Finding a millionaire money mentor

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

You've probably heard that saying before. It's from motivational speaker Jim Rohn. He used it as a way to encourage people to learn and grow from others' experiences, habits, attitudes, and so forth. He wanted folks to seek out and spend time with people of high quality.

Unfortunately for most people, this advice can be difficult (if not impossible) to implement.

That's because we tend to group with like-minded people, which includes hanging out with friends with similar levels of success. Those who are unmotivated often spend time with others who are unmotivated. And those who are motivated by achievement tend to associate with others at a similar level.

When you resolve to improve yourself — to become smarter or fitter or wealthier — it can be tough to find new friends with a similar desire. It can be difficult to change the five people you spend the most time with.

Today, I want to talk about finding a money mentor.

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More about...Relationships

How to prepare for a natural disaster

My world is on fire.

As you may have heard, much of Oregon is burning right now. Thanks to a "once in a lifetime" combination of weather and climate variables -- a long, dry summer leading to high temps and low humidity, then a freak windstorm from the east -- much of the state turned to tinder earlier this week. And then the tinder ignited.

At this very moment, our neighborhood is cloaked in smoke.

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More about...Home & Garden

Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative

When Kim and I go to bed each night, we spend time casually browsing Reddit on our iPads. It's fun. Mostly.

She and I enjoy sharing funny animal videos with each other (from subreddits like /r/animalsbeinggenisuses, /r/happycowgifs, and /r/petthedamndog). Kim dives deep into /r/mapporn and /r/documentaries. I read about comics and computer games and financial independence.

But here's the thing. After browsing Reddit for thirty minutes or an hour, I'm left feeling unsatisfied. In fact, I'm often in a bad mood. After browsing Reddit, I have a negative attitude. My view of the world has deteriorated. Why? Because for all the fun and interesting things on Reddit, it's also filled with a bunch of crap.

You see, I also subscribe to /r/idiotsincars and /r/publicfreakout and /r/choosingbeggars — and dozens more like these. These subreddits highlight the worst in human behavior. And while viewing one or two posts from forums like these can be entertaining and/or interesting, consuming mass quantities of this stuff leaves me feeling dirty. (Plus, there's the Reddit comments which tend to be juvenile, dogmatic, and myopic. Reddit comments are so bad that Kim refuses to read them.)

It's taken a while, but I've come to believe that Reddit -- or the way that I use Reddit, anyhow -- is a net negative in my life. It causes more harm than good.

I've been thinking about his concept a lot lately. Behind the scenes, I've been making many small, subtle changes to my environment and daily routine. My aim is to decrease my depression and anxiety by removing people, things, and experiences that are net negatives and replacing them with people, things, and experiences that are net positives.

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More about...Planning

We didn’t start the FIRE: The true history of financial independence

I used to be a collector. I collected trading cards. I collected comic books. I collected pins and stickers and mementos of all sorts. I had boxes of things I'd collected but which essentially served no purpose.

I can't say I've shaken the urge to collect entirely, but I have a much better handle on it than I used to. A few years ago, I sold my comic collection and stopped obsessing over them. Today, I collect three things: patches from the countries I visit, pins from national parks, and -- especially -- old books about money.

Collecting old money books is fun. For one, it ties to my work. Plus, there's not a huge demand for money manuals, so there's not a lot of competition to buy them. (Exception: As much as I'd love a copy of Ben Franklin's The Way to Wealth, so would a lot of other people. That one is out of my reach.)

One big bonus from collecting old money books is actually reading these books. They're fascinating. And it's interesting to trace the development of certain ideas in the world of personal finance.

For instance, there's this persistent myth of "lost economic virtue". That is, a lot of people today want to argue that people were better at managing their money in the past. They weren't. Debt (and poor money skills) has been a persistent problem since well before the United States was founded. It's not like we, as a society, once had smart money skills and lost them. The way people manage money today is the way they've always managed money.

Or there's the notion of financial independence (and the closely-related topic of early retirement). The standard narrative goes something like this:

When you read old money books, however, you soon realize that FIRE isn't new. These ideas have been kicking around for a while. Sure, the past decade has seen the systemization and codification of the concepts, but people have been preaching the importance of financial independence for about 150 years. Maybe longer.

Today, using my collection of old money books, let's take a look at where the notion of financial independence originated.

