The People Asked To Get ROCKED & A Boulder Drops On Their Heads

Feel The Pain And Like It

The Rock Of Gibraltar, Only Backwards

Anybody want to guess what happened on Wed, January 19th right before the market fell off a cliff?  If you guessed Obama delivered a politically charged speech to rally for his own support and crucify others, you’re right!  On Wed, January 19th, Obama went on national TV to tell the world, “we want our money back” and “if they want a fight, a fight is what they’ll get.” The “they” of course, are “greedy rich” people.  The markets immediately started to sell-off and the S&P 500 is now down about 6% since.

Good old fashion class warfare is never good for the economy, neither is continuous political jibber jabber.  Do you ever remember a president being on TV as much as our current president?  The risk of overexposure is very real, and the record low approval rating for any president at this point in his term shows this.  The State of The Union address is supposed to be an opportunity to unify the people.  Besides the typical feel-good rhetoric, what I heard was a continued attack on others, protecting personal interest groups, and maintaining giant silos.

YOU SO CRAFTY NEBRASKA

Someone Always Farts In A Crowd

Everybody was quietly watching the puppet show at the Asian Art Museum when I hear a “boooooooP!” What was that, I think to myself as a stench waffles in the air.  Someone must have farted!  I look around to see if I can identify the culprit.  Then I notice others looking around, with some staring right at me!

“Not me!” I silently voice with my lips as I point towards a kid rolling around on the floor in front of the stage.  “Probably the kid!” I mime again with each crease of my lips extending more exaggerated with every word.

Once the show was over I tap the kid on the shoulder and say, “Hey buddy, you got me in a lot of trouble with the adults.  The bathroom is over there!”

“Sorry sir, I was just farting.  Everybody likes to fart right?” replies the kid with a big, teethy smile.

“You’re right buddy, listen to this one!” KABOOM!  I let one rip right next to him.  We laugh and go on our separate ways.

THE MORAL HAZARD OF AMERICA

An Ambulance Screams By, Do You Feel Happy Or Sad?

There was once a time I felt very sad every time an ambulance zoomed by with sirens blazing.  I knew someone was suffering, and sorrow would fill my heart not only for the injured, but also for the person’s family and friends.  Nothing is permanent, and the ambulance reminds me of this fact every time I hear one.

Over lunch, I was sharing my feelings with a friend, and she changed my mindset.  She mentioned, instead of feeling sad, feel happy. Be happy the ambulance is out there saving someone’s life.  Feel emboldened help is on its way!

My friend was right.  I chose to feel sad about an unchangeable past rather than focus on the good act of trying to make things better.  It was this simple epiphany 12 years ago that changed the way I looked at everything, forever.

Rather than sulk about those personal finances on life-support, why not change the way you see your outlook?  Instead, look at your massive debt, or your crummy income as an opportunity to recover.  The worse you are, the more upside you have!

Keiju,

Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

Someone Has To Give Birth! Why Women Shouldn’t Be Penalized For Being A Mom

Swans And Their Babies

I was at a cocktail party the other night, and after several stiff vodka tonics, a female manager-level friend, “Julia”, began complaining about one of her staff.

She came up to me and said, “Sam, what am i going to do?  Nancy keeps getting pregnant!  She’s having her third child in the past 5 years, and now I’ve got to find cover for her again!” After Julia’s rant, she twirled her way to a slick looking fella at the bar and began chatting him up.

Initially I tried empathizing with Julia, given I do remember the feeling of having to cover for someone when they’re “sick“. But Nancy’s case is different.  After all, someone has to give birth, and after seeing one too many sex ed video’s from the 9th grade with images of globulous placentas seared in my mind, i’m glad it’s not me!  The Europeans would argue a 3 month maternity leave is not long enough given they practice a 6 month healing process.

Julia’s complaint brings us to the great debate:

Is it fair or even true that women are discriminated against and make less money than men on average?

Never Call In Sick On Friday, Slacker!

ferris

Bueller!

There’s nothing more maddening for a manager than getting a last minute e-mail from a subordinate “calling” in sick on a Friday.  At least have the balls to call in and fake a pathetic sick voice!  Sending in an e-mail last minute to say you are sick after partying it up all night is like breaking up with someone over e-mail.

