Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Losing Positions Analyzed

Thanks to the recent upturn in the stock market, most of my remaining positions in my IRA have positive returns. Below, I will analyze the remaining losers:

  1. CIT:    At a negative 96% return, it would be my biggest loser but for the fact I only owned 5 shares. Total loss is $106.00 on current shares. Although I believe these shares will eventually go to zero, the transaction cost to sell them would exceed their value. Thankfully, I sold most of my shares before the loss.


  2. Monsanto:    I built this position in the last 6 months. At 2.3% of my portfolio, it is a significant position and the 2.5% loss is not appreciated. Nevertheless, I am going to hold onto this stock as a long-term investment.


  3. Sonic:    Proving that a good product is not necessarily a good investment, I lost a few hundred dollars on this investment before closing out most of it. My remaining 15 shares are down 5.81%. Because the remaining position is small, I am going to keep the shares and see what happens.


  4. Exxon:    Like Monsanto, this is a large position that I built during 2009. The 1.1% loss is the result of an 11% loss on the shares I purchased in June. Shares bought in March and May are performing better. Because I believe some exposure to energy is a risk, I plan on keeping the investment. I expect this position to be "even" by the end of 2009.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Vacation Coming

Well, the parents are coming to town. Hopefully, the weekend in Vermont won't break the bank.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Obamascam – Health Care Idiocy

While the devil is always in the details, the devil can be anywhere. In the case of Obamacare, the premise of the program is fundamentally flawed and un-American. At its basic level, the program is designed to provide health care for a large number of people paid for by a small number of people.

If we want to have socialized medicine, a fair plan would require everyone pay their fair share of the cost.

Buy stock tomorrow?

Today, the market was up big. As a result, stock portfolios should be at/near 1-2 year highs. Unfortunately, tomorrow is going to be a rough day. After hours, Microsoft, American Express and Amazon reported "bad" numbers and a pullback is likely.

For frequent traders, I don't know what to tell you. For people looking to add to their positions with a long term timeframe, tomorrow should give us a decent buying opportunity. Essentially, we will be able to buy stocks at 2-4% less than we could have bought today. Bottom line, start looking towards using the correction to buy. Whatever you do, don't buy on "up" days.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ebay Saved me $150

Thanks to eBay, I was able to save $150 on my wife's first set of golf clubs. For the price of cheapo "Walmart" clubs, I was able to get a new hybrid/iron combo set from Adams Golf. If you know what you want to buy and search hard, eBay can really give you some bargains.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Comcast – Continues to Screw Up

After thinking I had worked things out with Comcast, I found a bill in my mail today from a company often called the Worst Company in America. After waiting on hold to speak to the CSR in their billing department, I received an honest comment: "I have no idea what is happening on your bill." Of course, that is the reason I wrote a letter to the CEO and my state attorney general's office two months ago.

Basically, Comcast's strategy seems to be. If we bill them, they will pay. If they challenge a charge, we will keep our internal billing records incomplete and incoherent so they will give up and send us the money. As I sit right now, I am holding for a "supervisor" in hopes he/she will fix the problem. Would anyone like to take odds on them getting it correct?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wells Fargo Sues Itself

Having dealt with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, I have a healthy respect for their ineptitude. Nevertheless, I would never had imagined they would sue themselves. They even managed to hire one set of lawyers to defend themselves from their own lawyers.



Sunday, July 12, 2009

Found $120 - Literally

Walking into the grocery store with my wife, I spotted a $20 bill in the middle of the parking lot. Looking around, I managed to find a total of $120. Had I seen someone drop it, I certainly would have returned it to them. Had it been "property" like a watch, I would have returned it to the store in case the owner came back looking for it.

Should I have taken the money into the store?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Domino’s Pizza – 30 Minute Scam

Looking to avoid cooking and hungry, I decided to buy a Domino's pizza. Their website, in big bold letters, proclaims "You Got 30 minutes." Assuming it meant I would get my pizza in 30 minutes, I forgot about it until it took 58 minutes.

Looking at the website more closely, they buried a disclaimer at the bottom that admits their "30 Minute" guarantee is not a guarantee of anything.

They won't be getting any more of our business. If I cannot trust their advertisements, I won't use their service.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

ING & Emigrant Direct – Service Review

Last week, I had a problem transferring money from my Emigrant Direct savings account to my ING Direct checking account. The money was to be used to pay my property taxes. Needless to say, I was anxious and expected to have to deal with idiotic customer service reps and mind numbing automated phone trees.

First, I called ING Direct. Without much effort, I was connected to a CSR who was fantastic. In addition to speaking English, he correctly diagnosed my problem ( You cannot "pull" a transfer from savings account to a checking account at another bank) and gave me advise for dealing with Emigrant Direct.

Second, I called Emigrant Direct. Again, I was able to reach a CSR quickly. She quickly and accurately helped me complete the transfer.

After the nightmare that was dealing with Wells Fargo (our mortgage), I was thinking of moving some of our accounts to a local savings bank. The fact both "internet" banks gave me hometown service makes thatless likely.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

California IOU’s – Would you take them?

As I understand it, California is issuing some sort of IOU to various parties. Why anyone would accept an IOU from an entity as poorly managed as California is beyond me? Let's say you are the vendor and you get an IOU, can you deposit in your bank? Can you use the money to pay your vendors?

Simply put, they should be ashamed.

Asbestos Lawyers - Mesothelioma

Last night, I spotted an advertisement from a law firm seeking clients with Mesothelioma caused by asbestos. As horrible as the disease is, it is hard to understand how people continue to develop it. Hasn't asbestos been banned for decades?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Comcast Returned My Money

As my prior posts outlined, I had a lot of trouble with Comcast near the end. After writing a letter to the CEO, things have been worked out and they returned my money for the MLB Package.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Debt Kills Legal Career

Should student loans prevent someone from getting a law license? The NY Times has an interesting story about a guy who owes $400,000 on his student loans. After finally passing the part on his fourth attempt, he did not get his law license after all. The New York Bar decided he was unfit to practice law.

My Thoughts:

  1. Sallie Mae is a nightmare to deal with – I feel his pain;
  2. Problems with the lender do not prevent someone from making "ANY" payments towards his loan. I smell a rat.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

California - RIP

It seems the California government is going to shut down. If the Democrats would simply agree to cut spending, this wouldn't be happening.