So, yes, the Post of the Day is over here. I converted this morning’s Scottsdale Business Association presentation to a blog post. Turned out better than I expected. Longer, too.

Hm. That squib elicited a like from this WordPress blogger, a fellow named Anthony Vicino who writes an engaging book review. If he can emit fiction as entertaining as his reviewing, it surely must be worth checking out his books.

Otherwise quiet on the home front. Spectacularly beautiful day (sorry, you Easterners). Nice doggy walk. No bills in the mail. No burglars in the living room. What more (or less) could anyone want?

The other day Anne remarked that it must be possible to save even MORE dollahs than planned by not visiting a grocery store every week. Ah, but no, argued I: lettuce and other fresh veggies don’t last more than a week in these parts: surely refraining from a grocery visit was IMpossible.

But nay: score 1 for Anne, minus 1 for Funny. I wuz wrong. This morning there was no real reason to visit a grocery on the way home from lovely uptown Scottsdale. I did make a brief run on the gourmet market, but for a non-grocery item. Anne could be right: with careful planning, it may be possible to evade even an ordinary grocery store for ten-day to two-week stretches. Hot diggety!

In other fine news: I just got excused from jury duty, on the Mayo’s say-so. Thank you very much, WonderSurgeon and staff! The alternative was a 90-day extension, which might have been OK, but in fact I have no idea whether I’ll be able to wear a shirt for the entire day by then or not. So that’s good. I guess.

Students are quiescent. So far no one has bellyached (much) about the quizzes I substituted for the reading reviews. Very nice…and it sets me up to have to read a whole lot less drivel.

Meanwhile, a small mystery: in one section only a couple of classmates (of 22) elected to turn in the extra-credit rewrite of the first District-required essay. These things represent 50 extra points — 50% of the value of one of the required essays, a free give-away. Most of the other section returned edited versions of one variety or another. But this bunch: ?????  I have no idea why they didn’t take advantage of such an easy opportunity to rack up free points.

Oh well. That much less to have to read.

And it frees up this evening to work on drafting the Boob Book!

 Dolly: Funny
Talent Scout Dude: Future employer
Auditioners: Freshman comp students



Personally, I kind of doubt it. My net worth is pushing a million bucks again, now that the market has revived. And nobody, my canny investment manager included, seriously believes my savings will last until the end of my life. The horror of it is, the fact that my house is paid off and I have many hundreds of thousands of dollars in the stock market lifts me into the upper reaches of America’s financial strata. Eduardo Porter reports, in today’s New York Times, that the average American who’s looking at retirement within the decade has a grandiose $104,000 in retirement savings.

Lovely. That’ll keep you going for about four years, if no major expenses hit.

Porter points out that one reason for this unsurprising state of affairs is that, as he puts it, “Wall Street is bleeding savers dry.”

While that may be hyperbolic, his point is that the fees and blatant conflicts of interest that are part of large management firms’ standard business model drain workers’ savings at an alarming rate. Researchers at Harvard, MIT, the University of Hamburg, the University of Toronto, the University of Virginia, and the University of Pennsylvania have found that investment advisers routinely direct clients’ money to funds that share upfront fees with them, and that returns on these funds are weak compared with alternatives. Kickbacks are rife — some advisers have been paid $6,000 to $9,000 to get clients to roll over savings from 401(k) plans to IRAs.

So. Caveat emptor. Or you’re likely to find yourself with an empty bank account come retirement time.

For the time being, Porter concurs with Vanguard founder John C. Bogle in urging investors to seek out low-fee passively managed funds. As an example, Bogle posits a 30-year-old worker earning $30,000 a year, receiving an annual raise of 3 percent. If she invested 10% of her wages in a passive index fund, at age 70 she would have $977,000 in savings. If she put her money in a typical actively managed fund, though, she would end up with just $561,000.

Vanguard and Fidelity are funds with relatively low management fees. Be sure you find out the costs of the funds that appear in your 401(k), and pick the ones with the least rapacious practices.


Would I Have Done This? Would You?

March 2, 2015

Y’know, sometimes I look at what my students do, often out of simple self-defense in a world fraught with absurd bureaucratic demands, and wonder if I would have done the same thing as a freshman. Would I refuse to buy the textbook for a college course I was paying to take? If I did buy […]

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Spock, Say It Ain’t. . .Logical!

February 28, 2015

This does not compute. How could Spock die at 83, a mere thirteen years older than me, when I’m only 25? We must be in some kind of time warp. It’s the only logical explanation. {sob!} Spent yesterday evening watching old Star Trek episodes and movies on Netflix. And I must say…I wonder what I […]

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NMP: Not My Problem!

February 26, 2015

WonderAccountant has a term for the High Drama friends and family like to inflict on us (and everyone around us): NMP! That’s short for Not My Problem! You know whereof I speak, I’m sure: we all have a variety of Drama Kings and Queens in our lives. “NMP” is a  handy device for disconnecting from […]

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Cost(co)-Cutting as a Budgetary Strategy

February 25, 2015

So yesterday being Tuesday of the first week into the new budget cycle, I made a gigantic Costco run. As part of the new budget strategy, I’m determined to limit the visits to Costco to one (count it, 1) visit a month. After that, I figure if I run out of something, I either do […]

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