DH is money dumb

MeghaneAugust 16, 2004

Ok, I have a huge dilema. DH doesn't understand about how the stock market, and therefore mutual funds, fluctuate over the short term but in the long run do quite well. So we have an excess of $10k sitting in a stupid savings account "earning" .9% while inflantion is, what, 2-3% at least, so in effect, we're losing money. Historically, mutual funds gained in the long term 12%. We are youngish (in our 30s) and have some long-term to save, and I'm trying to convince him that the savings account is killing us and we could do a lot better on a mutual fund, especially one with a lot of diversification (like one that invests in all publically-owned companies in US). We did lose a little money in our 401k (which was also a mutual fund) when everyone else lost too, but now we are investing in that again. But it kills me to think that while I'm sitting here, my money is losing value, when it could be working for us. Does anyone know of a good site that shows that, in the long term, mutual funds are way better than savings accounts (or money markets or CDs or bonds, for that matter)? I'd appreciate any help you can give. It seems that I have all the financial knowledge, but not the time to manage that stuff (I'm a veterinary student and simply don't have time). I suppose I could find time to set up an account, but since we share everything, I'd still have to convince him to do it. Any help? He won't listen to me since we lost some money (which has since recovered BTW).



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A lot of financial advice that is dispensed on websites, in publications, or in person from "experts" is dead wrong. In the past few days there was an article in The Wall Street Journal which explained how, since the beginning of 2004, almost all "expert" opinions of what the stock market (and along with it, mutual funds) would do have been almost all wrong.

The thing you have to be careful of on websites or in talking to "financial planners" is that they are usually selling something. Truly unbiased advice is hard to come by. Even friends have their own biases and preferences.

Here's what I'd do: Take a two step approach. First, get the money out of that savings account and at least get it into something that will pay you an amount of interest which keep pace with inflation, such as a U.S. Series I Savings Bond (currently paying 3.4 percent, which is a lot more than what you're getting now, and incidentally is also better than the vast majority of mutual funds have done so far in 2004).

Next, start doing some independent research on mutual funds. You will find some good ones that have been around a long time. One place to look is in Consumer Reports. They have regular articles on mutual funds, and they dig pretty deep into them, too. A recent article pointed out how many mutual funds actually have such big interests in companies that their investment decisions may swing more in favor of the company and NOT in favor of their own investors -- the people like you and me who actually buy that mutual fund. Personally, I'd avoid a mutual fund like that.

Anyhow, you can visit your local library and check out the March 2003 issue which contains the article, "Mutual Funds - The Five Best Kept Secrets," or you can spend $20 for a yearly subscription to the online edition of Consumer Reports by going to the website below. To me, it's money well spent.

Here is a link that might be useful: Consumer Reports Online

    Bookmark   August 17, 2004 at 2:41AM
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I can do you one better. Can you say "twenty-five thousand dollars in a passbook savings account"?

My dh was adamant that the money needed to be accessible should disaster strike.

What someone suggested we should have done was move it to *several* CDs or something, all with different terms and end dates, so that every six months, a quarter of our money was coming due for reinvestment.

