Stop specializing: I am my own niche

For years I’ve thought that the way to truly be successful and influential in your field(s) was to specialize – experts would always best Jack of all trades, masters of none.

Yet I quickly realized I had so many interests, genuine passions, for so many different fields that didn’t necessarily coordinate well together.

In high school, I’d be deeply interested in chemistry and math classes and how the world worked, my favorite class still was acting, and yet I received the top English award.

After class, I’d balance basketball practice with musical theatre rehearsals and violin orchestra practice. I constantly wondered whether I was spreading myself too thin, and I also realized I was never truly able to be the best in any one field.

I ended up dropping the basketball team out of lack of dedication, I felt like an imposter leading my high school strings orchestra as concertmaster for 3-years, and when I played Scar in Lion King I couldn’t help but have a lingering feeling of regret that I sacrificed basketball to sing. Why couldn’t I be like Troy Bolton?

Now I am at another semi-crossroads.

Am I the magician?

The philosopher, daily blogger?

Will I work on Wall Street and run a hedge fund, trading stocks, and options?

Or will I dive into academic economic research and cure poverty – my all-time goal?

I don’t have the answer, but I think I’ve come up with a path: I am my own niche

Specialization worked in the days of Henry Ford assembly lines, and yes it still works today too

But there’s something to be said about the creativity of bringing in interdisciplinary skills and disciplines

The most recent book I’ve been reading dives deeper into this concept of Range: How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World.

Steve Jobs famously cited his Chinese calligraphy class for giving him the inspiration for pioneering Apples typography and design

Roger Federer didn’t specialize in tennis until much later than his peers, and in fact, might have learned towards soccer at one point in his childhood

And Lindt chocolate brought together dark chocolate and spices to create something new, unique, and not necessarily specialized but surely special

There’s ultimately nothing wrong with specialization, and equally nothing wrong with having a broad range of skills.

I hope to find a balance between both practices so that I can further build bridges between philosophy and business.

undervalued investing

I feel undervalued by society

whether or not I am justified in that feeling is for discussion another time

but in general value investing theory, you are taught to invest in undervalued stocks and companies

so now is the time for me to dive deep into personal investments

academics, career, physical & mental health, passions, creativity, knowledge

time for me to invest as much as I can into myself

undervalued investments pay the biggest dividends

Calculated risks

We make calculated risks every day – intuitively

How quickly can I jaywalk without getting hit by a car?

What if I run through a yellow light?

Eating spicy food

As I learn more about investing and trading, I’ve tried to apply those skills to life in terms of making calculated risks.

But not just intuitively. I love the idea of making decision matrices or weighing the options at hand.

My senior English thesis in High School was about the Paradox of Choice and how too many options in this world can put us in a state of paralysis of analysis. I found it interesting because I’ve used that knowledge to better my understanding of making – and going through with – certain decisions I make.

Of course, life offers many options. I chose Villanova over Toronto. I chose Economics over Finance. Every choice I make, I have to forsake something else due to opportunity cost.

But being too focused on opportunity cost may make your completely paralyzed and fail to actually make a decision.

And so there are two parts to being a great decision-maker: taking calculated risks (intuitively and planned), and making decisions and going through with them.

Being a great decision-maker. That is a strong skill to have.

Living expenses

Personal finance is a topic I’ve always enjoyed studying.

How can people, individuals, manage their finances in the most efficient way while also satisfying the economical unlimited wants and desires of being human?

How about we do some incredibly rudimentary examples of personal finance:

$1000 apartment or $800 shared with your college friends

$15 UBER ride or walking OR $2 subway train

$15 lunch at Pret a Manger OR making your own lunch for $5

$5 Starbucks coffee vs. no coffee

And the biggest one that I’ve been trying to cut out for my living expenses:

Haircuts.

Yes.

I get a haircut quite regularly, around every 3-weeks.

Nothing fancy. I’ve been trying to grow out the top of my hair so I’ve just been asking for my sides and back to be shaved and cleaned up. It takes less than 10-minutes, really, and it’s really not worth my money.

The opportunity cost of getting my sides fixed is roughly $30. $20 for the haircut, $10 for my time spent commuting to and from.

Now, because of how simple of a haircut I need every 3 weeks, I can very much do it myself.

$30 shaver on Amazon and learn how to be self-sufficient.

That’s 17 fewer haircuts I’d need every year, 17*25=$425 minus the initial $30 for the shaver = I’d save $395 in the first year, and then $425 every year after.

It doesn’t seem like much at first, but it adds up.

Invest that $395 into the stock market, and expect even just an average of 7% annual interest compounded over 20 years, I’d have $16,193

Do it for 40 years and I’d have $78,855.

Just by cutting my own hair.

How’s that for self-sufficient?

Read more finance stuff on my Down to Finance website:

www.downtofinancedtf.com

 

 

 

Live to trade another day

Often when I’m day trading stocks and I profit for the day, I want to keep going. I want to use the positive momentum. But what I’ve learned is that often in those instances I start trading with emotion and I end up losing partially the gains I made earlier in the day.

Even with day-trading stocks, it’s important to understand that life isn’t a sprint… it’s a marathon. And you want to be consistent and show up every morning. Take it one step at a time; live to trade another day.

[Book Review] The Wealthy Barber Returns – David Chilton

wealthy barber returns

David Chilton sounds like me, but trapped in a 40-year-old body.

His writing style is extremely informal, and he often uses sarcasm, puns, and incredibly badly timed & cringe-worthy jokes…

Basically me!

Either way, his books, The Wealthy Barber & The Wealthy Barber Returns are both great finance books.

As the name suggests, the book teaches you how to be wealthy, even if you were a barber.

The concepts are basic and fundamental; great for anyone!

Save more, spend less, invest and compound, and don’t get yourself in debt.

But Chilton not only provides great examples and humorous tips on how to do all those things, but he also understands that although the theory is simple, it is hard to execute.

The chapters are short (often 2-4 chapters each).

The book is broken down into many segments so it feels like actually a really short read.

I aspire to be a financial advisor or someone who helps the general population with financial advice…and although I do think that I know a good amount of information on finance, it seems awkward to take the advice for an 18-year old, doesn’t it?

I hope for a world where everyone, my friends, family, and the general population is financially literate and is not burdened by the concept of money. And I think a great way to spread financial knowledge is through reading.

And that’s why you need to read his book…Read this book if you want to be a Wealthy Barber.

Good Luck and always reach out! I am always free to share my investment journey