July 20, 2017, BUY YOUR PRINCIPAL RESIDENCE NOW!

July 20, 2017, BUY YOUR PRINCIPAL RESIDENCE NOW before it’s too late.  Home values will be going up soon and interest rates have been at historical lows.  Download this book from Amazon, “THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR RETIREE” for more information:

https://www.amazon.com/Six-Million-Dollar-Retiree-retirement-ebook/dp/B073XTL47J/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1500564096&sr=1-4&keywords=didosphere

Brian Lund, freelance writer wrote this article on July 19, 2014, “The Worst Investment You Can Make: Buying a Home”.  http://www.dailyfinance.com/2014/07/19/the-worst-investment-you-can-make-buying-a-home/ .

In his article, Lund claims that you will end up saving $3 million if you rented a comparable house instead of owning one for $350,000. That is, if you invested the savings you will realize by renting instead of owning a comparable house. Lund adds, “Of course there are numerous tweaks you can make to this scenario -– for example, factoring in your home’s price appreciation or the tax benefits -– but no matter how you slice it, owning a home doesn’t come anywhere close to making financial sense.”

I can cite a few problems with his article:

  1. He uses a 30 year fixed rate at 4.5% interest. Today you can get a much lower rate for a 15 year fixed.
  2. He assumes that the rent for a comparable dwelling is 75% of the monthly principal and interest payment and has no provision for rent increases over a period of 30 years. This is ridiculous.
  3. He does not factor in the loss of interest mortgage deduction and real estate tax deduction that will generally put the homeowner into a lower tax bracket. Conversely, he does not consider the fact that there is capital gains tax on the interest the renter’s savings earns, so it can put the renter in a higher tax bracket increasing his marginal tax rates, perhaps from 15% to 25% to 28% to 33%.
  4. He assumes zero appreciation for your home. There is no way to predict if housing is going up or down but assuming zero appreciation over 30 years is unrealistic. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) existing homes appreciated 5.4% annually from 1968 to 2009 on the average. The nationwide average annual increase of existing homes from 1987 to 2009 according to the Case-Schiller Index was 3.4%. Also, at the time of writing, there is a $250,000 ($500,000 couple) capital gains exclusion on the profit realized on the sale of a principal residence. See IRS Publication 523, https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc701.html
  5. Check on the above mentioned IRS website to see if you qualify for the exclusion. On the other hand, long term capital gains are currently taxed at a rate of 15%, see IRS Publication 551, https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc409.html
  6. He neglects to consider that after 15 years when your house is paid off, you pretty much live rent free. Yes, you will still pay for real estate taxes, upkeep and higher insurance and utilities than a renter pays but the house is yours. Real estate taxes will continue to reduce your taxable income even after mortgage payments end if you itemize.
  7. Finally, he fails to consider that many people will not save the savings they will realize by being a renter. They will find a way to spend it.

In his article “Five Things You NEED to Know before Buying a House”, James Altucher declares, “I hate buying houses. I don’t “hate” many things. But I’ve lost millions of dollars buying houses. The stress is unbearable when you need to sell. And you have no money when you need it. It’s a prison. The white picket fence is the prison bars. The bank is the guards looking in. And the need to protect your family keeps you in a solitary confinement of guilt and anxiety and stress.”  Wow James you’re a real loser!  Who can lose millions of dollars in real estate?  The truth is James is really telling the truth.  He really had a string of bad luck that most people will never experience.  No one can lose millions of dollars in real estate without really trying.  Especially not if the subject real estate is your principal residence.  James Altucher indeed lost at least $2 million in real estate. He was unlucky enough to buy at the wrong place at the wrong time.  Real Estate burnt him that is why he hates real estate and won’t go near it anymore. As the story goes, Mr. Altucher bought a $1.8 million condo in the Tribeca section of Manhattan which is in the downtown area not far from Chinatown.  Then he put in $1 million in renovations. Shortly thereafter, the 9/11 attacks happened. He ended up selling his condo for $1 million.  So I guess he was not exaggerating after all.  Contrast his luck with that of a distant relative of mine who is in the advertising industry and claims NOT to know anything about real estate.  Let’s call her Jane.  She bought a pre-construction 2-bedroom condo at the Orion building near the Port Authority bus terminal in NYC.  Jane went into contract in 2006 for a pre-construction sale price of $900,000.  When the unit was ready for occupancy in late 2007, its value had already increased to $1.2 million. Moreover, the building had a long waiting list of buyers. For some reason not disclosed to me, 3 years later, Jane went into contract to buy another 2 bedroom unit at the just completed Rushmore building on Riverside Blvd in the upper West Side.  The pre-construction price of her unit was $1 million.  To make a long story short, she sold her Orion unit for $1.7 million and bought the Rushmore unit for $1 million. How is that for buying low and selling high to make a hefty profit?  And here’s the kicker. She got a 3% 15-year fixed mortgage loan and her 2 bedroom condo which is now worth at least $2 million. Call it fortuitous timing or the luck of the Irish, but certainly, real estate treated Jane much better than it did James.

I admit I’ve lost thousands (not millions) of dollars in rental properties which is why I will NOT recommend them, but rarely can you go wrong in owning your home.  Do the math and make sure to consider all the different factors and you will see that typically, owning your home is cheaper than renting a similar dwelling.  With regard to Altucher’s calling a house a prison, an apartment is also a prison only smaller. The landlord is the warden looking in.  You can be thrown out of jail within months if you do something the warden does not like.  On the other hand, maybe you can stay for 3 years in your house even if you stop paying the mortgage. It takes a long time for banks to go through the foreclosure and eviction process and on top of that there are many delaying tactics you can employ to delay foreclosure and eviction. Even after foreclosure the bank may have a hard time throwing you out on the street.

FELLOW WRITERS, DON’T USE BIG WORDS!

