Finding the Sweet Spot in Your Life

  • Jim Lee
In the last blog post, we covered the five stages of successful retirement.  It all begins with a (sometimes) optional step of personal reinvention.  This would be any time in your life when you might ask yourself, "who do I want to be want to be when I grow up?"
It can happen in your twenties, your forties, or your sixties.  Think of reinvention as your own personal "do-over".  
In Japan, there is this wonderful and useful concept of  ikigai .  In a broad sense, this means "reason for being".  More specifically, it is comprised of two words, "iki" (life, being), and gai (fruit, worth, use).  Everyone has an ikigai.  Finding it requires a journey of self-discovery.   
Ikigai illustrated
Jim Lee, CFA, CMT, CFP®
Founder, StratFI

The Five Stages of Successful Retirement

  • Jim H. Lee

I'll confess that I was a probably little too young to be coaching people on their retirement back in the early 1990's. Frankly, it is remarkable that I was able to be of any help at all, given my own somewhat minimal experience with personal finance.

A popular misconception that advisors held at the time was that retirement is a singular "event" that could be completely planned for.

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Deciphering Cryptocurrency

  • James H. Lee

Deciphering-CryptocurrencyOne of my life's great regrets was not buying Bitcoin in 2011, when it was worth just 40 cents. I knew about Bitcoin early on and the idea seemed fascinating. It was the world's first crypto-currency, backed by computational power, limited supply, and an unbreakable code.

If I had made a minimal $1,000 purchase, that speculation would now be worth... $2.5 million dollars.

The problem was this: Bitcoin felt "sketchy". Still does. And the SEC seems to agree on this point, as it recently dismissed an application for the world's first Bitcoin ETF.

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Real Estate Disappears

  • James H. Lee

3FuturecityFutures come in many shapes and sizes. There are possible futures, probable futures, and preferred futures. Each of these comes with a different set of tools from the futurist's workshop.

The thing is... there isn't just ONE future. We get to choose.

So, I found it difficult to give a straight answer when asked about the future of real estate earlier this month. Anyone who gives predictions won't last long as a futurist. Among the occupational hazards of this work includes the fact that any statement made about the future may, in hindsight, appear to be obvious, wrong, or worse yet, obviously wrong.

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Where did money goThere are some things that we all enjoy buying. These are the "fun" purchases that motivate, bring us joy, satisfaction, and a sense of well-being. For some people, it might be a morning cup of coffee, or going out to dinner for "date night" once a week.

Other bills we pay a little less enthusiastically. Here are a few power-tips for saving money on regular expenses that nobody gets excited about:

Student Loans: Few people realize that student loans can be refinanced. Everyone gets the same high interest rates when they apply for a student loan, because we all start without a credit history. After spending a few years successfully navigating the working world, college graduates may qualify for a better deal. Rates for refinanced student loans can be as low as 2.2%. Check out

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The Financial "Power Tool" in Your Wallet

  • James H. Lee

Credit Card PileCredit cards are a "power-tool" that don't require safety googles or gloves. However, like many other tools, they need to be handled with a bit of common sense.

Some people get accidently buried in credit cards, while others use successfully use them to build their business. The really smart ones know how to work their perks.

I became familiar with credit cards while temping for a number of banks during my college years in the late 1980's. The industry has evolved considerably since then -- credit cards have become far more specialized and competitive.

Some great websites for making comparisons include and

Depending on your needs, here are a few of my favorites:

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