Showing posts with label money. Show all posts
Showing posts with label money. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Platinum Can't Keep Its Trousers Up

As the internal combustion engine gradually gets phased out from worldwide usage in motor vehicles, platinum's trousers keep falling. I anticipate $600/oz., or about where we were in 2000. From there, it could decline further. After all, from an aesthetic point of view, it has nothing over silver.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Silver Bullion

Confession: I love silver.

It's probably all psychological poppycock revolving around vampires-and-werewolves' bane, and magic, but nonetheless, the heart wants what it wants, and blood will out. You know that, don't you? Blood will out. That simply means, that the blood has a Will of its own, quite independent of the mind. Perhaps in ancient times, silver had more purchase, and spirits of old treasured it oh, so much!

At any rate none of the bullion nor the U.S. Mint's productions moved me, but the Silverbug line beguiled me. It is some kind of Reddit community I know nothing of, but whoever did it, for whatever reason (lucre), fired their arrow true.

The only bullion worth more than its weight is the Silverbug line. The rest seems pretentious or vulgar. And who exactly is Amy Brown, and why should I study her name on a coin for the rest of my life? The masters, DaVinci and the like, were content with tiny scribbles, or nothing. Amy Brown needs a quarter of the coin surface to establish her brand? Bah! And why are her fairies heroin chic?

So yes, silver is probably a poor investment, in general, but at least in the Silverbug line, it is more pleasing to the eye than stocks in Wells Fargo or whatever.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Stock Market

I'm bailing.

The question is when, not if.

I'm quite satisfied with my gains thus far. Thanks, Obama. Oh, and a tip of the hat to Trump for not following Republican tradition in launching a new war. Yet.

True, bond interest rates are abysmal, insufficient to keep up with any rational projection of future inflation.

But, so what? Interest rates should catch up in time. Nice to have a hefty chunk of change in the bond market, dry powder for future use in the event of a stock market meltdown.

Right now, foreign stocks look interesting to me. I like the look of Asia. A war with North Korea just isn't something the U.S. really wants to do at this time, because our trade with Asia is such a huge part of the U.S. economy. Also, North Korea is nothing but a hundred-pound baby, with needs, not anything useful to offer the world. Bombing them just sort of reinforces their already existing bunker mentality, and they don't have anything worth bombing. If peace prevails, then Asia stands to gain, because China is highly rational when it comes to economic and trade policy.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Can't Wait 'Til Amazon is Amagone

Amazon isn't the unstoppable juggernaut some know-nothings think it is. In reality, Amazon sucks, and I can't wait to jump to the next big retailer. In fact, I've replaced Amazon for lots of things that I buy. First, they can't handle purchase orders properly. That means, no Amazon for business or government, unless you have a full-time purchaser willing to spend 5 to 10 hours per month dealing with their incompetent Synchony Bank. Second, Amazon is impossible to use with any intelligence or efficiency for computer parts--or any part, for that matter, more complicated than a pencil. Their filtering mechanism is about 10 years behind the state of the art. Just try shopping for motherboards, cpus or RAM. Third, the reviews are both gamed and censored, and most are pretty worthless one-liners that should be thrown out right away.

All these things are on top of the fact that Amazon treats its workers like crap, so there is really a moral downside to patronizing Amazon, knowing that Amazon drivers are driving around with a piss jar in their lap, because Amazon won't give them time enough for bathroom breaks. One Amazon driver was caught on video defecating outside a suburban home. First time I saw that video, I blamed the driver, but now I know all their drivers are under the gun and are rushed to the point where there is simply no time for the necessaries. In reality, Amazon's CEO was taking a crap outside somebody's house, not the driver.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Precious Metals are Preposterous

The prices of precious metals are preposterous and fueled by irrational chimerae. The popularity of role-playing and video games drives demand for gold, as millions have been trained to think of gold as highly desirable, and the only possible currency, within the gaming system. In reality, in jewelry, gold has been supplanted already by other shiny metals that can mimic its properties or indeed surpass them. Gold is not what anyone will want in an apocalypse; food and guns are what people will want. It is not at all likely that precious metals will ever again occupy the position of currency within any future civilization.

