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15 Little Life Hacks

Some interesting links I’ve been reading lately (rich people, vapid people, funny CEOs)

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Natasha Mitra: “I love to consume. Consuming is my specialty.” Wow. Conscious spending be damned, I can’t imagine anyone more uninteresting and vapid.

How to get started investing with just a few dollars. Jonathan Clements of the Wall Street Journal is one of the best personal finance writers today.

Splitting the check amongst a big party is never fair. A situation I encountered more in college, but still sometimes today.

Personal responsibility is the cornerstone of financial literacy. I don’t agree with all of it, but it’s an interesting perspective on personal finance.

The single best article on why real estate is not the great investment people think it is.

New Schwab checking account that made me fall out of my chair. Wow. If this writeup of Schwab’s new checking account is true, goodbye Wells Fargo. “4.25% interest, no monthly service charges or minimum deposit requirements. Customers can use a debit card at virtually any ATM and Schwab will automatically rebate the fees. Paper checks and electronic bill payments are free.” If anyone has opened this account, please leave a comment.

New York Times article about how companies raise prices for bigger food portions. Fascinating economics. In a hilarious quote recently, Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns Carl’s Jr. and Hardees, shared his thoughts on healthy eating. “My opinion is that the media is the main supporter of healthy eating. We’re certainly not hearing it from our customers,” he said. “And [surveys] show that while consumers say they want to eat healthier, what they actually want is a big juicy burger.” Hahahaha.

The richest people in America, and I don’t mean by money.

You can read/subscribe to thousands more links I’ve collected and annotated at http://del.icio.us/ramitsethi/

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30 Comments on "Some interesting links I’ve been reading lately (rich people, vapid people, funny CEOs)"

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Rod Knowlton
9 years 2 months ago

While the Yahoo Finance article is a great explanation of why your house is not the great investment you think it is, it doesn’t have anything to say about other forms of real estate investment.

Mike McKisson
9 years 2 months ago
The New York Times story about portion size was interesting. My wife and I don’t eat out nearly as much as we used to, but here is a tip we developed to combat the large portion sizes. We would ask our server for a take home box before the food ever made it to the table. As soon as the meal arrived we would stash half of it in the box and save it for a meal the next day. You don’t eat too much and your $14 pasta now covers 2 meals now making it $7 per meal. Just… Read more »
viv
viv
9 years 2 months ago

Ah, but in the case of Ms. Mitra, she’s an associate at the Carlyle Group in NYC (you can Google her), Princeton grad, and probably makes a LOT of money, being a top-tier investment banker. Granted, if she had just said “I love to shop, and I’m good at finding things I love,” it wouldn’t have made her look quite so vapid.

Remember your I-love-shoes girl? The one who spent a lot of money on shoes just because they made her happy? Same deal.

bficker
bficker
9 years 2 months ago
Ramit, first off I love your blog. I have found your explanations easy to understand and even easier to put into practice. I do have one complaint though. The Real Estate link above was obviously very biased. I am a 24 year old Real Estate agent and would NEVER recommend people using their personal residence as an investment tool. The examples the article uses could be applied to an sector of investing: buying at the wrong time, buying in the wrong area (or sector), over paying, cashing out and using the proceeds for fun instead of investing. If somebody cashed… Read more »
Ryan
Ryan
9 years 2 months ago

Yeah, the shoes girl is a little nauseating too I have to admit but the way she described her expertise as consumption says more about her than if she’d said “Dude, I love clothes”.

Not to mention Hilton-esque fashion trend she seems to represent makes me utter a little guffaw every time I see those “housefly” glasses.

Ryan
Ryan
9 years 2 months ago

But I should point out that it’s great articles like the “richest people in America” that keep me coming back to this site, not emaciated New York fashion queens. Thanks Ramit.

Brian S
Brian S
9 years 2 months ago

That Schwab account isn’t all that special. My local community bank (with 4 branches) is offering 5.05% with no min balance requirements and $25 of ATM fee reimbursements each month.

All you need to have to qualify is an ACH/Direct Deposit into the account each month and at least 12 debit card transactions processed as credit cards.

This isn’t a teaser rate either, they’ve committed to it for a long time. I’m opening my account this weekend.

Ryan Johnson
9 years 2 months ago
Ramit, thanks for the post. A few points about the Yahoo link on why your own house isn’t a retirement nest egg. •The financial calculations don’t measure the cost of ownership vs. the cost of renting. Sure you have all those costs owning but you would also have lots of costs renting. All landlords pay taxes, insurance, repairs, etc so those costs get built into your rent. •Buying vs. renting should be more of a decision of seeing how much house you can get for similar rent and mortgage payments. Right now in most markets you can get much more… Read more »
viv
viv
9 years 2 months ago
Another thought on this, Ramit ! (Clearly uninspired at work…) I went back and looked at the other Google results for Natasha’s name and was surprised to see just how much negativity there was about that Look Book interview (she was even ridiculed on Gawker). People really latched onto the aforementioned “I love to consume” comment, but there are a lot of people who “consume” the way she does. Look at all the LV/Dior/Gucci purses you see on people and then imagine how many of them have Natasha’s earning power. So where did she go wrong? The truth is I… Read more »
Covert7
Covert7
9 years 2 months ago

The main question I have on the Schwab checking account is how do I deposit checks with them. I have direct deposit with my employer but my side work is all paid by folks using paper checks. I checked around on the site but didn’t find anything yet. May have to put in a call…

S
S
9 years 2 months ago

As I looked at the “Richest People In America” article, I was struck by the look in the people’s eyes — happiness.

