Become a saving rock star!

Saving is a pain in my neck. It doesn’t come naturally to me. Although I didn’t grow up poor, my parents weren’t financial savants either.  In the end, to become a good saver is about setting a goal, creating a habit.  Or as Tim Ferris puts it, setting a fear.  My fear is life will happen, Murphy’s Law will rear its ugly head and I’ll be unable to afford basic necessities, like housing.  Years ago, my dad died unexpectedly 9 days before Christmas during my senior year in high school.  Weeks later my mom was declaring bankruptcy and the bank foreclosed on our house. My Nana stepped in and made sure we kept a roof over our heads.  You’d think an experience like that would jolt anyone into financial literacy.  But, I’m an experiential learner and I don’t like making a mistake just once.  I need to experience a screw-up multiple times before it really sinks in.  So after I graduated college with enough student loans to buy an Alpaca, bounced enough checks to cover the salary of a bank executive and got fired from my first job, it occurred to me I should try saving a little.   So seeing I’m not very good at it, I made it as easy as possible using internet banking and direct deposit.Continue Reading

Nana was an investing whiz

I’ve been thinking about my Nana lately.  She was my grandmother and she died 10 years ago, at age 94.  She was special in many ways, but lately, I’ve been thinking about her financial savvy.  There’s a whole movement now towards retiring early and financial independence that I think she would’ve loved.  It’s a party I’m a bit late to but hey, better late than never.  I think for me part of the issue was a lack of financial knowledge and drowning in student loan debt.  Fortunately, I’ve recently paid off my student loans and over the years I’ve taken steps to educate myself financially.  Part of that education included a recent Freakonomics podcast that hit me with a statistic that down right shocked me: nearly 70% of Americans can’t pass a basic financial literacy quiz (check it out around the 6:20 mark.)  Continue Reading

How will DACA repeal impact our healthcare?

Like other American’s, I’ve been following the news on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, especially now that the Trump Administration decided to cancel it.  People disagree with the program for a number of reasons, although the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute estimates rolling DACA back would cost the government $60 million and cause a 10-year loss of $280 billion.  From a strictly economic perspective, it makes sense in my mind to keep the program.  Still, there may be compelling reasons beyond simple economics to keep or repeal the program.  I wanted to explore DACA from a public health perspective. People have some strong opinions on the best way to handle illegal immigrants and trying to tease out the public health implications also requires addressing the economic consequences too.  Those economic concerns are part of what drives people’s strong emotions, but it’s near impossible not to discuss them in relation to public health.    Continue Reading

It’s just a flesh wound

It’s been a few days since the video of that Utah nurse being arrested has come out.  I’ve been ruminating on it a good deal.  I think part of the shock, at least for me, was the physical violence unleashed in a situation that didn’t call for it.  The police could’ve pushed past her and found someone else to lead them to the patient.  She wasn’t physically barring them from the patient.  They could’ve escalated things higher, “ok, you’re not going to help me, where’s your supervisor” kind of thing.  When asked why they were taking it out on this nurse, that she was “just the messenger,” the police said, “because she’s the one who has told me no.”  So you move on and find someone who will tell you yes.  Like a judge. Continue Reading

You will respect my authoritah!

Wow.  I just watched the video about the nurse getting arrested in Utah.  If you haven’t seen it, it’s pretty disturbing.  There’s a 20-minute version that in my opinion doesn’t make the police look any better.  One thing that disturbed me was the overall attitude that the police were either going to get what they wanted or arrest this nurse for obstruction.  Now I’m not an attorney or a cop, but I am a fairly reasonable human being.  I’m someone who tries, not always successfully, to build consensus and collaborate.  Even if the police have a legal right to the blood draw, which it seems they do not, but if they did, how does arresting someone who is following a legitimate policy reasonable? Continue Reading