Monthly Archives: July 2013

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Funny how I went there earlier this week

This just in, Jane Austen to be face of the Bank of England £10 note.

Anyway, I targeted Alexander Hamilton for replacement here but, really, any of the guys from over 150 years ago, many of which (cross) dressed like pirates, could and probably should be replaced.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I get it, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson created this country. But can anyone honestly say that those guys don’t have enough recognition already?

I mean, poor Millard Fillmore gets nothing…

Anyway, enough with the commemorative postage stamps, lets get some fresh faces on the currency!

My votes, in no select order, of more contemporary folks who haven’t been on any widely circulated US currency that I’m aware of are:

  • Thomas Edison
  • Henry Ford
  • John D. Rockefeller
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Martin Luther King
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Hank Aaron
  • George Patton
  • Neil Armstrong
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Bill Gates

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Money HoardingSo the markets are just roaring so far in 2013. It’d be hard to imagine anyone is “down” this calendar year — unless you’re really, really terrible at investing.

Since I started purchasing individual stocks last December, a couple of my choices are up over 40%.

I should probably cash out.

In fact, I know I should.

I’ve made my money — take it while you can.

Well, that’s where the problem lies…

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m a hoarder.

I like to accumulate.

(No — I’m not like the hoarders on television…)

It’s been working great for me with my 401k — and my hockey jersey collection — where I just keep adding to the pile and the value consistantly keeps getting bigger and bigger.

That’s not how it works with individual stocks.

As a mostly absent portfolio manager, I have no desire to be a day-trader or anything but I totally understand the concept of buy-low-and-sell-high.

I know how that works and how it leads to wealth at a much advanced pace.

I just never pull the trigger. I grow too attached or something.

Looking back on my childhood, we moved every few years to a new house. Each subsequent move was to a bigger and better house.

I wasn’t privy to the mortgage bill or anything, since I was only 7 years old by the time we hit the fourth house, but I do see how you can go from house-to-house, getting bigger and better along the way, while keeping your mortgage bill roughly the same.

The size of the house doesn’t determine the size of the mortgage — the folks accross the street from us paid DOUBLE what we did for a similar but smaller house.

I’d bet if you compared our two mortgages, you’d be hard pressed to determine that we live in the same neighborhood.

Buy low, sell high. That’s the path to take…up, and up, and up…

I know that.

Yet I sit in my first and only house today — knowing full well that I can technically afford something twice the size and, by now, could probably be in something three times the size.

The reasoning there is a bit more complicated, though, since I like where I live and enjoy the freedom that a sub-$500 mortgage allows us.

But there shouldn’t be any irrational emotional connection with the stocks!?

Dude, you’ve made over $80 on a $200 investment in less than a month. Sell Tesla now!

I can’t even justify my own reasoning.

It’s like…by holding on longer, I own more or something.

But that’s not how it works. I know that.

If I own two shares at $80 and now they’re worth $100 — I still only own two shares.

I bought low — I need to sell high.

That goes for you, Google, Dunkin Donuts, Tim Hortons, Tesla, Solar City, and Ford.

My only loser was Apple (which I purged in disgust months ago…)

Facebook and LuluLemon have essentially stayed right near what I purchased them for.

I’m pretty good at picking stocks (even when it’s not a boom year like 2013 has been), I think…

My end game is terrible though.

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While I’m not a British Subject — a term that’s incorrectly used all the time — I am still a Commonwealth Citizen so I do have a little skin in the game…

That said, while the concept of “Royalty” is kinda quaint and romantic, with each passing generation, it gets sillier and more antiquated.

I’m sorry the old man in the clown suit unintelligibly shouting something about a baby boy was hardly newsworthy… Wait, what? A town crier? That’s what that was? Oh, my mistake.

While I’m all for tradition, there are some things that should just be left in the past. The Town Crier is one of them.

And so is the silly easel behind the palace gates.

To their credit, I am glad that they put out a press release prior to the silly thing being put in place.

Sadly, the press release probably went out after the clown did his thing on the hospital steps.

Anyway, I have serious doubts that this little guy’s image will *ever* appear on the currency of any of the countries among the Commonwealth of Nations.

His father probably won’t be on much of it either.

I’ll go so far as to say that his grandfather probably won’t even make the cut…

Going broader — and relating to currency — the U.S. might want to think about changing up the people on the currency.

