Read Club: Week of August 3, 2018

Hi there! 

The sun finally broke through here in San Francisco, and we are psyched for the weekend. Time to tackle our life admin and some necessary financial tidying-up. But it's also a great time to feed your brain some nourishing reads. Here's what we've been reading since the last edition.

A Week In New York City On $25/Hour And $1k Monthly Allowance

Money Diaries, Refinery29

If you haven't heard of the story already, it was literally the talk of the internet since it came out. Worth a read, either for comedic qualities (if you don't believe it is true) or for an in-your-face portrayal of privilege in America. There are plenty quality conversations and articles written up on this post, among which:
- Hello? The American dream is gone, have you not noticed?

- Why are we so judgmental about how others spend money? To the point that everyone is too embarrassed to seek help with their financial situations?

Both are critical conversions to have, and it may be, just may be, conducive to imagine what it's like to openly share and help each other improve financial habits and health. 

Balancing the Benefit and the Burden of Wealth

Paul Sullivan, The New York Times

What a follow-up. I always knew my subscription to the NYTimes is worth it. This article touches upon the resounding sentiments among our generation to want more from a career than a livelihood. Growing up playing and replaying Steve Jobs' Stanford commencement speech, I've long believed that the point of a job is no longer just to bring home the bacon, but also to self-actualize, to pursue meaning and purpose. Sure, call me an idealist, but isn't it what we should aspire to living in an affluent society where most of our basic needs (food, shelter, water, etc) have been met? It is not to say that the bacon is not important (we all have to earn a living after all), but proverbially, one needs to know how much bacon one needs and when to stop eating the bacon, not to overdose on sodium 🤣(literally salivating as I wrote this analogy). At Empower, we believe in living within one's means, pursuing one's highest potential, while avoiding "lifestyle creep" so wealth will actually mean freedom instead of a pair of golden handcuffs. As we progress in our career and increase our salaries, my husband and I have to constantly remind ourselves that we have bigger expenses to pay for in the future, including a few humans to raise 😊, so as not to get caught up on the fancy vacations and big houses others around us are buying. Most importantly, we want to be able to hit the "reset" button when we need to take a career break, for our sanity or other worthy reasons. Money should buy you options and freedom, not obligations and guilt. Read more about our philosophy here.

Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation

Joel Stein, Time Magazine

An oldie but goodie. Most relevant for me was this excerpt about parenting and the resulting psychology. 

"in the 1970s, people wanted to improve kids' chances of success by instilling self-esteem. It turns out that self-esteem is great for getting a job or hooking up at a bar but not so great for keeping a job or a relationship. "It was an honest mistake," says Roy Baumeister, a psychology professor at Florida State University and the editor of Self-Esteem: The Puzzle of Low Self-Regard. "The early findings showed that, indeed, kids with high self-esteem did better in school and were less likely to be in various kinds of trouble. It's just that we've learned later that self-esteem is a result, not a cause."

Growing up, my parents showered me with love and encouraged my sister and me to think for ourselves. Most importantly, they remind us that we were not rich, we were comfortable as a result of their hard work, sacrifice and good old-fashioned saving. Till this day, my parents spend little on themselves and put everything in their "Goals" fund, that includes traveling the world with us. I cannot be more grateful. 

Hope y'all get to spend some quality time with your folks, family and friends this weekend!