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[Table] I'm Jeff Galak, Professor of Marketing & Social and Decision Science at Carnegie Mellon University. I have published dozens of academic papers on decision making, consumer behavior, and more. I have also recently launched a new YouTube channel called Data Demystified. AMA! (pt 1/3)
Source | Signoff Note: This table may potentially contain information that can be construed as self-doxxing. Please don't actually try to take advantage of this.
Hey Jeff! I'm a minimalist & find that I'm happier with less stuff & when I give/receive experiences rather than items. Do you find consumer happiness reflects this shift towards minimalism since that is a (small, but seemingly growing) trend, especially among Millennials?
Great question! There is some relatively new research looking at happiness from experiences vs. material possessions. Most of it shows that happiness from equally valued (e.g. price) experiences is higher than for possessions. HOWEVER, and this is a big however, all that work tends to ignore long run happiness with highly prized possessions. For instance, if you have a sentimentally valued object, happiness that stems from that object lasts for a long time. What most possessions don't do is provide long lasting happiness. You buy a new shiny toy and it DOES make you happy...but that happiness goes away quickly. My collaborators and I have termed this idea "Hedonic Decline."
So as for minimalism, there is not evidence that I know of that shows that less possessions make you happier. There's plenty showing that more possessions don't make you happier, but that's not the same thing.
One more layer of complexity: there are two routes to happiness: hedonic and eudaimonic. The former is what we usually think of when we think of happiness: how much joy does XYZ bring me. The latter, however, is closer to self-actualization. It's the happiness the comes from a accomplishing something....even if there was pain involved in getting there. I wonder if minimalism can increase eudaimonic happiness.
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That's interesting. Thank you for responding. In the minimalism community, self-actualization is reflected in endeavors such as achieving certain goals (like, paying off debt) that usually involves some amount of self-discipline &/or self-sacrifice.
I'd say that the vast majority of research in happiness excludes eudaimonic happiness, largely because it's so hard to measure. My personal, non-data supported, take is that eudaimonic happiness is far more important than hedonic happiness. The latter is fleeting, whereas the former can be life changing.
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How does depression affect eudaimonic happiness compared to hedonic happiness?
Great question and I don't know the answer. Social Psychology typical studies what we very poorly term "normal" psychology, which excludes clinical conditions like depression. Sorry!
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What’s your take on “pay to play” - as in, some “hedonic” purchases at are required to signal you’re in the game, making progress on eudaimonic happiness. When you get older and into your career, I’d venture many people have already figured out that hedonic happiness doesn’t do squat long-term, but there’s a balance in terms of how much hedonic happiness to have to acquire for the ultimate long-term eudaimonic happiness. Example: in sales, which I’m in tech analytics sales, companies want to spend for solutions to business problems, but they also want to see, visually, that the person they’re paying is a good representative for them. High cost equals a person that can represent that taste. Nice. Tailored suits, a nice watch and latest tech gadgets. There’s a pay to play aspect that signals to the world who I am, and that in turn actually allows me to get what I want- student loans paid off and early retirement..
I don't think there's any conflict here. If you will find some form of life satisfaction by succeeding in your career, there's no harm in also purchasing items that help you reach that goal. Those items can, in and of themselves, make you happy...nothing wrong with that. More to the point, hedonic and eudaimonic happiness don't have to be in opposition. You can have both!
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I really like this response. While i can jive with basic premise of experiences over possessions...i’m find it used a lot by people who actually just want to shirk obligation. I run HHiring and there is a persistent trend of people not wanting to act like their job is important..just because it’s easier to justify bailing on work/shifts to go do things when you can say you’re doing it for the experience, not focusing on the money you make at a job. I’m trying to figure out the best way to respond to people who think i’m some big bad money grubbing boss for wanting people to do their jobs. Meanwhile, in my personal life...i feel like i’m getting a lot of push back socially from people who think i should only work where i can just make my own schedule and dip put for an “experience” whenever. At the end of the say, it feels like people will just wax philosophic reasons for demanding leisure with all the material perks of having jobs and working.
Great point. This relates to intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation. The former is the desire to do something because it's inherently interesting/rewarding. The latter is doing something for compensation. This is more in the realm of organizational behavior, and you'll have to wait for my wife who is also a professor, but of organizational behavior and theory, to do an AMA for more on that :)
Hello, thanks for doing this. Are you familiar with "loot boxes" in video games? I feel like the topics of a lot of your papers would fit right into why consumers/businesses use loot boxes. How does a loot box mechanic differ from gambling and should it be treated the same? (Regulation, age restriction, etc) If they are the same, how do you feel about video games including a loot box mechanic? Sticking with gambling parallels, what are your thoughts on video game companies targeting "whales" given that gamers can be any age nowadays?
I'm not a gamer myself (though I do love TTPRGs and run a D&D 5e campaign), but I'm pretty familiar with loot boxes. Mobile games and social media platforms in general have become very good at continuous reinforcement. It can be the allure of getting a new outfit in a loot box or just an upvote on Reddit...the point is that we are wired to love small rewards, even if those rewards are meaningless. Casinos have mastered this art and loot boxes are an capitalizing of the same basic psychological mechanisms: need for positive reinforcements. So are loot boxes the same as gambling? Probably not the SAME, but damn close. As for regulation, I am strongly in favor of making gambling of all forms only accessible to adults and even then providing access to counseling for those who suffer from gambling addiction.
I have a lot less sympathy towards wealthy adults who choose to gamble as a form of entertainment. The problem is that it's not always obvious who's a whale and who's just pretending to be one for the attention. The latter is highly susceptible to financial ruin and I'd want them protected just the same as they are with standard gambling.
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Do you find the researcher in you observing and asking questions about the players' decision making processes in your D&D campaign? My old DM minored in psychology, and I often felt like a rat in his experiments. I enjoyed it, though. It kind of added an extra facet to the game.
More than my research, teaching has made a huge difference in being a DM. When I lecture, I am forced to be quick on my feet to understand student questions, reply accordingly, and make sure that I'm moving the lecture along. That is the same with DMing. I need to be able to understand the motives of my players, respond appropriately with NPCs, and keep the story going.
I'm sure that my knowledge of psychology helps, but I wouldn't think it influences the way I DM (or play) that much.
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Studying business Psychology in Switzerland and leading the yawning portal atm, seems like I need to start teaching :p
Ha! Sorry, no. It's just close friends and we're months into it. I'm running Waterdeep, if you're curious.
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I'm applying to Carnegie's MBA for what it's worth! If I'm accepted, may I join then? ;-)
How about you get in and then we discuss!
Hi Jeff! What is your favorite heuristic or logical fallacy when it comes to decision making? Can you teach us about one that people might not know about?
Easy: Diversification Bias. That's where I started my career 15 years ago. I didn't discover this bias, but have built on it. Anyway, it's the idea that people choose more variety than they should. For example, if you are going to pick some snacks for the next few days, you might pick: chips, pretzels and an apple. Those are fine, but really chips are your favorite and you picked the other two because you thought you'd get tired of chips every day. Well, turns out you'd be wrong. A day is enough to reset satiation/hedonic-decline in most cases, so you'd be better off always picking your favorite option! Doing otherwise means eating snacks that are less preferred.
A new one that my doctoral student, Julian Givi, and I recently published: The Future Is Now (FIN) Heuristic. It's the idea that people believe that future events will be like present events, even when evidence points to the contrary. An example: if it's sunny today, you're more likely to think it'll be sunny tomorrow, even if the forecast clearly predict rain. What happens is you treat information about the present as having evidentiary value for future events, even when that's just not true.
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I really like that you give your student credit.
PhD students do all the hard work. Professors just bask in the glory :)
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I think diversification bias is how I ended up with 5 shades of blue nail polish that are virtually undistinguishable from each other! Interesting to consider.
Ha! Just might be...
Tell me about your paper "Sentimental value and gift giving: Givers’ fears of getting it wrong prevents them from getting it right". From what I read of the abstract, it seems that gift-givers undervalue sentimental value, seeing it as riskier. Why is that, and how can we give better gifts?
Sure, this is a paper with my former doctoral student, Julian Givi. Basically, people are risk averse in gift giving when they shouldn't be. If I know you like coffee and I have a choice to give you some nice coffee beans or a framed photo of the two of us (presumably since we're friends), I give the former b/c it's a sure bet. But as the recipient, overwhelmingly, people prefer the latter. So givers should take the risk and give the sentimentally valuable gift over one that is more a sure bet.
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Interesting. When giving presents, givers focus too much on the recipient's known wants, which gets in the way of giving a meaningful present. Thank you! I'll be sure to keep that in-mind next Christmas.
That's exactly it.
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I sometimes hesitate at this. I don’t want to come off as the selfie culture of all about me in pictures! But relatives do love getting pics of the kids for gifts. Still, how often is this perceived as a form of narcissism by the gift receiver? Edit: pictures of my kids not just me!
One trick we do: every Christmas holiday we print full size calendars with our kids pictures on them. That's our holiday gift to all the grandparents. They LOVE it.
We also send small photo books to the grandparents throughout the year of some of the best pictures we take.
We have yet to send too many, but that's specific to our family.
The best advice I always have for something like this is: just ask! People are often worried about asking gift recipients about their preferences, but our research shows that a) recipients don't care about being asked and b) you can give better gifts that way.
