The Katana: Help Haiti If You Can 1/17

So far over $7 million has been raised to help Haiti by just texting the word “HAITI” to 90999.  You’ll get a confirm receipt from your mobile carrier once sent.  Please consider donating!

This week on Financial Samurai, we’ll share our thoughts on the latest government rhetoric, highlight a guest post by Flexo, introduce a new fun challenge, and perhaps discuss one of the key things to consider for job seekers.

THE SAMURAI FUND UPDATE: +3.85% vs. S&P 500 +1.88% as of Friday, Jan 15th. 203 basis points of outperform puts us in the Top Tier of all funds.

Stars: Lenar +25%, Toyota +8%, GE 9%, Harmon +7.4%,, Calgon +7%, Big Lots +7%.

Dog Poops: Lumber Liquidators -7%, Berkshire -1.6%, Steris -1.25%, ABM -1%, Monsanto -1%.

Looks like there’s some good demand from new entrants, and investors who want to give us several hundred million more to build new positions!  Contributors, please provide an update on your name in the TSF page above, especially if your name is sucking wind.  Will be making room for new names in February.

SAMURAI WEEK IN REVIEW

* People now realize that converting to a ROTH IRA is pretty ridiculous as Kevin M reminds us that the first $18,700 (equivalent to $470,000 in pre-tax funds at 4%) you withdraw from your retirement funds is tax free.  Meanwhile, JoeTaxPayer highlights that if you retire with $2.17 million in today’s dollars, you only have to pay 15% tax!  You’ll have to retire with more than $5 million dollars to average a 25% tax rate, based off a 4% income return.  $5 million is only 50X your $100,000 “average” income.  Always good to dream big for those of you who’ve justified your ROTH IRA contributions.  Joe, you made my day!

* Family seems to be the number one reason why people choose to freeze during the winter, and melt during the summer.  FYI, it is possible to make friends in paradise folks.  It’s also possible for your family to fly out and visit you on the beach.  If you’re miserable, don’t limit yourself!  Just think about how much easier it is to travel now vs. 300 years ago.

* The “Get Financially Naked” book giveaway ends on Saturday, January 23rd.  It’s a great little book for couples who feel they need some help in improving their communication as it relates to finance.  With all our book giveaways, we’d like to share them with those who’d like and need them the most.

* Americans really shouldn’t complain about our finances since we’re wealthier than 99% of the rest of the world.  That said, it’s all relative, and if everybody is wealthy, then it’s really hard to feel special.  The key seems to be to amass your wealth, and move elsewhere!

Keigu,

Sam Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

Follow on Twitter @FinancialSamurai and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

You Are Already Wealthy, Stop Complaining!

The following is a guest post by long time reader and entrepreneur, Investor Junkie!  IJ writes about how we should stop our complaining, and realize we are wealthier than the large majority of the world.

If you live in the United States, you are wealthy beyond what most others dream of. Your salary is 99% higher than of the world population.  Visit areas like India, and Africa, and you’ll see what real poverty looks like. If you moved there, you could live like a king! Don’t believe me?  Visit Global Rich List and plug in your yearly salary.

So what exactly does it mean to be wealthy anyways?  It’s all relative to the environment you live in. What might be considered below the poverty level in the USA ($22,050 for a family of four), might be considered well off when living in say Uganda.  According to the Global Rich List even at the US poverty level, you still make more money than 89% of the world.

If you look at the Wikipedia chart, you will see the USA has the most wealth compared to any other country (including Japan). No other country comes close to the USA.  So while you may not feel wealthy comparative to what you see in the media, you still are better off than 99% of the world population.  In terms of average income,  the USA is only 13th in the world, but we still have more stored wealth than any other country.

Stop complaining that you can’t afford that new Lexus you lust for. Many people around the world don’t even own a car! They get from place to place by bicycle. It’s true you may not live like a rock star, famous actor, or business titan, but you live better than most.

Most people in the United States have:

Book Review & Giveaway: “Your Money Ratios”

your-money-ratiosPublisher: The Penguin Group.  Hard cover. 257-pages. Price: $26.

Author: Charles Farrell, JD., LL.M., investment adviser with Northstar Investment Advisors, in Denver.  He writes the “Retirement Roadmap” column for CBS Moneywatch.

Review: “Your Money Ratios” sings to me!  For someone who loves using ratios such as the 1/10th rule for car buying, and 30/30/3 rule for home buying, I absolutely adore this book.  Charles’ writing style is very balanced and easy to understand.  When it comes to math, many people, including myself fall asleep.  But, if you can just do simple division and multiplcation, this book will keep you on the right path towards financial security.

Charles’ “Unifying Theory of Personal Finance” is his core philosophy that all decisions you make should help move you from being a laborer to being a capitalist.  In other words, make money work for you, and not the other way around.  It’s important that with every single monetary decision you make, you ask yourself will this help you become a capitalist or not.

Capital To Income Ratio

The Samurai Fund – All Hands On Deck!

Searching For Fortune On The Fund’s Yacht

With great pleasure, I announce the launch of The Samurai Fund!

Thesis: Through random selection based solely off permutations of reader’s names (personal or site title), we are able to create a long-only mutual fund that will outperform the S&P 500 index!

Fund Details: $1,672,003 billion launch, $100/share NAV, with 17 positions equally weighted.  Concentrated multi-strategy portfolio with defensive names in the alcohol and utility space, as well as higher beta names in technology and health sciences.  Small caps and large cap names included.  S&P 500 start value 1,115 benchmark.

Investment Outlook 2010: The stock market continues to rebound, but at a slower pace.  Inflation and interest rates remain benign, leading to a re-emergence of consumer spending.  Housing stabilizes with 30-year mortgage rates staying below 6.5%.  The government maintains record spending to stimulate the economy and the unemployment rate begins to fall in the second half of the year.  The S&P 500 increases by 10-15% with a blue-sky target of 1,322.

Duration & Rules: One year.  The bottom 3 performers will be up for review every quarter. To stay in the fund, one must write a convincing argument as to why we should not cut our losses.  Picks down more than 20% also will be re-evaluated.

Goals: To have fun, learn something about the stock markets, prove a theory that luck plays a big part in performance, and to build better relationships with the community.

Contributors: Please retweet and spread the word to any of the social media sharing sites below.  We need all the support we can get to outperform the professionals!  Contributors are encouraged to provide updates and commentary as the months progress.  If anybody wants to do a portfolio analysis below, please feel free to do so!

*** STOCK PICKS SUMMARY WITH CONTRIBUTORS ***

Samurai Predictions And Resolutions For 2010

It’s amazing how quickly time goes by.  Usually, I get nostalgic this time of year, reminiscing about all the memories over the last 12 months.  Not this year.  Let us remember that we went through an economic blitzkrieg in 2009, and I am so glad it’s over!

The one thing I am really hopeful for is a rebound in employment. Over the past 3 months, I’ve encountered so many positive job data points in my industry from friends and acquaintances on the job front, I’m absolutely hopeful those who are seeking jobs, or better opportunities will find them in 2010.  Companies always over fire during downturns, and therefore have to scramble to rehire in this upturn. Below are five more predictions you don’t even have to think won’t come true!

FIVE PREDICTIONS THAT MOST CERTAINLY WILL COME TRUE