Fellow writers, don’t use big words!

May 16, 2017 – Fellow writers, don’t use big words!  As a man of the world, I have worn many hats over the years.  I have been a political pundit, fisherman, tourist guide, financial advisor, poet and an occasional writer.  But today for writing this article I am wearing my reader’s hat.

I hate it when writers use big words.  If you are what you eat, I must be plain vanilla.  And if you are what you read, I must be nursery rhymes.  For me, the simpler the better.  I do not like beating my brains out trying to find out what the writer means.  Every human being has an inborn desire to be heard through what they say and write.  Letting others know what’s on our mind is a basic human desire and it is a wonderful feeling when we are understood.  So what is the point of writing something that only you can understand?

 

“Missiles of ligneous or oterous consistency have the potential of fracturing my osceous structure, but appellations will eternally remain innocuous. “

 

What?!  It sounds good, but what the heck does it mean?  Who is the author trying to impress?  A reader is like a woman ready to be pursued, wined and dined.  I would like to be seduced by a writer through the use of seductive words and phrases in a language I can understand not in some foreign language.

 

“Judgment of any system, or a priori relationship or phenomenon exists in an irrational, or metaphysical, or at least epistemological contradiction to an abstract empirical concept such as being, or to be, or to occur in the thing itself, or of the thing itself.”

 

The words of the above quotation are English but they might as well be Greek.  I have no idea what the sentence means.  Colleagues, write in such a way as if you are painting a clear and simple picture.  Do not create an abstract painting.  Write simply, clearly and concisely so that your writings are not open for interpretation.  Write in grade level 10 or lower if you can.  The lower the level, the better writer you are.  The Wall Street Journal is written in Grade 12 level while the New York Times in Grade 10 and the New York Daily News in Grade 8.  Do not include words that are superfluous and unnecessary or you might just fog up what you are trying to say.  In fact there is a term called “Fog Index” which includes a formula to measure readability and comprehension of a certain text and to determine what formal education is needed to understand such text.

 

“From a negative light, “Politics” has the horrifying stigma associated with the vile and stealthy manipulation of others for the benefit of a selfish gain masked in fake promises.

It is because of nescience, the lack of knowledge, or the perversion thereof that we position “politics” in the realm of the taboo and elevates “values” into the pedestal of sanctity. And will values be that asymptotic horizon that lies beyond the grasp of the average?”

 

I am sure the author of the above group of sentences has something worthy to say.  But his message is lost in the fog, and at least for me I got a headache just reading the text.  To try to interpret the passages might give me agita so I gave up. The writer no doubt is well educated and I am sure he knows what he means.  But he fails to realize that readers who did not attain the same level of education he did will need a dictionary to get through the agonizing process of reading his work to the end.  Perhaps the writer wants to elevate the reader’s comprehension to his level and help his readers build a better vocabulary, but a column in a magazine is not the proper forum to do it.  Reading a piece should be an informative and entertaining experience and should not be as if the reader is going through a creative writing exam.  There are professor-type writers who are sincere in their desire to impart their knowledge.  But there are also vanity writers, charlatans and timewasters who think big words will help boost their reputation as a writer to the detriment of comprehension.  Hey, I can do that too.  I can write “a farrago of footlers” instead of “a bunch of lazy people”.  But why?  My job as a writer is to keep my reader interested and engaged.  If I cannot do that I do not deserve to write.

 

So my message to the writer who uses big words, and with all due respect:  It is not too late to change but you’re not getting any younger.  And my advice to you, again with all due respect, in the eloquent words of an anonymous college professor is:

 

“In promulgating your esoteric cogitations, or articulating your superficial sentimentalities and amicable, philosophical or psychological observations, beware of platitudinous ponderosity. Let your oral and written communications possess a clarified conciseness, a compact comprehensibleness, coalescent consistency, and a concatenated cogency. Eschew all conglomerations of flatulent garrulity, jejune babblement and asinine affectations. Let your extemporaneous descantings and unpremeditated expatiations have intelligibility and veracious vivacity, without rodomontade or thrasonical bombast. Sedulously avoid all polysyllabic profundity, pompous prolixity, setaceous vacuity, ventriloquial verbosity and vaniloquent vapidity. Shun double-entendres, prurient pscosity, and pestiferous profanity, obscurant or apparent.”

 

In other words, say or write what you mean and DON’T USE BIG WORDS!

Stay Healthy and Fit as you Age

STAY HEALTHY AND FIT AS YOU AGE

Do not act on any information in this blog without talking to your doctor.

If a doctor goes by my family health history it would be easy for him to conclude that I only have a short life to live. My paternal grandfather and ALL my paternal granduncles died of either heart disease, heart attacks or strokes. Many of them died in their forties and fifties.  My paternal grandmother and most of my paternal grand aunts died of diabetes also at a relatively young age, in their fifties and early sixties.  My father’s side of the family was always plagued with elevated triglyceride, high cholesterol levels and hypertension. My mother’s side of the family was plagued with asthma, emphysema and chronic pulmonary diseases.  None of my grandparents, grand uncles and grand aunts died of old age.

Because of my family history and also due to my ignorance, in my first 30 years of life my diet consisted of low fat, low protein and high carbohydrates. For breakfast I ate bread, pancakes, donuts, muffins, cereals, waffles, bagels and cakes.  I avoided eggs (because they have high cholesterol content), bacon, sausages, butter, cheese, ham and steaks.  For lunch I loaded up on pasta, bread, rice, French fries and all types of starches you can imagine.  My dinner consisted mostly of different types of starches and vegetables with very little meat (because they are high on cholesterol).  My annual check-up just a few days shy of my 30th birthday revealed that I had hypoglycemia and my doctor recommended that I change my diet. I must have misunderstood him because the way I changed my diet was to add on more meat to my diet without easing off on my sugar and starch intake.  The result was disastrous.  I gradually gained weight and the result of my blood test a year later confirmed that whatever I was doing was not working. I had elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, my glucose was high and my blood pressure was consistently 170/90. It was only then that it became clear to me that my doctor’s advice was for me to reduce carbohydrate intake—not necessarily to increase protein.  It was extremely difficult to heed my doctor’s advice. I am the type of person who can consume a 1.5 quart container of Breyers vanilla ice cream in one sitting.  Oftentimes I even added vodka or brandy to it.  But just the same, chances are if I opened a 1.5 quart container, it did not make it back to the freezer.

