans in your calendar and do them!

I plan to play at least one more Pickleball or tennis match a week, which would make me spend at least one more hour with others. I also plan to pop over to friends’ homes more often if I’m in their neighborhood. Just the other day I had some saké outside with a buddy. It was nice to shoot the breeze for 45 minutes.

Recently, I was super-impressed with a fellow parent who met me and my son at a SF playground at 2:45 pm. He and his son were in the East Bay, an hour away since 9 am. But they got on the BART subway system, rode his bike to the playground and met up. We had a great conversation about being a dad and work-life balance. His wife was on a business trip so he rationally made a big effort not to feel lonely!

General happiness of Americans ages 13 to 18 from 1991 - 2017
Too much social media and screen time

Loneliness Can Also Be So Dangerous

For over 13 years online, I’ve had the privilege of experiencing both the good and the bad of human nature. Thankfully, ~98.8% of the responses and interactions have been good.

I’ve observed there appears to be a correlation between loneliness, anger, and potential danger. The more lonely one is, potentially the more angry and dangerous they are. As a result, for your safety, it may be best to ignore your haters or try to better empathize with them.

Before kids, I was more combative with people who hurled insulting comments my way. Although I would never start things, it is in my nature to always fight back.

After having kids, I did a lot of reflecting on the type of father I want to be and the world I want them to grow up in. I also wanted to live long enough for them to become independent adults.

As a result, I’ve more easily let hate go. Not only does ignoring the hate protect my mood, it also saves me time and energy to be more productive.

United States mass shootings
Not a coincidence mass shootings surged in 2021

A Revelation Of Experiences

The pandemic also revealed many of the negative experiences I’ve quietly experienced with the emergence of the “Karens” and those who display hate against Asian folks.

I spent more time learning about the backstories of those who hate me or people like me. And what I discovered was their anger was almost always partially due to loneliness.

One woman went through a traumatic divorce. Whenever I’d write about family finances she’d leave a nasty comment on FS or my FB page. Another man revealed he never had a girlfriend. He also lost money on a home he had purchased right before the global financial crisis.

When people are lonely, they don’t have enough supportive people around who love and respect them. As a result, the hurt they feel sometimes gets projected onto others. Again, online support is not enough.

The loneliness epidemic should worry us all, especially those of us who have kids. In my neighborhood alone, there are at least six adult men still living at home.

We should spend more time being patient and loving to one another. I know it can be hard when people are attacking you, but we must try!

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Reader Questions And Resources

Readers, I’d love to hear what solutions you have for feeling less lonely and more loved. Are we all just too focused on ourselves to spare time helping others? Have you felt more lonely since the pandemic began?

If you want to become less lonely, pick up a copy of, Buy This, Not That. Not only does my WSJ bestseller help you build more wealth, it also helps you make more optimal decisions for some of life’s biggest dilemmas.

For more nuanced personal finance content, join 55,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter and posts via e-mail. Financial Samurai is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites that started in 2009.

Source
You Don’t Have To Be Alone is written by Financial Samurai for www.financialsamurai.com

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IRS Out For Blood More Than Doubling Penalty Interest

IRS taxes increase

In a blatant act of financial tyranny, the IRS is intensifying its assault on hardworking Americans by shamelessly jacking up the interest penalty on underpaid taxes from a pitiful 3% to an exorbitant 8%. This calculated move, recalibrated quarterly, serves as a stark reminder of the insatiable appetite of the IRS, an oppressive behemoth relentlessly extracting every last penny from citizens already shackled by burdensome taxation.

Specifically targeting non-corporate taxpayers, the IRS demands the federal short-term rate plus an additional three percentage points, a blatant money grab that directly targets struggling self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and gig economy workers. These individuals, already grappling to make ends meet, find themselves in the crosshairs of a government voraciously hungry for more of their hard-earned wages.

For those daring to resist this blatant financial coercion and falling short on their payments, brace for the punitive underpayment penalty. There’s a meager concession – if the amount due is under $1,000 after begrudgingly considering credits and other tax factors, citizens might receive a temporary reprieve from the claws of the taxman.

This audacious maneuver puts the self-employed and independent contractors in the IRS’s oppressive grip, coercing them to make quarterly estimated tax payments under the looming threat of severe financial retribution. The January 16, 2024 deadline for the fourth quarter of 2023 is fast approaching – a date that casts a dark shadow over those grappling with the suffocating weight of government overreach.

While the regular W-2 employees might momentarily sigh with relief as taxes are conveniently siphoned from each paycheck, tax experts issue a stern warning against such complacency. Joseph Doerrer, a CPA and financial planner from New Jersey, challenges individuals to scrutinize their tax situation, posing the provocative question, “Are you where you should be?” A question that echoes as a stark reminder of the government’s overreach into the pockets of hardworking Americans.

One taxpayer, Sameet Durg, found himself blindsided by an underpayment penalty reaching into the thousands – an unwelcome surprise that serves as a chilling testament to the relentless demands of the IRS. Durg, a marketing executive, now watches his finances with unwavering vigilance, refusing to endure a hefty hit come April.

As the IRS unabashedly cranks up the interest penalty, taxpayers are left grappling with the heavy-handed tactics of an agency that seems insatiable in its quest to confiscate more of their hard-earned money. This move underscores the urgent need for citizens to vehemently resist the oppressive tax regime, actively defy the IRS’s overreach, and reclaim sovereignty over their wages.

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GUILTY! Sam Bankman-Fried Faces Over 100 Years in Prison

GUILTY! Sam Bankman-Fried Faces Over 100 Years in Prison

(ConcernedPatriot.com) – Sam Bankman-Fried has been found guilty of all charges related to the collapse of his Bitcoin exchange, FTX.

