Strange AI generated photo of a girl on computer

The Fall of Personal Capital

Personal Capital, a popular wealth management and financial planning platform, recently changed its name to Empower. This rebranding came after the company was acquired by Empower Retirement, one of the largest retirement plan providers in the US. However, the transition to Empower hasn’t been entirely smooth for the company, as it has been facing a major problem with its data aggregation tool Yodlee.

For those who are unfamiliar with Personal Capital, it is a digital wealth management platform that allows users to track their investments, manage their finances, and receive personalized financial advice. The platform was founded in 2009 and quickly gained a loyal following due to its robust features and user-friendly interface. However, in recent years, the company has faced a number of challenges that have led to its fall from grace.

One of the most significant issues facing Personal Capital is the problem with Yodlee, the data aggregation tool that the company relies on to access users’ financial data from their various accounts. Yodlee is a third-party service that is used by many financial apps and platforms, including Mint and Robinhood. However, in recent years, Yodlee has come under fire for its poor data security practices and for the way it handles users’ sensitive financial information.

Personal Capital has been affected by these issues, as the company relies heavily on Yodlee to gather users’ financial data from their bank and investment accounts. When Yodlee experiences issues or outages, it can cause significant disruptions to Personal Capital’s service, leaving users unable to access their financial information or perform transactions on the platform.

According to reports, the issues with Yodlee have been ongoing for some time, and have led to a number of user complaints and negative reviews for Personal Capital. Users have reported problems with connecting their accounts to the platform, missing or inaccurate data, and slow load times. In some cases, users have reported losing access to their accounts entirely, leading to frustration and concern over the security of their financial information.

Personal Capital has acknowledged the issues with Yodlee and has stated that it is working to resolve the problem. However, the company has also faced criticism for its handling of the situation, with some users accusing the company of downplaying the severity of the issue and failing to provide timely updates or solutions.

In addition to the issues with Yodlee, Personal Capital has also faced other challenges in recent years. The company has struggled to keep up with competition from other digital wealth management platforms, such as Betterment and Wealthfront, which offer similar services at lower prices. Personal Capital has also faced criticism over its fees, which some users have deemed too high compared to other platforms.

The fall of Personal Capital serves as a cautionary tale for other digital wealth management platforms and financial apps. The issues with Yodlee highlight the importance of data security and the need for companies to take proactive measures to protect their users’ sensitive financial information. Additionally, the struggles faced by Personal Capital underscore the need for companies to stay competitive in an increasingly crowded market, and to offer compelling features and pricing to attract and retain users.

Despite these challenges, there is still hope for Personal Capital and Empower. The company has a loyal user base and a strong reputation for providing quality financial advice and management services. If the company can resolve its issues with Yodlee and stay competitive with other platforms, there is no reason why it can’t bounce back and continue to grow in the years ahead.

The fall of Personal Capital/Empower is a cautionary tale for anyone involved in the digital financial industry. The issues with Yodlee highlight the risks associated with relying on third-party services for data aggregation, while the struggles f.aced by Personal Capital/Empower underscore the need for companies to stay competitive and innovate in an increasingly crowded market. For users, the current issues serve as a reminder of the importance of data security and the need to remain vigilant when using any financial app or platform.

Alternatives to Personal Capital

  1. SigFig: SigFig is a digital investment platform that offers investment tracking and management services. The platform allows users to connect all of their investment accounts, including brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, and 401(k)s, and provides real-time updates on portfolio performance. SigFig also offers investment recommendations and financial planning tools to help users achieve their financial goals.
  2. Morningstar is a financial data and investment research company that offers a range of tools and services to help investors track and manage their investments. The platform provides comprehensive data on thousands of stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs, and offers investment analysis tools and portfolio tracking services. Morningstar also offers investment recommendations and research reports to help investors make informed decisions.
  3. Mint: Mint is a popular personal finance app that allows users to track their investments, manage their finances, and set financial goals. The platform offers investment tracking tools that allow users to monitor their portfolio performance and asset allocation, as well as view investment news and analysis. Mint also provides a range of other financial management tools, including budgeting, bill payment, and credit score monitoring.
  4. CoPilot: Copilot is a comprehensive wealth tracking tool that offers a range of features and services to help users manage their finances and investments. While it is a third-party app, CoPilot integrates with a wide range of financial institutions and is designed to be secure and reliable, providing users with peace of mind when it comes to their financial data.