My day of reckoning came when I went to San Francisco, California for a 2 day conference. My flight was scheduled to depart at 3pm from Newark airport. I worked for a tour operator so I often travelled first class for free.  I planned to forgo lunch to take full advantage of the perks, the in-flight first class meal and free adult beverages.  I had a big corn muffin at my desk about 8 that morning and around 10am, someone brought out a big cake on the occasion of an office mate’s birthday so I took a big piece of the cake.  I was hungry when I got to the airport at 2pm but I said to myself I could bear it for another half hour until boarding time.  I don’t know how it is now since I have not been in first class for quite some time but back then, the airline crew pampered first class passengers and served them alcoholic drinks as soon as they were seated. We had priority boarding and by the time the last passenger boarded, I had already consumed 2 glasses of champagne. Before the plane moved I finished three more drinks, 3 shots of Chivas and gobbled up an assortment of appetizers. When the plane started moving, the flight attendants cleaned up and folded back our tray tables.  As the plane was taking off, I felt a little nauseous and could not wait until the “fasten your seat belt sign” was turned off.  I had a window seat and the seat next to mine was empty so I was able to quickly get up and run towards the lavatory.  The next thing I remember I am lying down the aisle and I am hearing a woman’s voice on the PA announcing “if there is a doctor on the plane please come over…”  I soon realized I passed out on my way to the lavatory.  A stewardess has loosened my belt, unbuttoned my pants and held me down when I tried to get up, saying “stay on your back sir, the doctor is coming”.  Soon the doctor was examining me while I was lying on the floor and asking me questions.  “Do you have any medical conditions?  Why do you think you passed out?” I calmly replied, “I have hypoglycemia and I think I had too much to drink with too little to eat”.  “You should take a return flight as soon as this plane lands.  You need a full examination”, he concluded.  The stewardess helped me up and got me back to me seat. “Do you have pain in your chest?” she asked, pointing to her own chest. “No, why? And where are my glasses?” I replied with a puzzled look on my face. “They’re in your shirt pocket, you took a nasty fall”. I took my eye glasses out of my pocket.  They were bent out of shape and I had to twist them back into shape so I could wear them.  I felt better two hours into the flight after eating the first class meal the airline served.  I refrained from any alcoholic drinks and only ordered diet coke, tea and coffee.  I started feeling soreness in my chest area so I went to the lavatory to check it out. When I unbuttoned my shirt I noticed a 2 inch by 2 inch welt in the middle of my chest.  I also noticed a bruise on my forehead just above my right eye.  The locations of the injuries led me to conclude that when I lost consciousness, I must have fallen forward, bumped my forehead on the back of an empty seat then my chest hit the armrest. I learned two important lessons from this eye opening experience.  First, when you become unconscious you will feel no pain.  There must be something in our brain that disconnects the pain receptors. A protective mechanism that protects us from pain.  Second, I was not healthy.

So when I got back home, I immediately called my PCP and related my experience on the plane. He ordered different types of tests for me which were done over the course of 2 months.  These included, blood work, electrocardiogram, nuclear stress test and glucose tolerance test.  He concluded I was pre-diabetic, I had hypertension and elevated cholesterol.  So, at the age of 32, my doctor put me on Lipitor to lower my cholesterol and a beta blocker for hypertension. And he threatened to put me on diabetes medication if I fail to shape up.  To make a long story short, I struggled for 7 years, gradually gaining weight, experiencing palpitations, extreme fatigue, drowsiness at around 3pm, insomnia and sleep apnea.  I am only 5’8” and weighed almost 200 Lbs. If I walked only a few blocks or climbed the stairs I had trouble catching my breath.   My life changed when my son who was then in high school asked me, “Dad, why don’t you walk around the yard instead of spending the entire day in front of the television?”  The rhetorical question hit me like a lightning bolt.  The next day, I walked around the yard for 15 minutes just to show my son that his dad is not a lazy bum.  Then each day, though I struggled, I picked myself up and walked a few more steps until I started jogging, then running a mile then 2 miles a day. I got my old bike repaired and started riding it for long periods on weekends, sometimes for 3 hours. Although I lost 10 pounds quickly due to the physical activity, I was not able to take control of my diet until I accidentally came across a book entitled “Protein Power” by Drs. Michael and Mary Eades.  Two statements (paraphrased) in the book became etched in my mind, “The body does not need carbohydrates…” and, “…fats in the absence of carbohydrates are good…” Since I secretly love fats anyway, I resolved to give the diet a try. I followed the high protein diet by eating 2 eggs and bacon for breakfast, broccoli and fried chicken or a burger with no bun for lunch and chicken, fish, pork chop or steak and leafy green vegetables for dinner. After 15 days on this “protein power diet”, what a surprise!   I lost 15 pounds!  The best part is that my blood work taken 1 month after I started this diet showed my cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose all went down close to normal levels.  My blood pressure was consistently much lower than normal for 3 months so my doctor took me off the hypertension medication.  I continued taking only the Lipitor.

