Monday, March 31, 2008

Progress Report - for week ended 3/30/08 [late]

So here's the last report for the month of March

Goals by the end of March 2008 -

  1. Decide on a part-time business to focus on for at least 2 months. - I"m fairly certain I am going to switch to re-focusing on blogging. But Something inside won't let me 'pull the trigger' so to speak. I think there may be more profitable uses of my time but, I'm not sure.
  2. Save $2750 or more into Wedding savings account. - SUCCESS - As of today, the wedding account is at approximately $4972 - and it would be up another $200 if not for the deposit we put down this weekend on a great Honeymoon someplace sunny.
  3. Do local and regional taxes - SUCCESS* - OK the procrastination officially ended this past Sunday. Unfortunately, it brought with it a $277 tax bill (ouch!) for my regional taxes - which honestly i don't know why I pay. On the bright side my local school. district taxes will give me back $6 whole dollars - So I'll be ready to buy a Value meal once that hefty check comes through.

Again, I'm really pumped now that the wedding account is actually starting to build up some cash. I talked to the bank that is holding all our money about switching accounts and said the crappy interest rate and terms are 'unavoidable' because of 'market conditions'. I personally think that's crap but we didn't have enough time to shop around.

*As far as taxes go - I have them done - I just have to mail them and double check them for mistakes and make copies. Man I need to get on the ball.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Is giving the 'Fed' MORE power really the answer?

I am troubled a little bit by this article I found on yahoo:

Bush seeks financial regulation overhaul

The article talks about something I've heard here and there over the last couple of weeks. It seems that the Power's that be, namely Bush and some, in my opinion naive Democrats are pushing to give the Federal Reserve Board more Power than it already has. Included in the powers and general changes that they are planning to make include:

  • The Fed, would become a "market stability regulator," giving it the power to check the books not just of commercial banks but of all segments of the financial services industry.
  • The proposal would shut down the Office of Thrift Supervision and transfer its functions to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates nationally chartered banks.
  • The plan would consolidate the Securities and Exchange Commission, which regulates stock trading, into the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates futures trades for oil, grains and various other commodities.
  • The plan would create a national regulator for the insurance industry (my industry*), which is now largely governed by the states (The Ohio Department of Insurance to be specific). So instead of state regulated insurance industries it would be one National Insurance department.
  • It would create a mortgage Origination Commission
  • "The role Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues have been playing to shore up the financial system would be formalized in the administration plan by giving Fed officials greater power to detect where threats might be lurking in the system." - not sure I like this at all - what exactly are those 'greater' powers and what else will the Fed - an entity that has no checks or balances on it - be able to detect?

SO basically after the past year, or at least 6 months of a dramatically declining market and economy based mainly on latent effects of the Federal Reserves actions - we are planning to give the Federal Reserve MORE power for putting the American economy on a Collision-course with a recession that many fear has already arrived?

I personally think this is ludicrous, the other thing is I think Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and all the Power's that be who whisper in his ear have done a major disservice (at least in the long run) to the American Public but cutting interest rates so dramatically in such a short term. The fast decline of short term interest rates I believe will only serve to increase inflation dramatically over the long run.

Overall what I mean is by making money cheaper for banks in the short-term you also cheapen the American dollar in the long term for those who have less buying power as it is already. Think of the recent increase in the cost of bread, milk, and other commodities. Furthermore by giving so much power and influence to a part of economic system that is not elected by the people seems to say to me that only the elite and well-connected will have any say in the future if problems arise and they will likely only make changes that help the wealthy out rather than the bulk of America which is the lower-class (a growing Majority) and the middle-class (a shrinking minority).

Bottom line, if you were to ask me if the FED needs More power - I would without a doubt say 'NO THEY DO NOT!'

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Quote of the Week #30

Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt

Herbert Hoover
found on

Monday, March 24, 2008

Abe Lincoln's and his brother's loan - good advice.

So I was listening to Dave Ramsey today and he mentioned a letter Abe Lincoln wrote to his step-brother when he asked him for money for the umpteenth time.

I found it here

But I thought just for the heck of it, I'd share it here as well:

December 24, 1848

Dear Johnston:

Your request for eighty dollars, I do not think it best to comply with now. At the various times when I have helped you a little, you have said tome, "We can get along very will now," but in a very short time I find you in the same difficulty again.

Now this can only happen by some defect in your conduct. What that defect is, I think I know. You are lazy, and still you are an idler. I doubt whether since I saw you, you have done a good whole day's work, in any one day. You do not have very much, merely because it does not seem to you that you could get much for it.

This habit of uselessly wasting time, is the whole difficulty; it is vastly important to you, and still more so to your children, that you should break this habit. It is more important to them, because they have longer to live, and can keep out of an idle habit before they are in it, easier than they can get out after they are in.

You are now i n need of some ready money; and what I propose is, that you shall go to work, "tooth and nail," for somebody who will give you money for it.

