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Just the tip of the iceberg…

Happy Friday – I bet you’re ready to start the weekend and if you wanted something fun you could chat with your friends about, we hope some of the articles in today’s curation can help spark some interesting conversations.

Let’s just get right into it:

Just the tip of the iceberg [Your Money Blueprint] — “All I could see was the fact that we were well fed and well housed. I didn’t really consider the fact they had to work for it. I only saw the end results, not the process. It’s a bit like an iceberg, where we only see the tip (results), but not all of the foundation layed under the water.”

Inside the Twisted, Worldwide Hunt for a $7 Million Stolen Car [Esquire] — “Joe Ford, car detective, searches the world for stolen rare automobiles on the black market. The case he’s on now could set him up for life—if he’s not outsmarted by a skilled network of criminals and cheats.” This article is so much fun.

The New Servant Class [The Atlantic] — “Low-skill, low-pay, and disproportionately done by women, these jobs congregate near dense urban labor markets, multiplying in neighborhoods with soaring disposable income. Between 2010 and 2017, the number of manicurists and pedicurists doubled, while the number of fitness trainers and skincare specialists grew at least twice as fast as the overall labor force.” The data highlights the rise of the “wealth work,” or jobs that support those with significant disposable income, and how the trend isn’t necessarily a good one.

Road-Tripping with the Amazon Nomads [The Verge] — “Chris Anderson moves through the Target clearance racks with cool efficiency, surveying the towers of Star Wars Lego sets and Incredibles action figures, sensing, as if by intuition, what would be profitable to sell on Amazon. Discontinued nail polish can be astonishingly lucrative, but not these colors. A dinosaur riding some sort of motorcycle? No way. But these Jurassic Park Jeeps look promising, and an Amazon app on his phone confirms that each could net a $6 profit after fees and shipping. He piles all 20 into his cart.”

This time-lapsed video of our planet rotating underneath the Milky Way is mesmerizing:

Did you enjoy an article in this curation that you think a friend might enjoy? Send it to them or share it on social media!

The perfect $37 million jewelry heist

Happy Thursday peoples! Since the beginning of Apex, J.D. has been the primary curator with me (Jim) helping a little here and there with articles to toss into the gristmill of Apex.

But he’s traveling and so I get to take over!

So put on your favorite pair of money pants and behold the wonders that await you today:

“A Stunning Coup”: The Almost Unsolvable Harry Winston Diamond Heists [Vanity Fair] — “The $37 million Harry Winston jewelry heist was a perfect crime. The thieves’ mistake was returning for an even bigger score. But did police really convict the right men, or are the brains of the operation still at large?”


How the 0.001% invest [The Economist] — “THINK OF THE upper echelons of the money-management business, and the image that springs to mind is of fusty private banks in Geneva or London’s Mayfair, with marble lobbies and fake country-house meeting-rooms designed to make their super-rich clients feel at home. But that picture is out of date. A more accurate one would feature hundreds of glassy private offices in California and Singapore that invest in Canadian bonds, European property and Chinese startups—and whose gilded patrons are sleepwalking into a political storm.”

Barack Obama’s summer reading list [via Facebook] — Unrelated to politics, I’ve found both Obama’s reading lists and Bill Gates’ reading lists to be interesting ways to discover fascinating books.

Lastly, here’s a fun video of a chimpanzee absolutely destroying one of those Ninja Warrior type rope/climbing courses:

Do you have a friend who would love new books to read? Or interested in how the wealthy manage their money? Send or forward to them this curation!

Time for me to fly.

Today is Tuesday, money nerds, and it’s the last day that I (J.D.) will have primary curation duties here at Apex until mid-September.

I’m leaving for my Mediterranean cruise! (In reality, I’m nearly to Croatia at this moment in real life, but I’ve prepped some of these posts in advance.) Starting tomorrow, Jim takes over the task of finding top money stories for a couple of weeks.

We start today with a powerful piece:

Dear disgruntled white plantation visitors, sit down. [Afroculinaria] — “The Old South may be your American Downton Abbey but it is our American Horror Story, even under the best circumstances it represents the extraction of labor, talent and life we can never get back. When I do this work, it drains me, but I do it because I want my Ancestors to know not only are they not forgotten but I am here to testify that I am their wildest dreams manifest.

Plantation complaint

An interactive exploration of dead-end careers. [Zippia] — “Not every career arc is equal…We graphed each industry to visualize the average worker income by age. The data showed there were distinct gaps among sets of industries, with one group sticking out as the obvious worst to work in.”

