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Apex Money Posts

What is the opposite of quiet quitting?

Good morning, Apexians, and welcome to another week! J.D. here with some tasty money links for a Monday morning.

I’m going to start today’s Apex with an excellent non-financial video. Here’s Ed Yong talking about the hidden sensory world of animals. It’s a nine-minute Big Think production that explores how different creatures experience the world in different ways. It’s fascinating.

And let’s finish up with a handful of recent money stories, shall we?

Gas prices are high. So, quit buying gas! [Financial Panther] — “Transportation is typically considered one of the big three expenses for most families (with the others being housing and food). Since it makes up a big chunk of our income, doing anything to cut down our transportation costs can make a big difference when it comes to our finances. But to do that, you have to be willing to do things differently. And most of us aren’t willing to do that.”

Americans keep moving to where the water isn’t. [Vox] — “Faced with growing costs from extreme weather disasters and the certain reality of a warmer and more disrupted future, Americans have been responding by not only moving toward riskier areas, but also moving away from safer ones.”

A day in the life of (almost) every vending machine in the world. [The Guardian] — “Every vending machine is a battleground. Profits are ruthlessly haggled over. Competition for spots is intense. Broadly speaking, the vending game is built on deals between operators (who own machines and have the skills to install them, fix them, constantly fill them with fats and sugars) and site owners (who have the rights to advantageous pieces of land).”

The fatFIRE movement is the polar opposite of Quiet Quitting. [Fortune] — “If quiet quitting is simply doing the minimum a job requires in a quest for a more equal work/life balance, FatFIRING advocates the opposite. It tells people to lean into work rather than lean out, and hustle as much as they can to achieve the same thing most workers want: freedom.”

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for another dollop of the good stuff.

J.D. lost money in crypto so that you don’t have to!

Happy Friday!

Today’s going to be a bit of a grab bag of posts, starting with one by JD and how he lost money in crypto. It’s

I lost money in crypto so that you don’t have to! [Get Rich Slowly] – “On November 23rd of last year, I decided to conduct a little experiment. The best way for me to learn about cryptocurrency, I decided, was to have some skin in the game, to actually buy some. So I did. I put $5000 each into five different “coins” — a $25,000 investment. I bought Ehtereum (ETH), Cosmos (ATOM), Enjin (ENJ), Cardano (ADA), and Solana (SOL). Don’t ask me why I chose these particular coins. I had reasons at the time, but I can no longer remember them.” We’ve all been there buddy. 🙂

Wealth Clarifies [Rational Reflections] – “Accumulating wealth means different things to different people, but I think Morgan Housel’s assessment is about right: Most people aspire to accumulate money in order to spend it, which of course is the exact opposite of having wealth. This irony is one of those self-evident realities that few people stop to seriously consider.”

Two surprising reasons behind the obesity epidemic: Too much salt, not enough water [The Conversation] – “Throughout my many years of studying obesity and related health conditions, I’ve observed that relatively little is said about two significant pieces of this very complex puzzle: lack of hydration and excessive salt intake. Both are known to contribute to obesity.” Very interesting.

We started today with J.D. gambling investing in crypto and will end with the “The Messed Up Politics Behind those Gambling Streams” – which was a trend I completely missed but it’s still messed up.

Have a great weekend!

Pros and cons of being wealthy

Happy Thursday! I’m (Jim) currently at FinCon right now, a conference for personal finance creators, and so this post was put together earlier in the week. J.D. and I will be here until Sunday, doing conference things, and hope these picks can satisfy your craving for posts about money (and other articles I find interesting). 🙂

Enjoy!

Pros and cons of being wealthy [Monetavor] – “You want to be rich. Perhaps very wealthy indeed. Who wouldn’t? Debating the pros and cons of being wealthy seems as one-sided as a boxing match between Warren Buffett and Muhammad Ali. However I’ve given this some thought – inspired by a strange and unfounded fear I’d be the £195 million winner in the EuroMillions – and there are quite a few bad points.” Some good points in this about the downsides of fantastic wealth.

