Simple, But Hard


We live in an age of contextless slogans. It is the stock in trade of Instagram Influencers, TikTok Investors, and grinding side hustles.

It’s a new flavor of bullshit designed to sell unwitting dupes some garbage product or worse, a destructive half-assed philosophy.

In 2020, all you had to do was Hodl Meme stocks; In 2021, it was day trade your way to wealth; before that, just be a Crypto bro, or you can “Have fun being poor!” The latest effort at EZ-Money requires no skilz, very little capital, and almost no time: Passive Income.

All of these easy get-rich schemes use similar themes: Making it look simple to earn lots of money without much experience, expertise, or effort. The NYT took a look at the latest flavor: What’s Passive Income? It’s Not What Influencers Say It Is.

Remember the Dunning Kruger couple (video) we discussed in September 2021? (Whatever happened to them?) They revealed their unique trading approach by channeling Will Rogers: “Here’s my strategy in a nutshell: I see a stock going up, and I buy it, and I just watch it until it stops growing up and then I sell it. I do that over and over and it pays for our whole lifestyle.”

Investment TikTok is the best! 

Those rare folks who day-trade, or flip houses, or garner passive incomes as a route to wealth1 are busy doing those things. Those that want to sell you a newsletter or a seminar or some product to show how to become rich (but do not earn their living that way) have revealed the flaw in their pitch. It’s a shame this gets overlooked by so many. The people who would benefit from debunking this silliness have already spent their time and have been separated from their money; for everyone else, it’s an after the fact tsk-tsk moment.

One cannot help but notice that the influencers pitching this lifestyle DO NOT MAKE THEIR INCOME this way, but rather selling “How To” kits.2

* sigh *

A few economic truisms:

Anything worthwhile requires time and effort.

Putting in time and effort is hard, but it gives you experience.

Learning from your experiences is difficult, but can lead to expertise.

Applying expertise over time is not easy, but can lead to rewards.

Simple, but hard” is not the worst lesson one can learn from the internet. Simple, in terms of creating a path to follow; hard because a typical rewarding path is filled with pitfalls, psychological challenges and true competition.

Simple and easy?”

“Have fun being poor” indeed.




What’s Passive Income? It’s Not What Influencers Say It Is.
By Lisa Rabasca Roepe
New York Times, Jan. 27, 2023


24/7 Financial (Advice December 7, 2022)

Don’t Read This Blog Post (May 18, 2022)

One-Sided Markets (September 29, 2021)

The Price of Paying Attention (November 2012)

Manage Your Media Diet




1. There are the rare individuals who do these things exceedingly well; most spend their time doing those things and not exhorting others to compete with them for limited alpha…

2. The couple in the video claim this is not a sponsored video, so maybe they are not selling anything, other than their own TikTok feed. “Those who can’t do, teach. And those who can’t teach, teach gym.” (Annie Hall)



Chad & Jenny:


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Posted Under