Wednesday, June 30, 2004

written stuff

There are times when a nation cares about what is written down - then at other times governments dont care about what is written down.

We have entered the latter period. "Rights" "Courts" and the like is now subject to less respect. I only wish that the swing the other way is quick.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

gotta love the brits...

"Despite triple-digit inflation, President Robert Mugabe forbade the printing of high-denomination banknotes, as he apparently believed that this would cause inflation."

"Buoyed by this success, Mr Gono has accumulated vast powers, including that of determining who gets credit. Ordinary banks have to deposit half their assets with the central bank, at zero interest, as a statutory reserve. However, they can retrieve this cash and lend it to companies the Reserve Bank deems “productive”, at a knock-down 50% interest rate: in other words, super-cheap money for approved borrowers. To say that this system is open to abuse is like saying that recent elections in Zimbabwe could have been a bit fairer."

Oh man...HOW DO THEY DO IT? Seriously. This isnt LOL funny - but I cant stop thinking about it.

Anyhow - on the investment front. Since I'm not looking at my portfolio at least officially I am not able to comment on anything. But I'm not doing too well. Seems I may have made quite poor punts. Oh well - that's all part of the game I guess. I really need a break from all of it; but I'm not allowing myself to take one.

I am seriously starting to think that it has been wrong for me to prohibit myself from activity. I yearn for it...

Oh well....

society makes no sense...yet it persists...

I have come to the realization (not for the first time, but still) that my major objection to the US is that we are a society incapable of accepting that there is something wrong with us.

Instead of asking the hard questions we take the easy answers and accept them wholeheartedly.

Why dont we have a vigorous debate? I could blame the baby boomer generation who think they have actually done the vigorous debate themselves; when, truth be told, they were just hedonistic naive adjuncts to truly great social movements and grew up to blow all the money that their parents had invested around the world on the material comfort that surrounds them today - material comfort that they both "intellectually" "realize" is "bad" but somehow cant quite pull themselves away from.

I could blame them. The whiney brats who think of themselves as "survivors" growing up to be the whiney hedonistic materialists that they never could quite see themselves as.

I could, but that would be too narrow. Maybe it's the children of the brats who see themselves as heirs to the world of their parents - completely unaware that the unique conditions that their parents inherited have been spent. The through is empty but the kids are hungry for everything that their parents got from it - I have my doubts that the kids will eat in the same amount...

Of course economics tells us that things are rational - that if it is going to happen, it would have already happened. This poses an economic problem to my problem with society - if it makes no sense - why is it still working?

I'm not sure the answer to this. I may need to consider the very real possibility that my angst at the currently successful class is deeply misplaced - that they truly deserve everything they have, and despite all the economic evidence to the contrary, the next generation can easily replicate the success of the prior generation.

If I could accept that - the world would be much clearer and things would be much better for me personally and financially.

Monday, June 28, 2004

dictatorship? yup...

Listening to the reactions today to the tranfer. Everyone is using words like "tough" "stop kidding around" "tough" "tough" and more "tough".

Okay...what COULD they mean?
Could they mean that the military stand down? That the government becomes more democratic?

Also - I'm starting to hear rumblings about the technical definition of the words "martial law".

So I'm gonna look it up.

"The law of military necessity in the actual presence of war, administered by the general of the army. Martial law is built upon no settled principles, but is entirely arbitrary in its decisions. In reality it is no law, but something indulged rather than allowed as law. The necessity of order and discipline in the army alone gives it countenance; therefore, it is not permitted in time of peace, when the courts are open for all persons to receive justice according to the laws of the land. See Mitchell v. Harmony, 13 How. 128 (1851). "Martial Law" is exercised over all classes of persons indiscriminately, in the actual presence of war."


Ah...I get it now - martial law would mean that 1. war is in place 2. the military is in official control (as opposed to civil laws).

I guess in a sense I dont want this to happen in Iraq - and I have a feeling that it wont TECHNICALLLY be the case. But most likely it will be the pratical effect of anything that the "new" "government" will take.

well...iraq is a dictatorship...it's official

Well. I'm watching CBS news now officially saying that Iraq's tranfer of power has happened. 2 days or so ahead of schedule. Now - the common analysis is that this doesnt matter since all it really is is a piece of meaningless paper.