Hi Jeff ! I have a question regarding involvement in a purchase, is there an increasing trend to become highly involved in the purchase of even low value object ? I find myself doing this during the pandemic doing comparison searches for a bulb which costs 10 dollars. Is this an exception ? Or is there some underlying psychological reason isolated to me ?
Absolutely. Two reasons this could be happening. 1) With more free time, the threshold for what merits deep research drops a lot. 2) Many people are facing financial hardships, and so making sure every dollar is well spent becomes really important.
Hi Jeff, Thank you for the great AMA. Where do you see the future of insights departments in consumer companies? Most companies looks like giving up on ethnographic and in person research and focus on data analytics. I speculate management is under great pressure and in the meantime aspire to Google, Amazon etc. What is your take of insights departments future in large companies?
Thank you! Exploratory research like ethnographies, interviews, and focus groups is really useful for brainstorming. But they are a poor substitute for quantitative data. Now, that doesn't mean "big data"...just data that has larger samples and is better representative of populations. Surveys are still amazing. When we want to forecast an election, we don't use big data, we conduct a political poll. They work.
But yes, right now, AI and machine learning are the hot new ideas on the block and everyone wants in on them. There is plenty of amazing applications of AI/ML, but what they can't do is tell you "why". As in, why did someone choose this option over that one? Or why are people motivated by this goal or that goal? Those types of answers allow you to apply knowledge in completely novel contexts. AI/ML needs to be trained on a specific type of data for a specific type of task. It is AMAZING at that. But as soon as you introduce a new context or new set of experiences, it fails. That's where good old fashioned surveys and behavioral experiments come in.
If a program was built to help us make better decisions, do you think we would use it? Do you think we can listen to a program’s advice better than we do from experts?
We already do. Weather forecasts tell us how to dress. Facebook tells us what to think. Tinder tells us who to date. Etc... etc...
A program that EXPLICITLY tells you what to do won't work too well. People like to feel like they have free will. They don't, though. We are greatly influenced by our environment (not just technology) whether we know it or not. As one example: I can guess your weight reasonably well just by knowing your zip code (please don't make me actually do this as I'm not in the business of public shaming!). If we had true free will and agency, that should be impossible. Instead, we are the products of our environment.
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Chicago? I believe Illinois has 30-35% obesity (I'm doing this quickly and not looking at your zip specifically), so pretty high weight.
Hi Jeff! Since I'm a 14 yrs old and knew nothing about what you study, I have very limited questions I can ask. But as I have observed, people are often sheepish and will consume as the trend goes. What is the most unexpected trend, worldwide? P.S. will defo check out your channel
I don't expect most people to know my work (I like to think my ego isn't THAT big!), so no worries!
You're right. Trends will drive a lot of human behavior. We are social creatures and follow what others do much more than we care to admit. As for the most unexpected trend, that's really hard to say. Maybe this is too broad, but I'm surprised by how short people's attention span is when it comes to current events. News cycles used to last for weeks, now they last for hours. I suppose I know that people don't have long attention spans, but I'm still surprised.
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Any underlying reasoning for this?
For the short attention spans? We can invoke evolutionary psychology, which I'm not a big fan of, and it would suggest something like a tensions between exploring and cultivating. So it would argue that our ancestors needed to have some reason to leave their immediate tribe to find new resources. So perhaps our attention spans are short b/c of this and the current environment exaggerates that behavior.
Have you done(or can you point to) any research relating to the decision making/not making around getting rid of possessions? I have a relative who keeps anything that has a perceived value as in could be sold on ebay/garage sale which they never sell. They are otherwise rational, clean, don't over consume..def not hoarder territory.. but I struggle to convince them that the old digital camera that's been sitting for 3 years could just be disposed of.
Hoarding is definitely a thing. There isn't much in the study of item disposition in the empirical world of research (lots of interesting qualitative work that I'm less familiar with). The big exception to this is the Endowment Effect. The short version is that you value items you own more than if you don't own it. So a mug sitting on a store shelf is worth, say $10 to you, but as soon as you own it is worth, say, $20 to you. Nothing changed except your ownership of it. That explains some of hoarding behavior, but not all of it.
I suppose I have the Endowment Effect. Everytime I find something valuable i dont have the will to let it go. Even though i can sell it and re buy it later, or buy something similar haha. It's like I want to take the most of it and use it til it brakes, go missing, or whatever.
The endowment effect isn't infinite. As in, it's not that you won't be willing to sell your items for ANY price, it's just that your willingness to sell is higher than your willingness to buy.
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Hey Professor, appreciate the AMA. A couple of questions: 1) Just from my own thoughts banging around in my head and observations I've made during the pandemic, do you see the pause our society went through and the economic downturn effecting the psychology behind materialism? It seems the American "push for more no matter what" mind state took a eating and I think I'm seeing some consequences of that.
1) It's possible, but my pretty strong prediction is that within 1-2 years of the pandemic ending, we will be back to where we were beforehand in terms of materialism and general behavior. Extreme events like a pandemic seem like they are life changers. For some, that's true (e.g. someone loses a loved one), but for most it's not. We are inherently myopic and think that the thing in front of our noses is the only thing that exists.
2) I'm a current medical student and we get inundated with so many studies that it's overwhelming. Trying to practice evidence based medicine is really hard in an atmosphere that prioritizes publishing with little regard to quality. Do you ha e ways of navigating that I could apply to my day to day? Thanks again.
2) I can't speak to medical research, but that problem exists in all academic fields. The best thing to do is to let science happen. There will always be flashy new findings, but the ones that really matter will get replicated over and over again...and will get built on. The BS ones tend to just die out. That's not a full proof approach to vetting research, but it's better than just assuming everything you see published is true and/or important.
I am a former CMU student. How do you feel about CMU's decision to appoint Richard Grenell as a senior fellow? And how can we do something to fight against it because it seems they are not listening the current student body? Recently, the fence was vandalized against BLM (they wrote "all lives matter" over the previously written "black lives matter"). How are you working to build a more inclusive community at CMU and to fight for those who need it? How can former students help?
I signed the petition to revoke his appointment and stand by that completely. I do understand why the university is upholding it, but I am embarrassed to have him associated with CMU.
As for the fence, the CMU Provost sent a really great letter immediately after it all happened condemning the vandalism and supporting BLM. Personally, I try VERY hard to do things like call on students of all races and genders and not let white men (of which I am one, btw) dominate conversations. I try to make sure that examples I use to highlight ideas include more than just typically white and/or male oriented products. I have been trained in Green Dot deescalation for sexual assault and violence. I am on the university academic disciplinary committee and have direct say over infractions like harassment or discrimination. And I sit on my college's Faculty Diversity Equity and Inclusion committee with the hope of including representation and inclusion of URM and female faculty. I care about this topic a LOT and do what I can...still probably not enough.
As for alums, if you see behavior at CMU that you think is antithetical to inclusiveness, let the administration know. Get your fellow alums to weigh in. The university wants your sweet sweet alumni donations. If you are all pissed off, they'll reply.
Hey Professor! I absolutely love to give. But I feel so awkward being thanked. And I dont really like receiving gifts. What would the psychology behind that be?
Great question. It's hard to know without more detail, but I'd guess that some of that anxiety is about attention...as in, your lack of desire for it. As for not liking receiving gifts, maybe you have just not received that many good gifts? Again, it's really hard to say without knowing a bit more about you and the gift giving contexts you're involved in. If you want to share more, I can try to answer better, but totally understandable if you don't!
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Well, if I think more deeply....whenever I need something, I feel like it's up to me to make me happy. I usually don't really ask anyone else. Whether I need a massage, have a getaway, or get my dream dog, I just do it myself.
As an aside, self-gifts are great! You get what you need, and nothing else. No issues there.
To your question, though, I do wonder if you just haven't receive that many great gifts. Yes, gifts can fall flat and the recipient might not love them, but when they hit, they not only provide the value from the gift itself (e.g. a great bottle of wine) but ALSO the sentimental value from the associations that the gift brings up (e.g. who gave it to you and under what circumstances...like for a birthday or graduation).
Hi Jeff, I have a job application at a place where they do conjoint analysis, something I have never done before. Got any tips? Do you have any thoughts on the technique in general? Personally as someone who takes surveys I find it very abstract (e.g. "Would you rather buy a $5 toaster with two slots vs. a $20 toaster that takes bagels?" I don't know!).
First, good luck with the job application! Conjoint is a really useful tool when used correctly (like any tool, I suppose). The short version is that it lets you extract utility weights for different dimensions (e.g. price, product size, product speed, etc...) without directly asking people to answer questions about those dimensions. So instead of saying "how important is price to you?" you would come up with product profiles that have varying price (among other things) and then have people choose between those profiles. You can then extract, using nothing more than regression analysis (though, practically, no one does it that way...they use software like Sawtooth or SPSS Conjoint), how important those dimensions are for any given person.
the technique is tedious in that respondents have to make LOTS of pair-wise comparisons, but the end product can teach you a lot about what people actually value.
One key is to make the task as simple and realistic as possible. So the example you gave is confusing and wouldn't work too well. But I asked you to choose between a $20 toaster with 2 slots vs. a $30 toaster with 3 slots" that would work (in reality it would be more complex than that). You'd be forced to tell me if you prefer a cheaper toaster with fewer slots or a more expensive one with more slots. There's not right answer, but I would learn about those two dimensions for you. I'd need a lot more pair-wise tradeoffs to do this right, but that's the general idea.
