Saying No

This year I feel like I’ve been busier than I have been in years. My email inbox and my to-do list keep growing, it’s apparent I’ve agreed to too many things and now it’s starting to weigh on me. As I attempt to regroup and get some control back I’m reminded of the video above by Derek Sivers.

I’ve watched this video a few times over the years and I’ve always felt it was on the selfish side. I’m driven to want to serve and help others and by saying, “yes”, to things that might not be great I’ve opened many doors and got a lot out of it. It’s been easy for me to dismiss the advice in this video, but now I’m at the point where it feels like everything is getting away from me. It’s time to say, “No”.

I’ve had to say it two or three times today alone and it’s not easy. I don’t want to let people down, but once you get overwhelmed there are only two solutions, say no or say yes and delegate​. ​Since my time is limited and I don’t have an option of delegating, my answer is no for the next few months.

Debit Cards and Auto Drafts

There have always been two things that worry me about our banking system, and that is debit cards, and checking auto drafts. Both are convenient, but both deduct directly from your account so any fraud or screw up can wipe out your money.

Today I came across this article on KrebsOnSecurity that showed how easy it is to compromise an ATM or credit card terminal:

In the article Brian Krebs mentions this:

I realize a great many people use debit cards for everyday purchases, but I’ve never been interested in assuming the added risk and so pay for everything with cash or a credit card. Armed with your PIN and debit card data, thieves can clone the card and pull money out of your account at an ATM. Having your checking account emptied of cash while your bank sorts out the situation can be a huge hassle and create secondary problems (bounced checks, for instance).

This is what worries me. Best case scenario your bank will limit them to a max withdrawal of $250 a day through an ATM, but 70% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings1 which means it cause you tons of heartache and stress.

Checking auto-drafts are probably even worst because there is no limit. Someone could drain the entire account, and you are at the mercy of the bank. Not a place I want to be.

The only alternatives are what Brian mentions. Pay by real cash or a credit card, but this leads to a ton of problems for most Americans. Cash is no longer convenient, and it’s too easy to spend over your monthly budget on a credit card. Putting you into a debt spiral that everyone knows is impossible to get out.

The only solutions that I’ve read are to continue using a debit card but only use it at terminals that read the chip. You know the ones that take an hour and then beep at you until you remove the card. Unfortunately, for my area, no gas pumps have this.

I know reading this on a random blog post isn’t going to change your habits, but I think it’s worth remembering how you can be scammed and be prepared. Unlike Equifax, if we get hacked we experience bad ramifications.

  1. According to a survey by GoBankingRates, 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. 

Today’s Dramatic Stock Drop

It seems like the markets are finally starting to correct after the unprecedented rise we’ve all been experiencing. I honestly thought it would happen at the end of 2016 when Trump became our president. I wrongly assumed his Tweets would cause investors to lose confidence and I was wrong. Thankfully, I didn’t let the thought of that deter me from investing as the past year has been kind to us all.

Today’s drop does remind me a lot of this quote by JL Collins:

Everybody makes money when the market is rising. But what determines whether it will make you wealthy or leave you bleeding on the side of the road is what you do during the times it is collapsing.

I know that corrections and recessions happen, and you have to stay the course. Keep your same investing habits as if it gaining 40% a year. In the end, it’ll all work out. The market always goes up.

As someone that only invests in index funds and has limited knowledge of the market, I do find this swing interesting in that it’s coming off the heels of the tax plan. They are claiming will make the market continue to rise, but not many are talking about our huge national debt and the increases in it to pay for it. Maybe that’s why the market is now turning? I’m sure no one knows.

I know very little about economics, but I find it interesting how the markets react to different things and always have to remember to stay the course and not live fearfully. Beyond that, ​I’m most concerned about who is going to get the blame for this. We’ve all been trained over the past year that the administration is only responsible for positive​ things, so it’ll be interesting for sure.

Live Events is Twitter at its Best

I’ve been on Twitter since January 2009, and live events are​ still the best use of the platform. Super Bowl LII (52) just ended, and it was one of the most exciting games I’ve seen.

What made it great was scrolling my feed as the commercials where happening as well as the game action. That is what made me always love Twitter.

Even though I think it’s great for the live events I keep coming back to something I read on the IA Blog:

There seems to be a weak undercurrent of old and young bloggers like us that feel sentimental or curious and want to bring back blogging. Blogging won’t save the world. But, hell, after two weeks now, we can confirm: it feels great to be back on the blogging line.

If you are one of those old or young bloggers, please join in. Drop Facebook, drop Twitter and drop Medium for original thought. Own your traffic. You can use them to engage in discussion. But don’t get lost in there. Write daily. Publish as often as you have something to say. Link to other blogs.

The curmudgeon in me wants blogging to make a huge comeback​ but I know it’ll never happen, but now that I’ve blogged something every day of 2018 it’s starting to get fun again. I just hope that enjoyment continues.

Take a Break to Solve the Problem

Today is beautiful in North Carolina. Clear blue sky, no clouds, but cold with the current temperature of 42F. Tomorrow’s forecast is rain, and although I had a few tasks to get done, I knew I better get a mountain bike ride in today.

With these goals set I knew I had two options. The first was to knock out all my todo’s at home, then go ride. With the temperature being crisp and chilly I knew by the time I would finish I’d end up deciding against riding. I’d come up with an excuse and sit on the couch and be lazy.

So instead I decided to pack up my laptop and head out to the trails and do my tasks while sitting in the truck and using my phone as a hotspot.

I was expecting all the tasks to take me an hour and a ​half, but I blazed through them in about 20 minutes and then got stuck on a logic problem with a new feature I was building. I decided it should wait because I wasn’t making any progress, so I unloaded my bike and took off.

My goal with the ride was just to put in some miles and as my mind wondered and daydreamed​​ came up with a solution to the problem. As soon I finished the ride I loaded my bike, jumped in the truck and banged out the code to complete my last task. It was a good day.

Much has been written on this phenomenon, and I know it usually works, but if it was a workday and I was “on the clock” I’d feel guilty leaving everything and going out for a walk or ride, even though I’d get the solution faster. On the surface, it feels like I’d be cheating my employer, but in reality, I’d be saving them money.

USNWC, Charlotte NC.