Full Disclaimer: I just signed up for Copilot and so far I like it. (It syncs with Vanguard!)If you sign up with the link above and use my referral code EVR67K to get 2 months free .

Harnessing the Power of ChatGPT for Launching Your E-Commerce Business

Starting a new e-commerce business can be a challenging and complex process with numerous steps involved. However, leveraging the power of ChatGPT, an AI language model, can provide valuable guidance and insights throughout the entire journey. In this blog post, we’ll explore how ChatGPT can help you navigate each stage of launching a successful e-commerce business from scratch.

  1. Market Research and Niche Selection

Identifying a profitable niche is the foundation of a successful e-commerce venture. ChatGPT can help you brainstorm niche ideas, provide insights on current market trends, and offer suggestions on potential market gaps by analyzing data from various sources such as Google Trends, social media platforms, and popular online marketplaces. This AI-driven support can help you select a niche with high demand and low competition, giving your business a competitive edge.

  1. Product Selection and Sourcing

After selecting a niche, ChatGPT can assist you in choosing the right products to sell. It can analyze customer reviews, competitor offerings, and industry trends to recommend products that are most likely to appeal to your target audience. Additionally, ChatGPT can provide information on various sourcing options, such as dropshipping, print-on-demand, or wholesale suppliers, helping you decide on the most suitable approach for your business model.

  1. Business Planning

A well-structured business plan is crucial for the success of your e-commerce venture. ChatGPT can guide you through each component of a comprehensive business plan, including market analysis, competitor analysis, marketing strategy, financial projections, and operations management. The AI can also provide you with templates and examples, ensuring that your plan is well-organized and professionally presented.

  1. Website Development

An e-commerce website is the backbone of your online business. ChatGPT can offer guidance on selecting the best e-commerce platform for your needs, such as Shopify, WooCommerce, or BigCommerce. It can also help you identify essential website features and design elements that will create an engaging user experience and optimize your site for search engines to drive organic traffic.

  1. Branding and Logo Design

Creating a strong brand identity is essential for setting your e-commerce business apart from the competition. ChatGPT can provide advice on effective branding strategies, including choosing a memorable name, developing a unique selling proposition (USP), and selecting the right color palette and typography for your brand. While ChatGPT cannot design a logo itself, it can help you brainstorm ideas and provide descriptions that you can share with a graphic designer.

  1. Marketing Strategy

To drive traffic and generate sales, you’ll need a comprehensive marketing plan. ChatGPT can assist you in developing a multi-channel marketing strategy, including search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, influencer marketing, and paid advertising. It can also help you track the performance of your marketing campaigns and suggest adjustments to optimize your return on investment (ROI).

  1. Customer Support and Retention

Providing excellent customer support is crucial for retaining customers and encouraging repeat purchases. ChatGPT can recommend best practices for customer service, such as offering multiple contact channels, using chatbots for instant support, and implementing a responsive ticketing system. It can also suggest strategies for customer retention, like loyalty programs, personalized marketing, and post-purchase follow-ups.

  1. Analytics and Optimization

Monitoring your e-commerce site’s performance and making data-driven decisions is essential for long-term success. ChatGPT can help you understand key performance indicators (KPIs) and set up analytics tracking using tools like Google Analytics. It can also guide you in analyzing data, identifying areas for improvement, and making strategic adjustments to boost your site’s performance.

  1. Scaling Your E-commerce Business

Once you have established a solid foundation for your e-commerce business, the next step is to scale and grow. ChatGPT can offer advice on various scaling strategies, such as expanding your product range, targeting new customer segments, and entering new markets. Additionally, it can help you explore advanced marketing techniques like retargeting, marketing automation, and conversion rate optimization to increase your revenue.

  1. Continuous Improvement and Adaptation

The e-commerce landscape is ever-evolving, and staying ahead of the competition requires continuous improvement and adaptation. ChatGPT can provide insights into emerging trends, new technologies, and industry developments that may impact your business. By staying informed and adapting to changes, you can maintain a competitive edge and ensure the long-term success of your e-commerce venture.