This is true in a very "real" sense. The reality on the ground is that Iraq doesnt have an army worth anything, a police force that is widely regarded as rubbish and a government that still doesnt have any real control over anyone or anything. Everything is in effect being run by American troops - but we dont have nearly enough troops to run anything - a situation that wont change because we cant send any more troops over for any length of time or have any other country send any more troops over because we dont get along with them any longer.

= = = = = = What I wrote on May 21 2004 = = = =

"I dont think that the US WOULD pull out overnight, but the US COULD pull out without looking "weak" domestically if a the story can be spun as "handing over to the Iraqis" - a story made much easier by the fact that we technically no longer would control the country after June 30th.

This is almost exactly what we did in Afghanistan - at first we promised to stay, then we "turned over" the power to a hastily thrown together Afghan government, then we pulled out a great majority of our troops to the point that the new government can hardly maintain control outside of the heavily foreign armed parts of Afghanistan.

Nearly the same situation might occur in Iraq, with the difference that Iraq is actually much more violatile because of the Iranian influence, is more heavily urbanized and the long standing hatred between ethnic groups.

Not to rehash "old" arguments here - but what the hell happened to those weapons of mass destruction? Or the Al Queda connection? Or the "All major combat operations are over" statement? And what about Gen. Shinseki's statement that we would need a few hundred thousand troups to control Iraq - why was that ignored? The list of very important questions go on and on.

I'm hardly the first one to say these things - and would hardly be the first to say that the situation reeks of a major blunder."

= = = = = = =

I stick to my orginal statement on this. It was a blunder. I didnt originally think this...

= = = = = = Written on March 21 2003

"In terms of my support or lack of support for this war - I am for this war. The war makes a lot of logical sense. It's hard to be for war, but I think that disarming Saddam, removing Saddam in essence, is an important enough objective that we should expend money and lives for that cause."

= = = = = =

Boy. I certainly do feel foolish to be for this war. Just another reason that my Uncle's judgement on current matters of all sorts cannot be trusted. He's a very good man, and certainly one of the most decent men I have ever met but he's not what I would call exceedingly sharp. On the other hand - neither was I...but in my own defense...here's another part of the letter.

= = = = = =

"Urban warfare - we stink at urban warfare. we're great at bombing urban sites, but suck at operating in them. If we have to fight inside cities, watch the casualty counts mount to the (possibly) high hundreds. This is unlikely though; they'll probably give up before they fight. Hopefully."

= = = = = =

So it sort of balances out - oh well...it doesnt much matter. I blame the President on misleading me on this one. It's not as if I had CIA briefings everyday or an entire multi billion dollar apparatus working on this sort of thing. I had a measely cable hookup and the Internet.


But getting back to the point at hand - the transfer of power and it's meaing. I think that it is actually quite meaningful. The US cares a lot about what is written down (when it wants to care it should be added) - this seems one of those things that the American side will tout as "evidence" that it is now "Iraq's problem" and not America's problem. Of course it's a total bunch of BS but that doesnt matter much. What will matter is how it can be sold on Fox News Channel. And I have a feeling that official documents are great documents when it comes to things that help FNC's side (of course, it's just beaucratic paperwork when it happens not to conform to Bush is God rhetoric).

So now we have "handed over" a broken country to a completely inept government. We will stay to provide "support" but will most likely scale down patrol type activities as the "transfer" takes place. I can imagine it now. A bunch of extremely green Iraqi security guys being escorted twice or maybe thrice through a partol, then let go because the US has "shown them the ropes".

The US forces wont totally leave Iraq. They will stay at least in their bases so that we can both make sure that oil doesnt get into the wrong hands (or officially, to support the government) and to (ironically, but hey) foment opposition in the Middle East by being seen as occupiers.

Such is life. I just hope the draft doesnt happen...

