Friday, May 21, 2010

To Be Continued........

I will no longer be updating this version of my blog.  But have not fear, the writing continues--on my website  See you there!!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Here is an article I came across about happiness which I thought would be nice to share since money is involved. (from blogs)

Yes, I know. There are dozens of books written about how to increase your happiness, probably hundreds of different blogs all promising you the secrets to the keys of happiness, and thousands of articles written on this topic. Since the positive psychology movement got started a while back, it’s been going bananas. And why wouldn’t it? Who wouldn’t like to learn some “secrets” to unlocking their inner happiness?
Happier people tend to live longer, live healthier lives, make more money and do better at work. It’s a chicken and egg problem, though. Does happiness bring those kinds of things, or do those kinds of things lead us to be happier?
While we may not exactly know the answer to that question yet, we do know the answers to many other questions about happiness.

1. You control about half your happiness level. Although the exact level will vary from individual to individual, it appears that up to about 50 percent of our happiness levels are preset by genetics or our environment (called our happiness set-point). But that’s good, because it also means that about 40 to 50 percent of our happiness is within our power to raise or lower.
2. Money doesn’t buy happiness. Once we get to a certain level of income that is enough to pay our bills and keep us in the lifestyle we’ve grown accustomed to, more money doesn’t result in more happiness. The only two exceptions to this rule is if you give money away, or if it significantly improves your social rank. People who give money away appear to sustain greater levels of happiness over time than those who don’t.
3. Lottery winnings create only temporary, short-term happiness. Winning the lottery makes people happy in the moment, but that happiness fades fairly quickly and then people return to their prior level of happiness. People who have won the lottery appear to be no more happy than those who haven’t in the long run. Sure, we could all use the extra money, so play the lottery or gamble only what you can afford and for the sheer enjoyment of doing so — not for the potential big windfall.
4. Relationships are a key factor in long-term happiness. While research has demonstrated that this effect is strongest for married people, other research has shown that strong social connections with others are important to our own happiness. The more of these you have, generally, the happier you will be. And while marriage is significantly correlated with increased happiness, it has to be a strong, healthy marriage in order for that to be true.
5. Focus on experiences, not stuff. People who spend their time and money on doing things together — whether it be taking a vacation to someplace other than home or going on an all-day outing to the local zoo — report higher levels of happiness than those who buy a bigger house, a more expensive car, or more stuff. That’s likely because our memories keep an emotional photograph of the experience, whereas the material things don’t make as big an emotional imprint in our brains. So ditch buying so much stuff for yourself or your kids — you’re only buying artificial, temporary happiness.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

April is Financial Literacy Month

I found a website celebrating financial literacy month.  This is what they show as the first step...and I love it!!!!! Check out the rest of the website at  I know I will.

Take the pledge

Willing, Ready, and Able to take financial responsibility

Are you ready to accept responsibility for changing your financial situation?
Do you believe that you can and will change the way you make financial decisions?
Can you identify at least one benefit you hope to gain by changing your money management behavior?
If you consistently answered yes, pledge to continue on the path to financial wellness:
  1. I will make informed financial decisions, understanding the difference between wants and needs.
  2. I will communicate with my family about money matters so that we are all working toward the same goals.
  3. I will be aware of the effects of advertising on the financial decisions I make, and resolve not to be influenced by them.
  4. I will take care of my finances today by tracking expenses and creating a budget that is flexible and realistic.
  5. I will take care of my finances tomorrow by saving for my future.
  6. I will meet the credit obligations I have made on time and as agreed.
  7. I will continue my personal education about financial health, budgeting, credit, and personal debt.
  8. I will plan for periodic expenses, including the next holiday season.
  9. By good example, I will teach my children the importance of budgeting, saving, and the wise use of credit.
  10. If I am over-obligated, I will take the necessary steps to seek assistance.
I pledge to take steps to improve my financial wellness.

Friday, April 2, 2010

March Returns

A solid first quarter for the markets! Stocks did better than bonds but bonds are holding their own.  High yield bonds in particular are still doing well.  International markets lagged due to a stronger dollar.

The Monthly Index Report for March 2010

Index Mar-10 QTD YTD Description
S&P 500 Index*

Large-cap stocks


Large-cap stocks
Nasdaq Comp.*


Large-cap tech stocks
Russell 1000 Growth


Large-cap growth stocks
Russell 1000 Value


Large-cap value stocks
Russell 2000 Growth


Small-cap growth stocks
Russell 2000 Value


Small-cap value stocks


Europe, Australasia & Far East Index
Lehman Aggregate

U.S. Government Bonds
Lehman High Yield


High Yield Corporate Bonds
Calyon Financial Barclay Index**


Managed Futures
3-mo. Treasury Bill

All returns are estimates as of March 31, 2010. *Return numbers do not include dividends.** Returns are estimates as of March 30, 2010.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Documentary on Enron

If you have not seen this documentary, you need to watch it.  I have seen it three times and I still find it absolutely amazing.  Tonight at 9:00 p.m. on CNBC; ENRON: The Smartest Guys in the Room.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Recordkeeping guidelines from the IRS

This is an excerpt from the IRS website.  I would suggest checking out the entire article on their website:

Why Keep Records?

There are many reasons to keep records. In addition to tax purposes, you may need to keep records for insurance purposes or for getting a loan. Good records will help you:
  • Identify sources of income. You may receive money or property from a variety of sources. Your records can identify the sources of your income. You need this information to separate business from nonbusiness income and taxable from nontaxable income.
  • Keep track of expenses. You may forget an expense unless you record it when it occurs. You can use your records to identify expenses for which you can claim a deduction. This will help you determine if you can itemize deductions on your tax return.
  • Keep track of the basis of property. You need to keep records that show the basis of your property. This includes the original cost or other basis of the property and any improvements you made.
  • Prepare tax returns. You need records to prepare your tax return. Good records help you to file quickly and accurately.
  • Support items reported on tax returns. You must keep records in case the IRS has a question about an item on your return. If the IRS examines your tax return, you may be asked to explain the items reported. Good records will help you explain any item and arrive at the correct tax with a minimum of effort. If you do not have records, you may have to spend time getting statements and receipts from various sources. If you cannot produce the correct documents, you may have to pay additional tax and be subject to penalties.

    The entire publication can be found at this link: