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The Gift by Edith Eger: Combat Victimhood. Be Ready For Change. Forgive. Take The Risk.

Edith Eger was only a teenager when she and her family were sent to Auschwitz. She never saw her father and mother again. While she showed amazing mental strength to survive those horrors, it took her decades more before should could fully process and heal. I’ve seen her book The Gift: 12 Lessons to Save Your Life on multiple reading lists, and now I understand why. She provides a new lens to view your own traumatic experiences and useful insights on how you can escape the prison of your own mind:

Eger explains that the worst prison she experienced is not the prison that Nazis put her in but the one she created for herself, the prison within her own mind. She describes the twelve most pervasive imprisoning beliefs she has known—including fear, grief, anger, secrets, stress, guilt, shame, and avoidance—and the tools she has discovered to deal with these universal challenges.

I should warn you that this book describes some very graphic traumatic events that she and her patients have experienced. It will likely trigger some emotional memories of your own personal traumas, so be prepared and choose carefully when and where you read this book. (Not a light beach read in public!)

This is not a finance book. However, money is emotional. Fear, guilt, shame, avoidance. Right now, there is a millionaire that is too afraid to spend any money. Right now, someone is buying something they can’t afford to impress someone else and not seem “lesser”. How many bills are sitting on a counter unopened, with the debtor just hoping that ignoring it will make it go away?

We spend money on food and shelter, but we also spend money to satisfy our emotional needs of affection and attention. Buying a house is an emotional purchase. Your job ends up being more than money for a task. In this context, here are a few selected book highlights:

We do not change until we’re ready.

We do not change until we’re ready. Sometimes it’s a tough circumstance—perhaps a divorce, accident, illness, or death—that forces us to face up to what isn’t working and try something else. Sometimes our inner pain or unfulfilled longing gets so loud and insistent that we can’t ignore it another minute. But readiness doesn’t come from the outside, and it can’t be rushed or forced. You’re ready when you’re ready, when something inside shifts and you decide, Until now I did that. Now I’m going to do something else.

Always replace a dysfunctional habit with a healthy one.

Change is about interrupting the habits and patterns that no longer serve us. If you want to meaningfully alter your life, you don’t simply abandon a dysfunctional habit or belief; you replace it with a healthy one. You choose what you’re moving toward. You find an arrow and follow it. As you begin your journey, it’s important to reflect not only on what you’d like to be free from, but on what you want to be free to do or become.

Take the risk! Why not?

I’d been teaching psychology at a high school in El Paso for a few years—and had even been awarded teacher of the year—when I decided to return to school for a master’s in educational psychology. One day my clinical supervisor came to me and said, “Edie, you’ve got to get a doctorate.” I laughed. “By the time I get a doctorate I’ll be fifty,” I said. “You’ll be fifty anyway.” Those are the smartest four words anyone ever said to me.

Honey, you’re going to be fifty anyway—or thirty or sixty or ninety. So you might as well take a risk. Do something you’ve never done before. Change is synonymous with growth. To grow, you’ve got to evolve instead of revolve.

Freedom is about becoming your true self.

Finally, when you change your life, it isn’t to become the new you. It’s to become the real you—the one-of-a-kind diamond that will never exist again and can never be replaced. Everything that’s happened to you—all the choices you’ve made until now, all the ways you’ve tried to cope—it all matters; it’s all useful. You don’t have to throw everything out and start from scratch. Whatever you’ve done, it’s brought you this far, to this moment.

Much of our suffering stems from our misconception that we can’t be loved and genuine—that if we are to earn others’ acceptance and approval, we must deny or hide our true selves.

Survivors vs. victims.

In my experience, victims ask, “Why me?” Survivors ask, “What now?”

Suffering is universal. But victimhood is optional.

We’re going to be affected by environmental and genetic factors over which we have little or no control. But we each get to choose whether or not we stay a victim. We don’t get to choose what happens to us, but we do get to choose how we respond to our experience.

I’ve skipped many more highlights for dealing with more personal issues. This a great book on helping you deal with your own mind prisons. It was hard to ask myself all these questions, and I didn’t always like the answers, but it definitely taught me some things about myself and my framing of past issues.

Lili Banking App For Freelancers: $90 Drop Bonus + $50 Referral Bonus

Lili is a new banking app that has the core features of popular consumer fintech apps like Chime, but adds features focused on freelancers and independent contractors (sell on Etsy, find projects on Upwork, etc). Highlights:

  • Banking. No minimum balance and no monthly fees. Access your direct deposit up to 2 days early. No ATM fees within the 38,000+ ATM MoneyPass network. Free debit card.
  • Free freelancer features. App helps you easily mark business expenses, find tax deductions, set aside tax withholding. Deposit cash at 90,000 retail locations including Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, and 7-11.
  • Paid freelancer features with Lily Pro at $5/month. This premium paid tier includes $200 in fee-free overdrafts, 1% APY interest on savings, cashback rewards on the debit card, and the ability to create and send unlimited invoices.
  • $90 Drop promo + $50 referral bonus for new users. Details below.