It would at least have been better than the passbook savings.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2004 at 7:21PM
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So the mutual fund idea came from a CPA/FP who does not sell anything due to ethical concerns. He was speaking at my vet school class, and although compensated for speaking, does not sell anything. He works by the hour only. So I trust his judgement. And it's not the first time I've heard mutual funds are the way to go. There are 2 he particularly likes for poor people like students: VanGuard and TIAA-CREF. With the Vanguard, it's a $3000 minimum investment, no load, low cost (0.2%) very diverse Wilshire 5000 index (essentially the entire US stock market) fund. The other TIAA-CREF is also no load, 0.2% cost, same index, but you have them withdraw $50/month from an account until it hits at least $2000. We have $10k, so even if we only invest $3k and it loses 50% in 1 year (and who cares since this is going to be invested for 30+ years), it still is only 15% of our non-invested savings. We already fully invest in 401k, have adequate insurance, and are starting IRAs for both of us with next year's tax refund (plus whatever needed to make the full $6k investment- we won't get $6k refund, more like $1000). And with a mutual fund, you can get your money the next business day if you need it, with the exception of the TIAA-CREFF plan (you can't withdraw until you have invested $2000 but after that it's available). So I'm trying to find some evidence in general that will steer him in the right direction. I will certainly look into Consumer Reports (thanks for the tip cowboyind), and obviously carefully read the prospectus before doing anything. But right now it's no use looking because he won't do it. I just gave him Financial Planning for Dummies, already opened on the chapter on mutual funds. Hopefully, my sublety will not go unheaded.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2004 at 7:55PM
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I know that Vanguard has MANY different funds, and TIAA-CREF most likely does as well. There are stock only funds, stock/bond funds, bond funds, income funds, growth funds, etc., etc. They all have different types of goals and cater to different types of investors. You might want to look at the Vanguard Wellington Fund. It's been around for 75 years, and over the years has shown very consistent returns. But that's just one of many options. My point is, the recommendation of Vanguard or TIAA-CREF can be either good or bad, depending on what specific fund you go into. Some of them will lose money and some will make money. It's always somewhat of a gamble.

Truthfully, I can understand your husband's hesitance. A lot of people have lost tons of money in mutual funds over the last 7 or 8 years. But you should at least be able to convince him to get the money out of that savings account and into something like some U.S. Savings Bonds. Those are totally safe and instead of 0.9 percent you'll get 3.39 percent. That's an extra $250 a year in your pocket -- over $20 a month. If someone offered you a $20 a month discount on one of your bills, you'd surely take it, so at least get the money into something like that rather than the savings account.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2004 at 1:28AM
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he may find it easier to stomach if you break the money up--don't invest ALL of it, perhaps--maybe get him to agree to do something w/ half. And then; in another year, with half of what's left, and so on.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2004 at 1:51PM
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I don't listen to stock market/mutual fund pushers anymore. That historically 12% stuff is long term crap. We have not had near that amount. The smartest thing we did was buy a piece of property in a growing area close to the beach. We have "made" (doubled assuming we sell) more money on that in 3 years than we have in 15 years of mutual funds. We still stick money in the mutual funds though - waiting for a miracle. You are better to put that money into getting out of and staying out of debt.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2004 at 6:51AM
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We already fully invest in 401k

Meghane, so if there's a 401(k) in DH's name, what is it invested in? That probably needs to be addressed, too.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2004 at 12:44PM
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We did not invest a dime in the stock market and we didn't loose a dime. Everyone else I know who invests, lost a good share of their life savings. One friend said, "You warned me and I should have listened to you". My Sis lost $50,000 or more. I don't gamble and investing in anything that is not guaranteed by the government is a gamble. At our age the principal is more important than the interest. If I were younger and had as much money as I have now I would invest $10,000. to play with....maybe!!!!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2004 at 9:17PM
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At our age the principal is more important than the interest.

That is the key right there. At a certain age, preservation of capital becomes more important. Below that age, however, inflation takes its toll, and about the only financial instruments that can beat that are the stock market and, often, real estate.

If the cost of living goes up an average of 4 percent a year and a person is making even 3.5 percent a year on a "guaranteed" investment, that person is "guaranteed" to be behind in purchasing power after several years. Unless one has absolutely no tolerance for risk, staying only with "guaranteed" investments gives you little chance to get ahead.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2004 at 7:36AM
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The banks make a big fuss about their "guarantee" - that they'll give back every dollar that they borrowed. Plus the agreed rent on the money, of course.

There's another guarantee that they never mention - there's no way that they'll pay you a dollar more than they borrowed, either.

There are two rats that eat your cheese.

The income tax people want to talk to you every year about your income for that year. Here in Canada, they charge different rates of tax on various types of income. The ones that are charged a low rate are the ones that the rich folks use, of course.

If you invest in a type of investment where the number of dollars invested can't grow, you must take enough money from your rental fees on the money (the interest) and put it with the principal in order to maintain your purchasing power - as you know, $10,000. would buy a lot more ten years ago than it'll buy, now.

