Monthly Archives: October 2018

Retirement Intelligence 101

Welcome to Retirement Intelligence 101, a series on how to retire.  We will first define what it means to be retired by listing a few details that describe the state of being retired.  Then we will define what you will need in order to be retired.  Then we will discuss what you can do to get what you need in order to be retired.  1. How to get 2. what you need 3. to be retired.

As a Legal Disclaimer: None of this is financial advice so don’t sue me.  Evaluate what you read with your own judgment. I am just sharing my thoughts and opinions.

Let’s dive into Step 1.

What it means to be retired to me is you have the following taken care of for the rest of your life:

  1. Necessities (Food and water, Shelter).  You will never have to worry about being able to afford some form of this in order to stay alive (quality of food/water/shelter is not guaranteed)
  2. Emergency Protections (Insurance premiums paid for, budget for emergency expenses). You are unlikely to have major expenses come up like going to the hospital and getting a large bill, but if they do you are prepared for the bill because insurance will pay a lot of it and your emergency savings fund will pay for the rest of it.
  3. Inflation.  You don’t have to worry about becoming poorer over time due to inflation. (Google for “Inflation” to learn more)
  4. Your life improves over time. You won’t be stuck in the same lifestyle for the rest of your life.  As you age, you get more money and you can buy more and better things.
  5. Budget for fun. You have money to do what you want, and over time you get more money to do what you want.

And the key point is all of this is possible without you doing any work as an employee. 0 work as an employee, you get this. For the rest of your life. That is retirement. It’s also financial freedom.

We can add up the budget for all 5 categories to come up with the total amount of cash you expect to be able to spend per year.  Let’s say it’s about $51,000 based on the spending of an Average American (article here) which is $64,000 per year before taxes.

To retire you will need to somehow get $64,000 per year before taxes.  Without working.  How do you get money without working?  Stay tuned for the next post where I tell you that answer!

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Do you know what the difference is between Hi, Hey, and Hello?

In this article, we will increase our observation skills by digging deep into the meaning behind the greeting.  What is someone saying when they use different word choice like Hi, Hey, or Hello?  Let’s begin by analyzing the words themselves.

Hi and Hello both express a greeting, and that is their only meaning.  Hey is a word that both means a greeting, and it means a interjection.  “Hey stop that” for example.  Thus, Hey is a more aggressive term than Hi or Hello.  So why would you ever use a more aggressive term to greet someone?  The answer is baked into psychology: You can treat your friends worse than strangers because you know they will forgive you and they know you don’t mean it.  As a result, Hey becomes an acceptable greeting and it is a mark of close friendship. Alternatively, if the two people are not friends and Hey is used as a greeting, it can be a mark of disrespect.  When you’re meeting someone new, you generally don’t open with animosity because that would be picking a fight. When you meet someone new, you generally want to go neutral, so you’d say Hi or Hello.  So now we’ve figured out the difference between Hi and Hello, and Hey.

What’s the difference between Hi and Hello?  First observations are that Hi is shorter than Hello, so therefore it takes less time to say Hi than it takes to say Hello.  This can be interpreted two ways. One way is if the person is lazy, they will say the shorter word Hi.  Showing laziness is a form of disrespect: I don’t care to present myself with energy because I don’t see you as a threat or worthy of my attention and energy.  Alternatively, this can be interpreted as respect: I don’t have the right to speak, so I’ll limit my time speaking and instead leave more time for you to talk.  How do you know which is which? The tone of voice. If the Hi is weak and very short (and often high pitched), then they are afraid an it is a sign of respect.  If the Hi is strong (and often low pitched) and drawn out with lazy energy, then it’s likely a sign of disrespect.

There’s more we can dig into, such as the number of beats the person spends on each syllable of the greeting, and the direction of the tone (is it Hi with a high pitch dropping down, or a low pitch curving up, or the same pitch monotone), but I’ll focus instead of on eye contact because that says more about the situation.  The angle of the person’s face in relation to yours says a lot about the greeting. The general rule is if they look down, they are submissive to you as if they are bowing to you. If they look up, they are superior to you because they are looking down their nose at you. If they look at you head on, then they are present with you in the moment. This signal, in addition to the signals above, can give you a more holistic picture of the interaction and therefore more confidence in your interpretation of the interaction. It’s more reliable to see many signals that agree with each other than to focus on just one signal alone.

