CNBC make it 2024-02-05 10:50:54

46-year-old early retiree who had $380,000 a year in passive income heads back to work—here’s why

For the first time since 2012, Sam Dogen is getting a day job.

That’s the year that Dogen quit his job as an investment banker, having spent 13 years working, saving, investing and generally burning himself out.

At age 34, his portfolio and real estate investments were generating about $80,000 a year — enough for he and his wife to live on in perpetuity. So, he took his severance and left. His wife did the same in 2015.

“We’ve been a dual, no income household for a while,” Dogen, the founder of Financial Samurai and the author of “Buy This, Not That,” tells CNBC Make It.

Well, not W-2 income anyway. As the couple’s plans changed, the $80,000 a year they thought would last them for life needed to be bumped up. In 2017, the pair welcomed their first child, followed by another in 2019.

Over the years, Dogen built his passive income streams to about $380,000 annually — $288,000 net of taxes. That was enough to cover the family budget while living in San Francisco — until now.

In a recent post on his website, Dogen, now 46, detailed his choice to sell a portion of his stock and bond holdings to buy a multimillion-dollar house in cash.

By swapping income-producing assets for a house, “I basically have a lot more dead money now,” Dogen says. That means his passive income streams no longer cover his family budget — so back to work it is.

Giving up financial independence was always part of the plan

The headline on Dogen’s post reads, “Blew Up My Passive Income, No Longer Financially Independent.” That’s true, although like all good headlines, it makes things sound sudden and exciting and new.

After 12 years of financial independence, Dogen knew giving it up for a while was a possibility. In fact, he sort of planned on it.

After his younger child was born, “I made a promise to be a stay-at-home dad for five years. Then they go to school full-time, and I would like to do something else, like consult or work,” Dogen says. “My daughter is going to school full-time this September. So I said OK, I believe the best time to own the nicest home you can afford is when your kids are at home.”

By buying the home in cash, Dogen sacrificed his financial independence — a state in which your investment and passive income covers your living expenses — for the time being.

Between his four rental properties, distributions from his portfolio and other forms of passive income, such as book royalties, Dogen estimates he’ll bring in about $230,000 in nonworking income in 2024. That puts him about $113,000 short of his estimated expenses for the year at what he calls a “realistic and comfortable” lifestyle.

Dogen’s plan going forward

In the short term, Dogen hopes to pick up a consulting job, which would see him work about 20 hours a week for a salary of about $145,000. That would cover this year’s shortfall while still allowing him to spend ample time with his children before and after school.

Over the intermediate term, he hopes to build his passive income streams back to where he’s once again financially independent. One avenue, he says, is eventually selling the house he and his family are vacating, but he doesn’t currently view San Francisco as a seller’s market.

“We’re past the bottom of the San Francisco real estate downturn,” he says. “We’re gonna pick up over the next several years because of artificial intelligence and technology and everything. So I want to rent [the house] out for now.”

He thinks he could collect a little more than $100,000 in annual rent, for a net profit of about $40,000 — money he can use to help build his investments back up. The same goes for an eventual sale.

In the meantime, Dogen says he’s excited to put his efforts into something else now that he and his wife are scaling back their hours, as it were, being full-time parents.

“The more you invest in something, like being a stay-at-home parent, the more you have to fill this void of emptiness once they go to school full time,” he says.

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We’ve studied over 30,000 couples—here are 6 phrases you’ll hear in the most successful relationships

A healthy relationship doesn’t mean that there’s never any fighting. Couples can have disagreements and still be on each other’s side.

As psychologists, we’ve been happily married for 35 years, and we’ve found that in conflict, your mission is to allow yourself to be vulnerable — to turn attack and defend into self-disclosure and openness.

The language of ‘fighting right’

When conflict arises, the happiest and most successful couples use a language of repair and collaboration. This is something that anyone can learn to do.

We’ve organized our suggestions into six categories of phrases and what kind of repair they help with. These are tried-and-true phrases for calming down an escalated conflict, pulled from years of observation of over 30,000 couples:

1. “I feel”

Use this when you need help expressing your emotions in the moment.


  • “I’m getting scared.”
  • “Please say that more gently.”
  • “That hurt my feelings.”
  • “That felt like an insult.”
  • “I feel blamed. Can you rephrase that?”
  • “I feel like you don’t understand me right now.”

