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Complex Numbers

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popular shared this story from xkcd.com.

I'm trying to prove that mathematics forms a meta-abelian group, which would finally confirm my suspicions that algebreic geometry and geometric algebra are the same thing.
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14 days ago
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Life Decisions

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Sartre, what would you do?
I would do nothing. Just sit on my ass all day.
You don't need to be an immortal God to do nothing, man, Merleau-Ponty does nothing and he is going to die any day.
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19 days ago
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1 public comment
33 days ago
Because chicks dig eternally unchanging immortal entities.
📌 Lincoln, NE ❤️️ Sherman, TX
19 days ago
Well, not all chicks.

Philosophy Comedy Club, with Karl Marx

7 Comments and 16 Shares

If you think poor people are poor because they were too stupid to invest is property...you might be bourgeoisie.
If you think that without entrepreneurs no one would bother to do any work...you might be bourgeoisie.
If you think
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54 days ago
54 days ago
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7 public comments
49 days ago
milky way
50 days ago
see also alt text
52 days ago
Karl Marx' comedy set ends on quite the high note ...
52 days ago
"Middle class people are, in case you didn't know, working class people who the upper class have convinced to look down on working class people."

Too real, Karl Marx. Too real.
📌 Lincoln, NE ❤️️ Sherman, TX
52 days ago
"And the worst part is that you have to thank the tapeworm for the opportunity."
54 days ago
If you like this comic... you might be a member of the proletariat.
Texas, USA
54 days ago
haha but really
Brooklyn, New York
54 days ago
Always do communist revolutions all the time.
54 days ago
It is really the humane counterpart to "Always Be Closing"

Playtest: Dream Askew

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Yesterday I got a chance to play Avery Alder’s Dream Askew (Buried Without Ceremony) for the first time. We tried a playtest of the new edition for which a Kickstarter funding campaign was ending today (you can still pre-order through the page afterwards.) The book is going to contain two takes on the system:

  • Dream Askew proper, where you play members of a queer enclave in a post-apocalypse setting (written by Avery);
  • Dream Apart, where you play inhabitants of a Jewish shtetl in a fantastical-historical Eastern Europe (written by Benjamin Rosenbaum).

Both make me want to play, and I hope to have a chance to try Dream Apart soon. The art looks wonderful for both settings, and amazing contributors have been added through stretch goals. I expect the final result to be a delight.


In addition to the playtest materials available on her website, Avery was also kind enough to share a draft of the “How to Play” chapter for our playtest. I love how caring, generous and thoughtful Avery’s writing is. The chapter provides advice for the play environment and behaviours, not just the mechanical aspects. 

The game is inspired by Apocalypse World (Lumpley Games) but is both GM-less and diceless (“No master, no dice.”) It uses prompts and distributes setting authority among the players: in addition to playing a character, you are responsible for one important setting element (e.g., Varied Scarcities, the Digital Realm, the Psychic Maelstrom, etc.), acting as a game-master with limited scope when that element is in play. These elements change hands when certain conditions are met.

We played online so we used a Google Doc to keep track of our choices and information created about the world. We had five players, three of which identified as queer and use they/them/theirs pronouns, and my husband and me who identify as straight and use he/him/his and she/her/hers pronouns respectively. There are six character playbooks and six setting elements to distribute, so everyone had at least some options. We also reversed order of selection between the two so everyone would have fair choice.

We discussed safety issues and what we wanted or didn’t want to see in the setting. We decided we did not want to see Nazis (or any real-world stuff) because we needed a break from the terrifying news cycle; child abuse (specifically sexual, specifically shown in detail) although veiled/offscreen/backstory is okay.) We agreed to avoid defaulting to a Lord of the Flies narrative, all too common in post-apocalypse movies and television series. Finally, we felt that the use of “gangs” as a setting element was fraught with potential racial stereotyping; we chose to interpret gangs as outlying groups, factions, or adversaries who are not in Society Intact; they too are all barely scraping by and their interests may clash with ours.

