## Posts

• ### "Human Behavioral Biology" - course summary (lecture 11) - Neuroscience

Slowly but steadily… Lecture 11, Neuroscience - part 2.

• ### "Human Behavioral Biology" - course summary (lecture 10) - Neuroscience

Lecture 10, Neuroscience - part 1.

• ### Diversifying over ETF providers

Many people talk about diversification in terms of geographic areas or economy sectors. However, the diversification does not stop there. One can also diversify over brokers where the shares are held. This way if something happens to one broker or the account gets hacked, not everything is lost. Another dimension is over ETF providers. This decreases impact of forced capital gain tax realizations. Let’s see how and why.

• ### Value does not have to be perfect

I am interested in startups and try to pay attention to how exactly value is created around me. I am also somewhat a perfectionist and when I try to create value myself, I tend to over-polish the details, often not being even sure whether the value is actually created. I noticed a couple examples of projects with imperfections (sometimes major), which people use anyway. Let’s look at these examples more.

• ### "Human Behavioral Biology" - course summary (lecture 9) - Ethology

Lecture 9, ethology.

• ### All (my) advice is awful!

It is very easy to advice others to do something, but it is very hard to be sure that this will actually help them. However, not all understand this or choose to phrase their advice accordingly. I.e. instead of “here is a way to X”, it actually should be “this is how I did X”. Thus, very often non-objective advice is just a description of what helped the author, which is also true for some of my posts.

• ### How technology affects our lives - a story about a delayed sms

Today I stumbled upon a tweet about an SMS which was sent before Valentine’s day, but was delivered only recently (i.e. 9 months later). This made me think about the impact of technology on our lives. Let’s look more into what has happened and my thoughts as well as speculations about the reasons for such a delay.

• ### Github Pages refused to refresh my Jekyll blog

Recently I was trying to publish a post (namely thought experiment #8 ) and I was in a hurry. Peculiarly, Github Pages (the hosting I use) didn’t completely refresh the site after my commit with the post. Let’s see how I fixed this.

• ### How to buy ETFs at Flatex

It can be overwhelming to start buying ETFs, especially for non-German speakers. Here is a step by step guide to buy ETFs at Flatex in Germany (directly, not savings plan aka Sparplan).

• ### Revisit what you are bad at

Often we can get conditioned from outside that we have no talent in some area and it is just not our thing. Thus, we shouldn’t even try. It is easy to get into this trap as a kid due to yet low self-confidence. Consider stopping for a moment and explicitly catching all ideas like that. Let’s see why you might discover a lot of new about yourself this way.

• ### Thought experiment #8: jobs in 2030

Thought experiment #8 about jobs in 2030. Jump in!

• ### Should you tell others about FIRE?

Participating in Financial Independence / Early Retirement (aka FIRE) movement can become a substantial part of one’s life or even identity. At the same time the number of people in the movement is still small and, thus, most of the time we talk to people who have no clue whatsoever about FIRE. As a result, one wonders quite often whether they should share their FIRE story and explain the concept. Let’s see arguments for and against.

• ### No one promised you anything in life

Quite often I observe people being unhappy about their life as if someone has promised them something. Somehow they focus on what could/should have been better in their life and this makes them extremely unhappy. At the same time, from my perspective they are not doing that bad. They are just too much into their fantasies instead of appreciating what they have. Let’s look into into “no one has promised anything” and see some examples.

• ### Refuse to leave the zone

Quite some time ago I stumbled upon a tweet just saying “get in the zone, then refuse to leave”. Despite the simplicity of the advice and complete absence of any proof, this has a profound positive effect on my productivity. Let’s see what this means for me and why I think this works so well.

• ### Future proofness

Long time ago I learned about a concept, which I now call “future proofness”. I coined this term myself, but it is also present in Wikipedia. However, with a bit different meaning. In my case, the main idea was that the future technology could improve and extract additional information from your current artifacts. Let’s see couple examples.

• ### MVV 2020 reform overview

MVV (Munich public transport company) changes their pricing structure on 15.12.2019. The old (current) system can be at times extremely confusing (e.g. mixing up rings and zones when buying weekly tickets). Let’s see what has changed in the new system (mostly focusing on the inner city).

