History is repeating! What is the next asset bubble the Fed is creating. They are holding rates too low for too long yet again. The deflation fear is a fallacy.
Further more the article states:
The government, however, perpetually desires inflation because it benefits enormously. First, it uses depreciated dollars to help float away the national debt; i.e., it pays interest to the holders of Treasury securities with dollars worth less than the dollars used originally to purchase the securities. Second, the government uses the newly created dollars first before they become worth less by increasing the amount of money already in circulation
How to steal from the poor and give to the rich? Therein lies the dirty little secret the Republicans don’t want you to know. The Fed is funding the Bush tax cuts with the poor and middle class. Prices on everyday goods, like um… food, are being “taxed” with inflation and nobody even realizes it.
So, I spent like a day pulling my hair out trying to load images from the web into an Android list view. Should be fairly straight forward right? I finally gave up and moved on to other screens to discover the same code worked on another screen! Something must be different here, I was thinking. The image sizes I’m downloading are smaller in the one that works. Maybe that has something do with it.
Note: a bug in the previous versions of BitmapFactory.decodeStream may prevent this code from working over a slow connection. Decode a new FlushedInputStream(inputStream) instead to fix the problem. Here is the implementation of this helper class:
The FlushedInputStream fixed everything! It was an Android bug, damnit.
I’ve finally completed the PajorNet Project. I was lucky my house came with a structured wiring panel with Cat 5e and cable drops in every room in the house.
What I got here is 1 8-port Gigabit Ethernet switch, 1 Cable/DSL Router, and 1 Cable modem.
I went out and bought my own cable modem because I was looking for a smaller one and I needed to hack up the power cords to work with the DC power supply I bought. The power supply was nice to replace all those brick power supplies that would not fit in here. So, I bought a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem and upgraded my Comcast Internet package and now it’s blazing fast. If you want to save $5/mo you can buy a modem online for as little as $30. Make sure your modem is “approved” and it was a relatively painless process over the phone. Just give them the MAC address for the modem over the phone and you are ready to go in like 5 minutes.
Here’s part two of my tips for the average Joe investor. Mutual funds suck. I hate to break it to you, especially since a lot of your 401(k) is probably in them. But I don’t like mutual funds for one simple fact: if the person running the fund is so damn smart then why does he/she have to work?
Before I begin, remember my standard disclaimer: I may not know what I’m talking about, and I still have probably 30 years to retire. So, please educate yourself and make your own investment decisions.
Take, for instance, a sampling I took of some of the biggest funds around. I compared their performance against the S&P 500 (Yellow). This is by no means scientific. But, as you can see, it’s easy to find ones that perform way worse than the market indexes and you may even recognize some of these funds.
Even fool.com says:
For many years now the record for equity mutual funds has not been good. Though countless millions of dollars of shareholders’ money is spent annually by mutual funds promoting themselves and the notion that they have “expert” stock pickers, the sad truth (or the funny truth, if you’re in a laughing mood) is that the vast majority of mutual funds underperform the returns of the stock market (as represented by the S&P 500 index). - The Performance of Mutual Funds
Another reason I dislike mutual funds is fees. Not only are you losing money, but you are paying someone to lose your money. I’m guessing you can do that for free by yourself. You can compare fund expenses by looking at their expense ratio. For example, after losing money in that Magellan fund, there’s .71% expense ratio for fees.
So, you might be asking about that chart I posted, “What about that one fund that kicked ass?” Well, you’re right. You can pick winners, but the “vast majority of mutual funds underperform.” That means you either have to be really lucky or do your homework and do all the research on these funds to figure out which are the good ones. This probably includes even researching their top stock holdings. If you go for lucky, you can probably have more fun in Vegas. If you spend all your time researching funds then I don’t see why you don’t just pick stocks. Isn’t that what you’re supposedly paying this person for anyway?
Unfortunately, many 401(k)s don’t give you many options. They want you to invest in their funds so they can make some more money off of you. But, often they do offer index funds. I usually put my money into one of these and just leave it alone. The expense ratios are generally cheaper since all they do is buy the stocks in the index. And you don’t have to worry about underperforming the index since it is the index.
Knowing I’m an active investor, a buddy of mine was asking me questions after having suffered a hit to his retirement funds, as have many people this last couple of years. I figure maybe I would start writing a few articles on the topic as it occurred to me I really geek out on this stuff more than others.
I don’t like telling people what to do with their money and you shouldn’t listen to anyone either. Rather, I suggest educating yourself as much as possible and making your own investment decisions. Perhaps I have no idea what I’m talking about, either. Another thing to keep in mind is I still have probably 30 years to retire so if you are closer to retirement age you might make more conservative investment decisions.
So I’ll start with the very basics and give a brief overview of types of retirement accounts.
A 401(k) is the retirement account you usually get as a benefit from your employer. Your employer might offer a different kind, but this is generally the most common. The nice thing about these accounts is they are tax deferred, meaning the contributions that you make are tax deductible, and are automatically deducted from your paycheck. However, when you retire and start withdrawing funds from your account, you will be taxed on your gains that you’ve made over the years.
You can contribute up to $16,500 a year for both 2009 and 2010 and some employers offer matching contributions up to a certain amount. If you have an employer that matches, put at least as much as they will match. This is free money!
Usually your employer has some other company manage the 401(k) plan. Many times this is some financial services company like Fidelity. They will offer you a handful of funds you can put your money into and will often encourage you to use their own funds. I typically choose an index fund. I’ll tell you a little more about why later. But basically, their management fees are lower (watch out for those fees), and most funds have difficulty beating the broader market anyway. You may also be able to invest in your company’s stock. But, be careful. This is how a lot of Enron employees got screwed.
Rollover IRAs are Individual Retirement Accounts. They are often called “Rollover” because you can roll over your 401(k) into these accounts when you leave a job. I do this for two reasons. One is to consolidate all my retirement plans. The other is you can open Rollover IRA’s with discount brokers such as E*trade or Ameritrade. This gives you endless investment options through stocks and ETFs. Exchange Traded Funds are funds you can trade like stocks. They have ETFs for everything. Stocks, bonds, and even commodities like gold and oil. Rollover IRAs work like a 401(k) where contributions are tax deferred.
You can contribute up to $5,000 a year to an IRA for both 2009 and 2010. You also have until April 15th to make your yearly contribution. For example, you have until April 15, 2010 to make contributions for the 2009 tax year.
A Roth IRA is a little like a traditional IRA with significant tax advantages, especially if you are younger. It is NOT tax deferred, but when you make your withdrawals they are tax free! If you are compounding gains over 30 years this can be a significant amount of money. You can also open Roth IRA accounts with discount brokers.
You can contribute up to $5,000 a year to a Roth IRA for both 2009 and 2010. You also have the same deadlines as a traditional IRA to make your contributions. I like to max this account out before contributing to tax deferred accounts because of the tax advantages, unless my company matches for my 401(k).
Okay, so that’s it for retirement plans. Wikipedia looks like it has some good articles if you want more info. Good luck and happy investing.