Fortunes, Fortunes, Everywhere!

Back in 2002, the Oakland longshoremen went on strike because they were against new technology which could cut their jobs.  The issue was quite contentious, and it was a matter of “national security” the union get back to work according to many politicians.  What I remember most clearly, however, were salary figures that just boggled my mind.

According to widely spread documentation at the time, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) required their longshoremen to work no longer than 35 hours a week.  Furthermore, it was cited that the average income for an Oakland longshoreman was between $100,000-$120,000, with many senior employees earning $160,-190,000.  When I read the news, it was about 8pm and I had been in the office since 5:45am.  For that one day, I dreamt I was a longshoreman.

HOW DOES MAKING $229,000 A YEAR SOUND, RETIRED?

Mea Culpa – I Just Spent $1,450 At The Apple Store

The Apple IIc!

The Apple IIc!

Despite making a promise on August 31st to buy nothing this September, I broke down and bought a 13-inch Apple Macbook Pro yesterday.  You see, I was tempted by two things.  1) Apple’s promotion of getting a free $230 i-Touch with every notebook purchase, and 2) Steve Jobs is back in  San Francisco this week to address new product launches!

EXCUSES

  • I have been looking for a new laptop for two years now given my current 12″ i-Book is a hand me down from my wife.   It’s got only 512megs of RAM, a 20 gig hard drive, a sticky space bar, and is slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter!
  • My wife, on the otherhand, has a shiny 1-year old Macbook I bought her for Christmas.  Clearly, I am a little bit envious.
  • I walked down aisle 7 at Walgreens and a Loreal shampoo bottle told me, “Because you’re worth it!”
  • Nobody really buys me anything for my birthday and the holidays except for my wife.  I take it back.  My mom got me a nifty plastic cube with a clam in it last winter.  I think she found it in an old cubbard.  So who’s going to buy me anything?  Cue the violins!
  • Furthermore, $1,450 really isn’t $1,450 once I get my $230 rebate in the mail for my i-Touch.  I can then sell the darn thing on Craigslist for $199 and bring my total outlay down to $1,051!
  • Besides, how am I supposed to be a prolific personal finance writer on such old equipment anyway?  I can barely do any editing on my 12-inch screen.  Oh, the justifications of spending come spouting out now, and I can’t help it.

Revenge of The Nerds: Golf & Tennis Are #1!

According to Harris Interactive,  the most popular male athlete in America is Tiger Woods, and the most popular female athlete is Serena Williams.  This got me thinking…. hmmmm, America is absolutely obsessed with football, baseball, and basketball and yet golf and tennis are #1!  Since High School, the stereotype has always been that nerds played golf and tennis, and jocks played the other sports.  So, what’s up with this latest poll?

The Financial Samurai theory:

* Whoever controls the most amount of money is the most influential, and therefore, the most popular.   The reason why Tiger Woods makes $100 million a year is because he generates billions in incremental revenue.  Since nerds by definition get better grades,  they may go to better schools  and get better paying jobs.  Therefore, their chances of making more money increases.  More nerds play golf and tennis, and therefore spend more on those sports.

Michael Vick Suits Up

“Michael Vick – A Second Chance Or No?”

When Michael Vick was convicted of animal cruelty a couple years ago, he lost everything. Particularly painful was his $135 million multi-year guarantee contract from the Atlanta Falcons. Probably even more painful was the shame he felt and the 18 month experience in the slammer. He’s now free and signed with the Eagles for $1.6 million this season, with a potential to make $5mil next year if the Eagles choose to keep him. The question on many sports fans and animal lovers minds is: Should Michael Vick be given a second chance?
The question really has two parts. Should Michael Vick be given a second chance in the NFL? And should Michael Vick be given a second chance at life? After some thought, and seeing his latest appearance on 60 Minutes, I’m leaning towards acceptance and forgiveness.

Forgoing A $50 Million Fortune For The Love of Football!?!

For a guy who doesn’t work anymore, my favorite part of the year begins soon.  In just a few moments, college football starts and many a Saturday will be wasted with guys and some girls zoned in front of their TVs or at their favorite bars rooting like crazies!

Surprise, surprise, the Florida Gators are the most favored #1 pre-season pick in history due to the return of Tim Tebow and an enormous core of returning starters.  You’d think that winning the Heisman and two National Championships are good enough, not to mention the millions waiting, but not for Timmy. Rounding out the Top 10 include:  #2 Texas, #3 Oklahoma, #4 Southern California, #5 Alabama, #6 Ohio State, #7 Virginia Tech,  Mississippi, #9 Penn State and Oklahoma State also tied at #9.

It’s good to see the Pac 10 get SOME love, with California coming in at #12, Oregon at #16, and Oregon State scratching in at #25 or #26.  After all, the Pac 10 conference is the only one to boast an undefeated 5-0 bowl record in 2008-09.  This compares favorably with the ACC’s record of 4-6, MAC at 0-5, and The Big 10 at 1-7!  But none of the experts care. The Pac 10 will always be underrated because the weather is too nice out here.

Let’s forget the ranking injustices for now, and focus on the monetary aspect at hand!

What Do Retirees Age 65-75 Do Compared To The Rest?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics & USNWR comes out with an interesting survey that seeks to find out what retirees age 65 to 75 do all day compared to the working and younger population. Apparently, not much more! More sleep, leisure sports, TV, and household activities and less work (duh) accounts for the biggest differences, a whopping 3 hrs!

In other words, whether you’re working or not, your life doesn’t change much except for the fact you don’t have to set the alarm clock anymore, and you get to watch almost 2 hours more of “Lost” and “24”! Got to love statistics. This average retirement sounds very boring, but then again by definition, average is boring!

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.