Money mantra of the week: You are the chief executive officer of your life
I’ll kick off with an inspiring conversation with my mom. Plus: Crypto Eats Cash, The Danger of Easy Trading, Bruce Family Settlement, and FlyStein.
🤔 Talk to me when you CEO
My Mom and I often play guessing games.
When we’re in a restaurant, we’d guess how much the restaurant can make in a day. Driving through new neighborhoods, we’d guess how much the homes are worth. Is it any surprise that my mom was an accountant?
I have a distinct memory of playing this game as we drove through Downtown LA together. I had recently moved to the area for work. We marveled at the endless glass, concrete, and offices.
The game began. How many businesses do you buildings do you think there are in that one building?
She, having worked more than I have, told me that one of these towers alone can house anywhere from 50-100 businesses.
The scale of that shocked me. No way, that many businesses in just one building?
Her response always stuck with me.
“Imagine, just one of these buildings has all those of businesses. This is only Downtown LA. “
She pointed indiscriminately towards a floor of a building.
“Each business has an executive team. You can be one of those executives. You can be a CEO.”
At first blush, this might sound like Tiger Mom level expectations. When I was starting a side business she’d joke “so you CEO now?” But I never felt that pressure from her. Instead, she helped me appreciate how big the world of business. She helped me see the possibilities that I could create for myself.
Share with me: Who has inspired possibilities in your life? What did they say to you?
🤖 Crypto eats cash
Free stock trading app Public recently announced that they’re offering crypto trading. This is hot on the heels of Venmo and PayPal also offering crypto trading. Public has over 1 million investors on their platform and quickly growing. Unlike Robinhood, which plans to enable investors to transfer crypto out of its platform, Public’s crypto launch will not include this feature…yet. This represents the ever-blurring space between traditional finance and decentralized finance (crypto).
Crypto adoption = crypto liquidity. Platforms like Public act on-ramps for money to flow in and out of crypto. Generally, the more liquid a market the more stable the price. My guess: with enough adoption and liquidity, crypto prices over the long term may start resembling the (lower) volatility of the stock and forex markets. But by then, most of gains would probably be baked into the price (e.g. a stable $500,000 Bitcoin).
Packy McCormick wrote that if a 30 year old Jeff Bezos were to start a company today, it’d be a crypto company. Any startup, especially those in the big fintech space, must have a crypto strategy now. Imagine how this trend keeps playing out over the next few years and decades. Even if you don’t believe in crypto (well first read my piece), there’s no denying its growing presence, spreading like roots throughout the entire financial ecosystem.
There are about 180 fiat currencies in the world, which is roughly the number of countries in the world. As of this writing, there are 12,477 cryptocurrencies recognized on CoinMarketCap. And an ever growing amount of traditional money continues to get converted into crypto. Crypto will keep eating the financial world.
By the way, Public is a pretty neat social trading platform. Think financial influencers + Twitter + Robinhood rolled into one, with a pretty slick user experience. You can use my referral link (and see my trades) to get a free stock when you sign up.
🥺 The Dangers of Free & Easy Trading
Public, Robinhood, and other apps have blown the financial door wide open, opening access to everyday investors. Now almost anyone can make a life-changing financial trade in as little as as they check their social media. What are the potential second order effects of democratized trading?
Macro level: increased access to investing is generally a good thing. Innovations like free, no commission trading and fractional investing (invest as little as $1) significantly lowers the barrier to entry for anyone who wants to trade
GameStop stocks. It’s no surprise that stock investors are becoming younger and more racially diverse. I love that.
Micro level: At the behavioral level, easy access does not necessarily lead to good results. The more active an investor with trading, the worse they tend to perform. Consider that most day traders lose money.
Here’s how I handle the coexistence of both these macro and micro truths:
- Go Free and Low Cost. Paying for trades is so 2016. Switch to commission free trading if you haven’t already. This also goes for any funds with high fees, it’s better to choose low cost index funds. Fees eat in to your returns
- Drip investments over time: Instead of actively trading, you can drip your investments over time. This is commonly referred to as dollar cost averaging, which is just buying consistently over time.
- Build your basket: I like the approach of working up to a basket of 20-25 stocks I love, and automatically investing into that basket of stocks every week. Here’s how I do that using M1 Finance. I prefer using M1 over Robinhood, which currently only allows drip investing for one stock at a time versus building a basket.
🏖 Bruce’s Beach: $75 million land returned to Bruce Family
One of my favorite outdoor spots in LA is Bruce’s Beach in Manhattan Beach. It’s not crowded, the park is a great place to catch a sunset, and the pedestrian walkway along the Ocean is one of the best. Little did I know until this week that there was a long legal battle by the Bruce family to reclaim valuable land.
Basically, ~100 years ago the Bruce Family – a black family – bought land in mostly white Manhattan Beach. Eminent domain was used by the city to take the land away from the Bruce Family to build a public park.
From KCRW: “Charles and Willa Bruce bought a beachfront plot of land for about $1,000 in 1912. They built a welcoming resort catering to Black people. But in 1924, Manhattan Beach condemned and seized the land.”
The good news? The Bruce Family won. The $75 million property will be put into a trust for Willa and Charles Bruce’s four remaining direct descendants. That’s very long, overdue justice for a family that had its generational wealth stripped away by racist policies.
💸 Money Tip of the Week: FlyStein over FlightFox
Years ago, FlightFox made waves as the first startup that’ll help you book the cheapest travel – including maximizing the value of your credit card points – for a fee. However, the beloved service has turned to focus on corporate travel.
FlyStein, (think Einstein) is the newer, cheaper alternative taking it’s place. From $29 and up, they’ll try to find you the cheapest flights. You can also use the “beat my price” option – if their experts can’t beat what you find on your own, then you don’t pay.
I’m going to try them out for my next trip, especially if it’s a longer/more expensive flight. Pretty nice to get a free second opinion if you ask me.
Just for fun: Mom says “Marry a wife who’ll cook for you.” Me: marries rice cooker