Let father and your boys take charge of your things at home - prepare for a crop, and make the crop, and you go to work for the best money wages, or in discharge of any debt you owe, that you can get. And to secure you a fair reward for your labor, I now promise you that for every dollar you will, between this and the first of May, get for your own labor either in money or in your own indebtedness, I will then give you one other dollar.

By this If you hire yourself at ten dollars a month, from me you will get ten more, making twenty dollars a month for your work. In this, I do not mean you shall go off to St. Louis, or the lead mines, or the gold mines, in California, but I mean for you to go at it for the best wages you can get close to home - in Coles County.

Now, if you will do this, you will soon be out of debt, and what is better, you will have a habit that will keep you from getting in debt again. But if I should now clear you out, next year you will be just a deep in as ever. You say you would almost give your place in Heaven for $70 or $80. Then you value your place in Heaven very cheaply, for I am sure you can with the offer I make you get the seventy or eighty dollars for four or five month's work. You say if I furnish you the money you will deed me the land, and if you don't pay the money back, you will deliver possession - Nonsense! If you can't now live with the land, how will you then live without it? You have always been kind to me, and I do not now mean to be unkind to you. On the contrary, if you will but follow my advice, you will find it worth more than eight times eighty dollars to you.


Your brother,

A. Lincoln

Wow good advice - much more blunt than 'neither a borrower nor lender be' and still good advice for anyone who may have a sibling or family member who doesn't know how to handle their money - kinda ike I used to be. Luckily, I never had to ask my little brother - who is and always has been great with money - for a loan.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Progress report for Week ended - 3/23/08

So here's the status of my goals so far for the month. Lot's of progress on goal #2 :

Goals by the end of March 2008 -

  1. Decide on a part-time business to focus on for at least 2 months. - I believe once the 2nd job ends at the end of the upcoming week, I will try and re-focus on maintaining this blog and increasing readership.
  2. Save $2750 or more into Wedding savings account. - SUCCESS - As of today, the wedding account is at approximately $3777 - the balance will increase even more on Monday after I deposit some extra money I got this weekend.
  3. Do local and regional taxes - I have a million excuses for not getting to this as of yet. none of them that good - I think I'll have to set a specific date or else I won't meet this goal.

I'm really pumped now that the wedding account is actually starting to build up some cash. Shortly - we might have to switch to a different bank though because earlier this month I learned interest accrues quarterly - rather than monthly. Our interests earnings thus far since opening the account = $0.09, I think we can do better it's just a matter of finding a bank that is both me and my fiance's town.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Quote of the Week #29

“Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.”
-Benjamin Franklin quotes
found on

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Progress report - for week ended 3/16/08

So here's the status of my goals so far for the month:

Goals by the end of March 2008 -

  1. Decide on a part-time business to focus on for at least 2 months. - I keep changing my mind on what I want to do. I guess right now I have quite a few distractions going on so it's kind of throwing me off. Maybe i should just focus on publishing my book...we'll see.
  2. Save $2750 or more into Wedding savings account. - As of today, the wedding account is at approximately $2464 - and with a a few deposits this coming week we should outstretch that goal. Both me and my fiance got our federal tax returns back so we got a nice boost.
  3. Do local and regional taxes - OK today I looked at the forms but got bogged down with cleaning, watching movies and Procrastinating. Next weekend - definitely.

I've had a lot of distractions the past week or so starting a new job and all and then having extra tax return money in my pocket. Hopefully this coming week everything will settle down a tad so I can focus on meetings these goals by the end of this week which is very doable.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Quote of the Week #28

Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.

Henry David Thoreau
found on

Monday, March 10, 2008

I give up - I caught the falling knife.

So, after checking my 401k and seeing it went down (again) a 2nd month I decided to reduce my risky contributions - (small -to mid caps & International funds) and instead increased my guaranteed funds and bonds.

There are a few reasons I made the decision:

  1. The DJIA has lost 10% since the beginning of the year
  2. The S& P 500 has lost about 13% since the beginning of the year
  3. Gas hit $107 today for the first time ever.
  4. People with Million-dollar homes - people who should have better credit than me, soon won't because there houses are getting foreclosed upon!
  5. The dollar is losing it's traction against the Euro and the yen.
Hopefully, that 'guaranteed' amount will help me keep my head above water as the markets appear to tank.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Progress Report - for week ended - 3/9/08

So here's the status of my goals so far for the month:

Goals by the end of March 2008 -

  1. Decide on a part-time business to focus on for at least 2 months. - I'm leaning strongly towards an artistic area - involving drawing specifically - but, after working on it a little this weekend I'm not sure If I have the energy and the patience to give it my all like I would like to.
  2. Save $2750 or more into Wedding savings account. - I was well on my way to accomplishing this goal until last weeks car trouble intervened. I did get my state tax return ($100) back though so assuming my federal return is not too far behind I should be able to still meet this goal with ease.
  3. Do local and regional taxes - I haven't begun to look at the forms although I know I need to. The Ohio Blizzard of 2008 distracted me quite a bit Friday, Yesterday as well as today: it took me about an hour and 4 people to get my car freed from the snow today.

