Dave Ramsey Offers Free Report on Investing

I get all kinds of junk in my Gmail spam folder about special reports on investing. They also invite you to participate in some kind of “pump and dump” penny stock scam. That’s not what this is about.

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I follow Dave Ramsey and put a lot of stock in what he has to say. I listen to his podcast almost daily. One of his ELPs (Endorsed Local Providers) has a free report that Dave is making available on his website. Click the link and download it. Dave does not advocate getting out of the market. He advocates buying certain varieties of good growth stock mutual funds. Buying single stocks is too risky. When you buy single stocks, you’re at the mercy of idiots who short Apple whenever Steve Jobs sneezes or spends an extra minute in the bathroom. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when Apple stock suddenly drops several percent on any news story however inane.

Buying funds and planning to stay in for the long term is the strategy that pays off every time.

What A Person Who Manages Finances Looks Like

Ramit Sethi at the I Will Teach You To Be Rich blog has been running a series called “The Money Diaries”. It’s based on something called “The Sex Diaries” (which I haven’t read). People make note of how they’ve handled money for one week, the data is anonymized, and then posted on I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Most of the posts revolve around people who are basically broke, want to get ahead, but mostly bounce from one financial emergency to the next. It’s like many of us.

Today’s post is different. Here is somebody who lives life, yet doesn’t get knocked down every time something comes up. Read it. Memorize it. Start planning your own life and finances like this. I am slowly working on a blog post on a similar subject. Hopefully this will help me finish it.

No Note, No Mortgage?

I came across an interesting post on Vox Day’s blog recently. Apparently people facing foreclosure are asking their banks to show them the original note for the mortgage. Because mortgages have been bought and sold many times, most notes are misplaced in distant warehouses. I have no idea how successful this tactic is. I have an idea how ethical it is though…

I once had trouble with my note. When I bought my house in 2001, somehow I did not get a copy of the note in my mortgage paperwork, even though it’s supposed to be provided. In 2002 or 2003, I went to do a VA Streamline mortgage, and while assembling my documents, I couldn’t find my note. I looked all over for it. At the time, our mortgage was serviced by Washington Mutual, who had the note, but wanted to charge $20 to pull it from archives, copy it, and FedEx it to us. I was fuming over this. If our note had been digitized, we could have gotten an email copy for free. The title company, which should have given us a copy of the note in the first place, did not maintain our records. I was fuming.

One of the Happiest Days of Christina’s Life

I’ve had people ask me to put up pictures for some time now. I’m afraid to put them on Facebook because they claim to own your content. I doubt silly pictures of my kids could be commercialized by Facebook, but still, just because the possibility exists I’m hesitant to take the chance. I know FaceBook just reverted to an older Terms of Service, but still…

In October, I went to the Food and Wine show in Atlantic City with my wife and my father-in-law. My mother-in-law stayed behind to watch the boys. My sister-in-law had tickets that she never got to use, so we went back on Sunday (we used our tickets on Saturday) with the boys.

Continue reading

An Interesting Review of The Shack

This is the most hilarious review of The Shack that I’ve read yet. I recommended it as helpful.

I haven’t read The Shack. I don’t intend to read The Shack. It’s nothing personal; I just have a reading list that could stretch from here to Mars if I laid it out end to end. With everything else I want to read, The Shack just doesn’t interest me enough. However, I’ll pull a shameless plug. If you’re going to read The Shack, please consider buying it from my affiliate link.

Technorati Tags: ,

Rant: Valentine’s Cards and Men and Directions

This post is going to be little more than a rant. If you don’t like rants, please read some of my other work. I appreciate good rants. If they’re well written, they can be highly entertaining and they can make a point. Maddox is a master of the rant. I enjoy reading his rants.

Last night, my wife and I were at Wal-mart. I broke away to look at Valentine’s Day cards. The first thing I noticed is that a bunch of women were blocking the small section devoted to cards for wives. I don’t know why. I’m not aware of a high lesbian population in Deptford, NJ. I finally got an opening and went in to see what I could find. I like to go for the slightly humorous cards when I can find them. The first card I picked up sounded cool, except of course it had to make mention of "I get lost because I won’t ask directions." I’m a geek. I love humor, but I also love accuracy. I have a phone with a GPS and Google Maps, so seriously, there is no need to ask anyone but Google for directions. I put the card away. I picked up another one. Same thing: it had some decent self-depreciating humor but also had to bring up the "men always get lost because we’re too stubborn and stupid to waste precious time by stopping the car and getting out and waiting for some clueless gas station attendant who can’t speak English to give us directions". I editorialized that line a little bit. I put that card away and picked up another one. Same thing: 3 good points, but the direction thing. By this point, I was getting frustrated and decided that now my ultimate goal was to find a Valentine’s Day card that had nothing to do with men, driving, and directions.