Like the Constitution, much of which barely relates to anything relevant today, folks like Alexander Hamilton should probably be shelved.

How many Americans even know who he is?

Or which bill he’s on?

And even though the guy on the dime is relatively contemporary in comparison to the others, it’s almost as if no one knows who he is at all… Crazy — 4 terms as President of the United States less than 100 years ago and over 50% of the population have no idea who you are…

I’ll be honest, though… I’ve always though the profile on the dime was a better likeness of Pope John Paul II.

Anyway, they took the Eagle off of the quarter a few years ago when they started doing the State thing — how they managed that is a mystery — let’s go all out and get some fresh designs in order…

Oh, who am I kidding… Bitcoins are going to replace it all anyway before long…

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Of late, as in just over the past couple weeks, the local television newscasts have neen using the “block” term when reporting stories — usually of the crime or housefire variety.

Makes total sense in a big city where the streets are laid out in a grid — “Armed robbery reported on the 1200-block of Michigan Ave…” People know where that is, well, local folks do, anyway…

But here in Connecticut, where the main roads are all laid out following some really terrible city planning that dates back to the 1700’s (and secondary roads are just squeezed in), well, this “style” of reporting is really out of place.

The street I live on doesn’t even have an address number that reaches 100. Do I live on the zero block?

And, really, even within the borders of our wannabe BIG cities, I’d venture to say that there are more cul-de-sacs than grid like blocks.

I don’t think local law enforcement even refers to ### blocks.

In the era of Google maps and GPS units, I dunno, in addition to being useless in this part of the country, the “block” reference seems really dated.

Maybe it’s just me?

From the 0 Block of Smurfberry Lane, this is Brainy reporting for PIAC.

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Step 1. Halt savings and eliminate credit card debt.

Okay, that’s the only step so far…

For years now, I’ve but making auto-tranfers to an online savings account four times per week. Overkill, right?

Well, two of the days are to cover for my property tax bill and homeowners insurance premimum (both of which I pay out-of-pocket instead of from an escrow account attached to my mortgage).

I’m not halting that as I’d hate to come up short when those rather large bills come due. It’d be financially crippling…

But I am halting the other two days worth of weekly tranfers which add up to $250. Each week. Or over $1000 per month.

Yeah — it was a pretty aggressive savings plan and it worked great until I started pulling cash out the other end…

So now I’ll have an “extra” $250 per week to throw at the credit card debt which should have a real noticable effect.

Current balance is: $4887.53

Game on.

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Okay, so there’s some tumbleweed tumbling around here lately.

And a whole boatload of spam comments regarding expensive sneakers, weight loss drugs, and forex schemes. I’ll clean it all up when I get a chance…

First, though, I need to get everyone still stopping by up to speed on what’s happened to my finances.

See, I lost my focus, my motivation, my direction, and as a result, a lot of my financial comfort.

No, I’m not in dire straits. Far from it, but I’m also a long way off from where I’d like to be.

Where I should be.

Where I could have been, you know, had I not stopped holding myself accountable here.

I do still track my finances.

I still check my balances multiple times per day. And, yes, I’m still paying my bills on time.

I’m just not moving towards any kind of goal… like a $1 million net worth (long since abandoned), zero credit card debt, or that 3-car garage we’d like.

So, here we go, starting over in a way…

Here’s the bad news…and what needs to be corrected in a hurry.

  • I’m currently carrying in excess of $6k in credit card debt. Debt that I’m paying finance charges on — that hasn’t happened to me in YEARS?!
  • I have a big auto loan balance. Again, not really anything unusual in the grand scheme of things but we’d grown accustomed to owning our cars outright. Prior to the past couple months, I’d forgotten what it was like to have a car payment and, I’ll tell ya, it’s really crampin’ my stlye.
  • My savings account has been tapped out so there isn’t any kind of back-up reserve. Much of that is due to the fact that I just paid my property taxes this week but… well, it’s troubling me to not having *any* emergency money when it’s just always been there for the past few years.

So, I’m not going to tiptoe around how I got here — I spent a lot of money and depleted my reserves. Pretty obvious.

Thankfully I’m not in a hole I can’t dig out of. Not even close.

But I do need to get back on track so… wish me luck!

Can You Dig It?

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