Overall, the main thing I'm concerned about at this point is making a good first impression at my new job tomorrow as well as determining if this is something I can feel fairly stable doing full time for the next few year(s) or not. We shall see.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

the new, new - Richest person in the World is....

My man....Warren Buffett.

According to this article, Mr. Buffett has reclaimed his #1 spot on the richest person in the world list.

Carlos Slim and Bill Gates - his buddy (the 2nd and 3rd richest humans respectively) lost some grand apparently with the recent bear market.

Buffett still knows how to 'pick 'em' though and that's helping him still make money while the market seems to be falling apart.

Way to go Mr. Buffet - I wish I would've bought some B-shares when I had a chance.

Quote of the Week #27

Most people are too busy earning a living to make any money

-Unknown Author?
found on

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Do I stay or do I go?

So I've gotten a new job - accomplished my goals for the month of February.

Now, I am debating over taking a secure path to meeting the goal of paying for the oncoming wedding - OR - taking a semi-risky path with the chance that I might not meet my wedding budget goal or I might blow that goal out of the water and have money left over to put a down payment on a house or go on my fiance's dream Hawaii honeymoon or both.

The secure path: Work my new job which pays about 10% less than I was making and work 2nd job which is fairly unfulfilling and keeps me up until 10Pm most nights BUT - will definitely help pay for the wedding bill faster.

The semi risky path: Work new job which pays about 10% less than what i was making and with my newly stress-free free time, work on a part-time business or businesses that I will enjoy running but may not earn me anywhere near what i could make at the part-time job in the short-run - OR - could possibly pay much more than the part-time job in the long (and possibly short) runs.

I'm torn as to what to do. It's 12:30 AM here now and I know this is not good sleep-wise because I need to get up around 6:30 to go to my 2nd to last day of work at my higher-paying yet more stressful job.

I'm debating whether or not I should just try and hit a certain goal mark for the wedding account and then quit the second job so I can sleep like a normal person and have time to work on a business at the same time.

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

If you live in Texas, Ohio, R.I. Vermont....

I hope you voted. I did.

I know this doesn't affect finances directly - but indirectly, it will be for years to come.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Larouche and the coming American Depression

I was turned on to an interesting website.

I watched the video which is very informative but also fairly boring but, the gist of the video is this - The Germany of the 1920's with their overinflated reichmarks looks a lot like the America of today with the gradually devalued dollars vs,. Euro's.

I won't go too deep into this because I don't like pointing out the problem unless I can think of a solution as well.

The solution in my mind is very simple for America (but in no way easy) :


and that applies to both people, US. corporations and (sigh) the government.
Too bad our economy is in large part supported now by people buying stuff they can't afford and or don't need.

Anyway, before I start preaching - check out the video if you have an hour and a half to kill. You might learn something.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

February results/March Goals

So all of my job related goals for the past month finally paid off it seems. I did get a job within my company which was the ultimate goal.

Goals by the end of February 2008 -

  1. Apply to 10 full time jobs that have a starting salary at at least 90% of current income - SUCCESS - I believe I achieved this. Obviously I stopped tracking this week.
  2. Go to 1 or more job fairs - SUCCESS - I did go to a job fair that wasn't all that fantastic. Luckily, I have a new job.
  3. Interview for at least 3 jobs at current company or similar-sized company -SUCCESS* Technically*, I would have had 3 interviews within my company if I hadn't gotten the new job. I got an invitation to an interview within my company this week and I happily explained that I had already accepted a job.
I am relieved and happy to say the least that my search for a full-time job was completed in a little over a month's time. It could have been much worse. I thank God and all who've helped me in this last month or so.

Now it's time to switch modes a little and focus more on alternate income.

Goals by the end of March 2008 -

  1. Decide on a part-time business to focus on for at least 2 months.
  2. Save $2750 or more into Wedding savings account.
  3. Do local and regional taxes
The above goals should all be achievable - I have about 4-5 ideas for part-time businesses, some involving partners, some without partners. The Wedding savings account took a hit today when the alternator in my car went bad and it had to be replaced - a $240 hit to the wedding account (with my fiance's permission) and a soon-to-be $292 hit to my savings account - once I pay off my credit card tomorrow. The local and regional taxes are ironically the most complicated tax forms I have to fill out so I've been procrastinating on getting them in. I already finished up my State and Federal taxes at the beginning of last month so hopefully, the IRS will be getting some money to me - any day now. It's kind of weird to me how the big government forms are so easy yet the small government forms are so complicated - you'd think it would be the reverse but I guess not.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

February 2008 - Net Worth

So, after a wild month I am back into the realm of the gainfully employed. I had a small dip in the Net Worth category mainly due to a) a reduction of contribution towards the 401k in order to save some more and b) switching over some personal savings to the wedding savings account.

Right now, the Wedding savings account has just cracked the $2000 mark. so we're making some head-way towards a debt-free wedding. Now, the challenge for the coming month will be saving just as much - while having a smaller primary income.

Hopefully I can find some alternate source of income other than the 2nd job.