So here’s a proud moment. When looking through the kindergartner’s schoolwork this week we noticed that he responded to the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” question with, wait for it… “a dad”. Beaming, of course, I ask him why that was his answer. Like a cat stretching into its owner to be scratched behind the ears, my ego leaned in for a stroke.
And then he dropped it. The morbid punchline.
“Well, someone has to take care of Max when you die”.
While not quite oedipal, the sudden awareness of my mortality was actually lessened by something I had done earlier in the week — pored through our estate planning documents.
If you have kids, you should probably stop procrastinating, like we have for the past 5 years and do it. It basically spells out what happens to your assets, who takes cares of your kids, health care proxies, and other directives should the unthinkable happen. These are things you probably want to have a say in and not leave to probate courts.
Going through these documents, you take inventory of your assets and project some mental image of the future. If you have ever gone through the exercise of getting life insurance, when deciding on an amount, you did the same thing. These moments force you to consider the longitudinal impacts of your day to day, month to month, and year to year financial decisions. Here’s the best part. No matter what you have, it doesn’t feel like enough. In fact, many studies have shown that regardless of respondents’ net worth, people say that to feel comfortable they would need about 2-3x what they have. Teachers feel this way. Movie stars feel this way. While nobody is going to extend sympathy to George Clooney, it hints at how humans have a universally complicated psychology when it comes to money.
Don’t believe me? Let me rile you up with this article that caught fire on Twitter after CNBC re-tweeted it this week. The comments section exploded. Fintwit threads dove into metanalysis of these types of articles and their clickbaity siren’s call. Schadenfreude abounds as we watch undeniably wealthy people earnestly feel like they are just ‘scraping by’.
Yet, like our friends yanny and laurel, many of you, looking at the same exact article, will sympathize and nod. Even if on a cerebral level concede that 500k per year of income makes you a 1%-er even in CA, NY, and NJ, you will not be humblebragging when you say it’s a struggle.
To be clear, I don’t think the family making half a stick a year and maxing their 401k contribution deserves sympathy. What they need is a better relationship with money which we already saw is more about psychology than the facts about what you have.
So I’ll point to one of my favorite writers on the topic, Khe Hye. He always resonated with me. He’s a second gen American, with what he calls a ‘scarcity mindset’, who left a promising finance career as he was entering his prime 30s. He has deservedly gathered a like-minded audience because his admirable transparency strikes a nerve with many of us mid-career professionals who may feel like we are too old to be finding our path but too young to be planning our exits.
- Personal favorites of mine include his posts about:
- “Scarcity mindset”
- A terrific post about how to talk finances with your partner
- The elusive “number”
- Here are his most popular posts on money topics. His Wall Street background mixed with introspection makes him a reliable witness. I am not much of an apologist for financial pundits, so hopefully you’ll agree that his writing is helpful.
Money Can’t Buy Happiness? Ha, I’ll take my chances.
You read the above, don’t care and are dead set on getting paid. To hell with anyone in your way. No prob, I respect that. I’ve got some playbooks to share with you but they are anything but get-rich-quick schemes. They will warn you that it takes major sacrifice to get rich but I’ll let you judge for yourself.
1. Advice from entrepreneur and venture capitalist Naval Ravikant:
- Naval had a super viral tweetstorm that has been reproduced and analyzed all over the web.
- Who do you want to long term partner with?
- His whole series on wealth creation. I won’t lie, he’s addicting to listen to, he’s smart, very well read and done a lot. Yinh’s burned out on him and he loves attention but it doesn’t minimize his truth-dropping
2. If you want directly practical advice and don’t get offended easily then check Wall Street Playboys. Despite the silly name, this site is pretty fun. Ex-investment bankers give some cold prescriptions for getting rich in a digital world. They sometimes get into finance and this is actually how I know they are legit. They know what they are talking about. But this website sometimes wades into sleaze. You’ve been warned.
- We are on vacation this week which means actually reading a book. I follow a few readers who have histories of crushing 50-100 books per year and are quite meta about their reading and retention practices. They also have thoughtful recommendation lists that you can check out if your book queue is null.
- Even if you own a home, you are probably just taking the standard deduction since it was raised with recent tax legislation. It’s easy and educational and cheaper to do your own tax prep if you don’t have a complicated situation. I use TurboTax, here’s my referral code for a discount.
- If you have always wanted to make robots from puzzle pieces, you soon can. Kickstarter here.
- Thought these shipping container bars were pretty awesome. Scroll down to see the different designs and locations.
- Of course Sweden would have houses made of shipping containers. Incidentally, the Swedish Krona is one of the worst performing currencies against the USD in the past 5 years…to an American that house probably costs no more than an SF parking spot.
- That currency performance matrix is courtesy of Koyfin which is my favorite free financial data site for quotes and charts.