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Apex Money Posts

Growth mindset >> fixed mindset

By now, the idea of growth mindset vs. fixed mindset is relatively well understood. More to the point, a growth mindset is better than a fixed mindset.

And you don’t even really need data to support this idea because it’s supported by their very definitions!

Growing is better than not growing.

All that being said, it’s still helpful to read reminders of this from time to time, including this one:

How a ‘growth mindset’ can lead to success [BBC] – “If they are to be believed, passion isn’t only essential for success. It’s essential for happiness.

It is only relatively recently, however, that psychologists have started to test these assumptions.”

3 Indicators of A Successful Early Retirement [Retire by 40] – “Retirement isn’t always an easy transition. After the initial honeymoon period, many retirees become bored, lonely, and even depressed. That’s understandable especially if you’ve worked your whole adult life and built your identity around a job. Work gives you structure, goals, social outlet, a sense of belonging, and income. On the other hand, retirement is totally unstructured. You have to define your own goals and figure out what to do with your time. This can be jarring if you aren’t prepared.”

How North Korean Hackers Rob Banks Around the World [Wired] – “They scored $80 million by tricking a network into routing funds to Sri Lanka and the Philippines and then using a ‘money mule’ to pick up the cash.” What do you do when the entity committing fraud is a foreign government?

To help you take your mind off current events and onto something you may have wondered but never read up on…

What’s the deal with airplane food? [Vox] – “Most passengers don’t question where their complimentary food came from or how it got to them, despite how little information is given about the meal selection and preparation process. Would anyone stuck 35,000 feet up in the air turn down free food? Not me.”

Yummy, right? 🙂

Where to Invest $1 Million Right Now

Every quarter, Bloomberg updates an article on how to invest $1,000. This last one was written on January 30th, 2020, and I am interested to what folks say at the end of this month!

Where to Invest $1 Million Right Now [Bloomberg] – “To help with that, our panel in this issue of our regular series for those with $1 million to spend, looks a little deeper at some green homes for your greenbacks. Is the answer blowing in the wind or swimming in the sea, and what exactly is the nexus between AI, blockchain and garbage? Read on.”

I’m sharing this so you can bookmark it and check on March 31st (or April 1st).

Nobody Told Me [Humble Dollar] – “I HAVE DEVOTED my entire adult life to learning about money. […] For more than three decades, I’ve spent my days perusing the business pages, reading finance books, scanning academic studies and talking to countless folks about their finances. Yet, despite this intense financial education, it took me a decade or more to learn many of life’s most important money lessons and, indeed, some key insights have only come to me in recent years. Here are 10 things I wish I’d been told in my 20s—or told more loudly, so I actually listened.”

Pandemics, Portfolios and Perspective [bps and pieces] – “Last week was one of the worst weeks in history for global stock markets, as the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outside of China began to worsen. The S&P 500 dropped over eleven percent for the week. There were three days that each saw declines of over three percent. Selling beget selling which beget even more selling. Investors looking for a bounce or buyable dip later in the week were met with utter disappointment.” It’s short so make sure you read to the end… it helps put the current epidemic in a little perspective.

Meet the Man Who Tracks Down Stolen Watches [GQ] – “Only 30 of Richard Mille’s RM-030 “Argentina” watches, with their juice box-sized cases and vibrant blue Laffy Taffy-like bands, exist in the world. On a late November night in 2017, one of them was yanked from the arm of its owner, carried at a sprint down a sidewalk, then swerved through London traffic on the back of a moped. Security footage later showed that two people had allegedly stalked the watch as it traveled, on its owner’s wrist, through London’s upscale department store Harrods. Eventually one of the men split off, presumably to get the moped stationed. When the watch’s owner stepped out onto the street with his wife and young daughter, the man still following him ran up, grabbed his arm, and made off with the $100,000 watch.”

Stay safe Apexian!

35 jobs that no longer exist.

Hey hey, Apexians. It’s the end of the week. Before you clock out, though, I’ve rounded up a final batch of great money stories to share with you. Let’s dive in.

Our first feature today isn’t an article — it’s a website. I recently discovered the uber-nerdy Spreadsheet Man and I’m in heaven. The site is just what it sounds like: A collection of spreadsheets, some of which are free, and some of which cost money. (Most of the good ones cost money.) My favorite part of the site, though, is the blog, which covers spreadsheet tips and tricks. Subscribed!

