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May the force be with you!

Hey hey, money nerds. Good to see you again.

Although we’ve been “enjoying” meteorological winter for a few weeks now, astronomical (or calendar) winter for the northern hemisphere begins tomorrow evening at 20:19 Pacific, at which point the solstice will occur. But, as we all know, that’s not the big news. The big news is that today, after 42 years of waiting, the official main Star Wars storyline draws to a close.

The first film premiered on 25 May 1977. For kids of a certain age — my age — this movie changed our lives. It became an integral part of our childhoods. We watched the movies, collected the trading cards, read the books and comics, played with the “action figures” (which is a way to make dolls seem appealing to boys, I guess), and more. Now my friends and I are fifty (or older!) and we’re stoked for the release of this final film. Please don’t let it suck. (Please oh please oh please!)

Okay, enough normal nerdery. Let’s move on to today’s regularly-scheduled money nerdery!

Skagway, Alaska is selling ownership of its newspaper for $0. [The Guardian] — “Persily hopes to pass the reins to a committed journalist willing to live in Skagway, a town of 1,000. Ideally, it would be someone who has lived in Alaska and knows the state’s quirks. ‘It’s weird up here,’ he said. ‘It’s weirder than Sarah Palin is weird.'” [Having visited Skagway — twice! and I have a photo from Skagway hanging next to me in my office — I find this opportunity oddly tempting.]

The fantasy numbers that make you buy things online. [BBC] — “When online retailers use web design and verbal nudges to guide customers towards clicking something or making a particular decision, they are deploying what have become known as ‘dark patterns’. The term was coined by design consultant Harry Brignull about 10 years ago…While some dark patterns might be subtle – a pre-ticked checkbox on a form signing you up to a newsletter during registration, for example – others are ‘intended to gaslight the consumer’, says Brignull.”

Financial independence allowed me to walk away from harassment at work. [Financial Mechanic] — “You may love your job now. You may love your company now. But one bad hire can change that. You may be working towards your FI number, but aren’t there just yet. Having a solid emergency fund gives you the option to leave a bad situation if that is the case. FI gives you the choice to walk away from a bad situation, or stay and push for others. It gives you back your power when it would otherwise be stripped away.”

If you want to get ahead financially, don’t be a one-quarter person. [Freedom Is Groovy] — “You have a choice. You can be a one-quarter person and rail against the malevolent forces that you have no control over. Or you can be a three-quarter person and focus on the things you do have control over. For the first 20 years of my adult life, I was a one-quarter person. And it got me absolutely nowhere.”

How to divorce-proof your retirement. [Can I Retire Yet?] — “Understanding how divorce would affect your retirement is a very important topic that we’ve never directly addressed…The topic makes me uncomfortable. I suspect it will make readers uncomfortable as well. Divorces devastate many people’s finances. Yet because it is uncomfortable to discuss, we avoid the topic. Easier for me to write, and for you to read, another article about early retirement health care, safe withdrawal rates or tax planning. No risk there.”

To send you into the weekend — and into winter — here are a couple of non-Star Wars films I’m looking forward to in spring 2020: James Bond 25: No Time to Die (08 April 2020), Wonder Woman II: Wonder Woman 1984 (05 June 2020), and the latest from Christopher Nolan, Tenet (17 July 2020, which isn’t actually spring).

I’ve watched that Wonder Woman 1984 trailer over and over and over again. The film looks like so much fun. And Daniel Craig is easily my favorite Bond. Ever. This is reportedly Craig’s last time playing the superspy, so I’ll be sure to catch this one in theaters.

That’s it for this week. We’ll see you on Monday for more money and merriment. Have a safe weekend, money nerds!