Love Your Colleagues Thirty Minutes A Week

Everyday, we are inundated with e-mails. I personally get over 300 a day, and other colleagues I’ve heard get 500.  Despite many of the e-mails being largely irrelevant, or impersonal given the blast distribution trend, it’s worth responding every once in a while with a “Thank You” and a recognition of what they’ve sent.

Most of the time all the emailer wants is for someone to respond and recognize their work.  How many times have you proceeded to review your e-mail AFTER you sent it, just so you can relish in what you’ve said?  Yesterday, I spent about 30 minutes consciously responding to about 12 e-mails which I normally wouldn’t have responded to, and it felt good.  Furthermore, I sent out another quick 22 e-mails of congratulation for those who got promoted to celebrate their success.  All replied, and were extremely appreciative.

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.

Grab Bag Friday: Alligator Arms


QUESTION: Tim, a reader sends in an e-mail asking, “Sam, I have a friend who is notoriously cheap. Whenever we go out to eat with a group he disappears to the bathroom when the bill comes. Whenever we go out drinking, everybody buys a round of drinks except for him. What should I do? The last bill came out to $100 each from $70 because he and his wife disappeared! And why is it that every time we go out with clients together he never volunteers to put his corporate card out? He drives an expensive car, and always has expensive threads so why am I always stuck with the bill? It’s so frustrating!”

RESPONSE: Well Tim, I have to say that your friend is a 100% cheapskate, and you may want to stop inviting him out or doing anymore joint client events together. He is taking advantage of your kindness, and your willingness to let things slide. As far as I’m concerned, you can equate his lack of contribution to stealing. The next time he goes to the bathroom right before the check comes, just simply take your time and wait until he gets back to pay his fair share. Better yet, follow him to the bathroom, shake one out, and return together. He can’t escape!

Be Your Own Venture Capitalist & Build A Broad Portfolio

By the time Baidu, the “Google of China” went public, Venture Capital firm Draper Fisher’s 28% stake was worth over $1 billion dollars by the end of the trading day. Not a bad return considering their likely sub-$50 million investment just years ago! In a world full of strikeouts, it just takes one home run to win a ball game.

The Financial Samurai reader is savvy enough to know that strong work ethnic and good morals are key pieces of the success puzzle. Sometimes you just need to be in the right place at the right time. When Venture Capital firms fund startups, they are looking to take equity stakes in companies in a robust industry, lead by visionaries who can execute towards enormous profit potential. The majority of investments go bust, and the successes often take years and tons of selfless involvement before returns are seen. Eventually, the exit strategy is for their investment to get acquired or IPO.

We have the opportunity to be our very own individual venture capitalists everyday. Many of us may take for granted the people we meet, but not you. After all, all it takes is one billionaire to give you one million dollars before you’re rich right? Receiving an opportunity is what it’s all about. You’re reading this post essentially because like me, you want to be financially independent sooner, rather than later. The ability to be financially independent by 40 is the reason why we work so hard now. If the deadline was 20 years longer, where’s the fun and challenge in that?

Diamond Engagement Rings Bling Bling!

One of my good friends is getting married, and he asked me, “Sam, what on earth am I supposed to get her for an engagement ring?” What a question, that’s not easily answered.  Generally, the right answer is “whatever she wants“!  However, as we all know, sometimes ladies are harder to read than a children’s book in large print!

Before we begin, if any of you single guys out there want to attract the ladies, bust out the turquoise diamond ring guide book from Tiffany’s in any public space. The white book from Cartier will also do. I take the bus to work everyday, and I remember as soon as I took out the book from my bag, every single lady on the bus looked over. Just think, one of the great pick up lines to a staring woman could be, “Excuse me, but my friend asked me for his advice on this particular design (point to book), what do you think?” Clearly, if you use this line, you should not be proposing!

In the spirit of personal finance, let’s discuss some tips for buying an engagement ring.