Living with Anxiety for Decades

As most of you know I have anxiety, like many of you, and millions of people all over the world. Now unlike many of you I am in my 50’s and I have been living with Anxiety in some form for decades. So, what is it like to have anxiety issues in your 50’s and dealing with it for years?

Let me say that age enables you to have experience and experience breeds wisdom. It makes dealing with Anxiety easier so that’s the good news. The older you get, the longer you live with this issue the better equipped you become in dealing with it. Now things can still get bad don’t get me wrong, but the feelings of isolation and shame decrease as you begin to realize more and more that many people have this problem, it’s not just you.

That’s the good news, the bad news is you have more time to reflect on, which for me has always been the problem. I suffer from intrusive thoughts. I can be sitting in the car and suddenly I remember something that happened in 1983 that was a negative situation. The problem with intrusive thoughts is you assume the emotional reactions you had at the time and then start applying them to your current situation.

Pick whatever name you want, Anxiety at any age sucks

The older you get the more history you have that you can reflect on. Now everyone does this to a degree but for me anyway it can be debilitating. I can’t get out of the thought or the feeling, it will replay itself over and over until I can expel it. Like a song you cant get out of your head. It flavors everything I am doing and affects all of those around me. Now this is contradictory to the first part of the post isn’t it?

“Karac you said the older you get the less shame and isolation you feel” yes that’s true, but the frequency increases and that’s the problem. Literally daily I have an issue like this, and the factors that contribute to its intensity can be anything from lack of sleep, stress at work or family issues. So the older you get the easier it gets to deal with the issue, but the issue becomes more frequent.

At least that’s what is happening to me. I could take more medication but I basically just push through. Don’t get me wrong I have more good days then bad but when you have anxiety, you are most likely going to be dealing with it for decades. So all my Gen Z and Millennial friends out there, your mental health is a life long journey. The first critical step is recognizing your specific issue and understanding what your triggers are and why they are happening.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Please remember to like the post, subscribe if you are not and leave a comment so I know you were here.


5 things you can do to handle hard conversations.

So here we are again dear readers, another blog post. This one was not simple to compose because I had to consider so many factors. In the end, after I spent a long time thinking about what to write I said “F*#k it” and I realized I was over thinking the subject. Hard conversations are not the norm. Of course, “hard” is subjective but I am talking about the conversations that lead to conflict or change relationships.

Divorce, coming out to loved ones, political debates, anger…. You get the picture here. All of us are going to have to have hard conversations in our life. I am closing in on 54 and I really thought about how many hard conversations I have really had. I am around a dozen myself. I’ve had conversations with siblings about getting them out of my life, to a serious girlfriend years ago cheating to a brother-in-law’s suicide to subduing a drunkard physically. The ones I have had with my children were hard but straight forward, being a parent has its advantages.

So, reflecting on all of that I came up with 5 things you can do to help you handle hard conversations:

  1. Say as little as possible: Listen and hold your tongue. Let the other person get emotional, overcome, and vocal.
  2. Mean it: When you do speak, you better mean what you say. No B.S. no vacillation. This is a hard conversation you can’t flip flop here. It’s likely there will be yelling, ultimatums, hurt feelings. If you are going down this rabbit hole mean what you say.
  3. Stand up and create space: Hard conversations can become physical. Be aware of what’s around you. Be aware of where you are, where the door is and most importantly awareness of the other person’s ability and propensity to become physical.
  4. Follow the eyes: This works both ways. Eye contact is important but can lead to hostile outcomes. If you are firm, and prepared, you look the person in the eye. This lets them know you are prepared to “have it out.” Looking at the ground and looking away creates the demeanor that you are aloof and or want to get away.
  5. Don’t engage: There are times when the best course of action is to say “No” firmly and exit the situation. It’s essentially picking your moment. You might not be ready for this. Have the conversation on your terms if you can.
If every conversation becomes a war, it’s likely you have the wrong people in your life.

Now none of this is an exact science. Things happen and hard conversations can pop up at any time. Chances are in your life you are going to have a dozen to twenty. If you have more it’s likely that you are around the wrong kind of people. You have hard conversations, generally, with people you care about or love. Something has happened and someone has been harmed emotionally, this is when hard conversations happen.

The random person on the street starting shit? That’s random. Your spouse yelling about the house not being clean? That’s a festering long standing issue that has now presented itself into a hard conversation. These things are going to happen and how you handle them could make or break some of your most important relationships.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Please remember to like the post, subscribe if you are not and leave a comment so I know you were here.



Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the U.S. one of our biggest holidays. We gather with our families and celebrate what we are thankful for. This is the busiest travel season for the U.S. We fly more, drive more, busses, trains tens of millions of us are on the move. I am traveling this year. I am not at my home which is good and bad. Its fun to visit others and travel you get to see new things. The down side is you are not at home and you don’t get your comforts.

There will not be a formal post today, other then for me to say thank you. Thank you for your continued support of my blog. For now I am going to enjoy my family and enjoy this holiday. If you are in the U.S. and celebrating, safe travels. For all of my international readers, there will be a more formal post next Wednesday as per normal.

Again, thank you so much for your continued support, It really does mean a lot to me.

Take care, Karac.

Am I contagious?

 Gold? Or Fool’s Gold?

Wednesday again so that means a blog post. Let’s talk about gold for this post. Now gold is a commodity that many financial experts will tell you is a great hedge against a potential downturn in the economy. Let me be upfront about something here first. I am a finance professional. I have been working in the finance industry for 30 years now. When I post about finance, investing, commodities, money etc. it is my opinion only. I am not giving you financial advice, what you take from this post is up to you.

So back to gold…. Is it a hedge? Well yes it can be. Like any other investment the key is the buy point and the sell point. Let’s do a little quick math. So based on this website 10 years ago (Nov 2023) gold was trading at $1273.50 (U.S.) and ounce. 10 years later it is now trading for $1891.20, a 33% increase. That isn’t too bad, now keep in mind this is a straight net calculation. Meaning we are not accounting for inflation, fee’s nothing like that. Simply I bought at X I sell at Y I get Z.

33% isn’t a bad return but we have a few issues here that are not entirely represented in the % return. The main issue is we didn’t receive interest or dividends on the assets. This is one thing many finance professionals don’t tell you. When you buy a commodity or say a collectible (think famous painting) the only return you get is appreciation. Now there is a counter argument here and that is “yes but I have a tangible asset that I can use to obtain goods and services.”

You could always go into Bitcoin…..

Well, this might be true. For example, someone who puts in a driveway to your home you might be able to trade them a bar of gold for that service. In reality? This doesn’t happen often but that is the counter argument to not have dividends and interest you have a tangible item. Now, if the economy collapses etc. and you have a bunch of gold do you think you will be able to drive to Walmart and trade in your gold bars for food?

You’re better off investing in ammunition and firearms if that happens but the point here is Gold is just a place to hold cash that you want to protect from the volatility of equity markets. The only benefit here is a long-term play and the notion you have a tangible asset. I’ve moved all of the money I did have in gold and precious metals out and taken that money and bought tangible items I can enjoy that have value.

Antiques, collectibles, things of that nature are the same in principle as gold. Over time you hope the asset increases but you are not getting dividends or interest on the asset. However, you are getting something you can enjoy like a painting or an antique chair. Gold isn’t a horrible investment but it’s vastly overrated and often pushed as a “hedge” during hard economic times. I would encourage you to think critically about gold or any precious metals for that matter, the upside is extremely limited.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Please remember to like the post, subscribe if you are not and leave a comment so I know you were here.


The U.S. Government will never give Student Loan Relief – Here is why

So Wednesday again and another blog post. This will not be a political post. When I say “U.S. Government” it doesn’t matter what party is in charge. Student loans are a huge issue in the U.S. Two generations have been saddled with this corrupt system of overcharging for a commodity (education) and those institutions (universities) having the debt secured by the government. The losers? Millennials and Gen Z. Government loans guaranteeing universities ridiculous tuition on the backs of the future earnings of teenagers is sinister IMHO.

So of course politicians will promise “Student Loan Relief” to get votes but they will never deliver it. That’s a bold claim and its one you will rarely see supported by finance professionals but there is a clear profound reason why, and I will explain it concisely in a minute. You see everyone in the finance world focuses on debt, in the context of student loans. You rarely if ever see a finance professional tell you the other side of that equation. AHHHHH now we get to it. Yes the other side of the equation is someone holds that debt as an asset.

Anytime you take a loan, you incur a debt the person giving you the loan secures an asset. This is why the government will never give Student Loan Relief. They hold the asset. Now I am going to give you some FY2022 numbers, don’t let your eyes gloss over it will be brief. For the math nerds/finance professionals I will provide a link to the data so you can go read it yourself.

In 2022 The U.S. Government had 5.0 trillion in net assets. AGAIN people always talk about the U.S. deficit but we do have assets too. Of the 5.0 trillion, 1.3 Trillion is student loans. That 27% of the total net assets of the federal government. This is the single largest asset class the U.S. government holds. Source  Let that sink in for a minute. Lets think about this logically. Even if you have only had a basic business class you know no entity in the world is going to “forgive” their biggest asset without replacing it with something else.

