Self Help

The Great Money Reset - Jill Schlesinger

Author Photo

Matheus Puppe

· 33 min read



Here is a summary of the beginning of the book:

  • The book introduces Melissa, who has long worked in media in New York City but has become dissatisfied with her intense job that leaves no time for personal life.

  • The COVID pandemic exacerbates her situation and causes her to take extended time off, during which she realizes she needs a big change. She quits her job to go on a road trip and reevaluate her goals.

  • The author relates to Melissa’s situation, as they also underwent a major career and life transition previously.

  • Many others have also been reconsidering their lives and careers due to the impact of the pandemic. Some specific examples are given of people in different situations exploring options like job changes, relocating, or retiring early.

  • The introduction sets up that the book will provide money advice to help people seriously contemplating or making big life changes, as Melissa and many others are doing in the wake of the pandemic upheaval.

  • Tom and his wife sold their expensive house in Pittsburgh and moved to an Airbnb farm, which was perfect for his wife’s hobby of horseback riding.

  • Without a mortgage or maintaining a home, they had more time and money for hobbies, volunteer work, and travel.

  • Tom said COVID allowed them to reflect on what really matters in life - family, community, and being debt-free.

  • The pandemic prompted many listeners to rethink their lives and finances. Some had already made big changes like Tom, while others were contemplating changes.

  • Common themes included wondering if their savings could support a major lifestyle change, starting their own business, moving careers or locations, or telling demanding bosses they want to work less.

  • The book aims to help readers contemplating or undergoing a “Great Money Reset” by addressing key financial areas and providing encouragement, information and guidance to turn dreams into positive changes after the pandemic.

Here are the key points to summarize:

  • Having a notebook, ideally pink, helps keep you organized as you plan financial changes like a career transition.

  • The “Fabulous Five” steps to analyze your finances are: inventory current income/assets, calculate debts/liabilities, consider housing situation, review spending habits, note obligations to others.

  • It’s important to have a clear picture of liquid vs. illiquid assets and ensure adequate cash reserves for uncertainties. Health insurance costs in particular are frequently underestimated.

  • housing costs like taxes, maintenance, should be considered carefully if thinking of keeping a “forever home.” Selling may free up more cash.

  • Spending often decreases less than expected during transitions. Be conservative in estimates.

  • Long term obligations like family support, retirement savings adequacy, living longer than planned are easily overlooked factors.

The overall message is to thoroughly evaluate all financial factors and have a realistic plan to ensure sufficient resources through uncertainties, using a structured notebook approach.

  • Entities or thirties moving back home might have unexpected costs like helping out with grandchildren’s expenses like daycare or private school. Their priorities may also change to live closer to family.

  • When contemplating a major life change, it’s important to consider how it might affect one’s finances over the short and long term. Factors to consider include income, expenses, assets, debt, and obligations.

  • It’s difficult to predict the future accurately, so one should plan for best, middle, and worst case scenarios over the next 3+ years. For example, if planning a career change, consider what would happen if it succeeds fully, partially, or fails.

  • Having backup plans like being able to change careers is important if the worst case scenario occurs. Incremental steps towards one’s dreams may also be viable options.

  • Sometimes smaller changes instead of “going big” can satisfy needs or help test out new directions. Taking initial leaves of absence or part-time options can help decide if a bigger change is truly required. Comprehensive planning for multiple scenarios helps manage risks of major life changes.

  • Before making major career or life decisions, take time to think things through carefully by consulting trusted friends, counseling, and doing financial planning. Hidden assumptions may cloud one’s judgment.

  • Develop backup plans for best, middle and worst case scenarios rather than just thinking about it. Make backup plans actionable by putting in legwork to activate them if needed.

  • Consider how changes may impact a spouse/partner financially and emotionally. Take their needs, feelings and tolerance for risk/change into account. Have frank discussions and make compromises if needed.

  • Gutting it out in a disliked situation may be prudent in some cases, like having a short time left for a good pension. Leaving should only be done if mental health cannot withstand staying.

  • Emotions run high when contemplating change, so take time to cool off and analyze finances rationally through tools like a budget notebook. Perspective may shift on what is best.

  • Multiple options exist between abruptly quitting vs staying forever unhappy. Consider lateral moves, part-time work or changes that still provide stability during transition periods. Data can show if dreams are realistic with adjustments.

