Michael Vick Suits Up

“Michael Vick – A Second Chance Or No?”

When Michael Vick was convicted of animal cruelty a couple years ago, he lost everything. Particularly painful was his $135 million multi-year guarantee contract from the Atlanta Falcons. Probably even more painful was the shame he felt and the 18 month experience in the slammer. He’s now free and signed with the Eagles for $1.6 million this season, with a potential to make $5mil next year if the Eagles choose to keep him. The question on many sports fans and animal lovers minds is: Should Michael Vick be given a second chance?
The question really has two parts. Should Michael Vick be given a second chance in the NFL? And should Michael Vick be given a second chance at life? After some thought, and seeing his latest appearance on 60 Minutes, I’m leaning towards acceptance and forgiveness.

Does Bernie Madoff Win In The End?

There are press reports that Bernie Madoff has cancer and doesn’t have many years left to live.  If this is the case, does Bernie win in the end?  For decades, Bernie has been pilfering his clients for millions, and living far beyond his wildest dreams.

Let’s say that through an honest living, he could have made $50 million over the past 30 years of work.  However, through his devious ways, he makes $450 million more.  Even though he’s in jail now, and spends 5 years before he dies at age 76, doesn’t he come out ahead despite getting the book thrown at him?

Forgoing A $50 Million Fortune For The Love of Football!?!

For a guy who doesn’t work anymore, my favorite part of the year begins soon.  In just a few moments, college football starts and many a Saturday will be wasted with guys and some girls zoned in front of their TVs or at their favorite bars rooting like crazies!

Surprise, surprise, the Florida Gators are the most favored #1 pre-season pick in history due to the return of Tim Tebow and an enormous core of returning starters.  You’d think that winning the Heisman and two National Championships are good enough, not to mention the millions waiting, but not for Timmy. Rounding out the Top 10 include:  #2 Texas, #3 Oklahoma, #4 Southern California, #5 Alabama, #6 Ohio State, #7 Virginia Tech,  Mississippi, #9 Penn State and Oklahoma State also tied at #9.

It’s good to see the Pac 10 get SOME love, with California coming in at #12, Oregon at #16, and Oregon State scratching in at #25 or #26.  After all, the Pac 10 conference is the only one to boast an undefeated 5-0 bowl record in 2008-09.  This compares favorably with the ACC’s record of 4-6, MAC at 0-5, and The Big 10 at 1-7!  But none of the experts care. The Pac 10 will always be underrated because the weather is too nice out here.

Let’s forget the ranking injustices for now, and focus on the monetary aspect at hand!

Note To Self: Buy More Rental Property!

If there’s one thing I know I will regret 15 years from now, it’s not buying property over the next 12 months.  Last Friday’s 7.6% YoY jump in existing home sales was a big shocker that helped propel the stock market to new highs.  What’s exciting though, is that the property markets have lagged, creating what I think is a golden opportunity to pick up some rentals for one’s retirement.

If you look around the world, from the UK to Hong Kong, property prices have rebounded double digits this year. Yet, the US is slowly but surely coming out of price declines largely because of still massive consumer debt overhang.  Volume growth generally always supersedes price growth.  Who knows exactly when the property market will bottom, but what we do know is how to calculate simple math to make proper purchasing decisions.

Everybody’s A Financial Genius!

Over at one of my favorite blogs, “Get Rich Slowly”, site owner JD writes how he successfully invested more money in the stock market earlier this year.  He wasn’t bragging, he was just stating a fact.  JD is very influential, especially given he has 68,000 subscribers!

What’s interesting to note is the commentary that follows his entry.  There are about 125 posts so far on the topic today alone.  Not bad, considering the 75% commentary range is between 60-90.  After reading every single comment here at home, it surprises me that over 80% of the readers have outperformed the S&P drastically and have made a lot of money.  80% compares favorably to studies which show that only 6% of active fund managers outperformed the S&P 500 over the last five years!

In one of the greatest stock market turmoils in our lifetimes, apparently the majority at GRS didn’t lose much money, didn’t capitulate at the bottom, and made some timely investments earlier this year to ride the rocket ship!  

You’re Not Going Clubbing! Interview Attire 101

Nice threadsOver at “Laid Off And Looking”, one of the bloggers posts about the “Perils of Interview Attire.” He received positive feedback about his skills, but a middle manager told him after his second round that he was concerned about his attire.  “Too inappropriate, and casual” John was told.  When he dressed up in a suit for the final round, the CEO then mentioned to “never wear a tie to an interview at a startup!” Safe to say, John didn’t get the job.  So what gives?