To summarize briefly the pivot points

  • word choice (Hi, Hello, Hey)
  • angle of head (up, down, level)

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Reduce Stress through Reframing. Rich vs. Poor: Views on Bureaucracy

Nobody likes waiting in line, but some people can do it without wasting emotions and energy by getting angry. They do this by avoiding personalization and blaming and false mind reading.

When a rich person goes to bureaucracy, they usually have these assumptions

  • The system is here to serve me
  • I will get served
  • I deserve to get served
  • They must serve me because I am entitled to the service
  • I have power to complain and ensure that I get the service
  • I will be fine without the service

And so most of their anger (if any) is centered around entitlement, and most of their calmness and peace is also centered around entitlement.


When a poor person goes to bureaucracy, they usually have these assumptions

  • The system is set up by someone else for their own reasons that weren’t necessarily for my benefit.
  • I just happen to qualify, maybe I will get served.
  • Or I don’t qualify, and I hope they don’t notice.
  • I don’t deserve service, but I hope I do get service
  • I am not entitled to the service, it’s not guaranteed.
  • If they refuse service I have no way of forcing them to give me service, I’m powerless. I’m weak and afraid.
  • If I don’t get this service, I’ll be much worse off because 1. I need this service 2. I don’t have much so 3. it costs me a lot to be here waiting for the service. So much so that I may not have much left–waiting in line costs so much energy and health and resources that I can’t afford to not be served.

And so most of their anger comes from the fear of being worse off, the fear of being not served, the fear of the humiliation of being refused service, and the fear of the realization of how weak and powerless they really are.


To overcome these emotions, you need to reframe the situation. Think about it this way:

  • The system is out of your control
  • The system is not human. Even though you’re interacting with people who operate within the system, the people obey the commands of the system. The system lives by using the people.  Bureaucracy is not people, it’s a system.
  • Systems do not persecute individuals. There’s nothing in the system that says for you and you alone, you cannot get service. The system has rules that are general. For example, the system might say that anyone who has blue hair cannot get service. So if you have blue hair you don’t get service. If this happens, don’t personalize it. It’s not just you, it was unlucky that it was about your blue hair.
  • If you have connections or can make insider connections to get special treatment, realize that you are no longer dealing with a system or a bureaucracy, but you’re dealing with the specific individual and their power over the system.  What this means is: it only matters if it works, and if it doesn’t, don’t dwell on the person’s failure, just realize you’re going to be served by the system, and the system gives no special treatment. No special good, and no special bad.

If you can accept that the system of bureaucracy is a mindless organization outside of your control, then there’s less to be angry about.  All you need to know is time will be spent waiting for your service, and you can spend that time tiring yourself out with anger, or you can spend that time in a better way that is up to your choosing.

  • If the system does not serve you, it’s not neglect.  A lot of people were neglected by their parents, friends, etc. and so when they’re waiting for service, the act of not being served can trigger feelings of neglect.  Don’t fall for this. The system has not singled you out for neglect. It’s a random act with no biases: systems do not target individuals, they target groups of people.  So don’t take it personally as neglect. It’s not.


I also want to point out entitlement is a key reason why communism and capitalism lead to very different mental healths for the population. In Communism, everyone knows they’re supposed to get something so there’s some peace in that. It might be widely unequal what they get compared to others, but everyone knows they’re supposed to get something and there’s comfort in that.  In Capitalism, everyone knows they’re supposed to get nothing. You get nothing unless you earn it somehow.  There’s no peace, because earning is a competition, supply and demand, market forces outside your control dictating whether you can sell your services or not.  There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty in capitalism that leads to unhealthy mental states.

Read more about articles in the Rich vs. Poor Series here.

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