Launching and scaling an e-commerce business can be a challenging process, but with the support of ChatGPT, entrepreneurs can receive valuable guidance at every stage of their journey. From niche selection and product sourcing to marketing strategy and business expansion, ChatGPT can help you navigate the complexities of the e-commerce world and set you on the path to success. Embrace the power of AI-driven insights and watch your e-commerce business thrive.

TWIST: Chat GPT Wrote This Article

I’m a bit lazy with the writing but I can muster up the energy to issue a prompt to AI. A twitter user ran a bit of an experiment and actually launched a business and provided updates along the way.

An interesting thread.
AI Bot

Got Fired? Have Chat GPT Rewrite your Resume.

I tried a little experiment with our friend Chat GPT the other day. You can provide Chat GPT with your resume and it will reformat it and write an executive summary if you ask. You can also have it write a cover letter based on your experience.

It did a nice job rewriting and reformatting my resume and even created a rather flattering executive summary of me based on my resume.

But there’s no reason to stop at revising your resume. You can also have Chat GPT create a tailored cover letter based on your experience after it’s reviewed your resume. I discovered this on my own after a bit of experimenting.

But again, you can actually go further. I saw a post on social media where someone had Chat GPT create a cover letter tailored not just to the person and their experience, but to their target job. They simply pasted in the job description and required skillset and some information about the company and then Chat GPT wrote the cover letter highlighting how the persons job experience was relevant to what is needed at the new job. It peppered the cover letter with why the candidate would want to work there based on information about the company fed to it. I think this should change the game of the job search in ways we might not anticipate. For early adopters, it’s a nice tool to have at your disposal the next time you get fired.

Tech Layoffs continue.

Speaking of getting fired, it seems tech layoffs are in full force. Since the start of 2023 tech workers have been getting laid off in big waves. Here are some of the layoff counts according to the Wall Street Journal:

Meta (commonly known as Facebook still) 11,000

Amazon: 18,000

Salesforce nearly 10% of their 80,000 headcount staff.

It’s interesting to think how this is going to change the job market and economy. But let’s pivot back to Chat GPT to take a look at what artificial intelligence says about what big tech layoffs might do to the economy. Do your thing Chat GPT:

Below is the full text of what GPT generated with the request:

The tech industry has been a key driver of economic growth in many countries worldwide. Companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google have created millions of jobs, and have been at the forefront of innovation in their respective fields. However, the tech industry is not immune to the effects of an economic downturn, and significant layoffs in this sector can have a significant impact on the job market and wider economy.
One of the immediate effects of layoffs in the tech industry is the loss of high-paying jobs. Tech jobs are typically well-paying and offer a range of benefits, including stock options, health insurance, and retirement plans. When these jobs are lost, individuals and families may struggle to make ends meet. This can lead to a decrease in consumer spending, which can have a ripple effect on the wider economy. For example, if a significant number of tech workers are laid off in a particular city or region, local businesses may see a decrease in sales as these individuals cut back on their spending. This, in turn, can lead to layoffs in other industries, as businesses struggle to maintain profitability.
In addition to the loss of jobs, layoffs in the tech industry can also have an impact on innovation. Companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google are known for their groundbreaking work in fields like artificial intelligence, e-commerce, and social media. When these companies experience layoffs, they may be forced to cut back on research and development, which can slow down innovation and limit the introduction of new products and services. This can have a negative impact on the wider economy, as innovation is often a key driver of economic growth.
Furthermore, layoffs in the tech industry can have a ripple effect on other industries that rely on tech companies. For example, many businesses now rely on cloud computing services provided by companies like Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform. If these companies experience significant layoffs, it may impact their ability to provide reliable services to their customers. This, in turn, can have a negative impact on other businesses that rely on these services, such as online retailers, streaming services, and social media platforms.
It is worth noting that layoffs in the tech industry can also have a positive impact on some sectors. For example, if a large number of tech workers are laid off in a particular city or region, it may create an influx of highly skilled workers looking for new opportunities. This can be a boon for industries that are experiencing a shortage of skilled workers, such as healthcare or manufacturing. However, the benefits of this influx may be offset by the negative impact of layoffs on other industries.
In conclusion, significant layoffs in the tech industry can have a wide-ranging impact on the job market and economy. They can lead to a loss of high-paying jobs, a decrease in innovation, and a ripple effect on other industries that rely on tech companies. While there may be some short-term benefits to sectors that experience an influx of skilled workers, the negative impacts of layoffs are likely to outweigh any positives in the long run. As such, it is important for policymakers and business leaders to take steps to mitigate the impact of tech industry layoffs on the wider economy.