So the income tax folks hit your income and inflation takes a cut of your asset, annually.

You can keep what's left.

And ... remember ... the rats eat first!

When I was 70 I called a financial advisor on the radio, saying that I disagree with much of the advice that older people should put most, if not all, of their money where it is "safe".

I said that our family are long-livers, and that I feel that I have several chunks of money and several blocks of time. If I think that I may well live for 30 years, that is six blocks of five years each.

As the amount that I spend during the first five years will no longer be available to provide earnings in later years, I'd better plan to use much less than a sixth of the total asset during the first five year span of time.

And I'd better plan to spend much less that a sixth of the asset in the second period, for the same reason.

Possibly a sixth - or, preferably, less - of the total asset in those two five year blocks.

It seems to me wise to plan to invest a substantial portion of the asset that I plan to hold for ten years and longer into equities, e.g. stocks, real estate, etc.

That is, five-sixths or so of my total asset.

He said that my logic made a lot of sense to him, that my plan seemed like a good one.

Up here in Canada, many of the equity-based mutual funds charge 2 per cent or more management fee annually. U.S.-based funds charge much lower rates.

Many experts seem to feel that the high rates of growth achieved in recent years will not be repeated in upcoming years.

If your mutual fund generates average growth over several years of something like 7%, and the managers are taking 2%, that means that there is only 5% left for you, the investor.

It seems to me a wise plan to buy individual stocks, instead.

Perhaps some that own parts of a number of companies, so that they are something akin to a mutual fund, e.g. Berkshire Hathaway. But it is run by Warren Buffet, who's darn near as old as I am. Can their marvellous growth rate be maintained with another hand on the tiller?

Up here in Canada, we have some nationwide banks whose shares would be a good investment - they are not going broke tomorrow or the next day.

Some major companies, also, such as utilities, oil and gas or mining companies, etc. Not the fly-by-night kind, of course.

I bought a bank stock 37 years ago for either $2.00+ or $4.00+ per share (actual cost was $16.66, but there have been splits since).

A few years ago each share was worth over $50., then a few months later, $24. - it takes strong nerves to handle that without getting bent out of shape.

Later price per share grew to $30., $40., $50., $60. and, recently, $66.00 per share.

The nice thing is that I do not have to answer to Revenue Canada for the increase in value until I either sell the stock - or die - and I don't plan to do either, this week or next.

When I sell, I can deduct the amount that i paid in the first place.

Which gives me much of the advantage that one obtains when purchasing tax-deferred retirement vehicles.

But - there is a BIG difference in being able to deduct at the time of investing ... or having to wait until one liquidates, thirty-seven years or more, later.

When I withdraw funds from my tax-deferred retirement plan, however, every dollar is taxable, at regular rate.

On liquidation of my non-registered investment, however, after I've deducted the amount of my original investment, I pay tax at regular rate, but only on half of the capital gain.

I can keep half of the capital gain, tax-free.

I like those apples.

Moreover - in the beginning, my annual dividend (which, in Canada, is tax-advantaged) was about 6 cents or a dime per share. In recent years it grew from 80 cents to 90 cents, to a dollar, to a $1.12, $1.290, $1.32, $1.48 and recently to $1.60, I think.

Not a bad annual rate of return on an original investment of $2.00 or $4.00, I'd say.

Good wishes to all - my 2 hours at the library computer is about to run out.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   September 23, 2004 at 7:46PM
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Individual stocks can be a good investment, for sure, but they require a lot of time spent researching them, and then you still may make a mistake and lose a lot. Utility stocks were once about as stable and safe as money put into the bank -- they paid decent dividends, and had stable but modest growth over time. But now a lot of them are crazy with all the mergers in the "new competitive" utility markets. A lot of utility company workers can attest to this, for many of them had all or most of their retirement plans in their own companies' stocks, only to have a merger virtually wipe out their lifetime of retirement savings overnight.

Steve_o is right that you won't get rich by making conservative investments -- at least not overnight. But really, the key to "getting rich," if there is one, is not to try to do it overnight. Any investment that pays big returns brings with it big risk. It just has to be that way. Otherwise, we'd all be rich.

