Cheat Sheet Q & A:
Today’s entry involves a learning experience when being pulled over by a police officer
Just a heads up. I was pulled over by an Indian River Sheriff police officer. I stopped my vehicle, lowered the drivers side window, shut the engine off and removed my seat belt so I could get the papers from the glove box. When the officer came to the vehicle he informed me that I was being given a citation for a safety belt violation. I did not have a passenger in the car to prove that I was wearing my seat belt before I was pulled over. It is his word vs. mine. $93.00 fine, $30 for Citation and $63 in court fees.
Lesson learned, I will never unfasten my seat belt until I get permission. Hopefully I will not get pulled over again. Boy I feel screwed. Pass it on and hopefully this will prevent a future Technical $93.00 mistake.
Bottom Line: Thanks for the share. It’s a good reminder… There is a natural tendency on our part to get our paperwork together to be ready with what we know the police officer will ask for (assuming you’ve been pulled a time or twenty before…). These days the police would much prefer that you stop your car, open your window and put your hands on the steering wheel in plain view. This should prevent incidents like the one cited above from occurring.
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What we actually care about vs. what the politicians are focusing on:
Bottom Line: Gallup recently surveyed what we care most about in 2014. What’s interesting to me is what disconnect between what we care about and what the politicians are making the most noise about… Here’s the list:
The disconnect is rather evident isn’t it. For example income distribution is tenth on the list. Immigration reform is 15th. Homosexual issues are 19th. Compare that to the level of attention that is paid to them by politicians these days. I’d wager that the administration spends more time on promoting the 10th, 15th & 19th issues than the top three concerns we have. That’s not to say that some of the items of lesser concern aren’t legit but it does clearly show the disconnect between our elected officials and the issues we want represented.
Unlimited paid vacation sound to good to be true? It's rare but it's a growing trend:
Bottom Line: The thing though… Most likely you aren’t even taking all of your current vacation time. Expedia idea of unlimited paid vacations is a pretty enticing prospect isn’t it? Here’s the funny just completed its annual survey on vacation time and found the following:
- The average employee is only taking 10 of the 14 days they have each year
- 67% of employees stay connected to work on vacation
- 35% of us cancel vacation plans due to unexpected work related tasks (which accounts for why we tend to leave so much vacation time on the table)
So as enticing as the unlimited vacation time may sound… We aren’t even taking the 14 days we have to begin with. That’s probably not lost on some of the employers that are changing vacation policy to include unlimited time. Just because you have vacation time doesn’t mean you’ll take it. Let’s take a look at companies who do offer unlimited vacation time:
- 1% of employers now offer unlimited paid vacation time to at least some employees
- The companies are almost exclusively technology oriented
- Sales based or quota based jobs are the ones most likely to be offered this opportunity
Picking up on that last point… When you do work in a goal, often sales based, role your quota is your guide. If you achieve the performance that’s demanded by your employer they’re going to be less inclined what you’re doing day to day. That speaks to greater autonomy generally. It’s a product of the “new” culture change of many technology oriented companies but it may be a way to attract talent in a non-tech oriented field. After all it’s unlikely they’ll even use much of it…
What is the price you'll sell your privacy for? How about $5?:
Bottom Line: While I think most Americans don’t like the idea of the NSA or any organization secretly spying on them, I also think that many just assume there’s nothing that can be don’t about it anyway. With that in mind if we don’t have any real privacy, if some other entity wants information about us and will give us stuff in the process… Why not?
Such is the case with a new and somewhat popular app called placed. All placed does is study your location and mobile usage. The information is collected and sold to third party. So what’s in it for you? $5 to $10 gift cards that you can “win” based upon usage. There also are occasional sweepstakes with random winners. In short you’re giving up the goods on you to random entities for the price of an expensive cup of coffee. That speaks volumes about our mindset these days.
How good is your money manager?:
Bottom Line: The answer sadly is not good. This information comes from Morningstar. They studied the performance of actively managed investments vs. the stock market indexes the investment most closely track. Here’s what they found:
- The stock market averages performed better than 80% of the actively managed investments
What’s worse… The fees for the actively managed investments were far higher (often 1% more expensive per year) and if you have funds in a taxable account you’d have tax consequences you’d have to account for each year. So what should you do?
When picking or evaluating a money manager and/or money managed investments, ask for the track record of that professional. Then track it against the investments you’ll be primarily investing in. So for example if you’ll primarily be invested in stocks, check their performance against the Dow, S&P 500 and Russell 2000. If they don’t consistently perform better than those indexes, you didn’t find a good money manager.
And the biggest holder of Bitcoin now is…:
Bottom Line: The bitcoin ride has been a painful one over the past month. As I type this entry it’s at $299 per bitcoin. That’s 70% below where it was a month ago. It’s down 50% in the last week alone. The rapid decline has significantly under minded the idea that it’s ready as actual mainstream currency that’s ready for prime time. Here’s the irony. After the various crackdowns on illegal activities that involved the exchange of bitcoins, the largest holder of bitcoins isn’t Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, Richard Branson, etc. It’s actual Uncle Sam and his cousins.
- The FBI currently has 246,000+ bitcoin
- The state of New York currently has 29,000+ bitcoin with claims on 144,000+ more
This is the result of confiscation via the crackdown of illegal activities. What’s worth mentioning is at some point these government entities are going to sell them back out into the bitcoin marketplace to obtain actual value for them. That additional supply could put additional pressure on the bitcoin market when that occurs.