Plus, how to keep your cool when staying up-to-date on investments
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Good morning and happy Monday!

Today is my 25th birthday, and to celebrate, I’m sharing a list of 25 times I’ve been fearless in hopes that you’ll spend a few moments this week reflecting on times that you’ve been fearless, too. We encourage you to share them with us!

I also want to extend my thanks if you attended our first Fearless Focus event last week. If you missed it, we’ve got a video replay near the bottom of the newsletter and I’ll also publish written takeaways later this month.

Have a great week!

– Emily Kestel, Fearless editor

25 times I've been fearless
As of May 2, I’ve been alive for a quarter of a century.

In that time, I’ve had plenty of ups, and a fair share of downs. I’ve learned what I like and what I don’t. I know what my strengths are and I’m still coming to terms with what my weaknesses are.

I’ve also come to realize that the times I’ve felt most alive always seem to occur when I’m outside of my comfort zone, or when I’m taking a bit of a risk. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt truly alive while watching "New Girl" on my couch, but I certainly felt so when I scrambled up a slippery mountain while it was raining.

I’m determined to fill my next 25 years with more of these moments. Before I do that, though, I want to take a moment to reflect on memorable times I’ve been fearless in my life.

I’ve included some of my favorites here, but you can read all 25 on the Fearless website.

Walking into my kindergarten class after breaking my wrist. One day, I decided to debut a new trick on our neighbors’ steel swing set. I got tangled up, landed on my wrist wrong, ran inside crying, and ended up at the hospital.  While they were putting it on, I started bawling again – not because it hurt, but because I was afraid my classmates would make fun of me when I walked into school. (They did not). Six weeks later when I got it removed, I cried again because I thought they would make fun of me because I wasn’t wearing a cast. (They did not).
Climbing every tree within reach. My childhood home had a crab apple tree in the front yard that was perfect for climbing. My neighbors, siblings and I spent hours in that tree, hanging from its limbs by our knees or seeing who could climb the highest. When we got bored with that, we’d go to the trees across the street that were much more difficult.
Biking 471 miles across Iowa. In 2012, my dad and I signed up to bike the full week of RAGBRAI. The heat was unbearable that year – it was said to be one of the hottest on record. Later that week in Marshalltown, a thunderstorm rolled through our campsite, complete with 70 mph wind gusts. But I finished, and would do the full week of RAGBRAI for the next three years.
Joining my high school swim team. After a career-ending injury in the middle of my track season freshman year, my friends persuaded me to join the swim team that fall – even though I barely knew how to swim in a straight line. I certainly wasn’t great that year, but I gave it my all every single practice and had a lot of fun.
Holding – and wearing – bugs and reptiles. In part because my mom was a naturalist, I have never been the type of person to be deathly afraid of insects, arachnids, reptiles or amphibians. I’ve even been known to put a praying mantis in my hair and let a small anole clamp onto my earlobe as if it were an earring.
Saying yes to leading my college newsroom. Throughout college, I was adamant about being a photojournalist when I graduated, so I only worked on the photo desk at the Iowa State Daily. I fully intended to spend my senior year as the photo editor, until Emily Barske, who was in charge of the whole newsroom, asked me if I wanted to be managing editor instead. I initially told her, "No way. I’m not qualified." But she assured me that I was the right person for the role, and that I would do a good job. So I said yes.
Saying yes to this job. I am very open about the fact that being in my current role as the Fearless editor – and being a journalist in general – scares me every single day. It is scary to know that real people are reading what I write and making decisions based on what they learn. But given Emily Barske’s track record of persuading me to live outside my comfort zone, I said yes when offered the position.
Five ways to stay informed about your investments without losing your cool
Does your gut tighten when the market report comes up? Do you quickly scroll past or turn the channel when the red stock charts appear? There are a lot of upsetting things happening in the world. It is tempting to unplug from the endless information stream, but a more practical solution is to adjust how we consume it.

Gone are the days when a calm, neutral voice shares the day’s top stories. Now we have thousands of channels and influencers competing for our attention and the dollars that come with it. They have to differentiate their stories to set themselves apart. In the process, they add opinion and commentary to financial news as if they were covering a sporting event. With every market shift they are looking for winners and losers they can praise or pick apart with heaps of emotion-driven adjectives. In this fight for our attention, our nerves are taking a beating.

