In this week's Weekly Reads: Tools for getting you set up for an early retirement, the slightly shady way you can get an iPhone with your Facebook account, and finally giving truck drivers the praise they deserve.
An Interactive Guide to Early Retirement and Financial Independence
You want to be financially independent, right? Who doesn't? But maybe you're beyond just reading blog posts but not quite ready to start Buffetting your way to an early retirement. Luckily, Minafi.com has the perfect middleground, with a ton of financial calculators you can play around with to decide how much is enough to retire, what inflation and interest do to your savings, and more. There are even handy graphs to make the information perfectly digestible. And if you don't think it's worthwhile, Minafi has some of the top personal finance bloggers vouching for them. Not a bad endorsement.
Need a smartphone loan? Spruce up that Facebook profile
Smartphones are expensive (looking at you iPhone X). There are payment plans out there, but what about one that relies on...your Facebook profile? This is actually something we've talked about in the past. Basically you put down money, and pay in installments. If you miss a payment you don't get charged interest, you instead lose access to your phone. It's...not ideal, and using Facebook information to determine credit-worthiness is awfully close to profiling, and they still report to credit bureaus so good luck unhitching your wagon from that disaster, but if you're "credit invisible" and have no other options...well, this might be one.
The Siren Song of the American Truck Driver
Truck drivers don't really get the respect they deserve. Sure, they got the Sylvester Stallone movie Over The Top, but that was about arm wrestling as much as it was truck driving. But they're the life blood of the economy, getting all of our stuff from one place to another. Amazon isn't delivering stuff by drone (yet), after all. That's why this article on The Ringer is nice. It gives truck drivers the praise they deserve for their difficult job, goes into the surprisingly interesting details of truck driving competitions, and gives them their moment in the sun before they're replaced by self-driving trucks.