Archives For February 2012

Opening paragraph of Too Big Not to Fail in this week’s Economist:

SECTIONS 404 and 406 of the Dodd-Frank law of July 2010 add up to just a couple of pages. On October 31st last year two of the agencies overseeing America’s financial system turned those few pages into a form to be filled out by hedge funds and some other firms; that form ran to 192 pages. The cost of filling it out, according to an informal survey of hedge-fund managers, will be $100,000-150,000 for each firm the first time it does it. After having done it once, those costs might drop to $40,000 in every later year.


The three randomly-selected winners of the latest AFM giveway, which is a Kindle edition of Economics Made Simple, are:

#7 – Brian Rink

#10 – JQ

#16 – Josh L.

Congrats to the three winners. The rest of you who didn’t win, the book can be purchased from Amazon for less than $6. It might make a great gift for a kid in your life (provided they’ll read it).

More giveaways to come.

In light of the videos I posted earlier today, I thought it would be cool to give away a Kindle edition of one of the author’s books titled Economics Made Simple.

If you’re interested in winning a copy (I have not read the book, I only thought it sounded interesting and the price is perfect for a giveaway), leave a comment below. I’ll randomly pick three winners on Friday.

Just remember…

1. This is for the KINDLE EDITION of the book.

2. You can only enter one time.

Economics is Fun Video Series

February 15, 2012

Okay, this is cool. One of the organizations I follow on facebook, posted a video from YouTube series called “Economics is Fun.” I searched YouTube and found seven of the videos and organized them here for your enjoyment. They’re short (each video is around 2 minutes long) and easy to understand. I wish the sound was better.

Share these with your kids. Let’s make a difference!

Economics is Fun – Part 1: Value

Economics is Fun – Part 2: Price

Economics is Fun – Part 3: Specialization

Economics is Fun – Part 4: Trade

Economics is Fun – Part 5: Time

Economics is Fun – Part 6: Money

Economics is Fun – Part 7: Middlemen

1. How to Find Financial Accord
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share a post I came across reminding us how important it is to communicate with your spouse about finances.

2. 10 Mistakes People Make in Debt
I think a better title would have been “10 Mistakes Made by People Who Are in Debt” – the difference being that people who are in debt are usually in that situation for a reason. My favorites: “Thinking they deserve everything even if they can’t afford it.” and “Continuing with the same behavior and feeling powerless.”

3. How to Protect Your Smartphone from Identity Theives and Hackers
I’m choosing to ignore the misspelling in the title of this post because the tips are right on.

4. This Post Will Save You From a Life of Servitude
Okay, so this might not be the best comparison for those of us in Southeast Texas: “Credit card debt is an inescapable condition of life for most people, as much a constant as snow in winter or the sun rising in the east.” Still, the idea of the post is to catch people before they make stupid choices that land them in debt (aka “servitude”). Worthwhile read.

5. Roberts Assails Hollywood ‘Ageism’
Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond) spoke in front of a congressional panel to complain about “ageism” in the television and movie industry. My questions: There’s a congressional panel? While complaining about the possibility of going on welfare (NOT a joke), did it never occur to Ms. Roberts to possibly find another line of work if she is unable to find work as an actress? You can’t make this stuff up.

6. Are You a Mental Accountant?
Still not sure what a “mental accountant” is, but this post has some good thoughts on the way you think about what you spend.

7. How You Can Build Wealth
Even though I’m not a “young adult,” I’m still assuming I can put this information to use. Interesting discussion on the difference between active and passive income.

8. 20 Best Ways To Save Money By NOT Being Normal
Who wants to be normal when that means being in debt and living paycheck to paycheck? Some interesting tips to use. My favorites: “Get Rid of Your LandLine” and “Save money on your home entertainment.” My LEAST favorite (or ones that I don’t think are worth the effort put into them) are: “Go out to dinner for half price” (I end up spending more money on eating out if I try to buy from or and “Use Ebates when shopping online.”

9. What to Look for in Mutual Funds – Part 1 and Part 2
Excellent (simple) overview of how to judge what mutual funds will be a good investment.

10. Why Ron Paul Says It’s Ok to Feed Kids
Just because we need something political this week, here’s an interesting look at social programs that feed kids.

So here we go with the first chapter of the first book in what I’m calling the “Motivational Monday” series.

I picked Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich as our first book because it’s considered a classic in the personal development realm.

Before we begin, let me say that some of the ideas presented in the book will seem old fashioned and even hokey. That’s due to the fact that the book was first published in 1937. Also, some of the events in the book may look different to us now that we have the benefit of hindsight. That said, let’s dive into chapter one of Think and Grow Rich.

Chapter One – Introduction

The book opens with the story of Edwin C. Barnes. A man who basically started with nothing and “thought” his way into a business partnership with Thomas Edison selling Edison’s dictating machine. The point of the story—and the point of the book—is that Barnes first thought about what he wanted (DESIRED) before he pursued it. He didn’t get his desire fulfilled immediately. Rather, Edison gave him a job and Barnes worked hard until the opportunity presented itself. This brings me to one of my favorite quotes from the first chapter:

That is one of the tricks of opportunity. It has a sly habit of slipping in by the back door, and often it comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat. Perhaps this is why so many fail to recognize opportunity.

It’s Hill’s contention that knowing what you want first is the starting point to success. The second point is internalizing that want to the point that you can think of nothing else. The third important point to take home from chapter one is that one must be will to push through temporary defeat in pursuit of success. He illustrates this point with a story about a man named Darby who set out to mine gold. He discovered a vein of gold that disappeared during his mining activities. So, he quit and sold his mining equipment. The person who bought that land from Darby, brought in an engineer who figured out that a fault line had disrupted the vein of gold and that it continued three feet from where Darby had stopped mining. The point: don’t give up. The second point: surround yourself with experts.

That is the bulk of chapter one. I left out several other details that you’ll want to read about in the book.

So, that brings us to the main question:

What is your desire? What is it that you want for your life?

This is a tough question for me. I simply don’t know. That’s been a problem all my life. I have never had a major definitue purpose other than “I want to be well-off,” which is way too vague.

I’m not a happy person. I mean, I am happy, but I haven’t been happy here on AFM for a while. I guess I have allowed the happenings of the last several years to weigh down on me. I post a lot about the mortgage crisis and the seeming irresponsibility of all those involved. But…where has that gotten us? Nowhere, really.

This has been on my mind a lot lately.

I want to add an element to AFM that hasn’t been here in a long time. That element is optimism. Optimism that embraces personal responsibility (something that seems to have been snuffed out by the victim mentality). Optimism that drives change.

That doesn’t mean that we don’t need to look at the events of the day with a critical eye. We do. One of the things I am most proud of about AFM is our ability to discuss topics without getting (too) angry. But, I want to go from simply grousing to helping people understand how to move through it.

How do I plan on doing this? Well, through topics like:

• How to be a better employee

• How to find the job you were meant to do

• How to set goals

• How to get out of debt

• Studying Napoleon Hill’s “Law of Success” and other personal improvement literature (the classics)

• How to save for the future

• Teaching your kids about personal finances

• Interviews with successful business owners to find out what does and does not work

There’s more. Lots more.

So, if you’re interested, join me here on Monday morning as we’ll go over chapter one of Napoleon Hill’s classic, Think and Grow Rich*. It’s a short book and an easy read. The perfect place to start. Most libraries have copies. You might even be able to find it for free online. I did a search and found a pdf copy but couldn’t get it to open. You can also purchase the Kindle edition* for a whopping $.99.

Who’s with me?


*Affiliate Link