So let me do a quick summary here. The U.S. Government will never give student loan relief because student loans represent 27% of its total assets. This would be suicide financially without a huge increase in taxes. The simple reason being is liabilities (deficits) are 5 times the amount of the assets. If the U.S. had a smaller fiscal deficit student loan relief would be possible but that is not likely to happen anytime soon. Any politician telling you that they will give you student loan relief is full of shit.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Please remember to like the post, subscribe if you are not and leave a comment so I know you were here.


Halloween, All Saints Day, Samheim or Alfablot?

Another Wednesday another blog post. So it is the day after Halloween, we had a lot of kids at our door. We live in a great neighborhood. Its very safe and parents in our town drop their kids off to trick or treat in our area. That’s fine with us, Halloween is a great holiday and we like seeing the little kids.

But, how did all this start?

“Today’s religion is tomorrows myth” a wise man. Many celebrations, holidays and religious observances are overlap, borrowed or redundant. When we as a species were in our formidable years around 2000 years ago, religions competed with one another for followers. This isn’t meant to be cynical it’s just how it was. That doesn’t detract from the piety of those at the time, but religion was different then, faith was an absolute. Meaning, there was no internet, cell phone, most people couldn’t read.

Here we are on the cusp of the western worlds holiday season. Halloween ushers in the season, we get veterans day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah and New Year’s Day all within 70 days ( a touch over 2 months). Where do these holidays come from? You know some of the stories, you know, as an example, that the “12 days of Christmas” run concurrently with Chanukah. So, what are some of the other holidays that coincide or more accurately, preceded our current festivals? For Halloween there is Alfablot.

What did your ancestors think?

In short, Aflablot is the sacrifice of the elves. Elves in the Viking world mostly represented dead spirits. So, this was a celebration of the dead, for lack of a more eloquent, and lengthy discussion. Sound familiar? Your Norse ancestors would have celebrated this blot toward the end of October. It was after harvest when the world was becoming bleak and barren.

In antiquity, in the Norse world, this was the time of the dead. You prepared most of the year to survive the winter and this was a time when people died to the elements and illness. The Alfablot was a singular ceremony, meaning each house conducted their own, in an effort to reach ancestors and elves in the hopes of communal discourse.

The hope was you would be able to convince the spirits to protect your house and family. There were no trick or treats but, indeed it was like Halloweens origins in spirit. Its symbolic of the end of the harvest, a preparation for winter. The current Halloween ceremony is dressing up, getting candy and partying. Most religions in antiquity considered this the season of the dead. The harvest was over, the world was getting darker and colder (in the west) and people prayed to their gods, ancestors or who ever would listen to let them live through it.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Please remember to like the post, subscribe if you are not and leave a comment so I know you were here.


Men – Should you become serious with a single mother?

So for this Wednesdays post we are going to talk about heterosexual men. I cant speak to other sexualities or genders, this may be applicable I don’t know. So in the current social climate in the west men are checking out of traditional roles. Some of that is a bi product of current social norms, some of that is men choosing to detach and go their own way. I’m not here to judge anyone, you do you. For those men out there looking for a serious relationship with a woman, chances are you are going to meet single mothers.

There are a couple of truisms you have to accept when considering getting serious with a single mother. Lets just bullet a few of those out here first because its critical for you to understand and accept them.

  • The interests of the child will always come before your interests.
  • The father of the child has rights.
  • The father of the child will be a part of the mothers life and thus yours.
  • Her family and possibly the fathers family will be involved in the child’s life.

So why am I mapping out these obvious facts? Because if you chose to get serious with a single mother these will become part of your reality. Now there are some extreme cases where some or all of them will not be a factor but generally these are some of the truisms you’re going to face. Now lets get one thing out of the way first. You are not a bad guy if you do not want to deal with these issues.

Anytime you open your life to someone new, you’re going out on a limb.

It is okay to want to date a woman and JUST the woman. It is okay to not want to be serious with a woman. It is okay to want a woman and not want to be involved with her child. None of that makes you a bad guy. What makes men the villain in these situations is when they are not honest with the woman about what they want and what their expectations are. Let me be blunt, if you just want to get laid, there is nothing wrong with that. She might want the same dam thing, great. However with single mothers you have to go the extra step of being clear with her.