My experience. After opening an account, my most important tip is to double-check your SSN on the application before submitting. If you mistype it, they won’t give you a chance to try again and you’ll have to reach them by phone to correct the situation, which wastes a lot of time. Otherwise, it would have been quite fast. I’m currently waiting on my debit card in the mail. This app does offer special appeal to solo-entrepreneurs (I prefer that term to “side-hustlers”) looking for some help marking business expenses and tracking them to minimize taxes.

I was also interested in the 1% APY savings account, but it requires the Lily Pro subscription at $5 a month. If you maintain high cash balances, this still might be a good trade-off since most other online banks are only at 0.50% APY or so currently. In addition, invoice software can cost $5 a month on its own, so if you can use both features, this can be a good combo.

$90 Drop promo + $50 referral bonus details. The Drop app is a rewards app that is mostly a “shop to earn” app but also includes a few good non-shopping promos from time to time. If you open via my Drop referral link and use referral code cg5no, you’ll get a $5 bonus (5,000 points) after earning your first 1,000 points. You’ll also get 2,000 points (worth $2) for linking a bank account.

After opening your account, download the app and search for “Lili”. Right now there is a promo for 90,000 Drop points (worth $90) if you open a new account through the Drop app and deposit $200 within 45 days. There is no direct deposit requirement. See screenshot below:

In addition, you should be able to stack this with the referral offer. To accomplish this, do NOT use my Lili referral link and instead use the Drop app above to initiate. Instead, during the Lili application process, look for the place (blue text at bottom) to enter a referral code. This separate $50 bonus is triggered when you enter JonathanPing as the referral code and spend $250 on the Lili debit card within 45 days. Excludes P2P payments and ATM withdrawals. See screenshot below:

Altogether, that’s hopefully $140 without requiring moving your direct deposit or much upfront capital. As noted in my Turning Small Deals into a $100,000 Nest Egg post, you can motivate yourself by treating these bonuses as a way to max out your annual IRA contribution. $6,000 annual limit = $500 per month = $125 per week. I’m trying to think of a catchy name, something like “Project Maxed-Out IRA 2021”.

Chime Banking App Review: $100 Cash Bonus via Referral, 0.50% APY on Savings

Bonus back up to $100. With rates drops everywhere and no end in sight, I've been picking up various cash bonuses instead. Chime is a popular fintech bank app with a $100 cash bonus (up from $50) after a payroll direct deposit of $200+ within the … [Read the rest]

Don’t Die With Zero: Money Still Buys Better Experiences When You’re Old

The idea of "consumption smoothing" tries to balance how our income changes over time with our spending needs. In theory, it may be ideal to go into debt when you are really young, save heavily when you are middle-aged, and spend it down when you … [Read the rest]

Fundrise Starter vs. VNQ Vanguard REIT ETF Review: 4-Year Update (September 2021)

Updated September 2021. Here is my (nearly) 4-year update on my experiment comparing a Fundrise eREIT portfolio and the Vanguard REIT ETF from October 2017 to September 2021. In Fundrise, we have a start-up with "crowdfunding" beginnings that … [Read the rest]

PFS Buyers Club: New US Mint Coin Deal on 9/13 ($100+ Net Profit, September 2021)

Another new coin deal on Monday, September 13th, 2021. PFS Buyers Club has another coin deal on a limited-edition American Eagle 2021 One Ounce Silver Reverse Proof Two-Coin Set Designer Edition. They will pay you a guaranteed fixed profit of … [Read the rest]

John Paulson: Best Way For Average Person To Invest $100,000 Today?

Bloomberg has an interview transcript with investor John Paulson, and it has the catchy headline Billionaire Paulson Who Shorted Subprime Calls Crypto ‘Worthless’ Bubble. He does say that, but the interview also includes some insights on many other … [Read the rest]

CVS: $20 off $20+ In-Store Purchase with Paypal or Venmo App

Update: This offer has expired due to too many uses. Sorry! Here is an offer for $20 off a single $20+ purchase at CVS stores, promoting the touchfree "scan to pay" feature of PayPal and Venmo apps. Open up your PayPal or Venmo app and look for … [Read the rest]

House Downpayments and Low Interest Rates: Keep Your Eye on the Prize

My neighbors put up their house for sale a couple weeks ago. A single open house, what felt like over 100 private showings, and in escrow within a week. So when I read this WSJ article Where to Stash Your Down Payment if You Didn’t Buy a House This … [Read the rest]

Best Interest Rates on Cash – September 2021 Update

via GIPHY Here's my monthly roundup of the best interest rates on cash as of September 2021, roughly sorted from shortest to longest maturities. I look for lesser-known opportunities to earn 2% APY and higher while still keeping your principal … [Read the rest]

Top 10 Best Small Business Credit Card Bonus Offers – September 2021

Links checked and updated. Do you have small business income or work as an independent contractor? Freelance, Uber/Lyft, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Airbnb? A small business credit card separates your personal and business expenses and can build up your … [Read the rest]

State Farm Homeowner Policyholders: Free Ting Electrical Fire Sensor + $1,000 Repair Credit

If you have State Farm homeowner's insurance, check to see if you are eligible for a free Ting smart sensor that monitors your home’s electrical wiring for faults that can lead to fires. Three years of Ting service is included, which includes a … [Read the rest]