That was 15 years ago. I have an occasional craving for sweets and starches and on those occasions, I make an exception and still consume a 1.5 quart container of Breyers vanilla ice cream in one sitting just to get it out of my system.  But generally, I remained faithful to the diet and only consume less than 35 grams of carbohydrates a day.  I feel much stronger today, physically and mentally than 20 years ago.  My weight is down to 165. I kept up with walking, jogging and running at least half an hour every day.  In fact, I stopped taking Lipitor 2 years ago but did not tell my doctor. Thank God my blood test readings are still all normal even without taking any regular medications. My doctor keeps telling me, “Continue doing whatever you’re doing….”, so I continue eating eggs, bacon and steaks.  I have so much energy that I now go to the gym thrice a week for strengthening and conditioning.

In summary, I eat a low carb diet, exercise at least half an hour each day, I almost always drink 2 glasses of wine with dinner, I drink at least 8 glasses of water every day, I usually get 7 to 8 hours of sleep and I go out of my way to avoid any type of stress.  Stress can cause anxiety and depression and can weaken the immune system.  When I’m feeling stressed out and I feel that my mind is in turmoil, I do the following:

  • While sitting in front of my desk, I put my elbows on my desk, my hands on my face, empty my mind so I am thinking of nothing, which is similar to what others may refer to as meditation, hold my breath, try to tense all the muscles in my body from head to toe, then exhale. I repeat the process 3 or 4 times.
  • Then I push my chair back, grasp the front of my desk and do 15 squats, as shown on the picture below. I do at least 3 sets of this exercise during the day. Squat exercises offer many types of benefits. Click on this link to find out more: http://www.beautyandtips.com/sports-and-fitness/10-benefits-of-squats-and-why-every-girl-should-try-doing-squat-exercises/

If I am home, I do plank exercises or push-ups and sit-ups, doing as many repetitions as I can. Life is good. Why not make it even better in retirement!

Why wait until retirement to explore the world?

Travel used to be unaffordable.  Many Americans waited till retirement when they felt they had enough money to explore the world.  Believe me, the money you will spend traveling is money well spent.  By retirement age most people are not fit enough to climb up and down tour buses, let alone walk to tourist attractions to take pictures.  Whenever I join sightseeing tours, I always feel sorry for senior citizens who beg the tour guides to let them remain on the bus on stop-overs requiring a short walk to a certain tourist spot.

Why wait until retirement to explore the world?  Why not do it now and enrich your life and the lives of your children?    Take two meaningful trips every year. Explore the national parks for at least two weeks in summer and go overseas for at least a week between November and New Year’s Day.  Most companies offer a 2-week paid vacation each year, and many companies offer 3 weeks after a certain period of employment.  Most companies in Western Europe offer at least one month vacation every year.  Travel is easier than you think. Nowadays, you do not need a travel agent.  You yourself, on your own, can book your flights, car rentals and hotels online through the following websites, Travelocity, Orbitz, PriceLine, Kayak, Expedia, TravelAdvisor.com, Hotel.com, and Bookings.com. For local sightseeing tours, I like Grayline and Viator.  You can snag some “real bargains” from the above-mentioned websites such as:  $125 a night at Elbow Beach Hotel in Bermuda in the month of May and accommodations at four star hotels for about $100 per night during the low season in Rome, Paris, London, Munich, Amsterdam and Geneva. Because I have been following my own advice, I have visited most of America’s 58 National Parks.  My favorites are Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, Glacier Bay, Grand Canyons, Yellowstone, Sequoia and Volcanoes National Park. I love driving so I do not mind driving thousands of miles while enjoying the scenery on the way to a certain destination.  Some of the most scenic routes I’ve driven on in America are from Hilo to Kona in the big island of Hawaii; Highway 1 from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz; Highway 5 Sacramento to Vancouver, Canada;  Highway 70 Denver to Provo;  Highway 191 Crescent Junction to Bluff; Highway 89A from Lake Powell to Kanab; Lolo Pass Road from Mt. Hood Highway 26 to Lost Lake, Oregon;  Highway 75 from Sault St. Marie to Mackinaw City;  Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park;  Taconic State Parkway, N.Y. State;  Highway 81 from Scranton to Syracuse.  Whenever time permits, I find a way to rent a car to take in the scenery and explore the countryside even in foreign countries. The most memorable road trips I’ve taken were from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara; London to Bristol; Chamonix to Pisa; Salzburg to Venice; Torino to Rome and Berlin to Luxembourg.  I estimate that I have spent over $200,000 in travel expenses in the past 20 years.  For me, this is money well spent.  Travel has been good for my family and me, for our health and well-being.  My children had travelled to several foreign destinations before entering high school.  The priceless experiences opened their eyes on how other people outside America live, on what side of the road they drive, the languages they speak, the food they eat, and most importantly, how lucky and privileged they are to be living in America.  I was born with wanderlust.  As soon as I complete one journey, I am planning and looking forward to the next one.  That is why I just don’t understand people who have not caught this “disease”.  I have a friend who can well afford to travel but who says he does not want to go to Hawaii because “it’s too far”.  There are those who fly to exotic places then sit by the pool reading a book and sipping margaritas…all day long.  I have a friend who goes to Cape Cod in the summer and flies to Las Vegas in November…year after year.

Whenever I travel to a new place, I like exploring the food, talking to locals even in sign language and going to the market places where locals go.  I can only hope that the reader will catch wanderlust and find themselves booking trips to wonderful destinations such as Bhutan; Maldives; Goa, India; Machu Picchu, Peru; Kathmandu, Nepal; Durban, South Africa; Alice Springs, Australia; Petra, Jordan; Masada National Park, Israel; Chamonix, France; Interlaken, Switzerland; Naples, Italy.  Before you leave this world, don’t you want to see the land of the midnight sun, the Alps, Pompeii, Stonehenge, the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China, Taj Mahal and a phenomenon called Aurora Borealis?  Think of the money you will spend as a small investment for your mind and spirit.  Many years from now if you end up in a nursing home and cannot walk anymore, you might still remember those amazing trips that you took in your youth and tell stories of your wonderful experiences to anyone who would be kind enough to listen.

