Why I write about finance even though I have no qualifications and I’m not very smart

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Artist’s impression of Nikolai

This is an extract from my book The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual to Building Liberating Wealth on a Low to Medium Income.

W-wait a Minute!

            Hang on, my reader yells.  What makes you such an expert and why should I trust you?  Are you some rich guy working in finance who will try to convince me to invest in his dodgy products?  Are you someone with a high income who doesn’t know what it’s like to loiter in the supermarket of an evening, waiting for the staff to put discount stickers on the soon-to-expire meat?  Why should I believe a word you say?

            All excellent questions.  I do not work in finance, nor do I have qualifications in that area.  I am not a banker or a stockbroker or a financial advisor.  I am a guy like you who waits for the discount stickers on the meat, and whose income has always ranged from low to medium.

            How did I end up writing a book about personal finance?

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Does Australia need more Aboriginal teachers?

Just 1 in 100 teachers are Indigenous. That’s a problem — and it affects kids, too – ABC, August 2019.

“Aboriginal people just need to shut up and get over it.”

What a horrible sentiment. I would say it to Irish re: English, Koreans re: Japanese, New Zealanders re: the underarm incident, and China re: the rest of the world, but that’s different.

That’s a comment teacher Rachel Bos says she’s heard more than once in staffroom conversations about changing the date of Australia Day, which usually falls at the start of the school year.

Ms Bos, a Kaurna woman, can handle those “really uncomfortable discussions” — but that’s not the case for everyone.

Wow there are still based teachers. Must be outback Queensland.

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A warning about my finance book

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This is an extract from The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual to Building Liberating Wealth on a Low to Medium Income.

A Warning

            You might be thinking, meh, I’m going to move up in my career soon enough anyway.  Once I’m earning the big bucks I’ll pay off my debts, start investing, and all of that sort of thing.  What’s the point of struggling through all this now when I don’t have much money anyway?  It’ll be easier to do it later on.

            This is the path to hell.

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Am I the crazy one?

When everyone else seems to be going crazy and you’re the only sane one, it’s reasonable to stop and wonder if they’re right.

Maybe the CIA has not planted a hidden camera in your toilet. Maybe there are not beetles crawling all over your skin. Maybe you can’t really fly and should get down off that ledge.

There are two reasons my reality seems significantly different to that of many others.

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Word from the Dark Side – delayed vaccine, digging cruelty, dissent over pron ban and deploying robot monster wolves

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A Covid vaccine was announced just after the US election. Here’s their excuse for the unusual delay. If you manage to wade through that article, try to spot the bit where they say it was all the FDA’s idea, sir, nothing to do with me, I was just following orders.

Girls rarely get their comeuppance and that’s okay.

Remember those mugshots of Portland rioters?

For comparison, here’s the Weather Underground:

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Do you even Tank Man?

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Apparently the tanks were leaving the city in this photo – no one’s sure of Tank Man’s intentions.

At the conclusion of my Adventures in Communism series, I boldly said:

. . . I’ll tell you this: if any communist dictator tries to take over Australia and turn it into Eritrea, I will shoot him dead or die in the attempt.

Life comes at you fast.

This unprecedented totalitarianism is wildly popular in Australia. Indeed, surveys show the terrified population want tougher restrictions, not lighter ones.

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The sad and strange history of Eritrea

Review of I Didn’t Do It for You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation by Michela Wrong.

Every place has its story. Every tiny country, every little town has had its bizarre characters, unbelievable coincidences, moments in the spotlight and uncanny sagas that would make for a great novel, or series of novels.

Eritrea is no exception.

If it hadn’t already been taken, a more descriptive title for this book would have been A Series of Unfortunate Events.

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In which I anger everybody

In Australia we tend to ape everything our Americans cousins do, good and bad. If they try zero-tolerance policing, so do we. If they bomb Syria, so do we. If they stick a spoon up their arse, so do we.

In the 1990s there was some antipodean muttering about our primitive electoral system. Voters mark paper ballots with pencils and these are counted by hand, the results telephoned into headquarters for the official tally. If it’s close, we might not get the result until very late at night or even the next day.

‘Why don’t we copy the Americans?’ asked the monkeys. ‘They have machines that can tally the vote instantly.’

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9 Election questions

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First, here are some points that are not in question:

– Yes of course there was cheating. I’m trying to get at whether there was more than usual, i.e. enough to flip a race that was not already razor-tight.

