What I’ve Learned…

Use it right away. My OCD has me ordering/acquiring things and afraid to use them, for fear they’ll get tarnished. Best to break them out right away, otherwise you’ll end up questioning yourself later why you took so long to use them.

Research, but make a decision. The great thing about the internet is there are so many resources. First and foremost Amazon. Note that no matter what the product is, it’ll have some one star reviews. Some people cannot be satiated, or they hate the product in principle. Then again, if they all complain about physical/usability defects, don’t buy it. Some electronic gear fails right out of the box, but most doesn’t. Play the odds. And research on “Consumer Reports” and the “Wirecutter” also. As for other review sites…be wary, oftentimes there’s a compromise under the surface, it’s a paid site or they’re taking kickbacks or… If it’s an exotic product, do not trust any of these outlets except Amazon, where the people who actually buy the gear review it. CR and the “Wirecutter” are middlebrow, they appeal to the masses. You’ve got to find reviews from people who are just as into the product as you are.

You get what you pay for. I’m not saying there’s any problem with getting a deal, but if you buy a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW elements are featured that are often unavailable in not only cheaper products, but other brands completely. If the extra 10% means something to you, if you get satisfaction from it, if the extra 1% means something to you, go for it, assuming you can afford it. Don’t listen to the naysayers saying you’re wasting your money, the enjoyment you will get from cutting edge products is worth it if that’s your personality, if that’s what you want.

Don’t ever lease a car unless you are rich, or your company is paying for it, or your accountant advises you there are huge tax advantages. Sure, you’re driving a new car, but you end up with nothing. Having said that, we are in a very challenging era, electric vehicles are going to wipe out gasoline ones seemingly overnight, no one knows exactly when that will be, but it’s gonna happen. So, if you’re buying an expensive gasoline automobile to drive for twenty years, the joke is now on you.

When in doubt, buy the name brand. It’s got a better service network, it’s seen more customers who have revealed more flaws. Otherwise you’re an early adopter, which sometimes works and sometimes does not.

What seems like a stretch financially today looks like bupkes tomorrow. Real estate is not fungible, every property is different, so if you find something you really like, extend your budget. In certain markets, like Southern California, real estate is one of the best investments. It can crash every seven years or so, but it always bounces back. In other markets…this may not happen, but you get the luxury of living in the house. Having said that, NEVER buy the most expensive house on the block, its value will be dragged down by the properties near it.

Electronics have a shelf life. Sure, you want to take care of them, but use them fully, because chances are they’ll be superseded technologically long before their physical life ends. You can use the old product, but you won’t want to. There’s no need to buy a point and shoot camera, if you want high quality photos lay down for a good one, which is in the neighborhood of $500 to $15000, otherwise it’s a waste of money.

Don’t be afraid of breaking your iPad OS. Or your Mac OS either. It’s essentially impossible. Take risks, make mistakes. Of course Windows is not quite as solid, but it’s light years better than it used to be, however it is prone to phishing scams and viruses. As for the same on Macs? Theoretical, but I’ve yet to find someone who’s encountered one in the field, forget the antivirus software, chances are you’ll just slow down your operating system.

You can’t beat the cable company. It’s digital, the physical analog filters of yore are long gone. And the wheeling and dealing of the past is mostly gone. Just pay. And if you don’t want to pay… You’ll still need an internet connection, and chances are your cable company will sell it to you at a high price and throw in the TV channels for free. The only threat to this model is 5G mobile carriers. T-Mobile has an interesting product, check it out if it’s in your market and your connection is slow, otherwise cable can’t be beat, certainly not for speed. This is the problem with monopolies, which most cable companies were granted back in the seventies for wiring the neighborhood.

Buy the cheapest computer in the product line or the most expensive. Either see your laptop/desktop as disposable, or a long term investment. And always upgrade from the base model, oftentimes it doesn’t have enough storage to even upgrade the operating system in the future, never mind enough RAM to avoid slowdowns. You need a minimum of 16GB of RAM, no matter what anybody says.

Life may be short, but it’s also very long. At some point you’ve got to save for the future. If your company offers an IRA, use it. Too many boomers thought they could work forever, and now they can’t get a job and they don’t have enough money and there’s nowhere they can make more.

DON’T TAKE SOCIAL SECURITY UNTIL YOU’RE 70, NO MATTER WHAT ANYBODY SAYS! You’re gonna need the extra cash when you get old, and chances are you’re gonna live that long. Get a service job, do anything to avoid taking social security early. As for dying before the crossover point…no one wins all the time, NO ONE, and the opposite, losing, running out of money in the future…is disastrous.

Most people are full of crap and not worth listening to. They only know what they know, which is not much. They feel good that they can blow hard on different subjects. You’re best off getting info from someone who tells you they don’t have all the answers, or someone who is truly an expert in their field, but still, cross-check what they have to say online.

Do your best not to waste time on social media. Facebook is a trap. Furthermore, if you’re posting, all you’re doing is building a worthless monument to yourself. As for Twitter, don’t post at all unless you’re famous…no one will see it.

There’s some amazing stuff on the flat screen, but it’s dwarfed by tripe.

Believe the odds. If an operation says it’s got a 95% success rate, that means it doesn’t work, or doesn’t work fully, for 5%, and I’ve been in that 5%, more than once. If doctors ever told you what was really involved in surgery, you’d never do it. Having said that, you can’t be too scared to get better. See your doctor for a physical each and every year, no matter what anybody says, you’d be amazed how much can change in a year, you can develop cancer, I know from experience. And it’s better that you catch it early, you don’t want to be Warren Zevon.

You’ll reach a point where the game does not matter. You’re striving for decades, building your “resumĂ©,” and then you get to the point where you’re in high school again, no one cares what your job used to be, that you have a certain amount of money, unless you’re truly rich.

Be aware that you’re jumping through hoops, and that ultimately the hoops might be meaningless. Being good at school does not mean you’ll be successful in life. Devoting yourself to the corporation does not mean you’ll get a raise or be promoted.

If you work for yourself you eliminate the bureaucracy, which is important if you’re not good at kissing ass and socializing.

If you’re not the best in a narrow field, find another field.

You’re an individual, no one thinks exactly like you, no one completely understands you, so factor that in in the decisions you make.

Your body tells you when you’ve made the wrong decision, go against these feelings at your peril.

Everybody knows the truth. The braggart, the person who rubs you the wrong way, who you think everybody else likes, people know the score, the joke is on the braggart/self-promoter themselves.

Think for yourself, question authority. Don’t forget, these “authorities” are just people, prone to failure just like you.

Individuals who change the world don’t have mentors and don’t do internships.

Online every outlet is equal. There’s usually only one victor in each space. And they’re so good you want to use them. It’s not about building competitors to Google or Amazon, but channeling and limiting their efforts. If you buy it from Amazon you’ll get a refund no questions asked. Buy it from someone else… Same deal with Google, its search is so good there’s no need for a competitor. It’s not like Bing or DuckDuckGo are physically closer, they’re all just a click away. Best to make Google take privacy seriously.

Nothing is forever. Not IBM, not a hit act…

You don’t want to be the mascot. You can brag about who you hang with, but these people will never truly respect you.

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