Living Rich & Loving It

The book I wrote, "Living Rich & Loving It" which is available on Amazon Kindle strives to develop a vision that being rich is not only about achieving financial independence.  It’s about living a happy, healthy, simple, balanced and fulfilling life with minimal stress.  This is a cradle to grave guide to life book.  If you have goals, dreams and aspirations in life, you have a sense of direction but you still need a road map to take you from here to there. I hope this book will serve as that road map for you.

Learn how to:

  • Find a job you love. If you cannot wait to get up and get to work every morning, then you’ve found the job you love.  Otherwise, you need to read the chapter, “Find a Job You Love” and the chapter, “Increase Your Income with these Ideas”.
  • Create a budget so that you will always have a surplus at the end of each month.
  • Maximize contributions to your retirement account and accumulate more than a million dollars for retirement.
  • Determine if converting to a Roth IRA or Roth 401k is right for you. Ed Slott, the IRA guru says converting your IRA to a Roth IRA is tantamount to moving your account from “accounts that are forever taxed to accounts that are never taxed”. WRONG!  See Chapter, “Your Retirement Plan”.
  • Never lose money in the stock market by using “The KISS Principle” and “Auto-Pilot Strategy”.
  • Predict the next recession by watching the “yield curve”. It is so simple yet so effective.
  • Calculate the amount of life insurance you need. Insurance brokers will hate this chapter. The answer will surprise you.
  • Avoid Veblen Goods – the savings will amaze you.
  • Shop around for everything. If you are struggling to make ends meet, this chapter will show you why.  Learn how to save more and spend less.
  • Purchase your primary residence – Pros and cons of owning vs. renting. The analysis chart shows the clear winner which will surprise you.
  • Distinguish good debt from bad debt---when borrowing makes sense. Analysis table proves that some debts are good.
  • Never take unnecessary risks. Don’t do anything stupid. This chapter shows that stupidity is the great equalizer in life.  Doing any of the things on the list may change your life or worse may end your life in the blink of an eye.
  • Stay away from rental properties. This chapter tells you why it is not worth being an absentee landlord.
  • Handle emergencies without an emergency fund. The analysis chart shows why you should not have an emergency fund. The figures will astound you. This chapter also shows the reader where to get cash for emergencies once you get rid of your emergency fund.
  • Never ever listen to Suze Orman that 401k loans are taxed twice. 401k loans are not taxed twice. This chapter proves it.
  • Plan for college. How will you pay for your children’s college education? Read the many different ideas in this chapter on how to increase your children’s chances of getting offers from good colleges and universities.  See the 9 simple steps you can take in chapter, “Planning for College”.
  • Increase your income. Make more money in your spare time with these ideas. When you read the money-making ideas in this chapter, you will scratch your head and say, “why didn’t I think of that?”
  • Create a document storage and retrieval system. So simple yet so effective. It will free up a lot of your limited living space.
  • Implement a stress-free personal time management system. This system will organize your day and free up plenty of your time for use at your leisure.
  • Store and safeguard passwords – Simple trick will help you create and remember strong passwords.
  • Maximize your Social Security benefits – In light of the elimination of “File and Suspend” and “Restricted Application” strategies, the chart shows claiming strategies for 1) Single never married, 2) currently married, 3) married at least 10 years, divorced at least 2 years, currently single, 4) divorced, has remarried and currently married, 5) widow/widower, 6) surviving divorced spouse, married at least 10 years, currently single or remarried after the age of 60.
  • Find the best places for retirement – Some of these retirement communities are surprising. Some viable locations have ½ the cost of living of most U.S. cities.
  • Pay for nursing home and long-term care. The cost of nursing home and long term care can wipe out your entire estate.  Read this chapter for solutions.
  • Qualify for Medicaid benefits for LTC. You do not have to spend down your savings.  This chapter explains many different ways other retirees have been dealing with the “spend down” dilemma.
  • Establish estate planning. How to protect your estate from estate tax and inheritance tax.
  • Enrich Your Life by Exploring the World – Travel as soon as you can while you are still young. This chapter discusses why the money you spend traveling and exploring the world is money well spent.
  • Stay Healthy and Fit as You Age – There are a few minor behavior modification changes that you can put into practice that will keep you healthy throughout your retirement years.

Ready to live a Rich, Happy, Healthy, Simple and Balanced Life?

Buy this book here!

DIDO’S Summer 2009 Travelogue

Travel is one of the five things I love doing most in life.  This summer alone I logged in over 50,000 travel miles.  But the way I see it, there is the “good and the bad of travel”. The good part is seeing all those wonderful places, different sceneries, different people, different cultures, the food, the aroma and the environment in those beautiful new places.  And the bad part is the trip to the airport, the airport scene, the plane ride, ground transportation to the hotel and the hotel stay itself.  To put it another way, travel would be more enjoyable for me if I can be tele-transported or beamed down to my destination then sleep in my own bed each night.

I hate the airport traffic, the long lines at the security gates, the cramped airline seats and toilets, the airline food if any, rude flight attendants, crying babies and 400 pound seat mates.  For me, this is purgatory…sort of the hell I have to pass through to get to those heavenly places such as Interlaken, Dubrovnik, Amsterdam, Bristol, Prague, Istanbul, Sabah and other popular tourist destinations.

