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Chart of the Day: The Ho-Hum Dow in 2015

By JLP | August 19, 2015

Below is a YTD chart for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (price return, which does not include dividends). I added a trendline. As you can see, it can’t get much flatter than that.

Flat Dow in 2015

Topics: Investing | 1 Comment »

Food for Thought for This Sunday

By JLP | August 16, 2015

I saw this on facebook this morning and it really struck me…

Food for Thought

Topics: Miscellaneous | 1 Comment »

What Personal Finance-Related Blogs Are You Reading These Days?

By JLP | August 16, 2015

The last couple of years have been a blur. My blogging took a backseat to getting our old house ready to sell. Then, once it sold, we had to move to an apartment for several weeks, then finally to our new house. Between adjusting to our new house and my total lack of motivation, I have not kept up with blogging and the personal finance blog realm.

So, tell me:

What personal finance blogs are people reading these days?

You can skip the GetRichSlowly’s, the SimpleDollar’s, and the other “big” blogs. I already know about them. I’m looking for newer blogs.

If you know of one, please share. If it’s your own blog, please make it known in your comment.

Topics: Blogging | 10 Comments »

Bank of America is a Joke

By JLP | August 15, 2015

Below is the following note I received from Bank of America regarding our checking account with them:

Beginning on August 14, 2015, your Classic Interest Checking – Advantage Relationship account will change to an Advantage with Tiered Interest Checking account. The monthly maintenance fee for your Bank of America Advantage® with Tiered Interest Checking account will be $25. You can avoid this fee when you meet any ONE of the following requirements during each monthly statement cycle: Keep an average daily balance in your checking or a linked Regular Savings account of $5,000 or more OR Keep a $10,000 average daily combined balance in linked checking, savings, Money Market Savings, CD and IRA accounts OR Keep an outstanding balance on a linked installment loan or line of credit of $15,000 or more OR Keep total combined assets in eligible, linked Merrill Edge or Merrill Lynch investment accounts of $15,000 or more OR have a linked Bank of America first mortgage loan that we service.

$25 PER MONTH if you don’t meet their requirements!

We only have a Bank of America account because my wife’s car is financed through them. We have a had a checking account with them over the years because our mortgage was through them and we got a discount on the loan if we had a checking account through them. We have since moved, but still have the car loan and I’m using the checking account as a savings account for property taxes.

“At least it’s an interest-bearing account…”

Get this: their interest rate is a something like .01% (that’s 1/100th of 1%). One month we received $.03 in interest, but were charged a $3.00 check image fee for ONE check.

I cannot wait to cut ties with Bank of America.

Topics: Banking | 4 Comments »

Want to Make the World a Better Place? Do This.

By JLP | August 10, 2015

I recently listened to the Audible version of Russ Robert’s book, How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness*. It’s a great little book. I highly recommend it. This passage towards the end of the book stood out to me:

“Do you want to make the world a better place? Talk to your kids. Go on a date with your spouse without checking your e-mail. Read more Adam Smith and Jane Austen and P. G. Wodehouse and less of the Daily Kos and the Drudge Report. Smile at someone you don’t know or even like. Be nice to your parents, because you can never repay what they did for you. None of this necessarily shows up in some measure of gross domestic product. These actions don’t help pay the bills. They aren’t usually on our to-do list, so we don’t get the satisfaction of checking them off. A week can go by and nothing will happen if we don’t do them. But I think they are the stuff of the good life.”

One thing I would like to add to this quote in our quest of making the would a better place is: DO YOUR JOB!

Just think of all the time we would save if people just did their jobs. Whether it be delivering papers, serving meals, painting buildings, building houses, etc., people should just do their jobs. Martin Luther King said it best when he said, “Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.”

Think of how much better people would feel about themselves if they just did their jobs. Call me crazy, but I don’t think a person can be truly happy when they don’t take pride in their work.

Let’s make the world a better place.

*Affiliate Link

Topics: Best Advice | 2 Comments »

Oops! One Company’s Efforts to Combat “Income Inequality” Backfires

By JLP | August 3, 2015

NOTE: Though I am referencing an article on a conservative website, this is NOT a political post. It’s an ECONOMICS post.

I read this article this morning. In case you’re not familiar, Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments announced recently that he was going to set his company’s minimum wage at $70,000 per year. A noble goal, according to some. The media went nuts. Everyone was singing this guy’s praises.

Well, it turns out it wasn’t such a great idea.

Actions meet (unintended) consequences:

What few outsiders realized, however, was how much turmoil all the hoopla was causing at the company itself. To begin with, Gravity was simply unprepared for the onslaught of emails, Facebook posts and phone calls. The attention was thrilling, but it was also exhausting and distracting. And with so many eyes focused on the firm, some hoping to witness failure, the pressure has been intense.

More troubling, a few customers, dismayed by what they viewed as a political statement, withdrew their business. Others, anticipating a fee increase — despite repeated assurances to the contrary — also left. While dozens of new clients, inspired by Mr. Price’s announcement, were signing up, those accounts will not start paying off for at least another year. To handle the flood, he has already had to hire a dozen additional employees — now at a significantly higher cost — and is struggling to figure out whether more are needed without knowing for certain how long the bonanza will last.

Two of Mr. Price’s most valued employees quit, spurred in part by their view that it was unfair to double the pay of some new hires while the longest-serving staff members got small or no raises. Some friends and associates in Seattle’s close-knit entrepreneurial network were also piqued that Mr. Price’s action made them look stingy in front of their own employees.

Then potentially the worst blow of all: Less than two weeks after the announcement, Mr. Price’s older brother and Gravity co-founder, Lucas Price, citing longstanding differences, filed a lawsuit that potentially threatened the company’s very existence. With legal bills quickly mounting and most of his own paycheck and last year’s $2.2 million in profits plowed into the salary increases, Dan Price said, “We don’t have a margin of error to pay those legal fees.”

The author of the article sums it up nicely:

It didn’t work for two reasons. First, a business can’t survive when employees can’t generate enough value to give you a big enough return on what you pay them. And if they can’t do that because you paid them too much, that’s not on them. It’s on you. Second, people don’t appreciate what they haven’t really earned. You think they’re going to be grateful and loyal to you because you were so good to them. It doesn’t work that way.

Topics: Economics | 4 Comments »

Wise Words From Goethe

By JLP | July 24, 2015

I read this in a book and thought I would share it:

Are you in earnest? Seek this very minute,
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
Only engage and the mind grows heated.
Begin and then the task will be completed.

Happy Friday!

Topics: Quote of the Day | No Comments »

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