Monday, January 25, 2010

Teacher’s Union Idiocy

Under pressure from a powerful teacher's union (the UFT), the corrupt politicians in New York managed to throw away $700m in federal money. With New York's state government under severe government strain, leaving money on the table is unthinkable. I guess children do not matter.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Why Obama Does Not Get It?

Although I did not vote for him, I had high hopes that Obama would lead from the middle and develop plans to help our struggling economy recover. Unfortunately, he seems to have a need to blame people/industries who are making money for our problems. Right or wrong, the bank bailout worked. One year later, all the big banks (except Citi) have paid back the tarp money and many are making record profits. In normal times, this would be seen as good news for the following reasons:

  1. Profitable banks pay big bonuses to people who pay income tax on their bonuses.
  2. Profitable banks look for ways to make more money. They make loans and hire people to service them.

Instead of allowing our economy to profit from profitable banks, Obama sees them as the enemy. In addition to raising taxes on banks, he wants to punish them for their new profits.

Since he announce his new "plan" to attack our banks, our stock market has cratered. Good job!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bank Tax Idiocy

Simply put, Obama's bank tax is a bad idea. If the banks paid back the TARP money, they should be off the hook. Why punish them for righting their ship?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Brown Wins – I hope

Tomorrow, the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have the opportunity to torpedo ObamaCare. Hopefully, they will get the job done.

Frankly, I am not opposed to some sort of health insurance reform. I am, however, opposed to one party imposing a plan of this magnitude on us without any participating by the other party.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Double Donations to Haiti!

Given the tragedy in Haiti, it is hard not to want to donate something to alleviate their suffering. If you do, make sure you do two things:

  1. Make sure you do not get scammed. I recommend the International Red Cross. That is what they do.
  2. Do not forget to check to see if you employer matches. I forgot about my employer match until they sent me a reminder (GOOD JOB HR!!).

Finally, regardless of your religion, please say a prayer for the suffering souls that they might find peace.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2009 Cash Back Results = $2372

If you are not careful with credit cards, it is very easy to get into trouble. Nevertheless, using credit cards to properly can save money. Looking at our results for 2009, our family collected the following cash rebates in 2009.

  1. Citi Driver's Edge =     $561
  2. GM Card =    1,011
  3. Amex Blue =    450
  4. Fidelity Amex =    350

Total:    $ 2,372

It should be noted that the GM Card earnings were earned a few years ago. So that we did not lose the points, we had to keep the card open. It is now closed.

Currently, we use the Amex Blue for gas and groceries. For everything else, we use the Fidelity Amex if the merchant accepts American Express. For merchants that do not accept Amex, we use the Citi Driver's Edge.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

When did …

DWI become DUI and why? Just wondering?

My $350 Sweepstakes Win

Earlier this week, I found out that I had won a $350 piece of golf equipment in a sweepstakes. What to do?

  • On the one hand, it is a relatively hard to find piece of equipment and I really want to try it. Given its specs, it should fit me perfectly.
  • On the other hand, I am sure that I could get $250+ for it on eBay – New. If I use it and don't like it, I will be lucky to get $150.

Since is it found money, I will probably try it out.

BTW – last month's sweepstakes was worth $3,000. Oh well. I am still a winner.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Splurged on Droid Phone

Yesterday, I splurged and bought my wife a new, Droid phone. Simply put, it is an amazing device. Anyone considering getting one should understand that they are expensive. In addition to the cost of the phone, they charge you extra for data access.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Two Portfolios - Performance

2009 Performance:

  1. IRA:     25.9% gain.
  2. 401k:    43.3% gain

Explanation: For most of 2009, the IRA had a roughly 60/40 allocation to stocks/bonds. In contrast, the 401k was a very small fixed income percentage. Furthermore, our best fund performer for 2009 was the American Funds Europacific Growth Fund.

Bottom line: the risky 401k outperformed the IRA in 2009.

Caveat: Because my 401k has limited fixed income options, I will continue to allocate more fixed income investments to the IRA. Combined, I am shooting for a 75/25 equity/fixed income allocation.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cold Weather Caused by Global Warming!!

I cannot wait for the scientist to try to explain why global warming is causing record low temperatures. Just saying!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

CD’s Join LP’s and 8 Tracks

With the brutally cold weather outside and not much I "have" to accomplish, I am spending the day converting my CD's to MP3's. Once I am done with the project, I am going to give most of them to the public library. Why?

  1. The CD's take up a lot of space;
  2. I never listen to CD's anymore as my iPod has replaced CD's completely.

Sorry Compact Discs, you are going the way of the LP and the 8 track tape. It was nice knowing you.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sallie Mae – Worst Service in America

Once again, the morons at Sallie Mae have messed up my wife's account. Because they required two payments, we sent them. Unfortunately, they keep misallocating the payments and charging is "Late Fees" despite the fact they have the money.

Each time they mess up, I spend an hour on the phone clearing things up.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Amazon Subscription Savings

Once again, Amazon saved me a couple of dollars. Looking to subscript to a magazine, I used google to discover Amazon had a 1 year subscription for 15% off what the publisher offered.