Cheat Sheet Q & A:

You’ve mentioned that stocks & real-estate are the two best performing investing classes historically.  What about other investments?  How do they rank?


Bottom Line:  This is a great question.  I don’t think I’ve ever covered the other investment classes on a historical basis.  Plus this was helpful for me to update my info for average stock market returns.  Here is the complete breakdown of investment returns per year…

Since 1900:

  *   Stocks:  9%
  *   Real-Estate 4.1%
  *   US Treasury Bills:  3.8%
  *   All bonds:  3.2%, (Long term corporate - 5.9%), Long Term Government (4.9%)
  *   Gold 2%


Bottom Line:  First, I’ll note that the 8.5% average stock market return per year needed to be revised slightly higher.  After 5 consecutive years of a higher stock market with the average annual rate of return of more than 18%, the average rate of return is now nearly 9% per year.  Next, bonds…


Bond returns are difficult to lump together.  You have corporate and Government (Federal to local).  Short term and long term, etc.  So when you do lump them together the return is just 3.2% but as indicated, historically long term corporate and Government bonds have actually performed quite well. 


Happy investing!


If you have a topic or question you’d like me to address email me:


Audio Report:



How much lost business per year from not accepting credit cards:


Bottom Line:  Yesterday the lovely and talented one (my amazing wife Ashley) asked me what the average amount of lost business was per business that didn’t accept credit cards.  While I’ve covered the percentage of Americans who use primary cards vs. cash (66%) and the average ticket for purchases made with a credit card vs. cash (8-12% more), I’ve never conducted research on the total loss of business per year.  So I went in search of the information.  Thankfully Intuit had recently conducted a study on that very question.  Last November they found the following: 


  • The average amount of lost business for companies that only accept cash is…  $7000 per year
  • The total amount of lost business per year in the US for these companies is estimated to now be $100 billion per year

With the average small business owner only earning $68,000 per year (for full-time business owners – operators), leaving $7000 in revenue on the table is significant loss.  Yes accepting credit cards will cost more for those transactions but they will also come with higher tickets and more customers. 


Audio Report:



The missed call scam & the area codes you should avoid:


Bottom Line:  You’ve likely heard about the phone call scam this week.  The Better Business Bureau picked up on a scam in which ill doers will call your phone and hang up.  If you call the number back (which many people do) you’ll be charged large amounts of money for the call.  Well here are the area codes that have been traced to this scam:


  • 284 (Virgin Islands)
  • 473 (Grenada)
  • 809 (Dominican Republic)
  • 876 (Jamaica)

So if you get a call from one of those areas codes you clearly don’t want to call it back but you should report it to the BBB and/or the FCC. 


Audio Report:



Remember...  The house wins - How much people lost gambling in 2013: 


Bottom Line:  Perhaps chief among the reasons I don’t gamble…  The odds are stacked against us from the very beginning.  Unlike the stock market in which the average investment will net you a decent return.  You have to defy the odds to just not lose money when you gamble.  All you need to do at a casino is look around to see that a lot of money has been lost to the house.  So just how much are we losing on gamboling per year?


  • A record $440 billion in gambling losses occurred worldwide in 2013

That’s nearly the size of the Federal Deficit for the year!  Additionally…  Those are reported losses.  I think it’s safe to say that at least as much, under the table (or illegal) gambling is taking place as the legal, legit kind.  So how lucky do you feel? 


Audio Report:



Now the ACA is hitting retirement savings:


Bottom Line:  AOL, yes American Online (they’re actually making a comeback)made an announcement to their employees yesterday.  There will be changes to the 401k company match.  The reason?  AOL said they’re incurring $7.1 million of additional expense related to the ACA.  So the company needs to find cost savings. 


AOL will continue to offer a company match to their 401k program, however rather than issuing the match every pay period, they will administer it in a lump sum at the end of the year (provided they have the money to do so).  So…  For the employees it’s a one, two punch.  They have higher healthcare costs because of the ACA and they’ll have less retirement savings during the year as well.  


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So how much more money will we spend in 2014?:


Bottom Line:  The National Retail Federation tends to be overly optimistic with regard to the amount of money we’ll spend each year but if they’re even close to being right this year, it’s good news for businesses and the economy alike.  They’re suggesting we’ll spend 4.1% more in 2014 than in 2013.  That would be up from the 3.7% we spent last year.  That’s significant because 70% of US economic grow occurs through consumer spending.  So… there is a reasonably good chance we may finally have that 3%+ growth economy, sustained, that we’ve been desiring since before the Great Recession.


Audio Report:



So we have bad news & slightly better news regarding ID theft:


Bottom Line:  Research firm Javelin Strategy & Research just pulled together the final 2013 ID theft info for the US.  This updates the info I had just a couple of weeks ago from prior years…  They found:


The bad news:


  • That 13.1 million Americans were victims of ID theft in 2013 (or 4.1% of all Americans)


The slightly better number:


  • $18 billion was stolen from victims in 2013 vs. $21 billion in 2012

Bad news slightly better news...  4.1% of Americans were victims of ID theft vs. 2.5% but they're getting less:


Audio Report: