Refund or payment in taxes for 2018
Like most people with professional jobs, we have some money squirreled away in the stock market so come tax season, we’ve to wait until February 15th to finalize our tax returns.
After a few years of eagerly waiting for refunds and realizing the futility of that behavioral economics-driven contradiction, we adjusted our withholding to ensure that we have to pay a minimal amount each year instead of letting the government earn interest. The withholding tables and advice from our employer where we have now worked for 6+ years via an online tool helped us keep it to a low amount so it didn’t break our bank or lead to unexpected surprises.
Raising kids smart (and conscious) about money
I recently finished reading The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money by Ron Lieber. Five stars may be a one star too many given the criticisms faced by this book. While understandably, this book is aimed at the upper-middle class of parents (and the author admits that), it contains plenty of advice and truth-telling that is applicable to most parents, unexpected life circumstances notwithstanding. In fact, if life takes an untoward turn toward the unexpected that results in a significant loss of net worth or a downgrade in life style, your kids may be better prepared to handle the turn of fortune.
Even if most of the advice is geared toward the rich families e.g. like the kids from the 2-million-dollar home halving their footprint to a million-dollar-home (and donating the difference in value to charity) and the girl raising show horses, it sets a precedent among the rich that may address several social ills prevalent today.
Pet Peeve #452
One of my pet peeves is retail people assuming I don’t eat pork. I would hesitate to call it a micro-aggression because I’ve experienced this behavior from all kinds of people. Desi guys at Subway, the Asian guy at a Chinese restaurant, and white people at supermarkets. When I order a sandwich and order bacon on it, I get a concerned look and a warning that bacon is pork and if I’m ok with it. Fuck yeah! That’s why I ordered it. Or more infuriating is when I order pork belly and am warned that it’s pork. I almost want to snap back that I sure hope it is. The supermarket is especially galling at the samples table. I amble up to try a sample to the guy screaming at everyone to try the latest ham and get a warning that it’s pork. I’m like, yes that’s why I came over unlike the others who’re pretending to ignore you.
I’m not sure where this unwanted concern comes from. Maybe it’s the assumption that all brown guys are Muslims and Muslims don’t eat pork. It’s almost like if I manned the supermarket samples table and warned all white guys that the meat samples are not kosher and wonder what they’re doing out on the Sabbath.
Starting 2019 on the right note
As I mentioned in my previous post, I set a goal of walking more and hitting my 10K daily steps goal more often than last year. To start 2019 on the right foot (sorry!), I wanted to extend my streak that last stood at 11 days. I ended up with 17 straight days for a total of 20 days in January on my 10K steps goal! On six other days, I walked 8000+ steps but fell short of my 10K mark. I realized that wanting to continue my streak led me to even simply walking around the house on days it was either raining or too cold to venture out. It almost is like that Apple Watch alert where your watch is exhorting you to “close that ring by taking a brisk 16-minute walk”.
On another front, although I have not stated it explicitly (deliberately but too late now), I’ve wanted to rekindle (sorry, again!) my reading habit by putting books on hold liberally at the public library. So whenever I come upon a book recommendation either while reading other books or on Micro.blog, I immediately go to the Libby app and search for it. If it is in the system, I either put a hold on it or tag it as “to read” if it’s immediately available. At times, this has led to several books being borrowed at the same time. However, I made a conscious decision not to rush through books just to finish reading them and better still, to abandon books that became too weary to finish. Also, now that I’ve a commute of at least an hour back and forth from work, I’ve re-started listening to audio books and finished my first one this year.
At the end of January 2019, I’ve now read three books - How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery by Kevin Ashton, The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline, and Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark. I am almost nearing the end of the fourth - When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. Although I’m more pre-disposed toward non-fiction, I’m trying to delve into more fiction and Sameer Vasta’s recommendations have been useful.
These Feet are Made for Walkin’
My wife is a fitness nut. Me? Not so much. I try to stay fit and in shape but lack the discipline to do the right thing. For the past few years, I’ve made it a point to at least walk more if nothing else. I use the elliptical occasionally at the local YMCA but mostly, I like to walk outside. So on some days when I used to be home early from work, my wife and I used to take long walks in our neighborhood.
I’ve been using David Smith’s Pedometer++ app for a while now. It’s clean, simple, and has a clear goal-setting marker using colors. I’ve set a daily goal of 10K steps.
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