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Field notes from a (sometimes) simple life.

What do they have in common?

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Frugality isn’t the whole path to solid personal finances, but it’s an essential foundation.

However, it’s easy to go overboard with too much of a good thing.

You might say that frugality is like salt.

Every dish benefits from a pinch, but you can quickly overdo it. Before you know it, the meal is unpleasant, and you come away in need of refreshment.

So how do you recognize appropriately frugal habits in your own life? How do you draw the line between reasonable and grateful stewardship on the one hand and Scrooge-like scrimping on the other?

From personal experience, below…


But anyone can try it and see.

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I always took umbrage at being called an “introvert,” until I understood what it .

It’s not a matter of fearing or disliking or being awkward around people. It’s just a deep-seated preference for the inner life over the outer.

But growing up in an American culture that glorifies a distinctly bubbly brand of extraversion, I couldn’t help feeling like a bit of a square peg in a round hole.

Something innate in my being just didn’t mesh with what most around me seemed to prefer and exemplify and strive for.

Solitary diligence was my natural state.

That proclivity…


I’m not a financial professional. This is purely opinion and entertainment, not advice. Do what’s right for you, and if in doubt about what that is, then it’s important to find someone who’s legally able to tell you.

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Options open up all sorts of great ways to very safely coax more returns out of your investments, or even just spare cash.

Ignore the course-slinging hucksters, ignore the occasionally lucky but degenerate speculators, and you’re left with an incredible tool in your financial toolbox.

Even as an avowed who loathes complexity, I think they’re swell.

The only problem is…


My twenty-first birthday was a sloppy parade of inebriated embarrassments. Never one to party as a teenager, something about a first night of state-sanctioned intoxication was too enticing to refuse. In defense of my dignity, it stopped short of a one-man reenactment of The Hangover, but it’s for the better that smartphones weren’t yet common.

So, you might wonder, did I overindulge because I didn’t know what I was getting into? Could I attribute that unflattering evening— and the ensuing headache — to sheer ignorance?

I could have drawn on my chemistry classes to tell you ethanol’s density relative to…


For better or worse, we’re in a golden age of productivity advice. We’ve never known more about the tactics, habits, and even mindset behind good work.

There’s research galore on all the above. There’s also — and perhaps with more popular influence— a mountain of casual advice and quasi-memes around squeezing more out of your day.

That’s all well and good, but when the latter turn into axioms and imperatives, and you scold yourself for falling short, then it’s worth thinking twice.

Here are four productivity “truths” that, I’d argue, are anything but.

Or should you…? (Photo by on )

Wake up early, but only if you want to

According to just about every pop-psychology productivity…


Hindsight isn’t free, so borrow mine.

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I’d like to slap my 18-year-old self.

That’s for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I utterly failed to appreciate three uniquely wonderful things about that time of life.

I’m not going to go on about how “college is the best time of your life” because, frankly, it isn’t. At least it shouldn’t be.

Just the same, it does make three things easy in a way you’ll probably never experience again.

Given the chance to travel back, here’s what I’ll tell myself right after that firm but well-meaning smack.

Cultivate a simple life while it still feels natural

Yeah, there’s the stereotype of subsisting on ramen whenever you…


Don’t make it harder than it has to be.

I’m not a financial professional. This is purely opinion and entertainment, not advice. Do what’s right for you, and if in doubt about what that is, then it’s important to find someone who’s legally able to tell you.

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You could read a thousand books on personal finance and still barely scratch the surface.

Whether that’s worth it is another question.

Regardless, it’s easy to go down a million monetary rabbit holes, each with potential to change your life for the better.

But what if you don’t have the time or desire to do that? …


I’m not a financial professional. This is purely opinion and entertainment, not advice. Do what’s right for you, and if in doubt about what that is, then it’s important to find someone who’s legally able to tell you.

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It doesn’t get much more passive than clicking a few buttons and watching cash roll in.

That’s the goal, anyhow.

Just make a few easy choices, enter a few numbers, and come back next week or next month to pick up your fat stack of cash.

If your introduction to stock options was through ads or social media, rather than more traditional…


Hint: relationships are the job.

Double-fisting business clichés is optional. (Photo by on )

I’m not rich. That’s a very relevant piece of information that anyone writing this sort of article needs to put right there, flattering or not.

But I do well, and have for some time, and see ample upside to come.

Of course luck always plays a role.

But more and more, I’m convinced that a major underlying reason for all this was starting in sales, straight out of college.

Not because I’m in sales now (I’m generally not), not because I was great at it then (I wasn’t), but because it inculcated a few things that I’ve drawn on in…


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Getting in shape might be the most universal of goals, right up there with saving more money.

And just like savings, it’s easy to over-complicate a simple goal until it becomes totally impossible, or at least unsustainable.

The good news is that sustainable fitness is not really an issue of physiology, but mostly one of habits. It’s the sum of many small things done right and done repeatedly.

And the little things we’ll see in a moment are exactly what I consciously did on the way from overweight (and far too weak for even a single chin-up) to leaner and…

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