Player Characters

Here are the characters we created:

The Iris (played by Fish): Tion

  • Gender: Void (they/them) (Effect: lessens the “gender feels” of the people around them.)
  • Color Scheme: Light Grey
  • Look: dead eyes, slim frame, casual wear, a concealed weapon
  • Psychic Gifts: Memory Harvesting, Storm Sheltering
  • The psychic maelstrom told me that it needed me for a higher purpose.
  • Relationships:
    • Weepy trans girl whose past I’m erasing (consensual/requested),
    • Weird-eater that I created (a maelstrom thing)
  • Lure: Whenever someone invites you to use your psychic gifts on them, they gain a token.

The Stitcher (played by Eli): Spook

  • Gender: bigender (no preferred pronouns)
  • Look: Skittish eyes, scarred hands, scrounged up clothing, countless pockets
  • Avoiding emotions, but has relationships to two entities that live in the workshop. The ghost & kid should have needs for Spook to provide. Takes people in to take care of them.
  • Supplies:
    • people bring the weirdest shit,
    • this warehouse of random stuff.
  • Workshop functions: woodworking, hacking (old device jailbreaking, to get them to work w/o internet access)
  • Relationships:
    • A ghost (Ariadne) who haunts the workplace,
    • A void kid (Thanh) who needs my maintenance to stay alive.
    • Also, a rat (Jojo).
  • Lure: Whenever someone comes to you with something precious that needs fixing, they gain a token.

The Tiger (played by Sophie): Domino

(I decided to tackle the issue of stereotyped “gangs” head-on.)

  • Gender: Masc (They/them)
  • Look: masked face, slender arms, flashy acquisitions & velour
  • Group trappings: A safehouse, medical supplies. It was a rundown clinic even before falling off the edge of society (think Planned Parenthood-AIDs clinic combo.)
  • Group flaws:
    • We owe a lot of debts that we can’t pay,
    • Our actions bleed psychic instability into the area
  • Relationships:
    • my poz support crew (people who depended on the clinic),
    • second-in-command who covets the title.
  • Lure: Whenever someone relies on you to solve one of their biggest problems, they gain a token.

The Hawker (played by Ed): Proust

  • Gender: dagger daddy (he/his)
  • Look: friendly face, heavily tattooed hands, vintage formal wear, Signature Color: Red/Crimson
  • Provides: coffee, art, a thriving social scene (Runs “Where The Wilde Things Are”, a coffee shop, has lots of community art, motif has the characters slightly altered to indicate gender in various ways)
  • Currencies: work-trade within the entire community, protection
  • Relationships:
    • wasteland salvager who brings what is needed,
    • ingenue assistant (Rose (clueless → Rose has been a barista here since before the apocalypse and lives nearby. She doesn’t quite grasp the full extent of the apocalypse yet.)
  • Lure: Whenever someone offers you a new gig, or gets hooked on your supply, they gain a token.

The Arrival (played by Peri): Lark

  • Gender: tomboy (any pronouns, doesn’t really “get” gender)
  • Look: sturdy frame, capable hands
  • Attitude: Everything’s fucked, so let’s dance.
  • Wardrobe Styles: hiking gear, shoplifted club clothes
  • How I Knew the Enclave Existed: I used to come out here for the parties
  • Two things you brought with you when you fled: concealed knife, stolen money (whose? why?)
  • Relationships:
    • the gentle soul who invited me to share their bed (tarot card: The Magician)
    • the first person to offer me a stiff drink (tarot card: Strength; someone who carries many burdens easily)
  • Lure: Whenever someone gives you an opportunity to prove yourself to the community, they gain a token.

Our Enclave

Setting Element Choices

  • Varied Scarcities (Sophie). Two things which it desires: Uncomfortable bargains, Scrappy DIY
  • Psychic Maelstrom (Ed). Two things which it desires: Revenge, Fervent intimacy
  • Society Intact (Eli). Two things which it desires:  Self preservation, Technological solution (Reversing some bad thing that happened as a trigger of the apocalypse)
  • Digital Realm (left on table, was played by Sophie the first time it appeared.) Two things which it desires: To reinvent the world in its image, Extended networks
  • Outlying Groups/Factions/Adversaries (Fish). Two things which it desires: Loyalty, safety
  • The Earth Itself (Peri). Two things which it desires: Strange new forms, Trembling awe

