Ask James: Honeymoons, Lots of Sex, Weirdos, Introverts, Money, Money, Money

Every Thursday from 3:30-4:30 I answer questions on twitter. Then I summarize and expand in a post. Then I’ll expand further in a book coming soon: “FAQ ME”. Here are this week’s questions.


@VeryStonemanEsq Todd Stoneman asks where should I go on my honeymoon?


Here’s the problem with a honeymoon (in general): 3 hours in an airport, 3-10 hours flying someplace, 2 hours getting from airport to hotel, checking in, then resting after all of that, then eating too much food, getting sunburned, doing too many planned activities (instead of the most important activity that happens on a honeymoon), and then rushing back to airport and repeating process.

What a drag! Does twenty hours of traveling sound like fun to you? And spending another $10,000 in the  process? And then maybe getting a tour of a lizard garden or whatever else you do on a honeymoon?

People go to get away from the worries of life, the prssures of family and friends, to have privacy, to consummate, etc.

So just do all of that, but without the hassles of all of the above.

Do the staycation, where you stay at home, but plan to do things you would never ever do at home. Don’t make any plans with friends or family. Don’t even tell them what you are doing. Send exotic postcards to them.

Then really make an effort to find new things in the area you think you know well. Worst case, go 20 minutes out and stay at a bed and breakfast or two.

Final result: More time with your new spouse. Less money. Less travel hassles. More energy. Probably better food (did you really think Club Med food was going to be better than the cheapest diner?) And probably more fun.

And, if you hate everything I said and disagree with me totally, do one of these things:

My best vacations were when I had just started working a corporate job and I would take off a week just to explore the city I lived in. So quiet and peaceful. My two worst vacations ever were probably my two honeymoons.


@Elyiggy El yiggy asks Q&A – how should one choose when to retire & where to live??


The simple answer is: never retire. People die within two years of retiring on average. So unless you want to die, why retire.

But transformation is another story. After spending 45 years as a janitor at the pencil factory it might be time to try something new. Presumably the entire world is open to you. Your kids are grown up. You might have some savings, etc.

The key is personal freedom. Being able to do what you want, when you want to. Assuming your health needs don’t require you to be in one specific place, pick a location where cost of living is incredibly low and live out your life doing your fantasy work. What’s your fantasy work? For me it might be scripting comic books. It might be doing these twitter Q&As. I can do these from anywhere. Maybe when I retire I’ll move to India (where I’m going in a week or so) where I can live for about $500 a month at most.

(why not retire here, to India, for almost $0 a month)

Or a friend of mine just told me about rental prices in Savannah, Georgia, which he said, “is the most beautiful place in the country”. And rents and cost of living sound about ½ of that in the NYC area.

Here’s the three step retirement method:

–          Transformation. Sharpen the idea muscle and start brainstorming what else you can do. Play in a jazz band? Open a café? Open a used bookstore? Start a website? Write a novel? What the hell do you really want to do? The world is open to you.

–          The world is open to you, part II. With your current savings plus what you can make in your transformed job (and assume three years of living before you make a single dime at your transformed job), where’s the cheapest place you can go that still fits your minimum needs of comfort and beauty. Explore the world a little. It’s your oyster. You can live anywhere.

–          Do it.



MarktMovr MarktMovr  aks: becoming a fan, James. what are your views on how much charity one should give away, both annually and life


Here’s my simple view. Then I have two posts on my expanded view.

A charity gives money from the interest it makes on the money it has in the bank. Part of that interest goes to administrative costs and salaries. Part of it goes to actually putting the money to work for charitable good.

So if you give $100, and the charity makes 3% interest, then maybe $2 of your money will actually go towards real charity per year. Is that what you intended?

My view is: Be a superhero.

Find situations that right now, directly need your anonymous help. Then save the world. Do it for ego reasons. Do it because you want to help. Do it because lives will be saved.

Put your $100 to work , and your valuable time to work, in situations where you can actually see the lives being saved. You will help many more people that way. Do 10% of your salary that way for the rest of your life. Lives will be saved, people will be grateful, and you will be transformed from mild mannered so-and-so to SUPERMAN from a planet in a far away galaxy.

Here is my post on the topic: 10 Reasons Why I Would Never Donate to a Major Charity (or…how to be a Superhero).



@Andrew_Ferri Andrew asks @jaltucherhow much of being healthy has to do with being independently wealthy enough to not sweat the small shit?


A lot AND a little.

Having money definitely solves your money problems. Which means you don’t have to worry about paying the rent. You don’t have to worry about going broke. You don’t have to work a back breaking or mind breaking job from nine to five. You don’t have to be  scared.

I really hate being scared. I know it effects my health in every way. So it makes a lot harder for me to live to my potential.


No matter what, can you check these four boxes every day?

Physical – do a little something that improves your health physically, no matter what your personal financial condition is? When I was in India doing yoga a year ago, the main teacher, Sharath Jois, said: “rich? Do your practice. Poor? Do your practice. Problems with girlfriend? Do your practice. All will come.”

Emotional – whatcan you do today that will improve your life just slightly on an emotional level. Can you be kind to your fiancée? Can you spend  time with a friend? Can you NOT respond to someone who provokes you?

When Atisa, a Bengala meditation master from 1000 AD, brought the 57 lojong slogans to Tibet to transmit Buddhism to the Tibetans he was very nervous they would fall on deaf ears. How come? He had heard the Tibetans were very peaceful and had no worries. And if they had no worries, they would have no challenges to work through in order to become better people.

Well, it turns out he was wrong and Tibetans, like everyone, have much to work through, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, etc.

I hate having to sweat the money shit. But I also knows once that sweat goes away forever, I’ll never again have the opportunity to practice and sit and really feel what it takes to have the courage to get over these issues in myself.

Mental – can you still come up with ideas every day?

Spiritual – can you still think of the people you are grateful for each day? Can you pray for two minutes a day or sit and try to think of nothing.

You can do these four things each day, with or without money. To mis-quote Sharath; do your Daily Practice and all things will come.


(Sharath Jois, doing his own practice)


@binarymac Mac  best way to meet new ppl? im quite introverted/shy but i do have a (very) tiny circle of (close) friends.


Good! You solved the first problem: having a tiny circle of close friends.

Now, do one of the following:

A)    Organize a dinner club. Everyone in your circle cooks for the others (do this  one day every week or so). You rotate through the circle. The one challenge: everyone has to invite others to the dinner that nobody else knows.

B)    Another technique: guy or girl: take dance lessons. Preferably tango classes. Your bodies close, you rotate through the other people in the class, you talk before and after, and over time you plan tango outings, etc. This works. Ditto for cooking.

C)    What’s your interests? When I first moved to NYC I had one interest: chess. So I went to Washington Square Park and played everyone who sat around there playing all day. Next thing I knew, I was living with them (although not in the homeless shelter where half of them lived at).

D)    12 Step Programs: There’s a 12 step program for everyone. Here’s my experience with them:

You have a room full of people who have hit bottom in one way or the other and need to commune with others to get over it. Many of them have short skirts, pretty faces, dramatic problems. What better way to meet people?


(looks like these two are meeting each other)


@optrader0  For a 30 yr old, no debt, no kid, likes job, has unneeded $100,000 in bank earning 1%. Leave it there long term or into VTI (the broadly diversified stock market)?

ANSWER: Holy shit, I’m jealous of you. 30 years old, no responsibilities, and $100,000 in the bank. Do you know how lucky you are?

So let’s see, you have two choices:

One, put it in the bank and never worry about it.

Two, put it in the stock market where it can either go up 6% on average or some years go down 30%.


Why even consider Two? What would you have earned last year, for instance. Zero. After going 20% down at points. What a roller coaster when you could’ve just slept easy.

Cash is king. I’d stuff it under the mattress if I could if I were you. Don’t even put it in a bank that could go under. Use some non-bank like Fidelity.

“No worries”, should be your slogan. Andwhen the time is right, take $1000-2000 and start your own business. If that doesn’t work, then take another $1000 and start another business. And keep trying.

People get trigger happy when they have a loaded gun. They want to fire it. But the best gun is the one that stays loaded.

But don’t risk our life for an extra ten cents.


(Sergey likes his cash)


BenNesvig Ben Nesvig Do 1 star reviews on Amazon affect your writing? And would you rather get a 1 star review or a 3 star review?

ANSWER: Ben has just self-published an excellent book: 

It’s really funny.

The only problem is: he only has five star reviews.  What’s so bad about that? I, for instance, HATE when I have a one star review. It killsme. It makes me question my entire existence. Someone actually read my book and thought so poorly of it they took the time and effort to log onto Amazon and spend a precious few minutes trashing my whole life in view of anyone.

But that’s what sells books. When people are arguing, that’s controversy. Controversy sells. The #1 book on the Kindle has 81 1 star reviews (and 3000 5 star reviews). But the TOP-RATED  kindle book, with 697 five star reviews and zero reviews of any other sort, is ranked down at #10,000 in the kindle store. So thank your one star-reviewers. They will drive more sales than your five star reviewers.

A few months ago I read the excellent short story colletion “Knockemstiff” by Donald Ray Pollock. Afterwards, I read the reviews. Some were one star reviews and when I read why it showed they had totally missed the point of the book. But I wrote Pollock to cheer him up and told him the one star reviews were almost better advertisements than the five star reviews. All the people offended by the “sex and violence”. Hell! I’m a buyer when I see that.


(according to Amazon, this is the "top-rated" book. But nobody has ever heard of it)


@ajwahls aaron wahls  asks: better to settle with  someone with no integrity that wronged you in a business dispute and pay x or fight it and potentially pay 5x in fees


Always: Settle, forgive, forget, move on. Life is short. We’re a tiny dot in the Universe. Our lifespans on this tiny dot or even tinier. Your interaction with this hateful person is even tinier. Don’t make it bigger than it needs to be in your short life on this tiny planet.

Settle,  and move on and get rich and happy. What couldbe a better answer than that?



noahlz Noah Zucker asks: Is being “risk adverse” a pathological character flaw?

ANSWER: The total opposite! Let’s say you hire someone who LOVES every kind of risk. He smokes crack and screws hookers on the weekends. He power skis on his days off. He gambles all his money in Las Vegas on his vacations.

How long will this employee last? How long will he even be alive?

Not very long.

I’ve been involved in startups for the past 17 years or so. The best startups had every risk planned and accounted for before the business even started. The best entrepreneurs avoid risk, are scared of it, plan for it. Nobody wants risks. They want easy money. The way to get easy money is to have the most noble character trait of all: being risk averse.

It’s more risky to stay at the standard corporate job, living out your life afraid of your boss, your mortgage, the economy, stocks, your 401k, and all the other things you are scared of. I hate being scared.



AranDarling Aran  asks: which, if any, economist, money manager, or academic, have you been most impressed with based on accuracy of views since ’08?

ANSWER: This is why I don’t read the news, even when I’m about to go on TV. I just go to the First Trust Portfolios website and read the latest views of Brian Wesbury. He reads the facts, he interprets them, he’s a believer in American innovation, he’s a believer that the Fed has printed up too much money because the US economy is already ready to rock and roll. I like his style. I plagiarize him constantly. He should probably sue me at this point. If he doesn’t sue me then maybe I will sue him. For no reason at all since the judge will laugh in my face I plagiarize him so much.

I won’t even link to his site. I want his content all for myself.



ailon Alan Mendelevich asks: is it possible for you to make a living from your self-published books?


Yes and no. There are all these literary-fab stories of some 17 year old writing zombie novellas making $1mm a year. That’s great if you can do it. It requires persistent writing, blogging, reaching out to audience, being in a hot area at the right time, etc.

BUT, most areas are not like that. Most people are not like that.

The way to make “make a living” money from self-published books is to treat the book like an enhanced business card. You write it, you parlay it into expertise validation, which gets you consulting and speaking gigs.

And you can write more books. You get to pick yourself instead of having some random publisher pick you, edit you, and delay your book coming out for a year where you end up making the same amount of money anyway. I did four books last year. My self-published books made me more money.



Psfs dfdfd asks: In marriage and in keeping with the DP – how often /wk should a man/woman get paid? Paid meaning sex w/ significant other.