Do you find that there are significant differences between particular groups? Does age influence gift giving habits more then sex, or some other factor? Just curious about the general trends of gift giving between groups. Super general question I know, so feel free to just call me out on it
Definitely difference across genders as you would expect. More jewelry given by men to women. More gadgets given by women to men. Not so much in terms of age, though I've never really directly looked at that. The reality is that most gifts aren't that exciting. They tend to be things that are popular in a given year or old standbys like gift cards and ties. There certainly are amazing gifts and gift givers out there, but the vast majority of actual gifts given are pretty mundane. But that's not a bad thing if the recipient still likes what they get!
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Yeah, sounds about right. And yeah if everyone is chipper it's all good :) Is there a sort of gift quality vs quantity data? Like is it better to get more frequent smaller gifts or largemore expensive gifts less frequently?
Smaller more frequent gifts every time. I have some new work on obligatory vs. non-obligatory gifts. Basically, you can make someone very happy by giving a small gift on a random Tuesday compared to a much nicer gift on their Birthday. More random-tuesday gifts every time!
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Thank you! :) will the results of that be on ur channel?
Probably not. The channel isn't about my research, but rather about how to understand data more broadly. But the results will hopefully be published soon!
How extensive are the consumer psychology divisions in companies like apple?
Lots of variation. Places like apple, google, amazon will have a lot of depth in terms of psychologist and consumer behavior researchers. But those are the gold standard. Most will rely on consultants to help out
How does education on finance and economics affect consumer behavior? Does knowing the way our brains make consumer decisions or how businesses try to get you to buy change how you shop?
If you understand better how firms are trying to entice you to buy their products, you can absolutely counteract that better. For instance, $1.99 is really just $2...we all get that. But it turns out, having a 9-ending price really drives demand. That's nuts, but it does. IF you understand that, you stand a shot and not being duped by something so trivial. So educating yourself can be a big help. On finance and econ eduction, also really helpful, but in other ways. When you go to get a 30-year mortgage for your home, understanding how interest rates work, how inflation might affect home prices, how amortization tables work, etc... will help you make a much more informed decision about what is right for you.
hi! how do you predict consumer happiness/decision making etc during unprecedented times like this, when such a scenario may not have taken place before and you do not have much data to go on? also since the research you do and the data you collect are relevant to sales, do you see advertisements being affected by the pandemic in the long run from any changes in consumer mindset?
It's really hard to predict much of anything right now. There are some basic behaviors and experiences that we can expect during a pandemic (e.g. increased anxiety, defaulting to familiar experiences, increased online shopping), but the reality is you're right...we just don't know. There's virtually no data on pandemic psychology/behavior, and all the pop-science stuff you read is just guessing at what will happen.
As for advertising, I think that once the pandemic is over, life will be back to what it was beforehand in almost every respect. People are amazing to adapting to changing circumstances. We are all doing that now with the pandemic and will all do that again when it's over. I don't think that advertising will be any different. Give it a year after we're all vaccinated (or whatever winds up being the solution) and most people will largely forget that we even had a pandemic. Yes, some will have big changes like lost loved ones or lost jobs, but for most people, life will return to what it was before Covid hit.
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thank you for answering, that is very interesting! the data you collect seems to be applicable to so many different fields. i asked about advertising as a student interested in media, but i can see it being useful in various types of companies be it internet security, food, travel etc. your job sounds really cool and i will definitely check out your YouTube channel :)
Did you ever get to meet Herbert Simon? Wasn't he interested in similar things?
I wish! I've been at CMU for 11 years. Simon passed away in 2001, so I missed him by a few years.
And yes, Simon was one of the original researchers into what's known as Bounded Rationality, it's the idea that humans don't act like computers and process all information simultaneously, but rather use heuristics and shortcuts to accomplish most tasks.
How influential was the work of Daniel Kahnemann to your current teaching?
VERY! I don't know Danny personally, but my advisor got his PhD at Princeton when Danny was there, so lots of indirect influence that way. More generally, the field of decision making was build on his (and others) work, so hard not to be influenced.
Do you have any opinions on investors behavior during covid 19? More specifically how certain financial firms may have targeted people who have or would dabble in market that have recently lost work due to the pandemic?
Caveat: I am not a finance professor. That said, my read is that fear of missing out (FOMO) is driving a lot of unexpected behaviors. The market has rallied like crazy since the March low and everyone wants in on that. It's hard to sit by and watch others make a killing while you don't.
As for practices like getting people who don't typically to invest to do so, there's two sides to this. On the one hand, getting more people involved with investing is a great thing. It used to be only that the very wealthy could invest and reap the benefits of the market, but now with places like Robinhood and fee-free trading on Schwab and the like, everyone can participate. On the other hand, MANY people don't understand risk well at all. They just see the possible upside and ignore the possibility of losing a lot (see that guy that committed suicide b/c of a terrible options trade...that's horrible). So firms and gov't have a responsibility to both educate investors and provide safeguards against uninformed behaviors.
the below is a reply to the above
Hello, I just want to specify something in your comment! The young college student who committed suicide did so because a misprogrammed number on the trading site, Robinhood. Of course at the time he did not know it, but the value loss that was near $800,000, was showing the loss of the entire option, not his equity in the option, which was -$1,000 - -$2,000 if I remember right. It was Robinhood's terrible interface, not his misunderstanding of risk, which is horrible. If you would like a misunderstanding of risk on trading platforms, look no further than wallstreetbets, of course as you said FOMO is a huge factor, or if you're interested, some trading platforms intentionally advertise to consumers without properly representing risk. Thank you very much for this AMA, it has been quite insightful!
Thanks so much for that clarification!
I have a question re: dating sites / apps. Is there a way to structure incentives so that the company is motivated to find good pairings between users? It feels like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, etc. don't have such an incentive currently
I think they do have an incentive to make good pairings. Word of mouth is their strongest asset so having good matches is key. The challenge is that good matches are hard to come by and not everyone agrees on what good is. Is good marriage? Is it a fun night? Not clear.
Hello Professor and thank you for taking this time. As a professional that works in marketing and a person who suffers from mental illnesses, it is often disheartening for me to see so much valuable research and findings be easily made available for use by companies for marketing and consumer exploitation while it is so difficult for those who are struggling to find information that could be beneficial to living their lives more freely. What are your thoughts on this, and do you think there are ways we could change the system to better benefit individuals needs directly?
The connection between marketing academia, marketing industry, and consumers just sucks. No one outside of academia reads marketing academic journals. Few in academia care if their work has applications (even in an applied field like marketing). And consumers can't be bothered (rightfully) to read through academic work to learn.
Some solutions that I've seen that work: - Marketing Science Institute: this is an organization whose entire goal is link academia and practice. They have conferences where they invite folks from both sides to collaborate. More of this please! - Pop-science social science books like Freakonomics, Blink, Predictably Irrational, etc...: They all have plenty of shortcomings, but the authors all do an amazing job of conveying the ideas of academia to the public. I think that's fantastic. More of this too please! - Consulting for non-profits. I do this and many others do as well. We use our knowledge to help non-profits do their amazing work. This is a way to avoid that "exploitation" you mentioned and instead use what we know to help others. There's not much money in this kind of consulting, which is why few do it, but it's really important. Maybe some kind of granting agency could earmark money for non-profits to hire academic consultants to help them use what we know to help the world. That would be awesome
hey, I'm a recent advertisement graduate, it's good to see someone from such a familiar field here anyways, when I do groceries, I always follow the list to a T, and I take no time at all getting the items, basically, I go against every little trick supermarkets have to "seduce" the customer, so my question is: what makes someone a "good customer"? is it someone highly susceptible to the marketing tricks at the market or someone who spends both their money and time more efficiently?
Good can mean different things here. You sound like you're probably super loyal to products. That's pretty great for most companies. The fact that you don't succumb to unintended purchases definitely makes you less attractive in one capacity, but your predictability makes you very attractive in other ways. If I could run a company where every customer always bought the same thing every week, I would LOVE that. I would know how to schedule raw material purchases, delivery schedules, etc... I would have a steady and dependable income. If, however, I relied just on getting lucky and catching the eye of customers as they passed my products on store shelves, that would be a whole lot more difficult a business plan to execute.
Hi Jeff, I have always geared my life towards maxing out the benefits and deducting the losses for example leaving my family in order to search for better life oportunities, ditching jobs where I felt safe in favor of new and more promising ones. And by this logic I have reached quIte far in my life. But at the end achieving all this goals don't yields the expected satisfaction. However I'm pretty sure that don't doing this would be even worse. Why does it seems that no matter if the desitions taken are the best at my point of view it still seems like I need more than the goals I have achieved. Why is disatisfaction the expected result?
Wow, that's a lot to give up for goals! People are inherently likely to make what are known as upward comparisons. We don't look at the people who we have done better than, but instead focus on the few who done better than us. The classic example is Silver Olympic medalists. They should be elated, but instead they just covet the Gold medalist.
Beyond that, in your specific case, it's hard to say for sure, but we know that close relationships are the number one driver of life satisfaction. If you've given those all up in pursuit of some other goal, that might explain things a bit. Take that with a grain of salt as all I know about you is summed up in 100 words or so!
