Tangential Tuesdays #74

advice, college, wealth

Hi - I feel like I’ve been oscillating between “this is fine” and “this needs to end”. Right now I am feeling more towards the latter. I just read that a twitter PM was killed in the cross-fire of a gunfight on 14th and Guerrero and intersection I walk through almost every day.


Don’t go to college this fall

Use your time to start an online business. Live at home, spend as little money as possible, and find a side job if you need to.
How do you start?
Build your skills, identify a problem, and find a software-based solution. If you don’t know where to start, pick one of the following skills: writing, speaking, coding, or design. Then, start selling what you build.

I think this is spot on - and it applies to more than just college students. If you just got laid off from your job and had a job offer rescinded, you have an important choice to make.

You can try to get another job (maybe possible depending on who you are and what you do) OR you can take a chance and use your time off as a chance to learn new skills, take risks, and figure out creative ways to make money and provide value.

I’m hoping COVID will help us realize taking time off from work or school might not be as risky as we imagined. It’s certainly had that effect on me.

Read the article here.


How the Coronavirus Pandemic Has Shattered the Myth of College in America

This new yorker article is frankly pretty depressing and cynical and sad.

Put another way, what exactly is a four-year college? “It’s a hedge fund that teaches classes as a tax dodge,”

I think it is in many ways too easy to be critical of colleges right now. There honestly are not many online education options that come close to the rigor, and certainly not the brand of most colleges.

Just look at the abysmal completion rate of MOOCs as evidence.

But at what point does paying 60k for zoom classes become absolutely idiotic?

Read the article here.


The two articles above pair really well with this podcast. I love the parallels between fitness and education.

Do you need a personal trainer? Do you need to go to college / coding Bootcamp? The answer to both is fairly clearly no. There are people that have succeeded without either of these things.

But if you are actually serious about your pursuit and believe your time is valuable? Then you probably owe it to yourself to pay a premium for some in-person instruction and accountability.


68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice

  • Being enthusiastic is worth 25 IQ points.

  • Treating a person to a meal never fails, and is so easy to do. It’s powerful with old friends and a great way to make new friends.

  • Optimize your generosity. No one on their deathbed has ever regretted giving too much away.

  • You are what you do. Not what you say, not what you believe, not how you vote, but what you spend your time on.

Read the other 64


Climbing the Wealth Ladder

This article convincingly shows why wealth is best thought of as a step function rather than incrementally.

The way I make decisions about money has materially changed since leaving college almost 2 years ago. I went from negative net worth to the ~80k I have saved and invested today.

I would say I am still *somewhat* frugal, but I do not sweat over buying a coffee and buying avocados at the grocery store the same way I would in college.

And honestly - that’s a pretty big life change. I love avocados.

But now let’s imagine that we fast forward 2 years, the market has recovered from COVID and I make is to 200k net worth. Would my life actually be different? Probably not. I’d still occasionally buy overpriced coffee and avocados… but I’m probably not dropping $$$ going out to nice dinners every week.

For my life to measurably change - I’d probably need to get to 1 million in liquid net worth. And… if I just continue on my current path, that’s probably at least 10+ years away.

When I frame it like this, it makes potentially risky decisions seem a lot less risky. Taking a 20k pay cut to join a startup for a few years wouldn’t impact my financial situation very much (and there is a ton of upside).

Donating 5k to charity still feels like a lot of money to me, but would not impact my rung on the wealth ladder.

Read it.


My update

  • SF has had absolutely gorgeous weather recently. Enjoying long pensive walks.

  • feeling introspective

  • skiing in June is looking less and less likely :(

Thanks for reading,

❤️ Taylor