Happy Hour: Over Promise, Under Deliver

I’ve been wrestling with server problems and customer support the past week. It’s why this weeks post was shorter than usual. That, and it gave me the excuse to try out a cool charting tool too.

We all deal with computer problems from time to time. A server is simply a computer that fires off web pages when its working correctly. When its not, it’s like dealing with your typical computer problem. You try to fix it yourself or turn to customer support for help, hoping it’s an easy fix or the support lives up to the promises made when you bought in.

Sometimes things work. Promises are delivered. Other times you get all promise and no delivery. Continue Reading…

The $10 a Day Lottery Habit That Pays Off

Lottery QuoteStrike it rich! It’s the happy ending for millions of lottery dreams and the quick fix to all life’s problems. Right? That’s why we play. Who doesn’t want to be an instant millionaire?

There’s just one small problem with playing the lottery. Your odds of winning this week is exactly the same as the next. Low. Unbelievably low. And it never changes.

But its okay. You have a system. You play birthdays, ages, anniversaries, phone numbers, addresses, your license plate number, and divorce date. Those lucky numbers are bound to pay off soon. Continue Reading…

Happy Hour: Goals and Using Benchmarks

I’ve never been a fan of New Years resolutions. There are 364 other great days available to start improving on something, so why waste it? I understand why people get behind it with the fresh start feel of a new year, but it rarely works out.

Typical resolutions are big ideas devoid of specifics. You see a lot of things like eat healthier, lose weight, and save more money. All great goals, and I’ve covered this before, but its generic.

I came across an Inc. article on goal setting worth reading. The article does a great job explaining how to reach goals in general. But it covers something specific to investing with benchmarks. Continue Reading…

The Art of Losing Money

If we avoid the losersAny chump can bet all their money on a single stock and get wiped out. But it takes a special kind of genius to invest and consistently lose money in the market. They follow one mistake with another, compounding their losses with opportunity cost. To avoid the same fate, we can steal a few lessons in how to lose money from the great investors who came before us.

Warren Buffett repeats his two simple rules often:

Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No. 1.

Easy enough. I use the same rules in Vegas and I swear it never fails.

But you know better. Right?

Never losing is impossible. Anyone who tells you different is lying. The great investors know losing is part of investing. They lose money better than anyone. Continue Reading…

Happy Hour: Opt Out Retirement Savings

Starting is the hardest part. In hopefully what is a sign of things to come, The Upshot reported on a new retirement savings program offered in Illinois called Secure Choice.

The plan is meant to fill the void for people who don’t have a retirement plan through work. It’s a voluntary program with one defining characteristic. You need to opt out to stop saving.

Dealing with a retirement plan for the first time can be intimidating. That was my first experience as I watched coworkers stare at a packet of fund choices like it was a Chinese takeout menu. The plan administrators salesmen’s best advisor impression only confused things more. Only a few of us signed up. Continue Reading…