As for precious metals other than gold, similar logic applies. For what reason should a man pay $1000 an ounce for platinum and $16 an ounce for silver? Silver is destined for long-term decline, because it is no longer needed in film. Platinum is destined for $500/oz., because it will soon be no longer needed in catalytic converters. The temporary aberration that saw a spike in precious metal prices is destined to peter out as the oldsters that clung to the shiny metals die off, and their descendants take the metal and sell off.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Interest Rates Artificially Low

Interest rates are artificially held down by the Fed's policies and by oldsters auto-investing in low return bonds and CDs. There are a lot of retirees right now, and their money is doing diddly-squat in bond funds and CDs, and they are scared to move into stocks because they haven't the time remaining to recover from any downturn.

So, the right investment right now, for those with a ten-to-twenty year investment horizon, remains stocks, particularly seeing as how a good value stock fund returns just as much, if not more than, a typical short-term or intermediate-term bond fund.

Interest rates have nowhere to go but up. Ironically, bonds now seem the "high-risk" investment, due to the threat of inflation and rising interest rates. I'll talk to long-term bonds when they bust the five per cent ceiling, but not before.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Stocks are in Wacka-Wacka Land

True, stocks are in Wacka-Wacka Land, with P/E ratios through the roof in comparison to historical norms. But with bonds, even high yield, yielding well under 5 per cent, is there really a choice for investors? Anyway, dividends on stocks often match or exceed the bond market. I have to stay in stocks, at least until bonds recover from their low interest rate disease.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Stocks and Bonds Ain't Hard

Stocks and bonds ain't hard, at least if one chooses to use mutual funds. Stock-picking is not my game, because I feel like the system is corrupt and rigged, with inside knowledge dominating. Those "in the know" can make bundles of cash, legally or not, just like those Equifax business criminals did, knowing full well they had crucified the American consumer and that Equifax's share price would sink. Folks like me "in the dark" are marks. Unlike the business criminals, I wouldn't know about the Equifax Debacle until Equifax announced it. I don't bother with stock-picking and consider it a fool's game, because only fools trust wolves.

My advice is simple. Choose a low-cost mutual fund family like, oh, say, Vanguard. I do not know of any other. Vanguard is by no means perfect, but they are reasonably good and low-cost, allowing them to beat the performance of most mutual fund families, because let's face it, the stock market mainly moves in unison. There is not a whole lot of advantage to be had in stock-pickers, although there is a whole lot of risk to be had. That 1 or 2 per cent expense ratio on your darling mutual fund is probably being used for massage therapy and new luxury cars for the mutual fund manager, who is ultimately using a computer to pick stocks, anyway. To think you pay a guy more, and he picks better stocks, is a charming little fantasy.

With stock funds, all one needs to know are the fundamentals. One must know what a P/E ratio is, and bear in mind that in today's environment, 17 is not too shabby, but over 20, it's time to bail. One must pay attention to earnings growth. Anything in the double-digits is dandy. That implies red-hot growth. Right now, large-caps stink, but mid-caps and small-caps excel, and that's why investors are buying 'em. The smart money always looks at the fundamentals.

With bonds, one must keep in mind that bonds suck and have sucked for a very, very long time. Any interest rate under 5 per cent really is not worth the time of day. It is extremely high-risk, and there is a possibility one could encounter double-digit losses, depending on the bond fund, due to rising interest rates, defaults, or even inflation. All bonds these days are junk bonds. They are garbage. There is little to no protection against inflation, little to no protection against rising interest rates. That is why people are moving the lion's share of their money into stocks right now, because what's the alternative? There is no alternative to stocks, unless you want to stash your cash under your mattress.

I keep an eye on bonds, however, because if interest rates do recover, then bonds will become very attractive, especially in today's market, where the P/E ratios are through the roof, judged on a historical basis. Bear in mind, P/E ratios used to be in the neighborhood of 11 or 12, for about a hundred years or so. It is only in today's environment that a P/E of 17 or 18 has become "the new normal."

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


I got tired of getting burned by Indians or Pakis running these run-down little motels on the highway. These immigrants do not speak good English. They actually hate Americans. They employ bait-and-switch, advertising one price and then charging a higher one. They have nasty little surprises to inconvenience the unwary traveler. They invest nothing in their business, and their motels look shoddier and shoddier, like the third-world country they come from.

Enough of these shady "entrepreneurs" that just want to take advantage of the weary traveler.