While the "safe" investments won't make you rich overnight, if you start a savings program in something halfway decent like Series I Savings Bonds, you are guaranteed a rate of return which will be indexed to inflation, and which will ensure that you are always receiving modest but predictible growth of your savings.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2004 at 4:47PM
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We have what we have now because of property. The first place my husband bought was a duplex he lived in. A year later he bought a nicer home and a few years down the road he bought an better one. Each time he kept the older propery and put the minimum down on the next prop. We could not have qualified for the home we have now on his income without the rentals. If we run low on money, we can sell this home, buy a cheaper one and have money to live on. As far as the work on the rentals go, the work gave me something to do, I managed it and did all the cleaning and indoor painting.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2004 at 11:44PM
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Either you boss your money - or it'll boss you.

No one is as much a money-slave as the homeless person, or the senior who must decide between rent, food, or meds, I think.

Learning how money works is an interesting hobby ...

... that pays well!!!

Good wishes for excellent management of your assets, all.

joyful guy (twenty years a personal financial advisor)

    Bookmark   October 2, 2004 at 2:42PM
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There are a number of mutual funds that have beat the S&P 500 for many years running. Dodge & Cox is one, but their returns have attracted to much new cash and the stock fund is closed at the moment.
The index funds (Vanguards Index 500) track the index very well, have no load, and low fees. The other advantage they have over a managed fund is that in a downturn the stocks are not dumped at a loss. The value of the fund simply decreases. If you are invested for the long term you can wait out these changes.
Even with the poor market the past few years, there are many funds that have very good 5 and 10 year returns, and a few with good 1 and 2 year returns. Do a lot of homework. Money magazine has an annual issue with a huge listing of funds.
Few land investors ever sit down and figure out what was spent carrying the land in taxes and expenses. Vacant land in particular is often not a good investment unless there is a major growth center nearby that will eventually expand enough to drive up the vacant land value. Nice money if you can find it. There are a lot of other folks with the same idea.
Rental housing is a better moneymaker. As long as you can cover the mortgage, you are leveraged at 20% down. A 1% increase in the value of the property is a 5% return if you can cover expenses with the rent.
?Sure things? in investing are either a rip-off, or pay a very low rate. Part of interest is payment for risk.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2004 at 7:35PM
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Rental real estate is a combination of a business and an investment, and does take considerable time to manage if you decide to go into it.

The method of acquiring rentals described by Jonesy is the best. Buy a house, live in it for a while, and then move on and rent out the old place, and then just keep going. When you buy houses as rentals to begin with, you get stuck with worse financing, and you also don't learn the ins and outs of that house as well as you do by living in it.

In owning several different rentals, the other thing I learned is to buy rentals in areas that aren't "rental" areas. If most of the houses in an area are rentals, you have a much harder time getting and keeping good tenants. Despite the various issues that can come up with a property itself, it's the people that'll make or break you in that business.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2004 at 1:34AM
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One thing I've learned over time is that there is no simple way to amass wealth; unless you're very lucky. Learning to "boss your money" (love that, one!) is the single, toughest lesson to learn. It's hard to keep your eyes on the horizon when you're only able to put a little bit of money away every week... but if you ACTUALLY DO IT, it will reward your persistance. It took a lot of gumption on our part to continue investing for the long term following the September 11th. attacks. But we did it; I actually sent in more than my usual contribution (buy low, sell high, lol) and things have recovered quite nicely.

We were "rounder uppers" with respect to our mortgage... rounding up to the next even hundred every month (noted the excess was to go to principal on the check, too). We also made a 13th. payment equal to our rounded up mortgage payment. Our home is paid in full, has been for several years now. Now we continue to pay our mortgage payment... INTO INVESTMENT ACCOUNTS.

Savings. Do I ever miss the days when interest rates were 4-6%! Both the helpmeet and I have automatic payroll deductions to tax-deferred retirement accounts; we fully fund our ROTH IRAs, too (have for many years now). We mutually contribute to accounts that fund our monthly expenses and a savings account that is used for "emergencies". We don't do anything with US Savings Bonds, but I keep thinking it would be a smart idea... but when I get reading about them, my eyes roll back in my head and the Sandman comes creeping around... zzzz!

