Is There Ever A Right Time To Upgrade Your Engagement Ring?

One of my old friends, Peter mentioned the other day that he got engaged.  He’s 37 and she’s 28.  They met about 4 years ago at a bar when he was somewhat inebriated but immediately hit it off.

Peter isn’t exactly the most studly looking guy standing at 5′ 7″ with a belly hanging over his belt, but he’s kind.  They are two months into their engagement and don’t plan to get married until next summer.  All was going well until one night, Peter’s fiance Nancy inquired about when she could upgrade her engagement ring!

YOUNG EXPECTATIONS

When Rich People Call You Cheap

I ran into one of my golfing buddies the other day while waiting for a colleague.  Greg the golfer is an every day fella who so happens to be worth north of $20 million dollars.  I don’t know exactly how much he makes a year, but it’s likely at least $3 million during normal economic times.  He’s a powerful man who deserves everything he earns, but sometimes he’s just vexing.

We got to catching up about the latest gossip on tour when he asked me if I wanted to grab a coffee at Starbucks.  I told him I was good, largely because coffee hurts my stomach, not to mention I’m supposed to be waiting for my colleague at this exact spot and time to attend a meeting.  Greg responds, “Of course not, you are so cheap!” in a snide, but joking sort of way.  Unfortunately, every joke has a meaning, and being called cheap is one of the most annoying things to ever hear.

CAN’T COMPARE

Is It Better To Rent To Males Or Females?

Rent to Olivia Munn or…

Last night I got a written notice in the mail informing me that my tenant of 2.5 years is moving back East!  Can you believe it?  How could he leave paradise to move back home to the sweltering heat of New Jersey?  I will never know. Anyway,  I’m really sad to see him go because he was as close to the ideal tenant as possible.

Ned paid on time, was quiet, held no raging parties, and never bothered me to come fix anything.  OK, so there were several times when he needed an extra week or two to pay rent, but in the end he always delivered.

WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR IN A TENANT AS A 13 YEAR LANDLORD

* Great credit (680 or higher, and the higher the better).

* Not a psycho killer.  You know the ones with crazy eyes when you talk to them.

* Has a stable source of income, which could include interest income if s/he has no job.

* Has enough money in the bank to cover at least 18 months of rent  if they lose their job.

* Good prior landlord references

* Longer than 1 year duration at his or her job.  Longer the better.

* A pleasant demeanor i.e. not an axe murderer.

If a candidate possesses all of the above attributes, I’m more than likely to rent my apartment to them.  It’s really not worth taking a risk on a poor tenant and end up missing out on months of rental income due to non payment, or litigation!  The real question I have is whether it’s better to rent to males or females and whether it matters at all?  Let’s discuss.

WHO MAKES BETTER TENANTS: MALES vs. FEMALES?

As a landlord, all you want is : 1) On time payment, 2) zero complaints, and 3) minimum wear and tear.  In other words, if I could rent to a robot who doesn’t have to move and always sends me a check electronically on time, that would be the best!

1) DEPENDABILITY: It’s pretty much a wash between men and women.  Men are just as flaky as women and women are just as dependable as men, sometimes.  Actually, if I exam all the females I know, they are all pretty damn dependable, whereas some of the guys just tend to be complete flakazoids who are never on time.  OK, women are favored here 60/40.

2) COMPLAINTS: Men pride themselves on being able to unclog the toilet, change light bulbs, fix holes in walls, and pain(t).  Women, not so much.  I’ve heard of stories where women will call their landlord to squash a spider.  Come on now, a spider is like 1/1,000,000 the size of you!  Men get the nod 70/30.

3) WEAR AND TEAR: This is a tough one.  Men tend to enjoy throwing parties with lots of loud music and fountains of alcohol.  Keg parties, strip parties, bachelor parties, birthday parties, shaking hands with Hilary Clinton parties you name it!  Women don’t throw ragers as often as men for some reason.  Furthermore, it is the unmarried woman who tends to sleep over at the boyfriend’s house more often than vice versa.  Hence, there is less wear and tear if you rent to a woman and therefore women are 70/30 favorites.

Bob the friendly dog walker..

CONCLUSION

Based on my three variables, I’m having trouble deciding which is the safer sex to rent to.  Women just seem so much more respectable and less violent.  How many serial killers do you know are women?  In the movie “Pacific Heights”, Michael Keaton was a man and not a woman.

My gut tells me women are better, but the funny thing is my last tenant of 2.5 years was a man, and he was great!  If you don’t mind sharing your thoughts on who you’d prefer to have as a renter, I’d much appreciate it!

* Please note that it is illegal to discriminate against a potential tenant based on sex, race, or creed.  However, it is legal to ask a question and wonder out loud.

