Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pay Off Debt or Invest? Which Should I Do?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Twelve Step Program for Personal Finance

This is a very creative infographic from BillShrink. It basically talks about how one can take control and ownership of ones finances to get back on the track the financial freedom. The basic principles of taking ownership, watching your spending habits and reducing unnecessary spending are the key points of this. Check it out; done in an interesting way.

Step 1:
We have admitted we are powerless over the economic downturn – that our financial lives have become more difficult to manage.

Step 2:
We have come to realize that we are in control of our own financial future.

Step 3:
We have made a decision to turn our financial lives around.

Step 4:
We have made a searching and fearless inventory of our personal budgets.

Step 5:
We have admitted to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our financial irresponsibility.

Step 6:
We are entirely ready to remove all these extraneous expenditures from our budgets.

Step 7:
We have sought to remove each of our financial shortcomings.

Step 8:
Made a list of all unnecessary expenditures, and became willing to make difficult changes to reduce them all.

Step 9:
We have made direct amendments to our spending wherever possible, except when to do so would compromise the wellbeing of our families or ourselves.

Step 10:
We continue to take personal financial inventory and when we identify unnecessary spending, we promptly eliminate it.

Step 11:
We have sought through meditation to improve our conscious contact with our inner-spender, seeking the power to carry out the actions necessary to cut our expenditures.

Step 12:
Having had a financial awakening as the result of these steps, we will try to carry this message to other over-spenders, and to practice these principles of fiscal prudence in all our affairs.

Go to BillShrink for full graphic>>>

Monday, November 23, 2009

The habits of real millionaires…not what you see on TV




These are some findings from Dr. Thomas Stanley’s new book, Stop Acting Rich: And Start Living Like a Real Millionaire, based on his research and a national survey carried out by University of Georgia Survey Research Institute. You may find some of these interesting.

1. The #1 most popular make of car among millionaires is Toyota – not BMW or Mercedes.

2. Real millionaires pay about $16 (tip included) for a haircut at a traditional barbershop.

3. Nearly 4 in 10 millionaires buy wine that costs around $10.

4. There are currently more than 350,000 millionaire educators (working or retired teachers or professors) – a profession that is far better at transforming income into true wealth than doctors or lawyers.

5. Only 5.7 percent of all surveyed millionaires nationally paid $1000 or more for their most recently acquired suit.

6. Sixty-four percent of all real millionaires have never owned a second house.

7. The number one preferred brand of shoes worn by millionaire women is Nine West and their favorite clothing store is Ann Taylor – with the Gap and Costco not far behind.

8. Most real millionaires own Seiko watches and not Rolex, Omega or Tag Heuer.

9. Those who give away larger portions of their incomes to charitable causes end up accumulating more wealth.

What do you think about these results? It seems obvious to me that there is a fundamental mindset of frugality. Millionaires by nature look for ways to minimize expenses and do not spend a lot of items that return no value to them.

Thank you to FreeMoneyFinance for great article. [Source:]

6 Things You Should Know When Negotiating Your Salary

Rami Sethi, writer of, talks about what you should know when negotiating your salary. What do you think about them? If you have any other tips that you have had experience with, or you know that works, share them with us in the comments. Thank you.

1. Nobody cares about you.

2. Have another job offer.

3. Show up prepared.

4. Negotiate for more than money.

5. Smile!

6. Save face.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Six traps investors should avoid


1) Anchoring trap. The mind gives a disproportionate amount of weight to the first information received on a topic. Avoid premature conclusions.

2) Status quo trap. Forecasts tend to perpetuate recent observations. If inflation has been high, it is expected to remain high. It is a psychological risk to assume something different.

3) Confirming evidence trap. Individuals give greater weight to information that supports an existing point of view. Run an idea by an independent-minded person. We tend to see evidence that supports what we believe to be true.

4) Overconfidence trap. Individuals overestimate the accuracy of their forecasts. Widening the range of expected possible outcomes is one way to mitigate this tendency.

5) Prudence trap. There is a tendency to temper forecasts that appear extreme. If a forecast turns out to be extreme and then wrong, it could be damaging to one's career. Therefore, sticking to the herd is safer.

6) Recallability trap. Individuals are overly influenced by events that have left a strong impression on a person's memory. These events tend to be catastrophic or dramatic. To avoid falling into this trap, individuals should ground their conclusions in objective data rather than emotion or memories.

Source: [Original article here]

Friday, November 20, 2009

Warren Buffett Holdings as of September 2009

1710_warren_buffett_1 This is the list of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A)(BRK-B) public US equity holdings as of September 30, 2009.




Highlights from the portfolio of the greatest investor of our time.

