07
Jan
13

Took a Break, and continuing to take a break (if I feel like it)

Hi Team.  It’s been a while.  Life is busy and there are many things I would rather do than spend oodles of time updating this blog on a quasi regular basis.  I did have an excellent Christmas season and a vacation to SE Asia over Thanksgiving.  And a most excellent powder day skiing a couple weeks ago (it was the kind of day that completes your season, even though it was in December).  And those are the things that are important to me – family, food, friends, traveling and skiing (in somewhat that order, depending on the day). 

Going forward, I will post sporadically, or whenever I feel like it, and people will continue to not read this blog.  But, for the 2 people who somewhat liked what I wrote I about, there is no reason to flood the streets with tears. I will be posting over at Harry’s blog on what we have agreed to be a monthly basis.  

Be sure to check over there and read his blog, as it is good stuff.  And buzz on over and take a look at my first guest post for him on Being Average.  Not only will you find no one is average, but it is a terribly misleading number.      

25
May
12

Miscellany – Memorial Day Weekend Edition

Life has been SO much fun for us lately, we’ve neglected ol’ Nelly here.  Seriously, we’re putting in landscaping and all the digging is being done by hand.  Combine that with evil travel for work and we have some very exhausted individuals.  Perhaps our BMI will improve…But, we’ll be back to regular posting next week with one caveat…we’ll post on Tuesday instead of Monday, since it is a holiday here in the US of A.

In other news…

Who’s LOVING bookface?  We mean facebook.  If you got in at $42 like a lot of schmuck’s did, you’re only down 24%.  If you got in at the IPO price, what’s a 16% loss?  Still, at a ~75 P/E today and EPS under a dollar/share, have at it.  And of course, let us spike the football and tell you we told you so.  Well, we sort of correct, we thought at least the institutional investors would have made some money.  But everyone who bet for FB, has lost.  Time will tell if you get to dance a jig in our face.  But for now, we shall gloat.

We’ve also figured out how to save over 20% on ALL purchases at home depot.  Remember, we’re doing landscaping, you didn’t think we’d get reemed by the man did you?  Before we give the big reveal, a few words are needed.  We’ve always maintained that we are not out to monetize this blüg.  And that is still true.  But, the links in the paragraph do benefit us.  If both people who actually read this blüg know about our little secret, we face additional competition for saving money.  So, if you like our blüg, or if you read it here first, we are appreciative if you use OUR links if you find what we are about to say is cool.  If you want to bust our balls about this, we can remove this paragraph and life can go back to normal.  So…how to save 20% off of everything at home depot or lowe’s.  First, we sign up at plastic jungle’s website. Then we cruise over to TopCashBack.com, sign up, type “plastic jungle” in the search box and click on the appropriate box to save 4.5%.  You can then peruse all the discounted gift cards at plastic jungle.  Home Depot and Lowe’s are discounted 7%.  So, if you make a $100 purchase, you only pay $93.  Of course, you paid $93 for $100 worth of spend, so you take off 4.5% of $93 you earned at TopCashBack.com.  This leaves you with ~$89, or over 11% savings just doing these two things.  If you have a good cash back credit card (and everyone who can keep their spending in check should), you make another 1% off of $93, bumping the savings up to 12%.  And, if you are smrt, you have found a 10% off coupon somewhere (Lowe’s and Home depot honor competitor’s coupons) or you are a Vet (thanks for your service) you ALWAYS save 10% off at both Lowe’s and Home Depot.  So your original purchase was $100, you effectively paid ~$79.52, or 20.5% savings.  A little work, but we’ll take it!

Vanguard has closed it’s high yield bond fund to new investors.  We’re not big fangürls of high yield funds, but it seems people are flocking to them.  This isn’t the first time Vanguard has closed its fund, so don’t worry, they’re just trying to smooth everything out for long term investors.

And NPR’s Planet Money is barking up the College Tuition tree.  We recently wrote low interest rates on student loans boost tuition price, but PM is saying going to college is like buying a car.

Have a safe weekend.  Tuttles.