American doctor and patient travel to Mexico for surgical procedure. She paid less. He made more. [New York Times, so possible paywall] — “The hospital costs of the American medical system are so high that it made financial sense for both a highly trained orthopedist from Milwaukee and a patient from Mississippi to leave the country and meet at an upscale private Mexican hospital for the surgery.” Fact: The U.S. health-care system is fucked up. It’s insane.

Visualizing how much Americans spend on commutes. [HowMuch] — “We know commuting is costly, but just how much are Americans spending on their commutes? Depending on the state, Americans spend as much as $5,000 per year on their daily commutes — including gas, maintenance costs, public transportation, and other expenses.”

Lastly, here’s a quick video I made five years ago that describes how I pack for travel. Little has changed since then — except that I’m no longer this fit haha.

Found something you think your fellow nerds might like? You should send it in! Help spread the top money stories on the web here at Apex Money.

What your workout says about your social class.

Another week, another batch of top money stories for you, my fellow nerds. Here are a few interesting tidbits to get your Monday started right.

The invention of money. [The New Yorker] — “The problem with many new forms of money is that people are reluctant to adopt them. Genghis Khan’s grandson didn’t have that difficulty. He took measures to insure the authenticity of his currency, and if you didn’t use it — if you wouldn’t accept it in payment, or preferred to use gold or silver or copper or iron bars or pearls or salt or coins or any of the older forms of payment prevalent in China — he would have you killed.”

Why you need to make a “when I die” file — before it’s too late. [Time] — “It may sound morbid, but creating a findable file, binder, cloud-based drive, or even shoebox where you store estate documents and meaningful personal effects will save your loved ones incalculable time, money, and suffering. Plus, there’s a lot of imagination you can bring to bear that will give your When I Die file a deeper purpose than a list of account numbers.”

What your workout says about your social class. [Pacific Standard] — “Upper middle class Americans avoid ‘excessive displays of strength’, viewing the bodybuilder look as vulgar overcompensation for wounded manhood. The so-called dominant classes…tend to express dominance through strenuous aerobic sports that display moral character, self-control, and self-development, rather than physical dominance.”

Lastly, here’s a short (six-minute) video about “the nova effect” and the tragedy of good luck. With every cloud comes a silver lining, right? But sometimes you get burned by the sun. All this is to say: Everything that happens to is both good and bad.

Found something you think your fellow nerds might like? You should send it in! Help spread the top money stories on the web here at Apex Money.

“My dad sucks with money. How do I make him change?”

Whoa, money nerds, look at this! It’s Monday, and Apex Money has its first-ever guest curator. That’s right. Today, Angela Rozmyn from the always-awesome Tread Lightly, Retire Early has pulled together a few of her favorite recent money stories. (By the way, Angela curates cool stuff every single Wednesday at her own site. Check it out!)

Let’s start things off with a podcast episode from the one and only Michelle Jackson, host of Michelle Is Money Hungry. Here she shares the lessons she learned from paying off $56,000 in debt.

My dad sucks with money. How do I make him change? [Bitches Get Riches] — “As an opinionated-ass person, one of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is that I can’t control other people. Even if the reason I want to control them is because I love them and I want to protect them from the consequences of their choices. It’s easy to forget what makes me happy doesn’t make everyone else happy. To assume otherwise is disrespectful on a fundamental human level.”

The option of early retirement. [One Frugal Girl] — “My husband and I never set a goal for FI. Similarly we have not set a specific date for early retirement. Those objectives may seem unbelievably important, but in reality they are just dates on a calendar and numbers in a bank account. So to be honest I don’t know what’s next. That’s the beauty of financial independence. We can choose the option of early retirement or we can choose to continue working.”

Money stress traps many women into saying in unhappy marriages. [CNBC] — “For many women, financial security is one of the biggest considerations that factor in when deciding whether to stay in an unhappy marriage or divorce. As a result, a significantly large number of women stay in marriages that are unhealthy and even border on dysfunctional.”

Last of all, here’s a bit of fun. It’s Tonya from Budget at the Beach pitching a (fake) BFF Wingman credit card from Capital One.

That’s it for today, my friends. Be sure to visit Angela at her home on the web: Tread Lightly, Retire Early.

Found something you think your fellow nerds might like? You should send it in! Help spread the top money stories on the web here at Apex Money.

