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How to organize your kitchen like a professional chef.

Good morning, Apexians, and welcome to another week.

Because I’ve been fully engrossed in moving, I haven’t spent as much time as usual reading about money. That means today’s articles are a bit more varied than normal. But have no fear! We finished moving most of the big stuff over the weekend, so I intend to resume my normal workflow today. (Translation: I should have plenty of money links for you tomorrow.)

Besides, I like the three pieces I do have for you…

“My $100/month, 3000 calorie/day food budget.” [/r/leanfire] — I’m in the process of moving. I’m going from a place with two nearby grocery stores to a neighborhood with too many to count. Suddenly, I have choice about how to spend my food budget. This Reddit post (and its follow-up) might not fit my exact needs and preferences, but they’re inspirational. [On a related note, my buddy Jim helps run a site called $5 Meal Plan, which some of you may find useful.]

To build a better relationship with technology, follow the example of the Amish. [Psyche] — “As you pick and choose, adapting technology to your needs, it might help to establish a set of guiding principles. For example, the Amish ethos places prime value on family and neighbourly life.” [I really liked this piece.]

How to organize your kitchen like a professional chef. [The New York Times] — “[Bennett’s] refrigerator contents have been grouped based on flavor profile and function: Asian sauces, American sauces, fruits, vegetables and pickled things each have a designated section. On the countertop, she keeps what she calls her ‘flavor station’, a reliable wooden bowl stocked with shallots, garlic and red onions.”

Okay, that’s all for today. Come back tomorrow for more of the best from the world of personal finance — and beyond.

Billionaires are like you and me! (ok maybe not)

Mark Cuban has done a good job of being the everyman billionaire – yeah he has a billion dollars but he is relatable and still remembers what it was like to not have a billion dollars. He does a video with Vanity Fair sharing his rules for getting rich here.

Mark Cuban shared his 9 rules to getting rich. Why I agree with six of them, disagree with two, and love one. [My Money Wizard] – My Money Wizard watches that vidoe and shares his thoughts on them. Personally, I think there was something to like about each of those rules though I think it’s better to think of them as guidelines to being principled with your money, but not necessarily how to get “rich.”

I would’ve preferred he go into how to find business ideas and start a business but I get how that might not get as many views. 🙂

This next one is tough because it’s about money but it’s not really about money.

When Rich Feels Like A Dirty Word [One Frugal Girl] – “As we were talking her dad walked into the kitchen. “Oh,” he said, “Little Ms. College Student has come for a visit. I’m surprised to see you here. Aren’t you too good for us now?” I was eighteen at the time and unsure of what to say. His words hung in the air around me. I loved this family like they were my own. My best friend’s mother had acted like a second mother when I was growing up. My best friend was like a sister to me. Suddenly I felt like an unwanted outsider.”

One of the unfortunate lessons in life is that sometimes you outgrow your life situations. You may have grown up in a circumstance but that doesn’t mean it’s where you should stay, physically or emotionally. Sometimes it’s important not to let the small-mindedness of others dictate how you feel. The world is a big place and you want to seek out those who will help you grow, not those who want to hold you back. Rich isn’t a dirty word unless you let it become one.

I once bet $1,000 on a single hand of blackjack. This was online and back in college when I did casino promotions. My actual deposit was $50 or $100 but before I made that bet, that $1,000 was 100% mine and I could’ve cashed it out. I lost the hand. I felt physically ill.

My man Bill Hwang lost $20 BILLION. Banks who lent him money lost billions. Unreal.

Bill Hwang Had $20 Billion, Then Lost It All in Two Days [Bloomberg] – “Starting in 2013, he parlayed more than $200 million left over from his shuttered hedge fund into a mind-boggling fortune by betting on stocks. Had he folded his hand in early March and cashed in, Hwang, 57, would have stood out among the world’s billionaires. There are richer men and women, of course, but their money is mostly tied up in businesses, real estate, complex investments, sports teams, and artwork. Hwang’s $20 billion net worth was almost as liquid as a government stimulus check. And then, in two short days, it was gone.”

My takeaway from that is that the system worked as intended. Hwang did nothing improper, banks lent him too much, and a couple got burned along with him.

Have a great weekend!

A good death cleaning

I think the recent rise in the popularity of minimalism is a direct response to decades of consumerism and consumption. If you go into the home of someone over the age of 70, it often has a lot of stuff. That stuff has emotional value to the homeowner but not often to the folks who would get it when that person passes.

