All posts by samokiki

Can You Retire With $1 Million?

In many cities in America, it has become extremely difficult for one to retire with no plan. Some people have run so far behind that they give up on the prospect of retirement and they work until their body gives out or cannot fulfill job duties. In this blog post, I will consider the many facets of retiring in America, using the amount of $1 million as a point of reference.

Living Costs

If you were to start saving $400 every month from age 25 till age 67, you would have $1,000,000 but it’s important to remember what city you are in. In Northern California you would be lucky to make it over 15 years with a million dollars but if you were to live in Tennessee that expectancy doubles.

You must also consider how much money you would be getting from social security. The average amount is around $1,661 a month which is about $20k a year. So the majority of the money you will need will have to be found on your own. The unfortunate reality is that my generation has been made well aware of the fact that this extra source of income might not be around by the time I retire, but not all hope is lost.


The money that you end up investing will be taxed unless you choose two popular routes: Roth IRA or Roth 401k. The good thing about these investment funds made in “after-tax” dollars which essentially means that this money or the majority of it will not be taxed once you turn 59.5 years old.

The mistake some make is having to pull out some of the automatic contributions made by their employer in their Roth 401k to pay for bills or other emergency costs. When this happens the money they take out is taxed and this can have a bad effect on your savings plan if it is not monitored.


At this point, I think we are all well aware of the stresses our healthcare system has on societies elderly. These are unfortunately things that can only be planned for as no one can be prepared for how many medical fees can cost. Maryalene LaPonsie from US News states that the average elderly couple in America could spend around $300,000 in medical costs in retirement. It is advised that you consult your doctor about your families health history and what to expect to best prepare.

How Apple Tv+’s “Severance” Touches on the Realities of Corporate Life. (Potential Spoilers)

Severance is a show on Apple Tv+ about a man named Mark, who signs onto a job with Lumon Industries after experiencing a traumatic event that prohibits him from continuing his career as a professor. Lumon Industries produces the microchips needed for a procedure called “Severance”. The job requires him to go through this controversial procedure that wipes all of his memory while he is at work in order to protect “sensitive information” his employers do not want to be revealed to the public. Everything becomes more complicated when one of his old coworkers (that he cannot remember) warns him of what is truly happening at his job.

Before I begin, I would just like to state that I am aware that not everyone sees corporate life as toxic, dysfunctional, or unhealthy and that there are healthy workplaces out there along with employers trying to lead the way in showing the rest of America how to build better relationships between employees and employers.

Kier Eagan’s Core Values

Over time, the audience is shown certain themes and elements that resemble a cult or cult-like attributes in the workplace. Kier Eagan is revealed as the original founder of “Severance” and the founder of Lumon Industries. He is a source of mystery for the people outside of Lumon Industries because he has been long dead, but for the people working there, he might as well be a deity. He outlines specific core values for workers to follow that help keep them in line and list expectations. This is very similar to the core values that are listed during orientation when signing onto a new job. The issue, similar to real life, is that these core values are often weaponized against employees.

There are also gifts called “perks” in the show that are used to incentivize employees to work harder and achieve higher goals in order to increase the employer’s profits but these are usually useless material items such as finger traps or dance parties with unsettling monochromatic light shows and underwhelming snacks. This can be compared to table tennis rewards in silicon valley or happy hour gift cards.

Work-Life Balance?

The thing severance gets perfectly is the disregard or purposeful blindness that is shown from employer to employee when it comes to our personal lives. Severance is a process that splits “you” into two separate forms of consciousness, the “you” at work, and the “you” at home. You are essentially on a vacation at home forever besides the need to get up and drive to work each day. You are free from the stresses of having work follow you home, whether it is a deadline you may miss, a coworker you don’t like, or a new boss changing the status quo at work in the pursuit of their own glory.

What about the “you” at work though? That version is essentially a slave that works forever until the other version of “you” decides they want to leave. In America that is only a minor exaggeration of reality where 9-5 jobs only give you so much time at home before you have to go to work again. The questions this show asks are what would happen if you gave 100% of yourself over to the company you work for as long as you got to make a living and how much would that version of you need to fabricate their true personality to fit the rigid nature of workplace values. I encourage everyone to watch the show and find out.

Why More Young People Should Consider Co-Buying

What is Co-Buying?

