What 3.9% Unemployment Really Means

I feel like every day I read about how the economy is teetering on the edge due to trade wars, tariffs, and soaring equity prices.  While it is true these things have the potential to threaten the economy that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the good times while they last.  I guess that kind of news just doesn’t sell well.

Now, I am not saying to spend your raise or bonus lavishly.  I am not telling you to go all in on stocks, in fact I would advise against that.  I am simply talking about how now is the time opportunity knocks.  The labor market is stretched really thin right now while people are lining their pockets with cash.  Don’t have a job? Apply.  Want to change industries? Do it.  Want to launch that business or super successful personal finance and investing blog?  There is no better time to do it than right now.   (oh wait thats us)

From my personal experience, during my job search a lot of opportunities were presented to me that probably would not have if firms were not scrambling for talent.  Additionally, during the interview process multiple hiring managers from some of America’s most competitive firms told me its a job seekers market, meaning the supply of jobs is outpacing demand, and to be aggressive when negotiating an offer.  Seniors in college especially apply for that job you don’t think you’re qualified for!

Further evidencing this claim is the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation report published each month.  You’ll notice over the past year unemployment has steadily declined and seems to have leveled off around 3.9-4.1% range.  Firms are simply running out of talent to recruit.

source: tradingeconomics.com

If you want to learn more about what sectors are benefiting the most and the BLS outlook for unemployment you can access them at BLS.gov in the news release section.  You can find last months (August 2018) here.

I urge you to take the leap now that times are good instead of waiting and regretting what could have been.

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The Art Of War

The Art Of War by Sun Tzu

Black chess piece surrounded by fallen white pieces

The Modern Piggy Bank’s Rating: 8.9/10

Proclaimed as one of the best books ever written on military strategy, The Art Of War is so much more than a book about combat. Taught in MBA classes across the nation, the teachings of the legendary Sun Tzu can be applied to any business struggling against a competitor, any startup looking to find it’s place in the market, and most importantly, to dealing with your own personal finances.

Consisting of 13 chapters, The Art Of War covers the entirety of warfare as it was understood during Sun Tzu’s time..

Written in prose so prevalent to early Chinese writings, this book doesn’t make the greatest translation to English. But no matter the choppy language or weird paragraphs, the message is universal. You must conquer yourself before you hope to conquer your enemies.

One of the biggest take aways from this book is the idea that the outcome is already decided before you take the battlefield, all that’s left to do it to fight. The same can be applied to personal finance. How you prepare is how your money is going to turn out.

While some passages of this book are irrelevant to modern society such as how much it costs to fund an army of chariots and infantrymen, the rest of the book can directly be applied to every day life.

From asking yourself a series of questions before you decide to act to waiting until they right moment to strike, almost every single paragraph can impart a lesson you will take and use in your own life.

It may take a little to fully understand this book, but when it clicks, it makes it all worth it. The only reason that we didn’t rate this a 10/10 is because it’s not exactly a book on investing and saving per say. But we will be sure to break down the book in more depth and how to apply it to minimize your expenses and optimize your savings in a later article.

While we are going to do the work of breaking down The Art of War for investing and saving purposes. We highly recommend this book to the aspiring entrepreneur or any business person in general. It will teach you how to go about your dealings and interactions with others and come out on top.

One of the best part about this book is the short time it takes to read. You can finish the entire original text in an afternoon. If you want to dive deeper and want to read annotated notes on the text, we recommend the Barnes & Noble Classics Series, (this is what we read) which includes commentary from the Chinese Masters.

We hope you pick up a copy and open your mind to a shift in your thinking about going up against obstacles in your own life using the teachings in this book. Always remember:

“The Art of War is of vital importance to the State” -Sun Tzu

Rich Dad Poor Dad

Hotly Debated. Ultimate Rating: 5/10

Our Rating: 5/10

This relatively short read on the importance of personal finance and investing has us in a huge debate here at The Modern Piggy Bank. One of us loves it and thinks it is a great start to learning personal finance and investing while another one personally hates it and think there is no practical advice. Regardless, here is our unbiased review.

The book reads as a series of short stories littered with financial advice. It follows the authors life from childhood to adulthood and sheds some light on how he was able to build his fortune through the years. Kiyosaki will routinely talk about how he consolidated expenses while seeking investment opportunities and follow it with practical knowledge of finance and accounting that can be applied to daily life.

This book can be an amazing starting point as to how to get in the mindset of wealthy money minded individuals. The ability to look at someone’s experiences and learn how they came up with an original investment idea while minimizing personal expenses can really cause one to re-evaluate what they are doing with their own finances. Kiyosaki was born into a middle class family that was us savvy with their finances, but his mentor was a prominent businessman, so the book allows you to see what separates a money minded person from the average.

What the book lacks is sound financial advice, especially when it comes to investments. Kiyosaki built his wealth during much of the 80’s and 90’s when the regulatory landscape was a bit more lax than it is today. The book itself was published in 2001. He will talk freely about securing loans with ease and purchasing low risk financial instruments with dubiously high returns. At The Modern Piggy Bank, we both agree we would not invest in most of the strategies he talks about in the book if they were even still possible.

Overall, the book has sold more than 32 million copies, has been a New York Times bestseller, and has been endorsed by many celebrities and news outlets. On the flip side, critics will say it provides no sound financial advice and reads as a cookie cutter self help book.

We personally believe there is no such thing as a bad book. You can purchase the paperback for less than $10 on Amazon or get the book for free if you google “Rich Dad Poor Dad PDF”. Pick up a copy and let us know what you think.