  • Grant yourself permission to change only if finances are clearly understood. Unknowns can lead to poor choices, so analyze the “Fabulous Five” areas thoroughly first.

Here is a summary of the key points about our consumption from the passage:

  • The pandemic prompted many people to rethink and reduce their consumption habits out of necessity as activities like dining out, traveling, entertainment were restricted.

  • This forced reevaluation led some to realize they didn’t actually need or miss some purchases/activities they had engaged in habitually for years without thinking.

  • Examples given include reducing fashion/appearance spending, relying more on home cooking than dining out, taking up cheaper hobbies like gardening instead of concerts.

  • Reducing unnecessary spending freed up discretionary income that could be redirected to other priorities like family, hobbies, investments.

  • While some missed activities like dining out resumed post-pandemic, the experience led others to permanently question and cut back on certain habitual purchases and activities they came to realize provided little lasting value.

  • Overall, the passage discusses how the pandemic prompted Americans to broadly rethink their consumption behaviors and spending priorities, with some maintaining newfound frugality habits even as restrictions eased.

  • The author discusses how the pandemic has changed perspectives on business travel and regular routines like manicures. Some see less value in expensive habits they maintained pre-pandemic out of habit.

  • To make major life changes, it can help to systematically reflect on your spending habits and consumption choices. Analyze different spending categories to understand your underlying motivations and “spending rules.”

  • Examine assumptions about what you truly need versus want. Some spending purported to fulfill needs may actually serve desires instead. Alternative lower-cost options may exist.

  • Consider feelings of guilt, insecurity or anxiety around purchases, which may reveal unspoken rules or undue influence from others. Breaking cycles of spending to conform can free up money for better uses.

  • Questioning spending rules in this way provides an opportunity for positive changes by directing finances towards true priorities and values instead of unconscious habits or pressures.

  • The passage discusses the importance of analyzing one’s spending rules and underlying motivations to better understand impulsive or unnecessary purchases.

  • It provides examples of common emotional drivers of spending like using purchases to distract from sadness/fear or relieve stress. Impulse buys can sometimes become set spending rules.

  • Relationship dynamics and differing financial viewpoints between partners can also shape joint spending rules, for better or worse. Compromise and communication are important.

  • The questions posed are meant to help the reader uncover unconscious rules and assumptions about spending, spending habits with partners, and whether emotions are dictating certain purchasing decisions.

  • Running a short-term spending experiment, like Blair did by temporarily reducing income to simulate a career change, can help test hypotheses and determine if lifestyle adjustments are feasible before making major life changes. It revealed unnecessary spending Blair used to cope with an unsatisfying job.

  • In summary, the passage advocates self-reflection on spending behaviors, motives, relationship influences and “rules” to optimize financial decisions and spending aligned with one’s values and goals. Experiments can provide useful data before permanent decisions.

Here are the key points from the passage:

  • Mitchell’s experience of needing to reduce spending echoes Julie’s earlier in the chapter. Too much spending reduction can become unsustainable, so it’s best to experiment slowly to find the right balance.

  • Marjorie was thinking of opting out of the workforce but realized through working with the financial advisor that on her husband’s salary alone, they wouldn’t be able to save enough for retirement, kids’ education, or an emergency fund. Sacrificing some of those financial goals or going back to work full-time were her only real options.

  • The passage emphasizes experimenting with spending changes to see what really works sustainably for your individual situation, rather than making drastic cuts all at once. Knowing your actual spending patterns and needs is important for determining a financial plan and life changes.

The passage outlines a five-step framework called BULLY for negotiating with bosses to get more of what employees want from their jobs.

Step 1 is to clearly define the “Big Ask” - the specific requests an employee wants to make. This includes considering a wide range of potential perks beyond just salary/benefits, prioritizing what matters most, and delineating best/acceptable/unacceptable outcomes.

Step 2 is to understand the full context before negotiating. Employees should research what is reasonable based on their role, skills, market salary data, and network feedback on their own contributions and value. They should also understand company policies and the boss/organization’s perspective.

The other steps will be covered in the subsequent paragraphs: losing ego, practicing conversations, and not taking rejection personally. The overall message is to thoughtfully prepare requests rather than winging negotiations, to improve the odds of a successful outcome. Research, clarity on wants/needs, and understanding stakeholder perspectives are emphasized as important groundwork.

