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Happy birthday, Taylor Swift!

It’s Monday, my friends, and this is Apex Money. I’m here to share some of the best personal-finance stories from around the interwebs. Stories like these…

How this all happened. [Morgan Housel at Collaborative Fund] — “This is a short story about what happened to the U.S. economy since the end of World War II. That’s a lot to unpack in 5,000 words, but the short story of what happened over the last 73 years is simple: Things were very uncertain, then they were very good, then pretty bad, then really good, then really bad, and now here we are. And there is, I think, a narrative that links all those events together. Not a detailed account. But a story of how the details fit together.”

Your wealth is mostly due to luck. Be thankful. [Financial Samurai] — “I firmly believe that it was mostly luck (~70%) that helped me a basic level of financial independence at age 34. Of course, effort is also required to get ahead, but it’s not the main reason. There are plenty of people who work much harder than you or I, yet will not achieve what we have. The more we can recognize our luck and not take our luck for granted, the more prosperous we’ll become.”

If you don’t decide how to spend your money, someone else will. [The Belle Curve] — “Money is a funny thing. It is a human construct and a very helpful mechanism created to move goods and services around efficiently. We need enough of it to survive, a little more to be comfortable, and maybe a little extra to chase our dreams. But somewhere along the path to earning, saving, investing, and growing wealth, most of us lose sight of the bigger picture. The saving and investing part becomes addictive. Our good behaviors with money have been rewarded, and we watch our wealth grow. How could we ever get off this hedonic treadmill, and why would we want to?”

How the week became a measure of time. [Aeon] — “Weeks serve as powerful mnemonic anchors because they are fundamentally artificial. Unlike days, months and years, all of which track, approximate, mimic or at least allude to some natural process (with hours, minutes and seconds representing neat fractions of those larger units), the week finds its foundation entirely in history.” [Fascinating stuff!]

Today’s non-financial video is from — you guessed it! — Taylor Swift. It’s December 13th, and as every Swiftie knows, that means it’s Taylor’s birthday. Today she turns 32. To celebrate, here’s the official video for her holiday song, “Christmas Tree Farm”.

This video is a gift to her fans: lots of home video of a young Taylor. SO FUN! (Also fun is her re-recorded “old-timey” version of the song.)

That’s it for Monday. Come back tomorrow for more of the best from the world of personal finance!

p.s. Much to my delight, December 13th is also the birthday of my pal Grant Sabatier from Millennial Money. Happy birthday, Grant! Each year on his birthday, Grant gets a text message from me celebrating Taylor’s birthday. Because I’m a good friend like that. 😉