This year I have been fortunate enough to travel first or business class on trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific flights which made the “bad of travel” more tolerable.  With all the miles under my belt, for me, the worst of “the bad of travel” is the plane ride.  The take offs and landings terrify me.  I call all on all the saints for intervention and silently pray several Our Fathers and Hail Marys during take offs and landings.  The moment I get on the plane it seems a dark cloud follows me.  There is always something.  I often get a seat next to a woman with a crying baby or next to a 400 lb. lard ass.  On the first leg of my trip to Brunei, I got a seat next to a Chinese man wearing a surgical mask who kept coughing and who kept monitoring his temperature.  On the flight back, a grungy looking Japanese guy who must not have showered for 2 years sat next to me.  Why can’t the airline god give me a break once and seat me next to Paris Hilton?  Yes, I can never get a break. I can't even count the number of times when the flight attendant runs out of food just before she gets to my row, then skips my row entirely after replenishing.  There have been many times when everybody’s TV monitor works except mine.  There were times when I asked for beef and all they had was chicken but when I got up to the lavatory after the meal, I saw the flight attendants eating my beef dinner.  Oh, I hate that!

Since I hate flying so much, I avail myself to everything the airline gives for free.  Heck it’s all included in the fare anyway.  I do not mean the airline blankets, pillows and ear phones which some passengers take home with them.  What I really mean is that before the plane even gets off the ground I would have 3 glasses of champagne and two sets of hors d’ouvre.  The moment the “fasten seat belt” sign is turned off I ask for a double gin and tonic, martini or scotch depending on my mood.  Then a few glasses of wine with my meal followed by an Irish or Mexican coffee with my dessert.  A short while later, a few shots of brandy nicely fall into place.  If an airline such as Lufthansa, Qantas, Cathay and Singapore Airlines offers caviar or foie gras, God help them because I will keep asking for more until they run out of it or until the plane lands. I am shameless and guiltless when it comes to getting my fill.  My rationale is that I’ve paid for it.  Despite all the alcohol I find it hard to sleep more than 1 or 2 hours even on long trans-oceanic flights and even on relatively comfortable fully reclining sleeper seats.

I hate stop-overs for connecting flights.  Oftentimes they require you to go through airport security again which can become very stressful if you have too short a connection time between flights. Amsterdam’s Schipol airport is a strange one because they make arriving passengers go through a security check before leaving the airport which does not seem to make sense.  But I will tell you why I do not mind stop-overs in Narita, Nagoya and Osaka.  It is not just because of the pretty, young Japanese girls in the airport shops who keep bowing, seemingly eager to take care of every man’s needs.  It is because of the Japanese toilets.  Unlike the airport toilets in America which generally are not so clean, quite stinky and open enough for your next stall neighbor to measure your stride, Japanese toilets are clean, almost odor free and privately enclosed down to the floor with the door tightly fitted to the jambs.  No weirdo can sneak a peek while you are busy doing your business.  In addition to the cleanliness and privacy, most of their “western type” toilets are equipped with a water spray, with optional perfume, perfectly aimed “at the spot” which is triggered at the push of a button.  You can also increase or decrease the pressure of the spray.  It makes going to the toilet a pleasant experience.  I have been successful in timing it perfectly so as not to go for number 2 in those midget airline toilets.  I hold it and run to the airport toilet, after which I am well and good and smiling again ready for my connecting flight.

In Pursuit of the Grayling

When I catch her, I won’t eat her.  I will hug her and kiss her and sleep with her for 3 days before I finally mount her.

When I look back on all my accomplishments in life, fishing has to be there near the top of the list.  I have had this natural love for fishing ever since I was a little boy.  I remember getting up at 4AM when I went on fishing trips with my father and his friends.  There were times when we paddled on a canoe for over an hour to get to the fish and there were times when we just headed to the local river.  No matter, it was always fun just the same.  It seems that my father and I have this affinity with fish akin to the affinity Native Americans must have had with the buffalo.  Yes, in essence we hunt them, catch them and eat them.  Yet my father and I always felt it is not an adversarial relationship but instead a process of communing with a worthy opponent, a kindred spirit.  So fish of any kind be it a small sunfish or a 100 pound tuna, always commanded our utmost respect.

I believe it is this respect that has rewarded us, my father and me, with unforgettable fishing experiences.  Whether it is pier fishing at the SFO muni, Naples, FL, Corpus Christi, TX, on a party boat or on a private yacht off the Florida Keys, our catches always exceeded our expectation.  Oh sure there was one time when we came home with nothing but my father subscribed to the fishing adage, "a bad day at fishing is still better than a good day at work".  My father was a “compleat angler”, always ready with his light fishing rod and tackle box.  Wherever we went my father asked if a fishing hole just might be near our destination.  We caught fresh water fish such as sunnies, perch, crappies, trout, pikes, muskies, small mouth and large mouth bass, carps, catfish, etc etc.  And salt water fish such as lingcod, rockfish, flounder, tautog, porgy, sheepshead, albacore, bonefish, bluefish, striper, jewfish, mackerel, grouper, sea bass, shark, and many many more.  We caught anadromous fish such as shad, salmon, and sturgeon.  We caught them with heavy, medium and light tackle.  We caught them fly fishing, spinning, bait casting and jigging.  I even tried spear fishing in Yelapa near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

In the near future, I am hoping for the opportunity to experience other types of fishing such as ukai or cormorant fishing on the Nagara River in Japan.  Ukai is a traditional method of catching fish by using cormorant birds on leashes to catch fish.  Another fishing method I find interesting, though I’m not sure I want to try it is called “noodling”.  In noodling, the fisherman uses his bare hands to catch giant catfish.  This type of fishing is practiced mostly in southern United States.  The noodler locates a catfish nesting hole and then pokes his strong hand inside offering it as bait.  When the catfish bites, the noodler grabs its mouth and pulls the catfish out of its nest.  Catfish have no teeth so the danger in noodling is not from the catfish itself but from accidental drowning and from encountering more dangerous animals such as snakes, turtles, beavers and even alligators that can bite off the noodler’s fingers.