  • An employee requested a bonus from their boss during a difficult time when the company was facing financial struggles due to crashing markets. The timing of the request was poor.

  • Before making a big request, it’s important to thoroughly research other opportunities and consider how other employers may value your skills. Skills gained in one role can be applicable in unconventional areas.

  • A man known as Kenny worked for an alcoholic beverage distributor. When restaurants closed due to the pandemic, the company had to lay off employees. When business later increased at retail stores, Kenny struggled to hire back enough people.

  • Kenny contacted laid off bartenders, arguing their people skills and consumer knowledge would make them good salespeople. This showed how experiences in one industry can enable success in another when labor markets change.

  • When making a big request, focus on thanking your boss for past opportunities rather than demands. Remain confident but not arrogant. Empathize with your boss’s perspective and acknowledge their challenges. Practice the conversation beforehand to refine your pitch.

  • Sarah Robison was a nurse anesthetist who decided to quit her stable job to hike the entire Appalachian Trail, over 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine.

  • She drew on $50,000 of her savings that she had been accumulating for a house down payment to fund this hiking expedition.

  • On October 11, 2021, after six months of hiking, she reached the summit of Mount Katahdin in Maine, completing her journey along the entire trail.

  • Sarah follows a rule of living uncomfortably by facing her fears and trying new experiences instead of avoiding them. Her hiking trek was an embodiment of this rule.

  • Though the pandemic was ongoing, she quit her job and made herself vulnerable by blogging about her experiences, seeking less stress and more happiness in life rather than just maximizing wealth.

  • A few years prior, Sarah had done a short hike on the Appalachian Trail and was inspired by the emotional intensity of reaching the summit, setting her goal to complete the entire trail.

So in summary, Sarah quit her stable job to embark on a six-month hike of the entire Appalachian Trail, drawing on savings, in order to challenge herself and increase her happiness and life experiences over just financial wealth.

  • The passage describes Sarah’s experience summiting Mount Katahdin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, feeling a sense of accomplishment and overcoming her fears by taking the risk to quit her job and pursue her dream.

  • Prior to embarking on her hike, Sarah had diligently saved for retirement over many years, maxing out her contributions. By the time of the COVID pandemic in 2020, she had amassed $400,000 in retirement savings on top of a pension, allowing her to financially take the risk of leaving her job without jeopardizing her future.

  • The passage argues that disciplined long-term investing and savings can enable people to make major life changes or take career risks without risking their entire financial future, providing an example in Sarah’s story of quitting her job to hike the Appalachian Trail. Prudent financial planning made it possible for her to seize an opportunity while still securing her long-term security.

Here are the key points from the passage:

  • In general, it’s not a good idea to have more than 10% of your portfolio invested in your company’s stock, as that’s too much concentration in a single holding and increases risk.

  • Even if you can buy the stock at a discount, it’s still risky to be heavily invested in just one company. The upside potential may not outweigh the downside risk if the stock plunges.

  • When considering company stock from your employer, sell off enough over time to rebalance your portfolio and diversify into index funds for better long-term growth.

  • It’s still important to hold bonds even if interest rates seem poised to rise, as bonds provide stability and help balance out volatility from stocks. A diversified stock/bond portfolio has historically performed better than 100% stocks.

  • Whether to pay down debt with investments depends on the specific debt. High interest credit cards and student loans should likely be paid off first. But it’s not wise to pull from retirement savings just to pay off a low interest mortgage.

So in summary, the passage advocates diversifying out of concentrated company stock positions, maintaining a balanced stock/bond portfolio, and prioritizing paying off high interest non-mortgage debt rather than dumping savings to eliminate low interest debt like a mortgage.

Here are the key points about seeking financial advice during times of cultural change:

  • For fun investing money, social media advice can be entertaining but is risky due to conflicts and lack of expertise. Evaluate claims skeptically.

  • For important long-term accounts, seek credible sources like low-cost robo-advisors or a fee-only certified financial planner for comprehensive advice.

  • During significant life changes like retirement resets, a second opinion from another pro can uncover opportunities or mistakes from your current advisor.

  • Even if you trust your advisor, an outside review provides an extra check, as another advisor may notice tax strategies or other items your current one missed.

  • While cultural change brings new sources of advice, traditional credentialed experts are still the safest bet for serious financial planning needs, especially during major life transitions. Outside reviews can offer reassurance or new insights.

