Wednesday, June 19, 2019

College Students Overestimate Salary After Graduation

According to this article, college students overestimate their starting salary by about $10,000, estimaing about $58,000 versus the median salary of $47,000 for bachelor degree graduates with 0-5 years experience. 

However, there is some good news.  Median salaries for computer science major early in their career was at $68,000 versus their average expectation of $59,300.   So these majors received a pleasant surprise when they started work.

For more on The Practice of Personal Finance, check back Wednesdays for a new segment.

This is not financial or education advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2019 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Monday, June 17, 2019

How I Will Invest in Real Estate

I've own investment real estate three different ways:

  • Direct ownership - I am the only owner.
  • Partnership -  I am a partner in a general partnership
  • Public REIT - I am the owner of publicly traded stock.
Based on my experience, going forward, I will only invest in public REITs.   I am currently trying to sell the investment land that I directly own.    I'm learning that a real estate partnership has lots of complexities, with which I don't won't to deal with as I get older.

There's a 5% chance that I will sell the land this year.  It is under contract, but the Buyer has enough contingencies to exit the deal.   The general partnership is doing well, except for 60% of the partners have no interest in participating in the business operations.   

I've been lucky for all the real estate investments, since all are profitable.  However, I want to simply our investments as I get older, so I will be sticking with REITs and trying to exit from the rest.

For more on Strategies and Plans, check back every Monday  for a new segment.


This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2019 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Monday, May 06, 2019

How Much Times Final Salary is Needed to Retire

16.4 times, assuming no pension, and having Social Security account for 5.3 of the amount.   So only 11.1 times is needed.  Still that is a pretty daunting number, especially if one wasn't planning for it. 

Personally, I've always targeted for 20 times, not including Social Security.  I think that gives us a comfortable buffer.

For more on Strategies and Plans Ideas, check back Mondays for a new segment.

This is not financial, saving or retirement advice advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2019 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

How Governent Can Reduce the Cost of College

Let all future student loans be forgivable in bankruptcy. 

Banks would be more judicious in lending money.   Less money would be lent.  Fewer people would go to college.   Supply would exceed demand.   Colleges would need to reduce tuition.   More students could attend at lower costs.

Simple economics.

For more on  Strategy and Plans, check back Mondays for a new segment.

This is not financial, economic, or higher eduction advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2019 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Doing the Unthinkable

"I made a fortune getting out too soon." ~ J.P. Morgan

Despite the market hitting all time highs again this week, I'm looking to exit the market.   Well, not completely, but definitely with my peripheral holdings that are profitable, and a significant part of our core holdings.

I've already gone to 100% Cash/CDs in my daughter's 529 account.   Since then I've been scaling out of our investments in smaller chunks.   I sold parts of the peripheral holdings in my personal investment strategies.   I've been taking profits in stocks that were purchased in November/December 2018.   I've been selling part of some core holdings (specifically REITs) that are up significantly.

Yesterday, I gave instructions on selling a big piece, closing out one of the investment managers at a brokerage.  The manager has done acceptably well, but again, I prefer to lock in the gains that have occurred to date.   The close out will happen later next week, so I won't mind the market continuing to advance through next week.

Everything is on the table for selling, except my company stock, which I am holding to do an NUA.  By the end of May, I plan to exit another investment manager account.

Why all the sudden selling?

  • First, on yield curve inverted in late 2018, and another yield curve inverted in March 2019.  Typically, a recession has occurred 7-24 months after a yield curve inversion.
  • The rebound from the December 24, 2018 lowest has been parabolic.  Our gains in the first four months of 2019 would be a good return for most entire years.   It can't continue at this rate, and if it does, a market crash is very likely.
So I am selling early, know full well that I may miss out on some gains.   But that's a risk I'm willing to take to sleep better at night.


For more on Reflections and Musings, check back every Saturday for a new segment.

This is not financial or investment advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2019 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Went to 100% Cash/CDs in Daughter's 529 Account

Our daughter's 529 account has already returned over 17% year to date.  17% would be a great annual return and it's only been 3 1/2 months.  At this rate, 2019 will have over a 58% return.   I don't think that's going to happen :-)     Alas, if it's too good to be true, it's probably is.

Thus, I am going to protect the gains we have to date, at the risk of missing out of further gains.   I will cash out of all mutual funds at the end of the day.  The funds will be invested in a CD paying a little over 2% for six months.  I'll decide at the end of 2019 whether to reinvest in the stock mutual fund.

Another reason for cashing out is that our daughter is a little over 4 years away from college.   If the market has a significant downturn, such as 08/09, we would lose about half of her college fund, just prior to her attending college.   That's a risk I have to avoid.

For more on Crossing Generations, check back Thursdays for a new segment.

This is not financial or education advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2019 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Why My Kids Won't Work in Californinia

California is a Liberal Nightmare.