Co-Buying is the process of purchasing a house with two or more people in the pursuit of homeownership. Not everyone can afford a house these days and with the constant increase in inflation it becomes even more difficult to achieve. One must also consider the amount of insurance fees, maintenance costs, and taxes. That can be alot for one person to handle, so co-buying works as a stress reliever and means of shared equity.

Why Are Homes So Expensive?

The increase in price we have seen in the housing market is do to multiple factors but one that seems to almost be running unchecked and is also being enabled by our government is the mass purchasing of homes by hedge fund companies. states that the amount of homes for sale on a given day in february has gone down 24.5% percent from last year ( After the 2008 recession president Obama put the “Home Affordable Modification Program in place to help 4 million people with a $75 billion buyout but it didn’t work and 9 million lost their homes. The issue is that after these people lost their homes hedge funds would buy them out, sell them at a 30-50 percent lower price, and rent them out. As housing prices increased, the apartments around them increased in rental price as well. (

Proposition 13 is a piece of legislation that was put in place in california to protect homeowners from higher tax rates but instead fueled the government to do the exact opposite which was lower the incentive for the government to build affordable housing and instead focusing more on a gas station or mechanic which had higher gains in property taxes. Bills like this are being used all over the country and the main way they succeed is in making sure you do not know about it.

How Does Co-Buying Protect Against Increasing Housing Costs?

As time goes on co-buying will become a more common practice because of how our society is designed around equity. It is becoming harder and harder for the middle class to break into the housing market and this is an issue because passing down homes from a parent to child is one of the main ways members of the middle class build equity. Co-Buying allows you to get an earlier start on building that equity with others without having to handle all of the risk on your own, as no one wants to get stuck with a home loan they cannot pay off.

An Analysis of The Modern-Day Film Bro

Before I begin this blog, I want to start by saying that I do not believe Martin Scorsese’s analysis on marvel movies was exactly accurate. He said that marvel movies are not cinema and compared them to a theme park experience. I do think that because of marvel’s success it has dominated Hollywood and has become a staple for film among a lot of young Americans to the point where exploration becomes neglected. Oscar Issac stated that Marvel movies have replaced big comedies at the box office. This is a little more accurate and addresses the situation a little bit better. Entertainment has an important purpose in every society and is successful because it fulfills a social need. I chose this topic because I wanted to address the controversy around people considered “film bros” and the lack of interest in the exploration of foreign films.

What is a “Film Bro”?

A film bro is defined by the urban dictionary as a person (usually a man), that views themselves as a huge film nerd while having mostly surface-level knowledge of movies. Their favorite movies include underrated gems such as the dark knight, pulp fiction, inception, and Jurassic Park. Some are defined by their dislike of marvel because of its success and others are defined by their love for them. Sometimes mentioning how much the film “Logan” deserved the best picture at the Oscars. This archetype’s creation follows the wave of apps, brands, and other products that young adults have attached to their personality and way of life because of how much technology has integrated itself into our daily lives.

Marvel’s Success

Marvel’s modern-day success started in 2008 with the first iron man movie and over the course of 11 years pulled in 25 billion in sales worldwide by acquiring A-list actors for lead roles and requiring viewers to watch multiple movies to understand the overall context of the universe. For a lot of people marvel movies hit home and elicited an emotional response and it is important that those people are validated in their love for the movies despite opinions. The issue is when marvel movies are placed at such a high standard that it overshadows films that offer more nuance and context to our lives.

American Film vs. International Film

American film is not unique in its focus on entertainment geared cinema, as other countries are well aware of the need to turn a profit. What is unique about America is its place as one of the largest markets for film studios and draws in people from around the world. This is why “Film Bros” and Marvel fans clash, Marvel does not just get money from American sentiment, it is from world sentiment. Which naturally overshadows old classics that may not feel as relevant to some people as watching a mighty Norse god become overweight on-screen because of trauma-induced depression. Film bros are enforced with the idea that their detest of marvel movies makes them a more informed film critic rather than appreciating all genres of movies for their true purpose: how they make people feel. Rather than continuing my hatred of romantic comedies I decided to pick apart why people loved them so much while browsing social media, in between work, and from classmates. Although I may never sit down and binge the movies mentioned I can still be open to appreciating the insights they have on the genre.

