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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Well Played Mr. Jobs

I hate to hear about anyone having to take medical leave, because it usually means they are dealing with something quite significant. What a wonderful move that Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, did. When he announced the need to take a second medical leave in the last 3 years, it was bound to affect the stock price of Apple. This was the man that started the company and kept it going through 5 different decades.

When I look at a company, I look for management that is in it for the good of the company and shareholders. Steve Jobs announced his medical leave the day before Apple announced incredible earnings for the 4th quarter of 2010.

This will allow Apple to springboard off of this financial news and continue life without Steve Jobs as a daily presence.

This is a company move that makes me confident in having ownership in Apple.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Costco Gas: A simple cost-analysis

As I was leaving Costco today, I decided to grab some gas on the way out. It was only $3.11/gallon and I figured I was here and could cross two items off my list with one trip. I drove to the gas pump area and saw 4 lanes with 10 - 15 cars backed up per lane. I didn't need gas that bad and went on my way.

About 30 seconds after I left Costco, I ran across an Arco that was on the same street. They gas at Arco was selling for $3.12/gallon. I had to wait for one car, filled up and went on my way.

I did a little research and found out that it burns up to 1/10th of a gallon of gas to idle for 30 minutes. At $3.11 this is about 31 cents. There is also additional wear and tear on your engine(minimal, but still there), environmental consequences, and aggravation of sitting for 30 minutes. There is also the cost of 30 minutes of your life. What could do you for 30 minutes that would be more beneficial that sucking the SUV fumes of the vehicle ahead of you.

As you proceed throughout your day, don't get caught up in the hype of "Deals!!". Going 5 extra miles to save 10 cents with a coupon is not cost effective or worth the time.

Saving money is critical to long term financial growth, but sometimes that seemingly obvious savings have some "fine print" to think about.

Friday, January 14, 2011

From the "Just Plain Fun Read" File

Vicki Passmore over at Walletpop posted this great article about hidden meanings in popular brand logos. It is a quick and really fun read.

Hidden Meanings in 12 Popular Logos
by Vicki Passmore

Price of Gas Got You Down??

There is a great website call

It basically uses members that have signed up to track gas prices. You can sign up and post gas prices as you see them throughout the day. You can even earn points and trade those in for chances to win prizes.

I haven't actually become a member, but I do use it to find out gas prices. I found that if I get gas near my workplace, I end up saving almost 20 cents a gallon compared to near my house.

It is another easy way to save a few bucks each time you fill up your tank.

If you use the gas stations that take cash or debit only, you tend to save quite a bit on gas.

I are all whining "But they charge a 45 cent fee". This is true, but look at this for a moment:

If you put 15 gallons in your tank. It just takes a savings of 3 cents per gallon to cover that 45 cent fee. I am finding that I save at least 13 cents by going to Arco over the other credit card accepting stations.

I will admit that it is hard for me, because I am a rewards card addict. I love every mile I can get. Unfortunately I decided that the the 15 cents(1 mile = 1 cent in airline ticket value) is not worth missing out on a few dollars of savings.

Dow Jones Closed at its Highest Point since June 2008

The Fall of Bear Stearns occured just weeks before this point.

Only 8 months before, in October 2007, the market hit its all time peak of 14164.43.

We still have a long ways to go, but we are certainly heading in the right direction if you choose to use the value of companies as a barometer.

Unemployment is still 60% higher then it was in June 2008, so we certainly still have our challenges. It appears companies are learning to do more with less, which unfortunately doesn't help our unemployment levels to stay in line with economic growth. Eventually the growth in production has to bring new jobs to the people of America.

I am not a diehard Obama fan, but June 2008 was just the beginning of the Obama hysteria and the economy hasn't slowed down sense.

I think he can pretty much secure himself a re-election on that stat alone.

Exciting News From Southwest Airlines

For those of you that fly Southwest, they are changing their Loyalty
program. Instead of the credit system they currently use, it will become a point system based on ticket fare and miles traveled.

I love the service of Southwest and am excited to take advantage of this new program!

Check it out at: Southwest Airlines

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bargain Babe is celebrating 2 years by giving away some great prizes!!

Go Check out the Bargain Babe blog to win some really cool Prizes!! It is her 2nd Anniversary and she is sharing the celebration with us. There is a $250 Macy's gift card and several other great prizes.

What is better than 1 Fully Funded Roth IRA???

2 Fully Funded Roth IRA's!!! I am getting married in March and I am getting ready to open a Roth IRA for my fiancee. I have already maxed mine out for 2010 and hope to get a big chunk in hers for 2010 from our tax returns!