A child is involved, indirectly of course but this woman you are involving yourself with is responsible for the upbringing of a kid. Do the right thing and don’t screw around with her mentally or emotionally. So the question posed in the beginning was “Should you become serious with a single mother?” My advice is no you shouldn’t. It is not only a woman you are becoming involved with you are also taking on the responsibility of affecting a child when you affect the mother.

Now there are lots of other factors here, its not so cut and dry. Maybe she is the greatest person you ever met? Maybe you two are soul mates? On and on I don’t know I’m not there. What I do know is anything that affects a mother affects a child in some form. Are you mature enough and capable enough to handle that additional responsibility? Me personally? I don’t want to raise someone else’s child. They made the child they should instill in the child their values and morals. If it were me, I would want to date, experiment, have fun and should the stars align meet a really wonderful woman whom I want to share my life with.

That’s how I did it and it worked out well for me. I do understand the dating scene has changed a lot since I was in it. As a man you really have to be careful out there. No one is looking out for you. Women, pets, children are loved unconditionally. They have 1-800 numbers, organizations dedicated to their well being, government programs. You? What is out there to help men? Maybe this blog post, and or some other men’s website that’s about it really.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Please remember to like the post, subscribe if you are not and leave a comment so I know you were here.


How to obtain wealth – this one metric is key

Welcome back folks it’s Wednesday and that means another blog post. So, you saw the title it’s not click bait (well maybe a little) but obtaining wealth is one of the more important endeavors many of us pursue. Is wealth the key to happiness? No not really. Does wealth give you more options to achieve happiness? Yes! So, as we journey through life and into adulthood there are a couple of key metrics you can measure to figure out if you will obtain wealth at some point.

To be clear, wealth doesn’t mean tens of millions of dollars. I mean it could mean that for you but wealth, in my view, is having enough income to enable you to pursue things that make you happy. Yes, having a 100 Million dollar yacht might make you happy, so might a 15K bass boat. Hopefully you get the picture here. The point is there are a couple of important aspects of adulthood we all have to deal with. This one key metric I reference in the title is one of the most important to determine if you have a chance to obtain wealth. “Well Karac what is it?!?!?”

How much of your income do you spend on housing.

Everyone has to live somewhere unless you are in dire financial straits. Your housing costs usually represent a huge chunk of your income. The principle here is pretty simple, the more you spend on your four walls the less money you have to spend on other things. Over time this has a debilitating effect on your wealth. To put it simply, if you are spending most of your money on rent you don’t have money left to invest, pay off debt, accumulate items you want etc., so on.

Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy you time to do things that make you happy.

So how much should you be spending on housing? You should try and land somewhere between 25%-33% of your net income (take home pay, not gross). Now the important thing here is to remember your income can change over time. So, you might be getting a mortgage in 2023 and it is 33% of your income. You project that in a few years your income will increase 10-20% (for argument’s sake) and therefore the % goes down. You always want to start as low as you can on the curve and hope your income increases over time.

You may also lose income at some point, that happens. You may also get to the point where you do not pay for housing (you paid off your house). So, to be extremely clear here the metric for housing is the actual payment you make every month for rent or a mortgage. We aren’t talking about electricity, sewer etc. JUST HOUSING. Ideally you keep your housing costs at 25% of your net income through your adult life with the goal of someday having a house paid for with no mortgage.

At 24 that might not be realistic but let me leave you with this example. You are 24 you make 60K a year. Depending on where you live, taxes, benefits you chose etc. you will probably take home approx. 45,000 (these are rough estimates based on probable outcomes for the U.S.) So that equals $3750.00 a month. 33% of that (the high end) =$1,237.50. That’s the max amount of rent you should be paying to ensure you obtain wealth. Remember the numbers I used here are to give an example. For you here is how you do it.

Take home pay multiplied by number of annual pay periods = net income. Net income multiplied by 25% – 33% = housing cost you should be paying.

We don’t want to spend more than a third of our take home pay on housing because we need our income to pay bills, reduce debt and invest. The lower your % of housing cost the greater chance you will have to build wealth over time. Housing is likely the biggest monthly expense we face as we go through our adult lives. Keeping its cost in perspective as a % of take home pay is the key metric.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Please remember to like the post, subscribe if you are not and leave a comment so I know you were here.


The Culture War – This is where we are at

It’s Wednesday and its time for another blog post. Today we jump into the wonderful world of the culture war. This is going to be a short post because to elaborate on this topic would simply be an exercise of rehashing things that have been said over and over and over and over for nearly a decade now. So what profound bit of wisdom can this blog impart to you that will be any more valuable then what you have already seen?