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More about...Retirement

Introducing “Morning Musings”

Update! I've had a couple of people email to ask if I plan to host these videos here on the blog. The short answer is "no". The long answer is "maybe eventually". But I realized that I could make it easy on folks by embedding the Morning Musings playlist at the top of this article. So, here it is. In theory, this should get updated whenever I post a new video. This is an embedded playlist, and the most recent video should appear at the top. (In theory.)

For years now, I've wanted to start a Get Rich Slowly channel on YouTube.

Well, I guess that's only partially correct. I have a GRS channel on YouTube; it's just not very active. So, I guess what I mean to say is that I want to have an active GRS channel on YouTube.

There are lots of barriers, though, all of which are purely mental. I worry about how I look. I worry about how I sound. I worry about production quality. I worry about the amount of time this will all take. Basically, I'm paralyzed by the need to be perfect.

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More about...Administration

Stocks vs. bonds: What’s the difference?

If you’re a newbie investor, you may have no idea what you’re doing when it comes to investing in the stock market. If so, don’t feel bad - you’re not alone. According to Gallup, in 2019, only a little over half of all Americans were invested in the stock market. But this is a huge mistake.

If you want to build wealth, especially long-term wealth, investing in the stock market is a necessity.

But why? Couldn’t you just invest in real estate, or precious metals like silver and gold, or even a new-fangled investment like cryptocurrency to reach your financial goals? While you could, you’d be missing out on one of the greatest (if not the best) wealth creators of all time.

If y

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More about...Investing

Action creates motivation

Human beings are interesting creatures. I'm fascinated by them. That's probably the reason I was a psychology major in college. It's certainly the reason that I believe (strongly) that everybody is talented, original, and has something important to say. (That bit of philosophy is something I picked up from Brenda Ueland's marvelous book, If You Want to Write.)

People are awesome — even if we're each flawed in our own way.

One thing I've noticed over the past few years is the dichotomy between knowing something and doing something. It's one thing to understand a concept or fact intellectually; it's a completely different thing to experience a fact or concept, or to put it into practice.

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More about...Psychology

I am the one thing in life I can control

Three weeks ago, I drove from Portland to Colorado Springs to participate in Camp FI, a weekend retreat for people interested in financial independence and early retirement.

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't drive this distance. It's a 1300-mile trip that takes at least twenty hours to cover. Or, if you're me, it's a 1400-mile trip that takes 23 hours of driving spread over two days.

But, in case you haven't noticed, we're in the middle of a global pandemic, and although I'm not nearly as cautious as many of my friends, I don't relish the idea of confining myself to close quarters with dozens of strangers for hours on end in an airplane. Besides, I like to drive. And I love the beauty of the American west. And I needed some time alone to think deep thoughts — and to listen to the Hamilton soundtrack over and over and over again.

Around noon on Day Two, as I exited I-80 in south-central Wyoming, I was listening to Hamilton for the fourth time in 24 hours when I was smacked in the brain by a lyric I hadn't heard before. I pulled off the side of the road to think about it -- and to make some notes.

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More about...Psychology

Capital One 360 savings account review

The Capital One 360 Performance Savings account, commonly called Capital One 360 Savings, is a high-yield savings account with no monthly fees and no minimum balance required. Capital One makes it easy to get started, allowing you to open a new account online in about five minutes. And with the well-reviewed Capital One mobile app, you can easily manage your account on the go.

In this post, we’ll cover the details of having a Capital One 360 Savings account, including the pros and cons — and how it compares to similar accounts. Plus, we’ll help you decide if this is the right account for you.

Capital One 360 Savings Account Fast Facts

  • Annual fee: none
  • Minimum balance: none
  • Current APY: 1.50% (as of 30 April 2020)
  • Pros
    • Comparatively high yields
    • No monthly fee
    • No minimums
    • Easy to get started
    • Mobile app access
  • Cons
    • No ATM cards
    • Comparatively few local branches

Capital One Savings Account Benefits

There are lots of benefits to having a Capital One savings account. Here are some of the highlights:

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More about...Banking

What are dividends, and how do they work?

If you’re a stockholder, you’ve likely felt the rush of adrenaline as you watch the value of your portfolio surge.

But the market doesn’t always go up. Sometimes it goes up and then spikes down, and other times it’s like riding a violently rocky ship, crashing through the waves. If the rocky waters scare you, you may decide that focusing on dividends, rather than capital gains, as a source of return may make more sense for you.

But what exactly are dividends, and how does this source of income work?

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More about...Investing