Cash For Clunkers = Personal Finance BOMB!


The latest development in the “Cash For Clunkers” legislation is that it may be extended for one more month until labor day. Under the program, buyers of new cars and trucks can get rebates of $3,500 to $4,500 by trading in older models that are then scrapped. Seriously though, is this multi-billion dollar government works program just money spent to appease the car lobbyists? Or is the goal really to get old cars off the streets and save the environment? The good thing is that these old cars are getting scrapped. Otherwise, if you trade in your gas guzzling SUV for a Honda Civic, you’ve NET ADDED to the world’s pollution because someone is still driving your old car, and the new Civic still emits waste!

This is what I’ve never understood about the “holier than thou” crowd who buys hybrids like the Prius. It’s great that you are driving an environmentally friendly car, but if you start looking down on non hybrid drivers with disdain, that’s hypocritical. Buying a new Toyota Prius simply adds to pollution if you don’t scrap your old car. The only way you’re going to really make a difference is if you scrap your old car and just take public transportation and ride a bike! Again, I’m absolutely for driving a nice low emissions car, but the fact of the matter is that these cars are expensive. I’m not spending $30,000, and if you look down on someone who can’t afford the $7-10,000 premium for hybrids then shame on you!

Government Employee Entitled to A $100,000,000 Bonus!

Yes, I know I’m being a tad bit facetious here, but not really. After getting US$45 billion in government aid, the US government and we the people of America own roughly 36% of Citigroup. The interesting debate is whether Citigroup employee, Andrew J Hall should be paid his $100 million bonus as described in his contract.

Most initial responses are with a vehement “HELL NO!” Who on earth deserves to get paid that much, people must think. However, what if Andrew Hall was responsible for bringing in $1 billion in revenue? Is it so egregious to pay the man responsible, a 10% cut? After all, $900,000,000 sure does employ and pay for many other Citigroup employee’s salaries! Should Citigroup risk not paying their star, and his team of employees for the overall sake of the firm and shareholders? As one colleague aptly put it, “RB, we live in America not North Korea!”

The Dumpster Of Treasure


A funny thing happened yesterday when my friend and I were waiting for a space in the club parking lot. We were doing some stretches outside when an old man with a bamboo stick over his shoulder and too medium bags at each end came tiptoeing in. Where in the world was he going, we asked ourselves. Our eyes followed him to the back corner of the lot, which extends around and into the club. Like a ninja, he proceed to jump into the big recycling dumpster and start rummaging!

After about 5 minutes, he popped out, and those medium sized bags on each end morphed into bags the size of his own body. This time, he happily walked away and didn’t tiptoe around us. Cool, he’s decided to lessen the dumpster’s load and take some plastic bottles and cans for himself. Maybe the old guy can get some trade in value for his stash, although I can’t imagine very much.

The friendĀ and I are still waiting for a spot 5 minutes later when ANOTHER man with bamboo stick and plastic bags on each end comes marching in. This fella was younger, perhaps in his 30′s and could literally have been the older man’s son. He didn’t do any tiptoeing, he just marched right in and climbed into the dumpster. After about 10 minutes, he threw himself out, and muttered in disgust, “Don’t people recycle anymore?!” and walked away.

What Will August Bring…….


I had lunch today with one of the co-founders of BuzzLogic to catch up on life and discuss the world of online social media. If you don’t know about BuzzLogic, the company is one of Silicon Valley’s great start ups that got into the blogging world early. BuzzLogic developed a unique technological platform and a fantastic premium display ad network that maximizes the returns of advertisers and publishers alike. If you’re an advertiser or publisher, it’s definitely worth a look.

The funny thing is, my friend and I have been playing poker together for the past couple years, and I had no idea what he did. I just assumed everybody was a poker junky and I did my best to blend in, often times trying to beat the lowest denominator on the dress scale with my raggidy sweats and soiled baseball cap. Perhaps they’d have mercy on me given my appearance, or perhaps they’d smell blood and bulldoze me over! Both strategies have their strengths and weaknesses, but after a while, they all figured out I’m one of the tightest players at the table. At any rate, it just goes to show you how small the world is, so be nice to everyone, especially in a big city.

My friend shared with me many great tips for Financial Samurai, one of which I will implement today. At the end of every month, I will produce an“Editorial Calendar” with a theme for the following month. Given that it’s only a matter of time before the unemployment rate breaches 10% nationwide , many of August’s entries will be related to the intricate world of employment. From interview tips, to maximizing your chances of getting your foot in the door, to getting ahead in your career, I’d like to share some of my strategies and experiences, as well as highlight posts from the personal finance community to analyze and discuss. I’m confident that we can collectively help make a difference.

“How High Can Unemployment Go Before We Derail?”


“To MBA Or Not To MBA”


“Do Rich People Try Harder?”

If readers or publishers have great posts they’ve come across, please feel free to e-mail me or put up in the comment section. Have a wonderful weekend everybody and stay frugal!

Keigu,

Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

The Book That Changed My Life And Made Me Rich Again

Back in the last downturn from 2001-2003 I had incredible back pain. I couldn’t sit for very long, and my legs were going numb. Doctors told me I had sciatica, a pinched nerve down my spine that spread to the tips of my toes. Even the process of driving wore me out so I decided to stop driving altogether. One day, my colleague and I were walking towards a restaurant to meet a client and he collapsed. Apparently, he was suffering from the same symptoms I was going through. However, in his case, he had a family to take care of with his newborn child, and he was losing much more than me in the downturn.

I was the junior guy. When rumors came along that our compensation was going to be slashed in half, I hoped out loud that I would outperform since I didn’t make much in the first place. Half of nothing is still nothing I reasoned. When my bonus was slashed in half like everybody else, I was not a happy camper and asked my mentor how pitiful was I? I didn’t complain too loudly due to the rounds of layoffs, but I couldn’t help feeling disappointed.

He explained to me in a funny way I will never forget. He said, “Sam don’t worry. You don’t make much so it doesn’t matter anyways!” He went on to say, “Look at me. I have a big mortgage, a new family to support, got cut in half too and I make A LOT more than you do!” Gee thanks! At the time, I didn’t really appreciate his brutal honesty, but fast forward seven years later, I know exactly what he’s talking about. My mentor’s absolute income likely declined 10X my amount, and he was so stressed out with his newborn child that his fear and anger manifested itself into debilitating back pain.

About two months after his collapse, he told me he was entirely pain free. The markets still weren’t great, and I remember having to fork out $700 bucks for a brand new Herman Miller Aeron chair because I couldn’t sit. He gave me a copy of “Healing Back Pain,” by Dr. Sarno. There was NO WAY after seeing him crumble to the cement pavement that day, and limping around for weeks after that his back pain was healed. I was skeptical that an easy-to-read, 180-page paper back book could do wonders and get him to go out golfing with clients again. None of the massages or chiropractic visits did anything to help my pain so what’s a fluff book going to do for me?