Lessons Learned in 2017

  1. Online banking is a no-brainer.  We never realized how unnecessary (and fee driven) the bricks-n-mortar banks were until we switched to an online bank. For those occasional in-person events (need some Euros or cash a bond), keep a few dollars in a local credit union and get access to on-premise services.
  2. 2 factor authentication – DO IT TODAY!  Ever wonder how your friend’s Facebook or Google account was hacked? It’s because they didn’t have two-factor authentication enabled. It’s a simple setting, and you should do this on your prized Internet accounts before finishing this post.
  3. Global Entry is a traveler’s dream.  After 4+ years of using this magnificent system, we can attest to its ability to save hours of standing in lines – both TSA and US Customs. The program ensures TSA Pre-check along with a simple hand scan to get back into the country, and now, there are some lighter-weight options if flying domestic primarily.
  4. Scrap those scrapbooks with digitization.  After fires destroyed ~25 houses in our neighborhood during a dry spell, we determined our photos were the only non-replaceable item of importance. Pro tip #1: Use a service to convert those hard copies. Pro tip #2: Put those pics in a digital frame, so you actually look a them. Pro tip #3: Do a little at a time.
  5. Allergies and cough – be gone!  Neti pots have been around for literally 1000’s of years, and they still work wonders today in simplified form. At first sign of a sniffle or sneeze, start using this daily to induce a significantly retracted symptom duration.
  6. Life’s schedule doesn’t follow conventional patterns.  There are traditions and then there are milestones. As a family, we strive to never confuse nor confound the two.

Uncertainty & Stock Options

Stock Option Tips for Startups

Diversification Simplification

After reading 100’s of articles and discussing with various brokers and investment bankers, I’m convinced that the perfect mix for an investment portfolio will be a never ending debate. After this many years of stocks, bonds, real estate, etc., one would think a universal equation would have been derived that would take into account one’s asset amount, age, risk tolerance and investment timeframe. In the absence of such an equation, I’ve decided to publish yet another proposed “magic formula” to simplify the thought process of diversified investing. While none of the individual rules are original, they do represent a mix of various opinions and suggestions on the topic.

Rule 1: Percentage invested in stocks: 100 minus current age.
Rule 2: Percentage invested in fixed income: everything else not invested in stocks.
Rule 3: Use future investments to keep the first two rules in check and avoid transferring money to and from investments as much as possible.
Rule 4: Point at which readjustment should be made: when the first two rules are off by 5% or greater.

London City Lights 2

Some FAQs for the equation:

  • An example for a 35 year old: 100-35=65% invested in stocks. 35% would be in bonds and/or other fixed income investments.
  • The equation does not account for investments one might have in their primary residence. A future post will discuss this matter.
  • The stock mix could (and most likely should) include mutual funds and individual stocks in a variety of sectors.
  • An additional method for keeping the first two rules in check is to use money from the fixed income and/or dividends to fund the lagging area.