And maybe some healthcare wont hurt in the meantime.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

so much wealth...so little wealth

I was reading that John Kerry's wife has probably around a billion dollars and maybe up to three billion dollars. If you include some charitable trusts - well...then the amount balloons to nearly 5 billion (if you believe the three billion figure).

I dont begrudge their wealth. It's great that they had the fortune of being born in a family that had money (although, it should be noted, now they are totally out of the productive sector of the economy and totally freeloading on the rest of the economy...which is a goal for myself as well...so I dont begrudge them)....

Anyhow...what I do get upset by is the fact that while they have a lot of wealth (as do many others in the US) but we still havent covered everyone with decent health care. Nor have we expanded educational opportunities so that everyone who wants to go to college can actually afford it.

Oh well...sad sad world...

Saturday, June 26, 2004

micheal moore...

I went to see 9/11 today. Happy that I did. Very powerful and moving. On the other hand I was disappointed by those in the audience watching. They werent the type of people I could expect to actually change America for the better.

Two things about the movie itself bothered me - first was that Unocal hasnt really out done the market in terms their stock. Not a big issue or anything - just something I noticed. HAL has especially underperformed the market over a long period of time.

Oh well though...that doesnt really matter, it probably just means more money for the executives of the firms doing business, with not even a bit going to the stock holders of the firms.

Anyhow - back to the US.

The US, I have long thought, is run by rich white guys, supported by those who want to be rich and fought for by the poor.

This is the way it has been, the way it will likely always be.

Especially true because those in the audience were modeling themselves off the hippies of the 60s. Not a sucessful bunch of people to change the world really. Ultimately the only way this is going to change is if the economy changes.

And I think we are closer to that than we have been for a long long time in the US.

Anyhow...I quit my rambling...I'm sleeping...

Thursday, June 24, 2004


Refis look a bit odd too.... Posted by Hello

Yup...stranger and stranger...more and more leveraged... Posted by Hello

bubbles bubbles bubbles

Okay. I'm convinced. China is a bubble. At least part of it is. China is a complicated place to understand, but it seems that finally capitalism is creating its first bubble generation in China.

How can I say this? Well...there are the traditional measures - massive capital expenditures, a worrying push in inflation and quite importantly - fairly obvious misallocation of capital towards parts of the real estate market.

Then there are the measures that I perfer to rely on - the people. Many in the newly wealthy (young) generations are starting to show signs of excess in their personal lives that tend to mark bubble periods. It marked the 60s in the US in the portions of the country that were affected by that bubble. Then the 80s in Japan and the financial parts of the US (effectively New York). Then the late 90s in the US.

An effective measure of excess in personal lives COULD probably be measured in the consumption of certain drugs - particularily cocaine. Of course such data isnt collected with the accuracy or depth that one would need.

Anyhow - so China is a bubble. What about the US housing markets?

I'm not so sure about it yet. Some parts certainly seem very bubblish. Some signs of Bubbles exist, with house prices far outpacing rent increases, with commercial buildings being much more overcapacitied than housing, with the stock of new housing (inventory) actually climbing to a high - on the other hand, with the notable exception of adjustable rate mortgages there is no evidence of "exotic" methods of financing that tend to signify a bubble.

But I think we ARE in the early stages of a bubble in the housing market - with the recent decline in stock prices many people are starting see their houses not as what they used to think them as - places to live, access to schools, emergency services and the like - but as "investments" that they have made.

This is somewhat dangerous. It does not really signify anything yet - but once the mentality of "we should treat this as an investment" kicks in people will start to try to boost their returns by buying another house, buy a rental housing, refinance to get more equity out of their homes, etc.

We havent gotten to that point yet - but we may get there fairly soon. Money can still be made but caution should be excercised.

I would watch for myself to buy into the trend. That would be the day that I would have to go against the great tide of public opinion and bet that house prices will decline.

http://www.epinions.com/content_3104284804

Anyhow - another bubble. The debt bubble. This is a bit obvious - we are headed for periods of higher interest rates all over the globe. The queestion is how bad it would be and what we can do about it.