Town Map/Community Visual Choices

  • The ocean
  • Recolonized spaces/reclaimed green spaces
  • Train station
    • The beach town at the end of the train line; was once a fishing town, then a vacation destination circa 1900, then an artsy community, then a sort of gentrified commuter city, then once again sheared off the main urban landscape and left to itself and the bohemians who clung to it. (As a Left-Coast dweller, I was thinking of something like a run-down Sausalito.)
    • The ocean rose and flooded some cities; not too far from us, many buildings sticking up out of the water, you can take a boat and break into the 4th floor of a tower to scavenge supplies. Some buildings are sometimes above the tide, and sometimes below.
    • Timing of the tides when you scavenge, symbols of the old town (luxury or children’s room) destroyed/reclaimed by the sea. Tidemarks on the upper part of the wall, glimmers of old glory, furniture is against the side of the wall from the tide, covered in barnacles. Paintings half reclaimed from seawater. Marks on the outside of houses for bodies recovered vs people who should have been there. Also new marks from the enclave. Fisherpeople who live in the upper floors of buildings, with bridges between them. A bank with a vault under water, can only access at low tide.
  • Some visual inspirations:

Things in conflict:

  • Limitless possibilities of queer sex
  • Scarcity Thinking? Food Justice? (We were not quite sure.)
  • Psychic Privacy

We took our time discussing all this, and as a result our setup took two hours and forty-five minutes rather than the expected one hour. That’s okay, though, since we were planning to have more than one episode.

The Story Begins

The setup sequence is designed to ease into scene framing and actual play. The players take turn asking the player to their left (we used written turn order) a question from a list on their playbook. At any point players can choose to continue with scenes inspired by the established fiction rather than ask a playbook question.

The Tablet

We started with Spook the Stitcher (Eli) asking Tion the Iris (Fish): “What broken thing do you have that I could fix?” Fish decided that Tion’s weird-eater familiar had run out of things it was allowed to eat and had been insistingly bringing an old tablet and pointing to it. The tablet didn’t work anymore because it had required an online connection to run its apps, so Tion (followed by the weird-eater) brought it to the reclusive Spook. Since this played right into the Stitcher’s lure, Fish got a token. Ariadne the ghost made a brief appearance for color, then was dismissed from the scene.

This scene would clearly require someone to play the Digital Realm and since no one had claimed it yet, I claimed it for the scene. This is when we got to choose its “desires.”

Spook took a look at the tablet; he was able to briefly turn it on but the battery was empty and it faded back to darkness. Having no token to spend on a strong move to completely and properly repair the device, Spook had a choice of a regular move that would fix or make something, partially or shoddily, or a weak move that would leave it volatile or broken—and earn Spook a token. We really liked the idea of a “volatile” device.

Spook opened it to check its innards, kludged something using a different battery, and got the tablet to work. For sure, it was fixed. Unnoticed by Spook and Tion, the device briefly connected to their home network… and the weird-eater ate something from it.

Using their Memory Harvesting psychic gift, Tion read the feelings of the last person to handle the tablet before the Fall. Edmund portrayed the Maelstrom. Tion sensed both great anger and deep longing; they concluded that there was information on it about a divorce. Then Tion returned the device to the weird-eater.

We ended the scene and noted these two plot hooks in our document, as well as the tokens earned by Tion and Spook.

Bartering for a Book

Next, Proust the Hawker (Edmund) asked Domino the Tiger (me) a question: “Why have I been sizing you up recently?” He specified that he wanted it to be a human connection question, not one about trade. We discussed possibilities and landed on Domino’s personal library: Domino had given Proust a list of books they were looking for, and regularly dropped by the coffee shop to see if there were new books.

That day, Proust silently handed Domino a book containing the complete works of Nathaniel Hawthorne alongside the usual cup of coffee. Domino immediately became completely absorbed. When they started reading aloud, Proust finished the lines for them. This brought Domino back to reality, to ask what Proust wanted for the book.

Proust’s mode of barter was to ask people to pick a job ad from his “help wanted” billboard for the community and take care of it. (Reminiscent of The Booth at the End.) Domino went to look over the ads; after a moment, Proust pointed to one and said: “This one, I think.”

