Hey hey! Lucky number 13!

This week is the Canadian Personal Finance Conference, which is basically Woodstock for bloggers and other assorted money nerds. I’ve gone a couple of times, and it’s a lot of fun. If you follow any of the attendees on Twitter, they’ve been live-tweeting the hell out of it. You know how the first rule of Crossfit is they have to talk incessantly about it? That’s also the first rule of any blogging conference.

I didn’t go for one simple reason. I just can’t afford the $113,000 price tag.

Uh, what?

Yes, I know it doesn’t actually cost $113,000 to head to Toronto for a week. But it would cost me and Vanessa around $2,500 once you include the cost of flights, hotels, meals, dropping hundos at the club, etc. $2,500 invested over 40 at a 10% return turns into $113,148.

I want to have a $50 million net worth one day. Thus, I have to invest aggressively when I’m young. The time value of money when you’re just starting out is huge. If I look at what a seemingly small amount of money will be worth decades from now, it’s a real motivator to not spend it. $2,500 is a forgivable amount of money. It can be justified. $113k can’t be.

The good news about such conferences is they’re a business expense, and can be wrote off. That’s great, but people get writing off stuff all wrong. Say I write off $2,500 to save $1,000 in taxes, which is wildly optimistic. I’m still spending $1,500. If we had the same attitude about life as we have about tax write-offs, we’d all be as broke as North Korea.

Still, I’ll probably go next year. And would it kill them to locate the thing somewhere that isn’t 2,500 km away?

Links I liked

Here’s what I liked this week.

1. Let’s start things off with Don’t Quit Your Day Job, who delves into the world of occupational licensing. Is it a good thing your barber or gardener has a license, or is the practice inadvertently keeping poor people down? It’s a fascinating discussion.

PS — Congrats to PK, the main writer of DQYDJ, on the birth of his second daughter. Poor guy. Now his life is 100% more over.

2. Paul from Asset-Based Life has commented regularly here for months, and I’m ashamed to admit I never once checked out his blog. I’ve been missing out. His latest post points out how the simple act of being nice to people can result in a fantastic return on investment.

3. Here’s a story about an obscure casino in Saipan, a place so out of the way my spell check doesn’t think it actually exists. The owner is a Donald Trump protege, and the feds think he’s probably using the place to launder money.

4. Divestor wrote about the insanity surrounding Canopy Growth Corp, the largest marijuana stock. I also warned about investing in the marijuana business.

Oh, and while we’re talking about how investing in weed is such a sure thing, keep in mind that I was talking about it almost four years ago. And I’m a moron.

5. Here’s a podcast interviewing Grant Cardone, who says he’s built up a real estate empire worth $350 million following a simple mantra he calls the 100x rule. Grant is pretty controversial, but I enjoyed the interview.

6. Boomer and Echo took a closer look at Tangerine’s dividend fund and liked what he saw.

7. Kapitalust uses the U.S. election as an example about confirmation bias, and how such a bias can impact your whole life. In other words, seek out information that doesn’t validate your already-held worldview. It’s better in the long run.

8. Holy Potato talks about the woes of getting insurance. The post is worth your time just for this quote alone:

“Insuring the ability to get insurance is taking things too far for me. That’s second-order insurance.”

I’ve never gotten how that argument actually sways people. Imagine buying an insurance policy for a two-year old to ensure they can get car insurance when they hit 16 or 18 or whatever. It’s insane.

9. Alpha Vulture has another attractive merger arbitrage situation, this time with two REITs that actually trade on major exchanges. If everything goes to plan, you’d be looking at a 13% return in just a few months.

10. And finally, here’s a story about Dryships, a stock that rose 2,100% in a few days, only to give most of it back when it announced a massive share issuance.

Stuff Nelson wrote

As a reminder, you can hire me to write for your blog, newspaper, or poorly-Xeroxed newsletter. Hit the ol’ contact me page to get the ball rolling. 

1. Let’s start things off with Sustainable Personal Finance, where I wrote about 16(+!) ways you can earn passive income. Yes, even you.

2. Here’s a story about how I got started writing about personal finance over on the Lowest Rates blog.

3. And over at Motley Fool, I wrote about why investing in hated companies can make you a lot of money.

Tweet of the week

Have a good week, everybody.

Tell everyone, yo!