It passes one generation, where the emotional connection to the item has little to do with the item itself but with the original owner. Then what? It’s really a burden. You’re giving people burdens.

Why I Did My Own Death Cleaning at 39 [No Side Bar] – “What will happen to your stuff when you die? […] It has to go somewhere, which means that someone still living at that time- likely someone close to you- will have to go through it all and make decisions on your behalf. Imagine your loved ones combing through piles and boxes of your stuff. Not knowing what to do with them because you didn’t make it clear what your wishes were. Imagine the time, the physical and emotional energy spent doing this. This is the burden on our loved ones that we have the opportunity to avoid. How? Death cleaning.” Morbid but accurate.

Prices [Restaurant-ing through history] – This post is just a list of years and meals with their prices. It’s a fun little trip through history and how much different meals cost at the time. As the years go on, there are more images of the meals which add to the fun. I don’t recognize any restaurant until 1964, which is $1.49 for a turkey dinner at Howard Johnson’s.

I also discovered a meal, Welsh rarebit, that is sauce over bread. It was originally called Welsh rabbit but had its name changed since it contained no rabbit. Fascinating!

The Man in the MTA’s Money Room [Curbed] – “Armored cars, pocketless uniforms, coin-sucking vacuums: Al Putre, who counts $1.5 billion a year, lets us inside.” Quick fun read about how to handle massive amounts of money.

When One City Gave People Cash, They Went Out and Got Jobs [Reasons To Be Cheerful] – “Besides feeling less pain and anxiety about their lives and their financial situations, a surprising percentage of the program’s recipients got jobs. By the end of the first year of the study (2019, before the pandemic began) full-time employment in the recipient group had risen from 28 percent to 40 percent — double the increase found among folks who didn’t receive the money.”

Founding vs. Inheriting

This first piece will make you think, especially after the pandemic year(s), because it highlights a few important ideas.

The key idea is that the folks who inherit institutions couldn’t have founded it. This has a lot of ramifications, many of which were laid bare as the institutions go through a crisis. Old media went through this with the rise of social media and blogging. The government is going through this now with the pandemic.

Another idea that I took away, which applies in a lot of areas of life, is that the skills required to win a job are often not the ones that help you do the job well. For example, politicians are good at winning elections but they may not be great at governing, especially during a crisis. It’s a good read.

Founding vs Inheriting [Balaji Srinivasan on 1729] – “That older, institutional ideology is now failing. Over the course of 2020, public health failed, public schools failed, fire departments failed, and police departments failed. National, state, and local governments failed. Media corporations failed and even the US military failed. Just about every Western institution run by a political heir failed, because it was presented with the unanticipated shock of COVID-19. The widgets these heirs’ factories were cranking out were no longer suited for the occasion. And their failure has caused a crisis of faith in American institutions specifically, and in the postwar order more broadly.”

This next post pairs well with the first in that in cases where you will be leaving something behind for others, you have a responsibility to make sure they are able to accept that burden. Thinking about investing for seven generations has benefits for you (which is what the post is mostly about) but it’s also important that you teach the next generation how to do the same. Hoisting wealth on the unsuspecting can have deleterious effects.

Investing for Seven Generations [JL Collins] – “It starts with me. I no longer think of this money as mine. No longer is the objective to invest just for my lifetime. I think of myself as its custodian. Certainly, I am free to benefit from it, but only to the extent of staying well within the 4% rule. My first role is to nurture it and see it grow.”

Egocentric bias is a cognitive bias in which you overestimate your contributions and underestimate the contribution of others. This quick video explains the concept as well as its impact on your success (it’s really good):

Average tenure at a job was 4.1 years (Jan 2020) – surprised?

When I worked in the corporate world, there was always the advice that you shouldn’t job hop. Moving around a lot was seen as a bad thing.

Except it was the easiest way to get a pay raise. 3% a year is fine for cost of living adjustments but if your entire career consists of raises like that (or even less), you’re going to fall behind new graduates. And fall behind badly.

So would it surprise you that the Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks average tenure and it’s only like four years? The average time someone stays at a job is around 4 years and it’s been close to that figure for decades. The idea that you should stay at a job forever is probably something made up by the people who benefit from someone staying in the same job for 40 years and taking 3% raises each year.

Food for thought.