It was from the Bear clan, whose leader Tawny was getting married to Diesel; they were looking for a cadre of guards to prevent interruptions from rival gangs (the outsider groups/gangs were being played by Fish). Tawny was a rival of Domino’s and the two groups were not on the best of terms. Domino grumbled a little before accepting the deal.

We ended the scene and noted the plot hook.


To frame our third scene, Domino the Tiger (me) asked Spook the Stitcher (Eli): “How did I capture your attention yesterday?” Eli said that Spook had been worrying about a very specific drug needed to keep Thanh the Void kid alive, but was reluctant to leave their workshop to go as “far” as Domino’s clinic.

Fortunately for the recluse Stitcher, Domino stopped by to ask if they had a vehicle to loan for a trip to the Bear clan. It turned out that Spook had nothing on hand that did not seem too dangerous to use, but they did ask Domino about the drug (let’s call it Solinex.) Domino wanted help in dealing with Tawny and his clan so they suggested that Spook could come along, but the Stitcher would have none of it. Knowing that Tion owed them one for fixing the tablet, Spook suggested asking the Iris instead.

Domino agreed if Spook would talk to Tion, and handed Spook a small vial of Solinex from their medkit as an advance. It was difficult for Spook to leave the workshop for even minutes, but the agreement was rapidly reached: Tion plucked the conversation right from their minds and agreed to help before they had even said a word.

Spook rapidly returned home, and Tion and Domino were left to prepare for the trip. End scene.

I had hoped to recruit Lark the Arrival, playing into their lure, but Peri had to leave the call for a while. We framed a very short color scene involving travel to the Bear clan wedding, with Domino and four of their crew, as well as the enigmatic Tion.

We noted a new plot hook: Domino’s second-in-command and rival was left in charge of the clinic, and thought the action should move there next. Then we called it a night! Next episode in two weeks.


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58 days ago
This game is the best
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popular shared this story from xkcd.com.

The wars between the "OTHER PRIMATES OPEN THEM FROM THE SMALL END" faction versus the "BUT THE LITTLE BIT OF BANANA AT THE SMALL END IS GROSS" faction consumed Europe for generations.
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120 days ago
I own one type of sock. Would you like to know more?
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Foolish money mistakes — and how to avoid them

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At Get Rich Slowly, my goal is to help you make the best possible decisions with your income and spending. Having said that, we’re all human. We all mistakes. We all do dumb things with money. And I feel like April Fools’ Day is the perfect time to talk about some of the stupid things we’ve done in the past.

Let me give you an example (or three) from my own life.

To begin, I’ll retell a classic tale of my financial foolishness, one that has delighted my readers for over a decade. It’s all about how I paid $1500 for a “free” Frisbee.

The Not-So-Free Frisbee

Frisbee3.MeridianHill.WDC.13April2014On the first day of college, I opened my first bank account. The gym was filled with registration tables, not just for classes and clubs, but also for banks and credit cards. Since I was receiving a small stipend to cover living expenses, I needed a checking account.

The two banks vying for attention used different methods to attract students to their tables. A small local bank had a sign that promised “free checking”. A large national bank gave away a Frisbee to anyone who opened an account. The choice seemed easy: I wanted the Frisbee.

I signed up for my checking account, deposited my money, and got my free Frisbee. I spent the afternoon on the quad tossing the disc back and forth with my roommates. When it was time for dinner, I took the Frisbee up to my room, put it in the closet, and never used it again. Ever. But I had that checking account for nearly two decades.

Classes started. I forgot about the Frisbee and the checking account. The next month, I received my first bank statement. There was a $5 service charge. It didn’t seem like a big deal. I figured it was part of the package, part of being a grown-up. My parents had always paid a service charge on their checking account, and I expected I always would too.

For the rest of my college career, I paid $5 per month to maintain my checking account. When I graduated, I continued to pay $5 per month. During the 1990s, that fee increased to $8 per month, but I barely noticed.