Like many things in our society, it is getting louder and harder to filter the facts out of the fluff and filler. Keeping with the sports analogy, instead of getting the score and relevant facts, you get hype, opinions and predictions. The game and players are the same, but what you hear from the home team broadcasters feels dramatically different from those of the opponent’s announcers.

To get the financial information you need without getting your mood hijacked by commentators, I recommend the following five tactics when consuming financial news.

1. Focus on facts. Filtering for just the facts is like a mental puzzle game. It not only helps you focus on what’s important, it helps keep your mind sharp.

2. Know how they are funded (follow the money). Sports channels aren’t likely to air a segment on the negative health effects of drinking beer, given beer ads are a significant part of their revenue, and their audience is full of loyal beer drinkers, like myself. The free website that provides good information on smart purchases, but is largely funded by credit card and loan promotions, is a good example of considering the source. Its content provides tips on how to make wise purchases, but it is surrounded by huge credit card banner ads and blinking "apply to refi" buttons between each paragraph. Beyond the ads, much of their "content" is focused on how to get the most out of credit card rewards programs. The underlying message is that part of a smart purchase is paying with a credit card.

3. Notice the injected emotion. Excited voice inflection and emotion may be the hallmark of great sports reporting, but in financial news it’s dangerous. Saying, "The Federal Reserve increased interest rates one-quarter of 1%," doesn’t sound as exciting as "The Fed hiked rates today." The word choices seem subtle, but the images they convey are not. The recent rate change was expected, widely reported ahead of time and already priced into the market. Yet that didn’t stop pundits from hyping it up as if it was a huge upset, like a 15-seed team beating a 2-seed to advance in the March Madness NCAA basketball tournament.

4. Look for consistency across sources. The spin of the story may vary widely, but the facts should remain the same. Reading, listening or watching a variety of sources can provide perspective. Like the score of a game, the stats on what the market has done should be the same, but everyone’s projection of what it means may vary.

5. Turn the channel. Once you get the info nuggets you need, turn the channel. Listen to music, sports or comedy. Pick something you enjoy and find relaxing. Sound financial decisions are best made when we are calm and relaxed. Tuning out the noise is good for both your financial health and your mental health.

Regular application of these tactics will help you keep your financial cool and avoid making bad bets based on the market hype.

Joey Beech is a personal finance speaker and author. You can connect with her at or on LinkedIn.

In the headlines
Worth checking out
A candidate gave a speech while in labor — then had to withdraw from the race to give birth (Washington Post). A new treatment program for domestic abusers is effective at preventing future acts of violence (Talk of Iowa). These single women say they face a workplace penalty, too (Washington Post). The role of the CEO has permanently changed. Here’s what it will take to lead a company in the future (Fortune). The caretakers of women's pandemic stories (New York Times).
Fearless Focus: Leadership
Did you miss our Fearless Focus event last week? Catch a replay.
Athene Black and Brown Business Summit invites underrepresented business owners to ‘fill their gaps’
Before attendees at the second annual Athene Black and Brown Business Summit dove into a day of workshops and breakout sessions, keynote speaker Pamela Jolly told the group she was going to step back and look at the big picture on wealth generation for businesses owned by people of color.

She began with the reminder that wealth is more than just money, and "when you put legacy in front of wealth, it expands the narrative across generations."

"Throughout my journey, what I’ve found is that poverty is really a lack of options. Yet we talk about it far too often when we talk about Black and brown communities. Wealth is a matter of choices, which we also talk about wealth, but we’re not very clear about the choices one has to make, to create, build, grow and expand it. What I have found is that financial repression occurs when you don’t understand your choices about wealth."

Her primary research has spanned 10 years and included thousands of interviews and surveys in almost 100 cities, which she said has helped her "recognize patterns and causes in our wealth behaviors."

Jolly’s directive to the business owners in the room was to overcome their individual gaps in knowledge, relationship, perspective and progress. She said taking those four steps forward throughout a career will prepare business owners to leave a legacy and "realize the promise that we have inherited."

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