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A few good stories.

Welcome to Friday, money nerds. My name is J.D., and I’m here to take you into the weekend with some quick thoughts about mastering your money — and your life. I really like today’s features. I hope you do too.

A few good stories. [Collaborative Fund] — Let’s lead today with an awesome bit of writing from Morgan Housel at Collaborative fund. Housel is famous for awesome bits of writing, but this one contains (as it says on the tin) a few good stories. They’re each short, and they’re each powerful — especially the last one.

To control your life, control what you pay attention to. [Harvard Business Review] — “Your attention determines the experiences you have, and the experiences you have determine the life you live. Or said another way: you must control your attention to control your life.”

Learning to live. [Of Dollars and Data] — “Many times in life you’ll have the opportunity to assume negative intent in others. Don’t do it. You’ll often be wrong and even when you are right, assuming negativity all the time is no way to go through life. Most people don’t want to wrong you. Keep this in mind before rushing to judgment.”

What are some of the best things to make at home? [Ask MetaFilter] — “So I made homemade bread. It was awesome. I’m making homemade Castile soap this weekend. Very excited. What other stuff should I be making at home?” A treasure trove of fun DIY projects.

Let’s close out the week with a non-financial video. It’s a video that I really, really like.

I’ve been a fan of Star Wars since I saw the first film in theaters in 1977. I was eight years old. But honestly, I’ve always had this sense that the franchise failed to live up to its potential. It focused on the dumbest parts of the universe instead of the most interesting.

Well, imagine my joy when Disney recently released the show Andor, a spy-thriller set in the Star Wars universe but possessing NONE of the problematic elements. No Jedi. No Force. No lightsabers. No bizarre “the entire galaxy revolves around a handful of people” plotlines.

Instead, Andor is a twelve-part series that can be enjoyed by anyone regardless how much they know about the established Star Wars mythos. It’s actual quality storytelling.

Anyhow, YouTuber Thomas Flight just published a video exploring why Andor feels so real. It’s an insightful look at one of the elements that helps set this show apart from its peers. And I think it’s something that other CGI-heavy media franchises could learn from.

That’s all I have for you this week! Jim will be back on Monday with more of the same. I’ll see you in ten days. Until then, have fun!

The most important financial decisions you’ll ever make.

Hey hey, Apexians. Can you believe it’s December?!? Well, it is. Ho ho ho and all that. As the holiday season ramps up, we continue business as usual around here, sharing some of our favorite personal-finance stories from around the web. Stories like these…

The six most important financial decisions you’ll ever make. [ESI Money] — “Decisions, decisions. There are loads of financial decisions we make throughout our lifetimes. Some are big (as we’ll discuss here) and some (most probably) are small (like choosing between the high-priced or store brand peanut butter).” Nice discussion of the Big Things that affect your life (especially your financial life).

“How I’ve saved thousands of dollars on clothes for my kids.” [Frugalwoods] — “This system also enables me to hand-up clothes to friends whose kids need a specific item in a particular size. And yes, they do joke about going shopping in my basement and yes, I deserve it. BUT, I love being able to pull out a complete wardrobe for each kid for every season for an absolute fraction of the cost of buying new.”

Quantifying your dreams to make them happen. [Modest Millionaires] — “Once you have an idea of the potential range of costs for something you desire, spotting a good deal is so much easier. You have data to compare the value you’ll get for the price you pay. So decision making is facilitated thanks to the process of quantifying your goals.”

I’m a big fan of end-of-year “best” lists and similar rituals. The period between Thanksgiving and New Year is always fun because there are so many retrospectives on offer. And here’s one of my faves: Vanity Fair’s annual interview with Billie Eilish.

I don’t listen to much of Eilish’s music (although I like what I’ve heard), but I’ve enjoyed watching each of these interviews over the past six years. It’s neat to watch her growth from age 15 to 20.

Apparently, she’ll continue to do these interviews every year, but starting in 2023 they’ll only be released sporadically. That makes sense. Anyhow, you might enjoy this too.

That’s it for Thursday. Come back tomorrow and I’ll share more some more interesting links to take you into the weekend.

Five Big Reasons to Retire Often

Hey Plutus Family! We hope you enjoyed your holiday with your family. If you have room for one more event this year, please join us for our final Content Creator Happy Hour on Wednesday, December 7th in Washington D.C. at 6pm.

As always, tickets are free, but extremely limited. Register for Content Creator Happy Hour Washington D.C. here.

Here’s what we wanted to share with you this week.

Five Ways to Get “Free” Money from the Government. [Fionist Dream] – “While the Israeli government taxes us and takes our money left and right, it also has several programs you might not know about where you can get some of it back. Most people are not eligible for every single one of these, but as we say, knowledge is power. Even being eligible for one can save you thousands of shekels per year. Each program has its own eligibility criteria. You can apply and find all of the relevant information online. Application is free.” (Submitted by Tarsha.)

