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Apex Money Posts

Just videos today (these are so so so good)

What happens when the largest stunt school in the world puts out a highlight reel of what its students can do? You get this. (a lot of the footage, if you’ll notice, comes from a drone flying around the school!)

Now that you’re fired up, watch this video and don’t cry:

I’m not crying, you’re crying!

Finally, to fire you off into the weekend, here is a collection of videos that Vimeo has considered the videos of the year. They’re all short (a few minutes), and my favorite was the Nike commercial You Can’t Stop Us but this one, Facing It, really makes you think:

Sharing experiences, even from afar, can bring people closer

One of the positives (specifically for us) from the pandemic is that we’ve developed a little workout group with some of our friends. These are friends we’ve known for years, vacationed together, etc; (so we’re already close), but we haven’t all been on shared group threads talking about fitness (and other random topics) like this.

It turns out that sharing experiences, even if you aren’t near each other physically (we are spread out across the Eastern United States), can bring people closer:

Sharing experiences, even from afar, can bring people closer [Chicago Booth Review] – “But we also prefer to experience separate events, good or bad, at the same time, suggest University of California at Los Angeles’ Franklin Shaddy and University of Florida’s Yanping Tu, both recent graduates of the Chicago Booth PhD Program, and Booth’s Ayelet Fishbach. For example, knowing that your friend is having a root canal on the same day as you may make it feel like a shared experience—and make it a little easier to handle.”

For the month of February, we’ve been doing the same core exercises (courtesy of Matty Maggiacomo) and we’ve reveled in our shared misery together.

“Fake Famous” and the Tedium of Influencer Culture [The New Yorker] – “A new documentary follows three nobodies who are trying to become social-media famous, which involves buying followers and staging photo shoots in a kiddie pool.”

How Marketing Changed the Way We See Avocados [Scientific American] – “Once upon a time, Americans didn’t know what to do with “alligator pears.” Now we can’t get enough” Alligator pears!

Do you want to be happier?

Skip this post if the answer is no. 🙂

20 Ways To Be Happier in Life [The Retirement Manifesto] – “The last year has been tough on all of us. With that COVID thing floating around, increasing tension between political classes, Social Media run amuck, etc, it’s time to take a break from all of the negativity. With that in mind, here are 20 ways to be happier in life, based on my personal experience.”

Create life mantras and goals, to enjoy life and increase happiness [Accidentally Retired] – “A few years ago, I started to create a Life Crafting notebook. It was created simply using the Notes app on my iPhone to jot down things I wanted to remember to better my life. My Life Crafting notebook now includes various different tidbits of things that I wanted to remember to enact in my life. Everything from Life Mantras, and goals, to date night Ideas, to quotes I like, and key highlights from books I have read.”

((Real personal consumption expenditures: Durable goods: Recreational goods and vehicles+Real personal consumption expenditures: Recreation services)/Real Personal Consumption Expenditures)*100

The growing share of spending on recreation [Federal Reserve of St. Louis] – “The FRED graph above shows the percent of real personal consumption expenditures devoted to recreational goods and services. Between 2002 and 2019, this share has almost constantly increased. (The sole exception being the dip between 2008 and 2009, during the Great Recession.) To be precise, the share of recreational expenditures has increased 57%, which is worth more than half a smile.”

Rich is having passive income greater than your burn

The Algebra of Wealth [Scott Galloway] – “I know a lot of people who make an extraordinary amount of money, but few people who are rich. Rich is having passive income greater than your burn. People on a path to money focus on their earnings; people on a path to wealth also focus on their burn. Joseph Heller said, “It takes brains not to make money.” (Note: I think he was casting a favorable light on his starving artist friends). This may be true, but it definitely takes brains to hold onto it (i.e., money).”

Craft a Better Life Than Your Parents [Retire Before Dad] – “My Dad retired in the early 2000s at the age of 56. I was broke, unemployed, and living with my parents at the time. But I set the goal to retire one year younger than he did. In my mind, it was the best way to measure how I could live a better life than my parents.”

Why The Active vs Passive Investing Debate Misses The Point [Banker on Fire] – “Instead of debating the merits of active vs passive investing, it’s far more productive to focus on actual investing.” The problem with most investors isn’t what they’re invested in, it’s that they aren’t investing enough.

How North Face Athletes Compete for Expedition Funding [Outside] – “The company sponsors some of the best athletes in the world, from Emily Harrington to Alex Honnold, all of whom are vying for a slice of the brand’s annual budget to support their expeditions. The process can be as competitive as getting into an Ivy League university—except, if approved, the athletes are often taking on death-defying adventures.”

How to think

What happened last week in Texas and their power grid was horrifying. It was made worse when politicians started using the story to push their agendas, even while people were without power, water, and shelter.