Honestly, it amazes me how clueless John is after 12 years in the work force.  If you are interviewing at a start up, there’s no business looking like a penguin in the tropics.  And if you are interviewing at a law firm, you better not think a polo shirt and khakis is appropriate.

The rules of dress attire are very simple:

30 Minutes At Starbucks

So here I am at Starbucks, testing to see if being here among the bustle of loungers helps gives me writing inspiration.  They say it’s good to get out of the house once in a while to recharge the soul.  I take the first seat that’s available, and what do I notice?  Hanging on the side of the chair, hidden behind the backrest is a white purse.  I look around wondering if someone had dared claim their space with something so valuable.  Several minutes past, and I thought to myself definitely not.  A poor woman must be frantically back-tracking where she could have misplaced her purse.  Eventually she would return, or will she?

As I waited, I felt like a culprit.  I didn’t want to take the purse and give it to the front counter.  For what if in that instant, the woman popped into the store and saw me?  I’d be implicated as the thief and would have to explain myself.  Maybe she was simply taking a long time in the bathroom after a venti mint mocha frappuccino and had a very large husband to boot?  I was trapped, and felt like I was on candid camera, being tested on what I should do.  The temptation to open the purse and reveal any treasures was not great.

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What Do Retirees Age 65-75 Do Compared To The Rest?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics & USNWR comes out with an interesting survey that seeks to find out what retirees age 65 to 75 do all day compared to the working and younger population. Apparently, not much more! More sleep, leisure sports, TV, and household activities and less work (duh) accounts for the biggest differences, a whopping 3 hrs!

In other words, whether you’re working or not, your life doesn’t change much except for the fact you don’t have to set the alarm clock anymore, and you get to watch almost 2 hours more of “Lost” and “24”! Got to love statistics. This average retirement sounds very boring, but then again by definition, average is boring!

Obama’s Universal Healthcare Proposal

In Sarah’s first online post since quitting her job as Governor of Alaska, she writes that Obama’s Healthcare Plan is “Evil” because of its support for euthanasia. Obama later explains, “Nobody is going to be forcing you to make a set of decisions on end-of-life care based on some bureaucratic law in Washington.” What’s interesting to note is how this story has garnered so much more attention rather than the costs and implementation of Obama’s healthcare plan. I have admittedly not paid attention to this debate, but feel I should. In this post, I attempt to provide a brief understanding of this controversial topic, along with various viewpoints.

THE SKINNY ON UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE:

WHAT IS IT?
* Universal health care is also known as single-payer system, united health care system, or national health care. Universal health care is similar to the current US Medicaid program for low-income folks, and would apply to all citizens of the US regardless of the ability to pay.

WHY HAVE IT?
* Supposedly 50 million or so Americans, or almost 20% of the country’s population is without healthcare. People will argue that it should be the right of every American to have coverage, just like the Canadians and the British.

ADVANTAGES
* With a single Universal Healthcare system, Americans will save money because the new system will slash billions of dollars in administrative costs. Furthermore, 50 million people will have coverage.

DISADVANTAGES
* To provide 50 million more people with free healthcare, someone has got to pay for it. Some don’t believe big government will be able to run the new system as efficiently as the private sector.

With this quick understanding, here are various opinions from real people I’d like to share with you.

Grab Bag Weekend: The Woman I Love Is So Powerful!

Question: A reader shoots me an e-mail and asks, “Sam, how’s it going man? I just found your blog searching for diamond engagement rings and I want to thank you for your “Bling Bling” article. I’m wondering, what size rock do you think I should get for my woman? I ask because she makes literally 5X more than me, and is a Senior Vice President at one of the major retail companies.

She has over 100 people working for her in the marketing department, and I’ve seen her crack the whip on others before, and it’s scary! However, when she’s with me, she’s a completely different person. A jokester, goofy, and SO caring.

I love her to death, and I want to give her the best. But, I’m a middle school teacher, and only make $47,000 a year! I can maybe spend $10,000, but that’s going to be really tight for me, and basically wipe out my savings. We’re both in our mid 30’s and have been dating for over 5 years now. Thoughts?  Thanks! John”

Response: Hi John, thanks for your e-mail inquiry. Welcome to Financial Samurai! First of all, I want to commend you for being a school teacher. The state should be paying you guys the big bucks, and not Andrew Hall from Citigroup his $100,000,000 bonus! There are several ways to answer your question, so let me offer some suggestions. I asked your question to a number of my female friends today as well so I can give you a balanced answer.