Things Totally Worth Splurging Money On

It’s good to be frugal by nature.  You will likely never get into financial trouble as a result.  You will always be able to appreciate things since you’re never buying the best and most expensive stuff.  Sometimes, however, it’s good to splurge.

You’ve already read “‘No Point Making Money If You Don’t Spend Your Money“, and I’m sure many of you agree.  We work so hard every day for our money, and to just hoard all of it in a bank account is such a crying shame.  There is no dearth of ways to make money, so we are actually much more afraid of running out of money than reality.

Time and time again, I see people who’ve been let go find jobs and security again.  I’ve seen people invest their life savings in a project, only to lose it all.  But, they are still alive and finding ways to live fulfilling lives again.

I get a sense we’re now too cautious with our money.  We’ve been permanently scarred by the multiple evaporations of wealth over the past 15 years that we’d rather not spend on some of the most important things that give us happiness and comfort.  Look at wealth indicators now vs. 2008.  It’s taken 3 years, but on average, we’ve all breached our 2007 highs and some of us, by a lot.  This is important since I can’t imagine us going through such a massive downturn like that again, at least for the next 10 years.  In the meantime, don’t be afraid to spend your money on things you cherish, like a $1,000 doggie stroller for your beloved Chow Chow named “Bear”!


Hunting For The Best CD Rates

Once a week I go yield hunting.  I’m always looking for the best rates possible for my cash because I know that if I save X amount with a Y percentage yield, I’ll eventually reach my magical yearly cash flow number which will allow me to retire early if desired.

To get to your magical retirement number quicker, you can either save more or look for better returns.  Currently 80% of my cash hoard is locked up in 5-7 year CD’s yielding on average 4%.  The “problem” I currently have is that every year I work, is another year’s worth of savings I have to figure out what to do with it.

As you can see from my nifty CD banner to the right, I don’t have to look very far at all to keep track of what the best CD rates are in the entire country.  The widget keeps track of all the rates for me and for all of you who visit this site regularly.  I clicked on a Capital One 3% CD to see what it’s all about, and discovered it’s a 10-year CD! Doh….


The Average 401k Balance And Why It’s Too Low

Beef Wellington Medium Rare 401KAccording to Fidelity, one of the largest 401k providers in the world with over 12 million accounts, the average 401k balance is now around $91,800 as of 5/1/2015. Among employees participating in a 401k for at least 10 years, the average balance hit $251,600, up 12% from a year ago. Separately, in March of 2014, Vanguard reported that the average 401k balance has now shot up to $101,650. For workers 55 years of age or older, the average balance is $143,300.

In seven not so short years, we’ve finally breached the peak average balance of $69,000 in 2007 and are now at record highs in 2015. It’s not so hard to believe since the Dow Jones and S&P 500 are also at record highs. At the depths of the crisis in 2008, the average 401k balance plummeted 25% to around $50,000.

401k participation levels hover at a respectable 71% for those making $40,000-$60,000 a year. Participating levels are therefore clearly much higher for those making more, but the exact number is unclear. For those making $20,000 to $40,000 a year, the participation level drops to just 53%, which is understandable.

Let’s say the average age surveyed is between 30-35, you can now see how absolutely pathetic these balances are if you are actually depending on your 401K to retire. You need to have the mindset of always maxing out your 401(k) every single year while saving at least 20% of your income after full contribution. There really is no other guaranteed way to retire comfortably if you aren’t saving a good amount. The power is all in your hands!


The State of the Timeshare Industry

Timeshare Industry PropertyTimeshares are often thought of as very luxurious and accommodating vacations that can even end up costing you less than traditional hotel vacations. Despite how wonderful these extremely luxurious vacations are, due to the recent recession many timeshare owners are in need of a way out of their timeshares.

Because of this huge demand from existing timeshare owners to sell their timeshares, a few troubling problems have surfaced. The main problem is that with all of this supply of used timeshares there is little to no demand to purchase a used timeshare on the resale market. This has resulted in many timeshares being listed on popular e-commerce sites such as eBay and Amazon for as little as $1. These listings are basically a last ditch effort to get out of the timeshare contract.


Why Did Oil Collapse And How Low Will Gas Prices Go?

Finally, oil has gotten crushed in 2015! We haven’t seen this large of a decline in oil in years as momentum speculators rushed out like someone discovering their date looks nothing like their picture. Nobody would have guessed oil prices would have declined by 50% over the past 10 months.

Oil Price Collapse In 2014 And 2015

Let’s try and understand WHY oil prices collapsed so much when global economies are largely recovering.


Should I Invest In CDs And Other Questions To Ask Before You Do

For my cash asset class, I pretty much dumped all my money into long term CDs. My net worth is divided almost equally into stocks, bonds, cash, and real estate. I didn’t plan for it to be this way, it just happened and I don’t mind one bit. I love real estate the most because I like having a real asset which is tangible, produces income, and provides a hedge against inflation. My second favorite asset class is cash.

Cash is the only true means of passive income generation. I literally don’t have to do anything for the interest income earned after I decide on a CD. It just compounds and automatically renews to another similar duration CD after the initial period is over. My goal is to generate five figures a month in interest income from my CDs by the time I retire.


Online Poker Crackdown Is Good News

If you haven’t heard, our broke government wants to get its hands on the online poker industry’s potentially US$6 billion dollar annual revenue pie.  They’ve frozen bank accounts linked with Full Tilt Poker, Poker Stars, and Absolute Poker and have indicted 11 founding executives of the companies.  All totaled, the government wants US$3 billion in fines and restitution!

As you may know, I enjoy the game of poker.  I don’t think it’s gambling because you are playing against opponents, not the house.  This is the crux of the argument as to why the online poker industry should live or die.  The government thinks poker is gambling, but online poker executives obviously think otherwise.

If poker was gambling, why is it that we always see familiar faces win big tournaments.  Names such as Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson and John Juwanda are everywhere!  You only win 49% of the time in gambling, but these guys win much more, that’s why they are so wealthy.  One interesting thing Phil Hellmuth told me at a charity event last year is that Full Tilt Poker player/shareholder Phil Ivey makes some US$2 million a month from his site!