The Katana: Spring Cleaning and Moving Forward

So that’s it.  One quarter of the year is done, and a new quarter begins.  How’d you do?  Did you just meet expectations set forth in the 4th quarter of 2009?  Or did you beat expectations and prove to your shareholders and yourself that you’re investment worthy?  Executives of public companies go through this thought process all the time, and so should you.

There’s never been a better time than right now to go through all the clutter in the house and donate it all away.  Clutter should drive you nuts, because it’s a sign of excess.  Why do you need 7 pairs of jeans, 50 pairs of shoes, and all those magazines?  You don’t!  I don’t and I’m very disappointed in myself for accumulating so much junk over the years.

It really makes me sick to have so much stuff.  When I lived in a studio apartment, the place was filled with crap.  Now I live in a house, and it’s no different.  Consumerism has infiltrated me thoroughly.  On the bright side, thank goodness for counterbalancing mechanisms. If a person never feels full (sick of clutter), they’ll eat until they explode!  Today, let’s de-clutter and simplify.

MARCH FAVORITE POSTS ON FINANCIAL SAMURAI

* “The Mental To Physical Connection For A Healthier Lifestyle”

* “Insuring The Uninsured Is Worth It”

* “Wealth Is An Illusion Of Happiness”

Heads up Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and Bloomberg, if you want to do an interview, better let us know quick because The Samurai Fund is now up 11.5% vs. only +5.6% for the S&P year-to-date!  LEN, HAR, BIG are leading the way.

HIGHLIGHT POSTS FROM AROUND THE SPHERE

Samurai’s Alexa Ranking Challenge Update: Progress Through Adversity

Dear Yakezie Group,

It’s been just over a month since the Samurai Alexa Ranking Challenge was announced, and I’m pleased to report we’ve made tremendous progress!  With 35+ members strong, we are actively helping each other achieve our respective goals.  I’d like to use this opportunity to recognize several Yakezie members for their achievements and initiatives in helping the team.

* Daniel-San from Sweating The Big Stuff took the initiative to compile the list and keep track.  His efforts have in turn created a home for us members to visit once a week and get pumped.

* @Elle_CM from Couple Money has been amazingly selfless in retweeting my posts and many other posts.  She is exactly the type of member the Yakezie Group seeks.  @FinEngr created a Yakezie Twitter Group to keep track of us and follow.  Pls follow so the group can follow you back.

* Monevator, The Amateur Financier, Evolution Of Wealth created weekly wraps to specifically highlight posts from the Yakezie Group.  Meanwhile, Money Funk wrote a derivative post on how to increase your Alexa ranking.

* Eliminate The Muda and Planting Dollars have busted through their 200,000 goal and should obviously now shoot for top 100,000!

THE RULES HAVE CHANGED AND WE WILL ADAPT

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

Financial Samurai $1,000 Giveaway & Your Chance To Make Millions Over Your Career!

“It’s not whether you have your MBA, it’s where it came from,” writes John Micklethwait, Editor-In-Chief of The Economist. I’m sure on at least two levels, he’s upsetting people. On one level, those without MBA’s are going to find it presumptuous that getting an MBA is a foregone conclusion.  On another level, there are thousands of MBA grads who didn’t attend the top tier schools who will take offense as well.

NA_table2-1 John is smart to be so opinionated because after all, the people who will be buying his magazine are those who have always wondered whether getting an MBA is a good idea.  He forces the assumption that if you picked up his magazine, you must get an MBA, and not just any MBA, but one of the top schools from his polls.

I don’t entirely agree with John, but let’s face reality, getting an MBA is gradually becoming the new standard for newcomers to the world of finance because some go-getter decided it was the right thing to do and succeeded to get others to follow.  The MBA is also too expensive to not try and go to the best school possible (although it’s not the end of the world).  The inertia is too strong to reverse now!

Here are some of the takeaways from the magazine:

Should I Go To Grad School? Get Rich Or Die Trying!

I’ve decided to dedicate much of the rest of this month focusing on graduate schools, specifically the much loved and vilified graduate degree, the MBA.  The deadline for round 1 applications is fast approaching, and I’ve come up with a $1,000 giveaway that any aspiring MBA applicant, PhD applicant, or grad school applicant for that matter may be interested in receiving.  Hence, feel free to spread the word and stay tuned!  For now, let’s start off with a layup as to why getting your graduate degree is a good idea, if you want to make more money.

Many personal finance publishers use Net Worth IQ as a way to track their financial progress.  NW IQ managed to gather a bunch of good data to digest and analyze.  A lot of it is just common sense such as the older you are, the greater your net worth tends to be.

This is the chart that stood out most:

Education Profile Count % of Pop. Median Net Worth
Less than high school graduate 21 0.67 % $26,440
High school graduate 79 2.53 % $40,570
High school graduate with some college 322 10.32 % $25,189
Associate degree 117 3.75 % $46,464
Bachelors degree 1460 46.78 % $73,461
Masters, professional, doctoral degree 901 28.87 % $193,761
Total Reporting Users: 2900