– Yes, there are many dodgy things about the process itself including the movement of ballots, lack of scrutineers etc. I considered writing a post about how this could be improved but realized it was far, far too late. 2000 was the year to fix it.

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No blubbing

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Apparently there’s some sort of election going on in America.

I don’t keep a close eye on politics in the capitalist states, but I do recall that the last time around a few supporters of the losing team reacted in a way that did little to enhance their dignity.

This time around, no one knows who’ll win. The polls are unreliable. Trump’s Boomercons are fired up and Biden’s hidin’, but don’t discount the 40% who think Trump is the kid from The Omen grown up.

Trump could lose.

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The growing need for antifragility

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I recently suggested that the best solution to the West’s Cold Civil War is for both sides to walk away – to find a place where things are as you prefer and to actively keep them that way.

As often happens, dissenting comments added to my thinking rather than changing my mind altogether. Here’s Gunner Q:

Antifragility is the winning option. People who look for exits, for Benedict Options, etc. are looking for certainty. Safety. That’s natural but it isn’t available today. Instead, make friends, learn skills and keep your options open to see what comes along. Invest in yourself more than your circumstances.

I still think there’s a place for walking away. A conservative person living in central Portland or Baltimore is not going to enjoy the next decade, and if he resists the Borg he may lose his life or his freedom.

However, not everyone can walk away, or walk as far away as he’d like.

Antifragility is another tool in the thought criminal’s belt. Like exit, it is not a viable option for everyone straight away, but it will help most people to start thinking about it – especially as a long-term goal.

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Word from the Dark Side – lockdown blues, links between China and Imperial College London, lopping off heads and lawless yakuza brawls

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Yuria Satomi. Source as per watermark.

You know that lockdown going on everywhere, like the one in dreary Melbourne that restricted inmates to an hour’s exercise per day?

In sunny Spain, 80% of hospitalized Covid patients were deficient in vitamin D.

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The 11 best countries in Asia for escaping the West, ranked

I’ve lived in Asia for most of my adult life. I’ve visited a lot of countries and met people who’ve lived in others. That said, this is just my opinion.

I have not spent a lot of time in all these countries, as reflected in the ‘epistemic status’ star rating. If you know more, please contribute in the comments. Or keep it secret if you’d prefer not to be swamped by desperate readers of the People’s Blog.

You might find that a lower-ranked country actually suits you best. For example, Japan is my personal preference but I’ve downgraded it here for cost of living.

I’m thinking, for the average Westerner wanting to flee at short notice, what’s the cheapest, easiest, nicest and least challenging option? If expense, difficulty and challenge are cool with you, your ranking will differ.

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Don’t time the market: a personal account

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I knew the rule.  I knew it by heart, I knew it backwards, I knew it upside down, I knew it well enough to write a book about it.  I knew it all.

And yet, I thought I knew better.

I reckoned I could time the market.

Back in 2018, I was shifting my funds around according to my asset allocation strategy.  I got to the bit where I needed to move some bonds over to shares – and I balked.

I couldn’t do it. Read More

We got stooged

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Remember this?

It’s now clear that China engaged in a propaganda campaign to manipulate the rest of the world into imitating its strict lockdown policy. The linked article is one of many – even rags like the NYT ran the story.

We knew they were lying at the time but we never guessed that they might be exaggerating the risk of the virus.

First China used its newfound influence in the WHO to elicit absurd praise for its extreme and untested policy – a policy that the WHO would have roundly condemned had it been attempted anywhere else up to that point.

A lockdown which, curiously, did not prohibit residents of Wuhan traveling overseas for a good week.

Then there were the dodgy accounts on Western social media (blocked at home) disseminating videos of people in Wuhan collapsing in the street. We got totally stooged – we assumed this was a catastrophe China was covering up when in fact it was a fake catastrophe staged by the CCP for an overseas audience.

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Word from the Dark Side – submarine silliness, science sins, savage Saxons and soaking students

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Source: Arpeggio of Blue Steel

An article describing the dark arts of NBC’s Witchfinder General:

Not only does Zadrozny brag about doxing Trump supporters, she actually wrote the book on it. Incidentally, there is one group of people Zadrozny does not support doxing — pedophiles. Allow us to explain.

The UK is protected by four submarines carrying Trident nuclear missiles. The officer in charge of one of these vessels was relieved of his command after stumbling in drunk and carrying a bag of BBQ chicken.

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