From directors in Taiwan to production houses in France, the international film world aims to tackle the issue of cutting the fat on real-world experiences down to a medium that can be visually contextualized for all to see. We should be grateful for the number of worlds we can explore through the globalization of film.

Instagram’s Online Market

Anne Yeh, a Meta spokesperson stated that Instagram’s product tagging feature “makes it possible for anyone to support their favorite small businesses, share how they styled their looks along with the products they used, and more” in article “Instagram is becoming more of a mall” (

This statement is interesting because it is partly true but when you consider the fact that Instagram is owned by Meta it seems very fabricated. People being able to share their favorite small business on Instagram with people in their area is a fantastic idea and is a realistic expectation with a tool like this, but it is also important to remember the original purpose of Instagram and why a switch of ownership should not change that.

Intended Purpose of Instagram

When Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launched Instagram on October 6th of 2010, they intended it to be an app where people could show off where they are or the cool thing they were doing in as easy as 3 steps, and people loved it. It would then start to morph toward branding, influencers, and a source of instant virality, but this is of course because the purpose of a for-profit business is to make money. It still begs the question, what happens when an app meant for posting photos is more focused on your exposure to a new brand? What the last decade has told us is that people’s love of shopping malls are dying and more of it is moving online, which is why we are seeing this sort of scenario.

In the VOI article on “The Origin of Instagram: Starting with The Check-in Site” ( it is stated that Krieger and Systrom left their positions as CEO and CTO of Instagram in pursuit of curiosity and creativity. It is also stated in the article that Instagram has not changed very drastically from how Systrom and Krieger left it. The site incentivizes people to spend money by constantly reinforcing them with images of influencers they respect enjoying themselves with specific products and clothes that they can buy to feel just as cool.

The Reality of Increased Advertising

The reason people started trading cable for streaming services is that cable started to become outdated. The advertisements started feeling like they were from a lost era and there were too many packages offering channels people didn’t want for prices they were not willing to pay anymore. Things are different now and the way users are targeted for advertisements now has become more nuanced and interactive. We are also seeing the formation of tech monopolies that are completely setting the stage for what we ingest every day. Instagram advertisement tags are simply the product of a 3-step photo-sharing concept that was built up to be sold for large profits.

What Can You Do?

This situation faces all social media apps, which is why it is important to take responsibility for the curation of your feed as much as you can. I try to make sure I am not following anyone who does not make it clear that their posts are advertisements. I make sure to watch the ratio of how many advertisements have been posted on someone’s account as opposed to actual updates or thoughts. You can also go to settings in your phone, find the advertising section and opt-out of personalized advertisements. If you truly desire it, authenticity can be mined on your feed.

Winter Rusting

After moving to Los Angeles with everything packed into my tiny Hyundai Elantra an issue started to become more apparent. After years of driving on Minnesotan roadways, my car picked up a small bug that would slowly eat its way through the underside of my car.

Why Does Rust Occur?

In the article “How to Stop Rust From Ruining Your Car” Rachel Schneider states that rust can be caused when dirt strips away the protective coating on your car’s paint which allows rust to develop and spread. Another way that is popular, especially with people living in snowy areas, is when snow and ice coat the underside of a vehicle with corrosive residue that originates from the salt and chemicals applied to the road during the winter.

What Can I Do to Prevent It?

The easiest way to prevent rust on your car is to get it washed every two weeks. You cannot stop there though as water can also cause rust if it sits in your vehicle for too long so make sure to dry the car after and make sure it sits in your garage or carport. It is important to keep tabs on the condition of your paint job as this is one of the first steps to rust development. If you notice flaking on your paint anywhere on the car you will want to get it fixed. Rust can also appear where two pieces of metal connect, this is because they are most likely rubbing together over time. Look under your hood, doors, and trunk to look for areas where the paint appears as though it is bubbling, and make sure to touch it up.

When my mechanic in Sun Valley told me that there was rust on the underside of my car causing an oil leak I was not very surprised considering my car had spent the majority of its life in Minnesota during harsh winter seasons. It did make me think about what I would do if the car was brand new, and because of this, I will be making more changes to how I take care of my car going forward because if one thing is certain its that if you live in LA without a car, you’re not getting anywhere.