Best of Economy & Markets, Part 1

Here are a handful of my favorite posts from Economy & Markets over the past year. Links followed by excerpts. Enjoy!

 

How My Friend Retired at 40

I very rarely smoke cigars anymore, but one of the benefits – I would go so far as to call it a health benefit – is that smoking a cigar forces you to sit still and relax for a good 45 minutes. It’s a good way to catch up with someone you haven’t seen in a while.

As we lit up and got settled in, David had some interesting news for me.

“I think this might be my last year,” he said from across the table, smoke wafting into the air. “Things are going well at the office. In fact, I just got a promotion. But it’s wearing me out, and I want to spend more time with my family while I’m still young enough to enjoy it.”

Now, I’ve had plenty of conversations like these with colleagues over the years, and it’s perfectly normal. Except for one thing: David is only 39 years old.

My friend will retire later this year at the ripe old age of 40.

How To Kill A Bull (Market)

Last month I found myself in Lima, the country’s capital, during the Feria del Señor de los Milagros, the city’s annual bullfighting festival.

My sister-in-law had an extra ticket for the corrida, the Spanish word for bullfight. (She’s a Millennial and it was critically important that she have selfies to add to her Instagram feed, and she didn’t want to go alone.)

So I spent my Sunday afternoon in the bullring.

While my sister-in-law might’ve been more interested in watching the strapping young matadors strut around in tight pants, I was really looking forward to the fights. I can’t call myself a true aficionado because that would imply a level of knowledge and expertise I don’t have.

But there’s something otherworldly about a bullfight. The tradition, the music, the artistry… even the blood. It’s something you have to see to understand.

How to Keep Your Retirement Years Golden

I got a nice reminder of why I do what I do a few weeks ago when I met my dad for dinner.

As we sat down to eat, I could tell there was something he wanted to tell me, but he didn’t want to just blurt it out. But, after a few minutes, he couldn’t wait any longer.

“I spoke to your sister earlier today, so she’s already gotten the news. I’ve decided it’s finally time,” he said. “I’m going to retire at the end of this year.”

This news didn’t come as a total surprise. He’s talked about hanging up his hat for a couple years now, and he’s definitely an appropriate age for retirement. But I could tell that he really struggled with the decision. This was not something he chose to do on a whim.

I could also tell that he was apprehensive about it.

What If It’s The 1990s All Over Again?

The 1990s were fun.

The internet was new, as was high-end coffee for most Americans.

The Cold War had just ended, gasoline was dirt cheap, and rock music was in the midst of its most creative decade since the 1960s. The federal budget was balanced for the first (and last) time in decades. And, best of all, we had the turn of the millennium to look forward to.

So, yes, the 1990s were fun…

But the most fun of all was to be had in the stock market. It was the biggest stock bubble since the Roaring 1920s, and cheap online brokers made the market accessible to the masses. A lot of people got rich in the 1990s…

I’m Changing My Name to Charles Blockchain

saw something last week that brought back memories: Doc Martens boots.

My bartender was wearing a pair of the classic black variety, which, apparently, are back in style after a long 20-year drought.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the brand, imagine something that looks like a combat boot but with a soft rubber sole and distinctive yellow stitching.

Ah, Doc Martens… Along with Seinfeld, flannel shirts, and grunge rock, few things are more quintessentially 1990s. It takes me back to my high school and college years when, for inexplicable reasons, dressing as an odd combination of British punk and Canadian lumberjack was all the rage among American teenagers.

But beyond footwear, 1990s style seems to be making a comeback elsewhere… most notably in the stock market.

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