How and why you should dox yourself. [Slate] — “The best defense is to make it harder for abusers to track down your private information. That’s why newsrooms, including the New York Times, are starting to train their own journalists to dox themselves. Not literally, of course — I’m not talking about posting all your information on Twitter. Rather, put yourself in the position of someone trying to mine your personal information to attack you.” This is a useful article for anyone interested in online security.

How delivery apps eat up your budget. [The New York Times] — “When you order through a delivery app, you pay multiple parties, including the driver and the companies that offer the apps, like Uber Eats and Postmates. In some cases, you pay the restaurants extra fees as well. The markups can be downright egregious.”

How does it feel to get everything you ever wanted? [Ryan Holiday] — “So how does that feel? How does it feel to have everything you ever wanted in life? To have it earlier than you ever could have realistically expected? I can tell you: It feels like nothing. Hitting #1 on the bestseller list? Looking at a comfortable bank balance? Sitting across the table from some powerful person as they hang on your every word? Nothing.”

Last but not least, here’s a YouTube video from Mental Floss that looks at 35 jobs that no longer exist. Thimbleriggers! Dogwhippers! Herbstrewers! Haberdashers! Hey, wait. Haberdashers still exist. We have one here in Portland, and it’s awesome.

That’s all she wrote, folks. It’s time for me to head into the weekend. Jim will be back on Monday to share more great money stories from around the web. Until then, stay healthy and grow wealthy.

How the other half lives.

How the other half lives.

Yawn. Good morning, sleepy-heads! I know it’s early, but I’m here once again to share some interesting articles about mastering your money — and your life! Are you ready?

Secrets of the MIT poker course. [Mental Floss] — “Poker, I realize, is a skill in the way language is a skill. It’s a set of rules under a structure of infinite nuance and variance. Professionals separate themselves from the pack with an ingrained understanding of these nuances — smart decisions, made instinctively. I couldn’t expect to learn a language in two weeks, and poker would be no different.”

Inside the wild world of government auctions. [The Hustle] — “Once an item falls out of use, organizations running the gamut from state colleges to law enforcement to the Environmental Protection Agency auction it off to the public. And sometimes, an extraordinary item ends up in the hands of someone like [you].” Wanna buy a lighthouse? A helicopter? An ambulance? Government auctions might be your best bet!

Drivers of high-cost cars are less likely to yield to pedestrians. [Journal of Transport & Health] — “Two naturalistic experiments examined if upper-class individuals behaved more unethically while driving. They found that upper-class individuals (as indicated by vehicle status – make, age, and appearance) were more likely to violate California state law and cut drivers off at a 4-way intersection. In a separate study they also found that upper-class individuals were more likely to violate California state law and cut pedestrians off at a marked intersection.”

Jacob Riis, the photographer who showed “how the other half lives”. [My Modern Met] — “In 1890, Riis compiled his photographs into a book, How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York. Featuring never-before-seen photos supplemented by blunt and unsettling descriptions, the treatise opened New Yorkers’ eyes to the harsh realities of their city’s slums. Since its publication, the book has been consistently credited as a key catalyst for social reform.”

Jacob Riis on how the other half lives

Reading this (and looking at the photos), I was reminded of Betty Smith’s excellent novel, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Smith’s story covers events between 1900 and 1918 while Riis’ photos are from the 1880s. Despite the time difference, they’re depicting the same sort of life in the same location. I think it’d be interesting to see a version of Smith’s book illustrated with Riis’ photos.

That’s it for this Thursday! I’ll be back tomorrow to usher you into the weekend…

A retirement calculator worth your time.

Welcome to Wednesday, Apexians. If you’re looking for the best stories about money, you’ve come to the right place. Every day, Jim and I dig deep on the internet to find the most interesting and useful stuff to share with you. Here’s what we have today.

Disruption starts with unhappy customers, not technology. [Harvard Business Review] — “In the common scenario that executives think technology is trying to disrupt their business, they try to find a way to develop that technology internally or buy it from others. Major auto companies like GM and Ford are a good example: they have spent billions to buy and then build electric and autonomous driving technologies…What these companies seem to have missed is that the most common and pervasive pattern of disruption is driven by customers.”

The common pricing mistakes that destroy luxury brands. [Jing Daily] — “Pricing mistakes are common in luxury and are one of the biggest culprits behind value destruction. One common mistake — surprisingly — is pricing a brand too low. This happens because managers aren’t fully aware of the Added Luxury Value they create.”

