Leetown Letters (v2)

Leetown Letters is a weekly newsletter intended to provide sound, legitimate literature on the topics of finance, business/entrepreneurship, 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.

Article: 6 Personality Traits of the Wealthy and Successful (ThinkAdvisor)

Articles like this are usually click bait featuring generic, rehashed material, but this one rises above that standard. The most interesting of the 6 traits is the dual link between wealth and happiness. While the positive effect of wealth on happiness is well established (happiness increases linearly up to an income level of about $75,000), but I have yet to see the same claims on the inverse; that is, that happy people tend to be wealthier than unhappy people (statistically independent of wealth). This would suggest that wealth and happiness are mutually reinforcing, and that positive people are more upwardly mobile than negative people, regarding of original social status. This comes much to the chagrin of the sardonic jerks (like me) that tend to roll their eyes every time someone talks about the “power of positivity”.

Video: How To Build A Company Where The Best Ideas Win (Ray Dalio)

This is Ray Dalio’s Ted Talk to promote his new book, Principles: Life and Work, in which he lays out the inner workings of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund. I’m only halfway through the book itself, but I can say that the video is a great 15 minute summary of the most important ideas. Dalio’s management philosophy is so radically different from everything else out there, and centers around three ideals:  meaningful work, meaningful relationships, and idea-meritocratic decision making. Dalio has made an enormous impact on me and how I wish to grow my firm, and I hope he makes a significant impact on broad corporate culture as well.

Article: Financial Planning For Millenials (Me!)

In this article, I do a very broad, brief overview of what financial planning looks like for younger clients, and the common misconceptions. It is a lot easier to fix mistakes before they happen and reinforce good habits, and nothing saddens me more than telling a 60-year-old they can’t afford to retire when they want.

Article: Should The SEC Regulate The “Advisor” Title? (Financial Planning Mag)

Little known fact: anyone can call themselves a “financial advisor”. There is no required licensing, certification, or education to hold that title, so someone that felt particularly inspired after reading a couple Dave Ramsey articles could change their status on social media and immediately say they have a new job. EDIT: I originally wrote a long diatribe on this, but it is better to just read the damn article!

Book: How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big (Scott Adams)

My favorite book by Dilbert creator and serial entrepreneur Scott Adams. Failure is something we all experience, whether we like it or not, and our openness and reaction to failure are the biggest factors in determining the 2nd-order consequences of that failure. My favorite quote: “I have cultivated a unique relationship with failure. I invite it. I survive it. I appreciate it. And then I mug the shit out of it. Failure always brings something valuable with it. I don’t let it leave until I extract that value… My cartooning career, for example, is a direct result of failing to succeed in the corporate environment.” (p12)

Kyle Thompson, MBA is the Founder of Leetown Advisors, a fee-only RIA firm located in the Greater Des Moines area. For more information, please visit his website, subscribe to his blog, or email him at kylet@leetownadvisors.com.

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