What do state sales taxes look like nationwide? #map

| February 17, 2024

As an entrepreneur who has owned a business that sells in several Ohio counties and collects sales taxes (all counties are different), I do monitor the steady sales tax percentage increase over the decades of doing business. It is also interesting to know how managing a business in Ohio compares to other states (click map […]

Tech Friday: Are we getting closer to a foldable Apple iPhone?

| February 9, 2024

As an Apple advocate and device user from the 1980s and someone who as been begging for a foldable iPhone flip phone (or even slider) since using and retiring a foldable Samsung SPH i500  PalmOS device years ago, “I can’t wait”… as I mentioned to tech influencer Evan Kirsten.  We seem to be getting closer, […]

Taxes? 💰 Go (Historical) Figure!

| January 28, 2024

An email newsletter from the Tax Foundation offered up a few interesting tax oriented tidbits. Lady Godiva As the story goes, Lady Godiva famously rode a horse through Coventry, Warwickshire . . . in the nude. But why did this 11th-century noblewoman choose to do such a thing? Taxes. Lady Godiva pleaded with her husband, […]

The U.S. is nearly a deadbeat nation and few politicians care

| January 23, 2024

It’s called the third rail of politics, and in those areas of spending where politicians with the best of intentions dare to talk, nothing gets done. Only a few have suggested finding a solution to our ballooning debt and yearly deficits … or two of the primary drivers: Social Security and Medicare. These programs continue […]

So you want to own Bitcoin without a Crypto wallet hassle?

| January 12, 2024

Well then there’s an ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) for that … finally. But now the decision, which one do you add to your investment portfolio? Check out this article on CNBC and chart of ETFs and fees.  The bitcoin exchange-traded funds launching Thursday after the SEC’s long-awaited approval come at a wide variety of price […]

Hoping a small repair prevents a major repair on our Acura RDX

| January 6, 2024

Last week we took our 2010 Acura RDX to our local repair garage, hoping for a minor rather than major issue. So far, so good. The initial thought that it might be a solenoid controling the turbo wastegate turned out to be “not” the issue … and digging deeper required several more hours of labor. […]

Ogling the 2024 IRS Federal Income Tax Tables (2023’s too)

| December 29, 2023

The IRS has set the new tax brackets to adjust for inflation beginning in January 2024. The update is to shift higher by 5.4%, but for 2023 taxes that most of us will be filing before April 15 and saw even more “bracket creep” due to the previously year’s inflation.   Here are the changes […]

The TaxFoundation and “An Introduction to the History of Taxes”

| December 26, 2023

Have you ever wondered about taxes … and how many (or how much) is too little or too much? If so, here’s a short YouTube clip from the TaxFoundation:

Amateurs debating the economy is a fun exercise, but worthless!

| December 17, 2023

My buddy Jeff and I enjoy debating and learning from each other while sharing what we are reading. We are far from experts on anything (I should speak for myself), but that doesn’t stop us from opining. HA! Last week with the Federal Reserve “pausing” on interest rate hikes with inflation coming down and semi-telegraphed […]

Will 2024 be the year to cut the cable TV cord?

| December 10, 2023

It has been a few years since we entertained the idea of “cutting the cord” when it comes to cable TV. I’m once again inching closer as Altafiber (acquired Cincinnati Bell and Fioptics) has bumped up prices and forced an equipment update on us. It is both good and bad … since I’m not really […]

Finding a Chrstmas Tree while Brenda shops with Taylor

| December 9, 2023

This would be a great photo of Brenda and Taylor, but for being a blurry selfie (click to see larger). Oh well, I enjoyed seeing the two of them out for their annual mother and son Christmas shopping and evening dinner. I hope they were successful?  While they were out, I did my annual the […]

Is a Costco Executive Membership worth $120/year?

| November 15, 2023

After one year of Costco Executive membership it was time to ask the “is it worth it” question. Thankfully for us, after one year, it did pay for itself for the first year. For us, at least for the first year, being an Executive Member vs Gold Star Member at Costco did pay off, but […]