Hello Jeff, glad to see this AMA here! I'm a statistics student in Brazil (one of my professors got his doctorate degree at Carnegie Mellon University, in fact!). Much of what we learn nowadays is related to careers pertaining the finance fields. Other stuff includes academic research mixed with other fields. I see myself as a data analyst for a big bank someday, but I always think: is there any career for a data scientist thats underrated by modern standards but still awesome and rewarding, in your opinion?
Go work for a non-profit! It's now where the money is, but many need help from data scientists. You can actually change the world that way!
Which US dollar bill is your favorite?
Cash? You still use cash?
the below is a reply to the above
For coke yeah
Oh, in that case.... Nope, not replying and losing my tenure :)
Good Job Opportunities Hospitality Management Undergrad + MBA?
Hello, I am a current community college student who is planning to transfer to University of Houston Conrad Hilton school and get my Bachelors in Hospitality Management (aka Hotel/Restaurant Management) I am wondering if I could get some good job prospects with acquiring an MBA in the hospitality industry. I also take a very large interest in IB but I love the hospitality industry as well. If I go for that jump at the MBA the salary would need to match the investment on the degree. Some high paying jobs could be like a High Level Manager at a Hospitality Group, Casino Property Managment, etc. If anyone knows anything about the relationship between Hospitality Management and MBA please leave a reply. Thank you so much! TLDR: hospitality management undergrad would an MBA give me good job opportunity with salary that’s worth
Background: Work Experience. 6 years & 8 months 2 years & 8 months – Hotel Revenue Management at a $350m/year casino hotel. My job consists pricing and demand analysis and I’ve had significant revenue growth year over year. Furloughed for 3 months but back in the Finance department doing various projects with FP&A team 1 year and some change – Promoted to Assistant Front Desk Manager at large hospitality company in Las Vegas. Managed operations and team for a 2000+ room las vegas strip hotel 1 year and some change – Management Associate at large hospitality company in Las Vegas. Held elected leadership position. Extracurriculars: honestly this is a weakness Forte MBALaunch 3 months – High School Mentor Accepted into Junior League, private women’s volunteer organization but unable to volunteer due to COVID 1 year- Philanthropy Chair for a large hospitality company and organized an event culminating to over $40K in donations and livelihood services to the homeless in Nevada. Undergrad: Hospitality Management Race/Nationality: Black Sex: Female Stats: GRE Score: 152Q/157V/4AWA Undergrad GPA: 3.2 Goal of MBA: Bigger impact in hospitality industry in marketing analytics. I’m actually interested in entertainment/media industry, but I didn’t want my story to pivot too far from my current position. Target Schools: Emory Goizueta, UNC Chapel Hill, Georgetown Do you think these schools are a stretch? Are there any other schools I should consider? Will I be eligible for a Forte fellowship with my stats? Thanks!
I've posted here once before and got a nice 3-bagger when WWE reported monster earnings. Doesn't matter if you lay off a fuckton of people, that just means less expenses! From that same sad but true line of thinking which brought you "layoffs will actually positively affect this stock," another sad reality of life: not everyone is really suffering during this virus. The Hamptons are experiencing absolutely insane demand. I have a bunch of friends who rent out properties there and confirm that everyone wants to get the hell out of the city, and there are a whole lot of people around here with the money to afford it. Whereas we once naively thought PTON stock would tank because who the fuck is spending $2000 on an exercise bike when employment is hitting historic lows, it's become clear that if you have money odds are you're doing just fine (economically that is; rona will probably still kill your grandma). As such, may I present: Chef's Warehouse. I don't make a habit of pumping some random stock every week (RIP everyone's ULTA puts) but this is one of my favorite plays and I've sunk more than half of my portfolio balls-deep into this one. From their earnings report, "The Chefs’ Warehouse, Inc. (http://www.chefswarehouse.com) is a premier distributor of specialty food products in the United States and Canada focused on serving the specific needs of chefs who own and/or operate some of the nation’s leading menu-driven independent restaurants, fine dining establishments, country clubs, hotels, caterers, culinary schools, bakeries, patisseries, chocolateries, cruise lines, casinos and specialty food stores. The Chefs’ Warehouse, Inc. carries and distributes more than 55,000 products to more than 34,000 customer locations throughout the United States and Canada." Translation: they're in the business of supplying rich people with food which is exciting because a) rich people can afford whatever they want and b) they have to eat. They're also pivoting hard into their direct-to-consumer division which has sold above expectations. APRN has proven to be trash; this is a higher end product catering to higher-end consumer and by a company with the industry know-how, supply chain and management team to make it work. A week and a half ago $CHEF reported earnings and absolutely crushed it. To be fair most of these are pre-Corona #s but as mentioned I think this company is pretty well shielded from the worst effects of the post-Covid economy. Not that that matters because apparently stonks only go up but...
Net sales increased 5.2% to $375.4 million for the first quarter of 2020 from $357.0 million for the first quarter of 2019.
GAAP net loss was $14.1 million, or $(0.48) per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2020 compared to net income of $1.1 million, or $0.04 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2019.
Adjusted EPS1 was $(0.60) for the first quarter of 2020 compared to $0.05 for the first quarter of 2019.
Adjusted EBITDA1 was $(13.8) million for the first quarter of 2020 compared to $13.2 million for the first quarter of 2019.
The Company had approximately $200.0 million of cash on the balance sheet and $33.4 million of availability on its asset-based loan facility as of April 30, 2020.
Fan of charts? Check this one out: https://preview.redd.it/iwsk9e6swuz41.png?width=955&format=png&auto=webp&s=fcca00d9a7a1ed800eb635c0f623d1ed63e23da4 While most stocks have recovered to pre-Corona levels, this still has a lot of room to run. Was trading around $40 for months and is now hovering around the $15 mark. I'll leave the crayon drawings to someone more autistic than myself. Should I waste more time with stats, historic charts and other info that half of you aren't reading anyways? Nah, it's Wednesday and I've got money to make and a wake-and-bake I should really get to. Get on the Chef's Warehouse boat and thank me later. TL;DR - CHEF 6/19 15c. Perfectly positioned to weather further lockdowns OR breakout to the upside if the "lockdowns are being lifted" narrative holds. Disclaimer: Not financial advice. SEC - I'm just trying to help a bunch of guys who drink their own piss.
Lost my high titled job due to DUI. Started working somewhere else, but as a stepping stone. Now what?
Long story short, I lost my job as an assistant director (acting director, due to vacant position) due to a DUI. I worked in Public Safety for a Casino. As I had no director above me I did everything. After losing my job, I floated around mainly working with my dad and his start up, but we could not work together due to personality differences. I began working as an Inventory Manager for a Cannabis firm, but I only see myself working here until I can get back on my feet (finish paying vehicle and fines from DUI). The loss for me was big even tho I wasn't happy in the field, but I felt like I got what I deserved after 9 years in the industry. Im a few months away from my MBA from a state college, but I still feel down. I enjoyed the position and the responsibilities and the office environment I worked in. Prior to my bachelor's I wanted to do accounting and majored in it before switching to general business. Idk why I feel lost, but I do. Where do I go from here? Should attempt a degree in accounting or try to apply somewhere within security/Public safety in a management position? What do I do to land a job like what I had. PS I am in my late 20's. Not sure if it matters but some times age matters on the maturity side.
Hey guys, here are some recent job openings in san diego. Feel free to comment here or send me a private message if you have any questions, I'm at the community's disposal! If you encounter any problems with any of these job openings please let me know that I will modify the table accordingly. Thanks!
1957 = wrote a letter to President Eisenhower saying he wanted to lead the nation into space.
1968 = graduated from the University of Berkeley magna cum laude with a degree in finance.
1969 = gets married to his high school sweetheart.
1970 = receives an MBA from Wharton Business school, according to Milken he had the highest grades ever achieved at the school. Starts working for an investment firm called Drexel that would soon merge and be known as Drexel Burnham.
1976 = made $5 million ($23 million in 2020 dollars) from Drexel Burnham.
1977 = buys his current home in Encino, California that cost $587,500 (over $2.5 million in 2020 dollars). 7 bedrooms. over 7,000 square feet. Milken and the Drexel Burnham firm began to underwrite junk bonds.
1978 = moved his trading desk from New York to his hometown of Los Angeles, bringing about 20 traders with him. Milken stayed on the NYC schedule while in Los Angeles, waking up at 3am and working from 4:30am to 7:30pm.
1979 = First Predator's Ball, a financial conference hosted by Milken that continues to the present with over 3,500 people from over 50 nations attending.
1981 = by this time, Drexel Burnham is issuing over 60% of junk bonds in America. Milken committed to buy or sell junk bonds that Drexel Burnham had underwritten, offering liquidity and security to the market. This allowed for junk bonds to be more accurately priced and it brought new customers and their money into Milken’s junk bond market.
1982 = started the Milken Family Foundation with his brother Lowell Milken as a tax shelter.
1986 = There are more companies issuing junk bonds than investment-grade bonds. Drexel Burnham became the leading investment bank in America. Milken made $296 million ($698 million in 2020 dollars) from Drexel Burnham.
1987 = made $550 million ($1.25 billion in 2020 dollars) from Drexel Burnham.
1988 = Drexel Burnham launches an internal investigation into Milken and uncovers a shadow entity called MacPherson Partners that was engaging in suspicious financial activity. Drexel Burnham pleads guilty to 6 counts of stock parking and stock manipulation. Milken leaves Drexel Burnham to start his own firm.
