how to make the most of your income

Boycott college for professions which aren’t in healthcare, law, or science. Boycott brand names in exchange for the cheapest alternatives (clothes, food, medicine, etc.). Avoid unnecessary debt. Plant your own garden and grow your own vegetables. Focus your spending on needs, not wants. Live beneath your means. Have more roommates than you need. Consider using an FHA loan to purchase a relatively inexpensive house. Consider purchasing an affordable used RV to live out of full-time. Do your own repairs, painting, and any work you may otherwise pay someone else to do for you. Patch or repair your clothes before getting a replacement. Always buy used over new. If you don’t know how to do maintenance yourself ask for help from friends and family or look up a tutorial on YouTube. Only give gifts to your lover and your kids. Cancel all of your entertainment subscriptions. Listen to the radio and/or podcasts. Read more. Do crossword puzzles. Play more board games with family and friends. Playing cards works too. Go fish! Mailing cards is underrated. Randomly reconnect with friends and family, not just on holidays. Exercise more. Do less drugs (including cannabis) or none at all. Drink less alcohol or none at all. Never go out for drinks. Never drink and drive. If the person can walk and isn’t bleeding call a Lyft or a friend, not an ambulance. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Prepare all of your meals yourself. Be your own barista. Learn what the nutrition facts on food actually mean. Eat healthier. Swap recipes with friends. An investment in your health is an investment in yourself. Love living with less. You don’t have to delete your social media profiles but you should delete their apps from your phone and only check them (via browser) no more than once a week. Find pleasure or beauty in the mundane moments, recognize nothing is mundane. Recognize the difference between judgement and constructive criticism. Use condoms. Go camping. Take a road trip at least once a year (preferably monthly). If you often find you’re bored volunteer for a cause you love or get an additional job. Volunteering your time is always better than donating money. Don’t be afraid to say yes. You typically have to give respect (to yourself and others) to receive it. Cut the attitude, get to the point (especially when you know you’re right). Unite in our differences and embrace others for being unique. Apply for odd jobs. Don’t be afraid to say no. Never assume, always verify. Don’t stress over what you can’t control. It’s okay to be selfish when it doesn’t hurt you or someone else. Regardless of what you believe the definition of racism is look it up in the dictionary and remind yourself. Using ‘racist’ when the actions and statements of folks aren’t racist only weakens the term so be sure to only use it correctly and, most importantly, don’t be racist. Participate in politics. Write down your ideas and random thoughts, reflect on them often. Vote in every election, not just the presidential elections. Blocking out the haters encourages division and empowers a group of folks in hatred. Instead do your best to have civil conversations with the folks who disagree with you while taking every opportunity to bond over your similarities. Never forget there’s always more to learn. Find the folks who know more than you (they’re everywhere others are). Talk to strangers. Practice living. Practice listening. Practice loving. …

Amazon could solve America’s healthcare crisis

I’ve spent some time thinking about our healthcare crisis and it dawned on me that a big company, like Amazon, could afford to buy 1–2 of the top hospital chains in the US and essentially offer full health coverage to many US Prime members for an extra monthly fee. This fee could be based around charging a small percentage over the cost to operate the hospitals divided by their American members. Amazon would have to require folks to sign contracts committing to be “Prime Health” members for years at a time in order to keep people from only paying when they need something. However, I believe that’d still do wonders for American healthcare and not wreck anywhere near the havoc Bernie Sanders’ “here have this” plan likely would. I think healthcare memberships with low and flat monthly rates is the future of American healthcare because it’d create a system which could be eased into, would be cost effective (for everyone), and wouldn’t cause millions of people to lose their jobs nearly as quickly. …

how to help those who need it most and increase revenue

I’ve spent years brainstorming opportunities to not only encourage more businesses to be charitable but also encourage consumers to preferentially support the charitable businesses in order to create a supportive circle for everyone who chooses to be involved. I often hear people say we either need more capitalism (if they want more) or more socialism (if they need more), but I believe there’s an alternative approach to capitalism which helps everyone without government intervention. I believe the future of capitalism has the potential to be rather beautiful in a way that lifts up the folks who need lifting up and, by doing so, boosts revenue for the businesses which help with the lifting. …

a photo studio and exhibition space

I’m imagining a small cliche American dream style house with a small well-manicured yard surrounded by a white picket fence. The inside would be rustic but using the house as a residence wouldn’t be its main purpose. The main purpose of the house would be to serve as a photo studio and exhibition space for ladies, couples, and a limited number of men who wish to pose nude within the house in order to have said photos hung somewhere in the house. The poses are up to the models in the sense that they can cook breakfast in the kitchen, stand in a doorframe, take a nap on the couch, or do whatever they desire as long as it’s inside the house. If they’d like to leave more than their photo behind they could also bring their own 8x10 frame. Anyone would be welcome to schedule an appointment to pose for a photo. …

A foundation without fundraising

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Illustration by Joe Anderson, Kiplinger

Imagine a foundation which launches with a $1,000,000 invested in BRK.B, waits a year to begin withdrawing no more than 5% annually, and then uses the returns to boost the lives of ordinary people. As the value of the fund increases the foundation would be able to give more. The money would never (!) go toward anything political nor to anyone who didn’t have a legitimate need for it. In other words, the money would never fuel an addiction or go toward something wasteful/extravagant. All of the philanthropy would be promoted through an anonymous blog. In order to prevent the hoarding of massive amounts of money which could be used to help others the foundation would dedicate every $1M the fund goes over $5M to another ‘undercover philanthropist’ so they can follow the guidelines listed above as well. …

When using reusable materials isn’t an option hemp bioplastics combined with small non-toxic flower seeds are our best solution to reducing waste.

