jenk: Faye (Money)
Not yet convinced that failure is baked into the voluntary, self-directed, commercially run retirement plans system? Consider what would have to happen for it to work for you. First, figure out when you and your spouse will be laid off or be too sick to work. Second, figure out when you will die. Third, understand that you need to save 7 percent of every dollar you earn. (Didn’t start doing that when you were 25 and you are 55 now? Just save 30 percent of every dollar.) Fourth, earn at least 3 percent above inflation on your investments, every year. (Easy. Just find the best funds for the lowest price and have them optimally allocated.) Fifth, do not withdraw any funds when you lose your job, have a health problem, get divorced, buy a house or send a kid to college. Sixth, time your retirement account withdrawals so the last cent is spent the day you die.

As we all know, these abilities are not common for our species.
— from "Our Ridiculous Approach to Retirement" by Teresa Ghilarducci. There's also a special section on retirement.

I've mentioned my parents weren't the world's best money managers, my father in particular. I was vastly relieved to find that his pension, like his social security, had no lump-sum option and could not spent at once ... which is part of why he still HAD it, despite his drinking, spending sprees and eventual dementia. If my folks had had to save for themselves they would've been left with just social security.

I'm light-years ahead of my folks, but there's still plenty that could derail retirement savings. I have friends who've had to cash out their 401(k) due to unemployment or illness. And yes, not everyone lives long enough to retire. But it'd be nice to have the option.


Jun. 1st, 2010 09:20 pm
jenk: Faye (Money)
  • 13:41 from @lizweston and @KathyKristof: 10 charity rip-offs.
Copied via LoudTwitter :)
jenk: Faye (jen43)
The average middle class person alive today has more goodies than the kings and queens of times past. In fact, even during this time of economic retrenchment, most of us have a higher standard of living than 99 percent of all the humans who've ever walked the planet. In pointing this out, I don't mean to discount the suffering of those who've lost their jobs and homes. But I think it's helpful to keep our collective deprivations in perspective. Similarly, I like to remember that no matter how much our personal trials may test us, they are more bearable than, say, the tribulations of the generation that lived through the Great Depression and World War II. Keep this in mind, Sagittarius. As you wander in the limbo between the end of one chapter of your life story and the beginning of the next chapter, it'll really help to stay conscious of how blessed you are. Halloween costume suggestion: a saint tending to the needs of the dispossessed and underprivileged.

Free Will Astrology
jenk: Faye (Food-Kaylee)
From Raymond's blog:
This week is Share Our Strength's Great American Dine Out. Dine out at a participating restaurant and support efforts to help children at risk of hunger in the United States.

There are participating restaurants in the Seattle area. Didn't check other parts of the US.

[curmudgeon] Of course you could also donate directly to the charity. Donating less money than you'd spend in a restaurant could end up being more for the charity, depending. [/curmudgeon]
jenk: Faye (Default)
The Michael Jackson auction? Yeah, that auction. I figured it was over-the-top, I figured there was huge amounts of stuff that had no earthly purpose, I figured Hard Rock would buy stuff.

Then I saw this post. What blew my mind? Was:

Just think about this for a minute. Maybe you've written a poem lately. (I know several folks on my flist have written poems that are better than this one.)

But... would you commission your poem to be made into a faux-antique book of cast stone or resin or whatever-the-hell-that is? Just to have in your house?

a few more examples, cut to save your sanity )

I know we all have the things we consider essential that others don't, but ... dude.


Feb. 24th, 2009 11:10 pm
jenk: Faye (eyes)

Automatically copied from via LoudTwitter cause it's easy :)
jenk: Faye (knowing)
I wonder if the persons who broke down the doors at a Wal-Mart and trampled employees - including a 34-year-old man who died of his injuries - consider themselves murderers?

The NY Times quotes Detective Lt. Michael Fleming, who is in charge of the investigation for the Nassau police, as saying: “I’ve heard other people call this an accident, but it is not,” he said. “Certainly it was a foreseeable act.”

I think that's well said.

There are times when I think the Puritans weren't completely wrong in banning Christmas celebrations as unChristian.
jenk: Faye (Money)
Another fairly US-Centric poll!

[Poll #1304215]

(Inspired by Get Rich Slowly. Though I'm not sure what he means by "inspired by the spirit of the season". Does he mean the yam sham? Or the season of death? ;)
jenk: Faye (ComputerAnger)
Good God why on earth....