Last minute notifications have managers scrambling to find your backup.  Your jealous colleagues who have to pick up your slack will surely resent you as well.  The next problem is the law of probabilities.  Let me explain.

WHY CALLING SICK ON A FRIDAY IS BAD

* There are seven days a week, meaning there’s a 15% chance (1/7) you’ll get sick on any given day.  Furthermore, what is the percentage chance someone is so sick they can’t even come to work for a day?  I say at most 50%.  Take 15% X 50% and you get 7.5%.  To suddenly be sick on a Friday right before your weekend is therefore an unlikely 7.5% probability!

Get An Umbrella Insurance Policy – Your Teenager Is Going To Bankrupt You

I was driving downtown to drop my wife off at the museum when a car started drifting dangerously into my lane.  I beeped the horn to alert the driver and when I drove by, the teenage kid in the back seat flicked me off!  I didn’t have a long annoying horn, nor a machine gun type rat-ta-tat-tat beep.  All I did was beep once so we wouldn’t collide.  The father was reading a map and driving at the same time.

I have to admit that my blood started to boil and I was tempted to blast him a new one when their car stopped next to me in front of the light.  Instead, I buzzed down my window, stared intently, and told the kid, “Don’t embarrass your parents.  I beeped at you guys because you were halfway in my lane and didn’t even know it.”

The dad was still clueless as to why I was talking to his punk kid and he also rolled down his window to ask, “What’s up?”

Simple Pleasures

I was cleaning up my basement and realized the best things I’ve bought were simple and affordable, and have provided years of entertainment.

Here’s my list:

  • A pair of Hi-tech hiking boots.  Cost: $65.  Age: 5 years.
  • A Cannondale mountain bike.  Cost $250.  Age: 7 years.
  • A Wilson Basketball.  Cost $30.  Age: 4 years.
  • A Martin acoustic guitar.  Cost $350.  Age: 10 years.

The great thing about this list is that pretty much anybody can afford all four or at least one of the four.  How easy it is to strap on a pair of hiking shoes and go for a zen journey into the wilderness. How nice it is to go for a ride down the back roads without a care in the world.  There are community centers all around with indoor gyms, which are especially convenient during the winter months.  Finally, nothing beats strumming that new tune until your fingers go numb.

Maybe it’s true.  The best things in life are free, or close to it! It makes me happy knowing that if I ever had to go back to my old McDonald’s job again, my leisure activities wouldn’t decline as precipitously as my income.

Readers, what are the inexpensive things you like to do?  What are the affordable things you’ve bought that have provided you years of enjoyment?  Have a great weekend!

Best,

RB

Financial Samurai

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.

PlayPlay

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.

Losing Your Way To More Money

At the beginning of every year, I tell myself that I’m going to eat better and exercise more. Yet, every December, I look and weigh exactly the same and get frustrated until the New Year, when the cycle starts anew. My theory on weight is simply that we all have a weight range we fluctuate in, and every 5 years that band increases towards the heavier side! That was my excuse for my lack of improvement.

I used to also think that our weight was 70% hereditary and 30% diet and exercise until I saw the show “The Biggest Loser!” Now I think the ratios are the complete opposite. If you really want to get motivated and cry at the same time, you’ve got to watch the show. The show’s concept is simple. After 3 months of boot camp, whoever loses the most weight wins gobs of money! The results are astonishing. Season 7’s winner, Helen lost an amazing 140lbs from her original 255lbs start weight. Go Helen!

The Biggest Loser show demonstrates that with enough motivation and discipline we can lose a lot of undesired weight. In fact, for 7 seasons in a row each of the winners have lost over 100lbs!

FOOD EXPENSE & GOALS

On average, I spend about $20 a weekday for food and $100 per weekend for a total weekly cost of $200 and a total monthly cost of around $800! I had no idea how much I was spending until I decided to write everything down for two weeks and annualize accordingly. $800 was clearly overkill, especially since it accounts for over 65% of my then, discretionary spending.

When the downturn hit, I decided to do an experiment partly to bring down my food expenses by 30%, and partly because I was inspired by The Biggest Loser, to shed 15lbs and get down to my college fighting weight of 160. At 160 lbs, my
Body Mass Index would be 23 (18.5-24.9 is normal weight) from slightly overweight at 25.5. If Helen can lose 140 pounds, why can’t I lose a lousy 15?!