Dec 16 2011

Ron Paul Needs to Be the Next U.S. President

By |December 16th, 2011|Blog, Economics / Politics|23 Comments|

Ron Paul needs to be the next President of the United States of America.

Wait… huh? What does this have to do with personal finance?

Did you lose money as a result of the housing bubble bursting? Or maybe you lost your job, or your house lost tens of thousands of dollars in value. Would you be better off financially today if you could have seen the recession of 2008 coming in way back in 2003? Of course you would.

Ron Paul predicted the housing bubble bursting five years before it happened, and quite simply your money is in serious danger unless Ron Paul is our next president.

So Ron Paul knows economics, but why else does he deserve to be president?

I’ll let our founding fathers tell you why.

“We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our selection between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude.” – Samuel Adams

Washington D.C. has a spending problem. The deficit under President Obama is the highest it has ever been. Before him, it was the highest its ever been under Bush. Under both parties, the federal government has gotten used to spending well beyond its means, and the isn’t one other candidate with a real plan to cut spending.

Ron Paul has a plan to cut $1 trillion of spending in the first year. It would essentially bring us back to 2006 spending levels. Some people think cutting $1 trillion is outrageous and dangerous. I don’t think federal spending in 2006 was at dangerously low levels. Do you?

America is $15 trillion in debt. If you count unfunded liabilities (for example, all the Social Security and Medicare money we owe to our seniors), it’s closer to $75 trillion! Any honest person realizes that is completely unsustainable and needs to be fixed immediately.

If we don’t want the US economy to destroy itself and become like Greece or Italy, we have to cut spending. Ron Paul is the only person running for president who has laid out a specific plan to dramatically cut spending and balance the federal budget within one presidential term.

“The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible.” – George Washington
“Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” – Thomas Jefferson

Ron Paul believes in non-interventionism, just like Thomas Jefferson. He believes in diplomacy instead of bombing people and property in foreign countries. He believes in treating all countries as equals.

He does not believe in being the overprotective smothering parent of some countries that would be better off with their own sovereignty (Israel). He also doesn’t believe in being a bully who drops bombs and invades any country that has a nasty dictator and oil reserves.

Extremists in the Middle East do not hate America because of our freedom or our lifestyle. We’ve been free for centuries, so why haven’t they tried to attack us before?

Furthermore, Switzerland has been free for centuries and is a much more convenient target. Why don’t the terrorists attack them instead of the US? Maybe it’s because Switzerland hasn’t put soldiers on their holy land and dropped bombs on their neighbors’ homes.

Ron Paul believes that if we need to go to war to protect ourselves against an imminent threat to America, it should be declared by Congress, we should fight it to win, and we should come back home. He believes in a very strong DEFENSE, while at the same time a significantly reduced MILITARY.

Some people call his foreign policy “radical”. Sorry, but I don’t live in a world where the policy of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson is more radical than losing thousands of American soldiers and killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi’s in an unnecessary, undeclared war.

Ron Paul wants to bring our troops home from everywhere (not just Iraq and Afghanistan) so we can protect our own borders and get out of other people’s business so they don’t have any reason to hate us. He’s the only candidate running today with a Jeffersonian, non-interventionist, common sense foreign policy.

“A private central bank issuing the public currency is a greater menace to the liberties of the people than a standing army.” – Thomas Jefferson

How is it even possible for us to engage our military in never-ending wars, spend trillions of dollars on entitlements, and have the federal government involved in almost every aspect of our lives? The only way America can afford all those things is to print the money to do it.

Ron Paul understands that a private central bank enables massive government spending, inflates the money supply, makes us all poorer, and destroys the foundation of our economy. A business exists to create profit. How then can you trust a private business to print money? It makes absolutely no sense.

We need sound money for our economy to thrive, and that can only happen when the Federal Reserve turns off the printing press. Sorry folks, but I don’t trust private bankers (or politicians for that matter) to “do the right thing” when they literally have the ability to print money at their discretion. Money needs to be backed by physical assets such as gold and silver again, and Ron Paul will get us there.

Help Ron Paul Win!

If you believe in the principles of our founders and the principles of a free market, I strongly encourage you do to a little research on Ron Paul.

If you like what you read, there are a lot of things you can do to help Ron Paul win the Republican nomination and restore liberty to America.

Ron Paul is in a great position to win the Iowa caucuses and potentially take first or second in the New Hampshire primary. If he can do this, he has a real shot of winning the nomination and fixing America. Please do whatever you can to bring real change to Washington D.C.

Dec 15 2011

Save $220 on Car Insurance for Defensive Driving

By |December 15th, 2011|Blog, Personal Finance Tips|6 Comments|

Is there anything worse than car insurance? Last year I wrote about how I have a flawless driving record and am still paying way too much for car insurance.