1989 = indicted by Rudy Giuliani and charged with 98 counts of financial crimes which included insider trading, securities fraud, stock parking, and racketeering.
1990 = pleads guilty to 6 charges of criminal violation of securities laws and is ordered by the SEC to pay a $200 million fine plus $400 million to defrauded investors. Additional Milken has to pay a civil lawsuit settlement of $500 million to Drexel’s private investors who lost money after his crimes caused the firm to go bankrupt.
1992 = his jail sentence is reduced from 10 years to 2 years and Milken is released from prison after serving 22 months. After paying over $1 billion in fines, Milken still has a fortune of $2.5 billion ($4.6 billion in 2020 dollars).
1993 = diagnosed with prostate cancer and given 18 months to live. Milken, with the help of his money, beats the odds and his cancer has been in remission for over 25 years. Buys a vacation in Lake Tahoe for $8 million ($14.3 million in 2020 dollars) and then tears down the house and builds a new house.
1998 = paid $47 million to settle SEC claims he had violated his lifetime ban from the industry.
2009 = Milken buys his daughter an $8.75 million mansion in Beverly Hills.
2011 = bought a house in Malibu for $13.75 million.
2013 = committed another violation of his lifetime ban from the securities industry by loaning a senior executive at a financial firm $50 million.
2014 = George Washington University named its public health school after Milken because of his donation of $50 million.
2019 = bought a Beverly Hills Mansion for $19 million cash.
The junk bond scheme:
Milken controlled both sides of the deal, he controlled both the lenders and the borrowers.
he controlled the lenders because he controlled a huge network of federally insured Savings and Loan banks, reputable insurance companies, and junk bond funds.
so Milken would then raise money from his network of lenders to buy junk bonds from a junk company (borrower), with the promise that the junk company will use some of that capital to buy junk bonds from other junk companies (borrowers) in Milken’s junk bond empire. This inflated the demand for the junk bonds.
junk bonds yielded Milken a high commission, and Milken would also get equity in the junk companies that he had just financed with capital.
Junk bonds financed corporate raiders, and information about those takeover bids was improperly shared, creating criminal insider trading opportunities. Milken often tried to get as much as five times the maximum markup on trades that was permitted at the time. Milken’s friend and business associate, Ivan Boesky:
Ivan Boesky’s conviction of insider trading in 1986 is what lead to Milken’s downfall.
Milken had substantial business dealings with Boesky.
the first lead into Milken’s crimes was a payment of $5.3 million by Ivan Boesky to Drexel Burnham listed as a consultation fee. Boesky told the SEC this payment was for Milken’s profits form an illegal trade.
Boesky implicated milked in insider trading, stock manipulation, fraud, and stock parking.
Milken’s shadow entity, MacPherson Partners:
Drexel’s internal investigation discovered suspicious activity in one of the limited partnerships Milken had set up to allow members of his department to make their own investments called MacPherson Partners.
Members of MacPherson Partners included: Milken, other Drexel Burnham executives, a few high value Drexel Bernham customers, as well as a few managers of money market funds - all friends of Milken.
MacPherson Partners acquired several stock warrant)s for the stock of Storer Broadcasting in 1985. At the time, the powerful private equity firm KKR was in the midst of a leveraged buyout of Storer Broadcasting, and Drexel Burnham was the lead underwriter for the bonds being issued.
One of Drexel Burnham’s other clients bought several Storer Broadcasting warrants and sold them back to the high-yield bond department (controlled by Milken) at Drexel Burnham.
Drexel Burnham’s high-yield bond department in turn sold them to MacPherson Partners (also controlled by Milken).
Those warrants were then handed out by Milken to members of his family, and the money managers bought the warrants for themselves without notifying the clients of the funds they were managing.
By allowing his wealth fund management friends to buy the warrants, Milken was essentially bribing them so they would in turn help him with his junk bond manipulation.
His Trial, Conviction and Sentence
During the trial, Milken spent $3 million a month on his legal defense and an expensive public relations firm. He ultimately pleaded guilty to 3 counts of securities fraud, 2 counts of tax evasion, and 1 count of conspiracy to commit the other 5 crimes. Milken was ordered by the court to pay a fine of $200 million and to pay $400 million to defrauded investors. In a separate civil suit Milken had to pay out an additional $500 million to defrauded investors. Sentenced to 2 years for each of the 5 counts of tax and securities fraud for 10 years total. When the judge read the sentence, Milken misunderstood and thought he had received 2 years total. After his lawyer told him that he was getting 10 years, the blood drained out of Milken’s face, he took his wife into a witness waiting room, closed the door and let out a blood-curdling scream.
Clemency from President Trump
On February 18, 2020 Trump granted clemency to Milken, although his lifetime ban from the securities industry is still in effect. America’s Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, is longtime pals with Milken, and was the prime mover in convincing President Trump to pardon him. Mnuchin has flown on Milken’s private jet. Another fat cat advocating for Milken was Nelson Peltz, who has raised over $10 million for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign. And don’t forget Trump's fattest fat cat, Sheldon Adelson, who also advocated on behalf of Milken. Many powerful figures in high finance came together to lobby the White House on behalf of Milken, including:
Sheldon Adelson: a major Republican donor and Trump supporter, Adelson is the chief executive officer of casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp.
David Bahnsen: a former Morgan Stanley managing director and wealth management executive who wrote Trump in 2017 urging him to pardon Milken, calling the junk bond king’s prosecution a result of “a period of class envy run amok.”
Tom Barrack: the chief executive officer and chairman of Colony Capital Inc., Barrack is long-time Trump ally. He faced a call from an investor in November to step down in part over distractions from investigations into his political and personal activities.
Rupert Murdoch: a powerful media mogul and longtime Trump ally who put the power of News Corp. behind the president.
Maria Bartiromo: a popular anchor on Fox Business, Bartiromo has interviewed Milken as recently as 2018 (and has also interviewed Trump). The network is part of Murdoch’s media empire.
Ron Burkle: a billionaire investor who controls Yucaipa Cos., Burkle made his fortune in the grocery-store industry. Burkle, a Democratic fund-raiser famous for his friendship with Bill Clinton, made news last year when he was rumored to be interested in acquiring the Trump-friendly National Enquirer.
Elaine Chao: the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Chao was a key speaker at the Milken Global Conference last year, where she spoke about the future of mobility as well as women in government. She’s married to Republican Senate Majority Leader and top Trump ally Mitch McConnell.
Rudy Giuliani: Trump’s personal lawyer, the former New York mayor has lately been embroiled in the Ukraine scandal. As chief federal prosecutor in New York in the 1980s, Giuliani sought to prosecute Milken.
Rabbi Marvin Hier: dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Hier was invited by Trump to speak at his inauguration. The rabbi in 2018 called on Trump to fight extremism in the U.S. after a shooting at a synagogue.
Ray Irani: chairman and chief executive officer of Ray Investments Ltd. and former CEO of Occidental Petroleum, Irani stepped down as a board member at Wynn Resorts Ltd. following a sexual harassment scandal involving company founder Steve Wynn.
Robert Kraft: owner of the New England Patriots and a longtime Trump supporter.
Richard LeFrak: a billionaire developer and Republican donor, LeFrak appeared in a 2010 episode of Trump’s reality TV show “The Apprentice.”
Randy Levine: the president of the New York Yankees and a longtime supporter of Republican politicians, including Trump.
Kevin McCarthy: a Republican congressman from California, McCarthy is the House Minority Leader and a longtime Trump supporter.
Larry Mizel: chairman and CEO of home-builder MDC Holdings Inc.
Arte Moreno: owner of the Anaheim Angels, which he purchased from The Walt Disney Co. in 2003
Sean Parker: Napster co-creator and Facebook Inc. billionaire who has attended the annual Milken Institute Global Conference.
John Paulson: founder and owner of Paulson & Co., a New York-based investment adviser that manages about $9 billion, Paulson is best-known for making $15 billion in 2007 on a bet against mortgage bonds.
Nelson Peltz: founder and chief executive officer of Trian Fund Management LP, Peltz is well-known as an activist investor in companies like Wendy’s and Dupont.
Steven Roth: chairman and chief executive officer of Vornado Realty Trust, a REIT that holds more than 22 million square feet in commercial property, mainly in New York.
David Rubenstein: co-chairman and co-founder of The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm with $222 billion in assets under management.
Larry Ruvo: senior managing director of Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada, the state’s largest liquor wholesaler.
Marc Stern: the chairman of TCW Group Inc. hosted a $10,000 per person fund-raiser for Trump at his Malibu home in 2018 attended by Vice President Mike Pence.
Steven Tananbaum: the founder and chief investment officer of GoldenTree Asset Management LP, one of Wall Street’s biggest investors in distressed debt.
Ted Virtue: the chief executive officer of MidOcean Partners, the middle-market private equity and credit firm, who previously oversaw Deutsche Bank AG’s $35 billion direct investment portfolio.
Andrew von Eschenbach: a U.S. Food and Drug Administration chief under President George W. Bush, he now serves on the board of Bausch Health Cos.
Mark Weinberger: the chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young LLP, Weinberger quit Trump’s business council after the Charlottesville white supremacists rally but later dined with the president.