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Updated 2H2015

The Four Different Ways To Spend Money By Milton Friedman

The reason why Warren Buffet is so great is because he’s able to distill the most complicated financial topics into very simple terms.  Lucky for us, there is someone like Warren in the economics world.  Regular reader, Investor Junkie who disagrees with the government’s unemployment insurance extension, but agrees with the cessation of rising taxes, highlights a fantastic video by the great economist Milton Friedman about four different ways of spending money.

Professor Friedman’s examples are simple and perfectly to the point.  In an environment where we are spending other people’s money on someone else (deciding how other people’s tax dollars are spent), we don’t maximize the value of the dollar because we simply don’t have much at stake.

Professor Friedman highlights that people spending someone else’s money on others is a “distributor of welfare funds.”  Strong words with a certain amount of truth wouldn’t you agree?  In “The Ultimate Solution To A Fair Tax Policy In America”, I discuss the concept of limiting the voting ability of the 47% of non tax paying Americans on raising taxes for the other 53%.   Don’t worry, voting rights for everything else is status quo.  The reason why I suggest this rational solution is because it makes sure the country isn’t overrun by those who have their cake (don’t pay taxes) and get to eat it too (enjoy the benefits).

One can easily see an America where 90%+ of citizens don’t pay taxes and stick it to the 10% rich because it’s rational to look out for your own interests.  It’s up to balanced people who believe in equity to continue fighting for those who perpetually get unfairly blamed for our economy’s problems.  It really is ironic, because if everybody studied hard in school, volunteered their time to help others, and were self-sufficient (doesn’t have to be wealthy), America wouldn’t have nearly the amount of problems we have now!

The 4 Ways Of Spending

1) Spend your own money on yourself.

2) Spend your own money on somebody else.

3) Spend somebody else’s money on yourself.

4) Spend somebody else’s money on somebody else.

Readers, do you agree or disagree with Professor Friedman’s thesis that the 4th way of spending is the worst way of spending?  If you do agree, why do you think people feel it’s OK to spend other people’s money as they wish?

Regards,

Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

Follow on Twitter @FinancialSamura and subscribe to our E-mail or RSS feed.

The Carrot That Makes You Jump Through Hoops

One of my best friends is blessed with skinny genes.  At 5′ 3″ tall, she weighs all of 105 pounds.  When we go out to eat, she doesn’t just order a glass of iced tea and salad with dressing on the side.  She goes all out with mash potatoes, creamed spinach, BBQ oysters and then a nice juicy ribeye for a main course!  I gawk in amazement at her appetite while secretly groaning at trying to keep up towards the end.  After all, shouldn’t she eat 40% less than me if she weighs 40% less?  Guess not!

Despite my friend’s envious genetics, she isn’t exactly iron woman when it comes to sports and outdoor activities.  After three miles on a 10 mile bike ride, she’s pooped and waves at me to take a break.  Meanwhile, I’m going “lah, lah, lah” in my head, not even breaking a sweat as I soak in the glorious views of the Bay.  I let her catch up and we take a five minute pit-stop where she catches her breath as I go do some stretches and sit-ups.

THE GIMMICK

Personal Finance Bloggers Cause US Retail Sales To Plunge!

May retail sales drop 1.2% or the most in 8 months as more and more people turn to personal finance bloggers for frugality advice!  I’m pretty certain nobody has ever come up with this statement, but think about it for a little bit.  Why is it that the public should take personal finance advice from BusinessWeek, for example?  The articles are written by relatively well-paid writers who are on a mission to report the news.  They do a fine job at that, but perhaps not as fine a job making things visceral like the personal finance community.  What’s more personal than a real person like Jeff delivering pizzas to get out of debt?  Not much!

It’s very hard for the mass media to compete against a team of personal finance bloggers such as the Yakezie.  We’re real life people responding to comments and putting ourselves out there.  There’s a two-way street with us.  If I were Editor in Chief of any mass media publication, I’d go out and hire an bunch of influential personal finance bloggers and put them on my payroll.  $75,000 a year will do or perhaps $150,000 a year if you want us to write an article a month exclusively for you.  By doing so, the Editor will inject new life, new readers, and therefore a wealth of new advertising dollars to the publication.

As evidenced by May’s retail sales figures, we are creating the news with our frugal ways instead of just reporting the news.  There’s a movement underway, can you feel it?  Maybe we’ll band together and talk about how we should never buy new cars again, causing June’s new car sales to dip.  Or maybe we’ll discover how amazing one person’s unsung journey is to fight poverty in Uganda and direct millions of dollars their way.  That counts for something.  Let’s make a palatable difference with the words we write.  Someone is out there listening.

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Passive Income X Factor – Starting Your Own Site

It’s been around six years since I started Financial Samurai and I’m actually earning a good passive income stream online. The top 1% of all posts on Financial Samurai generates 31% of all traffic. The average age of the top 1% posts is 2.3 years old. In other words, after putting in the hours to write some very meaty content over two years ago, 10 posts consistently generate a monthly recurring income stream that’s completely passive. The posts probably won’t continuously rank high in search for years due to tremendous competition, but that’s partly why I continue to write 3-4X a week.

