Coins on table with small tree growing from them.
Coins on table with small tree growing from them.
Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

2 years ago I wrote an essay called 10 Simple Financial Tips that Helped Me Improve My Relationship with Money.

To this day, it is my most viewed article on Medium by far, and caused more self reflection than any other essay I have written. For the most part I have followed the advice, but unsurprisingly, managing money is still difficult for me at times.

This past year has been especially unpredictable given the state of the world and some personal financial struggles that have come up. …

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I have a confession to make.

I play Fortnite.

A lot.

It’s fun, accessible, and most importantly, free. Well sort of.

Because of this, an estimated 250 million players around the world, including myself, were devastated when the game went completely black recently.

You might have heard about Fortnite’s “Blackout” that happened last weekend where Fortnite creator “Epic Games” shut the game down for about 3 full days, making it impossible to play for the first time since it’s launch in 2017. …

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The U.S, unfortunately, does not have the best record of providing safe and affordable housing to all citizens regardless of race and income.

Policies like restrictive covenants, sub-prime loans, and de jure segregation still have dangerous effects to this day. Although the Fair Housing Act of 1968 outlawed discrimination in housing practices, many lending agencies and developers still found ways to “cleverly” deny housing to those who were in low-income families.

However, because of this law, and a few other historic cases (ex. Shelley vs Kraemer), there is some precedent for suing on the basis of race and income discrimination.

@trayusj on instagram

I’m constantly checking social media.

It pains me to write that, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s true. I’m constantly rifling between Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, LinkedIn, Youtube, and even Tinder, at times.

Obviously, I’m not alone though. Countless reports, including PewInternet, have cited that 40–70% of young people use social media apps like Youtube and Instagram on their phones daily.

So, I’m not upset at the fact that I do use social media so much, despite my complicated relationship with it in the past. Rather, I’m upset at the reasons WHY I constantly use it.


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As I begin writing this, I’m sitting at my computer at 5am Sunday morning replaying a recent conversation with a friend over and over in my head.

We had gotten on the subject of work and were comparing our experiences since moving to LA. She was working as a compliance officer at a startup, and was making pretty good pay, at a company she really liked. She went into further detail and talked about how she had been recruited based on her LinkedIn profile, and had mostly only moved to LA because she had been offered a really good job.

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“From now on, I want you to slide your feet over to the side of your bed frame, and place them on the floor slowly before standing up in the mornings, ok?”

I sat at the edge of the chair in the dim examining room studying the pattern on the floor while my doctor explained the next step in my back injury recovery.

I was embarrassed.

I wasn’t embarrassed because I hurt my back while working out. I was embarrassed because I didn’t know how to tell her that I didn’t even own an actual bed frame. …

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I had the strangest dream last night. In the dream I was sitting at the kitchen table at my parent’s house complaining that I couldn’t seem to focus on accomplishing any of my current goals. In addition, I was stressed because I didn’t know how to build a platform as a writer.

(Did I mention my dreams often reflect the EXACT stressors that I’m having in my life that day? Makes falling asleep especially fun and easy.)

Anyway, I was raffling off a bunch of different “hacks” and tricks like creating paintings, making comedy Youtube videos, and other completely random…

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I sat down to start writing the other day and just couldn’t seem to get any words on the screen. I racked my brain for about half an hour, admitted defeat, and began browsing online for new furniture for my apartment. I had been hit with a rare bout of writer’s block. Since I don’t totally believe in the concept of “writer’s block,” meaning: I believe it ONLY happens when we put too tight constraints on our creativity, I was especially annoyed that I wasn’t able to get my thoughts onto paper.

However, when I broke it down further I…

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Since graduating college, it seems like I have been engaged in a very intense game of hide and seek with my money. My birthday passed recently, and it made me realize I have essentially been living paycheck to paycheck for the last 3 years. Because of this, I have committed myself to gaining more financial intelligence in any way I can.

I’ve gotten money management and savings tips from Youtube channels like The Financial Diet, restructured the way I look at income and earnings through reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, and even spoken to a financial adviser…

3 years ago I started making Youtube videos for fun. Over 100 videos later, very little gain in followers, and way too many fidget spinners and slime to count, I eventually lost the drive to create content. So I quit.

1 year ago I started taking piano and keyboard lessons. Things started out great. Piano was a fun and relaxing escape, but eventually lessons became difficult and tiresome, and my 9–5 increasingly draining. Plus, I hadn’t turned into Adele after 6 months of practice. So I quit.

About 3 months ago I purchased a ‘self-help” guide on motivation. The writer…

Ray Johnson

I write about all things Money 💸 and Personal Growth🌱.

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