• ### Book "Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart" - review and summary

I happened to read "Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now" by Gordon Livingston. While the title sounds extremely fishy (I suppose that this “X things blablabla” is used a lot by cheap article websites with low quality content), the book itself was overall surprisingly good.

• ### Book "The Dip" - review and summary

I read “The Dip” by Seth Godin. It definitely raised couple interesting issues (one should drop unimportant areas to be able to reach something reasonable in more important areas). However, how to understand what to drop was not that clear.

• ### Book "Purple cow" - review and summary

I read “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin. Overall, it was quite an interesting way to approach marketing nowadays + very motivating to be riskier and experiment more.

• ### Book "Search Inside Yourself" - review and summary

I finished reading “Search Inside Yourself” by Chade-Meng Tan recently. This was an amazing book. I enjoyed it and learned a lot. I can call it life-changing. Here is my review and summary.

• ### Stagnation in impro

I started to feel a stagnation in impro. I have a hypothesis that this is natural and expected. Let’s see why.

• ### Consumerism would be rational if FIRE did not exist

I’ve noticed that consumerism makes sense if one assumes that Financial Independence is not achievable. Let’s look more into this.

• ### Thought experiment #7: true happiness

The new thought experiment! About happiness this time! Woohoo!

• ### How I write this blog

I would like to go a bit meta and tell you how I write this blog. This includes somewhat technical details and just general process. You can treat this is an overview of a life of a post in this blog - from an idea to being published. Thus, please let me welcome you to the backstage, but take your shoes off first.

• ### Chrome Incognito, FlixBus and 5 EUR

Quite a peculiar story happened to me recently. I was buying a FlixBus ticket for 24.99 EUR. I already had it in my “cart” and I had 30 minutes to buy it before the cart expires. Then I started double checking other details and in the end it expired (actually couple seconds before I pressed “pay”). I tried to buy it again, but now the price was 29.99 EUR, i.e. 5 EUR more.

• ### Dangers of "Work hard, play hard"

I’ve discovered that people use expression "Work hard, play hard" as a way to explain treating themselves something nice. The expressions itself often comes from their workplace. At first, this felt ok to me, but when taking into account Financial Independence / Early Retirement, I can see that one’s employer can be incentivized in one following this expression. Let’s see how.

• ### Physics, acceleration and FIRE$$^2$$

Financial Independence / Early Retirement is about reaching a state, in which you get enough passive income to live. Let’s say you get $$Y$$ EUR each month. The overall money you get over time is $$M = Y * t$$, where $$t$$ is time. This resembles a physics equation for movement with constant speed (i.e. no acceleration). Let’s explore this similarity and try to add acceleration to FIRE and get FIRE$$^2$$ (FIRE squared, I just made this name up).

• ### Health insurance during FIRE

Health insurance is a very important part of retirement. Let’s see how it affects early retirement in Germany. In other words how one should account for health insurance contribution when planning and by how much this delays the FIRE date.

• ### Delaying capital gains taxes during saving for FIRE phase

It is common knowledge that one should delay realizing their capital gains as much as possible (especially when aiming for Financial Independence / Early Retirement). Let’s focus on the phase, when one saves for FIRE, and see the magnitude of the effect of such a delay.

• ### How to disable notifications prompt in Chrome?

Numerous sites ask for permission “to show notifications”. Some of them even obstruct the site itself unless ones makes a choice in this permission prompt. Pressing “no” multiple times a day (with a probability to eventually misclick “yes”) sounds like wasting of time. Fortunately, there is a way in Chrome to say “no” by default (i.e. disable this prompts completely and never see them again).

• ### 801€ tax free capital gains each year in Germany

In Germany, one does not pay any tax for their first 801€ of capital gains each year. I personally try to realize at least 801 EUR each year to use this benefit, but I am now curious how much of a difference in the long term this makes.

• ### "Mindless eating" - impression and summary

Recently I read “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think” by Brian Wansink. Here is my impression (somewhat positive) and summary.

