Useful Distractions is JP Cutter's corner of the internet.

After a lifetime of tinkering with computers and online, this site represents a repository of projects past and future. It is still very much under construction, don't mind the rough edges.

Growing up in Los Angeles, JP was always a big fan of technology and entertainment. An early devotion to video games represented the perfect cross section of technology and storytelling.

Finance Posts

  • Robin Hood and the Power of Free Trading

    While retirement accounts and the occasional hobby stock purchase gave me a little experience with the stock market, the brokerage fees prevented me from getting more invested in it for years.

    A slow and steady contribution into a brokerage account wasn't a reasonable strategy. Every point gained is a hard-earned win that can't be taken for granted; paying a $15 fee on a small stock purchase already mounts an uphill struggle to break even.

    This problem is further compounded when trying to diversify with small amounts of capital. Buying one share each of a few different companies becomes prohibitively expensive. The transitional savings and retirement advice of "set up a contribution and let it steadily add up" broke down because of the fee structures.

    The introduction of Robin Hood simplified all of that. The ability to transfer over small amounts of money regularly, and feel like I can freely drip it into various accumulating investments opened up the whole venture.

    The ability to slowly trickle money into different stocks provides another cognitive benefit; I don't feel the winner/loser bet mentality with each choice. Even with immediate access to my average price paid for a particular item, it doesn't have the same visceral sense of knowing I placed a huge bet on X at price Y. It blurs my causal responsibility, making it all less emotional.