As I've already mentioned I think that the Fed is likely to save Americans first and everyone else second. They are likely to allow inflation to eat away the mountain of debt that the US has created for itself.

Leaving to Europe would seem smart. But not at the moment; I would wait for a bit of instability in the region (although, Britian should be counted as a special case, and I am bullish on UK stocks and even some of it's medium term bonds).

So inflation would be a major concern...on the other hand so is increasing interest rates in the short term.

How about a bond portfolio of 30 year TIPS and very short (max 2 year) US not TIP debt. Mix in some very long inflation protected Euroland debt, long term UK non inflation protected debt and I think you've got a good deal of real return without much risk.

Add in an equity portfolio of highly leveraged US companies, UK stocks and Japanese stocks (buying nations with reflation on the equity end, buying nations with low inflation risk on the bond side).

just checked some stuff...man...this is terrible...

I was looking up some of the stocks I owned (on Yahoo, since I still have the prohibition on looking up my actual account) and they are doing TERRIBLY.

Especially T. What a joke - the bond ratings may be cut by SP and everyone is going nuts over it. The stock is down like 9%. It might end the day at 10% down.

On the other extreme are the stocks that I SOLD a while back - the LEAST best among them is up 10%. The best is up nearly 20%. I should have kept them. I know in my mind that it's all good - but I'm quite a bit peeved.

I never NEVER should have bought stocks with only 5% or so div yield. They are NOT "high yield" - I could get nearly the same from CDs - and those are extremely safe.

Quite frankly I dont know what I was thinking.

Rules - Dont buy stocks that yield less than 5 year CD + 3% and consider it high yield or high growth - neither is likely to be true.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004


Who knew that broke would be a better position? Posted by Hello

Kind of lets you know just how unusual this situation is... Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

one of the best articles i've read in a while

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/FF17Aa01.html

Some parts I disagree with a tad - I read the IMF report that the author mentions - the problems reported are not as drastic as his reading of it. Although, it should be noted that if you had a bit of a bent towards the dramatic (just a tad really) it should come as a dire warning to the US.

We cannot afford our current life style.

I have often said to my friends that the US economy no longer makes any sense to me. This means one of a few things -

1. I am missing something big about the US economy that makes all of this "okay".

2. The US has found some new way of making it in the world completely different from the old rules (a truly New Economy).

3. I am right and the US economy is headed off the cliff eventually.

I doubt number 2. I am stupid enough to fall for number 1. And I hope that number 3 isnt true...but that does not mean that it's not true.


pompous white guys, stupid religious folks - thanks

If there are two groups of people that annoy me they could be classified as pompous white guys and stupid religious folks.

Pompous white guys are almost comical in the stereotyped way of existence. They tend to be extremely stingy, extremely careful about how they live there lives and always seeing the world as there servant. They tend to read Time or Newsweek and then assume that they are "well informed" about how the world works. They also tend to be Republicans. Probably because they never understood just how helpful the government really has been in there own lives.

I dont buy into this totally. But I do for the most part. They are secretly quite racist (at least in the North they wont admit to being overtly racist, though they would refer to "other" people in thinly veiled manners of speech like "less educated" "poorer populace" "those with less sense" - all of which could in reality refer to any race of people, but you know what they mean).

More important would be the sense of the world owing someting to them, or alternatively, a sense that they really really really help the world out SOOOO much. Since I am half Japanese I can understand that when they refer to Japan still being a "less developed country" they dont have clue as to what they are talking about. Many still hold antiquated notions about American financial power in the world as being surpreme, largely because they believe that their own savings (maybe a million or so) as being a "very large" sum.

This arrogance is usually fired by the fact that they have found good jobs and have a good education. Instead of seeing that all of it can wash away at any time (especially when the US is borrowing 5% of GDP per annum) they see it as a permanent status confirred on them by God Himself, available for anyone if they would only "work" hard (as if people in other countries dont work hard).

Religous folk are those white people, despite their relative poverty, still see the social order promulgated by the rich white folks as good and wholesome. They work like modern day slaves for the rich so that they can make a living - yet they do not resent it. Instead, they accept it as there place in life and are not only happy with it, they actually do not want anything to disturb there "steady" lives. To many of them Liberal programs arent "help" they are "handouts" to be rightly disregarded (even it that means it actually hurts their own interests).