The Perfect Career Length [Happily Disengaged] – “My friend’s wife mentioned that a co-worker was retiring after 54 years of working at her company. The current owner of this company was 9 years old when this retiring co-worker started her tenure. And apparently, this company didn’t want to have a party for this lifer till our friend’s insistence made its way to top leadership. […] Is a 54 year work career a cause to celebrate? Is that a success… or complete failure?” 54 years is a loooooong time.

How to build an investment portfolio for Long Term Returns [Banker on Wheels] – “A 10+ time period is long and while Long Term Investing Strategies for Financial Independence should be relatively simple they need to cover key asset classes (at least 2-3 different ETFs in the Core Portfolio) that can boost returns in the long run. The great news is that given your Time Horizon and if you follow sound investment principles you have, by historical standards, no chance of losing money.”

Do you have an investing edge? [Monevator] – “In my professional capacity I’ve witnessed actual edge, firsthand. And pretty much none of these edges are available to the private investor.”

Charlie Munger doesn’t like bitcoin

Cryptocurrencies have been blazing hot the last few weeks – the latest is, of course, the parody coin based on a Shiba Inu. What a world we live in!

Charlie Munger calls bitcoin ‘disgusting and contrary to the interests of civilization’ [CNBC] – ‘“Of course I hate the bitcoin success,” the 97-year-old Munger said during a Q&A session at Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting Saturday. “I don’t welcome a currency that’s so useful to kidnappers and extortionists and so forth, nor do I like just shuffling out of your extra billions of billions of dollars to somebody who just invented a new financial product out of thin air.”’ He has a good point about volatility making it a terrible store of value but otherwise, not sure Munger’s argument doesn’t also apply to cash.

99 Additional Bits of Unsolicited Advice [The Technium – Kevin Kelly] – “Assume anyone asking for your account information for any reason is guilty of scamming you, unless proven innocent. The way to prove innocence is to call them back, or login to your account using numbers or a website that you provide, not them. Don’t release any identifying information while they are contacting you via phone, message or email. You must control the channel.” This is a good bit of financial advice, but the other 98 are better bits for life.

The movie, Catch Me If You Can, about Frank Abagnale (that starred Leonardo DiCaprio) is really fun. It also struck me as a bit outlandish and exaggerated but it’s a movie after all. It has to be outlandish and exaggerate for it to be fun. So it would not surprise me if it was totally made up too.

Could this famous con man be lying about his story? A new book suggests he is [WHYY] – “But though the movie claims to be based on a true story, creating the myth of Frank W. Abagnale Jr. might be the best con that Abagnale actually pulled. A new book contends that the story of the charming teen running from the FBI and pulling off all those impersonations without getting caught is mostly made up.”

Work will never stop.

Good morning, everybody! Here in Oregon, everything has turned lush. It’s wonderful. It felt like winter was especially interminable this year, so I’ve really been enjoying our uncharacteristic warm weather. It’s nice.

It’s also nice to bring you today’s batch of money news from around the web. Take a look.

Should you invest in cryptocurrency? [The Street] — “Once you’ve addressed the question of if you should invest in this asset class, the next question is how much? As it is considered speculative and high-risk, the traditional answer is 5% or less of your portfolio. For experienced investors with nerves of steel and lengthy time frames, larger allocations are okay.”

Efficiency is the enemy. [Farnam Street] — “If you ever find yourself stressed, overwhelmed, sinking into stasis despite wanting to change, or frustrated when you can’t respond to new opportunities, you need more slack in your life.”

Work will never stop. [Accidental Fire] — “No amount of technology is going to stop us from working hard, because no matter how good that technology is we’re going to have an innate desire to make it better. And that means getting our asses out of bed and going to work tomorrow.”

Today’s video feature is taken directly form that last piece about work. In his article, Dave linked to an episode of The 21st Century, a CBS News program from the late 1960s. In this episode, Walter Cronkite explores life at home in the year 2001.

I think all 25 minuters of this video are interesting, but (as Dave recommends) you may want to simply watch the three minutes that start here. Anyhow, it’s fun stuff. You should check it out.

And you should come back tomorrow! I’ll be here with a last batch of links to take you into the weekend. Until then, stay well…

Why do wealthy couples get divorced?

Welcome to Wednesday, my friends. Today at Apex, I’ve gathered articles related to conflict in relationships. Not a pleasant subject, I know, but something many folks will have to struggle with during their lifetimes.