Should we all end up fired from our jobs replaced by AI, maybe it won’t be that bad. We can have AI write software to help run our own businesses. Below is what it generated when I toyed with my idea of creating software to help rental real estate owners prepare their Schedule E taxes.


Should you “Quiet Quit?”

It seems a new phrase is trending out there in the Twittersphere or Tik Tok world for #quietquitting. I saw it this morning on a Buzzfeed article that popped up in my Apple newsfeed. According to the article, quiet quitting is “where you’re not outright quitting your job but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond”.

The older I get, the more it seems there’s really nothing new under the sun. To me this seems like the natural progression of putting in efforts to a job that doesn’t give back and the logical response to the situation. This isn’t really a new idea but the name “quiet quitting” seems like a fair label for the behavior.

If you are career driven and hoping to progress at your job or get decent merit increases it does help to do more than just the bare minimum. But what about when you’ve given years of effort and dedication to a job and the job never gives back? Perhaps it is then time to “quiet quit”.

This really isn’t a new idea. You could call it slacking, phoning it in, putting in minimum effort but doing so is good only if it’s part of a larger plan.

Is Quiet Quitting OK?

Is it ok to NOT put in the maximum effort? I suppose the answer to that depends. Let me share some personal anecdotes. I personally have met people that have worked at a company for over 15 years and stayed in the same position. And this is for a job title that did have a “senior” position. The senior position typically just means a bit more responsibility than when you entered the position with a higher midpoint range of pay ie a decent pay bump. For these people I know, the senior position never arrived.

Now perhaps people are content with never advancing in a company and I can understand that. But if you’re clear that you’ll never get a promotion (which should become clear by year 10), and you know that your salary will remain fairly stagnant with just the regular merit increase/cost of living adjustments, that would seem to take away incentive to really “go the extra mile”. Because if you do what is the reward?

If you’re content with staying put in a position that’s fine. But if you want more, I would certain consider the “quiet quitting” method and dedicate my efforts to a job search to find something better. What’s the worst that could happen? Well if your employer who doesn’t want to give you a chance at advancement decides to let you go, you’ll get unemployment and can dedicate more time to the job search.

Plaza Luis Cabera dog fountain

How to Semi-Retire and Travel The World On $200,000

Today I was reviewing the historical returns on my Fundrise investments and realized they have done pretty well since I first started in 2016. For those that don’t know, Fundrise is a leading real estate crowdfunding platform for non-accredited and accredited investors. Founded in 2012, Fundrise pioneered the eREIT asset, a private diversified real estate investment trust that lets virtually anyone invest in real estate with as little as $500. Get $50 when you sign up by clicking on my affiliate link with Fundrise.

Reviewing my account performance, I saw overall returns were around 10% a year and the annual cashflow was a bit over 6%. A 6% cash flow return on their eREITS is what a competent but non-genius landlord property investor might expect to get with actual rental property.

UPDATE: Since I originally wrote this post Fundrise has remained strong. Returns were rather weak in 2022 but beat pretty much every other asset class with the S&P losing over 15%. Here’s an update of my returns.

After a long period of cautious skepticism I decided to invest significantly more in 2021 and returns have not disappointed.

Reading this made me realize that investing in real estate this way is a much easier way to diversify into property investment than actually dealing with being a landlord. But it got me thinking that someone could semi-retire and travel the world on much less than you might think if you’re willing to do a little bit of freelancing with your free time.

How To Semi Retire on $200,000

This is just hypothetical and for entertainment purposes but I think it’s realistic and could work. Here’s how it might be done.

AssetInvestmentAnnual IncomeMonthly Income
Crowdsourced REIT (Like Fundrise)$150,000$9000$750
Three-Fund Portfolio$50,000$2000$166
Based on assumptions of similar returns for crowdsourced eREITS and the 4% withdrawal rate from a stock portfolio.

