“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

Charles Farrell of “Your Money Ratios” Speaks About Retirement And Investing,

As I wrote in my review of “Your Money Ratios”, Charles’ book sings to me. Charles has the ability to simplify complicated financial topics for the average reader to understand. His book is seriously one of the best books I’ve read on personal finance in a long while.

One of the keys to progress is learning from experts in their various fields.  Charles is gracious enough to answer some follow up questions I’ve been burning to ask after reading his book.  This will be a two part post due to the 2,800 word length of the interview.  In part I, we discover Charles’ motivation for writing his book, strategies for early retirement, and his conservative and debatable 50%/50% investment split between stocks and bonds.  In part II, we discuss the much maligned 401K, personal income taxes, why Social Security will survive, and why the flat tax is the right way to go!  Please enjoy!

WRITING “YOUR MONEY RATIOS”

Question: Was there a particular lightning bolt reason why you decided to write this book? For aspiring authors, what suggestions do you have to get your worked published in this ultra competitive field of business?

Answer: I wanted to write a book that would help average readers understand the most fundamental and critical relationships among one’s income, capital and debt, and how those things must be managed throughout your working career to build financial independence. So I took what are often quite complicated topics and figured out a way to present them in a very simple format that anyone can follow. I would like more people to enjoy the benefits of financial independence, and I hope this book does that.

As far as writing, all I can say is write about what you believe in. Hopefully, if you believe in it strongly enough, you’ll develop some expertise and then seek out ways to spread your ideas. Try to develop some niche that is reflective of your expertise. So I developed the ratios and they came out of my background in tax, finance and also working with individuals.

Think about what you do that is a little different and try to focus on that unique nature of what you do. It is a tough slog because the field is very crowded and often the least valuable information gets the most press. But you have to accept that reality and still push ahead. And then you need a little luck. Your message has to somehow get into the hands of people who appreciate and understand it. And that is hard to predict, which means you need a little luck to get it out there. So if you are going to pursue that path, I think you need to accept those realities of the marketplace.

EARLY RETIREMENT

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!

Do “C” Students Deserve “A” Lifestyles?

Back in the 9th grade, I remember goofing off quite a bit with my buddies.  We skipped class, stayed out late, and essentially did a lot of stuff that was detrimental to our grades.  Despite working with plenty of Spanish speaking colleagues during my part-time job at McDonald’s, I still only got a “C” in Spanish because I didn’t care.   All I wanted to do was have fun, eat all the apple pies I could and get paid my big $3.35 an hour!

My parents were clearly perturbed by my lack of effort (hey, isn’t working at McDonald’s from 6am-1pm on Saturday’s pretty good?) and spoke to me one evening and asked, “How are you ever going to be a great business man if you can’t even get an “A” in math?  Do you think award-winning scientists get “Cs” in high school chemistry?  Do you think Andre Agassi doesn’t practice hard every single day?” Crap, I think they are right.  Shoot, if I ever have surgery, the physician better not have slacked off in surgery class!

A MANSION PARTY INSPIRES

The People Asked To Get ROCKED & A Boulder Drops On Their Heads

Feel The Pain And Like It

The Rock Of Gibraltar, Only Backwards

Anybody want to guess what happened on Wed, January 19th right before the market fell off a cliff?  If you guessed Obama delivered a politically charged speech to rally for his own support and crucify others, you’re right!  On Wed, January 19th, Obama went on national TV to tell the world, “we want our money back” and “if they want a fight, a fight is what they’ll get.” The “they” of course, are “greedy rich” people.  The markets immediately started to sell-off and the S&P 500 is now down about 6% since.

Good old fashion class warfare is never good for the economy, neither is continuous political jibber jabber.  Do you ever remember a president being on TV as much as our current president?  The risk of overexposure is very real, and the record low approval rating for any president at this point in his term shows this.  The State of The Union address is supposed to be an opportunity to unify the people.  Besides the typical feel-good rhetoric, what I heard was a continued attack on others, protecting personal interest groups, and maintaining giant silos.

YOU SO CRAFTY NEBRASKA

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”

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Where Americans Pay The Most To Live And Why

Samurai On Waialae Beach At Sunset

As one can guess, higher paying jobs leads to higher costs of living.  In fact, more than half of the 20 cities surveyed by the US Census Bureau are based in Caleeforneea, as Governor Arnold would say.

How is it that California is so dominant in the expensive category, when the mass of settlers first arrived on Plymouth Rock 300 years ago?  3,300 miles is a long way to travel, especially on horse and foot!  The main reason for the unfettered move out west is simply warmth and sunshine!

Every time I vacation in Hawaii, I always ask myself, why the heck ain’t I here for good.  Let’s face it, more sunshine equals happier people.  Sunshine is the classic zeitgeber to help us wake up and get us motoring in the morning.  No sunshine leads to no photosynthesis, which means no plant life, and therefore no ecosystem.

After 10 years of living on the east coast, I can still feel the grey skies weigh down my soul every winter.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love the winter snow during the holidays, but I just love being in a cheerful mood more.  Here are America’s most expensive places to live based off median monthly housing costs.

TOP CITIES WHERE AMERICANS PAY THE MOST TO LIVE