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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Moby Dick's Influence on Personal Finance

One of the things that I know about myself is that I tend to run at 110% percent and then get burnt out on something. It isn't enough to get my finances in shape, I have to do it right now. I can't enjoy blogging without writing 3-posts a day and 20+ comments. I can't eat a basket of shrimp at Sizzler's...It has to be a gluttony battle with my brother on baskets killed. Kind of an all or nothing sort of mentality.

This is not unlike Moby Dick...I know you think that I am nuts, but it is a story of someone that loses the forest for the trees. He can't just hunt whales, but has to go after the Godzilla of a whale that crushed his boat and ate his leg...maybe with Tarter Sauce just to be extra mean.

I often feel the same way. I know that I MUST do X, Y and/or Z, but against my better judgement I try to do all of them and end up not getting any of them.

This was drilled home as a child. "Be anything you want, just be the best at it." Now, I am not some Freudian who blames their parents for their failures on the absence of Twinkies in my take-to -school lunch, and on the surface it is a pretty benign comment. The kind all parents, including me when I am channeling my mother, bring to the next generation.

On the other hand I have achieve a little measure of success due to this as well. i wouldn't be where I am at career-wise if i didn't push. But it is the extreme version of this that can be damaging.

Reading the blathering above..."what is the point", may come to mind.

The point is that it is OK to push yourself in anything including personal finance...just don't sink your boat and get your leg bitten off!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Getting Caught Up!

OK now that I am back I need to get caught up! Both in terms of where I am financially and my goals. Back to Personal Finance 101.

After a series of Unfortunate Events (Taxes, Computer, Bonus, Ninja Bills) I have real been too passive with my personal finances. So with this weekend being my Anniversary I am going to take a few days (Friday-Tuesday) and do the following:

  • Compile and file all of my paid bills. They are in my "Out Box" but they need to get re organized. This weekend I alphabetized them and prepped for filing.
  • Re-Download MS Money and rebuild...ugh, not looking forward to this part, but it has to be done.
  • Reset calendar to adjust for moved bills. Some have been changing dates (CC Cards) didn't notice until I compiled...dirty apes!
  • Final March and prep for EOM April
  • Reset goal now that bonus is probably poof.

Also really need to get my short, medium and long term goals back in focus...feel like I have been treading a bit of water for a while.

Sarting was tough...restarting is tougher!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Where Have You Gone Joe DiMaggio?

Hey all...Sorry had to take a bit of an extended break.

Here is why: The blog really turned into another full-time job on top of my 1.5x current job as well as being a parent and needing time to decompress. Also I had some really nasty posts about this blog on other blogs and realy thought...what's the point!

So frankly I didn't even look at my email on this account for over a week, but when I did I was very pleasantly surprised with well wishes and good thoughts from other blogs that I enjoy.

So I do miss writing, but probably not at the two post a day clip right now given crazy work demands!

So thank you all very much for the warm thoughts and I hope you will visits my new content coming soon!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Save 15% off of your Gasoline Prices

I wish it was a coupon to print out, because traffic would go really crazy. However there is a pretty easy way (at least in theory!) to save 15% off of your overall gas spend. Given that here it is $3.45/Gallon now that is over 51 cents per gallon savings! That would help with my budget!

Ready!...Drive slower (I hear the groans).

Consumer Reports just did a pretty exhaustive survey to dig into the costs of driving faster. For example, if you drove a Toyota Camry on the highway set the cruise control at 65, then at 75, you would see that fuel economy changed. It would have been at 35 MPG then it dropped to 30 MPG, or 14.3% less! The older the car the worse it would be too.

Funny thing is last big oil crisis the government lowered the speed limit to 55, not for safety, but to save fuel! It stayed due to the safety issue.

Sure this isn't a deep thinking thing to save money "Burn More fuel=More Money" but for me it was realizing that it was nearly a 15% saving...that's real money, and can help with you personal finance!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

New Car Smell from Hell! (And Charter Sucks!)

As I am still working on my 1st quarter numbers, my Internet went out and who knows how long it will be out...Charter Sucks! So I am knocking out this post as I eat a sandwich at my desk and dream of holding these Ninja Bills at bay!

Neat report on Yahoo today about new cars that lose their value the quickest. Nothing is a better feeling then driving home in that new car, neighbors saying, "Hey Bob...Nice Car!" no spilled Cheerios in the back...or dog hair (we don't even have a dog either). But all of this is balanced out by one little personal finance fact: Buying a new car is a horrible financial decision!

You take 10%+ of the value of the car and flush it for just driving off the lot. And to make it worse, most people finance them...and not great rates. So you are spending current dollars in the future for something that's always losing value.

Just buying a 2-3 year old car can save thousands of dollars and will probably still have most of its warrantee intact. As bad as this call can be you can make it worse by driving a car that depreciated even quicker!

Here are the Worst Offenders:

  • Kia Sedona
  • Lincoln Town Car
  • Suzuki Reno
  • Suzuki Forenza
  • Suzuki Aerio
  • Mercury Grand Marquis
  • Dodge Durango
  • Chevy Uplander

As a point of reference the KIA only retains 20% of it purchase price value after a typical five year ownership! Five years isn't uncommon of car loans anymore either, which makes the impact worse.

A new car is fun and feels good, but is it really worth this big of an economic impact on your personal finances and budget?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Quick and Out

Working on a big first quarter overview...may take a bit as the numbers are coming out to rosey and I am a bit nervous something is amiss. With the computer crash Io amd rebuilding, but it looks good

More to come!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The US Treasury Brings Back the $500 Bill

Treasury Secretary Paulson announced sweeping changes to US currency today including that the US Treasury was prepared to bring back the $500 Bill, and perhaps even the $1000 as a measure to get consumers buying again.

"Let's be frank," the Secretary said, "the dollar doesn't buy what it used to, and therefore either does the $100. When we last printed the $500 and the $1000, the $100 was worth $867 in today's dollars, and that gap continues to grow. Already we have a currency gap with the rest of the world. The 500 Euro bill has been available since the Euro inception and the 100 British pound note is worth more then $200 US. "We can ill afford American's being treated a second class citizens abroad. We are also prepared to relaunch the $1000 bill at a later date if needed."

President Bush was quoted to say, "Secretary Paulson knows currency, he studied it, he understands it, heck he even has some!," the President said with a laugh. "All kidding aside, we will not let our greenbacks go the way of the yen. We will maintain the spending power and availability of cold hard cash."

When asked you would be featured on the bill, Secretary Paulson said that for the first time, two great American's will be featured on one bill. George Washington will be featured with Abraham Lincoln. The famous photo by Nathan Frost that hangs in the National Gallery entrance will be the basis for the new Bill portrait. "No other photo capures these two men in all of their glory and we believe the larger portrait to be a significant counterfeit fighting tool."

Other changes announced but not yet formalized include the potential end of the penny, wider distribution of the 50 cent piece and the classification of the dollar in a coin only.

Wow...big changes! I am glad they are bringing the $500 back as we are on a cash envelope system and it will be more convenient for us. I am not wild about the dollar coin thing though, but I guess it was inevitable.

How about you? How will this impact you?

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