The key is balancing new options with due diligence on expertise and conflicts of interest. Social media is fine for casual discussions but not a replacement for comprehensive advice from qualified professionals during major financial decisions.

  • The chapter discusses using Roth IRAs as a tool during times of financial transition or “Great Money Resets” when income may temporarily dip.

  • Converting traditional retirement savings to a Roth IRA allows paying taxes now at a potentially lower tax rate, since future tax rates are likely to rise.

  • This can help “lock in” future tax liability when income is lower. For example, if leaving a high-paying job for a lower-paying but more fulfilling role.

  • The example is given of a couple, Steve and Christina, who face a Reset due to Christina unexpectedly losing her job. Converting some funds now makes sense given the temporary dip in her income and their future retirement plans.

  • Roth IRAs offer the benefit of tax-free growth of funds and no required minimum distributions or taxes on withdrawals in retirement, unlike traditional IRAs.

  • Converting traditional IRA funds to Roth allows paying taxes upfront but avoiding potentially higher taxes on withdrawals decades in the future.

So in summary, the chapter highlights how Roth IRAs can be a useful tool during times of financial transition to help manage future tax liability. Converting funds when income dips allows locking in current, potentially lower tax rates.

  • Steve and Christina lowered their combined income in 2021 due to a “Great Money Reset.” This puts them in a lower tax bracket, allowing them to convert some of their traditional IRA funds to a Roth IRA at a lower tax rate.

  • Converting to a Roth IRA avoids mandatory withdrawls (RMDs) from traditional IRAs in retirement that can push income up and increase Medicare premiums.

  • They calculated they could convert $100,000 without exceeding the 24% tax bracket, paying an estimated 24% tax on the conversion amount.

  • They had enough cash on hand to pay the extra tax without depleting their emergency fund.

  • By taking advantage of the one-year opportunity of lower income, they could save thousands in future taxes in retirement.

  • Other opportunities included taking capital gains now at a potentially lower rate rather than later when income may be higher. Selling a home or becoming self-employed also provide various tax benefits.

So in summary, the tax implications of major financial changes like lower income or moving homes/careers should be considered to potentially reduce future tax liability.

  • Self-employed individuals can contribute up to 25% of their self-employment earnings to a SEP IRA, up to an annual limit of $61,000 for 2022. They must provide the same contribution percentages to any eligible employees.

  • A solo 401(k) allows self-employed individuals to defer up to $20,500 in compensation annually (or $27,000 if over age 50), and contribute an additional 25% of earnings up to $61,000 for 2022.

  • Defined benefit pension plans allow for much higher maximum annual contributions of up to $245,000 pre-tax, in addition to 401(k) contributions. But they are more complex and costly to set up.

  • Choosing where you live based on tax implications is worth considering, such as moving to a state with no income tax if working remotely.

  • When selling a primary residence, up to $500,000 in profits for married couples or $250,000 for singles is tax-free, which should be factored into financial planning.

  • Strategies like donating appreciated assets, “bunching” donations, and donor-advised funds can help maximize tax benefits from charitable giving for those who itemize deductions.

  • Fidelity Charitable allows donors to easily search for and donate to charities from their phone, including locating tax ID numbers and pushing money to selected charities with just a few clicks.

  • Donors can avoid capital gains tax by depositing appreciated securities into a donor-advised fund, which are then automatically converted to cash that can be donated based on the current market value.

  • A qualified charitable distribution (QCD) allows those over age 70.5 to avoid taxes on required minimum distributions from retirement accounts by directing the distributions straight to charity.

  • Selling an appreciated primary residence to downsize or relocate requires carefully managing taxes owed on capital gains from the sale.

  • Enticing career opportunities or life changes may initiate a “Great Money Reset,” but current tax structures and obligations should be considered to avoid heavy tax burdens later. Strategies like Roth conversions, capital gains harvesting, and maximizing cash reserves can help.

  • Charitable giving plays an important tax planning role during career or lifestyle transitions by providing deductions that lower tax bills. Donor-advised funds offer additional flexibility.

So in summary, these passages discuss various charitable giving and tax planning strategies that can help optimize one’s financial situation when undergoing a significant career, living situation, or lifestyle change. Managing taxes proactively is important for maintaining flexibility and financial comfort during a “Great Money Reset.”

Marilyn was struggling with loneliness and depression after losing her husband Patrick. For the holidays, she had to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas alone during the peak of the pandemic, which was difficult for her. However, she was determined to make some changes to improve her situation.