Milken likes to tell his life story as a smart guy who grew up wanting to be a scientist and lead America in the space race, but after his first year in college the Watts riots happened and it made him rethink his life. After talking with a Black man who told him that he couldn’t get access to capital because he was Black, Milken decided he would dedicate his life to making sure people with ability would have access to capital. So Milken changed from a science major to finance, went to business school, made $billions on Wall Street all so he could help Black people? There are plenty of people who in part owe their wealth to Milken and his junk bonds, and these people heap praise on Milken saying he created a lot of wealth in America and helped society tremendously. The wealth, though, went to those people heaping the praise! As for the companies Milken financed helping society, it would be difficult to argue that case. The big name companies that were financed by Milken include: CNN, Rupert Murdoch’s empire, Wynn casinos, Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital, etc. Milken was not helping society, he was helping people on Wall Street get rich. Government watchdogs are usually too weak to take on the crimes of the super rich, because the government watchdog worker still gets paid whether for not the Wall Street crook gets busted. There is no incentive to play by the rules. Milken has done a lot of philanthropic work especially in regards to cancer research with that $2.5 billion he had leftover after getting out of prison, although he hasn’t given away that much money considering his net worth in 2020 is $3.8 billion. What I find most fascinating about the Milken story is the power of his public relations machine. All the major media outlets cast Milken as a philanthropist and not a criminal. Another sign of the overwhelming influence of the wealthy on the American zeitgeist.
Ok, so you’re reading this cause you are slacking off and doing anything to avoid studying. Some of this will probably not apply or some people will disagree(maybe strongly), but this is what I learned/experienced from my experience taking the CPA exam. This is long, so strap in and lets go for a ride. Background I am an advisory associate at a Big 4 firm. I had Becker paid for since I signed my return offer after my internship. I have both a bachelors and masters degree in accounting. I started studying in Feb 2019 and just found out I passed my final part, with BEC the only one I had to take while working. I passed all parts on my first try. I love subjective qualitative questions (AUD) and despise quantitative calculation heavy questions (everything else). I had terrible study habits/motivation and typically I am a bad test taker. So anyways lets get started 1. Understand the concepts and underlying logic a. You have heard this time and time again and just let it brush by you without a 2nd thought. You probably only want to just memorize and regurgitate material. If you want to get the most out of your studying, you should aim to truly understand why things are the way they are and from what point of view you need to look from. For example, why would an audit firm be cautious about taking on a new client (i.e. Enron)? What could make management want to “cheat” on their financials and how does the FASB curb those actions? Etc. I cannot emphasize this enough. Oh wait, hold on. AM I EMPHASIZING THIS ENOUGH??!!!!!!!! Do this and be able to teach the concepts to others. Being able to teach it helps reinforce it. 2. Be curious and listen/read about biz outside of studying a. You should ask questions to yourself that go beyond the review course. “Why do I share memes on Facebook and avoid social interaction in real life?” “Do I really want to do public accounting?” “I wonder what it’ll be like not having to study for this stupid exam?” oh wait, not those questions. Lol, listen to podcasts like planet money, the Wall street journal, etc. Google questions you have that go beyond the scope of your review course. Try to make connections to your life (individual tax and how that might apply to you). Doing this will, hopefully, make you curious/interested and tie things to what you’re studying. Not making any connections to your personal life financial decisions or what is going around you or being curious can make the study process that much worse. 3. Practice and use excel a. DO NOT USE A TI 84 when studying. Yes, I know you have an emotional connection to it since it was your ex girlfriend’s back in high school. Get in the habit of using excel. From what I understand, if you are really close, like a 74, the graders will take a special look at your exam and see if you really deserve a 75. Excel would help by allowing you to write notes for problems and show your thought process to the graders. It helps out in sims, when you are using the research tool and find a code that applies but you want to keep searching for a better citation. You can copy and paste that section and passages into excel for reference if you want to come back. You can format how you calculate stuff too, vs that crappy on screen calculator trying to figure out which step of the calculation you’re at. Plus getting in the habit of using the main program you’ll use at work also helps. Should also learn hot keys, show em what dem fingers do. Get your mind out of the gutter. 4. MCQs, MCQs, MCQs a. Your eyes should be bleeding. After understanding and grasping the concepts, you should aim to get above 60% (75% if you’re competitive) correct on your first try on MCQs for each module. If you don’t, go back into the book and relearn. MCQs are great practice and honestly its probably the best way to prepare in a short amount of time. I aimed to get through the material about 45% of my time and the remaining being for reviewing mostly through doing MCQs. I aimed to do about 200-300 MCQs each day during my review period. Others have said that they did 1000 a day. Its not a contest. Heck, I’ve even seen some of the same MCQs (or very similar) between Becker and the actual exams. Doesn’t hurt to practice. 5. Still in undergrad? Take more finance classes a. Something I found helpful was doing a dual accounting and finance bachelors degree. I got both perspectives from accounting and finance. Yes, I incurred more student loans, but at least I can talk the talk and understand obscure finance related topics (financial markets and institutions, risk management, forecasting, etc). 6. Need more education credits? Do a masters in accounting(MAcc), not an MBA or a masters in tax, etc a. Ok, this is controversial and this probably only applies to juniors in college. Look, taking classes that interest you are great. But if you truly want those three letters after your name, you’ll have to put yourself in a position that truly sets you up for success. An MBA: you’ll have exposure to all sorts of classes and topics, but you probably won’t focus too much on auditing or tax and other accounting stuff as much. Plus, there’s a whole debate on if an MBA is even worth it anymore vs a specialized masters (MAcc, Master of supply chain,etc). Let me know if you want me to elaborate, but googling recent news articles/threads can show you. A masters in tax: yes, you’ll probably destroy REG. However, if you don’t like qualitative and subjective questions, AUD will kick you in the ass. FAR will probably be a little difficult since you mostly studied tax. A MAcc: you’ll get an overall selection of accounting courses (audit to cost accounting, etc). Overlapping your classes while studying for a CPA exam section is only gonna help (audit class while studying for AUD; killing 2 birds with one stone). Employers will be a little bit more at ease knowing you aren’t these “no brained MBA students that don’t know anything” -grad school prof. Look at schools that have flexibility and have high pass rates for the CPA exam. I’ve heard great things about BYU, Texas, and Michigan. 7. Never waste a testing window, if you can afford it. Take it at the end too. a. Now, I’m not too sure how this is gonna play out with the new testing rules upcoming in July. However, I would always try to aim to get through all my material a week before the testing window ended and aimed to take the exam on the last day of the testing window. If I failed, I’d find out the following week and I’d have all that material still fresh in my mind to grind for early next testing window. From what I’ve heard and experienced, you can typically be pleasantly surprised with the result, as long as you know enough basic stuff. Don’t quote me on that, but if you got the cash, might as well do it. If you plan it right, the first year bonus should be able to cover all the exam fees you incurred taking exams multiple times. Jk, plan to pass it the first time, it’ll save you some $$. 8. For the love of God, pass them all before working a. My heart goes out to all those who haven’t taken a single part when they begin work. I was studying for BEC while working and Jesus, I legit could not find time or have energy to study while working (get home at 9, bed at 11, up at 5am, leave for client at 6am). If I were to redo it again, I would ask during your internship to get access to Becker early and start studying before grad school. I spent about 10+ hours a day during the bright blue skied summer in the library depressed that I had to learn about pension and lease accounting. I’ve heard that some places/firms are great at giving you time to study, but probably don’t pay as much. I’ve heard GCAS (GCASconnect.org) is a great option. Probably hard to break into Big 4 afterwards, but at least you’ll kinda get that work life balance. Get it done ASAP. If you are working FT and haven’t taken any or are currently taking it, its not the end of the world. I know plenty of people who passed all of em in Big 4 within their first 4 years. 9. Impatient and want to know if you passed/failed a little bit early? Eyeball trick a. I think this applies mostly NASBA states, but yea google it. Your credit/fail status will pop up like half a day before the actual release date (typically). 10. Getting through the material is the hardest part a. So what if you fail an exam, at least you did the hardest part, getting through and understanding the material. If you fail, you aren’t starting back at square 1. You’ll pretty much be at >=70%, depending on how diligent you were at studying the first time, if you find out if you failed. If you haven’t started work yet, just get through all the material. Learning obscure topics in FAR &BEC while working 60+ hours a week will drive you crazy. As mentioned below, write outlines, so that it’ll be easier and quicker to refresh on the material if you need to come back. 11. Find a friend, a study routine, and test ritual a. If you’re like me, you have borderline ADHD and cannot concentrate or keep yourself accountable. I had a group in grad school that we all struggled together in the library and kept each other accountable. Cancel your Netflix, take Youtube out of your bookmarks, just make it difficult to find distractions. Your job is to study, not find an excuse to have a study break *points at you*. Finally, find a ritual. Mine was booking a hotel the night before my exam at a hotel across the street from Prometric (Since I was scared to death that my love for sleep would get the best of me). I would go to Red Robin and eat dinner, go to a movie the night before and take Z quil and go to bed early. Before my exam, I would wake up 3-4 hours before my exam to get myself awake, eat a very light breakfast, and take a 5 hour energy right before I walked into the exam room. I would carry gum, a granola bar, redbull, Advil, ear plugs, and a water bottle to the exam. I fidget a lot so I would chew gum, and while Prometric typically gave us headmuffs, I would carry in my ear plugs and squish them (fidgeting habit) while I read prompts or if my test taking neighbor was noisy, put in the earplugs underneath the headmuffs. After my exam, I would treat myself. Go play 9 holes, watch another movie, and go out drinking. Treat yourself, even if you failed it, you deserve some positivity in your life. Depending on how you feel, wait 2 days(recovery) before studying the same section or moving onto the next section. 