What is VTSAX and Why Invest in It: A Brief Overview

You’re not the next messiah, or even the next Warren Buffett. You cannot predict what will happen in the markets. Accept this first and foremost. With this understanding, the next best thing you can do is invest in a collection of businesses that are projected to perform well in the long run, like Vanguard’s VTSAX and check your emotions at the door.

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Maintaining Sanity While in Quarantine: How Minimalism Can Help

With most places quickly approaching mandatory lock downs, or more softly put, ‘stay at home’ orders, many of us are now finding a lot more time on our hands. Some people are choosing to capitalize on this new found time by getting to their at-home to do lists, jump starting their passion projects, or learning a new skill. Others may be tasked with caring for their children while schools and daycares are closed. Maybe that means homeschooling or maybe that means trying to keep them entertained while juggling remote work. Whatever your situation is rest assured minimalist practices can help you maintain your sanity, peace, and more importantly, perspective in times like these.

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Tracksuit Up! Home Workouts That Don’t Require Equipment

With the whole world facing lock down and strict quarantine rules, gym access is most likely out of reach. Being confined to your home makes it difficult to get those steps in and stay active. No need to preach on why that’s important – I think we all know this by now. So what can you do if you do not own any workout equipment and want to keep in shape or maybe just preserve your sanity? All you need is yourself and a few common household objects to get you going. Below are three workouts I put together, which can be modified as needed and are designed to get your blood flowing and the calories burning!

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This, Too, Shall Pass: Staying Strong During The (Coronavirus) Market Dip

Keeping calm while everyone else around you is panicking is not easy to do. We so easily succumb to societal pressures and for good reason too. It’s the evolutionary response to survival. You run when everyone else is running because the bear is coming. But remember, eventually the bear will tire itself out, recede, and the bull will take charge. So the best thing I can tell you to do in a bear market is to endure it. Do not sell, continue investing and I promise you, this, too, shall pass. And if it doesn’t? Well then, like I said, we have far greater problems to face. Oh, and probably most important advice of all, regardless of coronavirus – WASH. YOUR. HANDS!

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5 Reasons to Consider Minimalist Design When It Comes to Your Home

At the end of the day our homes may tell our stories. Like the time you were in Portugal and stopped dead in your tracks at a beautiful watercolor art piece by a local artist. You couldn’t take your eyes off it so you bought it and every time you pass it on your way out the door it ignites and inspires you. Or that one time you took a pottery class just for fun with your friend and attempted your best at a hand-made vase. Slight imperfections but it holds water and displays the freshly cut flowers you bring home once a week that make you happy. By all means let your home tell these stories. Do not deprive yourself of items that bring value or joy to your life. But do not confuse story telling for expression. Your home and the things in it do not represent you nor do they define you. Your worth is not in the expensive cashmere throw blanket or the $2,000 gilded mirror. Your worth goes far beyond anything you could ever buy and minimalism is one of the best tools to uncover that. So, go forth and minimize!

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12 Hours in Warsaw: What to See & Where to Eat

So, we wandered down the street and stumbled into a coffee shop, known as Forum. The variety and amount of beakers, drips, food scales, presses, and other glass components involved in manually harvesting coffee and tea was astonishing. I’m not kidding, this little hipster shop was one glass beaker away from Warsaw’s very own Breaking Bad. It was beyond entertaining to watch the baristas make each cup of tea – what a process of measuring – to the gram – the loose tea leaves, then moving contents from one container to another, timing it perfectly with the boiling water and finishing up with a hand press that looked like a workout worthy enough that I’d consider incorporating into my daily routine. Not to mention the tea I had was phenomenal. Normally, in my humble non-tea expert opinion, most tea is bland and boring forcing me to add a little honey or cream. However, this was by far one of the best teas I’ve had, light yet flavorful and very aromatic. No honey needed. Had it not been 6PM I would have gone for a coffee just to experience it (I recommend you do!) The shop itself was minimalist in design, which I personally love, and very authentic and raw. Nothing over the top. Plenty of seating with a cozy back room, which seemed ideal for freelance workers and the like. Check out this article all about the award-winning owners and baristas that work there. Sidebar: One of baristas here spoke such great English that I actually thought he was an American expat. Nope, just a Polish dude making excellent coffee and tea!

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Grateful for Our 5 Hours in Auschwitz

Once inside the death camp you begin to understand the sheer volume and scale at which these mass murders took place. The camp is expansive, beyond the horizon, with only barbed wire fences, very few buildings, and brick crumbles of what was left of the factory furnaces. Yet, somehow within the ruins, there is order to everything. The organizational system is so clear it’s maniacal. The methodic planning and vision that went into building this place is uncanny. How could humans, people we share our very DNA with, have had the foresight and brutality to construct not just a death camp, but a death camp of this size and assembly-like fashion organized to destroy these poor victims at such speeds and volume that factories put together cars. This place sickened me.

