With the bull market continuing, more and more people “predict” the crisis. Obviously, there is a temptation to try to time the market. Let’s try to estimate the best outcome of timing the market by considering the 2008 crisis. Perhaps it is not worth it at all (spoiler: the returns of ideal timing are actually substantial).
I’ve had a peculiar puzzle recently. What is the percentage of European companies in MSCI World index? Surprisingly I couldn’t find this anywhere, so let’s calculate it on our own .
I started to take Songwriting course on Coursera (yeah, life is unpredictable). Here are my notes for weeks 1&2.
I canceled my free Amazon Prime trial recently. I was surprised how many stages this required. Overall this looked like a dark UI pattern.
I recently needed to tune a 12 string guitar and this was less trivial than I expected. Thus, here is my guide, which does not involve any payed apps.
Aggression - part 2.
Human Sexual Behavior - part 3 & Aggression - part 1.
Human Sexual Behavior - part 2.
Recently Flatex shared an updated price PDF for the new year and to my surprise there will be an account fee starting from March. Since I have originally chosen Flatex to avoid percentage based fees (because they delay FIRE), it is the time to move away. Let’s look where I will move.
Human Sexual Behavior - part 1.
I’ve got an idea to start a blog in the end of 2018 and published the first post in the early January of 2019. In other words, this blog is now kind of one year old. This was not my New Year resolution, but somehow it worked out. Let’s reflect a bit, see some stats and what I am going to do differently in 2020.
Limbic System. Finally we get closer to emotions and this gets super interesting fast.
Advanced Neurology and Endocrinology. Basically we consider simplifications made during the last two lectures.
Thought experiment #9 about a magical planet where all your needs are met by a magical entity.
Lecture 12, Endocrinology. I suspect that many people talk about this topic without having any clue (“oh, this is must be due to hormones”). Thus, I am very excited to learn more.
Slowly but steadily… Lecture 11, Neuroscience - part 2.
Lecture 10, Neuroscience - part 1.
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.
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.
Lecture 9, ethology.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 about jobs in 2030. Jump in!
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.
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.
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.
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 (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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
I started to feel a stagnation in impro. I have a hypothesis that this is natural and expected. Let’s see why.
I’ve noticed that consumerism makes sense if one assumes that Financial Independence is not achievable. Let’s look more into this.
The new thought experiment! About happiness this time! Woohoo!
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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).
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.
Recently I read “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think” by Brian Wansink. Here is my impression (somewhat positive) and summary.
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.
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.
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!
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 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).
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).
The new thought experiment is live and this time it is about unpopular opinions, which your peers don’t share with you.
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.
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.
As you have already read, I started doing impro recently. I enjoy it enormously. This is my reflection on what I enjoy and why.
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.
Lecture 8, recognizing relatives.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Recently I’ve had Jekyll complaining about
post_urlnot 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.
Let’s see what other people are going to do once they reach FIRE (based on their responses to SavingNinja thought experiment #5).
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…
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.
Continuing watching and writing a summary for Robert Sapolsky’s course “Human Behavioral Biology”. Lecture 6.
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.
Continuing writing a summary for Robert Sapolsky’s course “Human Behavioral Biology”. Lectures 4 and 5.
I recently started buying discounted food more and here are my tips & tricks.
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.
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.
I saw such an expensive package of pistachio in a supermarket that I couldn’t help not to share my find with you.
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.
I’ve played Dominion and I really liked how the game could be used as a model for learning and life in general.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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