Real Estate

Living an OpEx-arbitrage life with aspirations to one day do a more important job

I’ve always been hesitant towards owning something expensive like SF property. Beyond the monthly mortgage intimidation, I’m always concerned about managing such an investment. Hence, I’ve always preferred managed investments such as corporate stocks because I don’t have to think as much seeing as they have management teams that I can just trust.

Historically, (like when I was a teenager with only a minimum wage income, but a well provided for life) I leaned towards index funds due to my hesitation in properly evaluating corporations. I attribute that towards coming up around the time of the DotCom crash and several big-name corporate scandals such as Enron and WorldCom. I initially continued this habit into adulthood.

I’ve since come to accept that I can evaluate some companies (particularly my employer) and therefore have started making some bets over the years.

Nonetheless, I still have to make some decisions about how to deploy my paycheck and any dividends I receive. I’m not convinced more stock is the best investment I can make towards my long term aspirations. Instead, I’m trying to find more ways to invest in myself while deploying cash to improve my use of time and to give me some small luxuries in my life. Mainly give myself some small things — like a nice dinner — to rewards myself at a small scale.

Books are my chief investment vehicle and I’ll always buy an interesting book. Similarly, I buy small things to facilitate my professional development such as AWS expenses to help me learn the platform.

Beyond that, I’m always looking for new, efficient ways to deploy cash and I’d appreciate any ideas. One thing I myself have debated is using Uber more extensively. I used to use public transit more but found it was taking up a lot of my time and not necessarily saving me much money. I even calculated the rent I would save by living a mile away from our SF subway line if I use UberPool for day-to-day travel.

My small laptop and compact bag

Feel a little bad doing this, but recognize it’s a good use of money and I gotta admit I like the experience of being able to read or work throughout my entire daily commute. Similarly, I carry a mini personal laptop almost everywhere so I can always get something done. It just seems like a good time-money arbitrage.

Further, I’ve always rented from the best landlords I can find so that I can trust them to manage any building issues. I’ve always had great landlords and this has really simplified my life. I don’t even know how I’d find a reputable tradesperson in a pinch, but I’m glad my landlords can do this well.

What do you think? How should I efficiently deploy my OpEx budget to get the best return on time arbitrage?

And yes, I recognize that long-term I can’t take my savings with me. I’ve got a ways to go before I can focus on that full time and retire to the life of a small scale charity hedge fund manager. I look to Rockefeller and Bill Gates as inspirations and recognize that one day I’ll have to find a good way to deploy my savings and my time to the advance society to the best of my abilities in some small way.

Education is really interesting to me and I’d like to start honing my crafts on blogging and creating tutorials that are of interest to people that want to grow in tech. I’d appreciate ideas there also.

Thanks in advance for any advice!


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