Lots to cover in this week’s highlights, including Mark Zuckerberg’s trip to the Hill, and what is actually going to result from it. Plus, how a 72-year-old FIRE icon is reaching Millennials and inspiring them towards financial independence and early retirement.
Facebook Will Be Regulated … But Likely Not by Congress
Sum and Substance: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is improving at handling Congress and he came away looking better than he did at the start of the week.
Congress is considering legislation in response to the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal wherein personal information from 87 million Facebook users were exposed to an entity without authorization to possess such information.
Zuckerberg answered legislators questions and promised to make sweeping changes to improve public trust in his company.
This article makes a couple distinct points:
One, some in Congress feel self-regulation isn’t the answer when it comes to Facebook.
And two, based on the questions being asked it appears many in Congress don’t understand how Facebook operates as a business — making meaningful legislation unlikely.
According to the author, when it’s all said and done, Congress likely won’t do much, leaving Facebook and online platforms to regulate themselves. Perhaps the most effective change will be brought about by the FTC with tough enforcement of privacy laws.
Facebook has major image and trust issues on its hands, leaving the company no choice but to make changes.
My take: I’m glad Facebook now must improve the way they handle user information, and frankly, I wanted to see Congress put the screws to Zuckerberg a little more. In the past, Facebook seemed to have a blasé attitude towards privacy and often seemed to put the company’s interests before their user’s interests. They’ve improved significantly and it now appears that trend will continue.
Still, it was disconcerting to see company COO Sheryl Sandberg admitting on the Today Show that Facebook didn’t notify Facebook users of the data breach because they thought the information had been deleted. Savannah Guthrie was right to call her on it, saying, “it looks like you thought you could get away with it.” More from that interview here.
"What is the reason it took so long?" –@SavannahGuthrie asks @SherylSandberg about Facebook's handling of data breach.
Full interview airs tomorrow on TODAY pic.twitter.com/Mu04hZmlgV
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) April 6, 2018
What does all this have to do with personal finance? Many Incomist readers have online businesses and side-hustles and rely on social media to engage with their audience and customers. If Facebook has a trust issue, that effects those businesses as well.
Many people point to this scandal as the last straw leading them to quit Facebook, at least for now.
Facebook has long been an attractive platform for entrepreneurs to reach and engage with their audience. Now, Facebook must make significant changes to restore trust and remain a social media force. Zuckerberg promised to limit contact data and cut back on ad targeting as well as reviewing political ads before they go live.
Regardless of Facebook’s new policy’s and potentially more changes from new laws, it’s still wise to consider whatever you post online to be public information. Facebook, like all social media platforms, can be scraped for information by any person or group with the desire to do so.
Whatever we post on our profiles or in our feeds, is there for public consumption, whether we like it or not.
As a best practice, don’t put anything on Facebook or any other channel that you wish to keep private.
A Growing Cult of Millennials Is Obsessed With Early Retirement. This 72-Year-Old Is Their Unlikely Inspiration
Sum and Substance: FIRE is all the rage. For the uninitiated, the acronym stands for “financial independence, retire early,” preferably by the age of 40.
A growing number of Millennials are attempting to do just that, inspired by 72-year-0ld Vicki Robin, co-author of the personal finance classic, Your Money or Your Life.
The book was originally published in 1992 and a lot has changed since then. The traditional retirement is all but gone. Working for 40+ years at a company and taking a pension is disappearing. Millennials want to do something they love, live below their means so they can save and invest and retire before 40.
Robin has been the living embodiment of this philosophy. You could say she was ahead of her time, living in an “intentional community” long before the “sharing economy.” And her financial words of wisdom resonate with the new generation.
My take: I love everything about this story. Here are a few reasons why:
Let’s start with the obvious. Money is currently featuring a 72-year-old woman on the cover of their magazine. That’s not only refreshing, it’s just plain cool.
Dave Ramsey often touts financial advice “your grandmother would give you.” That appeals to me because my grandmother would give it to me straight, with no fluff. And coming with the wisdom of someone who’s gained experience through many successes and mistakes. That’s what I see in the advice from Robin.
It’s also nice to see two completely different generations in agreement, each with respect for the other.
Millennials often get stereotyped as entitled and spoiled while older generations are often pegged as outdated and clinging to ideas no longer valid.
But here you have a vibrant Boomer and thought leader who is at the center of a financial movement and she’s inspiring a growing number of Millennials willing to work hard and make sacrifices in order to reach their financial goals.
Elizabeth O’Brien, Senior Writer for Money, expertly crafts a portrait of a woman who is as hip as she is resourceful.
It’s her resourcefulness that has helped her to support herself without earning a traditional paycheck for over 50 years. She’s taught herself everything from auto repair to “making booze from dandelions.”
Like I said, I love everything about this story.
This article does a good job of illuminating the FIRE strategies allowing many to take advantage of compound interest and retire before 40. O’Brien adds balance by shining a light on financial risks which could force someone out of retirement if they’re not careful.
For example, early retirees have a longer time frame to experience inflation. And if you’re counting on interest from investments to fund your retirement, be advised stock market gains won’t always outpace inflation.
Having multiple sources of income is the best way to stabilize your financial picture and your retirement.
That’s why Incomist is here – to help you do just that!