So the above table shows how you might invest $200,000 to generate a monthly income of a bit over $900. Now if you’re interested in world travel, there are many places in the world where you can rent a nice apartment for $300 to $500. Research areas like Chiang Mai Thailand, Medellin Colombia, Pnohm Phen Cambodia, Philippines, and more.

On my recent journey to Mexico, I was able to get this meal for only $1.28. It’s true that if you stick to just street food you may need Imodium after a few days though.

Living in many parts of the world, a monthly budget might look something like this:

Expense CategoryAmount
International Health Insurance$30
Transportation (use subways, trains, Uber)$100
Could it be done? If you have some discipline and maybe say Goodbye to Starbucks. I’ll take a Cama coffee over Starbucks anyways.

What About The Gap?

So if you’re paying attention, you may have noticed that the monthly investment income is about $900 and I just created a monthly budget of $1,200 in expense leaving us about $300 short. Well then my astute ready you may have also noticed that the title of this was post was how to “semi-retire”. If you put in some effort, it shouldn’t be too difficult to generate $300 a month freelancing on sites like Fiverr, or Upwork, or in many parts of the world you could earn $300 a month being an English tutor for less than 5 hours a week.

This post contains affiliate links, if clicked may provide new accounts a $50 credit for signing up as well as give me a $50 referral bonus. Thanks in advance! And now the obligatory, I’m not a financial advisor so check with your financial advisor before making any investments in anything.

Hiatus back off, again

Well, a solid five and a half month hiatus from corporate life is back off once again. I’d like to think I made the most of what felt like another mini-retirement. If I had my way, I’d have packed my bags and went overseas where living is cheaper but I made the best of life in the US.


When I became one of the covid layoffs this summer, it proved to be an opportunity to put more effort into eating healthier. The extra time allows you to shop more frequently for fresh fruits and vegetables and cook at home.

It also allowed more time to exercise. Gym’s were out of the question but hiking became a new hobby and a chance to get some good shots. I managed to drop about 15 pounds of which I put about half back due to cold midwest weather.

A nice climb in Colorado Springs. It’s good to get some freedom but at some point, it feels nice to return to productivity. The job interview processes can feel like this but if you put in enough effort you can make some luck.

Travel is fun

Time out of the office was a nice opportunity to see a bit more of the US. It’s not without risk to take a flight in these times, but airlines have taken steps to make flights as safe as possible. Driving a car is not without risk as well but don’t we accept some risk in life if we want to know…live?

No wifi in this cabin deep in the woods of Montana.

Back to the GRIND…But Maybe I missed it

One of the things I’ve realized is that when you conceptualize of work as more of a choice than something you have to do, you can actually enjoy it. I’ve realized I missed the people. While I’ll probably always have some resentment to being chained down to a desk, I do appreciate the fine bright people I’ve crunched data and solved problems with.

The Remote Work Revolution Continues

Like so many of us these days I’m now working remotely. Much like I hoped early on, the working remote revolution has begun.

Ever since I returned to the US, no particular place feels like home. Wherever I hang my hat’s my home as they say. I’m half tempted to just airbnb around the country to somewhere warmer.

It’s a toss-up between vagabonding with the laptop and perhaps setting up shop in the city in an apartment like this:

No lie, just know I chose my own fate, I drove by the fork in the road and went straight.

Sean Carter

Seclusion Island: A thought experiment in socio-economic development

Lastly, A friend of mine living in Taiwan just started a new animation project on Youtube which is like an interesting thought experiment about the socio-economic development of a society. It’s called “Seclusion Island” Check it out if you’re interested..I think it looks promising. Here’s the link to the channel.

And here’s the first episode:

If you enjoy and want want to see more subscribe and comment and all that stuff.

girl on laptop

Essential Advice for Making Money Remotely

Image via Unsplash

Today’s guest post comes to us from Cherie Mclaughlin who blogs over at  Thanks for your contribution Cherie. If you’d like to check out more from her head over to

If you are currently out of work or need to boost your income, there’s good news: The internet makes finding work more accessible than ever. And the best part? There are tons of jobs out there that can be done remotely.

