Jan 26, 2014

Why a $20K Car Costs $40K and My Next Will be a Tesla

Gas Costs How Much
My grocery getter's odometer turned 125,000 miles.  Ran the numbers to see how much I've spent on gas.


Holy petrole'!

Paid $20,000 for the turbo wagon back in 2005.  When you factor in oil changes, fluid flushes and an upcoming head gasket and clutch rebuild, the total damage is $40,000.  That doesn't include the pine scented Hello Kitty air freshener.

My next car won't burn any gas.
It will be fully electric.
Dear Lord make it be a Tesla, please.

Jan 25, 2014

Stock Buy Break it Down - 5, Charts Gone Wild

Limp Jones
Yesterday, the stock market laid brown skid marks, Dow Jones lost 318 points, or 2%.  That's a big drop, and smells a little like 2008, when people's investments bled thousands of bucks a day.  The market's starting 2014 all sick and limp:

Warren Buffett once said this about investing:

Be bold when everyone else is afraid, and be afraid when everyone else is bold.  

In other words, when the market is tanking and people are panicked and selling, that can be an ideal opportunity to be bold and buy shares at a discount.  The hard part is knowing when prices have bottomed out and buying before they rise again.

Jan 22, 2014

Healthcare Whoopsie and Near Miss on a $4476.20 Mistake

Benefits election at work recently, we selected our health insurance for 2014 and added dependents as needed.  In the past, I've gone with the Cadillac plan, which means a higher monthly premium, but low deductible and $45 out-of-pocket for prescription refills.

Since Pigtails and I are generally healthy and rarely visit the doctor (just jinxed it, my stomach will blow up tomorrow), it seemed prudent to step down to the less expensive Ford Pinto plan this year.  The cheapskate coverage offers a lower monthly premium, but a high $3,500 deductible.  It also utilizes a health savings account, which means the insurer chucks in $1,500 yearly that we can use towards doctor visits and medicine refills.

The Cadillac plan is the better deal if you visit the doctor frequently, have surgery on the docket or intend to squirt out a baby.  The Pinto plan is less expensive if you rarely get sick and shun the hospital.

Jan 17, 2014


Two summers ago, B&P readers helped map out a fun Florida trip.

We had a great time, I was worried it would be another episode of dolphins bumping my junk.  We used airbnb.com to book private cottages rather than hotels.  The casa in St. Augustine could have been written by Nicholas Sparks:

GreenGro My Windows

Nestled comfy in my sleeping slacks, oolong tea on boil and tapping those stock market posts last week, we had back-to-back nights of -20F wind chills.  My circa 1950 windows were frosted white, hemorrhaging icy air and turning Pigtails' toes blue.  Decided it's time to replace the crusty single panes with something younger than 60 years old.  Haven't been able to open them in the 15 years I've lived here.  They're all stuck shut or missing screens.  I'm an open windows kind of guy, longing for a fall chill to blow in at night for slumber.

I've replaced a handful already, the big boy 8 footer in the living room and new glass blocks on my pee rooms.  $3,000 worth of windows left to go, pulled the trigger on triple panes this week.

Jan 11, 2014

Stock Buy Break it Down - 4, Risk and Reward

Every household needs to save at least two million dollars for retirement.

              $2,000,000 / 25 years of retirement = $80,000 per year

Taxes and inflation lower the payout, so $80K is probably more like $45,000 by the time you pull it out.

If you plan to spend a lot in retirement on toys and Viagra or if you settle in a high cost of living spot like California, you'll need five+ million dollars for retirement.

Most of us won't live past 80, but we must assume so on the savings front so we don't run out.  If we croak early, any leftover dessert can go to spouse, charity and children.

Don't assume social security and pensions will pay out by the time we retire.  It's wise to take ownership of our investments and prepare for the worst.  Any SS or pension handouts will be icing.

Two million dollars is a bunch of money, but less painful if we start saving early, letting time and the compound effect do the dirty work.

Jan 8, 2014

Stock Buy Break it Down - 3, The Dow Joneser

The market's blood pressure and cholesterol are measured by stock market indexes.

Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite are the three stock indexes you hear daily on the news.  These tools all do the same thing:  calculate a weighted average of various stock prices to provide investors with an overall picture of how the market is doing.

An increase in the Dow, S&P 500 or NASDAQ means the market is doing well.  Stocks generally increased in value that day and investors are happy.  Multiple days of a hard charging rise is a bull market.  Investors are optimistic and the charts are green.

A decrease in the Dow, S&P 500 or NASDAQ means the market sagged, stocks generally deflated in value that day. A pattern of days of flaccid stocks is a bear market.  Investors are pessimistic and the charts glow red.

Jan 7, 2014

Pot Stock Poll

January 1, 2014:  Colorado became the first state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana, and the first in the world to regulate pot from seed to sale.  The Colorado government wants a bite of the brownies, taxing joints at 28%.  To, you know, "help the kids and stuff" ($27 million towards schools).

Doobie stocks have been going bananas in the last 7 days, largely related to the Colorado thing.  GreenGro Techno deals medical marij' and jumped 182% today.  That's insane, and means if you invested $1,000, you would have made over $1,800 profit in one day.

This brings up an interesting question:  Is it immoral to purchase pot stocks?

Vote Yes or No up top in the poll.  I'll share my thoughts in two days!


Jan 6, 2014

Stock Buy Break it Down - 2, The NYSE and NASDAQ Described, Plus Wild Baboons

Yesterday's stock post was a stampede of hits (9 clicks total), so figured it a good idea to bask in the glory and bake another.  This one covers the two major stock exchanges in the U.S.

When a corporation is birthed and issues stock, they select an exchange to be listed on:  either the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ.

NY Stock Exchange
The NY Stock Exchange (NYSE) goes way back, 1792.  Which is the same year Pigtails thinks I was born.  221 years ago, two dozen stockbrokers met beneath a shady Sycamore tree outside of 68 Wall Street to sign the Buttonwood Agreement.  Then they got busy trading.

Jan 5, 2014

Stock Buy Break it Down - 1, The Basics

Rather than brewing one thick post on stocks, it'll be easier to digest if I cook up several shorter bites, each nibbling on one or two topics at a time.  We'll start with the basics then advance.  Here are the topics I'll cover this week in the stock series:

  • What is stock and how can it make us money 
  • Stock exchanges, New York and NASDAQ
  • Stock indexes, Dow Jones, S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite
  • Mutual funds, money markets, bonds and gold
  • Risk vs. reward
  • Pick at stock charts and show what company fundamentals to pay attention to
  • Come with Pigtails as she purchases her first shares of stock! 

Today we'll define stock:  What in the heck is it and how can it pad our wallet/purse/murse?

10 years of the stock market