Anyhow - Thank You

I'm obviously not the biggest fan of these groups of folks. On the other hand - I want to thank you for giving me a society that is both retarded in its construction and very very predictable.

The only group not falling into this group is the baby boomers - they tend to be more "liberal" (at least when it comes to their own interests) they throw everything off.

As for myself - I will have to make peace with society and then start trying to eat the marrow out of it. In the meantime, I'm voting my own interests which would be liberal.

marketocracy points out some stuff

With regards to my earlier statements about the Federal Reserve - I posted the prior post on Marketocracy's forums. Another poster pointed out that inflation would eventually mean a higher mortgage and credit card rate - causing a massive crunch at the point when rates rise to meet the inflation and then some so that inflation can be beaten back.

Of course I agree with this analysis. Milton Friedman pointed it out in his books - so have many others.

The point here isnt that it is a good policy - just that it is the most politically palatable, and therefore most likely - policy option.

Why do I say this? It probably ties to my belief that baby boomers generally always have gotten, and will always get, whatevey they want.

When they got their college education - thanks in large part to state funding of education - they quickly moved to get rid of any sort of subsidy for those who were less educated. Then they got a massive tax cut for those making high incomes (who, surprise surprise, happened to have a college education). They also lived through the time when the US called in all of it's debts from overseas and invested it in the US - and then some. They lived in a time when consumption overtook investment, when borrowing became much easier and equities really exploded in value.

But all of this wasnt quite enough - they still needed more "stuff" so they started to borrow against the value of their houses and implicitly borrowed against the value of their shares.

When all this came to a head in 2000 they saved themselves by cutting interest rates drastically, dropping the value of the US dollar and such - but saved their shares value in nominal dollar terms and their home prices continued to appreciate on the back of ever cheaper debt. Added to this - tax cuts were put in place for the richest Americans - many of them baby boomers so that they can continue to spend spend spend.

All of this financed by debt debt and more debt. Borrowing against the value of their houses, their shares, and finally debt issued by the US government to finance their high consumption life styles.

Now - only 8 - 10 years away from retirement it would not surprise me if they took the easiest route out - inflate, borrow and spend, at all levels - especially government, now that they have a willing and able ally in the Whitehouse and Congress.

I would bet that they wont let Social Security, Medicare or the PBGC go away (at least for themselves) - and will succesfully push the costs onto the next generation through budget deficits, reckless monetary and fiscal policy - the concequences of which they wont be around to witness.

As always - the educated, largely white, baby boomers will get their way due to the massive size of their generation; while the young, less educated, or otherwise under represented groups will get the shaft.

Monday, June 21, 2004

will the fed save the debtors or creditors?

The Federal Reserve is ultimately a banks bank. They are really out there for the interest of banks in general - money center banks in particular.

On one hand the Federal Reserve has created a massive wave of debt financed economic expansion via the lowering of the entire spectrum of government debt (just look at the M2). Debt in the US is now 300% of GDP. Added on to this is the fact that we have been (since 1986 or so I believe) a net debtor to the world (the rest of the world has more money lent to us than we have lent to the rest of the world). Interestingly enough - a full 10 trillion of the 30 trillion debt that the US has is in financial sector debt - essentially money borrowed on the assumption that they can get a better return than what the debt cost, a risky proposition in my book.

Supposedly the first step when stuck in a hole is to stop digging. Instead the Federal Reserve has decided over the past 3 years or so (especially) to dig even more furiously. So has the Federal Government. We now have a fiscal deficit in the area of 500 billion dollars per annum - when accounted for properly (Social Security and Medicare surpluses are counted as obligations, not taxes) then it blows up to an astounding 700 billion bucks.

For now this is being financed by China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. A nice system - we buy products made in those countries with money that they lend us - except when it stops working.

Why would that happen? Well - I can think of two simple reasons - our debt becomes so obviously a terrible risk that they cant buy it any longer would be the first.