Mid Day Motivation .. we all need it!

| November 14, 2023

It is hard to believe that Brenda and I have been with the same insurance company for auto and home since 1982. I’ve rarely put in a claim (although the basement water damage comes to mind), but after a $400 renewal bump in our automotive policy that Liberty Mutual could not tweak or requote lower, […]

October has made investors nervous for nearly 100 years

| October 28, 2023

What is there about October that upsets people and financial markets? For nearly a century investors get nervous this time of year. Unfortunately watching the market as closely as I do, one would think I would have sold stocks at the first sign of trouble in October. Nope, I expected better from a few of […]

Embarrassed to even vent a couple near retirement gripes

| October 21, 2023

This whiny post is going to ring hollow for those going through serious problems … or even noticing that I was recentlydifficult time adjusting to shifting gears. Brenda and I now have more unstructured time, particularly since Brenda’s surgeries and rehab (although I do still try to do work each day). The earlier than expected […]

The US financial markets finally take (start?) their October slide

| October 19, 2023

Those who are elected (or strong-armed their way to power) are failing miserably at keeping peace in our world as we teeter on the edge of yet another war. No matter how advance we think we are, human beings are unable to get along with each other.  Stock Market Indices market close 10/18/2023 Stock market […]

How is the U.S. National Debt looking 13 years later?

| September 30, 2023

Thirteen years ago I blogged on the US National Debt spiraling out of control (the US National Debt was $13.5 Trillion in September of 2013) … who knew we wouldn’t even remotely take this exponentially increasing monstrosity seriously? Now we’re $33 TRILLION in debt, running huge deficits, and adding to the national debt even faster […]

Tech Friday: Losing my long time Miami University email, a Google Workspace account and cloud backup storage

| September 29, 2023

Decades ago when I was in graduate school, I taught classes at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio as a GT, I continued to stay connected to the university. As a student I was given an alumni email address (an alias at the time forwarded to another email address) and as part time faculty was granted […]

Tech Friday: Apple’s yawn-worthy 2023 Wonderlust event

| September 15, 2023

Perhaps it is just me paying attention to the rumors and knowing the announcements that were planned at Apple’s annual September “new iPhones” announcement event … but the iPhone15s (and Apple Watch 9) upgrades left very little to get excited about? I’m not saying that I won’t be upgrading my aging iPhone 7plus this year, […]

Tech Friday: MacBook Air M2, Spaces and portable displays

| September 8, 2023

One of my social media contacts who knows that I’ve been using computers to monitor investments and trade for decades heard me mention that I switched to a tiny MacBook Air M2 from a 27” PC display (iMac with a second Thunderbolt Apple display running Windows 10 on Parallels). He asked how it was possible […]

TechFriday: New display “want” vs what I am “buying”

| September 1, 2023

Samsung announced another “high screen real estate” monitor for those who like to plaster a lot of content on a single screen … or more that likely, play games … but besides ogling this massive 57 inch wide display, it is definitely not something I need these days. There was once a time that I […]

Our granddaughters are heading back to school and smiling!

| August 23, 2023

This content is restricted.

Florida homeowners hit hard by insurance premiums

| August 8, 2023

Archiving an article from last week’s Barron Magazine which highlighted what I’ve been noticing with homeowner insurance rates on our condo in Florida. When I called the agent about the increase last year, she commented that I should be thankful for the increase as it was on the lower side compared to most. Yikes .. […]

Thought this Barron’s “numbers” tidbit was eye-opening

| August 2, 2023

Rowdy Bar-b-que sauce and home mortgage applications chart

| July 26, 2023

Katelyn and Drew brought us back some Rowdy barbecue sauce when they took a trip to Tennessee in the spring. I didn’t get a chance to use it until last week — chicken wings in the toaster oven (better than Buffalo sauce?) Anyway, a belated thanks; it is delicious.  A chart/graph in the WSJ last […]

Are there economic similarities between post World War II and rebounding from the pandemic shutdown?