Continue reading

Robert Scoble on 6 Tools to Help Tackle Overflowing Email

Robert Scoble recently wrote a column for Fast Company Magazine with 6 tools he uses and teaches others to use to help simplify email. Let’s face it, email is necessary these days. You might say it’s a necessary evil, but I don’t consider it evil. I consider email a tool, as I consider many other things tools. (Considering a person a tool is a different matter smile_tongue). As a tool, email can be used properly or misused. I have my personal email to a decent level of filtering, although I’m starting to build up a lot of Facebook and Twitter notifications, so I’m going to have to create a filter for those. I used to use Outlook rules, but I’ve found it’s much easier to filter my email on Gmail’s end.

I’ve posted entries on my blog about how to manage email before. I’ve been through several tools and systems over the years. One service that Robert Scoble mentions is Xobni. I’ve used Xobni in the past (It’s Inbox spelled backwards). When I first used it, Xobni was in closed beta, but it’s now in open beta. You can download and use it by giving your email address. One of the most useful features of Xobni is the ability to get a phone number from a contact if that person has ever included a number in an email to you. I also like the capability to get the address of another person that has been emailed by a contact. At one point, I needed a current email address for somebody at my church. I only had to click on one of the daily church emails and search in Xobni, and I got the current address. It was faster than emailing the church for the address.

I have dealt with ways to reduce your email frustration in the following posts. I’ve touched on email in others, but these specifically deal with the subject:

Two other services that Robert Scoble mentions are Clear Context and Gist. I’m currently configuring Clear Context, and I’m waiting for my download link for Gist. If either stands out to me as a useful tool, I’ll write a post about it.

Check out Scoble’s post if you find yourself drowning in email with no Coast Guard boat in sight.

The Words We Use…

Communication is a powerful medium when used correctly. Sometimes, the terms we use can make or break a deal.

I could probably make my point better if I spend some time working on this, but I just want to dash this post of quickly. Last month, I was really burning to get started toward a Master’s degree. The MBA was interesting to me, so I did some checking and sent off for information from several schools. I only heard back from one, in center city Philadelphia. The representative wanted to get me in for an interview right away, and we tentatively made one. I was going to go after work on the Tuesday after MLK day.

As the appointment approached, my wife and I decided that we needed to get the house back on the market. She’s also not eager to have me locked away working on course material so soon after finishing my bachelor’s degree, plus there’s the student loans and we’re not sure how we would pay for a Master’s program without going farther into debt, which neither of us wants right now. That and an appointment right after work on that day was a major inconvenience to my entire family, as we had plans every other day that week and my wife needed me on Tuesday for something else.

Continue reading

Risk Analysis vs. Pessimism

When I started paying attention to Dave Ramsey last year, my thinking on personal finances started to change. One thing I came to see differently is the no interest financing. My wife and I have used this several times. We’ll buy some new appliances at Lowes on a 12 month no-payments-no-interest deal, then sit on the balance and pay it off at the end of 12 months. My thinking on this changed suddenly after Dave Ramsey explained to a caller what the problem is: risk.

As an engineer I understand risk well enough. To put it simply, a risk is something that could happen to derail your project. It doesn’t mean that it will happen, but it could happen. It’s important to identify possible risks and then detail mitigating methods to stop those risks from causing problems. As the risk manager on my program, I deal with these closely enough. Some of my risks involve software being delivered late, hardware being delivered late, other systems not being ready for integration testing on time, etc. For each risk, mitigation methods must be maintained.

Continue reading

Ramit Sethi: 20 Questions that Financially Unprepared People Fear

Ramit Sethi at the I Will Teach You To Be Rich blog posted 20 Questions that Financially Unprepared People Fear. Do you fear any of these?

Many of the questions link to a post that Ramit made on the subject. I’ve been reading his blog for several months and find it to be very helpful. Here are a few of my favorites:

9. You’re always thinking about cutting down on spending. Ever thought about earning more money?

16. You’re always complaining about money, but have you read even one book on personal finance?