QUESTION – Thank you for taking the time to participate in the Q & A session. Before we start in detail. Would you like to share with everyone who you are, what you do & where you live?
NICHOLAS: My name is Nicholas Maggiulli and I am an investor, writer, and data scientist. I am currently the Chief Operating Officer at Ritholtz Wealth Management and the author of Of Dollars And Data, a data-focused personal finance blog. I currently reside in New York City but I am originally from Southern California.
QUESTION – Can you explain your educational and professional career journey to get where you are now.
NICHOLAS: I got my Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Stanford University and went into economics/litigation consulting immediately after graduation. During that time I fell in love with programming (specifically data programming) and eventually transitioned into a data science role within the industry. However, my heart wasn’t in consulting because I knew I wanted to do something in the investment space. As a result, I started blogging at Of Dollars And Data back at the beginning of 2017 for fun but also to see if I could use it to transition into the industry. The blog helped me grow my network in the financial space and led me to Ritholtz Wealth Management where I started as a data scientist in mid-2018. I have since taken on more responsibility at the firm and was promoted to COO in mid 2020.
QUESTION – What personal or professional failure/setback have you experienced in your life or professional career that has set you up for later success?
NICHOLAS: I moved across the country for an ex-girlfriend that didn’t work out. It’s embarrassing, but had I not moved I probably wouldn’t have started Of Dollars And Data and I definitely wouldn’t be working in finance right now. Sometimes you lose something you care about to gain something better in the long run.
QUESTION– Can you explain in more details OfDollarsAndData.com and how possibly our readers can learn more.
NICHOLAS: Of Dollars And Data is a data-focused personal finance website whose primary goal is to help you live a smarter, richer life. I want you to make financial decisions using the best information available. If you are new to the blog, I recommend reading through my Popular Posts page to get a better feel for what I write about and how I can help you improve your finances.
QUESTION : This is becoming a favorite question for many – plus readers get some good gift ideas from it. What purchase of less than $100 have you made in the past year that you simply could not live without now?
NICHOLAS: My Victoria Cast Iron Skillet. It’s $20, I cook meat on it every day, and it will last forever, with proper care. If you have ever bought a cast iron skillet, you probably have gotten a Lodge before, but I prefer Victoria because of the higher quality and better pre-seasoning on the pan. I could do an entire blog post on seasoning cast iron pans, but I won’t bore you with that now. Teflon doesn’t get the same sear, so invest in quality cookware.
QUESTION – What advice would you give to your younger self – and what advice would you give to a young high school or college graduate?
NICHOLAS: I’d give the same advice to a young high school or college graduate (male or female). Having good health is a foundation that you can build everything else around. You can always earn more money, make new friendships, and fall in love again, but health is something that is hard to get back if you’ve neglected it for far too long.
QUESTION – What are some of your hobbies? How do you escape from the real world during these crazy times that we have been experiencing in 2020/21?
NICHOLAS: I play guitar and read a fair bit. In 2020 I have done far less reading than in years prior, but I have done far more guitar playing. Guitar is a great escape because it is both challenging and entertaining at the same time. In addition, I have spent far more time on social media in 2020 to connect with people (since I can’t do it in person due to Covid).
QUESTION – How has the Covid situation effected you both professionally and personally. And did any positive come out of it for you?
NICHOLAS: The only positive thing to come out of 2020 was living through and experiencing a market crash. March 2020 taught me more about investing (and myself) than in the 8 years prior. As Fred Schwed once stated, “Like all of life’s rich emotional experiences, the full flavor of losing money cannot be conveyed by literature.”
Professionally I haven’t been impacted by it much since our firm was built to be remote. Personally I have been fortunate that only a few friends and family have gotten Covid without any negative long-term outcomes. Of course it sucks not being able to see many people you care about, but it’s something that all of us have had to deal with.
QUESTION – When you have lost your mojo or focus , what do you do to get back on track?
NICHOLAS: I honestly don’t lose focus too much and when I do I my mind naturally guilts me into getting back on track. I wish I had a more helpful answer, but this is probably just a personality trait of mine.
QUESTION – If you could have a big billboard with your favorite saying or message on it, what would it be.
NICHOLAS: “Fear has a greater grasp on human action than does the impressive weight of historical evidence.” -Jeremy Siegel
QUESTION– Thank you for taking the time for this interview. How can our readers contact you, including on social media. And is there anything else you like for our readers to know about you?
NICHOLAS: If you have any questions, feel free to contact me via Twitter DM or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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