When it comes to eating my catch, I prefer saltwater fish to the fresh water variety, although for me the anadromous ones taste the best.  Needless to say, I do not waste my catch.  I eat it, give it away or sell it as in the case with my tuna catch several years ago.  I never understood the "catch and release" fishing practice of many American sports fishermen.  To me, if it is legal, a keeper, I'll keep it. To me, releasing my catch is like having sex sans an orgasm.

But before my final retirement to that big fishing hole in the sky, my dream is to catch a "grayling".  I have read somewhere that this rare fish with a beautiful sail like dorsal fin does not smell fishy at all.  Some accounts I have read describe it as possessing a flowery or herbal smell.  I have gone to Montana and Wyoming where, according to statistics they used to be plentiful, but they don't seem to be there anymore.  One of these days I'm going up there to northern Canada, by helicopter if necessary, to one of those pristine, clear and cold lakes where grayling are known to reside and catch me one of those graylings and make my dream a reality.

When I catch her, I won’t eat her.  I will hug her and kiss her and sleep with her for 3 days before I finally mount her. I figure the taxidermist would probably charge me $350.

 

 

How to Please Men or What Turns Men On

This article follows the one I wrote last year entitled HOW TO PLEASE WOMEN which received mixed reviews from those claiming expertise in the subject of SEXOLOGY.  Based on my past experience and having seen, heard and read answers from respected sexologists, clinical psychologists and certified sex therapists such as the diminutive Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Drs. Lonnie Barbach, Ava Cadell and Judith Kuriansky just to name a few, I have concluded that not too many women know how to please men or know what turns men on.  Oh sure when I was 22 it did not take much to turn me on.  A little leg here and there, a little cleavage, a finely tuned rounded butt were enough to “open the flood gates” so to speak.  But as time flew by, sex partners became more available, less challenging, so turning me on became more challenging to my playmates.  Admit it or not, I am sure you guys out there are not the same men you were 20 years ago.

So it is no wonder that many women are asking WHAT TURNS MEN ON?  They want their men to perform and they want to please their men.  They want their men to be happy.  They want to raise their men up to heights they have never arisen before.  Kudos to these unselfish women.  But what disappoints me are the answers from these so called experts who lack expertise in male sexuality even after years of academic study and clinical practice.  Just check out some of their answers:   “look into his eyes and tell him you love him….that is enough to turn him on” – Dr. Westheimer.  “Turning him on lies between his two ears not between his two legs” – Dr. Kuriansky.  Come now, those are the biggest cop-out answers I have ever heard.

So now, back to my situation.  A week before Christmas, an attractive female officemate asked me to have drinks with her after work because she wants to talk about “something”.  We first started talking about mundane things but after the second drink, she blurted out between sobs that her boyfriend was cheating on her.  “Why does this happen to me all the time?” she asked, “when I am so giving and I do everything for him.  Can’t men ever be monogamous?  Can’t they be faithful to just one girl?  Maybe I was too easy and I am no longer a challenge for him so he pursued someone else who may be harder to get…….”  At this point I felt she needed a hug so what the hell, I let her cry on my shoulder even though the bartender was looking at us.  I suggested maybe a stronger drink but she declined because she is driving, so we ordered another round of black and tan.  Then I felt it was my turn to ask the questions.  “What do you mean you are so giving and you do everything for him? “  I asked.  “You know, everything.  I am so giving.”  And she describes it in more detail.  “Do you let him give back?  Do you let him return the favor?”  I asked.  She answered, “Yes.  But I am Asian so I act more reserved and more demure.”  “Well” I said, “then I think I found the problem”.  “What turns men on is knowing that they are turning you on”.

Yes my female friends out there, the secret for turning a man on is “KNOWING THAT HE IS PLEASING THE WOMAN”.  There is no greater turn on for a man than to hear a partner moan and groan to his “touch”, or to hear her say how much she is enjoying “it”.  That is the reason men always ask if their partners have achieved orgasms.  On the other hand, it is a turn-off for most men if a woman just lies there like a dead fish or acts as if she is just doing him a favor.  The “Let’s get it over with attitude” is not conducive to a hot love-making session.

Back to my officemate.  I told her to call me just to make sure she got home safely which she did.  We talked for a while because she needed more explicit instructions and she promised to give it her best efforts so as to win back her boyfriend.  She has been on vacation since then and I can only hope everything is going well, but if not, I made it clear to her that I am always ready and willing to be of help.

Any opinions and views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the writer.

How to please women

Let me preface this by saying that this article, although educational in nature, is of adult content and contains explicit language which some readers, especially women may find objectionable and profane.  If you think you will be offended, please do not read any further.  If you choose to forward this to your respective groups, do so at your own risk.  If you received this in error, please delete it.

Many books about sexuality describe the male and female orgasms as about the same in intensity and pleasure, but the authors admit that no one can ever be sure of this assumption because no human being has been both a man and a woman and that there are no tests to determine the truthfulness of this assumption.  I am of the opinion that women get a lot more enjoyment from sex than men and I will provide evidence that made me arrive at this conclusion.  First, God created woman to carry a lot more burdens in life than man.  Woman is the one who menstruates, gets pregnant, and carries the baby for 9 months before delivering the baby into the world. After delivery, the woman is responsible for nursing and nurturing the baby.  In addition, the woman is expected to keep house, cook, do the laundry, clean and in many cases contribute to the family income as well.  In contrast, the man though he may be the primary provider, really has it easy, sits in front of the TV, gets waited on by his mate and does not suffer the physical and emotional hardships the woman has to go through in a lifetime.