Over the 10.5 years I’ve been driving, I’ve paid car insurance companies roughly $100 a month. It was obviously higher than $100 when I was 16, and it’s lower today than $100 today, but I think a $100/month average is pretty reasonable.

$100 * 12 months * 10.5 years = $12,600

And how many claims have I made? None. I’ve never received a penny of benefit from the car insurance companies I’ve had over the years. If I could have just kept that money, I’d have enough to pay for a brand new car in cash.

Car Insurance is Necessary

Don’t get me wrong. As much as I hate paying for something I’ve never used (and hope I’ll never have to use), I do understand it is important to protect yourself against the huge financial loss you might incur in an accident.

Not to mention the fact that driving without car insurance is illegal in Texas. If you want the privilege of driving, you need car insurance. I completely understand.

I just want to pay as little as possible for my insurance. I logged into my account the other day and found a great way to save money on car insurance.

Take a defensive driving course.

Spend $25 and 5 Hours to Save Hundreds!

I have car insurance through GEICO, and it’s pretty cheap. I’ve shopped around, and nobody else has been as low as the $70.10 I pay a month with GEICO. However, I can make it even lower by taking defensive driving.

car accident

photo credit: flickr.com/27248028@N02

According to my online account, I can save $41.30 every six months just for taking a defensive driving course. And the best part is the course is good for 36 months. That’s three years of saving $41.30 every six months.

That comes to a total of $247.80 saved over three years. Subtract the $25 it costs for the course, and that’s $222.80 in total savings. All just for taking a 5 hour defensive driving course.

By my math, that means you’ll be paid $44.56 per hour to take defensive driving. I don’t know about you, but that’s a heck of a lot more than I make at my job.

The Best Way to Take Defensive Driving

The best way to take defensive driving is to do it online. There’s really no other option. I’ve done it many times before (to get rid of a ticket and now for cheaper insurance) and it’s very easy. There are lots of websites out there and you can Google it to find one, but I use Comedy Defensive Driving.

It’s pretty boring, but the nice thing is you don’t have to pay very close attention while you’re doing it. You can write a blog, surf the web, or do whatever else you want as it plays in the background. You just have to answer 3 of 4 questions correctly at the end of each lesson.

Most of the questions are simply common sense, although a few are tricky. If you miss more than 1, you have to retake that section and try again.

If you’re going to use this service, they usually charge $29.95. However, just do a google search for “Comedy Defensive Driving Coupon Code” and you’ll find a coupon code to save $4.95 and just pay $25 bucks.

Saving Money has Never Been so Easy

This was a really easy way for me to save money on car insurance. I recommend you log onto your auto insurance website or call them and see if you can take defensive driving to lower your premiums. Best case scenario, you save a few hundred bucks over the years. Worst case, they don’t offer the discount and it doesn’t cost you anything.

Now go. Right now. Seriously, don’t do it later. Find out if you can get a discount now and THEN GO DO IT!

Dec 14 2011

Whatever Wednesday: Christmas, Covered Calls, and Cardinals

By |December 14th, 2011|Blog, Life|Comments Off|

Today is yet another edition of Whatever Wednesday, where my twitter followers and facebook fans tell me what they want me to write about. I do whatever my fans say. Because I care.

This week’s article is brought to you by the letter “C”. I’m talking ugly Christmas sweaters, investing, toilet paper, Cardinals baseball, net worth, and Christmas spending.

Whatever WednesdayUgly Christmas Sweaters

Jana wants me to talk about old women and Christmas sweaters. There’s really two topics here. Women who wear the sweaters, and women who give the sweaters as gifts to young people.

I’m actually all on-board with the women who wear the sweaters. In fact, I get worried when a woman over 50 is not wearing a sweater with reindeer or snowflakes on Christmas Day. That’s just how the world works.

christmas sweater kid

photo credit: flickr.com/rutlo/

My problem is when the sweaters are given as gifts to young people. First of all, no young person ever needs a Christmas sweater. Second of all, who buys a gift that is inherently useless for the next 364 days? If you want to give me a Christmas sweater, maybe you should give it to me BEFORE CHRISTMAS!!! Has anyone ever been excited about a gift that says, “Here’s something to collect dust in your closet for 11 months, only to embarrass the crap out of you when you wear it next December.”?

No.