I never thought I’d be able to quit my job in 2012 just three years after starting Financial Samurai. But by starting one financial crisis day in 2009, Financial Samurai actually makes more than my entire passive income total that took 15 years to build. If you enjoy writing, connecting with people online, and enjoying more freedom, see how you can set up a WordPress blog in 15 minutes with BluehostIt’s cheap and easy to start.

Updated on 3/2/2015. Let the bull market continue!

“Capitalism: A Love Story” DVD Review & Giveaway

Michael Moore thinks he is pointing out injustices through his latest documentary, “Capitalism: A Love Story“.  Instead, Michael simply reminds us that life isn’t fair in a free market economy where those who work hard sometimes get the short end of the stick through no fault of their own.

I find it ironic that one of the wealthiest documentary filmmakers is bashing Capitalism.  Despite highlighting that 33% of “young Americans” now believe in Socialism (37% for Capitalism, 30% undecided), it’s hard to argue for a better system.  It’ll be interesting to see if these young Americans still believe in Socialism by the time they reach their thirties and make some money.  Socialism just creates a new set of problems for society.  Is it really that bad buying a foreclosed property from someone who can’t pay their debt on time?  Property vultures are necessary to provide a floor in many devastated markets or else things go to zero and more people suffer.

There is a sense of self-righteousness when Michael tells the viewer that he can’t fight the system alone and encourages all to rise up.  Michael you aren’t alone.  Thousands upon thousands of us fight for what we believe in every single day.  I wish Michael would put his money where his mouth is and donate all his proceeds to helping victims he continues to highlight.

A STRANGE PLACE

Getting Busy This Valentine’s Weekend! (Singles Especially)

Well folks, the weekend of love has arrived!  Some are going to eat by candle light, while others will walk the beach during sunset here in California or Hawaii.  For my friends out in Snowmageddonville, perhaps marshmellows in front of the fire place while playing a fun game of Scrabble.  Amazingly, there are some who believe their significant other when they say, “don’t get me anything. If you actually believe this line, you also mistakenly believe taxes aren’t going up next year!

I’m absolutely sure there are those against the Valentine movement, how it’s one big marketing gimmick for guys to spend more money than they should.  Unfortunately, you’re right, but there’s no stopping the movement. If you end up doing nothing, not even a small gesture like a back massage, you’re screwed, and not in a good way!

The one thing I caution ladies not to do is push.  The more you push about what you want or want to do on Sunday, the more your guy won’t want to do anything.  If you keep hinting about chocolate covered strawberries, you’re going to get one big fat biscuit of nothing!  So shhh, let the man figure something out and get creative.  Of course, ladies can always do something for us men too yeah?  Nah, it’s always on us men.

WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY FOR SINGLES EVERYWHERE!

Tax Refunds Are Good For Most People Because Most People Can’t Save

Bet You Can't Eat Just OneThe average tax refund is $2,400 a year, and 74% of Americans get a tax refund. I’ll consider you average for argument’s sake.  At today’s typical savings rate of 1%, you’re missing out on a whopping $12 bucks in interest income! Why $12, and not $24? It’s because you have to calculate the average balance of the year if you saved every $200/month payment diligently starting January 1st i.e. January $200, February $400, March $600 etc.

I’m definitely not a proponent of giving the government more money than they deserve, but missing out on $12 bucks in interest is something I can live with and so should you.

You have to ask yourself whether you have the discipline of saving that extra $200 a month, or using it to pay down debt. Most people are not disciplined enough to pay down debt and avoid buying junk. This is why we have such massive debt problems in the first place!  The government is essentially helping you “go broke to win big” by protecting 75% of American tax payers from blowing $2,400 a year without even knowing it.

A SIMPLE GUIDELINE & SOME COOKIES

The Public Loves Wall Street Again!

2037754785_05a628201f_bWhat is this blasphemy you say?  One of our main tenets is to observe what people DO with their money, and not what they preach.  The public clearly loves Bank of America and Wall Street again because how else would Bank of America be able to raise $19 billion from us, to pay us back?

In an “Open Letter To Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citigroup” we urged Vik to sell the 34% government stake back to the very public that bailed Citigroup out before year-end. Why?  So Citigroup can pay their employees big bonuses in 2009 by saying they are no longer under the government’s stewardship.  Sure, paying back $45 billion in TARP sounds like a lot, but Bank of America just did it!

In fact, joining Bank of America are Bank of NY Mellon Group, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and State Street who’ve all been able to pay back their TARP loans and pay their people handsomely this year.  This begs the question, what’s wrong with Citigroup, one of my main “go broke banks” used to optimize my finances.

SORRY, I DONNO