The end of the world as we know it.

Hey, money nerds, it’s Friday. It feels like the end of the world. Even if it is the end of the world, we won’t let you down. We’ve still pulled together some top money stories for you to enjoy while everything goes down in flames.

“End Times are here…and I am at Target.” [The Outline] — “I find myself thinking about doomsday cults fairly often as I wander the aisles inside the Target near the apartment I share with my girlfriend and our dog. This happened most recently during New York’s first heatwave of the year…Every minute spent inside that artificial oasis is another ticked away before our contract with the Earth runs out.

The economics of bubbles. [Aeon] — “Often the opportunity for a bubble arrives on the back of a new technology. And some technologies make for fantastic stories – indeed, sci-fi is a whole fictional genre based on this premise. Bubbles form whenever a new story is not only told, but can also be sold. However, not every new story leads to a bubble. Sometimes stories can be told, but not sold.”

The fate of the world’s largest ETF is tied to 11 random Millennials. [Bloomberg] — “The fate of the world’s largest exchange-traded fund rests on the health of a group of twenty-somethings. Thanks to a quirk in the legal structure used to set up the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust, known as SPY, more than $250 billion rests on the longevity of 11 ordinary kids born between May 1990 and January 1993.”

The market for lemons. [The Quarterly Journal of Economics] — “Most cars traded will be the ‘lemons’, and good cars may not be traded at all. The ‘bad’ cars tend to drive out the good…The bad cars sell at the same price as good cars since it is impossible for a buyer to tell the difference between a good and a bad car; only the seller knows.” This is a journal article from 1970, but it’s still interesting and relevant today.

Lastly, here’s a 16-minute video giving an inside look at a scam call center in Kolkata, India. This is some crazy shit.

Found something you think your fellow nerds might like? You should send it in! Help spread the top money stories on the web here at Apex Money.

The trick that makes you overspend.

We’re back, money nerds, for another fun-filled day of top money stories from around the web…

The trick that makes you overspend. [BBC Worklife] — “The decoy effect was first investigated as a potential marketing strategy to influence consumer choices such as this, but the latest research shows that it could also have potent effects in recruitment, healthcare, even politics. It shows us just how easily our judgement is swayed by the context in which the facts are presented – even when that additional information may have no bearing on the overall judgement.

Four ways your fear of loss affects your finances. [The Physician Philosopher] — “Knowing our enemy is half the battle. And, in this case, the enemy is our own fear of loss. Instead of giving into loss aversion, admit to your irrational ways and make the smart money decision. Know that there is a behavioral aspect to economics, and use it to your advantage.

The fog of work. [The Military Guide] — “When we’re at work, most of us are focused on our, um, work. We’re not free to work on something else, either, let alone go part-time. In the rare work moments when our laser-keen focus wanders off task for a second or two, we’re just taking a mental break…So the long-term planning happens sporadically, randomly, and superficially – if it even happens at all. No wonder the concepts of financial management and retirement are so foreign, even frightening.”

Our final piece has zero to do with money. It’s just fun. Consider it an Easter egg. 😉

The secret history of “Easter eggs”. [New York Times, so possible paywall] — “Over the years, Easter eggs in tech products have largely disappeared (except in video games). Like any other software, Easter eggs, so named for the hunt to find them, cost time and money to design, build and debug. Why would a tech company develop features it can’t advertise or even reveal?

Found something you think your fellow nerds might like? You should send it in! Help spread the top money stories on the web here at Apex Money.

“Am I the asshole for spending my son’s lottery winnings?”

Rise and shine, money nerds. It’s time for your daily dose of money news. Our first piece today is a lot of fun. Check it out.

Am I the asshole for spending my son’s lottery winnings? [/r/AmITheAsshole] — Guy buys lottery tickets for each member of his family. Eleven-year-old son wins $100,000 on his ticket. Dad invests the proceeds. Stock market booms. Kid goes to college. How much of the money belongs to the kid and how much belongs to the dad? Reddit cannot decide but we all get to have fun reading the debate.

Kids aren’t playing enough sports. The biggest culprit? Cost. [ESPN] — “Gould said the drop in participation in youth sports is due to a ‘multifactor’ reason, with cost definitely at the top. He believes the lack of fun that kids are having is another. Gould dubbed it the ‘professionalization of youth sports’: how society becomes so focused on college scholarships, going pro and becoming famous.”