But the easiest way to "save" is to simply keep an eagle eye on your monthly expenses. Nobody really likes to hear that, but it WORKS. We were dogged in our adherence to a very strict budget in the early years of our marriage and while we were chipping away at the mortgage. Now, it seems, it's a breeze to get through the month and we have plenty of money to do things we'd like.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2004 at 8:54AM
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It's a very good point. A dollar not spent on something you don't really need is in essence a 100 percent return on your money. Then if you invest your money in something fairly safe where you won't lose it all because the economy takes a dip, you'll still have it someday when you need it.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2004 at 5:50PM
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Thirty years ago our federal government, in order to ease citizens' progress into home ownership, allowed us to deduct up to $1,000. annual investment, up to $10,000. total, into a plan toward owning a home.

I had no home, but thought that I would need one in about 20 years, so invested $1,000. annually for 9 years from 1974 till 1983, $9,000. total.

I didn't know much about the mutual fund aspect of money management then, so put it into a housing related system, a mortgage fund - one of the less volatile, steadier kind.

All of the earnings were to be reinvested, as is common with mutual funds.

The fund hit a level of $60,000. a few months ago.

Am I complaining? Not at all.

But - in 1984 I invested $3,000. into an equity (i.e. stock-market based) mutual fund. A year or so ago its value had grown to $36,000., and it is at a slightly lower level now.

But I'm not crying - I don't expect to need to liquidate it any time soon, so if it doesn't grow much for a time or even has a drop in value, I don't worry.

Remember - as I said, earlier, my bank stock that was bought at $2.00+ or $4.00+ and after several years had grown to $56.00 per share later fell to $24.00 or so - but recovered, and since has passed $50.00, then $60.00 and last week hit $70.00.

No complaining about that, either.

And the annual dividend payment now is almost as much as the original price per share. Granted - that was 37 years ago, when each dollar was "worth" a lot more than it is now.

Learning how money works is an interesting hobby, that pays well.

Good wishes to everyone in the project of learning how to make your dollars (or whatever your national currency is called) work harder.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   October 14, 2004 at 7:06PM
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Tax Free Muni's. 4.75% still available some states. Tax free from Feds, Tax free if it's your state. No Brainer, but few know about them.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2004 at 10:47PM
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If you can invest $1.00 now, at 5%, in 50 years you'll have $11.00 and change.

A smarter - and healthier - way for a 15 year old to use his/her money than buying cigarettes, in my opinion.

Of course, I said nothing about the income taxes that one must pay annually on one's annual income.

Or the erosion in value of one's asset due to the ravages of inflation.

But - if you can get 10% return, value in 50 years will be $117. and change.

Suppose the value of that asset drops by 2/3 (rather unlikely) - you can still drop $80.00 and have more than the guy who earned only 5% (before tax and inflation).

Sometimes the current value of my stocks or equity-based mutual funds has dropped as much as 30% in the short term - but if you will note, usually there is a greater than average growth rate shortly after that.

The income that they produce is taxed at a lower rate than interest that I earn.

The growth in value of each underlying asset is not taxed until I sell it (or die) (neither of which I plan to do this week or next). I've held some for over 30 years.

And then it's taxed at a lower rate.

I like them apples.

I don't have more than a small proportion of my total asset invested in more speculative issues.

To figure your result using various rates of growth, enter "100 X 1.05%" and hit the "=" key 10 times to find what $100. invested at 5% will grow to in 10 years (or hit "=" 25 times to find result after 25 years).

It's in the later years that the value grows rapidly - so starting to save as a kid (and learning how to invest shrewdly) makes a lot of sense.

