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Archive for August, 2014

Current Financial Doings

August 23rd, 2014 at 10:24 am

This is what I'm currently working on in my financial life:

1. Changing Primary Bank: Remember the old Neil Sedaka song (They say that breakin' up is hard to do, now I know I know that it's true ...)? "Conscious uncoupling" with your primary bank is definitely not easy in this age of automatic deposits and payments, and linked accounts. I freely admit to being a rate chaser who changes banks easily, but that has been true only of my secondary banks not my primary (local) bank. I should have broken up with my primary bank about 2 years ago when the interest rate they pay dropped significantly (following a merger). But I held on because: there wasn't a better alternative, and I knew it would be difficult. Now I HAVE found a good alternative, so the process of getting everything switched over to the new bank has begun. The list is pretty long.

2. New Estate Planning Documents: In 2009 when I did our wills DH & I had some "discussions" about whether to use an attorney or DIY. The compromise we agreed on was that I would DIY (DH's preference) if he would agree that we would hire an attorney to prepare documents (my preference) after we turned 50. Our 50th birthdays have come and gone. I got recommendations for attorneys in our area, left a message with one, and am expecting a call back on Monday.

3. Researching Cell Phone Plans: Our AT&T contract is expiring. I'm researching plans. Unless there is a compelling reason for us to use the same provider, I may go with Republic Wireless for me and another provider for DH who makes a lot of international calls. Do any of you who make international calls from your cell phones have recommendations?

2014 Vacation Budget

August 19th, 2014 at 10:51 am

I've decided our vacation budget for the year: $600 plus mileage. We already spent $375 during 3 days & 2 nights in Dallas. We plan to make two more overnight trips: Houston and Corpus Christi (2 days and 1 night each). Those trips will be less expensive than Dallas. We have earned a free hotel stay that we will use in Houston, and we will spend less on food. (The Dallas trip included meals at several nice restaurants that serve DH's native cuisine.)

Millionaire Teacher by Andrew Hallam (Book Review)

August 9th, 2014 at 01:32 pm

"Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School" by Andrew Hallam (2011)

This is an EXCELLENT beginner personal finance and investing book, written by a private school teacher who built a million dollar investment portfolio on a teacher's salary. His advice is down to earth and sensible (spend less than you earn, start investing early, invest in low-fee index funds, resist the sales pitches from financial planner salespeople, etc.) What I especially liked was the way concepts were explained intelligently, clearly (in plain English), and with humor. He uses an analogy that compares the stock market to a dog on a leash that helped me understand stocks even more clearly than before. Of special note for our non-American friends is a chapter devoted to investing if you live in Canada, Singapore, or Australia. This is my new favorite basic PF book. I wish my niece were old enough to read it, but at 13 she's probably still a little young. Big Grin

To give you some idea of just how credible this book is:
- The blurbs on the book jacket recommending the book include those written by Burton Malkiel, Scott Burns, William Bernstein, etc.
- The authors he quotes in his book include Thomas Stanley, John Bogle, Larry Swedroe, Burton Malkiel, Daniel Solin, etc.
He's in pretty good company.

This book is worth a read (check your local library, which is where I got the copy I read over 2 days) and would make an excellent gift for a college student or grad.