12. Do not redeem your Becker books until after you are done a. Want a little extra cash? I wish I had thought of this earlier. But, one of my buddies only used the online textbook and online final review textbook. He never redeemed his becker books. After he finished, he put up a listing on ebay for his becker books. Since the books keep getting updated, he could say that these books were current. He also bundled all the books together on ebay and sold them for like $350, instead of selling one by one which would take longer. Plenty of people have their books go out of date fast and are in need of new fresh paper to massacre with their pencil and highlighter. If you don’t need the hardcopy, pass on it and get a little bit of extra cash after you pass the exams. 13. If Becker ever offers you a lifetime subscription, take it a. Yes, while they do say that if you don’t pass a section they’ll let you keep using your account, you do have to demonstrate that you didn’t pass (salt in the wound). During grad school, a couple of my friends at another big 4 firm said they got an email about Becker giving them lifetime access until they passed. I reached out to Becker to see if I could opt in for that. It was free. That way it was one less thing on my mind knowing that my software would expire in 18 months unless I showed substantial progress in reviewing through Becker. 14. Becker really done screwed up by removing the desktop app a. I might be in the minority here, but I highly doubt it. Starting Jan 2020, Becker will no longer support the desktop application for your laptop. I absolutely loved the native downloaded application. You didn’t need to be connected via internet and could pull up excel. I only needed the internet to update the contents. Having access to the internet was a slippery slope to a 7 hour youtube binge. By turning off my wifi and going to a spot in the library with no WIFI access, I ultimately only had the Becker app for entertainment. Sad yes, I know. Becker only now offers the online version and the app version for mobile devices. Sorry for all those who didn’t get to download the desktop app back in June 2019 for the last time. 15. Find a good prometric a. I have been fortunate and not had problems. However, I have heard nightmare scenarios where a few of my friends had a prometric that couldn’t get their exam loaded and had to have them reschedule. If you’re working and take PTO that would be terrible. I had one friend who tried to take an exam at the end of a testing window before his other exam credit expired the next testing period and lost credit cause prometric had to keep rescheduling him. Put your mind at ease and don’t experience an emotional rollercoaster finding out you have to reschedule. Some Prometrics are control freaks and will lose their s*** if you do something minor like chewing gum or kick off your shoes while you are taking your exam. Just depends on who your proctor is. Ask your friends which locations are good. Heads up though, typically those are the ones that fill up the quickest. 16. You got 4 mins to write down everything a. Don’t know if this is allowed by Prometric, can someone attest to this? Remember those 4 mins that are admin disclaimers before your actual exam begins? Good, use that free time to your advantage. Write down formulas fresh in your mind or concepts or acronyms that will help you or that you truly struggle with. I wish I had done this when I took it, but write down all the major amounts (i.e. 3k), concepts, rules, and formulas on that little crappy laminated sheet Prometric gives you during that 4 mins before your exam starts. Some people will say this is not necessary or bad for you, but if I were you, I’d live in comfort having that sheet of material. 17. Becker keeps repeating certain things over and over a. If you haven’t gotten the hint yet, you should.*Don’t be like me when a girl laughs at your 2/10 dad joke and tell her she is a great friend* Topics that mysteriously keep popping up again and again, are typically the ones that will most likely show up on your exam. *cough*Basis*cough*gov &NFP*cough*Internal control*cough*IT* 18. The exam is “fair”, MCQs only adaptive a. Yes, only the MCQ testlets are adaptive. If you find that a sim is easy, don’t worry your little mind about it. SIM difficulty is random, even though you’ll stare at your screen for 30 min wondering where it all went wrong. Look, the examiners only want you to know enough to keep the public safe (so basically AUD matters). Those really difficult sections you have in your review course typically won’t be big areas in the exam, unless you’ve got bad luck. If that’s the case, then I’m sorry dude. When I took FAR, I kept reviewing the sections that I could not grasp that well, in reality it consisted of most of the questions I was really strong in already. However, I hadn’t kept up in those areas and I thought I failed. It’s a fair exam, not too hard but not easy, the studying/review part is in my opinion the worst part of the whole process. 19. Watch out for absolutes a. Use standard test taking strategies. If you see the words: only, all, none, never, always, etc. in answers, your eyes should pop and you should start reevaluating your life choices. That’s how I got through AUD, just looking for absolutes. If you see one, that’s typically one less answer choice you have to worry about. There is always the exception to the rule. That being said, you should also get in the habit of watching out for the question prompt saying except, none, only, etc. I can’t tell you how many questions I missed cause I was not careful reading the prompt correctly. Get in the habit of knowing what the question is truly asking. 20. For BEC WC, repeat the prompt a. How does the AICPA keep up with grading the BEC exam with all those essays you gotta write? They (probably) don’t. It’s most likely a computer that uses a similar grammaspelling function to that of MSFT word and/or Grammarly with a few extra conditions like searching for key words. As long as you can write with decent grammar, you are set my friend. Just make sure you almost repeat exactly what the prompt says, so that the system sees you are on track. Even if you have no clue what the hell the answer is, repeat the prompt. You’ll get points for writing something and being on track. Just a little sneaky tip for ya. 21. Is the Elijah Watt Scholarship worth it? a. Short answer: no, in my opinion. “Yes, we will definitely pay you $20,000 if you get 95.5 avg across all the exams and passing on your first try!”-accounting firm. From what I have heard, pretty much all the firms will try their best to back out of this promise and say, “ooof, ummm, how about no and we instead give you $5,500. Cool right?! Hey did you by chance get around to that one project we assigned you yesterday?” I think PWC has been the only one to honor the higher bonus, but even then, I haven’t heard too great of things from them lately from my friends who did get the Elijah Watt award. Your goal is to pass. A CPA is still a CPA no matter if you scored 99 on all the sections or if you got 75 on all sections. A really smart friend of mine once told me, “You’re a complete idiot if you get anything above a 75, a 75 says that you studied just the right amount, Idk why xyz has spent 5 months studying for BEC doing 10+ hours a day.” Probably study enough to aim for an 85, rather pass than have to retake. 22. This platform (another71, reddit,etc) will help keep your sanity a. Yes, while some people here can be very brash and tell you to work harder and not really give you comfort. There are plenty of people here to give encouragement and support. Lots of people here are in the same boat as you and are trying to pass. After every exam I would rant about how little I studied and how I knew I had for sure failed and how others felt about their exams. Remember, for every rant you put, give two comments of support/advice to someone who is struggling. Also, while youtube reactions to CPA exams is nice, don’t dive too deep and waste precious study time. Breeze through them and see what is recommended and how to prepare, nothing more. Shoutout to those who actually make youtube videos on their journeys, yall helped me out. 23. Take FAR first, BEC=What the hell was that? a. FAR is a B****. It’s a mile wide but an inch deep. When I studied for AUD, I honestly had fun studying for it. REG was not as fun, but was able to connect it to my life. FAR…. FAR is a beast. It is so freakin long that I was honest to God exhausted after it. If I had to redo things, I would take it first. It’s just the amount of material, the exam I found was quite fair. You’ll also realize that FAR is systemic and touches every other section. Taxes for Reg (M1&M3 schedules), ratios for Audit, and hedges for BEC. Trust me, it’ll be easier to transition vs hearing Olinto and Gearty say “remember in FAR..” when you actually hadn’t event studied for it yet. Ok, now lil ol’ BEC. At first glance its this little cute section that’s like “I’m just glad to be here” In reality, its this random hodgepodge of misc material that couldn’t make up separate exams. While the other sections build on each other, the BEC material is so different it is hard to transition your mindset. I woulda also tried to take this towards the beginning. Be comfortable with calculation and quantitative heavy problems. Its amazing how financy and quantitative it really is. I like qualitative subjective logic based questions, so AUD basically. 24. Use Becker Final Review and take mock exams. Make an outline as you go through a. Final Review in my opinion is underrated. I’m one to be looking for pure efficiency and find out where my weakest areas are. At least you can still download the desktop version of final review and don’t need internet to access it. Another issue I had was I never did the progress tests. I would get through all the material and take a mock. Find out I got like a 30-50 on it and be depressed since I hadn’t kept up in the earlier parts of the material. Make sure to always constantly refresh on older parts of the material, it’ll save you so much time and effort. One thing I started in REG was making an outline. Did I ever come back and read my work? No, but the process of actually writing down concepts and material subconsciously internalizes in your brain. I did this in case I had to retake a section so I could breeze through and find the areas I was weak in. Thankfully, that never happened. Make sure to write examples that you can understand and to put jokes/big4accountant memes in it to prevent your eyes glazing over. 25. Why on earth are you still reading this slacker? Get to work a. In all honesty, the CPA exam in my opinion isn’t that bad. It’s just getting through the material. Only you have the power to stop wildfires, wait, I mean pass the CPA exam. Life will throw crazy things at you. You might be in a relationship and need to sit your significant other down and have them understand the time commitment this really is. You just need to put yourself in a situation that will set you up for success. Stay late at work/library, put in earplugs/headmuffs (the ones you use for mowing lawns), sit in isolation away from any windows (the casino effect), drink coffee, take Adderall, exercise, move across the country, quit public accounting, start a multi tiered marketing business, marry a model, live your best life. IDK im not your mother, just do it.
