Trim The Fat

Friday, April 15, 2005

Double Failure

I lost $800 in the stock market this week. I also gained 3 pounds, even though I hiked, ran, and walked. WTF?

Ok...I did finish my taxes, so that's one goal I met. I also set up the Emigrant direct account, which I'm going to use as my main savings account. So I did a couple of good things, but I didn't meet my real goals.

I did the complete opposite of increasing my bank deposits and decreasing my fat deposits. I'll try not to spend the whole day sulking....

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Tax Time!

I finally got my taxes done! I usually do these as soon as I get my W-2 forms, but I knew this would be the first year I would actually owe money. The good news is that it was less than $25! This tells me that the deductions on my paycheck are almost dead on, meaning that the government isn't making interest on money it owes me. What's funny is that so many people (myself included in years past) think that a refund is free money - but nothing could be further from the truth!

Tomorrow: did I meet the goals I made last Friday???

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

New link

If you are looking for a site that has simple and easy to understand explanations of economy terms, Moneychimp is for you!

I was trying to figure out what the trade deficit is and came upon a really nice explanation of it on this site. Here it is, along with an explanation of the GDP.

Good Times, Bad Times

Doing well healthwise....I've been exercising almost everyday and even woke up with sore muscles.
Bad times in the stock market though. According to Yahoo Finance, an increase in the trade deficit has sent stocks plumetting, which means a $200 loss for me in the last 2 days. Maybe it's time to cash out and wait this out....or is this the time to buy? More bad news means that the market will eventually bottom out. and things should start getting better after that. But who knows?

I hate losing money in stocks.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Off to a good start!

I'm getting the week of to a really good start, and I feel confident that I can lose those two pounds by Friday.

I started off by going on a hike with PS Yesterday. It was probably 2 miles each way with an elevation gain of 2000 feet. I hiffed and puffed thought the first third or so but eventually warmed up. The view at the top was incredible!

Today we woke up and went on a 5 mile walk/jog. Again, it took me a while to warm up, but I started feeling really good and jogged a good portion of the way back.

Here's the smoothie we had when we got home:

3 cups OJ
1.5 cups baby carrots
1 scoop of protein powder.

put all ingredients in a blender on high for about one minute - sit back and enjoy it along with your runner's high!

Friday, April 08, 2005

Playing investment advisor

I helped one of the younger gals at my work set up her 401(k) and felt pretty good about it. She had a TON of questions and I was actually surprised by the fact that I knew the answer to almost all of them. If I didn't have the answer right there and then, at least I knew where to look for it! After a while, other people overheard our conversation and started to crowd around, which led to a lively discussion about investing and retiring.
I guess its kind of nerdy, but it felt good to help others with their financial future.

Status Report

Here's how I'm doing as of today:

(sorry about the white space - I have no idea why it's there!)

Day 1Today Goal
Weight 215 lbs 212 lbs170 lbs
Body Fat 39%?? 36%20%
Net Worth* ~25k $27,441 1m
401(K) ~25k $25,5631m

  • To lose 2 lbs by next friday. I want to be at a solid 210.
  • To create the new bank account I mentioned in my last post. Also by next Friday.
  • To finish my taxes. I've been putting these off because this is the first year I have to pay!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Three ideas

The first has to do with understanding an industry and whether or not a company's stock might be a good buy. You have to understand it's key metric. For example, in the oil industry, the key measure is price per barrel. In the retail industry, the measurement is comp. store sales. In music, it's the number of albums sold. If you are buying a stock and haven't a clue what the key metric is, you need to do more homework.

Second idea: Picking my wife as my exercise partner has many advantages. Not only do we spend more time together, but we challenge each other as well. She also has a bigger stride so I have to push myself to keep up. Last, and definitely not least, who doesn't appreciate a nice tight.....

Third idea: Here's how I want to set up my accounts. The high yield savings account will be a depository of sorts. I will put the bulk of my current cash there and add to it every paycheck. I will then downgrade my platinum account at WAMU to the standard fare and use that for day-to-day expenses. Hopefully, I'll be able to actually "pay" myself at the end of every month this way. The investment account will stay the same, except that I might bank cash from time to time to the savings account, especially if the bears are running the show.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Not Impressed with Emigrant

I recently decided to start an "American Dream" account with EmigrantDirect because it pays the best interest rate out there - a whooping 3.25%. Unfortunately, I'm not very happy with the process or service so far. First I was told to wait for them to activate the account. When I didn't hear from them for a week, I sent an email and they said everything was set up all along. I finally get to log in and I can't figure out how to transfer more money!!! I'm either inept or their site needs lots of polish. I'm going to try ING Direct (even though the APY is a quarter of a point lower) and am setting the whole thing up with Jonathan over at MyMoneyBlog. If he refers me we both get a bonus, so I'm going for it!

Healthwise, I managed to go on the 4 mile run/walk this morning, but then made up for it by having eggs and bacon for breakfast, a huge plate of Chinese for lunch, a bag of rice crackers, a hot-dog at Ikea, Lemon Salmon with rice for dinner, and two Hawaiian sweet rolls. Oh yeah, I also spent $100 at REI and $35 at Ikea.

So much for yesterday's pep talk.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Time to Hunker Down

Despite all my ramblings on this Blog, I've not only gained weight over the last week, but my net worth has also decreased by about 2 grand. What the heck?!?!

I'll admit that I've made some progress with my portfolio. I've been doing a lot of reading and research and I'm starting to see some good gains. My bank account and my weight, however, are not doing as well.

  • I drink and eat way too much.
  • I spend money like crazy. I'm getting better here, but I need more self-control.
Mindfulness and self-control sometimes elude me - I can't let my desires control me! I am proud of the fact that I haven't had a smoke in over a year. As my Doc said "Anything you do to improve your health won't make a bit of difference until you quit smoking." I'm not going to downplay my sucess in overcoming nicotine addiction, I'm just sayng that I'm very far from where I really want to be.

Self-control, John. Self-control.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Thanks JP!

Jonathan over at MyMoneyBlog mentioned my blog on his very popular site. Thanks man!!! I'm pretty sure that we both went to the same school - Go bears!

Week in Review

My positions had a pretty decent week, even with the dip in the market early on. Here's what my portfolio looks like along with the percentage based on my original basis.

Apple - Up 10.51%
ECA - Up 8.23%
Yahoo - Up 6.16%

Lucent - Down .73%
Sirius - Down 7.64%
URBN - Down 1.06%
QQQQ - Down 1.49%

According to Jim Cramer's Sane Investing in an Insane World, a personal portfolio for an "investor hobbyist" should have 5-7 well diversified holdings. Admittedly, mine is not as spread out as it should be - what am I missing? Health care, financial, transport...I'll look into diversifying more in the weeks to come.