Archive for the 'Financial Stuff' Category

Taking a Look at My Personal Budget

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

I am not the best budgeter, but I do review my expenditures a few times a year. My expenses are probably similar to most people’s:

rent/mortgage
utilities
food
eating out/entertainment
subway pass
car (gas, maintenance, repairs)
etc.

Over the past year or two I’ve been cutting down on certain costs — eating out less, buying less organic food, quitting therapy — to save money. I’ve been successful. But then, about a month ago, I decided to take violin lessons. Are these decisions diametrically opposed? I ‘m not saving as much because I am paying $60 per week for a lesson. But I love learning violin and I have a job, so I can afford the lessons. I basically decided that quality of life should be balanced along with my spending. I always use the following test: “Well, what if I died tomorrow? Would I have had a happy day?” Don’t put off happiness, if you can help it, and afford it. And you? What do you continue to do/have in your life even though you want to cut costs?

Joblessness for Middle-Aged People is at Record High

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Unemployment for middle-aged workers is the highest it has been since data was first collected 60 years ago, says the New York Times. Joblessness is worse for men over 45 (7.7 percent in July) than women the same age (6.9 percent), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And while the middle-aged are still more likely to have jobs than younger workers, once you’re laid off, finding a new job is harder. In 2008, laid-off people over 45 were out of work 22.2 weeks, versus 16.2 weeks for younger workers.

Boomers and Their Effect on the Economy is Subject of Cover Story

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Business Week magazine has devoted its current issue to examining “The Leaner Baby Boomer Economy.” And here’s an interesting analysis of the cover story on baby boomer economics. To whet your appetite, here is a statistic from the story:

69% of boomers aged 54 to 63 are financially unprepared for retirement

The Man Who Lives on No Money

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Daniel Suelo, 48, lives on NO MONEY near Moab, Utah. His story is fascinating. Check it out.

10 Towns with Some of the Most Affordable Housing in America

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Indiana is heavily represented in this list of some of the most affordable housing in America, created by Money magazine:

1. Duncanville, TX
2. New Haven, IN
3. Oak Ridge, TN
4. Holland, MI
5. Sterling Heights, MI
6. Deer Park, TX
7. Brownsburg, IN
8. Findlay, OH
9. Lake Jackson, TX
10. Noblesville, IN

Here is the complete list of 25 affordable towns.

‘Green Shoots’ is a Joke

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

When the term “green shoots” was coined by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke during a 60 Minutes interview, I laughed. Green shoots is supposed to indicate the first bit of evidence of the economy’s recovery. I’ve never believed in the term. We are in this for a long time to come. Syndicated financial columnist Malcolm Berko agrees with me on the whole “green shoots” thing, as he indicates in a recently published Q&A:

Dear Mr. Berko: It seems that home prices have nearly stopped falling and green shoots are sprouting in the housing industry. So, do you think it would be a good time to buy home-building stocks?… W.S.

Dear W.S .: Forget “green shoots.” That’s a silly, yuppie, Madison Avenue metaphor to generate public confidence in the market again. I wish I could confidently tell you that the housing market is going to recover this year, but to say so would be a dishonest, bald-faced, unfair lie (some lies are fair) giving false hope to many homeowners. I’m not one of those financial columnists who believe that false hope is better than no hope at all…

Best Shopping Street in Boston Has 40+ Empty Storefronts

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Every city has its fancy shopping street: Beverly Hills has Rodeo Drive, New York has Fifth Avenue and Boston has Newbury Street. The Boston Herald reports that more than 40 commercial spaces are vacant on the street, many of them vacating in the last 18 months, “when sales were unable to justify high rents.”

The city is trying to paint this as an opportunity. Not for the folks who had to leave — unable to pay the rent — but for new folks who want spots on the street and can now possibly negotiate their rent. From the Herald story: “I’ve never seen it this bad,” said Charles Talanian, whose firm has owned retail space on Newbury Street for 40 years. “I’ve never had 10 vacancies in my life.” He has cut the rent for the vacant spaces by about 20 percent and has been working with many existing tenants on reduction.

FDIC Seizes 5 Banks This Week

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

Friday is the day of the week when insolvent banks are seized by the FDIC. Yesterday was a special day in that the largest number in a long time were seized: five. Significant, too, is that one of the banks is in Los Angeles, the first this year in that city. So far in 2009, 45 banks have failed. This week’s banks are:

Mirae Bank, Los Angeles, CA
Metro Pacific Bank, Irvine, CA
Horizon Bank, Pine City, MN
Neighborhood Community Bank, Newnan, GA
Community Bank of West Georgia, Villa Rica, GA

What are Your 5 Biggest Money Sucks?

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

You’ve probably heard by now that U.S. credit card defaults are rising. So, I have a question for you. What are your 5 biggest money sucks? In other words, contributing to your retirement? Paying college tuition? Car payments? Mortgage? Eating out? Car maintenance? Paying off your own school loans? I am assuming mortgages are one of the biggest expenditures for most people, but let us in on what else you pour money into. Let me start by saying that I am in an unusual position, having sold my house a number of years ago. I am renting with the goal to buy again when things hit rock bottom. I also own my car outright. So here are my five biggest monthly money sucks:

Saving for house: $1,000

Retirement savings: $800 or so

Rent and utilities: $800 or so

Food (including eating out): $450 or so

Dog care (food, grooming, bones, vet, insurance): $200 or so

Friday Links Variety Show (June 5, 2009)

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Travel Hacking: Smart Ways to See the World

A free AARP job webinar on June 11 for baby boomers and seniors

She asked for and got an eco-toilet for her 51st birthday

Cute dogs and swan photo taken in Boston

10 answers you should have before your job interview

Will you be growing your own food this year?