Wednesday, August 25, 2010

personal finance

Back from the gym. Today’s Crossfit workout: Run 800 meters, then jump rope 100 times (or do 30 double-unders, for advanced CFers). Repeat this sequence for 30 minutes. I did six complete rounds. My calves are toast. Now, on to your comments…

@Randy (#44)

We do have a sub-account for travel, but it’s just been depleted to pay for our trip to France and Italy. I should have mentioned that regular contributions to this will add a few hundred dollars by February. Thanks for the suggestion to check out

@Stephanie (#46)

Though it pains my trainer to hear me say it, I find the scientific and anthropological basis for the paleo diet unconvincing. I don’t want to say it’s hogwash, but I think much of it is wishful thinking and not based on hard evidence. So, no — I don’t follow the paleo diet. I know many people who do, and it works great for some of them. I think that’s awesome. For myself, I practice calorie restriction, and I do try to eat more protein than I would if left to my own devices. (My target is 150 grams a day.) And yes, eating healthfully is expensive. I’ve been eating a lot of fresh fruit, and those prices add up!

@Kevin (#49)

Hm. If you’re sensing “justification” in the post, it may be because I’m being pre-emptively defensive because I’m worried that others will judge my existing spending without being able to see the big picture. I’m confident that the Crossfit and the soccer tickets are reasonable and affordable. And the Africa trip is a sort of case-study. It’s an example of the sort of decisions I’m making lately. Note that I have not made a decision on Africa. It’s likely that we’ll go, but first I’m going to have to find ways to make it feasible. And, as I mentioned, I’d rather not tap the emergency savings, so I have to look at other options. As for separate vacations: Believe me, there’s some of that in the future.

@Fantasma (#53)

Yes, it makes perfect sense to re-direct savings earmarked for the Mini and other goals toward the Africa trip in the short term. But I will not compromise on the retirement contributions. For me, there are certain minimum financial standards that have to be met on a regular basis. One of those is retirement contributions. Another is a full emergency savings account, which is why I’m reluctant to tap it. (The difference between retirement and emergency savings is that the savings can be replaced; also, the savings is significantly over-funded, in that it could support me for almost a year of regular spending.)

I marked the comment from Shalom (#56) as a great comment simply because it gets to the heart of my thought process on the Africa decision. If you want to know how I’ve been sorting through this, read her comment.

@Raghu (#61 & #63)

Right. So, this is why I’ve been reluctant to share these sorts of things at GRS, and I think it’s a shame. Yes, one of my goals is to help others get out of debt. But it’s also one of my goals to continue my own journey. I’ve stopped writing much about my journey precisely because I’m worried that doing so will cause reactions like yours. But is that the right thing for me to do? Should I hide what’s really going on simply because some people won’t be able to relate? This post is “testing the waters” to see how people react. Most seem okay discussing these topics, and they seem to understand that I’m in a different financial place than I was five years ago…

@GV (#64)

My Crossfit trainer has talked to me about some of the stuff you bring up. He even has people sign up to learn the Crossfit exercises, and then they quit to build their own home gyms because they can do that at a fraction of the cost of sticking with Crossfit. For myself, I’m still getting a lot out of CF, and I love the 6:30 group, so I’m not about to stop. But you have a very valid point.

RE: The tax account

Yes, I pay taxes quarterly. And maybe if I explained my method, that would set some minds at ease. My tax account is actually way ahead of what I need. I’ve already paid my estimated obligation for 2010, for example. Now, over the past couple of years, my estimated obligation has been below my actual obligation, thus the need for the tax account. But even so, I’ve generally had a cash surplus in that account, which was precisely where I got much of the money to purchase the Mini Cooper last year. (After I paid taxes, there was a ton left over in the tax account.) This is why I’m not worried about drawing from it: my 2010 estimated obligation is already fully paid, and I have a nice chunk of change there for any excess taxes.

To everyone

This is a great discussion. I was really worried about sharing some of this stuff, and while I understand that not everyone agrees with my choices, I like that we’re able to have a productive discussion about the whys and wherefors of these expenses. And I especially love the stories from other folks who are in this stage. I don’t do a good enough job of getting those out there at GRS. I’d like to share more of them.

Consumer spending and personal incomes were both unchanged in June after rising 0.1% and 0.3%, respectively, in May, the Commerce Department said today in a statement.

"Consumers are still hunkered down," Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody's told Bloomberg News before the report. "The second half of this year we're going to see slower spending." Economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast a median 0.1% gain in spending and a 0.2% advance in incomes. Personal saving rose to 6.4% of disposable personal income in June, from 6.3% in May.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said yesterday that consumer spending may "pick up" as wages rise, Bloomberg News reported.

canadian penis extender

Calculated Risk: More Negative <b>News</b> Flow Coming

We've definitely entered a period of downbeat economic news. Note: I still think the economy will avoid a technical double-dip recession, but the odds are uncomfortably high - and it will probably feel like a recession to millions of ...

