There’s no such thing as a safe investment worth making: ‘Personal Finance Day’ notes

I’ve shared before what a strange nerd I am. I tackle learning in a full-force kind of way, and I love to pair seeing old friends with new experiences and ideas.

For the third year, two childhood friends and I came together Saturday for dinner and drinks and elaborate slide presentations sharing lessons we had learned about the difficult and tricky and complex world of business and retirement planning and, yes, wealth creation.

Indeed, it was the third annual Personal Finance Day.

I wanted to share a few things we talked about that might transfer well. And use this as a reminder: when something as stressful and arcane as personal finance intimidates you, find friends, make whiskey sours and dive in and discuss. You’ll be surprised how much fun you can have.

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What I learned at our second annual ‘Personal Finance Day’

Following up on last year’s inaugural, two friends and I returned to the rural county we grew up in together and had a day-long nerd out on personal finances.

Yes, after cocktails and dinner and catching up, we literally gave presentations and shared tips on things we were learning about navigating the very complicated personal finance world. It’s all about fun and self-improvement.

We shared and discussed and debated over ideas and rules of thumb and data — like the above pictured Zillow chart predicting longterm real estate growth in my neighborhood of Fishtown.

Below, I share a few notes that aren’t top secret.

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A few things I learned at a ‘Personal Finance Day’

The act of learning something I can use has maybe always been one of my favorite acts (that’s why I used to collect extra printouts from school printers). And the mysteries and vagaries of finance have perhaps intimidated me more than most — particularly as a business reporter.

It’s a system that benefits from its complication, making it easier to separate us from money. So I try to take as many opportunities as I can to learn and share to pick up and trade tips on personal finance. As a middle class kid, I had the privilege of being introduced to basic banking from an early age but the more complex instruments were ones I discovered as I pursued greater understanding through high school and college.

I’ve continued that learning and want to share some recent lessons here.

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