“A New York jury in Manhattan federal court agreed with prosecutors that Bankman-Fried defrauded investors, customers and lenders in connection with the collapse of his crypto empire,” reported Fox Business.

“Prosecutors accused Bankman-Fried, who founded and controlled both FTX and sister hedge fund Alameda research, of misappropriating and embezzling billions of dollars in FTX customer deposits, scheming to mislead investors, and instructing other executives at his businesses to do the same,” it added.

Bankman-Fried was charged with five charges of conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud in the first two criminal trials.

The maximum sentence for each crime was 110 years in prison.

The hearing for Bankman-Fried’s sentence has been scheduled for March 28.

The Southern District of New York’s U.S. attorney, Damian Williams, commended the decision and said that Bankman-Fried “perpetrated one of the biggest financial frauds in American history.”

“The cryptocurrency industry might be new, the players like Bankman-Fried might be new,” Williams said. “But this kind of fraud, this kind of corruption, is as old as time.”

NBC News gave some background information and historical context before the decision:

“FTX and Alameda quickly collapsed in November 2022 after some of their financial liabilities were exposed.

The fact that Alameda had taken billions of dollars from FTX’s customers and that much of Alameda’s balance sheet was comprised of digital currency assets it had created was central to the case against Bankman-Fried.

Unnerved by disclosures about the firm’s financial position, many of FTX’s customers tried to get their money back. That set off the equivalent of a bank run.

The value of Alameda’s investments crashed, and FTX couldn’t return much of that money because it had been given to Alameda. Some went to the fund’s lenders, and billions were spent on sponsorships, commercials, and loans to top executives. That, too, was a major part of the case against Bankman-Fried.”

Following the collapse, more FTX and Alameda executives were prosecuted, including former CEO of Alameda Caroline Ellison, co-founder of FTX Gary Wang, and chief technology officer of FTX Nishad Singh.

All three pleaded guilty, agreed to cooperate, and testified against Bankman-Fried.

In exchange for their cooperation, they will receive less severe punishments.

In his defense, Bankman-Fried stated that he never intended to deceive anyone and that, following the failure of FTX and Alameda, the government had been searching for someone to blame.

“Mr. Bankman Fried maintains his innocence and will continue to vigorously fight the charges against him,” Mark S. Cohen, counsel to Bankman-Fried, said in response to the verdict.

Williams stated that he hoped the conviction would be an example for others.

“It’s a warning, this case, to every single fraudster out there who thinks that they’re untouchable, or that their crimes are too complex for us to catch, or that they’re too powerful for us to prosecute, or that they could try to talk their way out of it when they get caught,” Williams said. “Those folks should think again.”

Copyright 2023. ConcernedPatriot.com

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Brutal ‘Bidenflation’ Has 1 in 6 Retirees UNRETIRING

Brutal 'Bidenflation' Has 1 in 6 Retirees UNRETIRING

(ConcernedPatriot.com) – According to an analyst, “Bidenflation” may be a long-term issue, leading one out of every six pensioners to contemplate retiring early.

It will undoubtedly persist if Biden wins re-election.

In the far-left USA Today, Patrice Onawunka laments the possibility that the “financial insecurity” brought on by inflation—which was brought on by “reckless federal spending”—will last forever.

More:

“People have connected the dots between ill-advised government policies and harsh economic outcomes. Spending nearly $2 trillion on government transfers to almost every household during supply-chain disruptions and exacerbated labor shortages caused inflation to accelerate. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and other production disruptions worsened it.

The Biden administration and congressional Democrats passed a climate change bill that they falsely labeled the Inflation Reduction Act in hopes of fooling Americans, especially seniors.

The bill never addressed rising food, housing, or energy prices — households’ most basic and critical needs. Any climate savings would take years to come to fruition and could be offset by new costs for families — tens of thousands of dollars — on new electric vehicles.

Meanwhile, the green subsidies cost more than three times what the law’s supporters claimed.”

What could be crueler than adopting a law that does the exact opposite and is titled the Inflation Reduction Act?

55 percent of those who have already had to un-retire claim it was because they needed more money.

The White House and corporate media continue to lie to us by promising that the inflation issue will pass quickly, yet nothing ever appears to change.

Everything’s cost is skyrocketing especially housing. Meanwhile, Joe Biden is exerting every effort to keep inflation high. The federal government spends like a drunken sailor, which cheapens money.

Even worse, Biden has permitted countless millions of illegal immigrants to enter our nation, which raises the price of housing by increasing demand for limited items like housing.

Housing is a necessity, Onwuka tells us, unlike other discretionary expenses. Rent costs in America are rising, disproportionately affecting older folks and those with low incomes, especially those on fixed budgets.

In addition, she states that “10 million households headed by people aged 65 or older spend more than a third of their income on housing, and half of these pay more than 50%.”

See what happens when you factor millions of illegal immigrants into the housing problem.

Biden punishes Americans who have lived by the book, paid their taxes, saved money, and worked hard. He is putting the interests of millions of illegal aliens—who raise demand for everything and drive up prices for everything—above the interests of those Americans.

“In a little over four years, I intend to retire. I’ll never be wealthy, but since I started my first 401K in 1994, I’ve been setting money aside for that moment. I enjoy both my job and my coworkers.”

That isn’t the problem. The dream is the problem… the desire to live out your third act with the freedom and resources to do whatever you want.

Similar actions are taken by many working Americans who save money and forgo immediate enjoyment to prepare for their elderly years. As a result, I find it difficult to understand what it must be like to enter a dream before having it destroyed.

The anguish of coming out of retirement, returning to the grind, and facing Monday mornings all over again escapes me.

The only idiots, child abusers, and masochists vote Democrat.

Copyright 2023, ConcernedPatriot.com

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