| July 15, 2023

My financial and investment musings have been few and far between lately, but while reading Barron’s Magazine article this past week, it reminded me that we investors often can look to history for insight.  If you don’t want to read it, try listening to it — Audio ElevenLabs.   ElevenLabs AI reading this content – […]

Pros and Cons for dividend investors using closed end funds

| July 5, 2023

For investors and retirees desiring an income stream from their investments, Closed-End Funds can be pretty attractive. That said, there are  advantages and disadvantages … with some help from ChatGPT. 😉 Advantages of Closed-End Funds (CEFs): Market Pricing Efficiency: Unlike open-end mutual funds, CEFs trade on stock exchanges, allowing their shares to be bought and […]

How much do you know about the Federal Reserve?

| June 8, 2023

If the answer is “not enough” … check out this short YouTube video explainer.

Frustrating and surprised at a couple gasoline receipts

| June 4, 2023

You would have to know my penny-pinching personality to truly understand my frustration over gasoline prices, but these receipts had me pulling out my hair. A little pretext: My wife has ALWAYS only purchased Shell gasoline for her cars. No matter the price, she always goes to Shell and has been loyal for decades. Over […]

Is the Debt Ceiling debate really our biggest problem?

| May 27, 2023

Once again, politicians are taking our US SPENDING and BORROWING problem right to the wire. Everyone knows that eventually politicians will just raise the debt ceiling and borrow more. The Republicans want spending cuts and the Democrats want a “clean increase” so as to be able to pay promised liabilities (previous spending) and we all […]

Contemplating the history Fed hikes and recessions

| May 4, 2023

While waiting for the big TWO TRILLION dollar company that is Apple ($AAPL) to report earning after hours on Thursday (story), I’m contemplating the likely outcome of accelerated interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. Obviously concluding that “inflation in transitory,” as the Fed Chair commented after the pandemic, was the incorrect assumption … and […]

How Does Your State Rank on Individual Income Taxes?

| May 3, 2023

Taxes are often on my mind … especially when reminded by an email update from the Tax Foundation. This week was both a depressing one (Ohio #41) and an interesting one due to the number of states and cities trying hard to reduce the burden of bloated government on their residents. I would nice if […]

Books: “MegaThreats: Ten Dangerous Trends That Imperil Our Future, And How to Survive Them” by Nouriel Roubini

| April 29, 2023

This past month while semi-vacationing in Florida (condo window installation), I started reading an excellent new book by well-known economist Nouriel Roubini called “MegaThreats: Ten Dangerous Trends That Imperil Our Future, And How to Survive Them” (October 18, 2022). The book follows a trend for me and what I’ve been reading when it comes to […]

With ridiculously old IT, where is the IRS spending most of their new $80 BILLION dollar taxpayer funded windfall?

| April 18, 2023

Yup … ENFORCEMENT. … hundreds of IRS applications have been around for at least 25 years and dozens that have been in existence for more than 50. There were also pieces of software running 15 updates behind the current version. Fifteen! That’s like using a new iPhone with the iOS from the original iPhone …  […]

Federal Reserve hikes: “despite a .. recession later this year”

| April 12, 2023

Guess when this Fed news came out?  High inflation and tight labor markets led Federal Reserve officials to signal they could raise interest rates at their next meeting despite a higher likelihood the economy would enter a recession later this year. Fed officials considered skipping a rate increase at their meeting last month but concluded […]

Where do you live if you want $100,000 to go furthest?

| April 6, 2023

There is probably a new survey or report out every month or so comparing the cost of living in different areas of the country. I usually gloss over them for one reason or another. Some exclude income taxes, state and local taxes or hefty property taxes. Others ignore lower salaries and some just don’t factor in […]

How do we as investors properly value Tesla? $TSLA

| March 9, 2023

It has been a quandary for years. Do you value Tesla like a car company or a fast-growing technology company? This past weekend Barron’s Magazine included an interesting article by Jack Hough after Tesla’s “investor day” and subsequent stock price drop.  Tesla is trading “more like just another car maker,” wrote Bespoke Investment Group this past […]

