Cafe-Frugalometer 2018: Compare Your Restaurant Spending to Others Who Earn the Same Income

Restaurant spending is on the rise. Consider these results from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX), the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual study of more than 7,500 households: Average US Household Spending on Food: 2013-2016 (latest available surveys) 2013 2014 2015 2016 Increase Food at home $3,977 $3,971 $4,015 $4,049 1.81% Food away from home $2,624 $2,787 $3,008 […]

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How FIRE Benefits Society

Financial Independence and Early Retirement (FIRE) improves lives. Those who FIRE enjoy unparalleled freedom, lower work commitments, relief from daily commutes, less stress, better health, and more time for friends and families. Although there’s ample proof that FIRE benefits individuals, no one seems to ever discuss how FIRE benefits society. That’s too bad. If FIRE […]

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Compare Your Charitable Giving to Other Contributors by Age and Income [2015 IRS Data]

When it comes to making gifts, US households are generous. The Giving USA Foundation estimates that in 2016 donations by individuals totaled $390.05 billion, which reflects a 2.7 percent increase from the amounts reported in 2015. If you’re a kind soul who donates to charity, you might want to see how your household stacks up against […]

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How the 2017 Tax Bill Impacts Early Retirees

Current laws bestow many lucrative tax breaks upon early retirees. But does the 2017 Tax Bill undercut any of these helpful rules? To explore this issue—a “burning” one for FIRE fanatics—here’s a rundown of ten favorable tax provisions I’ve followed for years (see my 2015 article here and my 2016 article here). As you’ll see, […]

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Worthometer Canada: Compare Your Net Worth to Other Households [2016 Preliminary Data]

The largest recurring study of Canadian net worth, the Survey of Financial Security (SFS), is conducted by Statistics Canada, an agency of the federal government. The SFS for 2016, which was released last week, involved interviews of 21,000+ households about a wide range of financial matters, including their net worths. If you live in Canada, […]

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Compare Your Adjusted Gross Income to Others by Age and Filing Status [Using 2015 IRS Data]

Note: this post revises a December 12, 2016 article that reported 2014 data from the IRS Statistics of Income (SOI) program. Since then, the IRS has released its 2015 statistics so the time is ripe for an update. Everyone compares themselves to others—it’s basic human nature. But sizing up paychecks isn’t polite conversation. In fact, it’s taboo. […]

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How the Standard Formula for Net Worth Overstates Your Wealth—and How to Fix it

You’ve worked hard. You’ve avoided debt. You’ve saved and invested. Through the years, you’ve regularly updated your net worth using the standard formula: Assets – Liabilities = Net Worth. According to this calculation, you’ve made substantial progress. The stock market’s done well and so have you. But if you’ve only been looking at your net […]

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2018 Obamacare Premium Tax Credit Calculator

In 2018, the federal government will once again offer a Premium Tax Credit (PTC) to qualifying taxpayers who buy health coverage from an approved health insurance exchange. To receive a PTC you must split the uprights between making too little and too much income. If you make too little, you drop out of Obamacare and into Medicaid. […]

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