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Stellar Recap | Personal Finance Culture & Brood X

Stella Min
Stella Min
Hello there,
I’m Stella and you’re receiving this email because you signed up for Stellar Recap, a weekly newsletter where I share my latest explorations, discoveries, and updates. Thank you for being here. If you enjoy the newsletter, please share it with a friend. If this email was forwarded to you, make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on future issues.

Explorations
Time to go back to Excel. Last week, I started trialing Timesheet.io, an app that tracks the amount of time you spend on a given task. The app was useful, but it’s designed around billable projects, rather than tracking your personal productivity, which is what I used it for. Another issue I had was that I found it more intuitive to use on my phone than on desktop, especially when it came to adding and tracking new tasks. This resulted in me often starting the timer and then completely forgetting about it. As you can probably guess, I will no longer be using the app. In the meantime, I suppose I can always go back to Excel. Feel free to download a copy of my Excel timesheet.
Tidyarr inbox. I also began using yarr, an open-source, self-hosted, RSS feed aggregator as an attempt to tidy up my inbox. My inbox has become my substitute for social media platforms and I spend an exorbitant amount of time reading every email I receive. I don’t want to clutter my inbox and I don’t want to delete unread emails because I may delete something interesting. It’s the perfect recipe for procrastination. I’m hoping that yarr will remove the immediate temptation while also enabling me to catch up on my favorite reads once I have more time.
Personal finance culture. I’ve always had a strong interest in personal finance but this is the first year that I’ve explored this field through podcasts. I’ve been fascinated by the differences in tone and topics between podcasts made by women (like herMoney, The Fairer Cents, and Smart Money Mamas) versus men (like The Acquirers Podcast, Top Traders Unplugged, and Focused Compounding). There’s also a qualitative difference in podcasts that focus on retirement, such as Retirement Starts Today and Retirement Answer Man Show. Female hosts discuss topics such as confidence, careers, and family while male hosts discuss the technical aspects of trading and often critique what others are doing. I don’t think I’ve listened to a single episode about confidence and family planning when the podcast is hosted by men. Another distinctive difference is that it’s not unusual to listen to the men cuss and defend their awesome trading decisions. Listen to the first 15-20 minutes or so of this podcast and you’ll understand what I mean. I have yet to ever listen to an episode like that on a female-led show. The retirement podcasts are a happy medium. Emotions are sometimes discussed as well (example), but oftentimes it’s more about uncertainty than confidence. Interesting stuff.
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Discoveries
289 days to a billion. I learned, from Jerry Pacheco, that you would have to spend $40 every second for 289 days straight to spend a billion dollars and 792.5 years to reach a trillion dollars. Now, consider the fact that there are 2,755 billionaires in the world who have a combined net worth of $13.1 trillion. It’s mind-boggling to me that there are people with that kind of wealth when around 9% of the world’s population lives in extreme poverty (i.e., less than $1.90 a day).
The cicadas are coming. As someone who has spent the majority of their life in the western side of the US, I had no idea that billions of cicadas inundate half of the US, approximately every 17 years. Cicadas, which are not the same as locusts, can live as long as 13 to 17 years. When they emerge to mate this year, the males will rapidly vibrate their abdomens to produce a noise that can reach roughly 100 decibels. That’s as loud as a lawnmower, dirt bike, or tractor. Help scientists study these fascinating creatures by downloading the Cicada Safari app and sharing photos.
Data breach x2. Security analysts reported that data from over 533 million Facebook users and around 500 million LinkedIn users were published online. You can check if your account was hacked by entering your email address or phone number in the search bar at haveibeenpwned.com The data from LinkedIn appears to be from web scraping rather than hacking. However, malicious actors may be able to use your data for social engineering attacks. These attacks are probably a whole lot easier when they have detailed information on you such as your closest contacts and phone number. Analysts believe that Chinese hackers may have used similar tactics to breach Microsoft’s servers.
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Recap
5 journaling prompts. If you’re following along with me in my one thing project, here are the five questions I explored this week:
  • What’s one habit that you would supercharge?
  • What’s one of your talents?
  • What do you think someone close to you would say is one of your talents?
  • If you could interview anyone right now, alive or not, who would it be and why?
  • What is one of your proudest accomplishments?
Digital Gems
  • 7% of US adults say that they don’t use the internet. They’re more like to be over the age of 65, live in a rural areas, and earn less than $30,000 a year (Pew Research Center).
  • Homeownership is steadily rebounding since the Great Recession but still below the peak of around 67% during the mid-2000s. That national homeownership rate reached 64.1% in 2019. The homeownership rate in Colorado increased to 65.9%, which is below the 70% peak in 2007 (U.S. Census Bureau).
  • Denver was the top city where young adults between ages 25 and 39 moved to in 2019 (Smart Asset).
  • The beauty and wellness industry is collaborating with influencers on TikTok, like Addison Rae who has a following that is larger than the population of the UK, to redefine self-care, self-love, and create a psychological flytrap of rhetoric that’s both empowering and toxic (NY Times). If you don’t have a subscription to NY Times, you can listen to the author read this piece on the The Daily podcast (52 min.).
  • Why is it so difficult to accurately estimate the price of a bond? (47 min. Odd Lots podcast).
  • The data sets that companies and researchers use to train AI algorithms contain serious flaws, including completely inaccurate labels (MIT Technology Review).
  • Nearly 75% of the largest housing markets in the US saw annual home prices increase by 10% or more. Prices are expected to continue rising as the supply of homes has failed to keep up with the demand (Black Knight).
  • The growing interest in the housing market is reflected in the terms people are searching in Google (Google Trends).
  • What should you do if you encounter a mountain lion? (14.30 min video by Colorado Parks and Wildlife).
  • Elon Musk’s company Neuralink shared a video of a Macaque playing Pong with only its mind (engadget). Keep in mind that their research has not been peer reviewed by other experts.
  • Someone placed a $40 million trade bet against the stock market (Reuters). Deutsche Bank predicted a 6%-10% pullback during the same period that the bet was placed (Reuters).
  • Movies with the greatest difference between Rotten Tomatoes critics and audience ratings (r/DataIsBeautiful).
More of my digital breadcrumbs here.
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Wishing you a productive week
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Stella Min
Stella Min @OhhStellar

Stellar Recap is my personal newsletter where I share digest of interesting media that I've come across during the week, along with any personal updates.

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