She had recently retired but took on part-time work. Now at 65, she decided she wanted to spend her winters in Florida for better health and happiness. Selling her home in Buffalo that she had built with Patrick would be painful emotionally, but financially it made sense. Her taxes were high and housing prices were rising, so it was a good time to sell.

In 2021, she sold her Buffalo home for $375,000, paying off her $100,000 mortgage. With the money, she was able to buy a smaller townhouse in Buffalo and a condo in Florida. This allowed her to live part of the year in each place. Her boss also let her work remotely from Florida. She was happy with how it worked out financially and emotionally, feeling she had a comfortable retirement and could maintain connections in Buffalo.

  • Real estate equity can provide both opportunity and crisis management. It allows people to undertake a “Great Money Reset” by improving their financial situation.

  • Barb and Rich, a couple in their 60s, sold their $1.8 million home in 2021 when the real estate market was hot. They used the proceeds to buy a smaller, cheaper home in Texas and banked the rest of the money for future living expenses and retiring later to get higher Social Security benefits.

  • Alan and Marie, a couple in NYC earning $320k, had racked up $110k in credit card debt from private school tuition and lifestyle inflation. I advised them to sell their $1.3 million apartment to pay off debt, establish an emergency fund, and reduce expenses by moving to a cheaper place and public schools. They took the advice.

  • Leveraging home equity can help crisis situations but requires committing to spending within means going forward. Emotional attachments to homes can prevent opportunistic resets. Selling isn’t always the best option but may be the only way out of a dire financial situation.

Here are the key points summarized from the passage:

  • Some common rules of thumb around real estate don’t always apply, such as the idea that fixer-uppers provide better value, or that it’s always good to sell when prices are high or move to a cheaper area.

  • When making real estate decisions as part of a “Great Money Reset”, focus on your specific circumstances and priorities like happiness, rather than just finances. Consider factors like renovation costs, flexibility if rents rise, lifestyle fit of a new location.

  • Timing the housing market perfectly is difficult. Make sure any move truly makes you happy, not just financial sense, in case prices change unexpectedly.

  • Take opinions from others into account but think independently about what will personally fulfill you in your housing situation now and in the future. Don’t feel pressured into a move just because others think it’s a good financial decision.

The key message is to carefully evaluate your individual needs and priorities when making real estate choices, rather than blindly following common rules or taking outside advice, to ensure any move as part of resetting your finances also improves your quality of life.

  • Cheri Ruane had ideas for small businesses in the past but never fully pursued them, like a “bumper bully” device for cars.

  • During the COVID pandemic, she started making and selling cloth masks on Etsy as a side business, earning around $20K.

  • Through online dating, she realized it was difficult to keep track of multiple conversations across different apps.

  • This inspired her idea for a dating organizer app called “Bl@ckbook” to help users manage contacts.

  • She invested $10K from her self-care fund into developing the app and initial marketing.

  • The app launched in October 2021 but only had 500 downloads so far. Her goal is 100K users to prove it’s viable and sell it to a major dating company.

  • Cheri’s story shows how difficulties can spark entrepreneurial ideas if we pay attention to problems and solutions rather than get distracted. Times of change may present opportunities to bet on ourselves with new businesses.

  • The article recommends starting any new business venture slowly as a side hustle rather than quitting your job right away. This allows you to test the idea and minimize risks.

  • Cheri started her business Bl@ckbook as a side project while keeping her full-time job for stability.

  • Andrea Meyerson started a lesbian bicycling club as a side hobby that grew popular and eventually became her full-time career through related businesses like event production and travel.

  • The article advises only committing a small amount of money you can afford to lose if the venture fails. Start with small projects to test customer demand.

  • Pay attention to how you feel about running the business full-time versus part-time. Consider keeping it a side hustle if you don’t want to quit your job.

  • Ask practical questions like how long until profitability and if you have the finances to sustain the business independently.

  • Both Spencer Brown and Andrea kept their overhead low to minimize stress when starting out on their own.

  • Freelancing is another option to transition gradually from full-time employment while gaining flexibility, but it comes with less stability and benefits. Build up clients slowly before transitioning full-time.

  • The entrepreneur was the founder of a software company that had grown significantly during the pandemic to be worth around $22 million. Each partner would get around $7 million after taxes from a sale.