I like this next one because it shows how spending just 20 minutes a week can have a big impact:

20 Minute Tasks to Improve Your Finances This Year [Jessi Fearon] – “Did you know that if you spent just 20 minutes a week focusing on your finances, you’d have spent a total of 17 hours on your money in just a year?! Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking. “Uh, Jess, 20 minutes a week is nothing.” or you’re thinking, “20 minutes a week?! I don’t have that kind of time.””

This next article is about raising kids but has quite a few parallels with other areas of life, even if you don’t have kids (especially the emotional regulation section):

Ancient Traditions Reveal 2 Rituals That Will Make You An Awesome Parent [Barking Up The Wrong Tree] – “When the kid world is so divorced from the adult world, children feel exempt from responsibilities. Instead of getting emotionally rewarded by being a part of the family team, they find reward only in Roblox and Minecraft. But when their primary context is family tasks, they want to be a part of them – both the responsibilities and the benefits. This doesn’t sound as odd if you talk to the older generation. They grew up knowing they were expected to help in the family store or on the farm, not to live in a totally separate child-centered world.”

Should I Keep Working in Order to GiveWell?

Happy Hump Day from the Plutus Team! Please take a quick break from your busy day and enjoy these curations we put together just for you.

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

What is Risk Tolerance. [MitlinFinancial] — “Risk tolerance is a topic spoken about often in the media and financial ecosystem. When you hear this discussed it usually gives you the impression that determining your risk tolerance is something easy to do. In reality, determining one’s risk tolerance is more of an art than a science.”  (Submitted by Tarsha.)

Should I Keep Working in Order to GiveWell?. [Abandoned Cubicle] — “What if you are within a few years or less of hitting an elusive early retirement goal, only to stumble upon a question like this: If you could save hundreds or even thousands of lives, would you keep working?” (Submitted by J. Money.)

How My Coworker and I Advocated for 20% Raises (Sample Letter Included). [Goodbye Whine to 5] — “This story is important to me because it shows that advocating for better pay in your workplace can be successful, especially when there is a collective effort.” (Submitted by Tarsha.)

Yeti Coolers Are Luxury Goods for Bros

I have a bunch of friends who swear by Yeti coolers. And Yeti tumblers. And Yeti coozies.

In fact, a LOT of people love Yeti coolers. They had $1.4 billion in revenue in 2021.

While we don’t own any of these very expensive coolers, I have seen cooler technology get much better as a result. There are now several brands that offer coolers and cooler adjacent products that are much better than the ole Coleman coolers. Market competition at its best!

Yeti Coolers Are Luxury Goods for Bros [The Atlantic] – “A Yeti, for the uninitiated, is a cooler made by the Austin, Texas–based company of the same name. But it’s not just any cooler. The brand’s acolytes—and there are many—will take seemingly any opportunity to tell you that Yetis are the best, coldest coolers that money can buy. With prices starting at $250 for enough space to get a small cookout drunk and ranging up to $1,500 for one so enormous, it could be used to cater an outdoor wedding, the coolers aren’t cheap. Yeti fans’ enthusiasm can be hard to argue with, though, not least of which because you probably don’t know anything about coolers. I, for example, do not.”

Neglected Ideas [Jonathan Clements on Humble Dollar] – “THE MOST POWERFUL financial ideas are those that help us make better money decisions—by providing a lens through which to understand ourselves and the world around us. Examples? Think about notions like loss aversion, diversification and market efficiency, all ideas frequently mentioned in HumbleDollar articles. Every investor, I believe, should understand such concepts.” It’s a good list of concepts we should all understand and internalize.

There’s a guy in Japan who gets paid to “do nothing” – to just be there. He doesn’t have to do more than give simple answers to questions and just hangs out. That’s a side hustle!

Why I’m Appreciating FI More Than Ever Now

Something happens when you have kids. I’m not saying everyone needs to have kids or should have kids or anything like that.

I’m merely saying that for me, something changed when we had kids.

And it’s always interesting when you hear someone else talk about it, especially in the context of financial independence because kids, typically> really put a strain on those plans!

Why I’m Appreciating FI More Than Ever Now [Max Fientist] – “I didn’t think I’d ever want kids.