However, this doesn’t mean that it’s as easy as Googling your favorite pastime and finding a great-paying job in five minutes. You have to know where to look and what resources are available to you, among other things. So, if you are looking to earn some money, consider the information below.

Finding Work

When you begin your search for job opportunities, it’s important to factor in your interests, skills, and personality. While you may be able to make some money on the side in a line of work in which you have no experience or interest, the chances of succeeding—particularly in the long term—are slim. So, before you settle for that kind of job, be sure to look for one (or more) where you can thrive.

As far as actually finding work, it’s essential to look in the right places, especially for remote work. Start by perusing Freelancer, FlexJobs, Virtual Vocations, and other platforms that post millions of work-from-home jobs. As long as you have the necessary qualifications and provide good work, you can build your brand fairly quickly through such platforms.

Knowing About Resources

As you pursue work-from-home opportunities, especially if you plan to start a freelance or other type of business, keep in mind that there are a lot of resources and online job boards available that can help you succeed. And believe it or not, there are success stories out there by people who decided to try out freelancing! The key is to know where these resources are and how you can access them. For example, research your options for financial assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Find reliable sources for advice concerning how you can incorporate virtual technologies and modify your business during the pandemic.

Paying Taxes

Another thing to consider when you’re figuring out how to make money on the side is that you will probably need to pay taxes on your income, which you will want to plan for. More times than not, side hustles are seen as self-employment by the IRS, and you will need to report it on the Schedule C form along with your personal income tax return.

Depending on how much you make, you should expect to pay taxes, and the amount you need to pay will depend on how much you make. Hiring an accountant is often the most effective way to handle your taxes accurately, not to mention it can significantly reduce stress.

Staying Successful

Finally, you will want to put yourself in a position to succeed in your work. Whether you become an online consultant, a freelance writer, or start an ecommerce business, choosing a job in which you have experience or natural talent is a great first step. But you also need to create a solid routine and set your home up so that you can work productively each day.

Designate a comfortable workspace equipped with a quality desk, chair, and any other necessary furnishings. Make sure you have all the office equipment you need (e.g., computer, printer, fax machine, etc.)., as well as software and tech tools that can help you do your work and/or run your business efficiently. And add some personal touches to your workspace to help you stay motivated, whether it’s putting out your children’s artwork, family photos, or painting the walls a vibrant color.

Opportunities abound when it comes to remote work. Make sure you are looking in the right places and that you stay up-to-date on resources that can help you succeed. Also, remember to make a plan for your taxes, and set your home up so that it helps you work like you need to. In no time, you could be settling into your new remote job or business and laying a foundation for a lucrative future!

credit card

The Best in Banking

Whether you’re canned in the COVID economy or hustling to build wealth, it’s prudent to choose the best banking available. Here’s what this means to me.

  • Minimal fees or no fees
  • Rewards or interest that pay you
  • Competitive benefits

The Best Checking Account Available

I’ve done a good amount of research on checking accounts and I’m of the opinion that there’s nothing better out there than Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking® Account.

Here’s why:

  • ATM fees refunded worldwide
  • No international fees
  • No minimum balance
  • Pays interest on checking
  • No monthly maintenance fees

When you’re grabbing ramen in Osaka, Japan and pull out cash from your bank, you don’t want to have to pay international fees or ATM fees. With Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking® Account, you won’t pay international fees and you’ll be refunded ATM fees at the end of the month.

If there’s a better bank out there, I’m happy to hear about it so feel free to share with me at admin (@)

If you’re interested in opening an account at Schwab you can do so here and get a bonus with your new account if you use my affiliate link.

Here’s the money you can make when opening an account with my affiliate link based on their site. Just in case you’re interested in some free money.

Net DepositBonus Award
Free money? Why not?

Best REWARDS Credit Card

The credit card rewards game is complicated and everyone may value a different type of reward. I’m a bit less confident this is the absolute best but Capital One’s Venture card is a definite contender for a top-notch rewards card.


  • Unlimited 2X Miles with 50,000 Bonus Miles  which translates to 2% back on purchases
  • No international fees
  • Reasonable annual fee which is waived the first year

Apply here using my affiliate link at no cost to you.

This post contains affiliate links to Schwab and Capital One and I may receive a commission on some sign ups at no cost to you.