Tighter money and a slowing economy impacts company earnings

| March 2, 2023

A chip company I’ve watched and traded up and down over the last few years has been Marvell Technology Group ($MRVL) and achieving consistency quarter to quarter and year to year is a challenge. With the economies around the world stressed with higher inflation and the tightening from central banks, meeting earnings estimates is becoming […]

Student loan forgiveness, the Supreme Court and an old post

| March 1, 2023

With student loan forgiveness in the news again as the U.S. Supreme Court looks at the Constitutionality of  President Biden’s authority with a stroke of  his pen to be able to forgive student loans. Common sense would question the question of this extraordinary power, but past presidents have paused payments due to emergencies … so […]

Audiobook – Inflated: How Money and Debt Built the American Dream by R. Christopher Whalen (published 2010)

| February 28, 2023

This past month on our trip to Florida, I downloaded an audiobook on Hoopla from the library in order to save on iPhone data (our Mint Mobile plan has a 4GB limit). I started it on my AfterShokz headset while on the beach, but Brenda soon wanted to listen with me … so we both […]

A favorite podcast: Stocks Are in the ‘Death Zone.’

| February 25, 2023

Jack Hough is a favorite Barron’s Magazine writer and #streetwise podcast host wrote “another” interesting investing article and interview this week: U.S. stocks have entered the “death zone,” a top Wall Street strategist wrote this past week. I detected a bearish undertone. The phrase is used by mountaineers to describe heights where humans can’t live […]

Woodworking: A new project and lumber prices are out of sight

| January 21, 2023

There are two projects sitting semi-started in the workshop this winter (delayed with Brenda’s hip fracture), although I’m still struggling to accept the VERY HIGH lumber prices. To be fair, I’ve always complained about buying lumber as no matter where it is purchased, it always seems far to high. But nowadays with inflation raging, it […]

Sound advice for 2023, but am I disciplined enough to follow?

| January 8, 2023

For the past few years, I’ve enjoyed reading the often contrarian thoughts from Forbes contributor, Brett Owens. He writes and contributes investment advice in several publications, newsletters and columns. He co-authored an excellent book too! 2023 Rule #1: Don’t fight the Fed. Print this rule out and tape it next to your computer. Or the […]

For investors and the inflation sensitive, 2022 was a bad year

| December 31, 2022

If you were filling your tank, paying to keep the lights on or buying groceries (or shopping for nearly everything) … 2022 has been a struggle. If you were saving for college or retirement, it was also very painful. Will 2023 be a continuation or a painful recession … or is there a chance inflation […]

A Tesla $TSLA mistake: “Don’t try to catch a falling knife”

| December 27, 2022

How many of us who have been trading stocks and investing for decades have ignored the wise advice about buying a stock as it drops? Chart watchers, and maybe investors who have favorite companies, often listen to the conflicting thought from brokers, financial advisors and TV talking heads. We ignore the lessons from our past […]

Does inflation concern you if you are approaching retirement?

| December 20, 2022

By CC BY-SA 4.0, Link Since I’m a tail-end baby boomer, at least according to the charts, the thought of “did I plan properly for retirement” regularly crosses my mind. Having lived through the last couple of decades of economic ups and downs without significant inflation  …beyond the normal and desirable 2-3% per year (except […]

Homemade Croutons: My mother would have smiled

| December 10, 2022

With inflation pushing grocery prices up, Brenda refuses to purchase store-bought croutons unless they are “on sale.” So since we had a quarter loaf of stale bread after our recent week away, I decided to cube and turn it into Rosemary, Italian seasoning, Garlic and Olive Oil croutons. After making them (bake 10 minutes at […]

For the record, we joined Costco with the rest of America

| December 4, 2022

With a new Costco store opening close to home in Liberty Township, Ohio (and one in Delray or actually in Boca Raton, FL), Brenda and I have finally decided to join. My buddy Jeff has been a Costco shopper for eons … and Katelyn and Drew are always telling us about their weekend trips to […]