Five Big Reason to Retire Often. [Jillian Johnsrud] — “The biggest reason to retire often: it will make your life better. It gives you a fighting chance to improve every area of life that matters to you, spanning across every decade. Your whole life, in its width and its depth, can improve. Plus, it’s just more fun this way.”” (Submitted by J. Money.)

11 Must-Have Gifts for Travel Lovers. [Family Money Adventure] — “While the holidays aren’t all about gifts, it’s fun to get or give something special, especially something you will probably love. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to find great travel-related gifts. If your budget allows it, though, there are some higher-priced travel gadgets that will have your loved ones jumping for joy this Christmas. Whatever your holiday budgets, our list of the best gifts for travel lovers is sure to bring a smile this holiday season.” (Submitted by Tarsha.)

The investor’s manifesto.

Howdy, moneylings. It is I, your humble host, J.D. Roth. I’m here today to highlight some of the best personal-finance stories from around the web. Stories like these…

The Investor’s Manifesto [Safal Niveshak] — “This is for you. This is from someone like you. It is an Investor’s Manifesto. It is something you can reflect back on if you ever felt stuck in your investing life. If you believe in it, follow it, and stand for it, your investing life will be good.”

Why stories of fraud shouldn’t lead to excessive pessimism. [The Rational Walk] — “Just because the news cycle does not highlight exemplars does not mean they do not exist, and we should bear this in mind before getting too pessimistic about the state of the world when we read about morally bankrupt characters like Sam Bankman-Fried.”

Frontline work when everyone is angry. [Harvard Business Review] — “I’ve studied incivility — defined as rudeness, disrespect, or insensitive behavior — in workplaces for more than 20 years…My research has found that reports of incivility are indeed on the rise.”

Your budget, one envelope at a time. [MetaFilter] — “Need some new budgeting ideas? Enjoy something tactile? Try cash stuffing! Cash stuffing, based on the relatively older cash envelope system, has seen a recent resurgence on TikTok and YouTube especially amongst younger people documenting their progress online.”

Lastly, here’s my favorite video of the past week. It’s a 13-minute clip from 60 Minutes that highlights the smartest dog in the world. (It’s actually a fascinating look at dog intelligence generally, but it highlights one exceptionally smart pup.)

That’s all I have for you today. The Plutus folks will drop in tomorrow, then I’ll return on Thursday with more great stuff. See you then!

Give thanks like an emperor.

Howdy, money nerds. J.D. here and I’m back from central California, where I spent an extended Thanksgiving break with my girlfriend’s family. Fun times and good food, but now it’s time to get back to work.

To kick off this week’s Apex Money, here’s something non-financial.

I’m a big fan of artist and blogger Austin Kleon. I particularly like this installment from Thanksgiving 2021 in which he teaches readers how to create a ‘zine. I like Kleon’s free-flowing, spontaneous style. It’s dynamic. It’s energetic. It’s raw. It’s real.

Anyhow, I’ve been contemplating learning how to draw, and Kleon is a big inspiration as I consider that path.

Enough with the art, though. Let’s look at some stories about personal finance! Here are the articles I have for you today.

Cumulative vs. cyclical knowledge. [Collaborative Fund] — “I can imagine a world in 50 years where things like cancer and heart disease are either non-existent or effectively controlled. I cannot ever imagine a world where economic volatility is tamed and people stop making financial decisions they eventually regret – no matter how much history of past mistakes we have to study.”

The present defines the past. [Of Dollars and Data] — “Whatever you’re thinking right now, you have to realize that you’re being biased by current events. The present is redefining your past. Sometimes this is necessary so that you don’t make the same mistakes again in the future. However, sometimes, the present can teach you the wrong lessons.”

The money value of time. [Young Money] — “The Time Value of Money states that delaying your spending will increase the value of your portfolio over time. And if we had unlimited time on this earth, then the story would stop here. Defer all spending as long as possible to have as much money as possible at some indefinite time in the future. But we don’t have unlimited time. To get the full picture of the relationship between money and time, you need to flip the equation around.”

That’s it for this Monday. I’ll be back tomorrow with more. See you then!

This Is How To Have A Long Awesome Life

Happy Thanksgiving to all those who are celebrating today with family and friends!

If you’re in your email inbox today, I’ll keep it brief – today has one post and one post only:

This Is How To Have A Long Awesome Life [Barking Up The Wrong Tree] – “What happens when people eat right, maintain a healthy weight, exercise, and don’t smoke? They prevent 80% of heart attacks, 90% of type 2 diabetes, and significantly reduce the chance of cancer, dementia and pretty much every other bad thing you can think of.”

I know it may be a bit cruel to share a post about nutrition on a day where many will be celebrating gluttony… but your mind is already on it and so you might as well lean into it. 🙂

The article is good and you won’t leave feeling (that) bad about your food choices.

We’re taking Friday off because of the holiday and will be back on Monday with more goodies!

7 Ways You Can Make Money in the Metaverse.

Happy Pre-Thanksgiving Plutus family! This is the time to be thankful and we are thankful for your support. Please enjoy your holiday tomorrow and leave a slice of pie for us.

Here’s what we wanted to share with you this week.

