Edition #25: 30 Finance Lessons in 30 Days

Plus: Science of Timing, Just Be Nice, Penny Stocks, and Series I Bonds

written by oz chen

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Compliment of the day: you’d make a fine shipmate.

Back in November, I embarked on a 30 day writing challenge. I wanted to shake up my routine, strengthen my writing muscles, and experiment with different topics. That led me to create this series you’re reading now.

It was so productive, I knew I’d do a 30 day challenge again. This time, I’m writing with hundreds of others in a program called Ship30for30.

Every day, we ship an “atomic” essay on Twitter. These are visual essays of about 250 words. I began on June 26th – you can follow my mega thread for updates, or read the first 3 visual essays here:

My goal is to try many different ideas in this challenge. What would you like me to write a mini essay on? It’ll have a high chance of turning into a mini essay. Tweet / DM me with ideas :)

📅 When to start a goal: choose any beginning

Struggling to start a goal? Maybe you’ve wanted to rehaul your finances, learn investing, or start a 30 day challenge like me.

According to Daniel Pink, author of When, “imbuing an otherwise ordinary day with personal meaning generates the power to activate new beginnings.”

For most people, calendar-based beginnings can help. This Inc article shares the 86 days of the year that Pink says are the most effective to create a fresh start:

Mondays (52), first day of the month (12), and first day of each season (4). Also holidays, your birthday, and the first day of school/job.

Time is arbitrary and formless, so you might as well use it to your psychological advantage. (It’s 11:11, make a wish!)

🙏🏼 Just be nice

I subscribe to r/povertyfinance to gain a wider perspective of what people deal with financially.

Check out this thread about snide remarks sometimes made on the subreddit. I quote OP:

“$100 can be a life changing amount to some people. To others, they can spend it without even thinking twice. But no matter where you sit financially, it’s never good to judge the people financially below you, it’s not good to judge at all.”  

If you must compare, then compare up for inspiration, compare down for gratitude. And maybe keep the latter to yourself.

📉 Some perspective on penny stocks

I love it when people post talk about losing money.

Not because I’m mean. But because we’re mostly exposed to success stories due to survivorship bias – victors have an incentive to share their wins. It’s good to get a balanced perspective of what happens when people lose money.

This Redditor talked about getting burned on penny stocks.

The relative anonymity of Reddit lowers the barrier for sharing war stories, including losing money. Let’s normalize this.

💼 Money Tip: Series I Bonds

Did you know you can buy bonds directly from the government? You can do it through the government-run site TreasuryDirect.gov.

There’s a “Series I” bond you can buy that returns a surprising amount for a nearly risk-free investment. From the website:

“The composite rate for I bonds issued from May 2021 through October 2021 is 3.54 percent. This rate applies for the first six months you own the bond.”

This is far better than a savings account and worth looking at, because it’s backed directly by Uncle Sam. You can buy up to $15,000 worth of these bonds per calendar year:

  • Up to $10,000 in electronic I bonds in TreasuryDirect
  • up to $5,000 in paper I bonds using your federal income tax refund

Random: I’m back on Wim Hof Breathing and it feels amazing. Here’s a Youtube video on how to do it.

What was your favorite nugget from this week’s newsletter?

Reply and let me know. All feedback is good feedback.

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