Excellent Barron’s article on tax-lost harvesting strategies

| November 17, 2022

In Barron’s Magazine (11/10/2022), there was an excellent article by Karen Hube on “How to Use This Year’s Market Tumble to Reduce Your Tax Bill.” The read is helpful for those contemplating a way to use their losses to offset what they may have sold … or using the “market tumble” as a way to book […]

A crazy week post midterm election and for the stock market

| November 12, 2022

Well … the hopeful political “red wave” did not happen (at least from a conservative perspective). If we are to be generous, it could be viewed as a “small ripple” … but the results of the election as of this post are not fully counted even yet. Does that seem odd in our evolved and […]

Tech Friday: New Apple Credit Card and library to Kindle books

| November 4, 2022

Posting this late on Thursday night after watching the Houston Astros win game 5 of the 2022 World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies making the series 3 games to 2; it has been an enjoyable five games so far … especially since I really am not invested in either team. As for the Tech Friday […]

Tech Friday: Apple has new iPads and upping Services pricing

| October 28, 2022

For those using Apple products and subscription services, the monthly cost is going up. The company announced new version of their iPad lineup this week followed by the news that they are hiking fees for Apple Music and Apple TV+ subscription services this week for the very first time. In the U.S., the cost of […]

Inflation and the 2023 tax year Federal tax bracket

| October 23, 2022

The Federal tax brackets are adjusted each year by the IRS based on inflation numbers in an attempt to stop “bracket creep.” This prices have soared as in September 2022 consumer prices were up 8.2% compared to 2021. It is likely most Americans have not seen that kind of wage increase which means their buying […]

Changing the 2010 BMW X5 35’s oil is getting very expensive

| October 21, 2022

With inflation raging and oil prices sky high, opting for the most premium synthetic oil is no longer and option for my aging 2010 BMW X5 35d diesel. I’ve been using Ravenol and usually do my own oil and filter changes and although self-changing the oil on a premium diesel model is still better done […]

Do state/city/local taxes impact interstate migration?

| October 18, 2022

As a former GOP VP hopeful would say, “You betcha.” In catching up on my Tax Foundation reading, one of their recent emails highlighted what internationally we have seen in off and onshoring is that businesses go to where they are treated best. It most often has to do with a companies lowest cost of […]

The enticement emails from HelloFresh.com worked

| September 17, 2022

Having initially enjoyed the weekly meal offering from Hello Fresh, the menu started to get a little stale as new items began to resemble previous meals. With inflation at the grocery store (and the fuel and time cost), the price was somewhat less of a gripe, but both of us started to notice fewer and […]

A look back at the financial markets for today’s #TBT post

| September 15, 2022

As we face another recession (some believe we are already in one – see February 2022 part 1 and part 2), I couldn’t help but notice a post from about this time of the year in 2008 (see chart at left) when we faced a previous self-inflicted recession (banking crisis). The 2007-2008 Financial Crisis was the […]

Stock market pain was felt on Wall Street – 9/13/2022

| September 13, 2022

If you believe the number 13 makes for an unlucky day, you’ll probably point to that as an omen … but the deep, nearly 1300 points, drop in the Dow came as investors and economists were expecting an easing pace of inflation … not continued high inflation.  The CPI report indicated a 8.3% rate compared […]

Books: “The Day the Markets Roared” by Henry Kaufman

| September 4, 2022

Having recently read an article about Dr. Doom and “his pinnacle of influence” on August 17th, 1982, I’m adding Henry Kaufman’s book “The Day the Markets Roared” to my Amazon Kindle “want to read” list. Obviously since it is a look back on financial market history, it is not all that crucial that I read […]

Penny-pinching my Amazon Prime membership in 2022

| September 1, 2022

Some days I over-think things … today was one of those days. Like a lot of people, we have had an Amazon Prime membership for a long time. It has its pluses and minus, but continues to provide value and has become a habit and part of our daily lives. We use Alexa and I […]

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
My Desultory Blog