Learning how money works is an interesting hobby - that pays well.

joyful guy (20 years a personal financial advisor, 19 of them selling no financial products)

    Bookmark   October 26, 2004 at 2:18PM
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Joyful Guy, Are you calculating this on a calculator or on the computer. I have to admit, I do not know how to do math with the computer. You make it sound so simple. I need lessons, I guess.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2004 at 8:03PM
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Greetings ivamae,

How are things going in your part of town?
They're doing quite well here near Springbank Park - and I'm paying regular rent, but haven't slept at my place for months, as I travel 25 miles round trip daily to house-sit at my step-uncle's farm who died back then, to deter would-be thieves and vandals.

Landlord said needed to inspect for smoke alarm, hot water heater and doors and windows - 24 hours notice.

I've been too busy to be available.

Need the weekend to clean the place, or he'll probvgably light a fire under me.

Quite a few do such calculations on the computer, but I don't know where to find the systems that one uses.

On a regular calculator, enter "1 X 1.05%,hit "=" to find value after 1 period of time (e.g. 1 year), the second "1" to show the amount of the principal at the end of the period, and the ".05" to show the increase in value relative to interest to be paid, or other growth rate.

If the time to compound is less than a year, usually the rate may be quoted as a yearly rate, but the rate of gain during that period will be less - e.g. if a month, one must divide the annual rate by 12.

To find value of the amount that had developed by the end of the first year, that grew at the same rate during the second year, press "=" a second time.

To find value after 10 years, press "=" 10 times; after 50 years, press "=" 50 times - it'sduring those later years that the annual increase really goes up quickly.

And postponing the start of a savings plan for a year costs that increase, often.

As I said elsewhere, a stock that I bought 37 years ago for $16.66 or so, that split 2 for one either 2 or three times, means that my relative cost has reduced to $4.00+ or $2.00+.

Its annual dividend now is around $2.00,having grownfrom amuch smaller figure during recent years.

So I figure that if I'd delayed a year to make that investment,depending upon the price of a share a year later, it might have made a subnstantial difference not only in thevalue now,but in the amount that it pays me every yer.

Not only that - dividends on Canadian stocks are tax-advantaged - I pay tax at amuch lower rate than I pay on interest that I earn at the bank.

Not only that - I needn't talk to the income tax people about the increase in value of the asset until I sell the stock (or die). Then - I pay taxat regular rate - but on only half of the increased value.

Goodwishesto you and yoursas you attempt to make your dollars work harder.

ole joyful

If the calculation doesn't happen, enter "1.05% X 1", then proceed as indicated above.

Library about to close.

'Bye for now.


    Bookmark   October 30, 2004 at 4:57PM
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Hi Joyful Guy
For some reason we lost our hydro with no warning to-night for awhile. Lots of sirens and only a few blocks involved. Haven't heard what the problem was. I had a little oil light and lots of little candles, so we did all right. It does us good once in awhile to learn just how dependent we are on these things.

I often go by the library that you go to use the computer. I should drop in sometime and see if you are busy working away. I asked one time if there might be others from our city on these forums but haven't heard of anyone.

Hopefully you won't have to make this trip all winter to keep an eye on your late Uncle's place. This time of year is one thing, winter storms are something else.
have a good week-end

    Bookmark   October 30, 2004 at 8:17PM
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Hi again ivamae,

Haven't heard from the landlord - there've been some improvements, but he'd still be unhappy. I am working on it.

I'm seeking some information as to whether to fix my old van, that has numerous holes in the floor, etc. Be sure to wear your seatbelt if you ride in it!

Garage man says if police stop me, they'll take it off the road. I asked if mechanicals were in reasonable shape, he said they were, that it was body problems. I can do something about that - but if frame's too badly rusted, or body structure too far gone to be fixed, it'll go to the scrap dealer.

Oh, well - they say that the price of scrap steel has doubled in recent times.

Took in about 2,500 pop cans the other day - $93.00+. That'll keep me in food for almost a month.

They tell me that they'd like me to carry on at the farm until it's sold. Step-uncle's brother in law from first marriage has worked with him a lot, prepared for recent auction, has cattle pastured there, etc. I discussed the other day the possibility of me not going back every day, as they go quite frequently. There's a dog and half a dozen cats to feed, daily, and water to pump for forty or so catle. The poor old dog got into a fight at the neighbour's the other day (let's say that I suspect that he was "b*tching") and has been hobbling around on three legs, since. The son of the brother in law wondered about putting him down, but he has recovered reasonably well. I hope that the leg improves enough for him to be able to use it, later.