• ### Kids and impro

Some participants brought their children to our impro workshops a couple times (mostly due to not having anyone else to leave them with). Observing children in impro context made me think and I made a number of observations about the connection between impro and childhood.

• ### Negative reactions during impro

I’ve been doing impro for quite some time now, however, I still often get disapproving reactions in my mind when others do something. Here are my reflections - mostly about reactions, handling and this being ok.

• ### Thought experiment #6 overview: unpopular opinions

Saving Ninja had a new thought experiment recently (#6, about unpopular opinions). I again felt like making an overview of responses. Thus, here it is!

• ### How not to get angry?

I’ve discovered a peculiar trick for coping better with negative events in one’s life. The idea is to try to find a reasonable explanation. I suspect that this may be connected to meditation.

• ### Interactive Brokers monthly fee

Interactive Brokers have monthly “inactivity” (aka Monthly Minimum) fee. It is not obvious how one can see this fee being applied. Here is one way (spoiler: through statements).

• ### How to connect a Namecheap domain to Linode?

Occasionally I need to link a domain parked at Namecheap to a Linode and each time I forget how to do it. Thus, here is a guide (i.e. a cheat-sheet for me).

• ### Thought experiment 6: unpopular opinions

The new thought experiment is live and this time it is about unpopular opinions, which your peers don’t share with you.

• ### Capitalism wants you to be weak

Mr. Money Mustache wrote multiple times about weaknesses and inconvenience. This made me think about the modern world mechanics around them. I then understood that capitalism benefits from people being weak and avoiding inconvenience. Let’s see how.

• ### Impro games for non-impro group

I’ve noticed that some impro games can be played in a group unrelated to impro (e.g. work colleagues at a party). Here is my compilation of such games.

• ### Beauty of impro

As you have already read, I started doing impro recently. I enjoy it enormously. This is my reflection on what I enjoy and why.

• ### Impro games for two

I tried impro recently (aka improv, improvisation theater). I did extremely enjoy the experience, but also felt like I didn’t get enough out of the workshops (they are surprisingly crowded). Thus, I will try to practice in much smaller groups (like 2 people). This can be challenging since majority of games are for more people. Here is my compilation of warmup and “main course” impro games for 2 people.

• ### "Human Behavioral Biology" - course summary (lecture 8)

Lecture 8, recognizing relatives.

• ### The luckiest investor or what if you knew the future?

Imagine that you have 1000 USD on the evening of 31st of December, 2017. In addition to that you happen to know daily prices of all US stocks in 2018. How much money could you make by taking into account the future and investing perfectly?

• ### "Human Behavioral Biology" - course summary (lecture 7)

Slowly (but steadily) going through the Sapolsky’s course. Lecture 7.

Many people know how many percents of their networth is invested in X. However, occasionally it is much more important how you invest your time. I call this (surprise) “time allocation”. Let’s see how to do this and a couple of unexpected examples, where percentage looks much scarier than the plain number of hours.

• ### FIRE is a marathon, not a sprint

I’ve caught myself delaying a lot of (mostly pleasant) stuff to post FIRE times (i.e. quite far in the future). Let’s see what caused this, what the risks are and how I now avoid this.

• ### The worst that can happen

Asking yourself “What is the worst that can happen as a result of a given activity?” can help you to start doing tasks where you are scared to fail or to avoid dangerous activities. Let’s see how it helps me.

• ### TODOs are your friends

I’ve started using TODOs not only in my code. Now I find them very useful in this new context. E.g. they can be a hint to prioritize and to postpone less important tasks.

• ### Jekyll post_url tag not working

Recently I’ve had Jekyll complaining about post_url not working due to a missing file, but the file was there. This took me some time to figure out and I would like to share the issue (a non-obvious stray whitespace in the filename) as well as other ways this could have happened.

• ### Thought experiment overview: projects when FIRE'd

Let’s see what other people are going to do once they reach FIRE (based on their responses to SavingNinja thought experiment #5).

• ### Thought experiment: projects after FIRE'd

Imagine that you have finally FIRE’d and now you are bored. Which projects would you? This is the new shiny thought experiment by SavingNinja. And I have a lot to do, indeed…

• ### What are you actually paying for?