See this example by Katie Porter a representative in Congress.

https://twitter.com/RepKatiePorter/status/1116049180902948865

Sorry, I have no sympathy for her example, who made numerous poor choices.  Where are the child support payments from the father?  Why isn't CA enforcing those payments? Why hasn't she moved from CA to a state where that pay can support her?

Finally, her math ignore all the tax credits that the taxpayer gets, such as EITC and Child Tax credit.  I expect her federal income tax is near ZERO.

I;m glad I don't live in CA.

For more on Crossing Generations  check back every Thursday  for a new segment.

This is not financial or parenting  advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2019 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Sell High

While the market was falling in late 2018, I was buying.   I even made some purchases on theday of the bottom, December 24, 2018.   Despite the recent rebound in the stock market, I'm not putting any more money into stocks.  In fact, this is probably the time to take some profits and rebalance.  Remember the Wall Street adage:   Buy low and sell high.

So I'm selling some of my holdings that I bought in late 2018.   Some stocks are up as much as 80% and some indices are up as much as 20% since I bought them, in only 3-5.   Not a bad return....

Of course, I can't do this consistently :-)   So I'm still staying invested in our core holdings, while selling mainly the peripheral holding that were purchased with the intent of trading.

For more on The Practice of Personal Finance , check back Wednesdays for a new segment.

This is not financial or investment advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2019 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Taxing Robots

When I was growing, people were paid to do repetitive routine tasks.   The workers paid taxes.  Nowadays, robots do some of these tasks, in much less time.  The robots don't pay taxes.  The is a two fold problem, less people making money and less income taxes being paid.

Here's my trial solution:

  • Tax all robo calls at $.01 per call initiated.
  • At 4 robo calls per phone/day, 300 million phones, 365 days a year, $4.38 billiion in taxes would be collected per year.  At a $.10 tax per call, that would be $43.8 billioin in taxes per year.
  • Tax revenue may go down due to reduced number of robo calls.  But that is a benefit also
This would be a prototype solution for how to tax other robots in an effective, and efficient manner and compensate for the reduction in workforce.


For more on Crossing Generations, check back Thursdays for a new segment.

This is not financial, tax or work advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2019 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Sunday, March 03, 2019

What if Stock Market Gains of January and February Continue?

The S&P has returned an average of 6% each month for January and February 2019.  If the S&P continues to average 6% for the remaining months in 2019, the total return for 2019 will be about 100%.   Amazing.   Of course, the probability of the stock market returning 6% per month for the next 10 months is very low. 

Here's what I'd do if it did happen:

  • Convert my daughter's College 529 account to  100% cash/CDs.  She's four years away from college, so I would want to lock in the gains.   
  • Cash out of at least 50% of my stock investments.   That way, I will have taken my principal out and only left the profits invested.  In other words, I would only be risking "house money."
  • Hedge against a significant correction.  I would likely do this by purchasing put options, but I might short some stocks also.
Again, it is highly unlikely the market will advance 100% in 2019.   However, if it does, I will have a plan to protect our retirement and college funds.


For more on New Beginnings, check back Sundays for a new segment.

This is not financial or investment advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2019 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Friday, February 22, 2019

Take Some of the Money and Run

"If it's too good to be true, then it probably is." ~ old adage.

While I am enjoying the market recovering from the late 2018 decline, I realize that the rally won't continue forever.  That would be too good to be true.  The advance will end and a subsequent decline will occur.  At that point, I usually wish I had sold some shares earlier.  So I am using the opportunity to take some profits now so that I won't have seller's regret later.

When there are no or very low commission costs,  I like to take a gradual approach to selling for profits by selling only a few shares versus the entire lot.  That way if the market continues to go up, I can sell later for greater profits per share.  So going gradually allows me to lock in some gains, while hedging against a further advance.    If the market goes down, I will have taken some profits at a higher price, which gives me some satisfaction.

 Of course, if the cost is the $4.95 per trade, it isn't cost effective trade a few shares.   But if the cost is only a few cents or 0 per trade, then the above strategy can be done cost effectively.

For more on Reaping the Rewards, check back Fridays for a new segment.

This is not financial  or investment  advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2019 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Blitzscaling - the future of work.

The company from which I retired was well known for being successful by using consumer research, validated innovation processes, and manufacturing/advertising scale to win in the market.  The time from idea to market would often take years.   The company was and is very successful.

Blitzscaling by Reid Hoffman offers a massively different approach for what businesses need to do be be successful in the Internet age.   Essentially, it's go fast, go big, and fix on the fly.   Fast iteration and clear focus on what's really important are also critical elements.

It's the best business book I've ever read.  I've been reflecting on what I would/should have done differently in my career.  I definitely recommend this book to anyone thinking of starting their own business, working for a start up, or being a change agent in an established company.

I am also going to share this thinking with our kids.





