Bonus Bits – Week of 12/06/21

Good morning! Here are this week’s bonus tips and nuggets from around the community. To get these every day in your inbox, sign up to our daily newsletter where you’ll see these faster, as well as our top 3 curated articles every day!

👉 Start 2022 With a Random Giving Fund

If you’re like many people, you may make an effort in December to donate. Maybe you buy a toy for a child in need or contribute a few coins or dollars to the Salvation Army pot outside the grocery store. However, if you are in a good financial situation, why not consider starting 2022 with a random giving fund to make giving part of your life all year long?

We started setting aside $50 a month for this. So far, we’ve given a Go Fund Me donation for a distant relative who is fighting cancer, we’ve purchased a plastic toy slide for our local women’s shelter, and we’ve bought a box of diapers for a diaper drive.

I can think of no better action than making a conscious decision to give regularly. The world can sometimes feel like a dark and miserable place, but you can make a difference and add a ray of sunshine to someone’s day.

👉 TIP: Create an Emergency Calm Box

A calm box is a collection of items that you store together, which you can turn to if you’re having a bad day, or you find yourself feeling overwhelmed. The idea is that it contains items that tap into your five senses; sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. You should also put it together when you’re in high spirits, so that it’s at hand if you need it.

👉 The Hands-Off Investor

The most important book I read this year is somewhat niche, but it’s well done and clearly the best book that has yet been produced on the topic of private real estate investing (syndications and funds). It is titled The Hands-Off Investor: An Insider’s Guide to Investing in Passive Real Estate Syndications and is written by Brian Burke, the CEO of Praxis Capital, and published through BiggerPockets Publishing.

This is not a quick, easy read nor is it particularly entertaining; it took me most of the year to get through it. It has 358 pages, and there is something useful on every one of them. Perhaps the best way to think about it is that it’s the equivalent of an online course compressed into a far less expensive book (it was < $15 on Amazon the last time I looked).

If you are considering investing in private real estate investments, particularly individual syndications, you should probably read this book first. If you can’t get through the book, well, you should probably stick to the Vanguard REIT Index Fund as your chosen real estate investment.

👉 There must be a pony!

A family had twin boys whose only resemblance to each other was their near-identical looks. If one was too cold and needed to turn on the heat, the other was too hot. If the music was too loud, the other claimed the volume was too low and asked to turn it up. If both saw the same movie, one was excited that they saw it, the other thought it a drag. They were opposite in every way, with one child an optimist and the other an eternal pessimist.

They consulted a psychiatrist, who discussed celebrating the twins’ birthday. The parents bought toys for them and put them in their room when they were visiting friends. When they returned, they both went to their separate rooms.

The father went into the pessimist’s room and found him sitting amid his new gifts, crying bitterly. Why are you crying? His father asked him. His pessimistic son said, “Because my friends will not like the presents or will be jealous, and I’ll need to read instructions and get the batteries to make them work, and my toys will eventually break.” He then went back to crying.

He then passed by his other son’s room, the optimist, and the son was happily engaged with a shovel, dancing in a pile of horse manure. “What are you so happy about?” asked the father.

To which his optimist twin replied, “With all of this manure, there must be a pony in here somewhere!”

Many versions of this story go back to the 19th century, but they have similar meanings. Having an upbeat attitude is way better for your health and life overall. Be grateful for what you get, especially if you weren’t expecting anything. Life is a gift, and try to lighten those challenging moments you will get and learn from them.

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