MONEY matters

Mark Zaifman's thoughts on money, global economic trends and politics
Fifty Shades of Financial Independence
Mark Zaifman   |    Fri, Nov 21, 2014 @ 03:01 PM

When you think about financial independence (FI), what comes to mind? What do you imagine your life would look like if working for money was purely optional?

This is a question that many of my clients have pondered deeply and thoughtfully and continue to evaluate and review. Not needing to work for money and wondering what to do with your life once you’re FI is, as they say, a ‘gold plated’ problem we should all be fortunate enough to have.

But with so many possibilities, so many shades of financial independence to explore and discover, such a new dynamic and reality to accept and embrace - the choice of how you design your life plan truly matters. And it matters just as much whether you reach FI in your 40’s, 50’s, 60’s or 70’s.

Whether you earned, saved, lived within or below your means and invested well on the road to financial independence OR you received a windfall from real estate appreciation like many of my Bay Area clients are experiencing, especially those living in Berkeley or Silicon Valley OR you inherited your FI, the road ahead remains full of exciting possibilities. So which path do you choose? What now becomes your life purpose, your dharma?

The Road to Retirement - 3 Tips for Taming Your Inner Hedonist
Mark Zaifman   |    Mon, May 19, 2014 @ 10:05 AM


Keeping the Faith on the Road to Financial Independence
Mark Zaifman   |    Sun, Sep 22, 2013 @ 09:49 AM

If you’re a fan of the New York Times bestselling book Your Money or Your Life - Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence, it’s likely that 'achieving financial independence' (FI) part of the title that initially sparked your interest in deciding to read this seminal book on money.

But whatever the reason, as you find yourself dreaming and visualizing about financial independence you may also feel burdened and thrown off track by obstacles that are in the way of becoming FI. As you sit in yet another two hour commute to get to a job that drives you crazy, as you go through the third re-org in two years or get your fourth new direct report in two years or feel those crappy Sunday night blahs as you think about going to work Monday morning - as crazy as it sounds, these are all blessings in disguise.

5 Quick Tips for Setting Realistic Financial Goals
Mark Zaifman   |    Thu, Jul 18, 2013 @ 09:49 AM

If you’re the type of person that’s a planner by nature, then most likely you’re also good at establishing financial goals grounded in reality, goals that are achievable, and that also require a bit of a stretch. After all, if you’re goal oriented, setting goals that are too easy to reach can’t compare to the thrill of reaching or exceeding a personally challenging goal.

3 Essential Tips for Optimizing Your Relationship with Money
Mark Zaifman   |    Tue, May 14, 2013 @ 09:53 AM
The Zen of Receiving an Inheritance
Mark Zaifman   |    Wed, Mar 20, 2013 @ 12:04 PM

We are currently in the midst of one of the largest transfers of wealth from one generation to the next that our country has ever witnessed. That’s because as parents of baby boomers start to pass, the legacies they are leaving behind in the form of inheritances are in the trillions of dollars.

Last year alone in our financial planning practice, one out of three new clients contacted our practice as a result of receiving an inheritance. And in many cases, the inheritance they received was a game changer - meaning the amount received was large enough to create financial independence.

Are You Living Your Dream of Financial Freedom or Someone Else’s?
Mark Zaifman   |    Thu, Dec 13, 2012 @ 02:03 PM

Today I had a Skype call with one of my favorite clients. Stacie, a 1st generation American, is in her late 30’s, currently lives in Florida, and up until very recently, had a very successful and lucrative career as an engineer for a global consulting firm.  Stacie had the type of career that her family had dreamed of for her, and her parents were willing to immigrate to the U.S. to ensure that she could have. 

Developing a Retirement Plan Built on a Foundation of Truth
Mark Zaifman   |    Fri, Nov 30, 2012 @ 11:00 AM

Facing reality when it comes to planning for a successful retirement is easier said than done. For many people, just effectively managing their day to day finances is already a daunting challenge. Add to that list of to-do’s developing a realistic retirement plan and you risk becoming overwhelmed by it all.

What often happens instead is a form of denial and fantasy. We tell ourselves that somehow, someway, our investments will reap double digit returns from now until retirement day. That our incomes will double and cash windfalls are right around the corner. That the 20,000 shares of that penny bio-tech stock we purchased will be worth a million or more dollars in ten years and our home will be worth much, much more than we ever anticipated down the road.

Your Money or Your Life - Twenty Years Later
Mark Zaifman   |    Fri, Oct 05, 2012 @ 02:31 PM
Confessions of a Frugal Financial Planner
Mark Zaifman   |    Wed, Aug 29, 2012 @ 02:06 PM

Back in the day, I was a spender - a big time spender actually. It was the late 1980’s, the economy was starting to really take off and President Reagan had just lowered taxes across the board.  I was in my late 20’s, earning a six figure income as a partner of a fast growing financial consulting firm. Life was good.

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