April 25, 2015

A Real World Example of Permanent Capital Impairment

Furniture Brands Stock Investors

Every once in awhile, an entire industry undergoes a radical transformation that forever changes the fortunes of those who are involved in it, both as labor and as the capital owners.  Sometimes this is for the better - witness the rise of software and computer firms in the 1980's and 1990's - often it is for the worse.  In the United States, a good example of the latter is the domestic furniture industry. A decade ago, if you had invested $100,000 in shares of Furniture Brands, you would have w … [Read more...]

America Forgot Many Valuable Lessons When It Moved from the Farms to the Cities

Baking Bread by Joshua Kennon

A few hours ago, I finished writing a piece about global investing through a Roth IRA, which was published to the About.com network.  It got into some of the complexities of foreign investing, including the differences between share classes domiciled in various markets and currency translations.  As I was thinking about whether there was anything I could change to make it clearer, I decided to bake some fresh bread for this week, and split the massive loaf into multiple smaller and mini-sized l … [Read more...]

Why Are People Surprised That Savings Bonds Beat Stocks Over the Past 12+ Years?

Series EE Savings Bonds Investing Rates

I've noticed an array of articles exclaiming that savings bonds, including both the Series EE savings bonds and the Series I savings bonds, beat stocks over the past ten or fifteen years.  Nearly every time I make my way into one of these essays or news stories, I just shake my head because the surprise displayed by the men and women penning these pieces indicate a complete lack of competence.  Those of you who have any experience managing money or with history immediately know my objective: No a … [Read more...]

Small Investors Seem to Understand Real Estate Investing More Intuitively Than Stock Investing

Image Licensed from iStockphoto / Thinkstock

I've been reviewing my content, messages, and server statistics for the past year, trying to figure out my writing plan for the next six months when it occurs to me that the numbers show an interesting story: Most investors are far more comfortable with real estate than they are with stocks.  They read more about it, they understand more about how it works, and even the beginner-oriented questions that have to do with real estate investing at least have a strong foundation, whereas some of the … [Read more...]

My Christmas Has Been Spent Building Servers, Setting up RAID Configurations, and Automating Websites

Computer Processors and Servers

For the past week, I haven't been on the blog much, but instead going to the movies (Wreck It Ralph is one of Disney's best releases in years, by the way), attending Christmas parties, hosting Christmas dinners, playing the Sims 3 (the Steam winter sale had it and the expansion packs for 50% - I hadn't played it in years so I bought nearly everything and have been creating a character lately), studying how to build a custom gaming PC, overseeing the simplification of our technology setup as part … [Read more...]

Merry Christmas and Thanks For Another Great Year!

Working on Blog During Christmas Preparation

For the past week, I have been planning on publishing several major content pieces on the site but the Christmas celebrations took precedence.  We had one of my grandmother's Christmas dinners for my mom's side of the family last week, and tonight is my parent's gift exchange, dinner, and get-together.  Next week, I have my in-laws and I'm not sure what else is on the schedule; I'd have to check.   That means that today, I spent most of my time in the kitchen and finishing up the gift giving ar … [Read more...]

Some Truths Are Counterintuitive – What We Can Learn from the Mpemba Effect

Mpemba Effect

For water to freeze, it must reach 32 degrees Fahrenheit.  For water to boil, it must reach 212 degrees Fahrenheit.  The question: Which freezes faster: Room temperature water (say, 75 degrees Fahrenheit) or boiling water (212 degrees Fahrenheit)? The common sense answer would be room temperature water would freeze faster because it is only 43 degrees away from freezing, while the boiling water is 180 degrees away from freezing.  That answer is often wrong.  Boiling water can freeze faster than … [Read more...]

What Just Happened? I Was Blogging When Massive Green Spherical Lights Appeared, the House Pulsed, and There Were Electronic Groaning Sounds.

This really is the busiest and best time of the year.  Not only are sales at their peak, but there are endless festivities on the calendar, the kitchen is always brimming with friends, family, and good food, Christmas music is playing throughout the speakers at home and the office, new projects are being conceived, movie nights are happening almost every evening, candy making is a constant, fireplaces are always burning, the scent of pine fills the air, and there is the promise of snow.  The Chr … [Read more...]

Lying In Bed Tonight, I Realized …

Goldilocks was the story of a home invasion. You are the bears.  You work hard.  You take a day to visit some friends and run some errands.  Suddenly, you come home to find the door ajar.  Someone has broken into your house.  They have stolen your food.  They have jumped on your furniture.  And now, you think you hear a sound.  They are still in the house!  You climb the stairs ... and they are in your bed. You are in the middle of the woods.  It isn't like you can call the police.  You have to … [Read more...]

Radical Simplicity

Radical Simplicity

Radical simplicity. The phrase that has been on my mind, constantly humming in the background almost ceaselessly, for the past three or four weeks is "radical simplicity".  It's the last thought on my mind when I fall asleep at night, and the first thing I think about when I wake up. Radical simplicity.  It has little to do with the topic of the book by the same name, which focuses on global sustainability.  I'm talking about individual people living lives that are cleaner, more efficient, wi … [Read more...]