Leetown Letters is a weekly newsletter intended to provide sound, legitimate literature on the topics of finance, investments, personal growth, and whatever else I damn well please. Below are links to and commentary on [mostly] third-party articles/books/videos that I think are important and worth a look.
Book: Peak Performance (Brad Stulberg, Steve Magness)
Peak Performance is one of few books that goes against the grain of the traditional mantra that success and happiness requires “balance and moderation”. In reality, the happiest and most successful people live in states of perpetual imbalance. They are dedicated to accomplishing something larger than themselves, and other areas of their life suffer. They don’t work 40 hours a week, they are not perfectly healthy, they don’t spend enough time with their friends and family, but they are grinding away compulsively toward some grand vision that they couldn’t achieve with perfect balance. However, the key is to shift from one imbalance to another- one person may work excessively in her 20s and 30s so that she may retire at 45, another may put school on hold in order to travel the world first. Personally, I spent most of my 20s competing in powerlifting and other strength sports with little regard for anything else. My grades in undergrad sucked, I couldn’t keep a job, and had crappy relationships. Once my body forced me to retire, I put that same dedication into my education and career, and couldn’t be happier right now.
Article: Asset Class Returns Over the Last 10 Years (Bespoke Investment Group)
An interesting article with a table of asset class returns since the start of the Great Recession 10 years ago. US stocks are the clear leader among global equities, which begs the question “are US stocks over-valued, or are foreign markets under-valued?”. Bonds have certainly benefited from Quantitative Easing, but with rates near 0% and the Fed planning to unwind its balance sheet, portfolios could be facing greater interest rate risk than ever. Commodities have taken a total dump in this period, whose returns are usually driven by a combination of growth and inflation, so it will be interesting to see how this asset class responds over the next decade.
Article: Investing 101 (Not Your Father’s Financial Advisor)
This is a quick article I wrote a couple of weeks ago on the basics of investing, including passive vs active, asset class allocation, and dollar cost averaging. I will admit, it could have been written better, but it gets the point across.
Article: Life Insurance Loans- A Risky Way To Bank On Yourself (Michal Kitces)
If ever you have been approached by an advisor who used the term “infinite banking” to sell you a permanent life insurance policy, you need to read this.
Calculator: Income-Based Student Loan Calculator (Student Loan Hero)
Student loans are quickly becoming one of the most important (and complicated) pieces of financial planning. This is a nifty little calculator I use when talking with clients about restructuring federal student loans. Little known fact: student loans forgiven through this program are taxable as income in the year they are forgiven, and can come with a hefty tax bill!
That’s it for this week, I hope you found this content useful!!