Go Big Or Go Home With This Trading Option

As a kid, my dad took me to the bowling alley a few times.  He bowled on a team with a guy that as a kid reminded me of a great big bear, except that he was happy, friendly, and generally lots of fun.  My dad worked with him in the IT industry until he left to take his hand at trading futures.  Turns out he was very good at it and is now a very successful, highly thought of trader.

I’ve always been intrigued by some of the high risk, high rewards trading options out there.  Things like futures trading, derivatives, and even options are things that I’ve taken the time to learn about, but just don’t have the risk tolerance or available capital to trade with.  While my dad’s friend was willing to take a chance and it paid off handsomely, I know it’s just not for me.

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Don’t Yell At Telemarketers

I love telemarketing calls.   Few things make me happier than picking up the phone, hearing a few seconds of silence, only to get pitched some product or service that I don’t want.  It just makes my day.  It all makes me so happy that instead of the ‘DO NOT CALL’ list, I wish they would invent the ‘PLEASE CALL’ list.  I’d be the first one to sign up.

OK, absolutely none of that is true. 

Truth be told, I hate telemarketing calls just as much as well…everybody else.

But I won’t yell at them.  Or be mean to them.

Why is that?

Because a job experience many years ago taught me a few things about telemarketers.

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Don’t Get Tunnel Vision When It Comes To Your Finances

When I was in high school, I worked for my aunt and uncle, who owned a collectibles shop.  At the time, figurines such as Precious Moments and Hummel were very popular, and their store became one of the more popular area destination for collectible enthusiasts.

Since most of the stuff was breakable and there was stock in the back room of many items, we would get the item from the back and unwrap it for the customer to look at while they were ringing up.  Occasionally, a customer would find something that they didn’t like about what they were buying.  Often paint was incorrect or maybe they would discover a small chip.  They would point out the defect and they’d ask for a different one.  Assuming we had more, we were happy to oblige.

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Budgeting Our Tax Refund

We haven’t received our tax refund yet, but I’ve already budgeted what we’re going to do with it.

Before any readers get up in arms, know this:

  • I have a ballpark idea of what our refund will be
  • I usually estimate conservatively, meaning that we usually get at least what I estimate
  • Most of it is going into savings

Using a couple of online estimators, I was able to forecast roughly what our tax refund will be from the feds.  I have a separate fund within our money market account (one of the many types of savings accounts we consider) where I allocate a portion of any blogging income aside to offset the increased income which does not get taxed throughout the year.  Add this to our state refund and this comprises the entire amount we’ll get back.

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Things Do Happen In Threes, Just Ask The Water Froggies

Last month I wrote about how we need a new dishwasher soon as our current 13-year old machine has sprung a small leak.

We were alerted to the leak by a small water froggie device that I had placed under the machine.  A while back, I got six of them from Woot.  They’re as you might think, a small device that looks like a frog that beeps when the sensors on the bottom come in contact with water.

I put the six devices around the house.  Under the dishwasher, under the washer, next to the hot water tank (two), under the kitchen sink, and under the bathroom sink that gets used most often.

For now, the dishwasher is still running. I have a lid from a plastic bin that I put under the dishwasher that catches the small amount of water that comes out.  It actually evaporates pretty quickly, so although I check it every now and then, the leak hasn’t gotten any worse.  I’m hoping for another three months as I know there are usually pretty good sales on appliances around Memorial Day.

But, as it turns out, the water froggies have been busy!

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The Wrong Thing To Focus On When Re-Financing

We re-financed last year as have many homeowners who are taking advantage of historically low rates.

One thing that I’ve seen in some of the discussions about re-financing is a focus on the wrong thing.  See if you can spot what’s wrong with the following hypothetical statement:

“Our current 30 year rate is 6% but we’re able to get our re-financed 30-year loan at 4.25%.  This will save us $350 per month!”

On the surface, this looks like great news all around.  Lower interest rate, saving more money, what could possibly be wrong?

Simple: The focus on the monthly payment is misguided.

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Figuring Out the “Where” Of Retirement

Planning for retirement involves asking – and answering – a number of important questions. When are you going to retire? How are you going to save money for your post-career life? What investment vehicles (IRAs, 401Ks, money markets) will you use to insure the optimal amount of savings? Certainly, there are plenty of questions to ask and factors to consider whenever retirement comes to mind.

But while you’re busy answering the whens, hows, and whats of retirement planning, make sure not to forget an important but oft-overlooked question: the “where.” Specifically, where do you envision retiring when the time comes? You don’t need to have concrete and detailed plans, but it’s important to have a good conception of your retirement location when planning savings and spending during your work life.

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The First Step In Organizing Your Tax Information

Now that it’s February, chances are that you’ve received most (and hopefully all) of your tax documentation.

The problem I’ve found is getting it all together.  So much mail comes in that sometimes it’s easy to overlook something, not to mention the fact that we get electronic statements for more than a few things, which can save on paper and such, but require you to actually print those tax documents.

Getting everything organized can be a challenge.

For me, what I’ve found works best is to rely on the fact that we are creatures of habit.

What does this mean?

Well, most of us probably work at the same job, have accounts at the same banks or brokerage firms, give to many of the same charities, etc.

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What I Got Done In January

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the list of 500 or so things to do this year.  It’s mostly a list of small tasks (though there are a few time-consumers on there), that if accomplished, would keep things around the house clutter free, up to date on maintenance, and just a better sense of order.

Order is good 🙂

I was asked to publish the list, but since there’s so much on there, I thought I’d take a first stab at looking what I accomplished (and didn’t) for the month of January.  Seeing how it goes, I’ll consider publishing future monthly updates.

Here’s the list, as well as the planned recurrence and any noteworthy blurbs about the task in question:

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