Hello, I know there is a lot of advice for careers on this site but I am struggling finding my path. In 2012, I graduated with a Bachelors in Psychology, minor in gender equality - I thought I would become a psychologist. I was pushed by my parents toward psychology and I loved the theory but I never wanted to do it as a career. I ended up working at a Casino, jumped through ranks and had good benefits. I realized that with my current education I would struggle to find anything more rewarding and entered into an MBA program. I graduated with honors and concentrated in Project Management which I loved. I have always been 'good' with computers, built computers, use virtualization, made a couple cheese programs. I always wished I went more toward IT/Computer science. I was considering a second masters in Computer Science but I decided to wait and recover financially. I want to get into tech, or management at a tech firm but I am having trouble finding an entry point. I am considering picking up some certs (A+, Network+, Security+, etc) or just going back for another Masters. I know there are a lot of opportunities for IT Project Managers which highly interests me but many require a decent IT background. I could look at a PhD in Information Systems as well. MBA's seem to be favored in the degree program. Truth is, I just feel a bit lost. I am hoping for just some general advice.
Some quick info to better answer the question on a personal level for me. I'm almost 30, lived in Central Massachusetts for most of my life, really just looking for change of scenery. Thinking of moving out there. Some background: My Vegas Experience: My grandparents, Aunt and Uncle, and first cousins live in Vegas. So I've been a handful of times to visit them. Despite having some time in Vegas with locals, I myself am still just a tourist, and so it's easy to see things through rose-colored glasses. They all enjoy it, been living there about 8 years. I'm enamored with the city itself in terms of the personality and excitement. The proximity to conveniences was nice, the roads and architecture maintained, and temperate weather being a blessing compared to New England. My professional background: Naturally I'll be looking for work. My undergrad was in Corporate Finance, Management and Marketing. I also have a Masters in Finance and my MBA. I've been working in mutual fund accounting for 7 years (looking for professional change here too) and been serving and bartending for 10 years. Curious what kind of opportunities there are in Vegas in the finance field (not necessarily investing, but even working doing the books for a company, casino, business, headquarters, etc). My personality: I'm not real gambler and never been to a strip club, so neither of those are big draws for me for Vegas. I do LOVE nightlife though in terms of bars, clubs, events, etc. Anything from a local pub to a loud rave. I'm single, no kids, about 30K in savings (which I'd try to put down on a house/condo), so I'm sitting pretty well in terms of what I can do socially. So yeah, what are some downsides to Vegas that some might not know about? I only know the positives. Thanks so much everybody :)
I graduated from my undergrad in 2015 and felt a lot of pressure from my parents to do better than them, which meant not working in hospitality (they worked in casinos my entire life bc it was available, didn't require a degree, and paid relatively well). My mom wanted me to do something medical-related, which I wanted to, but just wasn't motivated/cut out for it. Earlier this year I got to the point where I felt totally alone and stressed about what I was going to do with my life. I had brought up getting my MBA and my mom shut it down. I felt hopeless and like I would never amount to anything. I got a job at a hotel management company and things have been amazing. I've become so inspired. I outlined what I could do with my life if I got a MBA and showed it to my mom and she came around. We started talking about possibilities and school and what I could do. That was three months ago. 4 days ago, I got my acceptance letter to grad school. Yesterday, I got my financial aid award letter saying that I have the funds I need to cover my first year. I am finally going to grad school!!!
Hi Guys! Today I have a packed agenda including but not limited to: 1. Planning my life/education/getting my Mac 2. Building up my relationships so I build up my bros first then me, such a conspiracy 3. Revenge against three sets of people A) wbgs B) wbgs students (certain individuals) C) Purcell students (certain individuals) These people defamed me with a conspiracy theory of putting a bomb in my school, crazy stuff I’m not familiar with these individuals Will never understand their motives But I intend to Conspire against them through exposing them which will include their efforts to conspire against my attempts to expose them It’s all limitless Every conspiracy they try and make affiliated to my name/reputation will be pre empted , sent to the police etc As said I’m not familiar with these people and they’ve caused me a lot of stress I wish only love and happiness for them but they will he 100% exposed Can link to my suicide note which is my very last resort if they continue to denigrate me without just consequences. Might need legal representation. They also made social media posts attributed to my name to further gaslight me Nice All the more motivation to be a better person My social life/$/photos/learning/gym/lifestyle is all on the up (: Leaving my parents house better off then when I came in when I go to university too ❤️ Anyway, this is my life plan 1) do the above revenge , and make my whole conspiracy work like tick tock and dominate the narrative, no tolerance of bs, no backchat , I’m getting justice from those who slandered me. 2) Look at the defamation post I made, I did badly with my grades, luckily I have a solution There’s an LLB Law degree offered by the Open University Which is Basically all online. I’m doing it from student accommodation in London hopefully whilst partying with my London friends. This will take 3 years. Hopefully Will intern with my cousin who works with Legal Services in New York City, and also network with my twitter following, my church community and my friend Aditya for internship opportunities. After my degree, I hope to do an Ma Law at either Cambridge, LSE, Macau , Hong Kong Etc so I’m skilled up in terms of my education I manage most of my relationships/communication through the devil that is social media It’s this huge conspiracy because instead of being an influencer on ig , I’m really woke politically on my twitter, Dennis rodman is my dad and I’m an anarchist, daddy would be proud But yeah, linked my twitter @ online if this matters. I automated a bot on it which shows my future mansion lol. After my Ma Law /Mba/JD /management I would like to locate to Singapore or the States and Practice Law or Work in Real Estate or work with influencers or join the military to then be qualified to be a mercenary etc What is for certain though is im a shameless sycophant My school/uni/online connections etc are engaging in a wild conspiracy We’re running up money together, property, opportunities, education, girls, social life etc you name it It’s a huge conspiracy as said Bigger conspiracy then a wife cheating on her husband and putting it on Reddit. Particular Employment that appeals to me includes: Miami: Dezer Development NYC: JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, McKinsey, all the law firms on my twitter feed, LA: The Daily Wire Lol Anywhere: Any media organisation, it looks lit, idc what politics Political: Lib Dem/Tory/Labor in the U.K., idc I could be either and be a successful mp if I put my mind to it Anywhere: any property development Forbes 30 and 30 Anywhere that sells yachts fr Las Vegas/Macau: casinos Anywhere in the world: a bank Get experience. Employ people to my social media etc Potentially start my own political advocacy group. Potentially do a JD (Ma) at Harvard/a top 30 law school (school of foreign relations/government) Everything hinges on OU lmao Also interested in Fashion, Commercial Space Mining, Fried Chicken. The apartments I put online? I want one in Switzerland like on my twitter One in Malibu Because it’s all being choked out online You can’t tell me nothin - Kanye Financial Loans? I don’t mind My friends can run it up We could theoretically get unlimited money Pay back borrowed money with interest, keep profit Then borrow more Like Borrow 100 Make 300 Pay back 150 We have 150 Borrow 100 Make 750 Pay back 150 We have 600 *4 scale factor the gang For example A flipping business model Loads of opportunities No conspiracies Just making eachother better Improving eachother ❤️ For motivation; My biggest thing isn’t success per sé It’s about earning societies trust I can be successful as a bitch, and be exposed in the guardian , be ruined and then my suicide note where I reason out my death and what snakes say at my funeral actually bears ground lmao But yeah Must win Ttyl
Getting $60k in savings soon. Currently have $5k, no debt, and leaving the family business. Not sure what to do from here
The stress from the family business is too much and I can't do it anymore. I've gone from a 21 year old happy soul, to a 26 year old bitter man. I truly hate my life, and am trying everyway to see a way out. I'm expecting to get $60k in the the next 9-12 months. It's 99% guaranteed, but I have to plan it properly or I may never be able to save up that much for a long time again, and I also have to live for close to a year without it. Just moved out and got my own place. Total expenses are ~$1,500/month, though realistically I need ~$2,000/month to live happily. I'm working a $12/hr job and not sure if there's anything better I can get. I currently have no degree, and a resume that's mostly me/family as references from being self employed. I have a range of skills (IT/Marketing/Management/Product Development/Manufacturing/Sales/etc.) that I had to excel in to keep the businesses running, but I am not sure if that would be even recognized on a resume. Option 1 Invest in property, work to acquire more properties. This is my ultimate plan, just not sure if I should do it immediately. I'm considering using the money for investments (12-15% cap duplex-quadplex w/ 20-40% down since I have no income history. I will have to show the $60k on taxes, but purchasing the property would completely wipe fees and bring me an income). Since I can leverage the loan, I'd be getting about 25% return. Using the properties, I'd be able to acquire my 2nd within a year, and my third within 6 months after that. Within 5 years I should have a decent portfolio be back on my feet and be able to quit Option 2 Live off the money and go back to school.
Real-Estate License - I have close friends in good agencies that could get me started, but I'd have to increase my expenses by 30% + moving costs
Computer Science - Would probably take 2-4 years and would be looking at $100k+/year jobs.
Business - May have to go for an MBA, but I would excel through it the fastest and be able to test out of at least some of the classes.
Option 3 Invest in a trade school or small business. This will take some form of investment, but will get me a better monthly income. Whether its a service business with built up clientelle(gardening/pool/etc.) or trade school(weldeelectrician/casino dealer) I'd do almost anything as long as I can work it into budget and I can rely on it financially. If anything, thanks for letting me share this here and see it written out.
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