 

15
May
12

Bonds – Types

  1. Types
  2. Bond Pricing & Risk
  3. Buying a Bond Mutual Fund

For some reason, stocks are much more understood than bonds.  Bonds are nothing more than loan to an entity, aka a debt investment, with the promise of the entity to pay interest in some form and repay the principal back after a pre-arranged duration.  Perhaps it is because we have to crunch actual numbers to understand the value of bonds instead of just sticking our finger in the air and saying, “that looks about right!”  Either way, we hope to show bonds are nothing to be scurred of.  In fact, we are all probably aware of how bond pricing works if we have at one time taken on debt.  With bonds, you are just on the other side of the table.  And after our series, a reader should be able to make educated decisions about investing in bond mutual funds.

Continue reading ‘Bonds – Types’

10
May
12

The war on savers, more than just CD interest rates

Recently we read Robert Wenzel’s brazen speech delivered at the fed. Regardless of who actually attended the speech, bromances are spawning.

In conclusion, it is my belief  that from start to finish  the Fed is a failure. I believe faulty methodology is used, I believe that  the justification for the Fed, to bring price and economic stability, has never been a success. I repeat, prices since the start of the Fed have climbed by 2,241% and there have been over the same period 18 recessions...The noose is tightening on your organization, vast amounts of money printing are now required to keep your manipulated economy afloat. It will ultimately result in huge price inflation, or,  if you stop printing, another massive economic crash will occur. There is no other way out.

We all know interest rates for savings are hardly anything to get excited about. Anyone can feel the pinch at the grocery store while seeing their money in a CD is loosing spending power. But, is the Fed’s policy of keeping interest rates low just hurting your savings account? Here are three other ways low interest rates are hurting savers.

Continue reading ‘The war on savers, more than just CD interest rates’

07
May
12

Buying into the Facebook “IPO” is stoopid

We interrupt our normal coverage of our Protecting Income series to bring you part 2 of our Dose of Reality series.  If you missed part 1 or it isn’t fresh in your mind, hop on over to learn why comparing yourself to Warren Buffet is not a good idea.  Here in part 2, we’ll explain why investing in the highly anticipated “IPO” of instabook is a bad idea.

Continue reading ‘Buying into the Facebook “IPO” is stoopid’

03
May
12

Protecting Income – Social Security Survivor & Disability Benefits

  1. Life Insurance
  2. Disability Insurance
  3. Shopping for Life & Disability Insurance
  4. Social Security Survivor & Disability Benefits
  5. Will Life insurance benefits be taxed?
  6. Emergency Fund
  7. Umbrella Insurance

Social Security is a program often detested, but it is a program that fills many of the holes in people’s retirement and financial planning.  Our aim is to dissect the benefits one can receive if they become disabled and the benefits their dependents can receive if they kick the bucket.  We use the Social Security handbook, which is available online (www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/), and back up what we say with what is written in this resource.  We link to the pertinent parts of the handbook as we write, so if you are curious, or think we are off our rocker, you can click on the link and it will take you to the applicable section of the handbook.

Continue reading ‘Protecting Income – Social Security Survivor & Disability Benefits’

30
Apr
12

Protecting Income – Shopping for Life & Disability Insurance

  1. Life Insurance
  2. Disability Insurance
  3. Shopping for Life & Disability Insurance
  4. Social Security Survivor & Disability Benefits
  5. Will Life insurance benefits be taxed?
  6. Emergency Fund
  7. Umbrella Insurance

Shopping for both life and disability insurance can be a daunting task.  And while we typically don’t like to use services by people who have “agent” in their title, using one for obtaining life and disability is advised.  Our agent helped us with all the paperwork, met us at our work to sign the papers, came to our home to talk with us etc.  He certainly made the experience much easier.  AND when our nasty habit proved to be a problem, he was able to go out and find another company which satisfied our criteria without having to do another medical screening.  Tres simple.  The price is the same whether you use an agent or not, so you should use the service of a good agent.  There are plenty out there, so if you run across one you don’t like, move onto the next one.  Wash, rinse and repeat until you find an agent you like.

Continue reading ‘Protecting Income – Shopping for Life & Disability Insurance’




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