It is against this back draft that I say it is too lopsided against our adorable women.  Therefore, I have concluded that God must have created some kind of an equalizer for women.  That great equalizer I believe is that women get a lot more out of sex than men.  Most of us know that some women are capable of multiple orgasms and female ejaculation, so it is not hard for me to conclude that their orgasms must be more intense than ours……10, 20 maybe even 100 times more pleasurable than ours.  Many women try to describe “IT” in songs and poems.  The following poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning is one of my favorites:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

Poor Elizabeth!  She was beside herself trying to grasp for the right words to describe the euphoria, the overwhelming ecstasy she must have been experiencing when she wrote this poem in the 1800s.  It is clear her soul reached unparalleled heights, not to mention the boundless breadth and abyssal depth when she was “feeling out of sight”.

Women can keep going even after an orgasm.  As a former girlfriend said to me, “it just goes on and on”. On the other hand, most men go limp after an orgasm and have to wait some time before achieving another erection.  This is called the refractory period.  18 year old males have an average refractory period of 15 minutes while those in their 70s on the average cannot achieve another erection until after 20 hours.  According to medical studies, men reach their sexual peak at the age of 21 whereas women reach theirs at the age of 40.  Are you with me?

Therefore, now that I have presented the evidence, how do we make our women happy?  How do we please women? What do women want?  I will skip the preliminaries, the dating part, the candlelight dinners, the romance because I am sure you guys out there have your own ideas and I am sure you are competent enough in that respect.  I will get right into the nitty gritty because I have given enough evidence that women are hornier than us.

In my own experience, I know of 3 different female orgasms.  I am sure there are more than 3, but borrowing Obama’s statement, anything above 3 is “beyond my pay scale”.  I have seen clitoral orgasm, vaginal orgasm and believe it or not nipple orgasm. I have also heard of anal orgasm but let’s not go there.

Women need a lot of foreplay and teasing.  So after the usual preliminaries, kissing, nibbling, pressing your naked body to hers both of you should be good and ready.  You have your full erection and her vagina is well lubricated.  At this point DO NOT JUST SHOVE YOUR DICK IN!  Tease her by ever-lightly pressing the head of your dick into her vaginal opening.  You can hold your dick and use the head to trace up and down her vaginal lips and then touch her clitoris with it lightly.  Or you can just assume the missionary position to start as if to enter her, but instead just let the head of your penis find the vaginal opening on its own while French kissing her or licking her nipples.  After a few minutes of your dickhead probing around the vaginal entrance, she will be begging for you to shove it in already by verbally telling you or by grabbing your ass or by putting you in a sort of a vice-grip hold with her two legs tightly wrapped around your back or neck.  But my advice to you, great lover that you are, or will be is to resist this and prolong the ecstasy by continuing to tease her until she has a clitoral orgasm caused by just the head of your dick touching and teasing her clit before your dick even enters her pussy.  You can shove it in while she’s having her orgasm and she would love you for it.

The vaginal orgasm sexologists are talking about is also called the G-Spot orgasm.  The G-Spot is located inside the vagina in the mons veneris general location.  Locate IT by asking your partner to lie on her back and ask her to open her legs.  With your palm facing upwards, gently insert 2 fingers, the forefinger and the middle finger into her well lubricated vagina.  Then gently probe upwards and you will feel a little mound of flesh which you can even catch in between your two fingers.  THAT IS THE G-SPOT.  Proper stimulation of this little hanging flesh can cause her to ejaculate or at least discharge some kind of liquid.  If you combine this finger stimulation of the G-Spot with the stimulation of her clitoris with your tongue it is very likely that she would ejaculate.  Some women do not like being fingered; the reason given is hygiene, dirty or long fingernails.  If your partner is like that, use clean latex gloves like the ones they use in hospitals and make sure she is well lubricated before inserting your fingers.  During intercourse, the best way to stimulate the G-Spot is obviously to thrust the penis in an upward angle towards the vaginal ceiling, mons veneris general area.  Your penis will not feel the G-Spot because the sensation of the vaginal walls on your penis is all the same.  A good position to achieve success in this worthy endeavor is to stand on your knees and let her lie on her side and let her drape one leg over your shoulder while the other leg is in between your knees.  If you enter her this way, the penis has a greater chance of making contact with her G-Spot.

I have seen several women achieve orgasms through nipple stimulation.  This can happen by employing varying light touches of your hand and tongue on her nipples.  The trick is not to zero in on the nipple right away but to lick around the areola occasionally brushing the nipple with the tip of your tongue.  You’ve hit the jackpot if she is very vocal because she will verbally give you instructions on what feels good or not so good, when to nibble, when to suck and how gentle or how hard.  But again the bottom line is to tease the nipples to the point of her begging you to do “something”.  In this endeavor, resist touching any part of her body that is below the waist.  Everything above the waist is fair game.  It would be a different explosion when she does explode.

Most women nowadays are very open and vocal about sex.  They know their bodies very well so they can help you and actually show you what feels good. They know better than you on how their clitoris and nipples should be stimulated.  Many are not shy about using sex toys such as vibrators and dildos and would gladly share the experience with their partners if they feel their partners are open to the idea.  But many men get threatened by a woman’s eagerness in employing sex toys or even if a woman touches herself.  Some men think “am I not pleasing her that she needs sex toys or has to touch herself?”  To those men I say YOU ARE SUCH PRUDES.  Let the poor woman enjoy herself after all she is the one who menstruates monthly, gets pregnant, carries the baby for nine months and gets her vagina split opened so a 9 pound bundle of joy can come out of it.  On the other hand, if you are the one who is receptive to the idea of introducing sex aids into your love making and you wish she would touch herself but she is acting like a prude, I have some pointers for you which would be the discussed in my future article on the subject.

To those of you who are not exactly spring chickens (or should, “spring cock” be more appropriate) anymore and are tempted to ask “Dido, where were you when I was young and single?” I tell you it does not matter.  Just go, use your new found knowledge and please that wonderful woman you are with.