I’ve been thinking about starting a bioplastic based business which makes everything from truly disposable drinking straws to every utensil typically used once. Environmentally friendly hemp bioplastic utensils made in small batches for people and big ones for restaurants. By mixing non-toxic seeds into the plastic the straws would produce flowers after the plastic decomposes. In the right conditions hemp bioplastic can completely decompose within 3–6 months. So these products may have a shelf-life but that’s only a selling point, not a con.

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This is not my photo. I borrowed it from

Hemp bioplastics, even ones 100% bio-based, are incredibly strong. Their decomposition rate has more to do with their environment and what they’re turned into than anything. Most of the bioplastic products I’ve seen offered aren’t 100% bio-based which is likely so they don’t break down as quickly. And none of them feature seeds for plants embedded in the plastic. I feel that’s the equivalent of being a vegetarian, not a vegan. Or driving a hybrid instead of going fully electric. It’s neat but if folks really care about what they’re doing they shouldn’t stop at the halfway mark. It’s 2019 and we can go all the way without changing hardly any part of our lives due to the wide variety of accessible options. …

Consider this alternative to affordable and accessible insurance.

Accomplishing a lot of good doesn’t mean we need to change a lot over night. Gradual changes can be incredibly beneficial when they’re well placed. For instance, decent dental insurance comes with a several month long waiting period after signing up for the insurance before it covers extractions and other things more complicated than cleanings and X-rays. This is meant to prevent folks from only signing up for insurance when they need it and then dropping it afterward because the monthly insurance payments themselves are typically affordable. It’s waiting which is a pain (literally) and taking advantage of the insurance can still be expensive depending on the work needed. However, future work becomes minimal once those issues are taken care of and a schedule for regular check-ups/cleanings are put in place. This makes me wish there was an option to contractually commit to keeping an insurance plan for a set period of at least a few years like one does with cable TV or a cell phone plan. On top of the insurance itself credit could be offered to cover the costs of the procedures up front via a variety of tiers of installment plans that include different interest levels. …

Buying and occasionally selling different stocks as well as making predictions for where different sectors of the market are headed is something I love to do from time to time. The following is a prediction I made about six months ago which I believe aligns with this recent article from The Wallstreet Journal I encourage you to read.

Cellphone carriers competing with WiFi providers is just the tip of the iceberg. For the most part, the carriers only really have data to offer at this point since paying for calls and texts has become largely obsolete. And, thanks to their own attempts to provide competitively priced data, the price for access to it has consistently dropped. Once Google, Facebook, SpaceX, and Samsung begin offering global internet access for a relatively low amount of money none of the major telecom companies will be able to compete. This is going to happen much sooner than the market appears to be acknowledging and when I say telecom companies I’m talking about everything from AT&T and Verizon to Centurylink and Cox Enterprises. My prediction is that there’s going to be more and more mergers within the telecom industry until they either go under or are acquired by Apple, Amazon, and other large scale device manufacturers and tech companies who will want a new way to compete with SpaceX, Samsung, and whoever else provides access to global internet. This is the real reason cellphone carriers are so scared. This is the beginning of the end for cellphone carriers as we’ve known them. In fact I’d like to encourage any skeptics to look at what Netflix has done to Blockbuster and many movie theaters through the use of modern tech. What’s to stop a tech company from revolutionizing our access to data and communications as we know it? …

We’re all going to die.

The thought of uploading your being into a computer and living for as long as you wish through some sort of a robot is absurd. I completely understand why people believe this is possible but I think their beliefs are blinded by their desire to extend life beyond its known limits. I see the Singularity in its purest form as making a copy of a document at a copy machine. Yes, the copy is inherently the same as the original but no matter how indistinguishable it is from the original it is still just a copy.

The only time this technology will prove to be useful is when someone dies. This is because a person’s death, for all we know, is hardest on the people who knew that person and are still alive without them. This is a period of great suffering for everyone who knew them well. Singularity will only prove beneficial when we’re able to upload the latest version of ourselves into a database every day to be put into action when we inevitably pass away. This will allow our friends and family to not have to suffer nearly as much. However, Singularity will serve no benefit to the person who is entering Singularity through death. …

According to Merriam-Webster strength is the quality or state of being strong.

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I believe many of us have or have had a misconception that strength is purely physical and although physical strength can be important I think mental strength deserves more attention. This is something we all need to work on. Whether it’s finding the motivation to get up in the morning, never giving up, and being more aware of the joy in life or being more accepting of others, bettering our budgeting skills, and trying to be the role model we wish we had.. mental strength is something I think we all need to work on as well as be openly proud of our progress. We can’t allow ourselves to fall into a rut without making a true effort to escape it and, at the same time, we can’t imply that every day is great. …


Eric J. Smith

Acknowledgement without action perpetuates the problem. Knowing there’s a problem and doing nothing to stop it makes you the oppressor.

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