<b>News</b> Chopper Catches Paris Hilton in Her Towel |

With a live KTLA news chopper hovering over her home after a man allegedly tried to break inside, Paris Hilton decided to step out on to her balcony -- in…

Hot Air » Bad <b>news</b>: Chinese commuters stuck in … nine-day traffic jam

Bad news: Chinese commuters stuck in … nine-day traffic jam.

Friday, August 6, 2010

personal financeonline personal finance

penis extender

online stock trading online stock trading how to lose weight fast

Stabroek <b>News</b> - Starr to roll out $40000 computer before end of 2011

Daily News, Sports, Business, Entertainment and more from Guyana.

Brad Friedman and Desi Doyen: Green <b>News</b> Report: August 5, 2010 <b>...</b>

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Why 2 million (promised) green jobs couldn't sell a climate bill; When religious beliefs become dangerous; New state surveys affirm Americans' belief in global warming, gov't action; Fossil fuels ...

Spectroscopic science <b>news</b>

These are my links for July 30th from 18:21 to 18:27: Space balls redux - I've reported on this ...

big white booty

Thursday, August 5, 2010

personal finances help

Week after week, obsessive Mad Men fans call up retired advertising veterans, fashion historians, and businessmen to suss out what it was really like back in the sixites. But when Don Draper, the son of a prostitute, shockingly ended up getting slapped by an escort wearing a red bullet bra in the season-four premiere, did anyone think to call up a dominatrix and get her take on the scene's verisimilitude? Why yes, in fact: Vulture did. The scene raised so many questions: Does Don need a domme? And do dominatrices get to abuse guys as luscious and successful as Don Draper? On the eve of the prostitute's return in episode three, airing this Sunday, we asked professional dominatrix Mistress Pixie to help us understand some of what Don Draper may be in for. Now sit the fuck down and pay attention, slaves!!!

The slapping sex scene takes place on Thanksgiving day. Would you ever work on Thanksgiving?

Fuck yeah, could care less. Money is money.

This woman on the show, who is not a domme but an escort, mentions her family briefly. Do you ever offer any details of your personal life?

Not too much info in the beginning, but yes, after a few sessions, they like to talk; they become like friends, sort of. And they talk about themselves; it's like therapy.

This woman seems to be offering a little S&M along with sex. What do you think about that and do most dommes ever mix sex with domme work?

No, never. You never cross that line. A real domme never has sex with a client.

What if he's as adorable as Don Draper?

You never have sex, ever; you never cross that line. At least I don't — most don't. But it does annoy us when escorts also advertise themselves as dommes, because real dommes don't have sex. They should advertise themselves as escorts with fetish services. Real domme clients don't get off on sex, they get off on being dominated and humiliated: You give them nothing.

So having a client like Don doesn't turn you on?

No, but a gorgeous client is just an added bonus, a fun toy, more fun to torture.

Are your clients successful men like Don Draper?

Definitely. 90 percent of clients are powerful men: They are powerful at work, in their families, socially. They need a balance; S&M is a need. They need to feel weak and let go.

What kind of women are dommes?

Lots of very educated women, lawyers, woman with PhDs. We love what we do. We love to study psychology so we can fuck with their heads even more.

How's business been with the recession and all? Lots of these high-powered guys have lost their jobs. And Don's not doing great on the show: Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is struggling and his finances are taking a hit because of the divorce.

Yeah, we got hit pretty hard two years ago when the recession started. You know, hiring a domme is a luxury. But business is back. You know, when times are so stressful, I guess the luxury becomes a necessity.

In 2006, recent Harvard grad Alexa von Tobel was headed for a job at Morgan Stanley. But though she would soon be managing the bank’s investments, she realized she didn’t know the first thing about her own finances. Most financial guides seemed to be written for middle-aged readers with millions in assets, rather than recent college grads. "I was reading every book I could find, but none of them spoke to me," she says. So she came up with the idea for LearnVest, an online personal-finance resource for young women like her, and ended up writing an 80-page business plan.

After two years at Morgan Stanley, von Tobel entered Harvard Business School in 2008. But upon winning a business plan competition held by Astia, a non-profit that supports women entrepreneurs, she took a five-year leave of absence and invested $75,000 of her Wall Street earnings to start LearnVest in November. She quickly enlisted advisors, including Betsy Morgan, the former CEO of the Huffington Post, and Catherine Levene, the former COO of DailyCandy, to help develop the site’s content and technology. In January 2009, she secured $1.1 million in seed funding from executives at Goldman Sachs.

LearnVest’s site launched a year later and has since signed up more than 100,000 members. It offers online budgeting calculators, video chats with certified financial planners on the company’s staff, and free e-mail tutorials on topics such as opening an IRA. The company earns revenue from advertising and by referring its users to companies such as TD Ameritrade. In April, after just four weeks of fundraising, von Tobel closed a $4.5 million investment round led by Accel Partners, which has also invested in Facebook and Etsy. (Incidentally, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg lived in the same dorm as von Tobel at Harvard.)

Von Tobel likens LearnVest to an online version of The Suze Orman Show, but with the goal of reinforcing positive finance habits early on. “Suze Orman helps 45-year-old women get out of debt,” she says. “Why not reach 20-year-olds to keep them from getting into debt?”

penis extender

Smart couples finish rich by kateraidt