outfit: robe-like (+ review of Elta MD sunblock + Brandless products + my money coach recommends that I let robots manage my money!)

ootd 5-24

Lots to talk about today!

The weather has been swinging back and forth so much, I barely know how to dress myself these days.  I forgot what 80+ degrees felt like until today.  Even after I stuff my cardigan in my purse, it still felt way too hot.  I think finally spring/summer is here to stay.

I washed this Eileen Fisher jumper dress for the first time and it held up well.  Even in the dryer on medium heat.  There’s no fading or shrinkage.  As for this cardigan, the sleeves are starting pill where they rub up against the body, BUT it doesn’t bother me.  The pills are those big soft fuzzy ones, not the plastic like hard little pills that I hate.  Because it’s a heathered gray color, pills don’t really stand out and kind of just add to the texturized appearance of the cardigan.  I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to own a long cardigan.  I really like having something that feels like a robe.  It goes with so many outfits.  I like it so much, I’d like to have another one, maybe in a heathered nude color.  Maybe something that’s even thinner but with more drape.  I’d love to find one with rolled edges throughout just like this one.

ootd 5-24 2

After I ran out of my Japanese Assensa sunblock, I bought a new sunblock from Elta MD.  I bought the tinted one in the “clear” formulation.  It’s tinted, but called “clear” because it’s for acne prone skin.  I don’t get much acne, but the clear formulation contained niacinamide which is supposed to keep redness and blemishes at bay.  I’m really satisfied with it so far.  In the past I’ve used the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer and then later the NARS tinted moisturizer, and I have to say I like the Elta MD version more, because it feels the least like make up of them all.  It’s the sheerest of them all (which is not good if you want some coverage).  I like to apply one pump of the stuff with a kabuki brush all over the face and neck.  It goes on quick and easy, then I am out the door.  Most days, this is all I do to prep my face for the day.

I also recently ordered a box of snacks and household items from the website Brandless.  Have you heard of it?  Everything is organic and eco friendly and costs $3 or less.  I read some good reviews about their products and wanted to give it a try because shipping was free with a $39 order.  So far so good.  I enjoyed the dried mangos, although they are not as good as the ones at Whole Foods but they are half the price.  The oreo-like cookies were really good too.  The BBQ potato crisps were just OK.  They were a little too salty for me (and I like salt!).  I also ordered the maple ginger hand soap and HATE the smell.  The scent really lingers for a long time on your hands too.  Overall though, I’m glad I tried it and could see myself ordering again, especially if the free shipping spending limit stays low, otherwise the $9 shipping is not worth it.

This week I had another phone session with my “money coach”.  Before each session with him, I think OK this will be our last phone session, but then we get into a discussion about some important topic and run out of time and need to schedule another session.  I think to get any sort of comprehensive advice about finance, one has to spend like 5-6 hours with an adviser.  We finalized my expected budget and with the amount of overages each month, my coach says I should save up for an emergency fund to cover my expenses for a few months, and because I’m conservative, I’d want it to be 6 months.  Then when that goal is met, I should start saving for a goal, ie. to put a down payment on a house, or to pay down student loans in the off chance the government cancels the student loan forgiveness program I’m in now.  We calculated how much time it would take to meet this goal, which will be about 3-5 years, depending on what happens with the loan program.

With this timeline, he recommended that I save by investing it rather than putting it in a traditional savings account which would yield very little interest.  He mentioned investing through robot investment firms like Betterment or Healthfront, where a robot or computer algorithm manages your investments based on your risk tolerance, age, and goals; they are making minute by minutes changes on a continual basis for a very low fee, of like 0.25% of what’s in your account.  This is much lower than if you hired a traditional human being to do the job, which would cost you like 1-2%.  With a human, you are also gambling on the quality of that person, who has emotions and will make mistakes, and again, is human, so they can only invest so much time and effort into your money.  I mentioned this to my senior (age 60 +) mentors at work, and they had never heard of it before.  They were all used to the idea of hiring a real people to manage their money.  Apparently,  more and more non-rich millennials are saving money/investing this way.

Investing is an entirely new idea to me and I’m still learning what all the various terms mean, but I’m really drawn toward a hands off-low fee-robot approach.  It makes investing much less scarier than I had once imagined.  I’m going to discuss the pros and cons of the various companies that offer these services at my next session with my coach, who by the way, does not earn any money by selling me on financial products (this is key!).  What about you?  Do you have any thoughts or feelings about investing?  Would you prefer a human or robot manage your money? 

[outfit: Eileen Fisher jumper dress, hooded cardigan gifted by Mijeong Park, *SAS suntimer sandals, *Dagne Dover midi tote]

 

12 thoughts on “outfit: robe-like (+ review of Elta MD sunblock + Brandless products + my money coach recommends that I let robots manage my money!)