In fact, I paid a monthly fee for checking from September 1987 until June 2004. For 202 months — nearly seventeen years — I paid for the privilege of writing checks. Then, when I started turning my financial life around, I left the major national bank and moved to a local credit union. I’ve had my checking account at that credit union for nearly fourteen years now and have never been charged a fee of any kind.

One foolish choice as I entered college cost me nearly $1500 — enough to buy about one hundred Frisbees. And that’s just one of the foolish financial choices I’ve made in my life.

The Wasted Windfall

By the mid 1990s, I had accumulated over $20,000 in credit-card debt. And I was digging the hole deeper every day.

On 21 July 1995, my father died after a long battle with cancer. Before he died, he managed to take out a very bare bones life insurance policy. (He hadn’t thought to acquire life insurance before he contracted cancer. After he got sick, nobody would insure him. Or, more precisely, one company would — but only minimally.) When the dust from his death had settled, Dad had managed to leave each of his three sons $5000 in life insurance money.

A smarter man than I was might have taken this money and applied it directly to his $20,000 in credit card debts. That’s not what I did. Instead, I put $1000 toward my debt and patted myself on the back. I took the other $4000 and bought a fancy new computer — a Macintosh Performa 640CD DOS-compatible — and lots of computer games. Then, to make matters worse, within weeks I maxed out my credit cards again, effectively negating the $1000 I had put toward debt reduction.

There’s no question: The old J.D. was foolish with money. But even after I started reading and writing about money, I still made some foolish mistakes.

True story: I still owned that Macintosh Performa 604CD DOS-compatible personal computer until last autumn. After Kim and I returned from our cross-country RV trip, my ex-wife contacted me. “You still have a bunch of computer stuff in a shed at my place,” she said. “Can you get it out of here.” One of those computers was that twenty-year-old reminder of my foolishness. I gave it (and all of the other computer stuff) to a middle-schooler I know.

The Imbecilic Investor

As I began to manage my money wisely during the mid 2000s, I made sure to fully fund my Roth IRA every year. But I hadn’t yet discovered the virtue of index funds, so I put my retirement money into individual stocks. But not just any individual stocks. I thought I was savvy enough to spot beat-up stocks that were bound to recover. Hahaha. I was wrong.

In the fall of 2007, for instance, I had dinner with a friend who worked in the corporate office of The Sharper Image, a company that manufactured fun and fancy gadgets. The company’s stock was in the toilet, but my friend said that management was certain that things would soon turn around. It was just a passing remark in a much larger conversation — he wasn’t trying to get me to buy the stock — but it planted a seed in my brain.

The next day, I had to decide how to invest $3500 of that year’s Roth IRA money. I should have done some research. I should have put the money in index funds. (I had just begun learning about index funds, but hadn’t yet become a die-hard proponent of them.) Instead, I bought $3500 of Sharper Image stock at $3.14 per share. I was gambling, plain and simple. And I lost.

Within a few months, The Sharper Image declared bankruptcy. Overnight, the value of my investment dropped from $3500 to $200 — and then to zero. It’s still worth nothing today, over a decade later. It will never be worth more than that. Yet I keep those 1115 shares in my Roth IRA just to remind me of how foolish I was.

Money Mistake: Sharper Image

Everbody’s a Fool Sometimes

It’s not just me, of course. We all make mistakes now and then. Some of them are minor, but some of them are doozies. Last year, I asked members of the Money Boss group on Facebook to share some of their biggest money mistakes. Here are a few of my favorites.

First up, Nate tells how he and his wife bought a timeshare…and wish they hadn’t:

Money Mistake: Timeshare

Then there’s Amy, who made the same mistake I see people make again and again and again: Cashing out their retirement accounts when they switch jobs.

Money Mistake: Cashing Out Retirement

Adam regrets not being more motivated when he was younger. Instead of working hard, he just goofed around. (Oh boy, can I relate to this one!)