I’ve accidentally bought second class apples, which were not bad at all. This made me think that I’ve been paying more for the first class apples without explicitly realizing this. Let’s see why this is bad.

• ### "Human Behavioral Biology" - course summary (lecture 6)

Continuing watching and writing a summary for Robert Sapolsky’s course “Human Behavioral Biology”. Lecture 6.

• ### "So Good They Can't Ignore You" - impression and summary

I’ve read “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” by Cal Newport. Here is my impression (pretty mixed and rather on the negative side) and summary.

• ### "The science of wellbeing" - brief summary

My summary of "The science of wellbeing" course at Coursera happened to be much larger than I originally expected. Here is a more concise one, so that one can quickly refresh all important details.

• ### "Human Behavioral Biology" - course summary (lectures 4-5)

Continuing writing a summary for Robert Sapolsky’s course “Human Behavioral Biology”. Lectures 4 and 5.

• ### German supermarket discounts for fun and profit

I recently started buying discounted food more and here are my tips & tricks.

• ### "The science of wellbeing" - my impression and summary

I took "The science of wellbeing" course at Coursera. I absolutely loved it! I would like to share my impression and a not so brief summary.

• ### "Human Behavioral Biology" - course summary (lectures 1-3)

I watch “Human Behavioral Biology” course by Robert Sapolsky (from Stanford) on Youtube. It is very interesting. Here is my summary of the first three lectures.

• ### Crazy pistachio

I saw such an expensive package of pistachio in a supermarket that I couldn’t help not to share my find with you.

• ### Overview of brokers in Germany

There are many brokers and choosing one is non-trivial. Let’s see how they differ from a perspective of a long term ETF investor living in Germany.

• ### Life as Dominion (board game)

I’ve played Dominion and I really liked how the game could be used as a model for learning and life in general.

• ### Do you underestimate Total Expense Ratio effect when investing?

I suspect that it is very easy to underestimate the difference between paying 1% and 0.1% in yearly fees. Let’s calculate this difference. Moreover, let’s consider other kinds of fees and their impact on a long-term ETF investor.

• ### Thought experiment: losing everything

Imagine that one day you wake up and find out that all your savings have been completely wiped out (e.g. by a cybercriminal). That’s how the new thought experiment by SavingNinja starts. Here you can see my thoughts about this unfortunate situation.

• ### Interactive Brokers commissions: fixed vs tiered

I continue exploring Interactive Brokers and today I will compare their fixed and tiered pricing models. I will also tell how to actually switch to tiered pricing.

• ### Buying ETFs on Interactive Brokers (from Germany)

I started using Interactive Brokers to buy ETFs and there was quite a steep learning curve. Thus, let me share what I learned, so that you don’t have to go through this yourself.

• ### A peculiar story about DHL, UTF-8 and Skype

Recently I needed to send a parcel and I decided to use DHL and pay online. Unfortunately the form always showed me an obscure error. I tried to debug it. In the end I managed to find out the precise cause of the error and it happened to be related to UTF-8 encoding and Skype.

• ### Frugal travel or how much does FIWE 2019 cost

I’ve accidentally discovered that there will be another Financial Independence Week Europe (2019) in Budapest in May. I felt like it might be interesting to go there. However, before committing, I definitely should know how much it will cost, since my willingness to go is a function of cost. For example, with Chautauqua 2019 everything is extremely simple - €2300 is just too much.

So let’s see how much FIWE 2019 actually costs (at least for me) and consider some frugal (aka cheap) ways of attending.

• ### "My time costs X" fallacy

Often I hear people invoking “my time costs X” argument when discussing ways to save money. Usually that’s how they explain why it does not make sense to spend time to save some amount Y, especially when it is much smaller than what they earn (i.e. X).

They are likely wrong. Let’s see why.

• ### "Learning how to learn" - my impression and conclusions

Recently I took somewhat famous "Learning how to learn" course at Coursera.

My experience was pretty mixed. I would like to share my impression and a brief summary.