(J.D. faced his own weather and power crisis too in the Pacific Northwest, which is why you’re getting me for a second week!)

One of the common stories was that wind power was to blame. As it turns out, it wasn’t the fault of wind power but a lack of winterization across the entire system (and that the system was on its own grid to avoid federal regulation). My point isn’t to debate that particular issue but to point out that it’s important that we focus more energy on how we can improve our own ability to think and come to conclusions of our own.

We are often told what to think and what to believe but we aren’t taught how to think – because that makes us less vulnerable to manipulation.

5 Mental Frameworks Exceptional People Use Every Day [Value.app] – “The highest-performers don’t use “tricks” or “hacks” to achieve greatness. They use mental frameworks that fundamentally change the way they see the world. Below are the five mental models that I’ve identified exceptional people use every day…”

How to Think: The Skill You’ve Never Been Taught [Farnam Street] – “No skill is more valuable and harder to come by than the ability to critically think through problems. And schools don’t teach you a method of thinking, you have to do the work yourself. Those who do it well get an advantage and those that do it poorly pay a tax.”

How I Became a Poker Champion in One Year [The Atlantic] – “One of the world’s best players taught me his unique psychological style of play—and it worked.”

Last one is a fun one – The Puppet Master Who Brought ‘Star Wars’ to Life [Great Big Story]

What the heck is a SPAC?

SPACs have been hot lately – in 2020, there were nearly 250 new SPACs that raised $83 billion in capital. They basically allow a private company to go public really quickly. Here’s how they work:

What Are SPACs and Should You Invest in Them? [Money For The Rest of Us] – “Special Purpose Acquisition Companies or SPACs are non-operating publicly-listed companies whose purpose is to identify and purchase a private company, allowing the acquisition target to have publicly listed stock.” This is a really great explainer – easy to understand.

the diminishing returns of productivity culture [Culture Study] – “Automation was also positioned as a sort of cure-all for America’s industrial slump: a way to close the gap between their global competitors, particularly Japan and Germany. It promised to decrease inefficiencies and increase productivity — and productivity, as Robert MacNeil put it in his intro to an episode of PBS Newshour in 1980, was the “in” word of the year: “Everyone who thinks he knows what’s wrong with this country wants to improve productivity.””

Everytime I see the word thief, I think about the kids book the Brief Thief. This one is, however, about eggs.

The Egg Thief [Outside] – “For decades Jeffrey Lendrum helicoptered up and rappelled down to aeries on cliff faces from Patagonia to Quebec, snatching unhatched raptors and selling them, investigators believe, to wealthy Middle Eastern falconers. This week in London, one of the most bizarre criminals in modern history goes on trial for the fourth time. Here is his story.”

Investing is really easy, right???

South Korean boy investor with 43% gains is new retail trading icon [Reuters] – “Kwon pestered his mother to open a retail trading account last April with savings of 25 million won ($22,400) as seed money, just as the benchmark KOSPI index began recovering from its biggest dip in a decade.”

4 Ways Financial Independence Changed Our Lives (Work, Health, Time, Mentality) [Financial Mechanic] – “The most remarkable part about how financial independence (FI) has changed our lives is in how little, at least from the outside, it’s had any visible effect. The best way to sum this up is—wealth is what you can’t see.” A good guest post on Financial Mechanic written by Jenni and Chris from TicTocLife.

Fun little read on the $GME saga and “the guy who got GameStop:” (this isn’t the Roaring Kitty guy everyone talks about)

The Beach Bum Who Beat Wall Street and Made Millions on GameStop [The Ringer] – “Mike McCaskill spent years scouring the stock market and betting on long shots. Then he found the opportunity that changed his life—and helped spark the mother of all short squeezes.”

GME is the gift that keeps on giving. Good for him!

crypto crypto everywhere

The Wild West of Crypto sure is fun to read… and with Tesla picking up $1.5 billion in bitcoin, I suspect we’re closer to the beginning of the story than the end.

Here are a few entertaining and, harrowing, crypto stories for today.

The first article is benign but entertaining to read. Please do not buy any Dogecoin!

The rest are more telling of what happens you have no rules. 🙂

I tried to get rich off Dogecoin and all I got was this lousy blog post [Gov Worker FI] – “… my Dogecoin phase wasn’t about investing for retirement. Mostly, I was just in need of a quick dopamine hit. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, and I don’t do drugs. Really, I’m a boring person. But now and then I like to gamble a bit. Mostly with betting on sports or making prop bets. For the record- my favorite prop bet is betting on the length of the National Anthem during the super bowl. Even though bookies set the line at an insanely long time each year.” My friend always puts a few bucks on the first score of a Super Bowl being a safety… if you recall, this happened two times in three years (the last time was Super Bowl XLVIII). He probably has a few hundred Dogecoin, though I’ve never asked. 🙂

Darknet’s JokerStash Retiring After Making Over $1B Through Illicit Transactions [Coindesk] – “Crypto sleuthing firm Elliptic says one of the world’s most prolific cybercriminals is going out on their own terms.”

