October 2, 2014

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Social Capital

The Good and Bad of Social Capital

As I’ve grown older, I find myself fascinated by the power of social capital; specifically, how it encircles the person who possesses it with a halo that sets them apart from society even when they are far from the only snowflake.  People often mistake fame with competency or ability.  This tendency is part of human nature so it […]

Share Repurchases More Popular Than Cash Dividends

Most Dividends Now Come in the Form of Stock Buy Backs

The Economist has a piece called Share Buy-Backs: The Repurchase Revolution.  To help you understand how popular stock repurchase programs have become over the past few decades, and how they have elbowed out traditional dividends as the preferred mechanism to return cash to owners, consider: The companies in the S&P 500 index bought $500 billion of their […]

Treading Water In the Deep End Short Term Liquidity Households American

Roughly 44% of American Households Have Less Than 3 Months’ Savings

The Corporation for Enterprise Development has released its findings on the state of American family’s short-term liquidity reserves.  Short-term liquidity, which includes things that can be tapped in an emergency or in the event of job or income loss, is the margin of safety a household builds for itself to get through economic storms, which will inevitably happen. […]

Geographic Concentration of High Income Households United States Census Bureau

Where Do the Top 5% of American Families Live?

I just posted about the recent release of a long, in-depth paper by the U.S. Census Bureau on household income in the United States, but there is another report, which spans only a few pages, that is also a lot of fun.  It’s called The Geographic Concentration of High-Income Households: 2007-2011. The U.S. Census Bureau looked at where […]

Income and Poverty in the United States 2013 Census Bureau

Income and Poverty in the United States – 2013 Edition

The United States Census Bureau released a report this month called Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013 [PDF].  It is a treasure trove of data on household income by race, gender, age, quintile, and year (it goes back generations so you can compare over time).  You’ll want to download it, save it, and go through […]

Charlie Munger Mental Models

Mental Model: Intergenerational Transmission and What It Has to Do With Adrian Peterson Beating His Child

A huge percentage of the people in this community are fans of the mental model concept – ideas, like tools, that can be used to analyze, study, and understand both why and how something is happening – made popular by Charles Munger.  From signaling theory to satisficing, the Dunning-Kruger effect to Goldovsky errors, calibration errors to social loafing, […]

Weekly Wrap-Up

Wednesday Wrap-Up – September 17th, 2014

Regional cap rates by real estate type, a case study of a couple retired for 30+ years, why America refrigerates eggs, and shopping for a yacht … Breakdown of Regional Cap Rates on Real Estate Investments By Property Sub-Type - Are you considering investing in real estate?  CBRE publishes market specific reports on individual real estate […]

Mail Bag Joshua Kennon Pen

Mail Bag: Habits of Successful People and Families

This is a great question about habits of successful people and families … I read your post about energy savings and saw a comment from from someone named Melissa K.  You had responded to a reader from overseas and shifted your language and units to their syntax, talking in square meters and degrees Celsius rather square […]

Park Avenue Millionaire

Lewis David Zagor Leaves Behind an $18,000,000 Secret Fortune Amassed from Investing in Stocks and Mutual Funds

It’s no secret that most wealth in the United States is so-called stealth wealth.  We now live in a country where roughly 1 in 5 families earns six-figures a year or more, which most people wouldn’t believe, and for those who put aside money, something like 80%+ of millionaires hide their net worth from friends and […]

Watch People Do Stuff YouTube

Watch Teens Try to Turn on a Nintendo and Elders Try the Oculus Rift

Watch these teenagers react to an original Nintendo Entertainment System. Watch these elders try out the Oculus Rift … Here are kids who are too young to know about it reacting to DuckTales.  Given that so many end up wanting to watch the show itself, I think it’s foolish that the cable companies still haven’t […]

Mail Bag Joshua Kennon Pen

Mail Bag: Keeping Money Safe Before a Debt Payment

Hmm … Hi Joshua, I have about $17,500 that I will have to liquidate in the next 6-18 months to repay someone.  No interest or anything til then.  It’s currently in a fund that mirrors the S&P 500. My question is: where do you think the money would be best put for the short term? […]

Ian's Not Maple Syrup Joshua Kennon

Surprise, America! Your Meat Is Held Together By Meat Glue and Some Hershey’s Isn’t Even Chocolate, Anymore

It’s possible your beef, pork, lamb, fish, or chicken is really a bunch of scraps held together by something known as meat glue, or transglutaminase enzyme.  The next time you go to the store, you may want to check for it so you know what you are actually buying. In theory, there is nothing inherently […]

Year Over Year Energy Usage

An Update on the (Almost) Year-Long Energy Saving Program

Almost a year ago, I began to notice some weird things with our electric bill.  What followed was me getting obsessed with figuring out where the energy was going, even measuring the daily cost of operating my coffee pot.  Then, a resolution to take $2.4 million in future wealth from the stockholders of KCP&L.  It […]

Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances

The Federal Reserve Has Released the 2013 Tri-Annual Survey of Consumer Finances

The Federal Reserve 2013 data detailing changes in household wealth, income, and other statistics is now public and you can go here to download the spreadsheet files and other resources or read the 41-page summary detailing the changes over the past three years since the last survey was released [PDF]. Here is a paraphrased summary of […]

Weekly Wrap-Up

Wednesday Wrap-Up – Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 – Spider Dog, Scared Babies, and Accounting Blogs

A lot of you have probably already seen the Spider Dog prank but this is … oh man.  Just watch the video. Here are some interesting links I’ve encountered over the past couple of weeks. Every Netflix TV Series Sorted By IMDB Rating – Looking for something to watch?  This is a useful resource to […]

Question Mark

Statutory Rape Victim Forced to Pay Child Support to Rapist – What Would You Do?

Eight years ago, a 14 year old boy in Arizona was statutorily raped by a 20 year old woman.  Under the guidelines of the state in which the rape occurred, no one under 15 years old, under any condition, can consent. As a result of the rape, the rapist got pregnant.  She never informed the victim. […]

Even More Posts


I Have to Work Late Because I Played Tales of Xillia 2 All Day …

I had so much work to do today, but I’m going to be up all night finishing it because I … uh … may have spent six or seven hours playing Tales of Xillia 2, which was released last week.  When I woke up, I just didn’t feel like going anywhere or doing anything so […]

Joshua and Aaron Cheese Plate Closeup

Slow-Roasted Vegetables, French Onion Soup, Fresh Bread, Aged White Cheddar, and Plum Cheesecake

We spent the day at home working on a project we need to get done for the one of the businesses.  As usual, we’re big believers in concurrent time management so we used the opportunity to test slow cook recipes and soups because they could largely sit without a lot of attention for long stretches at a […]

Aga Cooker 1

The AGA Cooker – How a Blind Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Created One of the World’s Greatest Stoves

In 1912, one of Sweden’s greatest inventors, physicist Gustaf Dalén, was blinded during an accident involving pressure containment for his gas accumulators.  He had created a device for use in unmanned lighthouses.  This device lit itself at night and extinguished in the morning, improving marine safety, thereby saving countless lives and immeasurable property.  Despite the setback of […]

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch.jpg

Why Does the Subsidized Hardware Model Bother Me So Much?

It’s no secret I read a lot.  In the past seven days alone, I’ve finished 4 books totaling 1,067 pages, as well as worked on three other books which, between them, probably account for another 500+ pages finished but not in the tally.  (I only know this because, at least a few times a week, […]

Mail Bag Questions and Comments for Joshua Kennon

Mail Bag: Why Would an Investor Ever Buy an Asset Intensive Business?

If asset intensive businesses are inferior investments, why would any rational investor ever buy one? Hi Joshua,I’ve been reading about capital-intensive businesses and from what I gather, their cash guzzling nature makes them inherently unattractive for a long-term investor who would expect significant cash flow. Warren Buffett has been snapping these up because he already […]

Mail Bag Question for Joshua Kennon

Mail Bag: The Logic of Gender Segregated Bathrooms

While I can’t offer any opinion on the topic itself, here is how I would approach it were it a logic problem … Joshua, I know you pay attention to the news and are probably keeping an eye on the civil rights ordinance in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The ordinance as a whole seems good because it […]

Mail Bag Joshua Kennon Pen

Mail Bag: Disappearing Blog Posts at About.com

You aren’t imagining it, a lot of the blog posts disappeared over at About.com … Dear Joshua, I love your blog, which I use multiple times a day, every day. I have been searching for an article from the past for some time, but I still can’t find it. The article is about selling stocks […]

Bob Jones University Public Domain Photograph

Read the Amazing, Fantastical, Autocratic Bob Jones University Student Handbook

I mentioned the infamous Bob Jones University student handbook in an earlier post after explaining it was the school from which one of the extremist authors I was reading as part of a self-imposed cultural studies program graduated back in 1950.  It was the university that famously insisted God didn’t want blacks intermingling with whites and refused […]

EBT Card

Should Government Benefits Be Tied to Behavior and Decisions?

I don’t talk about it very often, but one of the charitable organizations close to my heart are community food banks and soup kitchens.  These non-profits collect groceries for those who can’t afford to feed themselves or their children, allowing them to avoid hunger.  They resonate with something very deep in my core, maybe because I […]

Tony the Tiger Vintage

The People You Don’t Know You Know

There are people who are part of your life but you don’t realize it; people who have done work that is ubiquitous in the culture, yet they could walk right past you and you’d never notice.  Perhaps the most famous was Mel Blanc, who was called the “man of a thousand voices”. He gave life […]