BNPL is just a credit card for disorganized people

BNPL is not good for consumers, Too many people want to have sex w/ a robot, Rewarding non-negative behavior, "What an idiot!"

Hello Idiots! 

A few knuckleballs to start off your week.

If someone sent you this email, they’re telling you to sign up. You can do that here:

#FINANCE

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) is not good for consumers. Naturally, every bank, payment processor, and vendor is rushing to offer it.

BNPL has become the new way to pay for things you can’t afford, especially among younger buyers.

What is it exactly?

It’s pretty straightforward. It’s easiest to understand (and most reasonable to use) when we apply it to a big (>$1k) essential purchase:

Say you need a refrigerator for the new home you just purchased. Because of the expenses associated with your big recent purchase, money is a little tight. Rather than pay $2,500 for this new home fixture in one lump sum, you spread it out over 6 monthly payments of $416.67 (no interest if paid on time). You can afford the $2,500 right now, but the installments make it so you are still able to comfortably manage those ienvitable “surprise costs” only recent first-time homebuyers will truly understand.

Buy now, pay later.

When you look at it like that, it’s actually great — a refrigerator is something that a home needs and will last years, hence the term fixture. Plus, BNPL has an advantage over a credit card in that it gives you a window of up to 6 months vs. ~30 days.

The problem is when the payment structure fools people into thinking things are “more affordable”. This is bound to happen if it’s used for a bunch of small items. I can buy something that’s $75 but only pay $12.50 right now? Sweet, I’ll take 2!

Because those little things add up quickly. Think about it — you’re online shopping with 6x levered purchasing power if you’re electing to pay over 6 months in equal payments.

Who could’ve guessed?

Of those 1/3 who missed payments on their BNPL purchases, 72% said that their credit scores declined as well. Shocking.

What’s the next obvious step?

Make sure that BNPL is available for anything, anywhere! Duh!

TL;DR: Use BNPL only for big-ticket essentials if necessary, or to lighten the load temporarily if money is tight. Not things like clothes, video games, dining, entertainment, small purchases, etc.

#TECH

Artificial intelligence is (going to have you) coming!

If you ask a normal person what they think about artificial intelligence (AI), they would probably tell you something about self-driving cars, customer service bots, or C3PO. They might even tell you they fear losing their job to a robot.

And they wouldn’t be alone:

This makes sense. Automation is playing an increasingly critical role in the advancement of everything. It’s normal to have anxiety over a robot putting you out of work if your job is listed above.

What isn’t normal is the sample population of 1,200 used in a survey conducted by marketing firm Tidio.

The survey sought to answer some of the crucial questions surrounding the future AI like:

  • What form should AI take to inspire our trust?

  • What responsibilities are we willing to delegate to AI?

  • Which professions will be automated by machines and AI software?

  • Would you f*ck a robot?

Wait, what?

Hold the phone!

Gun to my head — my best guess would’ve been maybe 10% would have sex with a humanoid robot. 20% tops!

But 42%!? Simply put, that’s too many people. Not a good sign for a world that’s popping out fewer babies and has a declining sperm count as is.

The people who participated in this survey must be the same people not having sex with real humans. Let’s check:

Meh, close enough.

TL;DR: The percentage of people who want to have sex with robots is alarmingly high.

#AYFKM

California cannot stop producing headlines that make the ones on The Onion look like investigative journalism.

I didn’t want to write about west coast happenings again but how could I not after seeing this:

This one really caught me off guard. I almost fell out of my chair and I wasn’t even sitting down.

While the headline reads like the title of an SNL skit, the situation is unfortunately very real — shootings (many fatal) have been surging in San Francisco.

San Francisco’s solution1 is to bribe “at-risk” participants into a more productive lifestyle with $300 a month for staying in touch with a life coach from the Street Violence Intervention Program (SVIP). If they hit certain milestones, they could receive an extra $200 a month. Think: a job interview, complying with probation, regularly meeting with a mentor, etc.

I get it. The intentions are good and the desired results are admirable. I want those results too (everyone does), but I don’t think this is a good way to go about it.

Is it really a sustainable plan — a monetary reward from the government in exchange for non-negative behavior?

There has to be a better way.

TL;DR: California cities are paying for non-negative behavior.

P.S. A personal update:

#LIFE

Every now and then, a moment in the present will remind me of something particularly stupid I did in the past.

I’ll think to myself something along the lines of “I can’t believe I use to do it that way” or “How could I ever have liked that?” or “What was I thinking?” but mostly “what an idiot!”.

The moment ends with an internal haha, and then I continue living my life.

This post on r/Showerthoughts sums it up beautifully:

I think these thoughts are good.

If you haven’t changed anything in the past year (to throw out a nice round arbitrary number) then you’re probably moving backward, even if you don’t realize it.

These thoughts are proof of forward movement (aka progress).

Progress, though, acknowledges change, which can’t be done without examining the past (being an idiot). This is why progress makes us feel like an idiot sometimes.

But, the good news is that somewhere between the time you were being an idiot and your haha moment you had an aha! moment, where you stopped being that idiot.

This allowed you to evolve into the idiot you are today.

TL;DR: Sometimes feeling like an idiot = progress.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯


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