  • American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) over 151.6 million shares, same as last quarter.
  • Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) 5 million shares; same as last quarter.
  • Becton Dickinson & Co. (NYSE: BDX) 1.2 million shares, same as last quarter.
  • Burlington Northern Santa Fe (NYSE: BNI) was reported as 76.77 million shares but frankly it does not really matter as BNSF is becoming part of Berkshire.
  • Carmax Inc. (NYSE: KMX) 9 million shares is same as last quarter.
  • Coca Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) right at 200 million shares, still same as before.
  • Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) 12 million shares, same as before.
  • Comdisco Holdings (NASDAQ: CDCO) roughly 1.5 million shares, same as before.
  • ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) 57.43 million shares, DOWN FROM 62.485 million at the end of June.
  • Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ: COST) 5.254 million shares, same as before.
  • Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) is a NEW HOLDING of 1.276 million shares.
  • Gannett Co. (NYSE: GCI) 3.447 million shares, same as before.
  • General Electric Corp. (NYSE: GE) 7.777 million shares is the same as before, but does not include the huge preferred investment from late 2008.
  • GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) 1.51 million shares, same as before.
  • Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) 2.757 million, same as last quarter.
  • Ingersoll-Rand (NYSE: IR) 636,600 shares; WAY DOWN from the 7.78 million listed last quarter.
  • Iron Mountain (NYSE: IRM) 3.3722 million shares, same as before.
  • Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) was just over 36.91 million shares; Same as last quarter and still well under the 62 million shares at one point in 2008.
  • Kraft Foods (NYSE: KFT) over 138 million; same as last quarter.
  • Lowe’s Companies (NYSE: LOW) 6.5 million shares, same as last quarter.
  • M&T Bank Corp. (NYSE: MTB) 6.71 million shares, same as before.
  • Moody’s (NYSE: MCO) was listed as over 39.2 million shares, but that is WAY DOWN from the 48 million last quarter.  Be advised that he has noted sales and hinted at more sales here.
  • Nalco Holding (NYSE: NLC) 9.0 million shares, same as last quarter.
  • Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) 7.641 million shares, same as before.
  • Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC) 1.933 million shares, same as before, but we already know Buffett has or is selling out of non-BNSF shares in rail companies.
  • NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) 7.2 million, same as before.
  • Eaton Corp. (NYSE: ETN) was NOT LISTED ANY LONGER, so sold from holdings.
  • Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) 96.3 million, the same as before.
  • Republic Services Inc. (NYSE: RSG) 3.625 million shares; NEW POSITION following Bill Gates.
  • Sanofi Aventis (NYSE: SNY) more than 3.9 million shares, same as before.
  • Sun Trust Bank (NYSE: STI) 3.079 million shares; DOWN FROM 3.2+ the quarter before.
  • Torchmark Corp. (NYSE: TMK) roughly 2.82 million, same as before.
  • Travelers Cos (NYSE: TRV) 27,336; NEW POSITION but small.
  • US Bancorp (NYSE: USB) roughly 69 million; Same as quarter before.
  • USG Corp. (NYSE: USG) 17.072 million shares, same as before.
  • United Health Group (NYSE: UNH) 3.4 million shares; DOWN from 4.5 million last quarter and down from over 6 million in Q1.
  • Union Pacific Corp. (NYSE: UNP) 9.55 million shares, same as quarter before but this does not matter as Buffett is dumping his non-BNSF rail holdings.
  • United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS) 1.429 million shares, same as before.
  • Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) 37.8 million; WAY UP from the 19.9+ million shares last quarter.
  • Washington Post (NYSE: WPO) over 1.72 million shares, same as before.
  • Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) 313.3 million shares; ABOVE THE PRIOR 302+ million last quarter and above the 290+ million in Q1.
  • Wellpoint Inc. (NYSE: WLP) 3.394 million; DOWN SLIGHTLY from the 3.5 million last quarter and from the 4.7773 million in Q1.
  • Wesco Financial Corp. (NYSE: WSC) 5.7 million shares, same as before.
  • WABCO Holdings (NYSE: WBC) IS GONE after being 2.7 million shares last quarter.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bruce Berkowitz of Fairholme Fund talks about Investing

The Fairholme Fund is one of my favorite mutual fund because of Bruce Berkowitz and its performance. He has a Buffett-style philosophy and is very focused on being a steward of shareholders’ wealth. He runs Fairholme as a concentrated portfolio of stocks and holds about 17% cash. In this video, he talks about his investment philosophy, stocks, lessons from the economic downturn and some of Warren Buffett’s recent purchases.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

30 Jobs That Pay $80K

This article on MSN Career Builder shows 30 jobs that pays $80000. It ranges from Physics teachers to Biomedical Engineers. Check out these jobs and see which ones may be a career that may interest you.

1. Administrative law judges. Get paid: $80,870

2. Biomedical engineers. Get paid: $81,120

3. Chiropractors. Get paid: $81,340

4. Atmospheric, earth, marine and space science teachers, post-secondary. Get paid: $81,470

5. Agents and business managers of artists, performers and athletes. Get paid: $81,550

6. Materials scientists. Get paid: $81,600

7. Physician assistants. Get paid: $81,610

8. Medical scientists. Get paid: $81,870

9. Physics teachers, post-secondary. Get paid: $81,880

10. Atmospheric and space scientists. Get paid: $82,080

11. Management analysts. Get paid: $82,920

12. Producers and directors. Get paid: $83,030

13. Biological science teachers, post-secondary. Get paid: $83,270

14. Materials engineers. Get paid: $84,200

15. Transportation, storage and distribution managers. Get paid: $84,520 

For the next 15 jobs and descriptions go here >>>