ANSWER: First off, you use an interesting phrase: “get paid”. Given the scarcity of characters we have (140) on Twitter, you could’ve just said, how often should one have sex with their spouse. Instead, you had to explain it.

So “get paid” sort of implies one side owes something to the other side (the man or a woman, you are careful enough to point out).

Better, if you both WANT it. How can that happen? Well, keeping the paid analogy. Why don’t you do a little of your wife’s job and she does a little of yours. Try that every day? See how it feels. If it increases the feeling of partnership. Of the feeling of wanting the other in your life.

Then try this: have sex every day for a year.

That seems like a lot of work. Particualrly if your older. How can you have an orgasm every day? Well, who says you have to have that? But have sex every day for a year.

Check out this article on a couple that had sex every day for a year:

It sounds pretty good. I think I’ll try it.


(can you be like this every day with your loved one?)


socialhotchoco Priscilla Wood asks: I’m socially awkward, is there hope for me?


Through our interactions here, on my blog, on facebook, through emails, I’ve gotten to know you a little bit.

I wouldn’t call you socially awkward. You speak your mind. You often are fearless in what you tell people. That makes you socially unique.

We all have layers of personality: our twitter layer, our facebook layer, our work layer, our dating layer, friends, family, closest ones, etc. You cut through all of your layers. That makes you socially unique. I would consider everyone else socially awkward.

For you there is all hope. Everybody else are the people I’m worried about.



lindsaycampbell lindsaycampbellWhat’s more sane, an abundance or scarcity mentality? I give $away bc I think there’ll b more- but I’m not rich- so am I crazy?

ANSWER: You are the OPPOSITE of insane.

After going broke and making it back several times I feel scarred. I have a scarcity complex. It doesn’t how much money I have, I always feel like I’m broke. I feel like I have to hoarde. I feel like the money can go away in a second through either mistakes of my own, mistakes of the universe, or some magical force stealing from me.

But for me to take money, I have to take careful planned risks. I have to overcome my scarcity complex every day and realize that I deserve money. I work hard, I plan for my risks, I try to check every box, I have to trick myself into not thinking the money is automatically gone, that it’s being put to work in engines that will generate more money for me.

A rule of the universe that I’ve written about is: Give and You Will Receive.

Having an abundance mentality, combined with a healthy risk aversion, is the best way to ultimately receive.



@dylanized dylan hassinger  asks: what do you think about Asperger’s Syndrome? Any career advice for fellow weirdos/introverts?

ANSWER: I’mnot an expert on Aspergers and there are many who have more knowledge on this. BUT, I am an expert on weirdos and introverts.

Two things:

A)     Always be kind. Be as kind as possible. People might try to take advantage, but if people every ask you for something physical (money, sex, whatever) then take a step back. But in every case, be as kind as possible. When you be kind, ultimately people will be kind back. It’s a rule.

B)      Watch as many funny movies as you can. Forget about tear-jerking dramas and tragedies. Comedy is funny because it gets right to the point of what we are all thinking and reveals the humor and absurdity of it. You think you’re weird. ALL LIFE is weird. Comedy underlines that. Watch funny movies as much as possible and the next thing you know, it will be hard for you to be as introverted.

I encourage people with Aspberger’s to make suggestions in the comments.



JonasNielsen Jonas Bruun Nielsen What’s your technique for coming up with ideas? watching paint dry doesn’t work..


Let’s say you are an excellent archer. You hit the bullseye every time. But then you stop for five years. You pick up a bow and arrow. Chances are you won’t hit the bullseye. Your muscles have atrophied. Your skills have gotten weaker.

It’s the same thing with the idea muscle. Most people have let their idea muscle atrophy. The key is to start aiming for the target again, whether you miss or hit. But get up early and set up the target and start shooting arrows every day.

Write down ideas every single day. Bad ideas and good ones. Don’t judget them at first. Just brainstorm, even if it’s a shitstorm.

Here’s my post on nine ways to become more creative. This will help in the long-term with idea generation.

I can guarantee this. Idea generation every day, combined with other aspects of the Daily Practice which I talk about it my last book, will change your life completely within six months.


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