I'm not renting hotels or motels any longer. Air BNB all the way, baby!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Insurance Stocks

Insurance companies should do well under Trump's presidency, because the Republicans will ensure a massive transfer of wealth takes place from the lower classes to the insurance companies, which should enjoy double-digit growth in their share prices as they provide less and charge more.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ubuntu Going Public

Understanding arrived for "Rocketvalue" that he doesn't really know what he's doing, based on Unity's flop, Mir's crash, and the mobile phone fiasco. That's what happens when you close your mind against those that have seen a thing or two in their day and go off half-cocked thinking you're going to change the world. Change nothing, except your bank account for the worse. Sure, with today's overheated stock market, cash out. You're guaranteed to claw back those losses, because there are fools a-plenty buying stocks these days, with about 40-to-1 being the average P/E ratio among the Mid- and Small- cap U.S. stocks, as though disaster never occurs in human history.

You may be too late, though. A crash could happen any day now, with Trump's amateur hour, and you're still not public. Should have done this months ago. I completed my migration from 100% stocks into balanced, 60-40 funds, but feel that bonds might even be the better choice. I'm just not sure the moment is right for bonds, with their low rates. Maybe in late 2018?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Bonds Suck So Bad

I just can't get over how bad bonds suck right now. Unless interest rates increase by 2 to 3%, bonds are all, every one of them, a bad deal, and high-yield most of all, with its pathetic 5% yield. Look, inflation is on the rise, okay? The Fed's quarter-point touch up doesn't do the trick. Prices are creeping higher, and the usual Christmas bargains just aren't to be found.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Fleecing the Sheep

What amused me most on the occasions I tuned in to Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck were the commercials. Gold was being pushed big-time, and at a time when gold was already oversold. Those cynical advertisers certainly knew where to find the goldbugs. Obama the Muslim Anti-Christ was going to bring on the Apocalypse, and only gold would retain any value, see. It's common sense, don't ya know.

Well, turns out gold has fallen from 1700/oz to 1200/oz this year. That is a double-digit decline, and the bottom of the market is not even in sight yet. I expect that the market will fall to as low as $800 an ounce. Looks to me like the right-wing sheep have been shorn, and those gold merchants are cackling all the way to the bank. I suppose they knew their audience and capitalized upon them. Ain't that just the beauty of Capitalism?

I may not the greatest forecaster of markets, but I know one thing. Buy cheap, sell dear.

And if an investment is being sold through paid advertisements, then it definitely is not a good investment. I wouldn't be interested in anything sold by commercial on Fox News, because it would be tainted already in my view. Something is wrong with the program, and something is wrong with the products being promoted during breaks.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Another Way to Make Money

Of course, another way to make money is to save money. Maybe it is the computer programmer in me, always seeking greater efficiency, but I have become rather good at saving money over the years, although I made some mistakes along the way. My biggest mistake was buying a 46" Plasma television soon after it become available. I paid a whopping $1500, and the darn thing only has 800x600 resolution, which annoys me every time I watch Windows XP boot up. Today you can buy a 50" plasma with at least 1024x768 resolution for under $500. So clearly, enthusiasm has gotten the best of me where technology is concerned.

I made what I imagine to be wise purchases lately, replacing all of the motherboards and cpu's in my network for reasons that would have seemed strange to me a decade ago. My new motherboards and cpu's are not any faster. In fact, they are slower in most cases. Their chief virtue is low energy consumption. To put it in other words, they cost me less money. I know what I am talking about because I tested each of my computers with Kill-a-Watt, which has a .2w margin of error. Prior to the upgrade, my computers drained between 45 to 65 watts apiece, which may seem already low, but it is not low enough, so says Igor, when you are talking about a computer that stays on for eight, twelve, twenty-four hours a day. That wattage adds up over time and results in real monetary losses and for what? What purpose is being served by consuming excess electricity? Am I able to do more because the computer uses more power? No, not at all. The reality today is that more power does not mean a faster computer, not when one uses only the Internet browser and apps with similar modest requirements.

I have measured each of my computers after their latest upgrade. Their top power draw, including everything in the computer, is now just 24 to 28 watts apiece--much better, cutting electrical consumption by half or more. The next time I upgrade them, it will only be to cut their power consumption yet again. I would just like to add that motherboard and cpu are only part of the equation. The power supply is critical. Anyone using a ps that is not rated 80-plus or better is wasting money. I recommend Seasonic, although it annoys me that their stuff is manufactured in China, but everything is manufactured in China these days. How I would like to see "Made in America" stickers again!