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The Milestones of FI

Reaching FI or fat FI doesn’t mean it’s time to sit on your ass and do nothing. Hopefully over the several years it took you to reach this milestone you’ve thought about and maybe even started implementing ways you want to live your life. This might mean blogging, writing a book, volunteering, spending more time with family, working part time for a company with a desirable manifesto and moral backbone, or focusing on your painting or fitness goals. Or maybe I’m being too cynical and you love what you do now, keep doing it but without the added stressing of needing a paycheck. Whatever it is be mindful of the lifestyle you choose to lead after FI. It should be a life of value and meaning. It doesn’t have to be a busy or overloaded one that mirrors the 60 hour work week you wanted to leave behind, but it should compensate the hard work you put in to achieving FI. Do something worth while with your new found time. I would guess that most people, myself included, strive for FI because they recognize just how valuable, precious and limited their time is and most of it is dedicated to work instead of family, to commuting instead of traveling, and to busy tasks and lengthy meetings instead of hobbies and passions. FI is a way to get that time back and put it towards what truly matters to you.

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The Best and Worst Advice for the 20-Somethings of the World

I traversed my 20s between 2009 and 2019, alongside the influx of social media that increasingly normalized a chaotic, and sometimes painful, decade of life when realities like having only $7 to your name is masquerading in the form of YOLO-ing and #sorrynotsorry. A global financial crises paired with the high cost of tuition and topped with an aging paradigm in our cultural mindset primes the way for situations like this, especially early on in our 20s when we’re making shit money and even more shit at managing it. And I am no stranger to this. I once over-drafted my checking account at a baseball game for a beer. Yeah, that beer, pictured above. A frivolous purchase to perpetuate my already drunken state.

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Passive Investing: How to Float Your Way Through the Economy

You need to be mindful of your money and how that impacts your future. There’s no lottery coming your way, no wealthy individual waiting to sweep you off your feet, no inheritance check, no one to throw you a life line. Whether or not those things may actually be true, you never know when either one might run out ::I’m looking at you, social security:: Don’t rely on somebody else to save your ass! You don’t need to understand the stock market at a level to hold conversations with Warren Buffett – you just need to understand that investing today is essential for your future. The rest will come together and I, along with some amazing other bloggers I’m going to mention, will help distill the information. Got it? Good.

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6 Quirks I’ve Noticed Since Living in Germany

Well, it’s official. I’ve been living in Germany for exactly one full month. Not long enough, by any means, to feel like a local but long enough to observe some unique quirks and social norms different from my American companions. My German boyfriend explained a lot of this to me prior to moving here but my stubbornness refused to believe the extent of which these things are true. Quirkiness can be frustrating when you don’t understand where it’s coming from. In an effort to better understand the culture I’m living in and instill some empathy for why things are the way they are I did a little digging on these observations and here’s what I’ve found:

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Decluttering 101: The Why & How of Minimalistic Purging

…it happened. I was sucked deep into the black hole of the internet where I read story after story of people who significantly downsized and turned their backs on conventional consumerism and were actually happier because of it. The more blogs I read and podcasts I listened to, the more fascinated I became with the concept of minimalism and intentional living. I didn’t just want to begrudgingly dispose of my possessions. I wanted to embrace it. We all know, superficially, what matters in life. Ask anyone and a majority will tell you it’s things like family, health, and well-being, but most won’t show you that. I was no different and I no longer wanted to live that kind of life.

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5 Mistakes I Made That Racked Up $70,000 in Student Loan & Consumer Debt

Going into debt is not inevitable nor should it be considered a ‘normal part of life’. It’s not like getting braces, having an awkward first kiss or getting a pimple. Instead, our financial choices can last much longer than our awkward teenage years. Deciding to take on debt should hold more weight than it currently does and it’s something you need to seriously consider before signing up.

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Stop Making New Years Resolutions – They Don’t Work!

Maybe it’s the intrusive crowding at my gym come January, or the incessant hype around unrealistic resolutions paired with lack of expectation management and vision, or maybe, I’ve grown cynical in my old age ::wink:: Either way, I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions and, truthfully, I can’t remember the last time I made one. Don’t get me wrong – I love goals and lifestyle challenges but these should be predicated on a deep yearning for growth and change brought on by self-reflection, not because the clock strikes midnight on December 31st.

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What is Minimalism?

I wrote and re-wrote this post about four times. I struggled with the best way to describe minimalism without sounding generic. On paper it’s not difficult to define, but in real life it’s a little more complex. Minimalism is not a yes-no or black-and-white lifestyle. It’s full of gray areas with idiosyncrasies, sometimes irony and the four letter word many people hate – work. So, I decided to speak freely from the heart and describe what minimalism has done for me without the bells and whistles or the curated ‘moment of epiphany’ story that seems to align so perfectly with a life lesson. Minimalism has never been that for me. Like I said, it’s work, especially at first. But, eventually it becomes entrenched in your life and the benefits are beyond rewarding.

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