[Oregon's Janella Spears] fell victim to the "Nigerian scam," which is familiar to almost anyone who has ever had an e-mail account.
When Spears began to doubt the scam, she got letters from the President of Nigeria, FBI Director Mueller, and President Bush. Terrorists could get the money if she did not help, Bush’s letter said. Spears continued to send funds. All the letters were fake, of course.

She wiped out her husband’s retirement account, mortgaged the house and took a lien out on the family car. Both were already paid for.KATU

How the what the who? I know everyone wants something for nothing, but oy oy oy.

I do note they started by asking for $100. I guess I could kind of see taking a risk on $100, when it's supposed to be to help get an inheritance from a long-lost grandfather.

And each successive payment would up the ante and make her feel more committed. But still....

For more than two years, Spears sent tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Everyone she knew, including law enforcement officials, her family and bank officials, told her to stop, that it was all a scam. She persisted.

Spears said she kept sending money because the scammers kept telling her that the next payment would be the last one, that the big money was inbound. Spears said she became obsessed with getting paid.KATU

See also: Sunk Cost Fallacy: Once you've paid, you feel that walking away would be "wasting" the money.

Thing is, though, if you can't get the money back? You can't get the money back. The money is gone regardless.
jenk: Faye (Money)
I got some chuckles from this article over things like...

When Best Buy announced its latest sales figures last month, the company reported “an unprecedented drop in consumer buying of items like flat-screen televisions,” said Ori Brafman, a business expert and an author [...] “But when Wal-Mart released its report last week, there was a surprise. Consumers had increased their flat-screen purchases.....

Then there's “people signing up for discount stores that sell in bulk and over-purchasing ‘bargains’ that are so enormous they will not live long enough to use the item,” and:
Last month, Terence Lance Buckley, a Manhattan public relations executive, spent $400 at on an electric fireplace, hoping to keep his thermostat off this winter. Mr. Buckley had just moved, and the rent on his new apartment includes electricity but not gas. He now has a beautiful fake fireplace and mantel, but the thing gives off barely enough heat to warm his hands. “Now I’m cranking up the thermostat to stay warm,” he said, “leading me to believe that my brilliant budget plan to save money on heating costs was a waste of $400, money that I could have put towards holiday gifts.”
jenk: Faye (Money)
...that I haven't read any of John Bogle's books. But I have the majority of my investments at the mutual fund company he founded, Vanguard. (So does he.) And I liked this interview with him in The New York Times.

He is armed with statistics showing that a vast majority of investors — including most professional investment managers — should not even bother trying to pick individual stocks. They are just not very good at it, he says. Better to invest in the broad market through index funds with low costs, allowing the shareholders, and not the investment managers, to profit when times are good. [...]

Yet for simple, straightforward reasons, he says that this is a very good time to put money into stocks — not for short-term trades, mind you, but as part of a diversified portfolio that you hold for many years.

He goes on to recommend holding bonds as well as stocks, both through low-cost index funds (rather like what I have) and to make the overall % of bonds roughly equal to your age.

His own holdings are invested entirely in Vanguard funds, in what he says is “probably” a 75 percent bond, 25 percent stock allocation — roughly in keeping with his age-based formula.

“I don’t really know the exact allocation,” he said last week in another interview. “I don’t check the portfolio more than once a year. It had been 70-30 bond to stock, but the stock market has been so bad lately, and the bond market has been pretty good, so the markets have rebalanced the portfolio for me. Of course, like any investor over the last year, I wish the portfolio had been even more conservative, but so it goes.”


Oct. 15th, 2008 01:05 pm
jenk: Faye (Grey-HairedCrone)
I've heard of keeping some cash on hand, but $140,000US seems extreme.

At least, that's what the Chair of Tyson Foods had in his house when his teenager daughter threw a party.

Guess what happened?
jenk: Faye (Money)
[ profile] vixyish should read today's Two Lumps. Nao.

Regarding the rich/middle/poor continuum, puts my personal income in the top 1% of income for the world's population. For contrast, I'm in the bottom 90% of US personal income....