Seven common money arguments in marriage (and how to tackle them). [Fatherly] — “Financial counsellors and therapists see a lot of the same arguments over and over again. They’re also keenly able to help couples identify the various larger issues at play and help them end the arguments once and for all. Here, then, are a few of the more common money arguments in marriage they see — and some ways to prevent them.”

Why do wealthy couples get divorced? [Millennial Revolution] — “Having seen some friends and family get divorced for reasons other than money, I’ve noticed that marital problems don’t tend to just drop on a couple by surprise and then explode their marriage like a live grenade. Instead, they pile on gradually like a gentle snowfall. And because it sneaks up on you, you don’t realize until it’s too late that you’re trapped in a blizzard, praying you won’t die a horrible frostbitten death.” (Also good from Kristy recently: How not to lose yourself in retirement.)

Where husbands hide money during divorce. [The Financial Lifeguard, via All-Star Money] — “Open communication about money is vitally important to a strong and healthy marriage. But what happens when divorce is looming and your husband is being evasive or defensive about money matters? Could he be hiding something from you?”

Lastly, here’s a nice three-minute video from Joshua Becker (from Becoming Minimalist). Here Becker argues that inheritance is more than you think — it’s not just financial.

And that’s it for Hump Day. I’ll see you again tomorrow…

The power of financial habits.

Today is Tuesday, money nerds, and you’re at Apex Money. As always, we’ve collected some interesting stories for you from the world of personal finance. Today’s stories are about building good financial habits. Let’s dive in.

Save like a pessimist. Invest like an optimist. [Collaborative Fund] — “Optimism and pessimism can coexist. If you look hard enough you’ll see them next to each other in virtually every successful company and successful career. They seem like opposites, but they work together to keep everything in balance.”

The power of financial habits. [Morningstar] — “When it comes to building a habit, the more complex the desired behavior is, the harder it can be. For our finances, using a simple but effective rule of thumb can be a solution. In our recent research, we began sifting through the many rules of thumb in the media to identify the rules that financially well-off people tend to use.”

In praise of long feedback loops. [Bookbear Express] — “Long feedback loops, by their very nature, cannot be pleasurable in the way short feedback loops are. Basically: the thrill will disappear. And that’s okay.” I needed to read this today. It’s important.

To finish up today, here’s a video from a Japanese calligrapher on YouTube. It’s simply 5-1/2 minutes of him drawing the English alphabet in print and in cursive. From that description, you’ll know whether that’ll bore you or if you’ll find it mesmerizing (as I did).

My cursive skills have decayed with time. I can’t even remember how to draw some letters. And if I’m rushing, my printing isn’t very good either. But if I put my mind to it, I can print quite well. It’s a legacy of having taken a couple of drafting classes in high school. Mr. Romero started by teaching us how to print properly, and I’ve always been grateful for that.

(Oh, and because it’s tangentially related, here’s a recent Fioneers article about how to make money with calligraphy.)

Okay, that’s a wrap for Tuesday. I’ll be back tomorrow with more of the best from the world of personal finance. Join me, won’t you?

The seven money personality types.

Good morning, my friends, and welcome to yet another Monday. There’s a never-ending supply, as you might have noticed. But that’s okay. Mondays means we get to dive back into Apex Money. Let’s take a look at the stories we’ve gathered for you today.

The secret credit card that’s only for the rich. [Backbencher] — “The no-limit black card, issued by invitation only, instantly identifies its holder as what’s known in the trade as a ‘whale’ — someone with vast resources. Amex won’t say what it takes to get an invite, but word on the street is that you must have been a Platinum cardholder for at least a year, ringing up a minimum of $350,000 in annual charges.”

The seven money personality types. [CNBC Make It] — “We each have our own beliefs and emotions about money, and they are mostly shaped by our individual life experiences (e.g., passed down from our parents or influenced by our current situations). In my 10-plus years of researching the psychology of money and happiness, I’ve found that there are seven distinct money personality types.”

An argument for never giving up meaningful work. [Humble Dollar] — “To have a successful retirement, we need to start with a proper understanding of work. Admittedly, it’s a counterintuitive way of looking at retirement. But sometimes looking at a problem backward can help us find creative solutions. In other words, examine the opposite of retirement for lessons about retirement.”

Lastly, from artist Brian King’s Mayoking website, here’s a short comic I liked about what it’s like to raise kids when you’re struggling to make ends meet. (I think I like this because it reminds me of my childhood and the struggles my own family had with money.)

A comic by Brian King

And that’s it for Monday. I’ll be back tomorrow with more great stuff. See you then.