The culture war is by design. Its not really hard to figure out and no this isn’t some introduction to a vast narrative on a conspiracy theory. It is a simple appeal to you to use common sense when viewing the current cultural climate. Start with a simple, yet profound question that when posed at the onset of any problem solving venture usually provides the answer simply by asking. “Who benefits from division”?

I can’t answer that for you because it may, or may not be the same answer I get. You may think it’s a political party. You may think it’s a global institution. You may think it’s a secret cabal of the super wealthy. Generally speaking throughout history creating division among large groups of people enables easier control. When you pit male against female, or black against white, or straight vs homosexual or cat vs dog people or east vs west you create a discord between those groups.

Changing the name to “X” hasn’t helped Twitter much, lol.

What does that achieve? It achieves the very simple, yet effective outcome of disabling people from different backgrounds from coming together and discussing what they have in common. You create a divide based on a singular issue “us vs them” it’s a simple notion, its been used for thousands of years. Now you may agree with “them” on 90% of everything else in the world but that 10%? That’s the hook. That’s the mechanism by which you allow yourself to vilify everything else they may believe.

Example? Ever here of the religious strife in 1500-1700? No not the crusades I’m talking Christians who battled other Christians because of their interpretation of the bible. Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox…. You get the picture. They all essentially believed the same thing, it was on a few points they disagreed and that enabled each to vilify and in some cases kill the other side.

Who benefits from this though in the current culture war? Are you boycotting a company currently? Will you not go to a particular business because they had a sticker in the window for a political candidate you did not like? Where do you go to tell everyone about YOUR current culture war? Do they sell ads there? Did you register your info to be there?

History has shown as long as there is division, turmoil and strive, progress is slow. People who do not work together, work against one another and someone, somewhere profits. So ask yourself “Who benefits from division?”

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Please remember to like the post, subscribe if you are not and leave a comment so I know you were here.


The easiest way to empower yourself   

So here we are back to the blog. The first content blog out of the gate is empowerment through your consumption. Unless you have been absent from online life the last year you know about the Bud Light situation. We aren’t going to delve into the political and societal issues here unless you want to in the comments. What we are going to discuss is the very real lesson this should provide to all of us. Our real power to affect outcomes in the world lies within our consumption. You want to change the world quickly? Organize like minded individuals to target your consumption.

Are you political? Are you an environmentalist? Are you a woman’s rights advocate? A men’s rights advocate? It’s likely that there are some causes you are extremely passionate about. It’s also likely that at times you feel helpless to affect change that impacts the causes you believe in. What if I told you that you hold one of, if not the most potent tool to affect change in the modern world? You probably wouldn’t believe me, particularly when I say “you’re going to do it anyway” you would raise a brow and stare.

What you spend your resources on is the greatest driver of outcomes in the modern western world. You are going to spend money on things you need and want, imagine if you focused that spending on companies who support the causes you care most about? It is true when people say “follow the money” or “money drives the economy”. Basically large corporations, political parties, celebrities all drive outcomes that usually involve economic benefit to them. The only larger entity in the world then some of these institutions is consumer spending.

How you spend your money drives outcomes.

Imagine if a shoe company made shoes that were made completely out of recycled material. Imagine that that shoe company blew up and got as popular as NIKE. Do you think Michael Jordan would be endorsing their shoes? You think their branding and social messaging would be all over sports? Of course it would, but what would it take to get to that point? Your consumption.

None of this happens if those with disposable income don’t purchase the product. You start, you tell your friends, they follow, bam you have created change. It takes a long time, but as an example, I remember when the first modern electric cars were introduced in the 90’s. Many people laughed at it, then consumers started buying them, there was demand. More companies made cars like this. Now? Electric cars are poised to supplant combustion based vehicles in the next 50 years. If you told someone in 1962 that in 2062 there would be all electric cars they would laugh their butts off.

As I exampled above the Bud Light situation, we also see this manifest itself on social media. “boycotts” have been around a long time and in modern times we have most boycotts centered around a political ideology. Let me say clearly, I don’t care if you are liberal, conservative or other. You do you, however where ever you fall on the political spectrum your consumption is powerful. Everyone wants a piece of your money and governments, media and corporations are doing a juggling act on how far to push issues without alienating specific consumer groups.

Want to create change in society, your consumption is the quickest most direct way to get the change you want. Do business with companies who support the causes you believe in. In doing this you create the economic conditions supported by supply and demand economics that may result in large cultural changes. Take the time, focus here. Be dialed in to where you spend you money, what entity gets the benefit of your consumption and what culture/institutions that company supports.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Please remember to like the post, subscribe if you are not and leave a comment so I know you were here.