My Own Home Improvements

Last week I wrote about ways to improve the value of your home. To show that I really mean what I write, here I am practicing what I preach. My low cost home improvements consist of: Painting walls and replacing wall fixtures Installing a ceiling fan to a ceiling box Adding low cost and creative decorations Adding low cost window treatments Installing lights and electrical work through family/friend connections I cannot recall some of the prices of the items I bought, but what... Read More

Leasing a New Vehicle

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions when it comes to leasing vehicles. A lot of money gets tied into our vehicles, so let’s set the record straight when it comes to leasing vehicles. What is vehicle leasing? Vehicle leasing is the leasing (or the use of) a motor vehicle for a fixed period of time. It is commonly offered by dealers as an alternative to vehicle purchase but is widely used by businesses as a highly cost-effective method of acquiring (or having the... Read More

What is Greed?

I was chatting with a friend a few days ago and we were discussing business and investment opportunities. As an off-question my friend asked what I would do if I had Warren Buffett’s money. I half-jokingly said I would build a race track and race around it all day in all sorts of exotic cars. I say half-jokingly because given the chance I would love to do that, but I know there is no way I get get away with doing that while amassing and maintaining that sort of wealth at... Read More

Easter Spending Habits

Easter is tomorrow and what better way for an investor to look at it is there than by looking at consumer spending habits! Here are the juicy statistical projections for Easter 2011 by the National Retail Federation: the average consumer is expected to spend $131.04 on everything from candy to clothes – up from last year’s $118.60 but not quite to pre-recession levels Total spending on Easter related merchandise is expected to reach $14.6 billion Candy will account for... Read More

5 Simple ways to increase the value of your home

With the current state of the real estate market, many are looking for worthwhile ways to increase the value of their home – without breaking the bank. I am one of those people. Here are 5 simple and relatively cheaper DIY tasks that can possibly increase the actual value and perceived value of you home: Paint your walls – especially with older or scratched and stained walls, a fresh coat of paint will breathe new life and can completely change the atmosphere in a... Read More

Setting and Managing Investing Expectations

Here is the cliché response to winning the lottery: I would quit my job, pay off all my debt, spend a little on myself, invest the rest, and retire. So what does it mean to “invest the rest?” When posed with the question I have heard many responses: Put it into savings and live off the interest Put it in mutual funds Put it into stocks Diversify Start a business So what is the correct thing to invest into? Well, it really depends on what you want from it. Many... Read More

Political Talking Point for Taxes: The Laffer Curve

Benjamin Franklin said it best, “In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Taxes and tax rates have very large actual and psychological effects on both the  economy and investments. Not a day goes by without hearing news or issues related to taxes – especially when relating to budgets and deficits. How to get enough revenue for the government is a constant battle. Within political discussions, there seems to have emerged two distinct camps: those... Read More

Fuel efficient cars won’t always save you money

Podcast: Play in new window | Download While cars are some of the worst investments that can be made, the necessity to travel long distances for daily activities pushes need ahead of investment. That doesn’t stop many from viewing it as a long term “investment.” Many view the value in a car over many years and compare a combination of cost, maintenance, and fuel efficiency. Fuel prices have surged and there are already some locations with fuel prices... Read More

A Brief Tutorial on Google Finance Portfolios

  Google provides a plethora of free and powerful tools, however, they do not highly publicize or tout their free tools very often. One such free tool I have found extremely useful is the Portfolio section in Google finance. It allows a user to: Create multiple portfolios Track multiple lists of stocks Track custom stock data to track personal stocks Track custom stock data to track hypothetical stock transactions – for those wanting to experiment. Stream customized... Read More

When culture hurts the economy

The recent devastating earthquakes in Japan have hurt not only their own economy, but have also affect industries around the world. Car manufacturers and especially nuclear energy will be set back for years. With the rebuilding anticipation for Japan comes a quiet movement that can put Japan’s economy at stake for a significant dip. The bad news is that this movement is part of the national culture in Japan. Not known to many outside Japan is the concept of Fukinshin, which... Read More