Thanks for sharing, Ramit.

Arthaey Angosii
9 years 2 months ago

For the check-splitting, check out BillMonk — http://www.billmonk.com/ . My friends and I use them so that we don’t have to worry anymore about paying for lunches or dinners out together.

My411Financial
9 years 2 months ago
It surprises me that with all the negative things going on in the world that people are more concerned with how much their purses cost. At some point peopel are going to have to wake up and realize that the day will come when the gravy train will stop and if you haven’t done anything to prepare for your future you will be suddenly on the losing side of life. Most of the people that I deal with have already run themselves into the ground by the time that I become aware of them. I usually refer them to a… Read more »
George
9 years 2 months ago

The Richest people in America article link is very inspiring…makes you wonder what have you done lately to make this world a better place?

Thanks for sharing it.

Sanjay
Sanjay
9 years 2 months ago

Leveraged sell-out has an post on mitra. Hilarious.

http://www.leveragedsellout.com/2007/05/fwd-a-suitable-girl/

Michelle Singletary(washpost) and Clements(wsj) are two of my favourite finance writers.

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[…] couple of weeks I have been writing on attractive savings accounts from FNBODirect and Citibank.  Ramit introducedan attractive new checking account from Charles Schwab.  Again, another competitor to the high […]

Enrique
Enrique
9 years 2 months ago

How about the boys spending $10,000 for a T.V? Isn’t that nauseting too?

alex
alex
9 years 1 month ago

I opened up a Schwab account, you deposit paper checks by mailing them in.

Sara
Sara
9 years 1 month ago
I think some people are missing the point of the Real Estate article. Certainly some people who know what they are doing can do very well in real estate investment, no matter what the market is like. THIS article is about how a house is not guaranteed to be a good investment. I am 24 and a lot of my friends are chomping at the bit to buy a house, even if there’s a good chance they’ll move in a few years, or there’s no way they have 20% down, or they have to use an ARM to afford the… Read more »
Mike
Mike
9 years 1 month ago
My wife and I have an agreement on purse shopping. She’s not allowed to buy a purse that costs more than the amount of money she would typically carry around in it. It’s a great system. She doesn’t buy ugly overpriced bags and I don’t have to wonder WTF she was thinking for purchasing something so damn ugly and expensive. Side note: I feel the same way about watches. There’s plenty of ways to get the time other than by wearing a Rolex. Hell, most people have cell phones these days that have internal clocks anyway.
Tia
Tia
9 years 1 month ago

here’s another rich guy…check out his blog: http://www.richestpeopleinamerica.com

Bill D'Alessandro
9 years 1 month ago

I just opened the Schwab account, and I must say, everything looks great. The high rate and ATM reimbursements are the only thing that could have pulled my money away from ING Direct. I’ll report back after a month of using it, making sure they’re actually reimbursing ATM fees.

As far as depositing paper checks – I manage it by keeping a free checking account with Wachovia, depositing paper checks there, then electronically transferring the money to my Schwab account. It takes a day or two, but it’s worth it because I don’t really feel comfortable mailing an endorsed check…

Shawn
Shawn
9 years 1 month ago
Ramit, I have been using the Schwab Investor Checking Account for about two months. So far it has been a really positive experience. Here are my observations so far. – The ATM fees are reimbursed at the end of every month. – The bill pay feature also works really well. – Quirks include: – You have to establish a brokerage account to open the investor checking account – Money transferred from other banks to the Investor Checking account lands in your brokerage account, and you have to move it to Investor Checking yourself – The bill pay feature handles payments… Read more »
Matt
Matt
9 years 1 month ago
I agree with Shawn’s thoughts on the Schwab account above, and wanted to emphasize that the representatives (and the concierge, oooooh fancy!) have been down-to-earth, personable, helpful, and don’t read from a damned script. They’re acting like Real, Live Humans, which in all of my dealings with banks and investment firms, is a rare treat. I’ve also found two unexpected perks: 1. I’m finally getting some of my friends to sign up for a high interest account. With HSBC or ING or Emigrant, there was lots of feet dragging and “but, I’ll have to transfer stuff out again just to… Read more »
Geekman
Geekman
9 years 1 month ago
The following is an email I sent to Ramit about one of the links he has in this post. Ramit asked that I post it as a comment here so that everyone who visits could read it just in case they might find it of interest. The full content of that email follows. — Hello Ramit, Let me start off by saying I’ve never written to a financial blogger before but a recent post of yours got so far into my head that I just had to reach out to you. I’ve been reading your site for a long while… Read more »
alec
9 years 1 month ago
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[…] more competitive because there is another large brick and mortar company joining the race.  Ramit introduced an attractive new checking account from Charles Schwab.  Again, another competitor to the high […]

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