Disclosure:  This post is my own opinion and I receive no compensation for writing it. This site receives a sales commission from Amazon.com for purchases made through Amazon links. This commission has no effect on the price or service received by the purchaser.

For more on  Crossing Generations, check back  Thursdays for a new segment.

This is not financial, investing, career or business advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2019 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Characteristics Needed to Become a Millionaire


 A Woman Who Studied 600 Millionaires Found How Rich You Can Get Boils Down to 6 Things, No Matter Your Age or Salary  Here are the 6 things from the article:

  • Frugality, or a commitment to saving, spending less, and sticking to a budget
  • Confidence in financial management, investing, and household leadership
  • Responsibility, which involves accepting your role in financial outcomes and believing that luck plays little role
  • Planning, or setting goals for your financial future
  • Focus on seeing tasks through to their completion without being distracted
  • Social indifference, or not succumbing to social pressure to buy the latest thing
Overall, I thought this was a good summary.

For more on The Practice of Personal Finance , check back Wednesdays for a new segment.

This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2019 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Making (Expensive) Razor Cartridges Last Longer

The multiblade razors are great for shaving, but they are so expensive.   A retired employee from a razor company told me a way to make razors last longer:  Dry them with a hair dryer.  His rationale was that even though the blades are stainless steel, they are so thin that residual water can cause enough oxidation (rust) to dull the sharpness of the edge. 

For a while, I've been drying the razors with a towel, which seemed to prolong the life of the razon.  Now I am trying the hair dryer method to see if I get better results.

For more on  Ideas You Can Use, check back Tuesdays for a new segment.

This is not financial or shaving advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2019 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Monday, February 04, 2019

Taking Some Profits from Purchases During 2018 Year End Dip

As the market was falling in December, we continued to take additional small positions in our core holdings.  We even made some purchases on December 24, 2018, which was the bottom of the decline.   Many individual stocks purchased on that date are up 30% and index ETFs purchased are up 15%, which would be a good gain for a year.

At this point, it is not clear whether the current advance is a bear market rally or the start/continuation of a bull market.   So I am being cautions and selling the additional small positions that have gains of at least 15%.  I won't be selling all eligible postions at once.  Rather I will be scaling in, to take advantage of the market continuing to rise.

If the market continues to rise, our core holding will benefit and we'll get increase profits from the sales.  If the market peaks and falls in the near term, we will have locked in some proftis and mitigated the decline of our core positions.

Either way, we will have greater profits that if we had not bought during the 2018 year end market dip.

For more on Strategies and Plans, check back Mondays for a new segment.

This is not financial or investing advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2019 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Bear Schadenfreude

Schadenfreude - Pleasure derived by someone by another person's misfortune.

I am enjoying the effect January's "rip your face off" rally has had on numerous stock market bears.  Right now, I think pain trade will be FOMO on the potential February rally.  So I may get to enjoy schadenfreude in February also :-)

For more on  New Beginnings, check back every Sunday for a new segment.

This is not financial, investing, or social  advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2019 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Brains or Bull Market?

"Don't confuse brains with a bull marker."~Wall Street adage

After a dismal December (and November) in 2018, the stock market has rallied with a vengeance.  January 2019 is the best January for the S&P since 1987.   Our accounts are up significantly this month, with several accounts hitting all time highs, despite the overall market still below all time highs.  Some of our stock purchases on Deceember 24, 2018 (now officially the near term bottom of the correction/bear market) are up over 30%.

Despite all this good news, I'm not feeling particularly brilliant.  In fact, I just feel lucky that it's still a bull market and we are reaping the rewards of being a participant.   Basically, we were most lucky with our contrarian buys.

Here are our lucky buys:
  • REITs - In early 2018, we started buying REITs, which had fallen precipitously  in late 2017 and early 2018 due to expecte Fed interest rate increases.  Some of the REITs were yielding as much as 7%.   It was a painful process since all of the REITs continued to fall as were were buying the over a three month period.  However, the strategy paid off as the REIT only account has shown a 26% increase over a year.  REITs owned:   WPC, O, NNN, LTC, VTR, HCP, GLPI, STAG and KIM.
  • December buys -  Despite the falling market in December, we added to our market index ETFs and bought trading positions of our core holdings.  Some of the index ETFs are up over 15% and some stocks are up over 30% since their purchase in December.
It didn't hurt that my company stock hit a new 52 week/all time high in January.

Bottom line is that I feel more lucky than smart.  So I am selling into this rally.   First I am selling any trading postions that have over 15% gains.   Second, I am trimming successful core positions (e.g. REITs) to take profits.

If the bull market continues, we will still benefit with our core positions.   If the bull market pauses and declines, we will have taken some profits.

Disclosure:  At the time of posting, we own WPC, O, NNN, LTC, VTR, HCP, GLPI, STAG and KIM.

For more on  Reflections and Musings, check back every Saturday for a new segment.

This is not financial, or investment advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2019 Achievement Catalyst, LLC