This is how that could play out -

The aforementioned countries continue to buy our debt. Our deficits expand exponentially as the interest on the debt mounts and our current account deficit (5% of GDP btw) causes our hole to be dug even deeper.

Then China or Japan (the two largest buyers) starts to get cold feet. They wonder what happens if the other stops lending money to the US - how would the US ever pay back the debt that they hold in their banks? (Essentially, who would then lend the US money so that the US can pay them back)

This causes them to stop buying so much US debt. The other country sees this and curbs their appetite for US debt. The US is put in a bind as the dollar is devalued - at this point both partys are trying to get out US debt at the same time before the other party can kill the value of their fund. It would be like two massive VLCC oil tankers trying to move through a very narrow passage. The result would be calamity in the US as interest rates rise, the dollar devalues or inflation spikes (or some combination of it).

Much like the Cold War it seems - one side moves an inch, the other side moves a bit more, and before anyone can stop and think everyone is running towards each other at breakneck speed. It would be in neither nations interest for this to happen, Japan and China still have major export interests to the US - but that doesnt matter - once it starts the other party would not want to be left holding the bag.

Another scenario is less catastrophic - but more likely;


Since the Bank of Japan and China are printing Yens and Yuan's to finance the buying of US debt this printing may eventually cause inflation in their nations. In Japan this may not seem so terrible since they are going through crippling deflation, but in China this is already happening.

So the inflation causes them to raise interest rates - which would decrease their ability to fund current account surpluses (since more money would be kept at "home") either forcing the US to raise interest rates (which would cripple demand, and maybe pop the housing/equity/debt, bubble) or forcing the Fed to actually print a lot of money, causing inflation and a devaluation of the dollar.

Which may lead to the first described situation.


What's this Got to Do With the Fed?


Well the debate now is whether the Fed would be ultra vigilant on inflation, or would allow it to get up a bit before trying to prevent further damage.

I for one would bet that the Fed knows exactly who is financing our debt - namely foreign centeral banks - and would see them as "Not American Banks" and not really care about them. This is if we accept the proposition that inflation is a sort of "tax" on creditors and a great help to debtors.

Ask the simple questions - who is the debtor in this situation? Americans and American financial institutions. Who is the creditor? NOT Americans.

If the Fed is really going to act in the best interest of Americans (in the short run interest it should be noted) then it would inflate away, allowing China and Japan to take the hit in their debt portfolios. In the mean time American's debt service ratios will be lowered as their 5% mortgages suddenly seem trivial when they are getting 5% annual cost of living adjustments at their jobs. The centeral banks of Japan and China will lose - American debtors will win.

So now what? Uh...I'm not really sure...how could I profit off of it? I would go with what PIMCO is doing. Get out of "dodge" as in the US. Go to Europe. Or buy stocks that are inflation sensitive (I have yet to find such stocks that are consitently better in higher inflation environments). Or if you still trust the US government go with Treasury Inflation Indexed Securities.

I'll post it if I can think of something (aside from the most obvious, and therefore probably not correct, gold and oil, those are too mainstream now).

Anyhow...Good luck.

efficient market leads to losses?

I've found from my own experience that if I am either overly confident about my stock pick or say to myself "The market cant be wrong about this stock price" I tend to get a mediocre or terrible results.

It seems that my gut instinct is more often than not right - when I rationalize in my head...well...that's when trouble happens.

On the other hand, BCO and CXW were not in this category for me...so I'm not sure this holds true constantly.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

where do we learn money management?

Ultimately it seems that we learn about money management from our parents. Maybe I say this because I am a relatively young person - on the other, it seems so obvious to me that the conclusion is either totally valid or invalid.

Anyhow - I got to thinking this because my cousin has terrible investment skills. He's a bit younger than I am and when he works (sometimes during the summer, sometimes during the winter, essentially when he's not at college) he saves money in certificates of deposits at his local bank.

I talked to him about it and he said that he saves his money in 18 month CDs. The rationale for this was that he needed that money every now and then, he said that he "cycles through" them.

