Aaron Descending Into Ralph Lauren Shirt Section

The Ralph Lauren Flagship Stores on Madison Avenue Are the Most Beautiful Interiors I’ve Ever Seen … I Want It For My House

We finally made it up to the Ralph Lauren flagship stores on Madison Avenue, and upon entering the men’s store, I was instantly thrilled.  The millwork is flawless.  The pictures don’t do it justice.  The merchandisers and designers at Ralph Lauren should  be incredibly proud of what they’ve done with this space. Later, after quite…

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Credit Card Debt Is Poison

Credit Card Debt Is Poison

Over the past few years, I have become more and more convinced that the single biggest challenge most people face when it comes to achieving financial independence is the interest expense they pay on credit card debt, student loan debt, home mortgages, consumer debt, and other liabilities. [mainbodyad]Think about it like this. If all you…

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Not All Your Investments Will Work Out at First … Just Look at The Buffalo Evening News and Berkshire Hathaway

In 1977, Berkshire Hathaway invested nearly 25% of its net worth into Buffalo Evening News, a newspaper in upstate New York. Buffett and Munger paid $32.5 million for the company, which had only earned $1.7 million pre-tax in 1976. The theory was the paper could launch a Sunday edition and increase profits substantially. A judge…

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Damn Right Charlie Munger Biography by Janet Lowe

A Perfect Example of Acquiring Cash Generating Assets from Charlie Munger

I’m re-reading “Damn Right! Behind the Scenes with Berkshire Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger” by Janet Lowe and came across a passage that illustrates exactly the sort of thing I’m talking about when I harp on acquiring assets that constantly churn out piles of cash for you spend, redeploy into new investments, give to charity, or…

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Cost of Owning a Car Thumbnail

The Cost of Owning a Car: The Average American Spends 58.5¢ Per Mile Driven, or $8,776 Per Year Per Car

[mainbodyad]It always struck me as particularly stupid when people complained about the cost of gasoline, even when I was a teenager with very little money just learning about how investing worked. It seemed perfectly obvious to me that if an increase of $1 per gallon cut into your standard of living, you were living so…

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Restaurant in Intercontinental Hotel Kansas City

My Day In Pictures – Hiding In One of Kansas City’s Top Luxury Hotels, Enjoying Room Service, Going Over Stocks, and Playing with New iPads March 23rd / 24th, 2011

Last night, I realized that I needed to take a trip to the local Charles Schwab & Company branch office to turn over a framed Berkshire Hathaway Class B certificate that we had on the office wall for a few years as decor because the stock split 50-1 and the transfer agent had been continually…

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“Tell Us How He Made It!” A Story of Warren Buffett, William Randolph Hearst, and Money

There is an apocryphal story about Warren Buffett that I always found useful. [mainbodyad]Years ago, when he was supposedly touring Heart Castle, the gargantuan San Simeon, California estate of American newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, the tour guide spent hours highlighting the enormous scale and no-expense-spared luxuries.  He talked about how much money was spent…

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The Milky Way Galaxy

How Big Is Earth Compared to the Universe?

Think about Earth.  The oceans.  The mountains.  The forests.  The millions of forms of life.  Thunderstorms.  Volcanoes.  Snow.  Our history, including past civilizations and enormous monstrous dinosaurs. [mainbodyad]Now consider that there are at least 10 trillion planetary systems in the known universe.  Notice the “at least”.  That is 10,000,000,000,000.  Earth would be “1” of those.…

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Star Trek Captain Kirk

Jesus Christ vs. Captain Kirk: A Study of Mental Models (or “A Modern Example of Binary Beliefs and Cognitive Dissonance In Everyday Western Culture”)

The odds are good you won’t read this entire post.  The reason?  It has to do with confirmation bias.  If you think what I am going to say conflicts with your belief system – whether you are a scientist or a Christian – you won’t finish it to avoid cognitive dissonance even though you aren’t…

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American Manufacturing Percentage

Surprising But True: America Still Manufactures the Same Percentage of World Goods as It Did More than 21 Years Ago

Tell me what you think of the following statement: “American manufacturing has been destroyed over the past 20 years?  Going back further, it’s nothing like it was in 1960.  Everything is made in China now.” [mainbodyad]If you agreed with the statement, congratulations!  You failed.  Miserably.  Start thinking for yourself and stop watching the news commentators…

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President Obama State of the Union

The True Source of the Unemployment Problem: In the Next 10 Years, 50% of Jobs Will Require Training Beyond High School Yet 25% of Students Aren’t Even Graduating from High School

The single most important line in the President’s State of the Union speech to Congress last night hasn’t gotten a lot of attention.  Here it is: Over the next ten years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school degree. And yet, as many as a quarter of…

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Thomas Kinkade The Cross Painting

Much to the Chagrin of the Art Establishment, the Numbers Indicate that Thomas Kinkade Is the Most Successful and Relevant Artist in Human History

I was enjoying a discussion with someone about hyperrealism around the time I wrote last night about my love for the works of Eric Christensen, Pedro Campos, Steve Mills, and Nathan Taylor, when they kept insisting that stil life paintings, particularly those that are close to a photograph, lack emotion.  (I completely disagree – the…

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What Man Has Done, Man May Do

What Man Has Done, Man May Do

What man has done, man may do. – Proverb On May 6th, 1954, at Oxford University’s Iffley Road Track, Roger Bannister became the first recorded man in history to run a mile – exactly 5,280 feet – in less than 4 minutes.  His time, 3:59:04, was thought unachievable.  Men had tried countless times and failed.…