  • He wanted to sell now because the markets were high and it was a good time valuation-wise. He also wanted to reduce financial risk as the business made up most of his net worth.

  • Some key factors to consider when deciding to sell a business include getting the highest price possible vs removing risk, the potential for future growth, and personal feelings about continuing to run the business daily.

  • It’s acceptable to sell earlier and remove risk rather than waiting for an uncertain higher potential future value. The proceeds can provide life-changing financial stability and freedom to pursue other opportunities.

  • Even successful entrepreneurs who sold prior companies acknowledge there is no guarantee of future higher valuations, and removing risk through an earlier sale can be very satisfying.

  • Andrea had planned a trip to New Orleans, a Brandi Carlile concert, and a trip to Italy. But when COVID hit, she had to cancel all these events. She felt devastated and depressed at the world shutting down.

  • As an entrepreneur, Andrea was used to improvising when plans change. She realized her customers, members of the lesbian community, needed social and cultural experiences while stuck at home.

  • Andrea discovered the video conferencing platform Zoom and had the idea to host virtual events. With help from a colleague, she started producing Zoom performances and events for free initially.

  • The virtual events were a huge success, drawing audiences of 100 and later 300 people per event. Andrea launched the subscription service “Women on the Net” and it became profitable within two months.

  • Over 500 events featured famous talent from music, comedy, sports, and more. The service provided social and cultural experiences for isolated gay women during the pandemic.

  • What started as a way to save her business amid COVID became Andrea’s “heaven” - a fulfilling way to serve her community and work with great talent. She has no plans to scale back as the pandemic fades.

  • Andrea’s story shows how adversity can spark innovation and evolution if we tap into our resilience and look for new opportunities. Pivoting her business to virtual events revitalized her purpose and financial success when her original plans were cancelled due to COVID.

  • Jimmy was in his late 20s with a degree in urban planning but found the career unfulfilling. During the pandemic, he reevaluated his career path.

  • He decided to quit his job and attend a prestigious coding bootcamp to pursue a career in software development. The full-time, 1-year program was intensive and costly at around $115,000 including lost salary.

  • Taking a risk, Jimmy succeeded - he landed a high-paying job as a senior software developer making $230,000 annually after graduating from the bootcamp.

  • The author argues education can help advance careers if it provides necessary, targeted skills. But it’s important to critically consider costs, alternative options, and whether additional degrees are truly needed before pursuing more schooling.

  • Prestigious or advanced degrees may be worth it for some careers due to credential requirements even if costly, but not all prestigious degrees guarantee employment or justify high costs. Realism is advised when considering education for career changes or resets.

  • Pursuing your passion through education is good, but be practical and consider factors like debt load, retirement savings, and future earning potential.

  • Janet’s story shows how she thought carefully about whether an MBA would substantially improve her career prospects and earnings given her current skills and job experience. She opted not to pursue it.

  • Jen’s story shows how she sought out scholarship and grant programs to earn an MBA debt-free, eventually leading to a high-paying job in cultural administration.

  • When considering education, thoroughly assess the costs, which may include lost income from pausing your career. Also consider opportunity costs like delayed home purchases, lower retirement savings, or forgoing private school.

  • Financing options include family assistance, scholarships, or self-pay while minimizing sacrifices to long-term goals. Withdrawing retirement funds should be avoided due to taxes and penalties. Overall, weight both benefits and realistic costs of education.

  • The passage discusses the risks and drawbacks of borrowing money from your retirement accounts to pay for education costs, such as early withdrawal penalties and increased tax liabilities that can significantly reduce the amount in your retirement account.

  • It recommends taking out an education loan from the government or private lender instead of borrowing from retirement savings.

  • When considering refinancing a mortgage to pay for graduate school, there are several factors to weigh like how much equity you have, if increased payments are affordable, and how long it will take to repay additional debt.

  • Any educational debt taken on needs to be evaluated in terms of affordability, lifestyle and other financial goals that could be impacted by the debt repayment period.

  • It’s important to realistically assess if additional education will actually lead to higher pay or better job opportunities, rather than assuming those benefits. Thoroughly evaluating costs, benefits and alternatives is advised before taking on more debt.

  • Rebecca and Gene, a married couple in their 50s living in Detroit, decide to make a major career and lifestyle change. Gene gets offered a job in Los Angeles paying $300,000, down from his current $650,000 salary but allowing them to escape harsh Detroit winters.