Covered Calls

Writing covered calls is a great way to make extra money with your investments. It’s really a win-win if you decide to do it. It’s a complicated process and I can’t explain it in a paragraph or two, but basically you can get paid for doing nothing, or you can get paid for selling your stock at a price you think is fair. You can’t lose money with covered calls; you can only lose an opportunity to make even more money. Confused? Let Suze Orman explain:

So yes, I love covered calls and I should actually do more of them in my own investing. Beware though, because trading with options is very risky and you can lose a lot of money, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Toilet Paper Folding

I can honestly say that I have no idea why men fold toilet paper more often and women scrunch more. I don’t even know if that’s true. All I know is I used to scrunch when I was younger, and now I fold. Maybe I was a girl back then, but I’ve since grown into a man? Who knows?

MLB: Pujols and No Salary Cap

Here are a few baseball questions. First, I’m from St. Louis and am a Cardinals fan. I’ll be honest: I’m okay with Pujols going to the Angels. He’s a great player, but the Cardinals don’t have Yankee money. If you give Pujols a 10 year deal and he isn’t absolutely incredible for all 10 years, you don’t have the money to fix the team. I don’t blame him for taking more money with the Angels, and I don’t blame St. Louis for letting him go.

As far as the salary cap is concerned, there essentially isn’t one in MLB. How this applies to the rest of us? Well, it really doesn’t. Some people might argue that it makes tickets more expensive, but I disagree. A MLB team is going to charge as much as people are willing to pay for tickets, whether they spend $20 million or $200 million on player salaries. They aren’t going to lower prices if they pay less for player salaries; they would just take increased profits. If that’s how MLB owners and players want to handle their compensation, that’s just fine with me!

What am I Doing with My Debt?

Nick had some questions about my net worth after I posted the Race to $1 Million yesterday. Why isn’t my overall debt decreasing, and what is “transacting debt”?

My overall debt hasn’t decreased in the past few months because I’ve been spending more on my credit cards every month. For example, in months where I buy plane tickets for Christmas and New Year’s travel, I’m going to have more debt that month because I purchase things on my credit card. I’ve been spending more the last few months, which is why the overall debt has stayed flat even while I’ve been paying down student loans.

Which brings me to the next point. Transacting debt is anything I charge to a credit card that is paid off before I’m ever charged any interest. I basically use my credit cards as debit cards and pay them off every month, but I like the rewards I get with the credit cards. Make sense? Good.

Buying Too Much at Christmas

There are a lot of people who overspend at Christmas. I’m not one of them. I get a little something for everyone in my immediate family, and my extended family draws names out of a hat and you only get gifts for one person instead of everyone. I would never try to “prove I have money” with expensive Christmas gifts. Does anyone else think it’s weird that our culture says we should never talk about how much money we make specifically, but we should DO EVERYTHING WE CAN to give people an impression of how much we make.

My philosophy on Christmas gifts: if you love someone, get them something they will like that isn’t too expensive. That’s it.

Remember: if you want to tell me what to do, just make sure to follow me on twitter and facebook and tell me next Tuesday! The more interesting the topic, the better!

Dec 13 2011

Race to $1 Million – December Update

By |December 13th, 2011|Blog, Life|14 Comments|

I have good news and I have bad news.

The good news: I beat The Hoff this month and my net worth went up!

The bad news: I’m still almost $3,000 behind my goal of pulling within $20k in 2011.

Here’s the slightly belated scorecard for the beginning of December, 2011:

Race to $1 Million December
I love beating The Hoff in the monthly races. In fact, I’m pretty used to it, as I’ve won 8 of the 11 months of this year. Even if it’s just by $150, it’s big win for me. Eat it The Hoff!!!!!!

But I’m still behind by $23k. I wanted to close the gap to $20k this year, and with only one month left that’s probably not gonna happen.

I also know that he’s gonna spend a lot of money on a wedding next year, but he’ll also get to start including his wife’s net worth and income in these updates once the marriage is complete. I sure hope his wife isn’t rich, or this race to $1 million could end about 15 years earlier than I expected it to.

Until the marriage happens, I do have one big thing going for me that The Hoff doesn’t have: my website is starting to make a little bit of money. I’ve pulled in a little over $2,200 in blogging revenue in the second half of this year (although I have about $2,700 of blogging expenses, mostly giveaways to you guys).

In 2012, I should be able to maintain the $2,200 per six months, and potentially even increase that amount if I work harder at generating income, or just get a lot more followers and make the ads space more valuable. I think I can realistically make something like $5,000 in profit next year from this little hobby of mine. Not too shabby!

The point is, I have two income sources and The Hoff only has one right now. So at least until he ties the knot, I should be able to continue my trend of beating the crap out of him every month.

A few more things about my net worth:

My Student Loan Keeps Double Charging Me

One of my student loans that I really hate has been double charging me for the last three months. Maybe they are reading my blog and think they are getting revenge on me by making me pay an extra $111 every month. Honestly, I don’t care. It just helps me pay it down faster. I’m not gonna call and have them fix it: I’ll just pay extra and get it paid off sooner.