2. “I need to calm down”

Use this when you start feeling flooded and/or need a moment of repair.


  • “I need your support right now.”
  • “Just listen to me right now and try to understand.”
  • “Can I have a hug?”
  • “This is important to me. Please listen.”
  • “Can you make things safer for me?”
  • “Can I take that back?”

3. “I’m sorry”

Use this when you need help phrasing an apology.


  • “My reactions were too extreme. I’m sorry.”
  • “I really blew that one.”
  • “Let me try again.”
  • “I want to be gentler to you right now and I don’t know how.”
  • “I can see my part in all this.”
  • “How can I make things better?”

4. “Stop action”

Use this when you are flooded and need a break.


  • “I might be wrong here.”
  • “Please let’s stop for a while.”
  • “Give me a moment. I’ll be back.”
  • “Let’s start all over again.”
  • “Let’s agree to disagree here.”
  • “I’m feeling flooded. Can we take a break and talk about something else for a bit?”

5. “Getting to yes”

Use this when you want to validate your partner or meet them halfway.


  • “You’re starting to convince me.”
  • “I agree with part of what you’re saying.”
  • “Let’s compromise here.”
  • “I never thought of things that way.”
  • “I think your point of view makes sense.”
  • “What are your concerns?”

6. “I appreciate”

Use this when you want to make a repair and add positivity.


  • “I love you.”
  • “I understand.”
  • “One thing I admire about you is…”
  • “This is not your problem, it’s our problem.”
  • “Thank you for…”
  • “I see your point.”

Small repair phrases prevent major damage

Think of a repair as anything that shifts the conversation toward the positive. Make that your goal and work as a team to open up to each other.

The most basic repair is a straightforward apology: “I’m sorry” or “I’m sorry I said that — let me try again.”

It can also take the form of empathy or validation: “I understand how you feel” or “That makes sense, when you put it that way.”

It can be voiced admiration: “You know what I really appreciate about you? How much you care about our kids. We’re disagreeing over which school to pick, but I love how much it matters to you that they have a good education.”

Remember, what determines the success or failure of a relationship is how you each respond to the repair.

Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman are the co-founders of The Gottman Institute and Love Lab. Married for over 35 years, the two psychologists are world-renowned for their work on relationship stability and divorce prediction. They are also the co-authors of “Fight Right: How Successful Couples Turn Conflict into Connection” and “The Love Prescription: Seven Days to More Intimacy, Connection, and Joy.” Follow them on Instagram and Twitter.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. Get started today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

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One of 2024′s ‘best jobs’ can pay over $200,000 and let you work remotely without a degree

You can earn upward of $200,000 working from the comfort of your own home — no bachelor’s degree required — if you’re willing to crunch some numbers.

Loan officers claimed the No. 2 spot in Indeed’s annual ranking of the “best jobs” in the U.S., thanks to its high earning potential and increasing demand for these skilled professionals across several industries. 

The pay is great: The average salary for loan officers is $192,339, per Indeed’s research. Positions also tend to offer a lot of workplace flexibility. At least 75% of the listings for loan officers on Indeed’s database have remote or hybrid options.

DON’T MISS: The ultimate guide to acing your interview and landing your dream job

Loan officers assist people and businesses in the process of applying for loans, evaluating financial documents and helping borrowers complete their applications.

The demand for these services has grown in recent months, as industries like real estate, education, retail and e-commerce feel the squeeze of inflation and a tighter housing market, says Scott Dobroski, vice president of global corporate communications at Indeed.

Banks might be tightening up their lending standards because of recession fears, but the demand for mortgages remains high. “The need for loans will always be there, even if it ebbs and flows a bit,” adds Dobroski.

How to qualify for the job

You can become a loan officer without a bachelor’s degree. 

The requirements for becoming a loan officer vary from state to state, but generally, the process includes the following steps: 

  • Register with the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry (NMLS)
  • Take pre-licensure courses on federal law and regulations, lending standards and ethics
  • Pass a state or national license test
  • Find an employer to sponsor your license

To become a loan officer, you must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED, Indeed reports. Before you can work as a practicing loan officer, you’ll need to find an employer, like a bank or credit union, to hire you and sponsor your license. 

