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Hi! I am Levi Borba, writer, entrepreneur, amateur snowboarder, and a former resident of Chile, Middle East, and Brazil. I am currently based in Poland working on my companies and writing about business and economics.
After graduating in Business Administration at the University of Sao Paulo (USP), I worked for the financial solutions department of a global energy trader. One year later I had an offer…
During university, one of my classmates was the son of a fertilizer industry billionaire. Once we were in a marketing case class, analyzing the case of a certain jeans brand whose trousers cost more than $300.
This wealthy friend told me:
Whoever buys jeans for 300 dollars has a serious need for something else, not only for jeans. I would never pay so much for a pair of trousers.
It amused me that this phrase came from the mouth of a billionaire. But the point was right. Nobody who buys a pair of jeans with a price tag 900% higher…
Brazil is not a rich place. It has plenty of natural resources, but in terms of per capita wealth, it is far from the first tier.
According to the latest IMF report, the Brazilian annual GDP per capita (or annual income per capita) is $7011. It is in the same category as Turkey, Peru, Thailand, or China. Among the 195 countries present in the IMF report, Brazil has only the 87th highest per capita income.
It may surprise you to know, however, that Brazil is also one of the major markets for luxury goods and expensive vehicles on the planet.
There are a few major decisions with the potential to change our paths.
It is difficult — it not impossible — to decide about the first two listed above based on calculations. But the answer to the dilemma between buying or renting a house is easier to get.
State pensions have been in a state of decline for the last few decades. The main reason is that there are not enough young people to contribute and fund the pensions of the older generations.
There is a thing most people don’t get about social security: when you retire, you will not use the money that you contributed. Your contributions will be long gone, paid to your grandparents or parents. Who will pay for your retirement?
The next generation. Our kids. But how many kids do we have?
The decline in birth rates is widespread all over the world, but…
Most of the days, I leave my office around 20:00, a time I established years ago.
Last Thursday, however, I left work earlier, at 18:00, to enjoy more of the summer daylight. Then I realized why I leave work at 20:00. In a metropolis with 2 million inhabitants, the traffic of 18:00 is just unbearable. It took over one hour to make half of my way home.
Why do I live in an overpriced capital city with polluted air, above-average criminality levels, spending hours in traffic? On, because we (my wife and me) need to make money, that is why.
During the 2020 lockdown, my two companies remained closed for months. To not remain idle, I applied the Talebian concept of the barbell strategy by starting a new business unrelated to the other two.
Fast-forward to 2021, and most of the restrictions were lifted. A fresh problem came to the surface.
I didn’t have enough time to manage all 3 enterprises and invest in my career as a writer. When I evaluated how I spent my time, I found that I lost more than half of my hours to routine tasks — tasks that someone else could perform remotely.
Tell a Brazilian that his country has some good-quality stuff for ridiculous prices, and it is likely that he will disagree or expect a joke involving bribes and crime.
As a Brazilian myself, for long I held this belief that in my country, almost everything is overpriced and overtaxed (like iPhone or PlayStations), or has a lower standard of quality — like some Brazilian basic car models that cannot be sold in Europe due to safety concerns).
Electronics and industrial goods can be costly in Brazil, but this is not valid for many utilities and staples.
Things more necessary than…
Have you ever had a scene like that during a collective farewell, be it from high school, university or workplace?
- Let’s promise to ourselves that this will not be our last meeting, guys! We will do it at least one time per year! Deal?
Years come and years go, without the meetings happening again. Sometime later, you lose contact with your old friends, including the ones that supported you to take career decisions or listened to your complaints about life. It’s hard to deal with this disconnection, especially when you don’t know others nearby.
Because at some…
I am not excellent at many things.
Maybe I am good at doing coffee using a Moka pot, or at choosing the best mandarines in the supermarket. But excellent, I am only at one thing:
I am really good at it. Not because of some mystical gift, but because I bet only when I find someone with absurd premises willing to make a wager — most of the time, they are economists.
Three years ago, I asked a friend about his age. He answered me with another question.
“How old do you think I am, Levi?”
“I don’t know…