Insurance: you get what you pay for in life

Posted by on February 7, 2012 in insurance

There’s been a movement by the insurance industry to make insurance, whether life, disability or critical illness, easily to obtain. While the concept in great in the abstract, these efforts remind one of the old saying that you get what you pay for in life. Take the following two examples. Guaranteed issue life insurance policies [...]

Book Review: Willpower

Posted by on February 1, 2012 in Misc.

This book only has a tangent relationship with personal finance. If you are not interested in learning about how to increase your willpower, please feel free to skip over.  I stumbled upon the book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney when a columnist mentioned the book in pointing [...]

Are some companies just naturally more profitable than others?

Posted by on January 31, 2012 in Investment Information

There are 6 large railways in North America (7 if you count Kansas City Southern as well). Canadian Pacific (CP) is the smallest by market cap and most inefficient among them (see my 2008 post on CP’s ranking among the Class 1 Railroads). Last year, hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management bought enough shares to [...]

The (really tardy) investment rules for 2012

Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Misc.

I spent December mostly working and the first weeks of January mostly planning but I am glad to be back at the blog. The post title is self-explanatory and focuses gives some ideas on investment issues to pay attention to in 2012. I will be blogging about some of these issues in depth for the [...]

Strange but true…

Posted by on December 2, 2011 in editorials

I thought I would share this story which  is so symptomatic of our time and age on so many levels… Bobby Bonilla was a good, but not great, baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the late 1980′s/early 1990′s. He was able to parlay these years into a series of obscenely rich and guaranteed contracts [...]

Frequently asked severance questions

Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

I get more emails about severance and employee rights than any other topic (I am using the term severance in its non-legal sense).  These questions typically fall under several categories. I often receive questions from employees who worked at now bankrupt employers. I have previously posted on the topic of employee rights when their employers [...]

Do charities spend too much of your money- an update

Posted by on November 29, 2011 in Misc.

In 2009, I wrote an article outlining how to navigate through the world of charitable giving.  Since that time, there has been a lot of coverage about charitable giving due in part to some charities involved in dodgy tax schemes and a greater emphasis on bang for the charitable buck during economic slow times. While [...]

Is justice ever rendered in white collar crime?

Posted by on November 22, 2011 in Misc.

If you read the news, there has been a renewed push by regulators to bring white-collar crime and white-collar criminals to justice. But, if we look behind the head-lines, is justice ever rendered? There is at least two ways to look at this issue. The first is monetary fines for violators should theoretically act as [...]

ETFs and liquidity risk

Posted by on November 17, 2011 in Dividends

Another day, another glut of new ETFs on the market. While there has been a correct emphasis on fees and tax effects- arguably the only two factors an investor can control-investors should also be award of liquidity risk. Liquidity risk describes the situation where a seller of an asset cannot sell it because there are [...]

Should you sell your own house?

Posted by on November 16, 2011 in Real Estate

As I indicated several weeks ago, I am looking for a new place to live. I recently visited my for sale by owner. To recap, the general public can now contract real estate agents for listing only services or full brokerage services (listing, analysis, negotiating, open houses, closing etc). I saw a condo that had [...]