After you complete the pre-licensure courses, most companies are willing to hire you as a loan officer “in training” to support various aspects of the mortgage lending process without drafting or servicing loans directly, says Ciara Glover, a mortgage loan officer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

The 37-year-old left her job as an academic coordinator at Louisiana State University in September to work as a full-time loan officer at Canvas Mortgage, a residential mortgage division of Merchants & Marine Bank. 

Glover first became a loan officer seven years ago as a side hustle to make extra money. She worked from home for an online mortgage lender in her spare time. 

It only took her about two months to finish the necessary coursework and find an employer to sponsor her license before she could start working. 

“It’s one of the most flexible jobs out there,” says Glover. “You can fit your schedule around client meetings, and most employers are supportive of you working from home, in my experience, that’s been a common practice for loan officers even before the pandemic.”

‘There’s no ceiling on how much you can earn’

Some loan officers are paid a flat salary or an hourly rate, while others earn a commission based on sales in addition to their normal salary.

Most loan officers are paid between 0.2% and 2% of the total loan amount in commission, according to Indeed. For example: If a loan officer negotiates a 1% commission on a $500,000 loan, they would be paid $5,000 on that transaction alone.

“There’s a hard limit on what you can make in a lot of jobs, but for loan officers, there’s no ceiling on how much you can earn,” says Glover. “It’s the kind of profession where you get whatever you put in — so if you work hard, you’re looking at a nice paycheck.”

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Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. Get started today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

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5 Costco items that are always worth buying—one $10 deal can ‘easily feed a family of 4’

Costco is known for its low prices and loyal customers who are willing to spend at least $60 per year on a membership fee.

The wholesaler has some of the lowest prices around—especially its Kirkland Signature store brand products—but the size of the discount varies depending on what you buy. Plus, bulk-size perishable items can spoil or go stale before you’re finished with them, making them less of a bargain.

With that in mind, CNBC Make It asked Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst at, for some of the best Costco items worth buying.

Note that prices can vary between Costco stores, and that in-store prices tend to be cheaper than what’s found online. You also need an annual membership to shop at Costco stores, which can factor into how much you save.

1. Bacon

Costco offers very low prices on bacon if you buy it in bulk. Ramhold recommends the four-pound package of Kirkland Signature Premium Sliced Bacon, which can be found for $15.29, she says. That works out to $3.82 per pound, whereas prices at other stores tend to be closer to $6, says Ramhold.

With bacon, you can always store it in a freezer to stretch out its use over four months.

“Costco’s prices are so good, there’s just no beating them, and I can vouch for the quality, which is excellent, too,” says Ramhold.

2. Premium vanilla ice cream 

While Costco’s Kirkland Signature Super Premium Vanilla Ice Cream isn’t the absolute cheapest ice cream you can buy, it is “premium-level delicious” and can be found for roughly $8 per gallon, depending on where you shop, says Ramhold.

That’s a good price compared to other premium brands of ice cream of the same size, such as Blue Bell, which can be found for $8.32 at Walmart stores in select locations.

“We keep it on hand to have with pie, brownies or even to mix into coffee for a special weekend treat,” says Ramhold. “It has become a household staple—even when it’s cold outside.”

3. Honey

There is a variety of honey products at Costco, but Ramhold’s personal favorite is the five-pound bottle of Kirkland Signature Wildflower Honey, which can be found for $17.99 online, although in-store prices tend to be cheaper, she says.

That works out to about 23 cents per ounce, which is “far better” than name-brand retailers that sell honey for as high as 50 cents per ounce, says Ramhold.

Buying honey in bulk can offer good value, too, since it can last a long time—up to 12 months, if not more.

4. Gas

Since you’ll likely have driven to Costco, you might as well get a full tank of gas while you’re there. Costco’s gas prices tend to be cheaper than what you’ll find at nearby gas stations.

As of Thursday, a gallon of regular gas at a New York Costco costs $3.09, compared with about $3.40 at nearby gas stations, per Gas Buddy data. For 20 gallons, that works out to just more than $6 in savings, which can add up over time.

Just be aware that Costco gas stations are popular, so long lines are common, especially on weekends or just before and after work hours on weekdays.

5. Pizza

Costco’s best-known deal is the absurdly cheap $1.50 hot dog and 20-ounce drink combo. 

However, its 18-inch large pizza can be found for $9.95 in store food courts. At that size, “you can easily feed a family of four,” says Ramhold. Considering that individual fast-food meals are typically more than $10, that’s about as cheap a meal as you can find.

Individual slices are also inexpensive, selling for only $1.99.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say and the best way to talk about pay. Get started today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

I’ve studied over 200 kids—here are 6 things kids with high emotional intelligence do every day

As parents, we want so many things for our children — good health, success, happy relationships, and purpose in life.

One thing we can do to try to guarantee these things is to help them develop emotional intelligence skills, which are key predictors for happiness and success.

How do you know if your child is on the right track? As a conscious parenting researcher and coach, I’ve studied the behaviors of over 200 kids, and I’ve found that those with high emotional intelligence do six key things:

1. They recognize non-verbal cues

Like an emotional detective, they are good at grasping other people’s feelings by picking up on their body language and facial expressions.

They might say, “Mom, my friend Sarah was really quiet today. I asked if she wanted to play, and she said no. I think she was sad about something.”

How to build this skill: Have reflective conversations with them about their day and discuss emotions they observed in people they interacted with. These chats strengthen their ability to read emotions and boost their confidence in understanding others.

You can ask, “What kind of a mood do you think your classmate was in today?”

2. They show empathy and compassion

They not only identify others’ emotions, but also show real concern and offer help. 

During a playdate, for example, your child notices her friend looking upset because he didn’t win a game. She walks over to him and says, “You played really well! Do you want to play something else together?”

How to build this skill: The most powerful way for parents to inspire empathy in their child is to model it themselves.

If a neighbor is unwell, you could say, “I’m worried about Mrs. Brady. Let’s check on her and see if she needs help with anything.”

3. They can name their emotions

Emotionally intelligent kids are great at sharing their feelings.

When your child says, “I feel frustrated because I can’t solve this puzzle,” or “I’m happy because I helped my friend fix her toy,” they’re recognizing and communicating their emotions. 

How to build this skill: Make it a point to label your emotions: “I feel disappointed that I can’t find my keys,” or “I’m a bit overwhelmed with all the work I have to do.”

This helps normalize discussing emotions, making it more natural for your child to do the same. 

4. They are adaptable

A child capable of smoothly navigating changes in routines, or handling disappointing news with calmness, is showing emotional maturity.

When an outdoor picnic is cancelled due to rain, for example, instead of feeling upset or throwing a tantrum, your child calmly accepts the change: “Oh, it’s raining. Let’s have an indoor picnic!” 

How to build this skill: Again, it starts with the parent. Being flexible and calm in our own reactions models adaptive behavior for our children to emulate. 

Take it further by inviting your child to problem-solve and brainstorm a solution: “What can we do instead?”

5. They are good listeners

Emotionally intelligent kids can pick up on subtle cues that others may miss. 

When you tell them about your day, they’re doing more than just listening; they’re tuned in and picking up on the emotions behind your words. They ask questions and show genuine curiosity. 

How to build this skill: When your child has a story to tell, give them your full attention. Make eye contact, stop everything else you are doing, and get to their level. Reflect and repeat back what they are saying to show them you’re really listening. 

6. They can self-regulate

Emotionally intelligent kids can handle big feelings, stay calm when things get tricky, and make smart choices.

Picture your child playing a game with friends and losing a round. Instead of reacting out of frustration, a kid who is good at self-regulation might take a moment to catch their breath, and then jump back in with a positive mindset.

They keep cool and carry on, even after disappointment. 

How to build this skill: Resisting our own little “tantrums,” such as yelling or overreacting, is a fundamental way to encourage this skill in children.

You can also introduce a “pause and breathe” technique, where you teach your child to take a deep breath or count to 10 in difficult moments. Let them watch you do it as well. 

When kids see us handle tough times with grace, it’s a lesson they won’t forget.

Reem Raouda is a certified conscious parenting coach and founder of The Connected Discipline Method, a coaching program for parents of strong-willed children. Follow her on Instagram and TikTok.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. Get started today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

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