There was so much I wanted to do/see during my life and I felt like having kids would get in the way.

Two things changed when I got to my late 30s though.”

I don’t want to work anymore, so I quit. [Financial Mechanic] – “Have you ever been working, and suddenly wished you could quit? The idea dawns on you as simple. All you would have to do is shut your computer. Say, “I quit.” Stand up. Walk out of the office. I felt like that. So the next day, I nearly surprised myself just as much as my boss when I handed in my notice.” Financial independence gives you options! 🙂

The $65 Million Art Heist That Put ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ To Shame [Mel Magazine] – “Then, not long after October 15th became October 16th, they struck, snatching seven masterpieces in all: Claude Monet’s “Waterloo Bridge” and “Charing Cross Bridge,” Lucian Freud’s “Woman With Eyes Closed,” Pablo Picasso’s “Harlequin Head,” Henri Matisse’s “Woman Reading in White and Yellow,” Paul Gauguin’s “Woman Before a Window” and Jacob Meijer de Haan’s “Zelfportret.””

Question: So they took $65 million in art… but what are you going to do with it?
Answer: “Typically, when smart thieves steal highly valuable artwork, one of their preferred buyers is the insurance company that holds a policy on the artwork, as it’s far cheaper for the insurance company to pay a reasonable ransom than pay full price on the policy.”

Oh! Is that how it works? Cool!

By the way, the story gets crazier and crazier by the paragraph.

How much should we save?

It’s Friday, everyone! Yay! Before you take off for the weekend, I’m here with a few final money stories that I think you might like. Take a look.

“I loved bike touring — until I got paid to do it.” [Outside] — “Ultimately, I realized that my job wasn’t to ride my bike; it was a service position with round-the-clock expectations for less than minimum wage. The outdoor industry calls this getting paid in sunsets — which wouldn’t actually sound so bad if those sunsets weren’t being blocked by a pair of full-grown adults fighting over whose turn it was to wash the group spatula. I had wanted freedom and adventure. What I got instead was too much responsibility.”

Stop wasting money by choosing bigger goals. [Becoming Minimalist] — “One reason we fall into the trap of buying things we don’t need is because we haven’t sat down and considered the full potential for our financial resources. And when our pennies have no focus or greater end, they become too easy to spend.”

Why should we save? How much should we save? [One Frugal Girl] — “If we aren’t careful, money can become our destination. We can sacrifice today for tomorrow and waste our lives working long hours hoarding cash we’ll never have the time or energy to use. We save for the sake of saving but never sit down to figure out how we want to spend or allocate it. What is the point of stockpiling our money without deciding how we want to use it?”

Cities and towns paying remote workers up to $20,000 to move there. [Fortune] — “A number of small townships and cities across the nation are looking to incentivize knowledge workers to move, rewarding them with cash, tax breaks, and even property. These programs are an appealing option for people who cannot afford real estate prices in major metro areas.”

What you’re owed if an airline bumps you from a flight. [Traveler] — “There are a few ways to avoid being bumped against your will, but if you are removed from an overbooked plane, you’re owed certain compensations from the airline. Here’s everything to know about dealing with an oversold flight.”

And with that, I’m out of here. I’m flying out to Orlando on Sunday for a week with all of my money nerd friends — including my Apex partner, Jim. That’s right: It’s time for the annual Fincon conference. Always a blast!

Are smart thermostats worth it?

Welcome to Thursday, money nerds. My name is J.D. Roth and I’ll be your host as we explore some of the best recent articles from the world of personal finance. Ready? Let’s dive in!

“My ever-changing relationship with my clothes.” [Frugalwoods] — “This post isn’t about money, but it is about how material things can take on too much importance in our lives. How we can define ourselves by what we own–by what we buy.”

Are smart thermostats worth it? [Consumer Reports] — “Some people might find that a simpler thermostat suits their needs better than a higher-end model with automation. People who understand and appreciate how smart thermostats work — essentially letting their house get warmer or colder sometimes — tend to be satisfied with them.”

