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

Book Review & Giveaway: “Get Financially Naked”

51YUhQie2AL._SL500_AA240_Author Bios: Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar have their MBA’s and CFA’s and are the coauthors of “On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide To Personal Finance.”

Publisher / Physical Description: Adams Media.  Paper back.  148-pages of easy reading.

The Summary: With a tag-line of “how to talk money with your honey,” how can you not like a book with this kind of wit?  Personal finance books tend to be a little bit mundane and redundant, but not so with Manisha and Sharon’s latest offering.

The first point of interest simply lies on page two.  All page two says is “To All Women…”  As I am not a woman, I immediately began preparing myself for some male criticism.  Does ‘To All Women” really mean “Stay Away All Men”?  To my relief, the real meaning of page two is about empowering women to become financially independent on their own.

Getting financially naked really is about having as clear of an understanding of each partner’s finances as possible.  The authors don’t want women to one day wake up realizing all their money is gone after their husband invested their finances in some unscrupulous investment.  Women need to have a full grasp of each others finances so that there are no surprises.  Even before marriage, our authors go through steps to discover whether a couple is financially compatible.  Financial matter shouldn’t be taboo among serious couples.