A retirement calculator worth your time. [The Retirement Manifesto] – “NewRetirement is a retirement calculator that’s worth your time. If you prefer to have an expert walk your retirement planning journey with you, they offer the flexibility to only pay for what you need. NewRetirement offers the entire gamut, and it’s a package that can help you achieve a great retirement.”

To wrap things up this Wednesday, here’s a video that has nothing to do with money. It’s a look at P!nk, the border collie from Pickerington, Ohio who has won the Westminster Dog Show 16-inch agility class three years in a row.

I love my pup. She’s intelligent, alert, and very food-motivated. This makes her easy to train. But I don’t think there’s any way I could get her to run an agility course like P!nk does. Who knows, though? Maybe I should try.

That’s it for today, my friends. I’ll back tomorrow with more great stuff. See you then.

Stalking fraudsters on the internet.

It’s Tuesday, money nerds, and this is Apex Money. Every day, Jim and I bring you the best in money stories from around the interwebs. Our goal is to entertain and educate.

Today, we’re going to lead with our daily video instead of end with it. It’s our feature story. In this twenty-minute talk, Nina Kollars explains how she innocently ordered discount coffee pods from eBay…but ended up an unsuspecting participant in triangulation fraud.

This story is both fascinating and frustrating. And it’s entertaining, especially for money nerds like you and me. Kollars writes:

“This talk chronicles the obnoxious amounts of obsessive research and tracking that became my new hobby — stalking Nespresso fraudsters and my decidedly non-technical attempts at developing a generic search profile and reporting the fraudsters to anyone who would listen…Ultimately I just ended up with a LOT of coffee; a lingering sense that I had committed several crimes; and no faith left in humanity.”

Personal savings: A look at how Americans are saving. [Deloitte] — “While the personal savings rate has been trending upward, average savings—calculated using the Consumer Expenditure Survey—has been on a broad declining trend since 2010–2012 for consumers across income levels and for key working-age groups.”

Practical strategies for spending less on transportation. [The Fioneers] — “Any way you look at it, there are ways to reduce your reliance on personal vehicles. Reducing the number of cars is the most effective way to cut your transportation expenses. But I understand that these are no small changes. If moving or switching jobs is too much to commit to right now, you can also look at reducing the cost of owning a car.”

Expert advice on what to keep in a “go bag”. [Why Is This Interesting?] — “The notoriously tough Green Beret training pipeline and real-life deployments put them in some unfriendly places, and we asked them to write about what average people should be thinking about when it comes to disaster preparation…Here’s a list of very pragmatic things to do and think about, from two guys that know.”

Have a story that you think we should share with your fellow Apexians? Send it in!

Two ways to play the game of life.

Good morning, money nerds! It’s Monday, and that means new money stories fresh from the word mines. Here’s what Jim and I have found for you recently.

To start, let’s talk about current events. We don’t delve into the mainstream news cycle often here at Apex Money (and for a variety of good reasons), but today we’re going to make an exception. The Coronavirus has begun to infect U.S. communities. (Here in Oregon, the first cases appeared in a school just a few miles from me!) Our first story today is all about the facts regarding COVID-19.

The WHO sent 25 international experts to China. Here are their findings on the coronavirus. [/r/China_Flu/ on Reddit] — “The WHO has sent a team of international experts to China to investigate the situation, including Clifford Lane, Clinical Director at the US National Institutes of Health. Here is the press conference on Youtube and the final report of the commission as PDF after they visited Beijing, Wuhan, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Chengdu. Here are some interesting facts about Covid that I have not yet read in the media.”

Two ways to play the game of life. [Farnam Street] — “How you play the game of life will define the learning you pursue. Finite players need training. Infinite players need education. Why? According to Carse, ‘to be prepared against surprise is to be trained. To be prepared for surprise is to be educated.’ If you play life as a finite game, you train for the rules. If life is instead an infinite game, you focus on being educated to adapt to unknowns.” This is a new concept to me, and I love it.

“I used to love cars. Here’s what drove me away. [Wired] — “How did I evolve from a person who looked for every excuse to get behind the wheel to a person who mostly avoids driving? What happened? Over two decades, I can point to six experiences that corroded my love affair with cars.”

