The Katana: Revisiting Our New Year’s Resolutions

The last month of the first quarter is upon us.  Now is as good a time as any to revisit our new year’s resolutions to make sure we’re on track.  I’m on pace to achieve 4 out of 8 so far: 1) meet 36 new people, 2) see the good in others, 3) stay consistent, but not obsessive over this site, and 4) save 50% of my gross income.  Regarding the other four goals, I’m not on pace to make a million bucks, haven’t won any tennis tournaments, nor have I been regularly practicing my acoustic guitar or cooking skills.  Better get cracking!

With 10 months left in the year, it’s time to really ramp up the creative juices and think up some back-end business to help create additional income.  Tennis season is starting up and I plan on doing everything possible to give myself at least a physical edge over the competition.  Finally, from now on at least one hour every weekend will be dedicated to guitar and cooking.

In terms of predictions for 2010 it’s still too early to tell, but 4 of 5 have held up so far: 1) inflation and interest rates remain low with the 10-yr yield still below 4%, 2) the USD dollar has strengthened, 3) the markets have not double dipped, and 4) The Samurai Fund is outperforming the S&P 500 by 2.64% as of Feb 28.  Regarding #5, it’s just a matter of time before Facebook goes public and Twitter gets bought out don’t you think?  We’ll revisit the predictions mid year and see if they still hold true!

Readers, how are you guys doing with your new year’s resolutions?  If you wrote any prediction for 2010, I’d love to see them so feel free to post your links below.


* “Be A Sloth And Don’t ROTH – Why Converting to A ROTH Is A Mistake

* “How To Get Your Super Motivated Boyfriend (SMB) To Marry You

* “Do “C” Students Deserve “A” Lifestyles?”

* “Someone Always Farts In A Crowd – The Moral Hazard Of The World

* “Let Freement Reign! Spending Paralysis, Material Lust and Obsession

* “Where Americans Pay The Most To Live And Why


Sometimes Saving Money Is About Principle

For the past two years I’ve taken the bus to work after driving for 7 years prior.  The company removed our free parking benefits and I wasn’t about to pay $350/month to park in a garage just 5 miles away.

I have a love hate relationship with the bus.  When it’s raining, and I have to stand outside shivering, I hate it.  When the bus skips my stop every so often, I hate it.  When the bus driver slams on the brakes a couple feet away from the stop light and we all go flying, I hate it.  When the bus is packed like sardines, but there are some very attractive riders I need to squeeze next to, well, I guess it’s OK.

My VIP Pass aka monthly bus pass costs $60, while taking a cab to and from work costs $30.  Hence, the cost breakdown is simply $60 for a bus, $350 for parking, and $600 for a cab every month.  Out of principle, I wasn’t going to spend 5-10X more on transportation if I could just ride the bus.


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.


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.


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!


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!



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.


* 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!