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Monday, July 27, 2015

The Miracle of the Commons

The Miracle of the Commons
It is hot in Arizona right now. Every day, the temperature creeps up from its balmy low in the mid-eighties, as the sun pours its terrible heat down upon us, and punishes everything that still has the audacity to live here. Before we know it, it's above 100 and stays that way until the sun gets tired of beating our poor, dumb asses, and takes the night off. There is no escaping it. I walked Mrs. Done by Forty from our car to her building on campus this weekend, when our car thermometer showed a temp of 115. Delirious, I pondered our situation as we took shelter in the shade for a bit.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Football is Coming

A little over a month ago, our long time renter moved out. It was time. We'd been sharing a house with her since 2011, and at the four year mark we'd found the space too small for all of us. The quirks we found endearing about each other for the first year or so turned out to be annoying in the end. It's the way of things. But we parted as friends. She still comes over on Sundays to hang out, catch up, and play board games.

Oddly, I don't mind missing out on the $400 of rental income. I know this makes me seem like a rich jerk, but we make enough that we don't really need the money. Especially since we have the mortgage paid off, the rent was always seen as 'extra'.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Defense of Price Optimization

A Defense of Price Optimization
A while back, I heard about insurance companies using price optimization for the first time. This is when an insurance company strategically raises prices on only some of its existing customers, hoping that the price hike is not so large that the consumer picks up and leaves. The rub is that the price increase in, say, auto coverage, is not actually based on how risky that particular driver is. The higher price is based on the kind of consumer the company thinks he is: whether he's likely to shop coverage and switch if hit with an increase.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Linear Assumptions are Bullshit

Linear Assumptions are Bullshit
I have a good buddy from college that I still keep in touch with. We went to the same school, during the same years, and we even had the same major: English. Obviously, we also had the same crap judgment when it comes to our education. We both taught for a while English, too. (Well, I did for a short time, while he foolishly refused to sell out and chase money, instead pursuing "passion" and "meaning".) We both love football, enjoy some of the same hobbies...you get the idea.

Recently, he lost his job. In a climate of shrinking education budgets, this sort of thing can happen regardless of how good of a teacher you are. Even though we graduated over a decade ago, we still talk regularly. And these days we chat about the different directions his career might go in, now that he has this transition moment.

Being self-centered, the next thought I had was about how this sort of thing might affect me.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

When in Rome, Tip 10%

Okay, I know we're not in Rome. But the saying doesn't sound as good with "when in Krakow." We are finishing up our time here in Poland. As expected, we love everything and now we want to live here, along every other place we've visited. Our list of places to live is going to exceed our years left to live pretty soon. Traveling reveals a lot. But when it comes to Mrs. Done by Forty and me, it mostly reveals that we want to live in all the places, and do all the things...and eat all the things.

(Oh, and before I forget, this week I was lucky enough to be on the Stacking Benjamins podcast, talking about our worst investing mistakes and more. Please click and listen to me blather. Now, back to the post.)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

And We're In Europe...

The last couple weeks have been hectic. Scrambling to finish work projects before taking nearly three weeks off, planning out the last minute details of our trip, and, of course, there's the packing. It is amazing what can be accomplished with a hard deadline. Parkinson's Law at work.

Anyway, last Thursday we woke up at four a.m., and swindled a ride to the airport for my wife and I, along with our couple friends who will be hopping around Europe with us, and before we knew it we were in the air. I still truly love flying. It takes so little to make me happy in general, that the reality of flying through the air in a metal tube is something of a small miracle to me. Like a small child, I still don't get how there are windows in planes. How do they not break from the air pressure? Why aren't we sucked out into the atmosphere? Our engineers are incredible. Plus, if you ask nicely, the flight attendant will give you a  whole can of free soda that can be enjoyed thousands of feet in the air. We live in an amazing time.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Side Stepping the Hustle

Everyone has a side hustle these days. It's doing the thing you're passionate about, after you come home from your day job. Instead of your nine to five, it's your five to nine. The little something on the side. For the most successful of hustlers, the side gig becomes their main gig. And maybe, it even results in more money...along with the additional autonomy, fulfillment, and whole days spent in yoga pants and flip flops.

So when I look at my income and realize how little of it is "on the side", I feel a little left out. Just like in high school, I never got the invite to the party, and don't know what to do with myself after five on a Friday night.