Sorry - I don't know about Ontario law regarding the protection of one's house from creditors - but I'm fairly sure that it's not protectable - they'll say that one can rent.

One gets to keep clothes, personal stuff, dishes, and some furniture, I think.

Good wishes to you and yours.

ole joyful

P.S. Censor didn't like the verb that I used related to the dog's activities when he got into the fight - so I had to amend it.

oj (not juiced, today)

    Bookmark   November 10, 2004 at 6:05PM
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Hi all,

Haven't heard from the landlord - not ready to see him, yet, either.

Van has too many holes to be worth fixing, they feel.

The dog is improved - still hobbling on three legs, but active and interested in life. Hope he doesn't go b*tching again for a while - what is it that they say, that males seem to never learn?

Likely to be going to old uncle's farm daily for some time yet.

Hope you're in good health, good spirits, good fortune, with good friends.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 20, 2004 at 2:42PM
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Joyful Guy... you used to amuse and fascinate me, now you just annoy me with all the poverty issues. Sorry if that offends anyone.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2004 at 3:05AM
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ole joyful,

What kind of dog is it? For being man's best friend they can get into strange kinds of trouble.

I am looking at different investments, and have found this thread very informative.

Lifestyles vary so, I am grateful that we all have the freedom to choose how we live, and to live how we choose.

Same principal applies to what we find amusing. It's quite simple to skip over follow-ups you may not wish to read. Others may enjoy what one finds annoying.

Freedom is a precious thing.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2004 at 8:01AM
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With Joe's antecedents appearing to be as they are, and it's probably been a few years since his birth, I think his pedigree is "mutt".

Gina in FL,

I am sorry if you feel personally offended by my viewpoints.

I grew up on a farm where in the early years we had no pressure water system, which meant of course, no flush toilet. After we got pressured water there was no hot water heater - we had a wood/coal-fired range that had a tank on the back where we heated water for bathing, washing, etc.

Later we moved to the prairies where we had no electricity and collected (scarce) water from the roof for washing and had to bring water from elsewhere for drinking, cooking, etc. for a couple of years till Dad bought his own farm, by which time I was away to University.

I spent several years helping a few of hundreds of thousands of refugees get their lives back in some semblance or order after the terrible Korean War.

Even ordinary citizens there, apart from refugees, had to save for years to afford a bicycle.

Millions have been uprooted from familiar surroundings, made homeless, etc. since that time. No home, almost no food, no education available for their kids (and they couldn't afford to pay the fees, anyway) and no medical services available.

In earlier years we felt that those wide oceans insulated us from those serious problems in the world.

Not any more.

We can ignore those issues if we please - but they will not go away. They'll just get worse.

And - believe me - they will impact us. Increasingly so.

I prefer to deal with them now, at a time and place of my choosing. And encourage others to do so, as well.

Or - my grandkids will have to deal with them later. Quite possibly not at a time and place of their choosing.

We can tell others not to stand up in their canoe, or they may tip it over and drown.

This world is one small, fragile canoe. We occupy it with them.

If we screw up much more than we have already - we may destroy ourselves.

Some of the other species inhabiting the earth might say that would be a good thing - that man has destroyed a great deal of this precious world, and the only way that they can survive is ...

... if mankind departs.

If I saw that your house was on fire, came to your front door and suggested that we have a game of bridge ...

... how much respect would you have for me, when you learned the truth?

When I leave this world, in a few years (or maybe tomorrow?) and arrive at the Great Gate ...

... I think that my Heavenly Parent will have some things to say to me about my heedless greed that I will not want to hear. After all, S/He loves the faceless millions in other parts of the world as much as S/He loves me.

As I said above - I am sorry if you feel personally offended by my expression of my understnding of the realities that we face in this old world.

Good wishes to you and yours,

(still) joyful guy

    Bookmark   December 15, 2004 at 8:28PM
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I am disappointed in all of you gals/guys.