The second benefit of my new computers is aesthetic. I like to exert control over sounds, colors and other sensory input (there is a fan in my room for a reason). My new computer is quieter. Not silent, but close. I think that is a good thing. The only noise producer in each of my computers is the little power supply fan. The cpu does not require a fan at all. A heat sink dissipates what little heat is generated by the cpu, and in combination with the power supply fan and generous case ventilation seems sufficient to maintain stability at around 50C.

I can tell you what I do with my old computer parts. No, I don't throw them in the garbage or donate them to Goodwill. I sell them on E-bay. In this way I recycle with maximum efficiency and offset the cost of my upgrade. My buyers tend to be happy, because most buyers just want the seller to be honest and reliable and are thrilled to find that this is the case. I never, ever lie in an auction, and I always allow returns. It is better to be painfully honest, and I will "tell it like it is" and get less money for something, than to ever, ever deceive. That is what the successful Ebay seller knows. In many cases I have gotten enough money to render my upgrade free or close to free. I don't know why, but the after-market for computer parts on Ebay is to the seller's advantage and has been for at least five years and I don't see this changing anytime soon. Therefore an easy way to make money for anyone that knows something about computer hardware is to upgrade downgrade their computers or at least their computers' electrical requirements. The savings will come every month in the form of a reduced utility bill, and the old parts can be sold on Ebay, because apparently not everyone has gotten the memo yet about energy efficiency.

Now wouldn't it be wonderful if we could sell old body parts on Ebay and replace them with new ones!Post a Comment
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Replace Money with Cards? Yeah, Right.

Those lazy buns that want to replace cash money with credit cards and stop the government from circulating any money are due some rue from the clue canoe. Credit cards store more than financial amounts. They store information, and their information can be stolen and misused, as happened recently. I think it is completely idiotic to propose doing away with money. Money is free to use and carries no information with it. Money is the perfect payment vehicle, and if we had not already invented it, it would be the perfect successor to that primitive, insecure, expensive and dangerous antique known as the credit card. Credit cards will never replace money, and if money is eliminated, then the world will be less free as a result and less secure.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Friday, March 30, 2012

A Review of Sellyourgold.Com

 I checked out this site for selling gold, but like all gold-buying sites, it left me cold. For one thing, that web site does not specify how much they pay for gold. They prefer to remain mysterious. I and everyone else in the world want to know the minimum scrap price they are willing to pay for gold. None of these gold-buyers reveal that essential bit of information.

That site quotes prices that they have paid in the past (when gold was how much? $50 a gram? $20 a gram? who knows?) per pennyweight of gold, an archaic measurement. Pennyweight has no relevance in the modern world. We might as well go back to measuring distance in furlongs if we are going to use pennyweights. The metric gram is sufficient for all measurements of weight. There's nothing complicated about milligrams and it is understood universally.

Any fifth-grader worth his salt can calculate the commodity value of any marked piece of solid gold jewelry using nothing more than a metric scale with an accuracy of +/- one milligram and a magnifying glass to read the mark. Read the mark to determine karat weight. Divide karat weight by twenty-four to obtain the percentage of gold. Weigh the jewelery to obtain gram weight. The last variable, the current price per gram of gold, must be obtained online and will vary from day to day, even second by second, although I only care about the daily price and would accept anything within a dollar or two of it. Multiply the percentage of gold by the total gram weight by the current price per gram, and presto, the commodity value is obtained. Easy. Nothing to it. Javascript to help people estimate commodity value could be written in a single afternoon. I do not know why these gold buyers don't offer such a service, when they have clearly spent a small fortune on web design.

I have decided to hang on to my gold jewelery, because I don't trust any of the commercial gold buyers. I have yet to find one that pays a decent amount, in the 85 - 90% range for scrap value at the current commodity price.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cash Money, Now and Forever!

Some in the mainstream media are eager to celebrate the end of cash. They want to eliminate cash from the world and replace it with credit cards.

If cash isn't used, then the government is disenfranchised from the economy, which sounds good to conspiracy theorists, but consider for a moment the alternative methods proposed for paying for transactions. Using a card of any kind, whether it goes through Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, or any bank enriches a private corporation, which then accrues immense wealth and power. Some of these corporations are already wealthier and more powerful than some states in the United States and some countries in the world. These private tyrannies remain unaccountable to voters or to anyone other than a small group of large stockholders or private owners. They can and will do whatever the hell they can get away with.

