Escalating unemployment is one of the top news stories right now amid the coronavirus shutdown. Many industries are completely shuttered, others are operating but dramatically scaled back, and this has resulted in a vast number of people becoming unemployed.  I was curious to know, at what point will the United States hit levels higher than those we’ve ever seen in recent history? Well, based on the numbers, that figure is about 10%, or 33 million based on the current U.S. population. But that doesn’t quite tell the whole story. To get that number, we have to look back pretty far in history. The Balance hasRead More →

I like using the Disqus comment system here (and as a commenter myself elsewhere). It’s used across many blogs, so you don’t have to individually register with all of them, and comes with some built-in spam filtering as well. Once it’s installed in WordPress, it overwrites the built-in commenting system, but not perfectly – the comment count still shows the old, now defunct, system.  I finally corrected this using a plugin that allows Javascript code snippets to be pasted in directly through the WordPress dashboard in seconds. Super easy, and now, comment counts will display accurately here!  If everything I just said made your eyesRead More →

Last year, I decided to quit my job and take a sabbatical. I’ve talked about it before in a previous post, but a couple of my goals were to spend more time with my family and do some travel. I maintained my dental and vision coverage through COBRA since it was reasonably priced ($66/month), but healthcare would have added another $600 a month to that figure, and I couldn’t justify that. I maxed out my HSA contribution first, to provide me with a small safety net, and decided to go without coverage for a while.  As I write this in April 2020, COVID-19 has beenRead More →

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 →