The affordable housing crisis explained. [Bitches Get Riches] — “The United States is currently in an affordable housing crisis…It is now significantly harder for a 25-year-old American to make rent than it was for me ten years ago when I was that age. And if they’re struggling to make rent, it’s exponentially harder for them to save up a down payment to buy a home.”

How to spot fake reviews on Amazon. [Wired] — “The overwhelming majority of fake positives are five-star reviews, and false negatives tend to be one-star reviews, so you are more likely to find legitimate reviews in the middle. Canny fake reviewers understand that overselling is a problem and may award four stars rather than the full five, but no one is paying for two- or three-star reviews.”

To close things out today, here’s a fun story from TV show 60 Minutes. It’s a 14-minute segment explaining how a retired couple from rural Michigan discovered a loophole in the state lottery — and made millions of dollars for themselves and their friends.

I’ve always wondered if something like this were possible. It’s seemed to me that there must be instances where gambling odds are such that a person could come out ahead if they placed their bets properly. Now I know this does happen from time to time. Fun story.

That’s it for Thursday. I’ll see you tomorrow as we head into the weekend…

A Relentless March Foward

The Plutus team cannot believe its Wednesday already. We are so stoked to share this week’s curations with you.  Also, if you haven’t done it already, please check out the Plutus Foundation by clicking on this link. See you next week!

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

A Relentless March Foward. [Banker on Fire] — “Ben likes to keep things simple. Thus, he only has a few simple rules when it comes to personal finance. He saves 25% of his after-tax pay and spends the rest on whatever his heart desires. Whenever he lands a raise, Ben saves 50% of the after-tax amount and uses the rest to reward himself even more. And… that’s it. Ben gets on with living his life, without spending too much cognitive energy on personal finance.”  (Submitted by J. Money.)

How to Stop spending Money (And Save Hundreds Each Month!). [HIs and Her Money] — “Not sure how to stop spending money, especially on things you don’t need or want? There are many ways to stop spending unnecessarily, but you should know a few things. Here are our top tips to help you stop spending money.” (Submitted by Tarsha.)

How to Plan Your Estate. [The Military Wallet] –. “Do you know what will happen to your property, belongings and debt when you die? What about your children? If you haven’t created an estate plan, now’s the time to start. Here’s how.” (Submitted by Tarsha.)

The secret life of leftovers.

If you’re looking for stories about personal finance, you’ve come to the right place. This is Apex Money and I’m J.D. Roth. Today, I’ve gathered these gems to share with you.

“How my co-workers and I advocated for 20% raises.” [Good-bye Whine to 5] — “We advocated for a raise, pay equity, and succeeded. It’s possible, y’all. A major component of our ability to advocate for better pay in benefits is because we were transparent with each other about our wages. Having the courage and support to advocate for that kind of change, and for it to be successful, will stay with me forever.”

The Health Work Love Play Dashboard. [Brewing FIRE] — “Think of the dashboard as a set of fuel gauges, measuring four core facets of your life: health, work, love, and play. Each of these areas is integral to leading a full, meaningful existence. It’s important to occasionally take inventory of these areas, to ensure that we are not neglecting some part of our life.”

“Why I pick up trash at the beach.” [Ryan Holiday] — “But then one morning on my walk with my kids, a thought hit me that was both freeing and indicting. How many times do I have to walk past this litter, I thought, before I am complicit in its existence. Even if I moved to a place where this didn’t happen, I thought, it would still be happening here.” I do this too, and always have. It’s a simple way to make the world a better place.

The secret life of leftovers. [The New Atlantis] — “The sad truth is that our existing systems lack the infrastructure necessary to help people make wise food consumption a habitual part of daily life. Very few people can deal with the hassle, or work up the willpower, to use burlap sacks and glass jars for packing a lunch, or carry around Tupperware to bring home restaurant leftovers in something other than leaky Styrofoam boxes.” True story: I’ve taught my dog the keyword “leftovers”. When I say it, I mean she gets to lick my bowl or plate. It’s one of her favorite words.

That’s it for today. The folks from the Plutus Foundation will be filling in tomorrow, but I’ll return on Thursday with more great stuff. See you then.