The choice between cash and cards is an easy one. Cash for me, thank you very much, whenever I can. Most merchants I know are happy to receive cash, and some of them offer a discount to those customers that pay with cash, because otherwise the merchant has to pay the credit card company a transaction fee. I don't know what rock the writers searched under to find these strange business owners that don't like cash.

Calculating how much cash to pay, how much change to make, and storing the little coins and paper are all helpful and restorative exercises for the brain. Using the brain is a good thing. I like to perform simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Sometimes I like to do simple algebra as well. These tasks are fun, not boring or difficult. As for cash itself, it can be beautiful, when designed properly. My favorite coin is the Walking Liberty, and my favorite bill is the 1976 two-dollar bill with the interesting scene on the reverse.

Making everything as easy as splat is a bad idea. A transaction needs to be slow enough to permit people to stop and consider what they are doing when they make a purchase. Cash is a powerful defense against the impulsive purchases that cards encourage. I wish that paying for things took ten times as long as it does now, because few would then buy the useless plastic crap imported from China and sold at Wal-Mart.

If the lazy idiots and conniving capitalists win this war they are waging against cash, then I will mourn the humble little coins and bills that used to circulate, those elegant symbols of our Republic and its long history, so useful for the education of children and reminders of the great minds that shaped our world. The death of money would be a long nail in the coffin of our democracy.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Gym and Other Wastes of Time

There is plenty of work to do in the world, and working out at a gym seems to me a silly or at best a selfish act, because no good work is getting accomplished by the shifting of dead weights or the turning of a treadmill. I have always preferred doing something physical that either serves a purpose or else makes money. Working out at a gym, or going for a walk with no other purpose in mind than walking, always struck me as a slightly foolish waste of time and energy. That said, I've spent plenty of time going for pointless walks and runs and lurking in gyms. But no more. I think it is better to find personal projects around the house, yard or community to work on and complete rather than buying a gym membership. In that manner, the imagination and the soul (and possibly the bank account) are exercised and enriched in addition to the body.

Rather than lift weights at a gym, a prospective bodybuilder would be well-advised to sell his services as a mover and be paid to lift, rather than paying for the privilege of lifting. Rather than walk in a park for no other reason than exercise, a man would be better off working a job that requires him to spend some time on his feet, thereby getting paid, in effect, to walk and move around.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ebay's Wonderful Technical Error

Ebay offered me a $10 rebate in exchange for selling $10 worth of goods in the fall of 2011. I did so. Since then, I haven't received the gift card, and I couldn't be happier. That's right, I'm pleased as punch. Why? Well, I called up the Ebay customer service number to complain (I do like complaining), and here's what the CSR told me. "There is a technical issue that is preventing Ebay from crediting your account and the account of other customers that received the $10 credit." When I asked when or if the problem would ever be resolved, he said he didn't know. Then he asked me if I was enjoying my free listings. In exchange for my patience and understanding, Ebay is letting me list up to 50 items for free every month. Now, that is an extremely useful capability to have. It puts power back into the hands of the seller. Instead of being held hostage to an auction, with guaranteed fees should the auction fail, I can list and relist multiple times until I get the price that I want--all at no additional charge. I love it, and I could care less about the lousy $10, because I've saved about $100 in fees. Best of all is the feeling of confidence I have. Ebay receives its usual substantial final value fees in return, so both Ebay and I come out ahead.

One thing is certain, though. Once my free listing days are over, so are my Ebay adventures. It's a buyer's market out there, and many auctions do fail or succumb to bid snipers who bid at the last second of the last minute with the minimum price.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday & Pepper Spray

Pepper spray, that accursed torture device of the modern era, made the news again, this time not in conjunction with police brutality, but with competitive shopping at Wal Mart.

Wal means pig, and Mart means sty. I don't care about Black Friday, and I don't care about their sales. I don't want any of their video games, and I don't want their shiny plastic gadgets. Would you wish to be caught dead in Wal-Mart? At any rate, I'd rather be pepper-sprayed by the police than by a goofball in Wal-Mart. In the former case, I would have an injustice committed against me that would make me stronger, and that is a story I would repeat a hundred, no make that a thousand times before I die. In the case of a Wal-Mart spraying, it is embarrassing in the first place to admit that one was in Wal-Mart with the other pigs trying to feed at the trough.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments
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