Money Mistake: Not Working

Megan wishes she had started tracking her spending at an earlier age:

Money Mistake: Not Tracking

Richard’s biggest mistake was buying into the traditional advice that you only need to save ten or twenty percent of your income for retirement. Life many of us, he eventually realized that by saving more, he could have more:

Money Mistake: Not Saving

A lot of readers mentioned they made mistakes by marrying somebody who had different financial aims than they did. But Tyler was the only one who realized his mistake was keeping his wife in the dark:

Money Mistake: Not Sharing

I’m sure you have made money mistakes in the past too. Maybe you’re still making them — or suffering the consequences of past mistakes. Feel free to share your story in the comment section below!

Coping with Mistakes and Setbacks

As I said, even smart people make mistakes. That’s part of being human. But smart money managers do what they can to minimize the effects of mistakes before they ever occur. Here are two ways you can mitigate the damage caused by foolish choices:

  • Educate yourself. The more you know, the better choices you’ll make — and the better you’ll be at anticipating problems. Read personal-finance books, magazines, and blogs. Most importantly, talk to people you know who have control of their finances. Learn from their mistakes so you’ll be more likely to avoid similar pitfalls in the future.
  • Be prepared. Your work as CFO of your own life involves both offense and defense. You practice defense when you practice preparation. The best way to prepare? Boost your profit margin! The larger your saving rate, the larger the buffer between you and disaster. Maintain an adequate emergency fund. Keep your insurance up-to-date. Make use of barriers and pre-commitment so that you’ll do the right things automatically. (The more you remove the human element from the equation, the safer you are.) Create a cash buffer to allow you take advantage of both emergencies and opportunities.

Even when you’re prepared and educated, you’re still going to make mistakes and suffer unexpected setbacks. It’s important to know how to pick up the pieces after things fall apart. Here are some strategies for minimizing the damage:

  • Don’t panic. When you suffer a setback or realize you’ve made a mistake, try to relax. Don’t freak out. Take an hour or two to distract yourself. Better yet, sleep on the problem. It’s amazing how a little time can help you gain perspective.
  • Believe in yourself. Though you may not know exactly how to solve the problem at hand, trust that you’ll find a solution. You’re smart. You’re resourceful. You’re competent. Stay positive, solve the problem, and learn from the experience.
  • If possible, undo the damage. Some mistakes are reversible. Suppose you just blew a bund of money on new clothes or are feeling buyer’s remorse over your new Nintendo Switch. Return the items. Or, if that’s not an option, immediately sell them to recoup some of your loss.
  • Evaluate your options. Obviously, some mistakes are not reversible. If you accidentally change lanes into another car and total both vehicles, there’s no undoing the damage. So, make the most of the situation. Compile a list of options. Keeping your long-term goals in mind, figure out the best course of action. This will help you avoid making rash decisions.
  • Don’t let it get you down. From personal experience, I know how tempting it can be to ease the pain by spending more money. But compulsive spending just makes it more difficult to reach your goals. It makes you feel worse, not better. Fight the urge to practice “retail therapy”. Stay away from your Amazon account. Don’t let one problem snowball into two or three.
  • Learn from your mistakes. Figure out where you went wrong. How did that traveling salesman convince you to buy those overpriced steak knives? What can you do to avoid making the same mistake in the future? Don’t beat yourself up, but take a calm, rational look at how you can make better choices next time.
  • Don’t dig a deeper hole. Money spent is money spent. Just because you’ve already sunk $200 into a gym membership you never use doesn’t mean you need to keep spending money on it. Cut your losses by getting out as soon as possible.
  • Keep your goals in mind. A setback is just that: a temporary roadblock on your journey toward something more important. Make peace with the past and keep your focus on the future.

Setbacks are disheartening but remember: Failure is okay. Mistakes are lessons in disguise. There’s a Japanese proverb about perseverance that translates as “fall down seven times, get up eight”. Successful people fail just as often as unsuccessful people; the difference is that successful people learn from their mistakes, get back on their feet, and resolutely march in the direction of their desires.

Becca on Coping with Rejection

If you’ve made some foolish choices or had some bad stuff happen to you — or both — don’t give up. Use the mistakes to launch yourself on a new path. It’s never too late to change direction and start making smarter choices. Build your future from the ashes of the past.

The post Foolish money mistakes — and how to avoid them appeared first on Get Rich Slowly.

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142 days ago
My money mistake: Not asking for raises earlier. What's yours?
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