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German Mark Inflation

The Money Illusion – Why Thinking About Things In Nominal Currency Can Destroy Your Net Worth

In 1928, Irving Fisher published The Money Illusion (seriously, buy it – it’s only $7.95), which discussed the human fallacy of thinking about things in the nominal currency of your home country instead of in terms of purchasing power.  The concept phrase “money illusion” was coined by legendary investor and economist John Maynard Keynes. The…

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Graham Newman Corporation Stockholders

The Compensation System for Benjamin Graham at the Graham-Newman Corporation

The Graham-Newman Corporation was a stock company that essentially served as a hedge fund through which legendary investor Benjamin Graham managed money for his shareholders.  It is the same firm where Warren Buffett worked in his twenties before moving back to Omaha and establishing the original seven partnerships upon which his fortune is based. According…

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Walter Schloss Partnership

Lessons from the Career of Walter Schloss and the Walter Schloss Partnership – Even If You Aren’t an Investor

I’ve written about Walter Schloss and his value investing philosophy in the past.  Tonight, I’m thinking about the lessons someone can glean from studying his career. [mainbodyad]Alice Schroeder tells us on page 852, in the notes of The Snowball, that in 1951, Walter Schloss was making less than the average secretary working for Benjamin Graham…

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Franke Previt Composer

Songwriter Franke Previte Still Collects Six-Figure Royalty Checks on Two Hit Songs Written Nearly 25 Years Ago

Reuters just published an awesome article about songwriter Franke Previte, who lives in New Jersey, and wrote the hit songs “Time of My Life” and “Hungry Eyes” for the movie Dirty Dancing. The copyrights have turned out to be a lottery ticket for the composer, providing him with a substantial stream of profits upon which…

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Civil Rights Lunch Counter Sit-Ins

Out-of-Wedlock Pregnancies in the United States Hit Crisis Levels, Ranging Between 17% for Asians to 72% for African Americans

According to a new story out by the Associated Press and posted on Yahoo, “Blacks struggle with a 72 percent unwed mothers rate”, the out-of-wedlock pregnancy crisis in the United States has become unfathomable with single mother pregnancies accounting for between 17% of pregnancies in Asians to 72% of pregnancies in African Americans. Why should…

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Limited Edition Monopoly Light Purple Set with Gold Hotels

My Theory: It Takes $4.5 Million to Feel “Really Well Off” and $10 Million to Feel “Rich” for the Average American

Following the calculations I did last week, adjusting Monopoly for inflation as if it were real life, I began to speculate about what it would take for the average, regular, typical American citizen to “feel” rich. [mainbodyad]I think the average American would feel really, really well off at the equivalent of a light purple Monopoly…

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Wal-Mart 401(k) Plan Adjustments

Wal-Mart Ends Profit Sharing, Ups Retirement Plan to Offer 6% Dollar-for-Dollar Matching on 401(k) Savings, and More

Given my two Wal-Mart inspired articles a few days ago, I thought this was germane. [mainbodyad]Wal-Mart is ending its profit sharing plan and upgrading it to include a $1,000 contribution to employee health care accounts so there is a greater cushion before workers have to pay medical deductibles plus moving to a system whereby they…

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Wisdom, Proverbs, and Knowledge

The Best Advice I Ever Received

The best advice I ever received came when my parents dropped me off at college. As they were getting in the car, my dad looked at me and said, “Your mom and I have done everything we could for you. We fed you, we clothed you and you have a high school education. From now on, it is your responsibility to make your dreams come true. We can’t do it for you, and no one else can either. If you want it, you have to do it on your own.”

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Coca-Cola Direct Stock Purchase Plan and Coca-Cola Dividend Reinvestment Plan or Coke DRIP Literature

How We Used Shares of Coca-Cola to Teach My Youngest Sister About Investing (and Why the Cycle of Consumption and Financial Stress Starts as a Teenager for Most Americans)

When I was a senior in high school, I bought my youngest sister a single share of Coca-Cola common stock for her 6th birthday. It’s been a teaching mechanism throughout her life; one that is far more important and beneficial from an academic and educational standpoint than any investment return it could generate.

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Do the Work That Is On Your Desk

How Do You Get Rich? Do What Is On Your Desk and Do It Well

A fantastic passage from page 97 of The Richest Man in Town: The Twelve Commandments of Wealth. It talks about how success in life comes down to execution of the work that is sitting your desk, right now. That means getting it done right, getting it done quickly, and getting it done with pride so that your name becomes synonymous with quality.

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Everyone Is an Atheist

We Are All Atheists, Every One of Us

On April 11th, 1823, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to John Adams. In the private correspondence, the man generally regarded to be one of the three most brilliant founding fathers confided to his fellow founder and former President, “And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter”.

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The Cult of Majority Democracy

The Cult of the Majority (or You Don’t Have a Right to Vote for the President of the United States)

Countless Americans mistakenly believe that the constitution says we are a nation, “of the people, by the people, and for the people”. Though it’s a nice sentiment, many don’t realize that the line came halfway through the nation’s history in the Gettysburg Address by President Lincoln and isn’t part of our constitutional framework at all.

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Ninth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America

Some Things to Think About the IX Amendment of the United States Constitution

I happened to re-read some of Justice Scalia’s opinions tonight and in his Evans dissent, Scalia stated, “Since the Constitution of the United States says nothing about this subject, it is left to be resolved by normal democratic means”. This sentiment embodies a fear that founding father Madison believed was inevitable – that someday, someone would come along and convince people that only those rights listed in the constitution were constitutional rights.

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