A Lottery of Sorts. [Happily Disengaged] – “There are not many places in the world where a construction worker with no college education, whose skin color is different that those who run the country in business and government, can be as successful as I am. I don’t take anything I have for granted, though it’s quite easy to do. This walk keeps me humble.” (Submitted by J. Money.)

7 Ways You Can Make Money in the Metaverse. [Harris Cash Coach] — “The metaverse is shaping up to be the source for business owners to provide innovative products and service opportunities. To help you discover ways to make money in the metaverse and identify viable metaverse investments, I asked CEOs and business leaders for their best insights. From becoming a tour guide to selling virtual avatar assets, there are several ways that you can make money in the metaverse.” (Submitted by Tarsha.)

Why We’re Giving $100 Tips During the Holidays (And You Should Too). [Marriage Kids and Money] — “We love a money saving tip, but there are definitely things that are worth spending lots of money on. Things that make your life richer, better, and easier. Here are 5 things that may have a higher upfront cost but are always worth the price.” (Submitted by J. Money.)

The knowledge that I have got enough

The title of today’s post comes from a famous Kurt Vonnegut poem about Joseph Heller, who wrote Catch 22. It’s also the main idea behind the first post we’re sharing – that the opposite of scarcity is “enough.”

I love sharing this post that introduced me to the poem. And I always seem to revisit it each year around Thanksgiving. 😊

The opposite of scarcity is enough [FiPhysician] – “You need to hear this: The opposite of scarcity is enough. Not abundance. In retirement, it is ok to be enough, and it is ok to have enough.”

9 Great Gift Ideas for People Who Have Everything [Len Penzo] – “Eventually, I came to realize that there are plenty of great gift ideas for people who have everything — you just have to be willing to think outside the box.” A great list if you have to buy something for someone who always buys things they want. 🙂

How Friendships Change in Adulthood [The Atlantic] – “Friendships are unique relationships because unlike family relationships, we choose to enter into them. And unlike other voluntary bonds, such as marriages and romantic relationships, they lack a formal structure. You wouldn’t go months without speaking with or seeing your significant other (hopefully), but you might go that long without contacting a friend.”

WifeFI Status Activated ⚡

Leave it to J. from Budgets Are Sexy to bring a smile to my face after a rough week! He recently announced that he was WifeFI!

“Financially Independent, enabled by my wife who still works 😂”

A little tongue in cheek but good insights as always from my buddy J.

WifeFI Status Activated ⚡ [Budgets Are Sexy] – “It’s an interesting place to be. I’m not very motivated to chase money for some reason, but I’m also not satisfied just laying around and doing nothing either… Hence – why I’m back here at the blog! But even more surprisingly – I haven’t really missed my paychecks since the Motley Fool gave me the boot earlier this year, which was no small amount at $10,000+ mo.”

Love these simple ideas (but sometimes hard to execute) around decluttering!

Simple Clutter-Free Habits to Do in Just a Minute [Maximum Gratitude Minimal Stuff] – “That’s why it’s important to develop some new habits so that clutter doesn’t creep back into your home and undo all your good work. Creating the habits takes some discipline, but the good news is that most of them only take about one minute.”

Life Lessons Learned as a Caddie [Lev Naginsky] – “Lesson 1: Life isn’t fair Kids whose parents were members at the club always seemed to get priority on the list no matter which way the draw unfolded. Either their parents or their parents’ friends would request to have them as caddies, pushing those who weren’t connected further down the list. I spent a fair amount of that summer sitting around waiting, but I took what I could get and worked my butt off when given the chance.”

Seven things rich people never do.

It’s Friday, my friends. You’ve reached the end of another week. But before you head off for friends and family and fun, here are few last money stories for your edification…

When the founder of Amazon encourages you to stop buying, maybe you should listen. [Becoming Minimalist] — “When the wise thing to do is delay purchases, companies and marketers are going to be working harder to compel you to spend. This crescendo will reach a fever pitch over the next two months. So how do we keep from falling into their trap?”

The other answer. [Humble Dollar] — “There are usually two answers to every personal-finance question: There’s what the calculator says—and then there’s how you feel about it. What does that mean in practice? Let’s look at an example.”

Rich friends, poor friends. [Monevator] — “Surrounding yourself with rich friends is a well-known strategy for making more money…There’s plenty of scientific research to back up this folksy-sounding advice.”

Seven things rich people never do. [Darius Foroux] — “It’s attractive to talk about all the things rich people do and how you can build wealth. A large part of my work focuses on the right actions we should undertake to get wealthy. But what I don’t always share is how I figured out the right actions. Most of the time it’s a matter of looking at the wrong options and doing the opposite.”

To close things out, here’s a six-minute video from the TED-Ed channel on YouTube. It’s all about why you procrastinate even when it makes you feel bad.

“Procrastination is a result of our bodies trying to protect us.” !?!??!?! I imagine the voice of Mr. Spock: “Fascinating.”

My body tries to protect me a lot.

Okay, that’s all for this week. Jim will be back with more on Monday. And I’ll be back after Thanksgiving. See you then!