December 18, 2014

Is It Moral for Society to Protect Spendthrift Trust Assets from Tort Claims?

Gratuitous Transfers Wills Intestate Succession Future Interesta nd Estate and Gift Taxation American Casebook Series West Fifth Edition Cover

I told you two nights ago, in a post about digital price tags and retailing, that one of my cousins was getting married yesterday.  On the drive to the ceremony, I was reading a book I bought sometime in the past few months (I can't remember when or where I purchased it - it just showed up and was in one of the boxes that routinely pile up as I find things interesting I want to study and figure I'll get to them someday).  It's called Gratuitous Transfers: Wills, Intestate Succession, Trusts, Gif … [Read more...]

Consumer Delinquencies on Bank Debt Fall to Record Low

Bank Delinquency Ratio

You already know from the tri-annual Federal Reserve report released last month that median household debt in the United States has declined by an incredible 20% over the past three years.  Some Americans might be struggling but they are taking their spare cash and paying off their liabilities in record amounts. That reality is starting to show up in one of the most important financial ratios used to analyze the banking industry.  The American Bankers Association, the lobbying group tasked wit … [Read more...]

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

Year Over Year Energy Usage

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 will take one more statement cycle to get true year-over-year comparisons since the cost savings didn't start to kick in until October, and only August has now been concluded, but I … [Read more...]

I Believe USA Today’s Money Section Is the Worst Run Financial Publication in the United States

Merck Taxes

I had such a wonderful day today, visiting with old friends, that I hesitate to write about something as droll as bad financial journalism but this is too good of a case study for the budding investors out there to pass up if you really want to hone your skills. Hands down, I am strongly convinced the single most incompetent source of regularly published financial advice or business information of any major newspaper in the United States is the money section of USA Today.  The conclusions are … [Read more...]

A Basic Overview of Corporate Inversions

US Corporate Tax Form

There has been a lot of talk over the past few days of corporate inversion.  Corporate inversion happens when an American company changes its domicile to another country by merging with a foreign entity.  Inversions have been occurring at a rapidly accelerating rate.  Pfizer attempted one of the largest inversions in history with the AstraZeneca merger that ultimately fell through.  AbbVie, one of our biggest medical companies is about to defect to Ireland through an inversion.  Walgreens is seri … [Read more...]

I Just Looked Up the Cost of an Education At My Alma Mater

Alma Mater

This May will be 10 years since Aaron and I graduated from university.  I just looked up the cost for the upcoming academic year, which includes tuition, room, board, fees, and books, and it's running at a rate of around $53,000 per annum.  Assuming even modest annual increases, a 4-year degree would cost just shy of $252,000 per person before scholarships.  That means to get the same two degrees before financial assistance, Aaron and I would have had to spend almost $504,000.  It's madness.  Tot … [Read more...]

Frugality Friday – Saving Money By Getting Your Clothes and Food for (Practically) Free

Refashionista Transform Two

I stumbled across a blog called ReFashionista.  The woman who runs it goes to thrift shops and finds horrible old clothes and transforms them with her skills into new outfits that cost practically nothing.  The readers then vote on the results using a star system beneath the posts.  She has more than 225 pages of content showing what she has accomplished.  Here is a typical example of her work.  You can click the pictures to be taken to her blog: This sort of thing makes me overly exci … [Read more...]

Moroccan Trade Routes and Lines of Credit

Civilization Morocco

I spent my morning taking the Moroccan empire to victory against the world thanks to an extensive network of highly lucrative trade routes before going to the bank with Aaron to sign the contract for a new working capital line of credit our banker recommended.  The whole experience was a pleasant surprise.  The banker suggested it during a routine meeting, the rate is dirt cheap (especially on an after-tax, inflation-adjusted basis), and the underwriters came back and gave us 60% more than the am … [Read more...]

Playing Good Financial Defense Can Sometimes Be Worth More Than Good Financial Offense

TaylorMade JetSpeed Driver Set

It's time for what has become an annual reminder on the nature of building wealth: The importance of playing good financial defense.  Roughly 1 out of every 3.7 people reading this post earn more than $100,000 per year, or twice the median household income in the United States; some of you exponentially more.  This is a community of people who know how to make money, in various forms, from a myriad of activities. If you haven't learned the flip side of the coin - how to stretch that money so i … [Read more...]

You Need to Read the 2013 M&T Bank Corporation Annual Report

M&T Bank Annual Report

The Internet problems we have experienced over the past two weeks began again, today, to the point we had to stop working.  There was a huge stack of annual reports that had arrived in the mail from those single framed stock certificates I acquired back when we started our first company, and so I grabbed one and started going through it to at least be productive.  It was the 2013 annual report for M&T Bank Corporation. If you aren't aware of it, M&T Bank is exceptional.  It is one of o … [Read more...]

banner