For those of you that don't know what a Roth IRA is:

A Roth IRA is a retirement account that you contribute to with after tax dollars. Your taxes are removed from your paycheck automatically, so your money after taxes can be deposited into a Roth account.

The benefit of a Roth IRA is that you don't pay taxes again on the gains, assuming you withdraw them after 5 years and the age of 59 1/2. The contributions you made can be withdrew tax free at any time.

For Example:

2011: I deposit my maximum contribution of $5000 throughout the year. The balance at the end of the year is $5500. Rock on for a 10% gain first off!! I can then withdraw up to $5000 during 2012 with no penalty. The $500 can not be withdrawn until it has been 5 years or you turn 59 1/2.

There are a few exceptions to these rules, but for the sake of basic knowledge this works.

It is a great tool to invest for your future and a good starting point for those just starting out.

If you have any questions about a Roth IRA, do not hesitate to contact me directly.

I am not ready for Rule #1.

I speak so much about how my blog is for those that are intimidated by fancy words, equations, and concepts. Then I try to start off with Rule #1, which I am not ready for. I still want to try the Rule at some point, but I still need more basics. I apologize for getting too big for my britches and promise to take baby steps from now on!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

HSBC Drops Rate Again!!

For the 2nd time in 6 weeks, HSBC has dropped their online savings account interest rate. It was dropped to .90% as of today. This comes on top of a drop to 1.0% on November 30th.

It is still better than a typical bank savings account of .30%, but you have to look around. Remember that online savings are a bit less liquid than a standard bank account. It takes 4 or 5 days to get it from an online account, as opposed to same day with a regular bank.

I have an account at BECU and it pays 6.17% for the first $500 and .50% for the rest.

You just have to consider how important it is to have money making .90% that is not completely liquid.

First Rule of Rule #1!!

I have to confess that I tried to shortcut Rule #1. I am still grasping the concept and tried to track a stock that met about 3 out of 5 rules. The results are a loss of $330 of my fake $10,000. I may need a bit more time of studying Rule #1 logic to start the practice.

This just goes to show that shortcuts and doing things halfway, never work out!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Book Review "Rule #1"

First off...I was a business major. There is a reason I stayed away from English classes with a 10 foot pole!! I figured I would at least give a little blurb each time I read a book that was relevant to this site.

Rule #1: The Simple Strategy for Successful Investing in Only 15 Minutes a Week!

This book is written by Phil Town. Phil is a former river rafting guide that learned from his mentor "The Wolf" how to pick stocks. He uses a whole lot of references to Benjamin Graham & Warren Buffett, which is an easy way to sound credible.

According to him, his Rule #1 investing comes down to 4 things:

1. Find a wonderful business
2. Know what it's worth as a business
3. Buy it at 50 percent off
4. Repeat until very rich it sounds quite easy and cheesy. A whole lot of books are written by people that claim to make us rich overnight. My question is: If it is so easy and only takes 15 minutes, why isn't everyone multi-millionaires.

I was and continue to be a bit skeptical. He basically breaks down, by statistics, some ways to come across businesses that are selling for less than they are worth. You then buy shares in this company and sell when they are over priced and buy again when they are under priced, etc. etc.

I went online and couldn't find anyone reliable that had tried the system. I was curious if it really works. So I am going to try it.

I don't want to exhaust you with all the details of the book without knowing how legit it really is.

I am going to do paper trading(not real money) for awhile and see what my results are. Stay Tuned!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My Starting Point

I wanted to give you an idea of where we stand to start out this journey(As of 1/9/2011) :


Cash Savings: $3,064
Roth IRA: $41,444
Combined 401K's: $2,242
Condo Value: $180,000
Total: $226,750


Student Loans: $13,731 @ 3.625%
Mortgage: $181,284 @ 4.5%
Credit Cards: $1651(on interest free promotional accounts)
Total: $196,666

Net Worth(Assets - Liabilities):


Two 30 somethings with a 5 year old and about to get married with a net worth barely above $30,000!! YIKES!!

We obviously need to step it up a notch in order to have money for college, retirement, food, water, air!!
I just finished reading a book called Pilgrimage to Warren Buffett's Omaha : A Hedge Fund Manager's Dispatches from Inside the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting by Jeff Matthews. I realized that I want to be the next Warren Buffett. I love the idea of studying companies and management and deciding who I want to own. At this point, I am looking at owning small chunks(Shares)of companies, whereas Mr. Buffett buys the whole company. This is one guys journey, with limited starting resources, to become a successful and educated investor. I hope those that are overwhelmed by the terms IRA, 401K, Roth Ira, Dow Jones, and investing in general well see that anyone can learn and have fun growing wealth!