The five best Dave Ramsey quotes. [SeedTime] — “Dave has a way with words. Over the years he has come up with some fantastic one-liners — succinct nuggets that sum up much of his wisdom. These Dave Ramsey quotes had a significant impact on my life, and I hope they’ll mean as much to you as they have to me.” See also: This long profile of Dave Ramsey in Money magazine.

Lastly, here’s a four-minute video from The Story of Stuff on how advertising rewires kids’ brains.

Found something you think your fellow nerds might like? You should send it in! Help spread the top money stories on the web here at Apex Money.

The laws of investing.

Ciao, money nerds! It’s Tuesday, and today we have the usual batch of top money stories from the information superhighway. Plus, we have an actual useful personality quiz. How fun is that?

On the media obsession with “financial pornography”. [Of Dollars and Data] — “Financial pornography is the normalization of exceptional financial circumstances in order to gain attention. Financial pornography takes the outliers of the personal finance/investing world and makes them seem ordinary for the purpose of attracting more eyeballs. Just like real pornography tries to make specific sexual fantasies seem more common than they are, financial pornography tries to make specific financial outcomes seem more common than they are.” Preach! This is one of my pet peeves with mainstream media coverage of money topics. [See also: Apps like NextDoor create the illusion that crime is rising when it’s actually falling.]

The laws of investing. [Collaborative Fund] — “What’s an investing law? There’s no definition, so I’ve taken some liberties here. I try to limit them to forces that influence all types of investments, in all sectors, in all countries, throughout all of history, with few exceptions, and some explanation for why it will continue indefinitely.” This is an excellent piece and well worth reading.

How you do anything is how you do everything. [Ryan Holiday] — “Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, and wherever we are going, we owe it to ourselves, to our art, to the world to do it well. That’s our primary duty. And our obligation. When action is our priority, vanity falls away.”

Most personality quizzes are junk science. This one isn’t. [Five Thirty Eight] — “What’s your personality, and what can it tell you about your true self? Those questions have launched a thousand online personality quizzes. But you can do better than those specious — yet irresistible — quizzes. You can take a personality quiz backed by science.”

As a guy with a psychology degree, you can imagine how much I liked this quiz. I liked it so much that I’m going to bore you with my results.

I am not very conscientious

I’m an agreeable guy who is open to new experiences. Okay, I agree with that. But I also score high in “negative emotionality”. But only parts of that dimension. (I max out on depression, score high on anxiety, but don’t have much emotional volatility. In other words, I’m hard on myself but not on others.)

What is your personality like?

Found something you think your fellow nerds might like? You should send it in! Help spread the top money stories on the web here at Apex Money.

Frugal millionaires.

Hello, money nerds, and welcome to another Monday. You are home, stuck in your familiar routine. I, on the other hand, am in Florence, Italy, eating gelato and pasta. Haha.

Okay, sorry for being so mean. Let’s look at some top money stories from around the web.

“We’re financially independent. We just bought a $90,000 house. Yes, we’re moving in.” [Physician on Fire] — “The FIRE movement is often knocked for being overly frugal and unrealistic. By not only purchasing a $90,000 home, but also moving into it, I feel I’m doing my part to perpetuate the stereotype. But we’re not doing this for the sole purpose of looking cheap.”

Millionaire charges electric scooters for beer money. [Retire by 40] — “I’m a millionaire. Is it worth my time to charge scooters for a few bucks? I could charge $100 per hour to be a retirement consultant instead. Wouldn’t that be a better use of my time? Well, that’s the beauty of FIRE. I can do whatever I want without worrying about money much. This side gig has quite a few benefits and it’s fun.

A life with moving sidewalks. [The Retirement Manifesto] — “There are moments in your life where an experience somehow alters your typical day-to-day reality…A ‘Moving Sidewalk Experience’ can be anything which takes you out of your routine. Something with a clear beginning, followed by a non-routine experience, and wrapping up with an adjustment as we return to the ‘reality’ of our lives.”

Exploring health-care options for early retirees. [Michael Kitces] — “While the majority of individuals plan to retire at some point after they reach age 65, there is still a non-trivial number of individuals, whether by choice or by need, who retire before they are eligible for Medicare (or even Social Security, for that matter) and still need health insurance coverage (and can’t just simply be added to their still-working spouse’s employer-sponsored plan). Fortunately, early retirees do have a few options as they consider the best way to obtain health coverage.”

Found something you think your fellow nerds might like? You should send it in! Help spread the top money stories on the web here at Apex Money.