Pain Quotidien

I won’t belabor an analogy between fueling body and feeding mind. And I don’t eat bread most days. But I do read great and insightful work on the web regularly, and it definitely fills my mind with rich goodness.

Taste the Pain

Some of the work I like best covers topics I just don’t know much about – which really could include most things written most places. But this particular genus of writings usually relates in some way to better living through smart everyday consumption decisions. Since that’s brainy and since it’s sweet, let’s call it sweet breads.

A second basket of daily bread is the croissant aux amandes of personal finance writing. Which is a high compliment to articles of this kind since I once ate croissant off a train floor. I’d just bought it at the station during the early morning hours of a vicious hangover. And no sooner had I sat down than I dropped the thing between my feet. Five second rule or whatever. This is stuff with lots of heart but is light and airy and so tasty you’d still want it even if it were partially covered in train grime.

Choose Your Pain
Choose Your Pain

And the third category is more theory-laden. This brain bread’s the rough equivalent of focaccia, or maybe a full-blown calzone. Filled with enriched goodness and smart seasonings and lots of surprising theoretical stuff that’ll get you thinking and moving without heartburn.

1) Sweet! Breads.

First up: I’m not sure if Team Libre necessarily qualifies as “cord cutters,” especially in our current set-up because we just never had cable or satellite or whatever installed when we moved in.

But we do occasionally miss out on football action because of ESPN’s dominance in CFB broadcasting and because of Monday Night Football’s inexplicable move from ABC to ESPN and because of the fact that my alma mater usually only gets televised on far-flung regional channels that don’t mind showing one-sided blowouts voiced by rookie commentators who covered semi-professional sailing the day before.

So I’m softly in the market for better pigskin viewing options. Cindy over at Smart Family Money sets out an entire menu of possibilities in a recent post. So, thanks to that great write-up, Team Libre might possibly consider a Sling TV thing in the near term. Thoughts on Sling, Luchadores?

Another rich read comes from Matt at Distilled Dollar who runs some numbers on life insurance policies. He discusses considerations to take into account with life insurance, and if you’ve got life insurance and are curious what kind of investment/opportunity cost it represents, this is a sweet spot for dough-related information. Gracias, Matt!

Additional sweetness and very funny story comes from ZJ Thorne, who recently played guest at an AirBnB. But not just any AirBnB. A very special one. In ZJT’s trademark style, this story is sugary and fun and right on target. For all the rah-rah about the “sharing economy,” there still are some kinks that need to get worked out, etiquette included. You know, etiquette like passing the bread basket.

2) Phyllo. Dough.

Want a quick dusting of flour to prep your life for financial independence? A great and light and heartfelt introduction to the FI lifestyle happens over at Mr. Crazy Kicks. Mr. CK hand-tosses the doughy ingredients for financial independence and early retirement and ends up with a nice and crisp and satisfying read.

For those moments when FI or RE or PF has you down, there’s a beautiful and emotional natural replacement for artificial fillers over at Plan.Invest.Escape. Mr. & Mrs. PIE write/read a letter to/from us/themselves and really touch on lots of powerful ideas in an artfully rendered delicacy.

From my boy DC at Finance Superhero, there’s a feel-good piece about reinventing one’s self. The post borrows lots of ideas from biz strategy, so it’s got a rich and creamy center. But it’s colorful and inviting on the outside and tells a story that, even for someone like me with little patience for Florida football, demands appreciation.

3) Dough, Boy!

Ah, some theory. Or awesome theory. Either way. Early Retirement Now makes the case for, and goes through the economics of, selling put options. Which may end up being a fantastic way to add some income and cash flow in an equities market that maybe doesn’t have enough yeast to rise much more over the next few years.

Mustard Seed Money does some nice work with golden dough, making a good case that gold is a terrible investment. And I agree. The read’s a great and dough-raising analysis, loaded with interesting, um, nuggets about the volatility of gold and its performance vis-a-vis inflation.

Also golden (or maybe green) is a deep, uh, swan dive into the argumentation around payday lending and payday loans. JW of The Green Swan lays out the economics beautifully and evenly, just like a nice pizza crust. It’s an unusually fair analysis of an unfairly vilified industry. Now, I’m glad there’s been public attention to the PDL space since that helps keep things copacetic, and I understand that PDL consumers have, at times, suffered from the tough economics of loans like this. But it’s hard to make a really damning case against payday lending when the relevant facts are considered, something JW does very nicely.

Ty at Get Rich Quick’ish does a great job outlining a golden rule of decision-making. Which is that you don’t always have to make changes if the time isn’t right just yet. “Doing nothing” is an overlooked and under-valued option lots of times (like, say, bagels). And I like Ty’s reminder here that, just because you’re in the bakery, it doesn’t mean you have to scarf down another scone. “Deciding to decide” can lead to undue action and lock-in costs that are golden handcuffs of the worst variety.

Last but not least: Ms. TJL over at The Jolly Ledger ups the ante on mere theory and lays down some deep analysis on the donuts and bolts of some healthcare legislation up for vote in her home state of CO later this year. The particulars of what happens in Bronco country may not apply to everyone right now, but TJL’s detailed look at some very big issues in healthcare coverage is owed attention for its insightfulness. Moreover, CO’s been a leader recently in legislation (e.g., marijuana) that has fanned out from the ruddy state, so it could pay green to be knowledgeable about what’s happening among folks a mile or so high.

Liquid Bread

A big salute from the ring to all the great writers out there who are keeping it real smooth and tasty, and many thanks for contributing such great thinking to the FI/RE/PF space.

Parting shot: I read lots of great stuff every week, and not all the great stuff I’ve recently read is covered here. If it were, this post would be six weeks in length and we’d all need to put those inflatable donuts in our chairs from of sitting so long.

Which is to say I’ll have to do something like this again. But in the meantime I hope y’all find the above reading as filling and necessary as any croissant or stout or beer sausage wrapped in a potato bun.

Cheers, Luchadores!

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