  • They run the numbers and determine they can afford this career change financially, though it will mean ending financial support for their adult children. All three kids are now independent with their own careers.

  • Rebecca and Gene decide to fully commit - they will move to California and sell their family home in Michigan, representing a clean break.

  • However, their children are unhappy with the decision. They feel entitled to continued financial support from their parents, like help with down payments for first homes. They also don’t want their parents selling the family home.

  • The summary discusses how family conflicts often arise during major life changes like this, as people want emotional and financial support from family. Clear communication and setting boundaries are important to maintain relationships while still pursuing one’s goals.

  • When considering whether to accept financial help from family, it is important to be very clear about the expectations and terms up front to avoid misunderstandings later.

  • Discuss whether it is a loan or gift, determine clear terms if it’s a loan like repayment schedule and consequences for missed payments. Document all agreements in writing.

  • Misunderstandings often occur when people are not clear about expectations around family financial transactions, leading to long-term rifts like the example of siblings not speaking for decades over an inheritance dispute.

  • If giving money, specify whether it is a gift with no expectation of repayment or a loan with repayment expected. Don’t assume the other person understands your intentions.

  • Asking for specific terms and plans up front if requesting money, like proposed repayment schedule or backup plan if unable to repay, can help avoid issues down the road.

  • Proper documentation of financial agreements between family can provide clarity and avoid potential tensions that sometimes arise even with small amounts of money.

Here are the key ideas from the passage:

  • Asking family for financial help risks damaging relationships if expectations are not clearly set. It’s best to treat it like a business transaction and formalize the terms.

  • Even if family doesn’t support a major life decision like moving or career change, you shouldn’t feel guilty or give up your dreams. Listen to their concerns but prioritize your own needs and happiness.

  • Compromise can help, like gradually implementing changes or checking in periodically on how it’s working out.

  • Open communication is critical. Explain your reasoning, financial situation, and planned changes in an honest but sensitive way. Involve family, especially children, in the discussion.

  • Be prepared for difficult conversations by having your plans and numbers organized ahead of time. Transparency and treating family as partners can help gain their understanding and support.

The key takeaway is that major financial resets often require family buy-in, so handle it through clear expectations, compromise when possible, and open communication to address concerns in a way that maintains relationships.

  • A Great Money Reset can be prompted by various life changes like a health scare, divorce, kids leaving for college, etc. It’s better to plan for one in advance rather than scrambling after an unexpected event.

  • The story provides an example of the author’s father who had heart surgery in his 50s. This near-death experience prompted him to plan a gradual retirement over 4-5 years from his investing business. Planning ahead allowed him to retire smoothly with adequate savings.

  • Rather than undertaking a money reset on the fly during a time of high emotions, it’s better to anticipate potential future changes we may want, like retiring early, changing careers, starting a business, etc. and plan financially for them over years in advance.

  • Planning long-term for a possible reset allows us to maximize savings, pay down debts, invest strategically, and have more options to facilitate a smooth transition when the time comes rather than feeling rushed or constrained. Advance preparation leads to more fulfilling and secure lifestyle changes.

  • Financial planning 5-10 years in advance can help prepare for a “Great Money Reset” like changing careers, working less, or retiring earlier.

  • Advance planning gives time to adjust emotionally and position yourself financially for major life changes. Small sacrifices now can lead to more opportunities and security later.

  • Similar to the FIRE movement of achieving financial independence and retiring early, some aim for “FINE” - Financial Independence for a New Endeavor. They want more control over work but don’t necessarily want to fully retire.

  • Key steps include projecting future spending, assessing savings needs, potentially saving more in non-retirement accounts, paying off future obligations early if possible, and planning for potential family care costs or other responsibilities down the road.

  • Thorough planning can help maximize opportunities and feel in control when making a major life or career transition like a new endeavor. It also provides resilience to handle unforeseen events.

  • John and his wife Maggie had successfully saved up over $1.8 million for an early retirement through FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) by their late 30s.

  • While financially ready, they were hesitant emotionally about fully retiring. John was ready to quit his job but consider part-time work, while Maggie wanted to keep working.

  • Pursuing major life changes like FIRE can launch one into retirement before feeling fully prepared emotionally, despite being financially set.

  • People avoid change due to fear of losing financial security, relationships, identity, and a general fear of the unknown. They may cling to stability and comfort of the status quo.

