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Behavior Gap Napkin Sketch Giveaway

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I received an advance copy of Carl Richards’ book scheduled for wide release on January 3, The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money. Carl is a Certified Financial Planner who began writing articles — and sketching on napkins — at his own website,, and now does the same for the New York Times. His napkin sketches stemmed from his love and the effectiveness of using whiteboards to illustrate financial concepts for his clients.

Earlier this week, I spoke to Carl for an upcoming episode of the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, hosted by Bryan J Busch. Listen to this podcast when it airs a week from tomorrow to learn more about the new book — one of the few new personal finance books I was genuinely excited to read. In addition to concepts from the book, we also discussed Carl’s experience losing his house due to his choice to buy into a real estate market bubble that soon imploded.

Napkin SketchCarl has offered ten 8×10 prints of one of his most relevant sketches to Consumerism Commentary readers and listeners. The sketch explains who to determine what issues are the most important, whether in financial planning or in life. It is a Venn diagram emphasizing the intersection of things that matter and things you can control. The print is on high-quality, thick card stock.

Here’s how to get a free 8×10 print of the napkin sketch

In order to receive a free print, email [email protected] with a subject line indicating you’re participating in the giveaway from Flexo or Consumerism Commentary, and include in the email a proof of purchase. The proof can be a copy of your order notice from Amazon, a picture of your receipt, or anything else that shows you’ve purchased the book. Carl’s team will contact the first ten people directly to ensure the prints find their way to the winners’ hands.

Continue reading for some of the best personal finance articles I discovered this week.

Speaking of Carl Richards, Mike Piper from the Oblivious Investor writes about one of the points from the Behavior Gap, going on a financial media fast. Part of the reason investors perform worse than their investments is due to their reaction to the financial news media. In order to gain ratings and viewers, there is a constant stream of news and “analysis.” Gurus predict stock movements, and corporate public relations machines ensure they have control over public opinion. When consumers react by buying and selling stocks, they’re harming their long-term financial well-being.

The latest edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance, hosted at Young Adult Finances, included this review and comparison of the various Chase Freedom credit card offers.

MyMoneyCircles is a financial boot camp headed by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox (The Money Coach). The purpose is to provide consumers with resources — advice, articles, tools, and links — for making the best financial decisions at every important crossroad in life. The program will begin early in January, but you can sign up now or any time in the future.

Invest it Wisely describes the three stages of financial freedom. The first stage is saving money and reducing costs, the second stage is building income, and the third stage exists only when you have enough money to be completely self-sustaining without working again, at least to pay for the bare necessities. The author concludes that households with a mortgage need invested assets of only $600,000 for an initial withdrawal rate of 3% to cover annual living expenses of $18,000 in perpetuity. An income of $18,000, at least in my particular living situation, is not quite enough for me to consider myself financially free.

Evan from My Journey to Millions explains why buying a house with a mortgage doesn’t automatically change your net worth. The concept is simple, but can still be hard to grasp. If you buy a house for $300,000 without a mortgage, you’re just shifting $300,000 from your cash column to the house (long term asset) column, with both on the asset side. If you buy a house for $300,000 with a mortgage and $60,000 down, you’re shifting $60,000 from the cash column to the house column and increasing your long-term debt column by $240,000. Since you subtract your debt from your assets to get your net worth, the bottom line doesn’t change from “before” to “after,” regardless of whether a mortgage is involved.

A napkin sketch would come in handy.

Updated June 24, 2016 and originally published December 24, 2011.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

$600,000 will actually be good for $18,000 at 3%. This is still not enough to lead a comfortable life, but my emphasis is on mitigating risk, and you will not have to worry about food, shelter, or clothing. If you reach this level (or whichever level you need to cover these three basics), you have achieved true financial independence as you need not even work, and you will get 5%-7% raises during good years that will help to cover for the bad years.

You can of course continue to work and build up assets, as I will do when I get to that day. ;)

Thanks for the inclusion, Flexo, and happy holidays!

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avatar 2 Luke Landes

Good catch. I was going back and forth between your $400,000 and $600,000 figures, and did the calc on the first before changing to the second. What you’re proposing makes a lot of sense… eliminating the need to worry about the bottom level of Maslow’s hierarchy pyramid.

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