  1. Elta MD is my favorite sunblock. It doesn’t feel greasy and I like that one pump gives the perfect amount. Wish it were cheaper though!

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  2. My first real education about investing came from two books, On My Own Two Feet by Thakor and Kedar and I Will Teach You to be Rich by Sethi, and they both advocate just sticking things in low-fee index funds and letting it ride, so that’s how I’ve been investing. (On My Own Two Feet, in particular, uses the performance of your standard S&P 500 Index as an illustration for a few things like the value of compounding returns over time, which I think my brain interpreted as being “if you use just the S&P 500 Index, you’ll be totally fine” – that totally wasn’t the intended lesson of their book, since there should probably be a little more diversification than that.) Because of those two books, I think I have some suspicion of the robo-advisers, though I think a 0.25% fee is pretty good, if they’ll handle the balancing and diversification for you. With the emphasis on low-fee index funds, I think a 0.15 to 0.18% fee is considered very good for most funds.

    Yikes, I hadn’t realized that people were worried about the income-based repayment/forgiveness programs being taken away for people who are currently using those programs. (I feel like some of the chatter online generally assumes that people already on those programs will be grandfathered in, it’s just students making the decision to start school in the next few years who need to be really scared. Of course, anything can happen through new legislation…) There’s never been a viable forgiveness program for someone in my shoes, so I’ve never thought about it too much, though I’ve sometimes used income-based repayment on my federal loans to weather some periods of lower cashflow.

    P.S. I’m learning a lot from your description of your conversations with the financial advisor! In particular, I was interested in the disability insurance topic you mentioned a while back. (It was good to hear that separate disability insurance, outside of what’s provided by the employer, is not always advised for people who don’t really need the dexterity of their hands or their physical strength – I was wondering whether as a lawyer I should be thinking about disability insurance since there are still some health scenarios where I may not be able to practice anymore…)

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    1. Oh yes many of my friends in the medical field are terrified of the program being cancelled. So much of our life planning is centered around that program and there’s no guarantee that it will be there in the future. It would be devastating if it were cancelled for a lot of people.. which is why I’m making contingency plans to soften the blow if it does happen. A lot of people are copying the robots diversification strategy by opening betterment accounts without actually putting in money and then DIYing their investments in the same way that the robot recommends. I wonder if they will start making that information private eventually to stop the copycats. But that is one way to completely elimnate robo fees but get the full advantage of robo advice… It’s more effort though.

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  3. There’s a third investing option, which is DIY, but I totally get that not everyone wants to think or deal with this stuff. I actually just put some of my husband’s money into Betterment and Wealthfront to see if I would recommend them. I have to say, that even with a program that holds your hand, I can see how it would be scary for people who are new to investing, which I didn’t understand before. In general I think robo advisers are fine if you don’t want to figure out how to DIY. Yeah, the fees are more expensive than DIY, but if they get you to invest at all, that’s better than nothing.

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    1. Oh yes the idea of DIY investing scares me still… Maybe Ill feel differently as I learn more. Robo investing might become a gateway to DIY investing.. and it seems like a lot of people take advantage of the robo advisors advice by using it for their DIY accounts too.. essentially copying what the robot would do. It’s a few extra steps but saves you from paying the .25% fee.

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  4. I’m finally at a point where I feel comfortable investing a little, but haven’t yet. I’ve got a comfortable emergency fund sitting in a higher-yield Ally savings account (well, higher-yield than my credit union at least) and I’ve finally gotten around to opening a Roth IRA (shoutout to Luxe for being a financial inspiration!). I’m like you, too nervous to DIY it, but I look forward to learning more about the robo-investors. Thanks for linking the article!

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    1. Good for you on the emergency fund front.. DIY is scary.. but will probably be less scary as we learn more. Investing is such an overwhelming topic. Glad people like Luxe write about it in a way that can be easily understood. Roth IRA is something I have to do too when I switch jobs. These were all things I never thought about in my 20s. Wish I had known more sooner.

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  5. I’ve never heard of robot investing, but I’m really intrigued. Humans are terrible money managers. I imagine the robot performs admirably by comparison, and for such a low fee. I’ll check it out!

    It does’t have rolled edges, but I like my Halogen Long Linen Blend Cardigan (Nordstrom $68), which I got in a trunk about 18 months ago. It’s held up well and is good for warm weather. It has nice pockets and the oatmeal color (“tan cobblestone”) is pretty (not quite as pink IRL).

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    1. Yes, glad it might interest you. I watched a few youtube reviews on the two robo advisors I mentioned. I haven’t tried any myself but I’m intrigued and doing my research before making any decisions…

      Thanks for the rec. I looked it up on Nordstrom and it does look like something I might wear! I don’t shop at Nordstrom very often and didn’t realize they post videos of their clothes now. That’s an improvement.

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