Oh, and did you see the Obama tax-cut site? It shows how your taxes would be cut under Obama's plan vs McCain's if you earn under 250K/yr. If you tell it you earn more than $250K a year, it displays:

Of course, as The Washington Post displays, McCain's plan would offer tax cuts to all earners. Obama's plan also raises taxes on those earning above 600K/yr.
jenk: Faye (Default)
"Moms of kids who are embarrassed that the moms have a Facebook"

How much vitamin B12 is enough? What happens if you don't get it? This naturally caught my eye because I don't absorb enough from food. ([ profile] dianthus also spotted that using antacids or Prilosec regularly can decrease your B12 absorption too.)

This article on affluent teenagers coping with sudden frugality has it's funny moments (used clothing is "gross" because other people have worn them? Perhaps the child needs to be introduced to a washing machine?) but it also has its interesting parts, such as when a parent decided to show her teenagers the monthly bills: "The teenagers were stunned. When her son saw the mortgage bill he thought it was an annual payment."

Also relating to personal finance is an interesting post about what it means to be rich from JD at Get Rich Slowly.
“How does it feel to be rich?” [his accountant asked]. “Has it changed you?”

“What do you mean?” I said. “I’m not rich.”

But then I paused and thought about it. “Oh,” I said. “Maybe I am.”
The truth is, I live in a nicer home than my parents ever owned. I’ve saved more money than they ever saved. I earn more money than most people earn. I have more Stuff than I’ll ever need.

Note, he's not independently wealthy. Income is necessary to maintain. But he's got a cushion to see him through emergencies and he's saving for retirement. Is that rich, poor, or middle?
jenk: Faye (RainInSeattle)
Regarding Washington state's lack of income tax, it does seem wonderfully subversive that money I put in savings or investments does not get taxed by the state.* It feeds my subversive soul that buying a cheaper house results in a lesser property tax, or that buying a cheaper TV/car/jacket (or not buying a new widget in the first place!) reduces the sales tax I pay.

But it means that state tax revenue swings wildly with the economy. And it's less progressive than an income tax.

*Where state=Washington state not "the state" or government in general. Money I put into my 401(k) gets taxed less by the feds *and* not at all by the state. Whee :)
jenk: Faye (Default)
I am surprised, but not upset.
The vote against the measure was 228 to 205, with 133 Republicans joining 95 Democrats in opposition. The bill was backed by 140 Democrats and 65 Republicans.
Opponents said the bill was cobbled together in too much haste and might amount to throwing good money from taxpayers after bad investments from Wall Street gamblers.

Immediately after the vote, many House members appeared stunned. [...]

Members of both parties, doing a quick political post-mortem, said those who voted no had encountered too much hostility for the bill among their constituents, and were worried that a vote in favor would be political suicide. - NY Times
Vote info is here (uses flash)


How this (doesn't) affect my investments )
jenk: Faye (Money)
Adapted from a quiz at Get Rich Slowly that was based on The Millionaire Next Door.

[Poll #1266859]

(I put the answers in the first comment. For contrast, Get Rich Slowly's answers are here - note I substituted a few questions from the first chapter of the book.)
jenk: Faye (Money)
Most of the last 2 weeks I've been laughing at Cathy and nodding with her parents (well, except for the "use one sink of soapy water all day" - ew!) Today I actually think Cathy's got a point. :)

(Besides, with a french press, you can just make what you need. Smarter all around.)
jenk: Faye (Money)
From an interesting article on spending came this "what the what?" moment:

"Duncan Simester, a professor of marketing at M.I.T.’s Sloan School of Management, conducted experiments asking people to bid on certain items. Those in one group were told they could use only cash as payment — with access to an A.T.M. — while a second group could use their credit cards to pay. It turns out that the participants in the latter group bid significantly higher than those limited to cash."

The implication in the article is that plastic didn't seem real and cash does. Um, how about the fact that ATMs limit how much you can withdraw in a day to much less than my credit card limit? Or that if you've already withdrawn the limit you're stuck with what's in your pocket?

It could also be that cash (in the form of ATM limit+what's in the wallet) forms a practical spending limit, not just a budget one's decided on but could reconsider. "Not having any more money to spend" is a harder thing to argue with than "I don't want to spend that much."

Maybe they started bidding at a dollar, maybe they were bidding at low amounts, and so on. Maybe withdrawal limits weren't a factor. But it seemed weird to me.

(I do agree with the cautions on debit cards, and that thinking in terms of "I would have to work X hours to buy this shiny" can be useful....)


jenk: Faye (Default)

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