Seven benefits to living in a smaller home. [Modern Simplicity] — “We left our big McMansion behind in Texas last year to move to small-town Oklahoma and downsize into a much smaller house. We’ve found there are many benefits to living in a smaller home. Today, I want to share a few of those with you.”

Our final item today is also about living in a smaller home. Here’s a four-minute video tour of a 200-square-foot house in the heart of Tokyo. This Japanese couple could only afford to buy a small plot of land on which to build. They decided to make the most of it.

That’s it for today, money nerds. We’ll be back tomorrow with more great stories from around the web.

They’ve been selling your data for decades

It may seem like privacy has become a bigger issue in the digital age but privacy, or lack thereof, has been around for ages.

If you thought Facebook and their numerous breaches, or their overt selling of data to the likes of Cambridge Analytica, was bad – ha, you haven’t seen a thing! This stuff has been going on for a long long time.

The “Junk Mail” Men: Selling Your Data for over a Century [Saturday Evening Post] – “Like magic, seemingly, you scroll past an advertisement for the perfect product. Something you’ve been looking for (or dreaming of?) for as long as you can remember. But how did they — the big tech sorcerers — know?

Data, of course. Your age, interests, location, and browsing behavior are all fed into algorithms to present you with advertisements that align with your lifestyle. Ever since the internet became a who’s who of everyone, tech companies have been fine-tuning this practice, But predicting which products will most successfully part you from your money — targeted advertising — has been around for as long as the post office.”

If you haven’t done so recently, remember to check your credit reports at least once a year. The data isn’t necessarily being “sold” per se, but it’s very important and now is as good a time as any for a reminder to check them. You can do so at

If selling your data was scary, you may not want to read this next piece.

Criminals aren’t always the brightest in the bunch

When I heard about Barbara Corcoran, real estate mogul and one of the sharks on Shark Tank, lost nearly $400,000 in a wire transfer scam – I was a little surprised until I read about the scam itself. (she got it back)

Then I read about how an Instagram “influencer” got caught with a far less sophisticated scam:

How not to steal $1.5 million: Inside an Instagram influencer’s alleged debit card scam [Quartz] – “A brazen Instagram scam came to an end this week. On Thursday (Feb. 13), federal authorities arrested Kayla Massa, an Instagram and YouTube “influencer,” charging her with conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. She and her accomplices allegedly recruited victims over Instagram, asking them to hand over emptied-out bank cards, with the accounts then being used to deposit large amounts of stolen money.”


A rando on the Internet asks you if she can pay to “use” your bank account to make deposits? And you say yes??? Glad they were caught, can’t believe they thought this would work.

That Time Obama Pardoned a Guy Who Stole Charlie Sheen’s Honus Wagner Card [Sports Illustrated] – “A Coen Brothers-esque tale about knuckleheaded kitchen staffers at the All-Star Café, a Hollywood A-lister, the Mona Lisa of baseball cards and a plan that went horribly wrong.”

Despite the appearance of Obama’s name, this one doesn’t involve him (outside of the pardon) and would make for a fun TV movie.

Lastly, for some fun, here are the 48 Laws of Power, animated edition. The video is just 29 minutes and covers every law in Robert Greene’s bestseller. (the animation for Law #4 is my favorite)

Get after it today!

Money can’t buy you hapiness…

Unless happiness is avoiding lines at Disney!

You Can Pay $750 An Hour And Walk On Rides At Disney World [Inside The Magic] = “Have you ever wanted to walk onto attractions at Magic Kingdom? Or get a great seat for the shows at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Maybe you’ve been dying to ride Flight of Passage in Disney’s Animal Kingdom but have been trouble getting a Fastpass. Well, you may be able to take advantage of this, plus so much more thanks to a VIP tour at Disney World. But it comes at a price.”

It blows my mind that:
1. You can pay to avoid lines at Disney
2. How freaking expensive it is… but those lines are no joke!

The Curse of a High Income [Perpetual Money Machine] – “Regardless of income level, the vast majority of people spend very nearly everything they earn, if not more. Most people know that living paycheck-to-paycheck is a problem. What they may not realize is that the higher their income, the bigger this problem actually is. Common sense tells us that more income is always better, but that’s not always true. If you have a high income and are spending it all, then you might be in serious trouble with limited options.”

An interesting, and related, video to the previous post — Why Those Who Feel They Have More Give Less [PBS Newshour]

Have a great day and consider sending this to a friend!