Rise and fall of the house of Bitcoin [Rest of World] – “A Buenos Aires hacker haven produced some of Argentina’s most valuable crypto companies. Then it suddenly disappeared.”

‘Even for the Rich, It’s Hard to Access’ America’s wealthiest are discovering the vaccine is one of the few things money can’t buy. [The Cut] – “If Georgina* could pay $10,000 to get the vaccine tomorrow, she would do it in a heartbeat. “I’ve always had this thing, and I know it sounds so entitled and bitchy, where I’m like, Stand in line for something, are you crazy? Nobody who’s a real New Yorker waits for anything,” says the businesswoman, speaking on the phone from her Upper East Side home. Georgina has never had trouble finding her way through seemingly closed doors — from sold-out showings of Hamilton to SNL afterparties and the most exclusive clubs and restaurants.” FWIW, Georgina qualified to get the vaccine in New York due to age, she just can’t get it because there isn’t enough supply.

Lessons about protecting capital during World War 2

This first article is fascinating because we don’t often think about how to protect ourselves (financially) during a “true” crisis like war. The pandemic was for sure a crisis, with threats to your financial life as well as your real life, but it’s not the same as war. That’s when things can get truly bad.

Protecting your capital during a war [Asia Stock Report] – “Wars are one of the greatest destroyers of capital. In Barton Bigg’s book “Wealth, War & Wisdom”, he makes the case that to protect your capital during a war, investors need to own diversified portfolios of stocks and property in safe regions. The book chronicles the experience of investors during World War II: whose wealth was destroyed and why. And what you could have done to protect your wealth.”

The Nirvana fallacy: when perfectionism leads to unrealistic solutions [Ness Labs] – ““Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien” wrote Voltaire in 1772—which translates to “better is the enemy of the good”, but is often translated as “perfect is the enemy of the good.” The Nirvana fallacy consists in comparing existing solutions with ideal, perfect ones—which are often unrealistic. A form of perfectionism, the Nirvana fallacy can lead to dangerous thinking and harmful decisions.”

https://medium.com/history-of-yesterday/the-gorilla-who-was-brought-up-as-a-boy-in-an-english-village-6e3cdac33c63 [History of Yesterday] – “This is the incredible true story of John Daniel, who was no ordinary gorilla”

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Why do some people risk their lives for fun?

I’m (probably) never going skydiving. I don’t get it.

But some people love it. In fact, for some people, skydiving isn’t enough. They need to put on a wing suit and jump off mountains!

It’s crazy. This next article helps me understand it a little better but…

Why do some people risk their lives for fun? [The Economist] – “This past year, thanks to covid-19, humans have faced a radical increase in risk. Governments and individuals have decided to make huge personal and financial sacrifices to protect people from an increased chance of death. Once-unremarkable activities, such as eating at a restaurant or visiting your grandchildren, are suddenly fraught with the fear of death. The response to the pandemic has shown the extent to which humans are risk-averse—it has proved quite how far they are willing to go to avoid a chance of dying prematurely. So why would anyone jump off a cliff, and willingly expose themselves to it?” The interesting part of this article is when you get past the potentially evolutionary reason (“men overestimate the extent to which females value their engaging in non-heroic risk-taking, such as bungee jumping or risky sports, says a 2005 study”) and get into the compartmentalization section (“People who enjoy jumping off cliffs will not necessarily be keen to put their money into risky investments, or take risks in their relationships.”).

A FIRE-Minded Approach to Life Insurance [Physician on FIRE] – “Essentially, you’d be betting just shy of $16,000, paid in installments over 20 years that 30 year-old you won’t live to see age 50. If you lose the bet, you’ve kept your life. Win the bet, you’re now dead, but your grieving family will be a multimillionare grieving family. That’s how term life insurance works.”

10 Things I’ll be Watching Closely in 2021 [The Irrelevant Investor] – “2020 was the wildest year in the stock market that any of us have ever seen. We had two of the five worst days ever, the fastest bear market ever, and the fastest recovery ever. Today I want to look forward and talk about some of the things I’m thinking about for 2021.”

Inside Bali’s Saddest, Most Abandoned Theme Park [Vice] – ““Have you ever seen a ghost?” I asked the gatekeeper. “Everyday,” he replied nonchalantly, gesturing to the bench he was sitting on. “Sometimes the kid ghost sits with me.””

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