But wait, there’s more! If you order today, we’ll throw in a versatile six-in-one kitchen tool! No, not really. Still, this simple life hack is pretty exciting for book nerds like me. I recently learned that Google Docs contains its own OCR capability. OCR stands for optical character recognition, which is a form of computer vision that can translate images of text into actual text documents that are editable. This saves a tremendous amount of data entry time, since you don’t have to retype a document if you have an image of it.  This means there’s a very simple way to digitize your own books,Read More →

Well, there’s no way anyone could have predicted the financial situation we find ourselves in now, in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. The inverted yield curve back in August 2019 didn’t look encouraging, but nobody expected a global pandemic and subsequent mass shutdown this spring. In the midst of the turmoil, a lot of people are experiencing financial distress, both for immediate needs and in their retirement accounts. I wanted to address the market conditions and give a personal update, since some folks have kindly asked how I’m doing.  Stay the course, and Don’t Panic.  Though this global shutdown is unprecedented, market conditions haveRead More →

Way back in 2013, I was looking for a simple way to invest. The roboadvisor startups were just getting going and there wasn’t a lot of data out there, so I decided to put a small amount of money in two of the front runners, Wealthfront and Betterment, and assess performance over time. There was a lot of interest among my friends, so I posted Facebook updates across a six month period. In May 2014 I decided on Betterment because the returns were better, the interface was simpler, and the tax documents were released a month sooner. I talk more about that here. Three YearsRead More →

I’ve been sheltering in place for a while now, spending more time at home than I usually do, and I’m running out of things to watch! It also occurred to me that unlike TV shows or movies, which I often discuss with friends, I rarely talk about what I’m watching on YouTube. Even among my closest friends, I really have no idea what they watch there. So I thought it’d be fun to take some time and address that in a video. Check it out and let me know what you think. Links to all the shows I mention are in the description of theRead More →

Coronavirus has taken over the news, wreaking absolute havoc on every industry and our lives. I wanted to address it to discuss what’s been happening, much of it truly historic, along with the best information I’ve found to date and some actionable steps. An event of historic proportions March 12, 2020: Worst stock day since 1987. Sports and leisure: The NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, NCAA, XFL, ATP/WTA, and PGA all suspended or canceled their seasons. Some local sporting events and late night shows are playing on without audiences present. Disneyland, California Adventure, and Disney World are closing for at least two weeks. (Previously, only hurricanesRead More →

I lived downtown in Seattle for a year and a half and loved it. Amazing food, laid back vibe, plenty of live music venues, and incredible mountains and parks right on its doorstep. Yet most of what I heard before (and after) moving there was “ugh, isn’t it cloudy and rainy there all the time?”. I really believe Seattle is underrated as a destination city, despite a lot of increased growth in the past five years that seems to indicate more people are realizing how great it can be. What follows here is my short list of favorites around the Emerald City. Quick Observations BeforeRead More →

I “cut the cord” and canceled cable over ten years ago, and I’ve rarely missed it. I wrote an article here about getting TV service for my family, and they’ve been pretty happy with it for everyday use, local news, sports, and so forth. But I’m reading an increasing number of news articles forecasting doom and gloom because of the fragmentation of streaming services, and I think it’s really easy to remain stuck in an old mindset and miss the opportunities these new platforms offer.  Content does keep spreading out, and will continue to The Witcher has been a smash hit on Netflix since itRead More →

Just now getting back to writing after spending almost a month and a half on the go. Where was I? A visual probably works best: Most of my travel is about the people I see, but I got to visit some fun locations too – Marco Island in Florida has a beautiful white sand beach, and Sedona has striking landscapes even in winter. Traveling on Points I fielded a lot of questions on how my sabbatical is going, but I also got some questions about how I plan travel, and specifically using points for free travel, that I thought I’d walk through here. I doRead More →

As I did last year, I spent some time predicting what my dividend income will look like for 2020, and wanted to give an update on how things look. Using the past to predict the future Everyone has seen those “the past is not an indicator of performance” disclaimers, which is of course true, so predictions are just that – estimates that could easily be affected by market changes. In fact I saw it firsthand when my REIT ETFs underperformed thanks to the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates. That said, here’s the simple methodology I follow.  First, I look at the dividends from last yearRead More →

2019 brought some radical changes for me. I quit my job in May with the intention of taking a sabbatical, spending more time with family, and thinking about what I might want to do next and where I’d want to be. That entailed saying goodbye to a lot of friends in California and a work/social life I was pretty comfortable with, putting my things in storage, and driving cross-country back to NY. (I talk about it in my video blog update.) I’ve had some amazing family time in the last six months and great visits to friends I hadn’t seen in ages, so that partRead More →