This tip is a bit sneaky but seems perfectly legitimate to me (I have not tried it). Essentially you are exploiting the sneaky overpriced protection stores try to trick customers into buying. Personally I just turn down the stuff they try to trick me into buying. I like this tip because it goes after a tactic companies use to trick customers. I don’t like companies trying to use gimmicks to trick customers out of money. Why they would be so silly as to lower the price of the electronic equipment rather than reducing the price of the ridiculously overpriced “protection” is beyond me but as far as I can tell if they do they open themselves up to this strategy (which I admit I wouldn’t use but for those more aggressive souls out there it might be appealing). Outsmart Best Buy, Circuit City… Save Hundreds on Electronics.
They have however recently caught on at some stores and will not allow you to back out in the store. However, they can not prevent you from returning the warranty within 30 days for a full refund.
I originally setup the 10 stocks for 10 years portfolio in April of 2005. In order to track performance I setup a marketocracy portfolio but had to make some adjustment to comply with the diversification rules. In December of 2006 I announced a new 11 stocks for the next 10 years (9 are the same, I dropped First Data Corporation, which had split into 2 companies and added Tesco and Yahoo.
The marketocracy portfolio won’t let me by Tesco so I don’t have it in that portfolio though I want to and will add it if they let me. I also have not sold Western Union of First Data (the companies resulting from the split of First Data). I still find them reasonable investments, just at this time would not buy them for the next 10 years (but for reasons such as not being able to buy Tesco and diversity rules for Marketocracy I am keeping them for now).
At this time the stocks in the marketocracy portfolio in order of returns – Google (116% return, 15% of the portfolio), PetroChina (88%, 7%), Toyota (85%, 12%), Templeton Dragon Fund (69%, 12%), Cisco (56%, 6%), Amazon (23%, 4%), Yahoo (2%, 4%), British Petroleum (3%, -3%), Intel (3%, -11%), Dell (6%, -32%). The split First Data is probably up about 20% and combined they are 4% of the portfolio. I also have under 2% positions in a couple of stocks and about 15% in cash. I occasionally purchase or sell some amounts (I have sold a small portion of Templeton Dragon Fund and bought some Amazon, Dell, Intel and Yahoo in the last few month). I will sell First Data and or Western Union if the price increases enough. I would also like to find an energy company I like to hold in addition to PetroChina (and would likely sell BP if I find one I like for the long term).
Next Stop, Tysons – good article on urban planning and real estate development in Northern Virginia. Urban planning can create excellent real estate development opportunities but it is not easy. It is easy to look around the country and see how poorly planned development has been resulting in huge wastes of time through long commutes. But it is not surprising, smart planning requires long term thinking which is often lacking. Arlington made excellent decisions in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s (and I am sure plenty of less than perfect ones too). The wrong decisions could have been made during that process that would have greatly reduced the benefits. Arlington now seems pretty well set and now the path toward smart development is the default position. Still they have challenges.
Fairfax, which borders Arlington, made poorer decisions in the past. Now they have difficult decisions. It will be interesting to see how they can do. Both counties have a huge incentive to push for more subway capacity but we will see if they do it. They can’t wait until the need is urgent. Any plans will likely take decades to bring online. Plans have been floated for many years but still nothing has been decided.
“If we don’t change the old pattern of growth and development, we will continue to get what we have always gotten,” said Gerald E. Connolly, chairman of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors.
It is not going to be a simple process and many years of tough decisions, good management, good planning will need to follow any decisions made now. But the options of clustering high density development seems like the best bet for success to me. One strategy of a real estate investor can be to find a good long term (say 10+ years) play (like Arlington) and invest before the prices skyrocket. Then just sit back as the likely takes place and watch your investment grow.
Arlington now has fairly high housing prices, the question is likely whether they have skyrocketed yet (many say they have – I am not so sure, they are not cheap but for what the potential for the area is they could go much higher). It certainly is not as great an opportunity as it was in 1995. The government sure feels flush – spending over $80 million each for 2 high school in the next couple of years (replacing schools build a few decades ago – school population is actually shrinking not growing)! Real estate taxes have been increasing dramatically each year to pay for more and more spending.
If you want to avoid being a victim of a fake-check scam, follow this one piece of advice from Grant: Don’t ever accept a check if part of the deal involves you sending or wiring back some of the money.
Highly recommended: the World Bank’s latest China Quarterly by Brad Setser:
Brad’s blog is one of those in our blogroll for a reason: when he highly recommends a report that is a good indication of value. Enjoy reading the report.
While there is no agreed upon definition of bubble bursting, a almost 3% decline certainly can’t be seen as a “bursting bubble” can it?
Again hardly data of bubble bursting proportions.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, signed into law by George Bush the elder, led to creation of the ragingly popular Do Not Call List. But tucked away in the bill was another important provision that entitles consumers to take what’s called a “private right of action.” For each violation of the act, consumers can sue for a $500 penalty. Violations include calling after a consumer has told a company to stop, or failing to provide the consumer with a copy of the firm’s Do Not Call policy.
In his most recent case, heard in January in Sacramento, Lammé was awarded $3,500 for seven violations allegedly committed by Country Club Mortgage Inc. of Visalia. David Mitchell, vice president of Country Club Mortgage, said he couldn’t comment on the litigation.
Good. Lets put those who don’t follow the law out of business and get yourself some money at the same time.
The main point of this article is the increasing evidence of problems due to loose underwriting for mortgages of the last few years. Mortgage defaults: Latest woe for housing:
The overall mortgage delinquency rate was 4.7 percent in the third quarter, just slightly above the 4.4 percent rate of a year earlier, when it was a historic low.
The problem of loose credit is real and important. But isn’t it really amazing how 4.4% is the historic low for mortgages over a month late? That seems really high too me. Obviously 13.2% for sub-prime loans shows how risky it is to take out such a loan. In my opinion, the delinquency rate for over 90 days late is a more important figure (but these numbers can serve as a leading indicator).
America enjoys awesome advantages over Europe. It is a huge, truly single market with a relatively youthful, growing population. It is the world’s economic superpower, with much higher productivity than its competitors (though productivity growth has recently been disappointing, and last year was slightly below Europe’s). It has world-class universities that work hand in glove with business. Americans have not only won more Nobel prizes, they have turned more scientific advances into profitable businesses than anyone else. Many of these firms have gone on to become the giants of modern business.
It may have been a British scientist, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, working at a laboratory in Switzerland, who invented the world wide web, but America is the home of the internet and all the business sectors it has spawned. And even where Europe is holding its own against America, it seems unable to retain its advantage.
I thought the aritcle was then going to say equally positive things about Europe. It did say positive things but not really with the same gusto. It is good to remember that most countries has strong and weak factors economically. The USA continues to take advantage of the best minds from elsewhere but I believe this flow will reduce and in fact flow in both directions increasingly. Tim Berners-Lee works at MIT now.
Over the next generation, fast-growing developing nations are expected to see a significant uptick in their share of world output from 23% today to about 33% in 2030, according to a recent World Bank study.
This trend is among the major economic and investment forces over the next several decades.