Home > Category: Personal Finance
Viewing the 'Personal Finance' Category
October 8th, 2010 at 03:18 pm
Do you wear glasses? Do you plan on buying sunglasses anytime soon? Ever heard of a company called Luxottica? If not, please read on.
Luxottica is an Italian company that makes glasses and sunglasses. What makes them a big deal? I've read unsubstantiated reports that the company may control as much as 80% of all brand-name glasses and sunglasses manufactured in the world. But with the companies they hold, I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out to be true. Ever heard of these?
* COLE VISION
* PEARLE VISION
* EYEMED VISION CARE
* SUNGLASS HUT
* AVANT GARDE OPTICS
Now, why is this important to fruggies? Through all these companies, Luxottica effectively has a global monopoly on brand-name glasses and sunglasses. And because of this monopoly, we get the privilege to pay through the nose for all of these brand names. Up to $300 just for a wire frame? You've got to be kidding me!
So, if you care about your wallets, I would recommend avoiding any and all Luxottica companies. They don't compete with each other for price. They essentially ARE the same company.
Now, what alternatives do we have? I've gone to Walmart for a pair of glasses before, and they're OK. I've also been recommended Zenni Optical and I'll probably get my next pair there. I can't believe they have fancy memory frames for no more than $25! They can also craft you a sunglasses if you desire.
- - - - -
The following is an addendum for investors.
Obviously, with a company like this, I had to check out their stock. LUX is a solid blue chip with a 1.75% yield. However, it's an ADR for me, and has a pretty low trading volume. What's worse, the options market is next to non-existent. Even for dividend investors, it seems like you can do better with domestic blue chips. I would pass on this one, though interestingly enough, Georgio Armani seems to like it. He (or the company under his name) owns like 5%!
September 30th, 2010 at 02:56 pm
My net worth went up by about 2.8%. A third of it is from savings, and the rest are from trading.
Calculating my net worth has now gotten tricky, due to the options trading aspect of it. It's never going to be entirely accurate (since the contracts are in limbo), but there's no need to get too serious about net worth calculations anyway.
September 23rd, 2010 at 08:13 pm
According to this interesting but large chart, the average American household saves only $2400 a year, or $200 a month. Also, only 41% save regularly. Wow.
August 26th, 2010 at 02:30 pm
It's that time of the month again! My net worth posted a very modest increase this month. Only 1.33%. For a while, it was actually behind too.
What happened? The stock market hasn't been all that kind this month, and you know, I'm kind of amazed at just how much influence the stock market has on my net worth these days.
It got me wondering what my basic asset allocation is, and... it's 65% stocks/options, 35% cash/bonds. Hmm. I thought my asset allocation might be off somehow, but it's actually fairly on target. That percentage is also when I am bought into stocks. Otherwise, my cash/bonds percentage would be much higher.
So, despite my relatively risky hobby of stock trading, I don't feel like I am taking too much risks. When I do trade stocks, I typically stick with quality company names, and on top of that, now I am adding covered calls to sort of buffer against market volatility, and at the same time, converting the stocks to be more of a passive income generator. As far as stock trading goes, I'm actually very conservative.
Still though, the month has essentially been a disappointment... as the blog subtitle says, it could be worse. A lot worse! Gotta celebrate the little things in life.
August 13th, 2010 at 01:27 pm
The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article called "Are you a Secret Spender?" Among the signs of being a Secret Spender, my favorite one is "sneaking out and bought an item in the middle of the night". Exactly what can be bought by sneaking out in the middle of the night?
"Pssst. Over here. You like baby wipes? Yeah? You want some baby wipes? I got just the thing. Please come over to my car trunk and peruse the merchandise."
All joking aside, I confess that I too was a Secret Spender once, back when I was married. I bought a rifle without my ex's knowledge or consent. I did that because we were so bad with money that, I figured that was the only way I was going to able to "keep" anything for myself. Otherwise, I felt like I was grinding everyday simply to fulfill her shopping list of wishes and demands, with nothing to show for myself.
Now, normally, one would think that she would be upset, but it turned out that she was not. Well, not terribly. She too was a spender, and instead, basically couldn't understand why I spent our money on that when we could've spent it on something else we can both enjoy instead. Yeah, such as it is when you put two spenders together....
But those were my deep, dark days. So, now that I told you mine, anybody want to fess up to their secret spendings?
August 11th, 2010 at 01:23 pm
Many of you know that I use a PDA to track my spending and budget, but because PDAs are generally expensive and bulky devices, I've tried to operate without one. And that's what I've been doing for the past... six weeks I think.
Although I've learned that I can operate just fine without one, I also currently have no idea what my exact spending is nor where I stand on my budget. For example, I can't tell you how much I've spent so far on food this past 5 days, whereas I used to be able to tell you down to the last cent. I also can't tell you how much is budgeted so far to buy more cellphone minutes. And until I log on to my online account, I don't know exactly how much is on my credit card.
Luckily, I am still living below my means, and I still check my bank accounts daily, bills weekly, and net worth monthly. So, I know I can do just fine without the PDA. But without it, I've lost a sense of precision that I sorely miss.
I am still hopeful that I can find something equally powerful and effective for me some day, minus the bulk and the expense. (By the way, anybody have any good recommendations?) But for now, I've decided to go back to my PDA.