I Need a Hot Stock Tip

Another place I could pull away from The Hoff is in the stock market. When 2012 rolls around, I’m going to have to start picking investments for my Roth IRA again. If any one of you out there has a hot stock tip, post it in the comments below. Maybe you’ll convince me that you picked the right company, and we can be investment buddies!

The Rest of the Story

Here’s the rest of my net worth story this month. The only big change is the addition of physical assets. This is the first time I’ve had any physical assets, which I’m holding in the form of junk silver. Yay for being prepared for the end of civilization!

november net worth

click for full screen

Dec 12 2011

College Kids Need Skills, Not Good Grades

By |December 12th, 2011|Blog, Economics / Politics|25 Comments|

Saturday was the first day of my Ultimate league. For those that aren’t familiar, Ultimate is a sport very similar to football but played with discs (don’t call them Frisbees; Ultimate folks don’t like to be associated with Wham-O and vice versa).

ultimate frisbee trick

photo credit: flickr.com/freestyle-frisbee/

It’s a bunch of strangers coming together and playing a fun game for 4 hours every Saturday throughout the winter. My favorite thing about the game is being able to meet a bunch of brand new people.

One of the people on the team is a freshman in college. I asked him about his school and he told me that he’s majoring in Electrical Engineering. He seemed to be pretty happy with the choice, but did mention the fact that it’s difficult. While he’s studying, the kids in the business school are out partying six nights a week.

This is where I jumped in with my unsolicited advice as the wise old soul. Sure, I’m pretty far away from being old and almost certainly farther away from being wise, but this is the best I’ve got.

Skills are More Important than GPA

College kids should be a lot more worried about learning skills in college than they should be about a high GPA. Anyone can get a high GPA when you don’t actually have to learn anything to pass the courses.

Sorry general business majors, but that’s just one of the eight points in this article about why you shouldn’t major in Business.

You can learn business when you work in business. In fact, the only place to really learn business is to get a job. Every company operates differently, so how is some college course supposed to teach you “business”? It doesn’t even make sense.

Reading about how business works in a textbook is not a marketable skill, and it will never get you a job. Sorry.

On the other hand, a student can use his or her time in college to learn how to do accounting for a business. Maybe the student learns to write a computer program a business can sell. If you study something more specific, like business intelligence rather than just general business, you can learn to handle massive amounts of company data, a skill of increasing importance in the ever-advancing digital age. Visit this link for more information about getting a masters in business intelligence.Perhaps the student learns to design for a new plant that would make a business spend less money and produce more product.

These are all skills. And they are all very valuable skills that businesses need.

Take a look at the highest paying college degrees and see if you can figure out how many of those degree programs teach a valuable skill. If you don’t feel like clicking the link, here’s a spoiler: “Business Administration” didn’t make the list.

You might also notice that the list didn’t mention GPA. Because in the real world, your GPA doesn’t matter. The only time a college GPA will be on a resume is for a student’s first job out of college. After that, the GPA is gone and it’s all about what degree you have, what skills you have, and how you’ve applied that knowledge to the workforce.

So if you are a kid in college, get yourself a skill. Or maybe two or three. You don’t need a business degree. Heck, you don’t even need a business minor. Spend four years learning a skill that makes you incredibly valuable.

While your friends are pulling down 3.8 GPAs in their business schools, you can smile knowing that you’ll be making $38k/year more than them when you graduate with real skills to go along with your degree.

Dec 11 2011

Thousandaire Site Update – 12/11/11

By |December 11th, 2011|Blog|1 Comment|

I’m back from vacation!

That should be a good enough update for you. I can’t wait to get back into writing these posts and connecting with my readers.

The only other thing I have to update is that I’m almost certainly going to be making a new website at some point in the near future. I have two ideas in mind, but I’m leaning towards one of them. I’m not going to give up any more information about it just yet, but look for it to launch early next year.

Oh yeah, and I’ll be on vacation a lot over the Christmas/New Years time frame, so I won’t be posting a whole lot. I also owe you guys a music video… Let’s just see what happens okay? December is a busy month for family and friends and stuff.

Plus I’m doing a lot of singing at church with the Christmas Concert and Sunday mass (I’m cantoring next week for the first time ever!). I’m gonna work on fitting a Thousandaire video in soon. Stay tuned.

So, um… yeah. I’m back! Woot.

Carnivals This Week

Yakezie Carnival at 20’s Finances
Totally Money at Faith and Finance
Carnival of Wealth at Control Your Cash
Personal Finance Whiz Carnival at Personal Finance Whiz