I thought that the above would elicit some response.

Even if it was rather seriously off topic - for which I apologize.

I didn't note in the above - that when I was a kid on the farm, after we got pressured water in 1936, we still didn't have a bathroom prior to 1946. Bathed in an old round wash tub behind the kitchen stove.

I never saw Dad bathe - I was in bed by that time.

Mom was in hospital for several years.

Grandma took a sponge bath in her bedroom, I think.

Hired help the same, I guess. That's the reason that they had those old wash-stands, with the large basin and pitcher, in most bedrooms of the period, I guess. 'Twould have been cold in winter - far from the convection-system furnace!

The system would have been different had we had sisters.

When you took warm water from the reservoir at the back of the stove - woe betide you if you didn't refill it, for the next person would have to wait for a substantial period after adding cold water.

I'll have to ask some of my old school chums how they managed such mixed-gender (no - multiple-gender) bathing in their homes.

We had a two-room High School, with about 60 students (had to go to the city for Grade XIII**) that closed in 1949. In 1999 we held a homecoming to celebrate the 50th year since its closing - with about 110 attendees. Quite a few still live around here.

Hope you don't have a lot of trouble getting into hot water.

ole joyful

**That's "Grade 13" for all of you guys who prefer the Arab-developed numeric system, in which it's far easier to add, subract, multiply and divide than the Roman system, manipulating which is nigh impossible.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 5:34PM
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Hi, Ole Joyful,

I wandered over tonight and have been reading in the Finances forum. You have quite valid point about the "first world" having to deal with those who have watched us prosper from afar and who may resent our lifestyles. Here in the US, discussing how our opulent lives influence the way we are seen elsewhere is seemingly taboo. Folks seem to think that trying to understand others' points of view is the same as making excuses for al Quaida. I can see why you didnt get responses.

It was good to see the world pulling together to assist those ravished by the tsunami. The impulse is to go over there and give them what we want to give, make sure they use it in a way that we see as proper, and to expect our standards to prevail. It is much harder to have the humility to ask, "how would you like to be helped, what do you need from us?" Even harder to then deliver what is asked for, even if it makes no sense to us. Did you hear about all the clothing that was donated on the Indian subcontinent? Massive quantities of used clothing were piled up in the disaster areas, unneeded, and unused. They had to use some of the disaster relief volunteers to clean up the clothes that were strewn about. Ungrateful refugees? No, simply inappropriate disaster relief by well-meaning people.

BTW, according to my dear Great Aunt, who grew up in a small city house with a hand-pumped well in the back yard, baths were done girls first, then the boys. I am not sure how many reused the bath water before it was changed. There were 14 kids in that family, so I would hope that it did get changed!

When you check out the Savings Bonds, be sure to check to see if they pay after maturity. It used to be that you bought a $25 bond and in so much time, it matured and became worth $25. If you held it longer, though, it would become worth more than $25 because the interest continued being paid once it matured to its face value. Now, once you reach the face value it is time to cash it in, as it will not ever earn more than the face value. I am saying this all from memory, so ask Cowboyind to confirm or deny this. I believe this is a change that has happened in the past few years (10? 5? 15? the older I get, the shorter the years are!).

Can I ask you a question about my Megan (dog) to learn if I should seek a neuro consult? Feel free to say no.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2005 at 10:11PM
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Joyful Guy, I grew up in Ontario but also in a rural area with no hydro until I was 18, no inside plumbing and no furnace. When I was a kid we were fortunate to have a pump inside the house and we also filled the reservoir on the wood stove in the kitchen for our hot water or heated cold water in a large kettle on the top of the stove. When I first married, the pump was outside a considerable distance from the house and we had no hydro nor inside plumbing either, at that time. None of this hurt us one little bit! There are many people who don't understand what country living was like at one time. After saying that, I will admit that I'm glad I grew up in this manner. I'm sure I have more appreciation for what we have to-day. My daughter went to a church camp one summer when she was young and wasn't as excited as many of the kids were, as the conditions were about what she was used to every day at home.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2005 at 6:34PM
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