  • A scarcity or “fixed” mindset can also prevent change, believing opportunities and abilities are limited rather than open to growth.

  • Successfully making big changes requires envisioning and coming to terms with sacrifices over time to overcome resistance to change from within.

The key insight is that while John/Maggie achieved FIRE financially, they weren’t fully emotionally prepared to retire yet due to common psychological barriers people face when considering major life changes. Planning needs to address both monetary and emotional readiness.

The story discusses Beth, a corporate executive who was deeply unhappy in her job. She was going through a difficult divorce and drinking more. When she was offered a high-paying job in Europe, she took it without properly reflecting on what she wanted.

The new job did not work out, and Beth’s unhappiness and drinking worsened. Her example shows the importance of self-reflection before making major life changes. She did not define her goals or what would truly make her happy.

The passage advocates for a gradual process of introspection and change. This allows new patterns of thought to form, like in the example of Kurt. He was also unhappy in his high-level job. Rather than quitting abruptly, he took time off to build a stone wall each day. This physical and mental process helped him clarify his goals. He ultimately chose to change roles internally, which fulfilled him better.

Doing the challenging inner work and committing to gradual change prepares us emotionally for major life decisions, like a career shift. It helps avoid superficial changes that don’t solve underlying issues. Taking time for reflection is important to make choices that lead in a positive direction.

  • A Great Money Reset isn’t fundamentally about money, but about rethinking our lives. Money is just the vehicle used to approach feelings and life changes.

  • Any fears of changing our lives likely run deep, beyond just money worries. Thinking about finances can help clarify our emotions and prompt self-reflection.

  • The author hopes the reader is now more excited about a Great Money Reset and willing to seize opportunities for bold changes. Life is short, so don’t hold back from aspirations or chain yourself to what’s familiar/comfortable.

  • The reader is encouraged to plan financially for potential life/career changes 5-10 years in advance and prepare emotionally for big shifts, as real change must start from within. Overall it’s about empowering the reader to overcome fears and take risks in pursuing their goals.

  • The ER-special tax deduction allows most people to donate up to $600 to charity even if they don’t itemize their taxes.

  • Normally, you can only deduct charitable donations if you itemize your taxes. But the ER-special deduction allows a donation of up to $600 per tax filer as a “above the line” deduction, meaning you can take the deduction even if you don’t itemize.

  • This effectively lowers the tax burden for many people who make moderate charitable donations but don’t itemize. It makes donating to charity more accessible for those who take the standard deduction instead of itemizing.

  • The deduction was introduced to help incentivize more Americans to support charitable causes, even if they typically don’t have enough other deductible expenses like mortgage interest or property taxes to benefit from itemizing.

So in summary, it’s a special tax break that allows many non-itemizers to deduct up to $600 in donations and receive some tax benefit for their charitable giving.

Here is a summary of the key points from each section:

  1. Take a Good, Hard Look

    • Encourages taking stock of your current financial situation by tracking expenses, calculating assets/liabilities, and planning for different future scenarios
  2. Curb Your Consumption

    • Discusses examining your spending habits and establishing spending rules to avoid impulse purchases and overspending
  3. Bully Your Boss

    • Provides the BULLY framework for negotiating salaries/benefits/remote work by preparing, understanding interests, leaving ego at door, practicing conversation, and following up
  4. Invest in You

    • Covers increasing earning potential through education, career pivots, acquiring new skills to find fulfilling work and maximize income
  5. The IRS Is Your Friend

    • Explains how to use tax rules to your advantage through retirement accounts, deductions, gifting, bunching deductions
  6. Put Your House in Order

    • Addresses housing expenses and strategies like paying off mortgage, selling in hot/falling markets, renting vs. buying, moving to lower cost area
  7. Start, Sell, or Evolve a Business

    • Discusses entrepreneurship options like starting a business, acquiring anchor clients, tax advantages of self-employment
  8. Educate Yourself

    • Focuses on funding education through income-driven repayment plans, Roth conversions, employer tuition reimbursement
  9. Family Planning (No, Not That Kind)

    • Covers relationship dynamics, accepting financial help from family, future scenarios with a partner, advising grown children
  10. The Virtues of Going Long

  • Encourages long-term mindset of investing for decades, focusing on necessities over extras, resilience during downturns, maximizing career satisfaction over money alone
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About Matheus Puppe