(As if you dont get this...but here goes...he saves say 200 bucks in the summer, then by next year's winter he would get the money from the CD, at which point he wont have to work, or he could and save more money.)

To make a long story really short - 18 month CDs are terrible investments. The yield curve on debt would tell pretty much anyone that you should lend at either the very long or very short end of the spectrum (short only if you expect to use the money or expect rates to go up).

Of course to him this does not really matter - all that mattered to him was that his parents are very difficult to get even a few bucks off of (they do decently well for themselves but have a healthy dose of frugality) so he needs to plan for his own future outlays - even if such planning ultimately is a detriment to sane investment practices.

Now - if he understood this (that 18 month CDs were an unfortunate necessity in his situation) life would be okay and good.

He doesnt. All he understands is that the bank will give him money for keeping it with the bank. This is when it occurred to me that he didnt really know about interest rates. For a guy who watches every dime he spends as if it was his last he didnt know about the differences in interest rates between a 60 month CD and an 18 month CD. This isnt too substantial of a difference in real dollar terms (since he doesnt have too many of them) - but it is a difference of over 2% of APY - a HUGE difference to anyone familiar with investing.

When I recommended that he put it in longer maturity CDs he said that he would need the money soon. When I then recommended Series EE and I Savingsbonds - he claimed that he never used them before and would be uncomfortable with them.

So he's now stuck with 18 month CDs yielding much less than ING Direct's then current interest rates on SAVINGS (not tied up) of 1.9%.

In this case his parent's would need to be a bit more competent at helping themselves (since I would bet good money that they dont have the best money management practices either) and their children get a better rate of return by either finding a better rate of return or advising their children to go with longer maturities and being a bit less stingy in the meantime.

I would certainly make sure to be very open about not only my own finances but about financial matters in general with my (future) children. I'm not going to make my mother out to be some saint - but she really informed me quite early on about money, about how money can grow, even about inflation and currency values. I credit her with being very open about these things and informing me more than the average American kid apparently is.

On the other hand...I have had to force my self to take a "vacation" from investing because of it...so...maybe it's not such a good idea...

Anyhow...I am tired. Gnite.

start of the blog; my vacation

I dont have much money; neither am I the poorest person on earth. This is a blog about life, death and my managment of my own money.

I am not a professional at it. I am not particularly good at it. I'm not terrible at it either.

This blog is largely for my own use. If you get a use out of it; congradulations, you probably are doing more with it than I would ever do with it.

First off - I dont really care about grammar or spelling. So if it's wrong - live with it.

Then my "vacation". After getting too into the stock market for my own good (I was trading like once a day, and planned on checking my portfolio every few minutes I was in my house) it dawned on me that I dont have enough money to worry myself over. So I quit. For the next five and half months I will not look at my account barring particular, peculiar events (terrorist attack, massive market crash, massive market rise, tax records being needed, etc).

For now I am going to read a lot of books on investing; live my life without thinking about stocks and how I could get more money from them.

This blog may get into areas such as the dumbest investment moves of mine (to date at least), philospies about wealth, etc.

As a starter let me say that my "actively managed" portfolio is less than the average price of a midsized car but could probably buy a nice 2 year old car.

I say actively because I have a much larger fund that for all pratical purposes I dont consider mine.

I am 21 years old as of this writing. I should be going to college - but I am a very lazy person. I will eventually get around to doing college; maybe be a lawyer or something. But that's kinda neither here nor there. I'll keep you up to date...

Some stocks I own in the actively managed side of the portfolio include (from my vague memory) -

KKD - Krispy Kreme donuts.
WYE - Wyeth
BMY - Bristol Meyer Squibb
GGI - Geo Group (Private Prison Firm)
HD - Home Depot
BBY - Best Buy
DIA - Diamond Trust
IAG - Iamgold (Gold Producer)
LYG - Llyods Group TSB (British Bank, not the insurer)

Etc...in all I own like 20 some odd stocks (lack of diversification is not a problem for me...for better or worse).

I wish that you would go and buy from the companies that I own (with the exception of Geo Group...that would be terrible)...

Anyhow...that's probably it for now.

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