Sunday, September 29, 2013

300,000 pageviews update

I just logged into Google stats for my site to find out that I’ve reached a small milestone in the history of Since its beginning (January 7, 2012), this site has now received over 300,000 pageviews!
I am constantly reading, learning, and applying different ways to improve our financial situation.  I want to show you how earning a middle class salary can lead to financial freedom, true wealth and happiness.

I’d like to also use this opportunity to give a big thanks to my wonderful wife, Jen.  She was the one who first suggested that I write and publish my thoughts for others to read.  She is my number one editor-in-chief, and helps me proofread all my material to make sure there are no spelling typos, grammatical mistakes, or factual errors.

As a part time blogger, it’s pretty exciting to see that my ramblings are being read online (my own page views are not counted).  I’m just living my life and trying to share my ideas with the world whenever I get a chance.  This site has kept me accountable in my own lifestyle.  Here is an update on some of the ways we are staying financially fit:

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bloomberg retirement infographic: will you be able to retire?

I just came across this great infographic that Bloomberg posted today (click here for larger view):
Millions of baby boomers, individuals born between the years 1946 to 1964 (now ages 49 to 67 years old) can’t afford to stop working because they haven’t come close to saving enough for retirement.   

The facts are sobering, especially this one: the typical household facing retirement will rely on Social Security for 70% of their retirement income.

Bloomberg has also posted an article about a 77 year old man whose lack of proper retirement planning has forced him to continue working two jobs well past the average retirement age, just to scrape by.

Have you started thinking about retirement yet?
Get started with my series on investing here

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Stop renting your Internet modem from Time Warner Cable

This month I got a reminder from Manilla that my cable Internet bill had increased by $2.04 from the regular $38.94 bill to a whopping $40.98.  How could this happen?  Instead of just shrugging my shoulders and blindly waiting for my autopay to cover the bill, I decided to call Time Warner Cable and see what was up.

Internet Modem Lease fee
While chatting with a customer service representative, I found out two interesting tidbits about my cable Internet account. 

First, I found out that I was being automatically charged $3.95 a month for Internet Modem Lease fee for the last 8 months.  Time Warner Cable used to offer use of its cable modem hardware for free for its customers if you supplied your own router.  This all changed starting 8 months ago when TWC started charging the monthly $3.95 fee to all its customers who were using their equipment.  This little fee has added up to $31.60 (8 x $3.95) over time.  I was quite annoyed with myself for missing that sneaky charge.   

The second surprise with my Internet account was that Time Warner Cable has just decided to increase their Internet Modem Lease fee to $5.99 a month!  This little $2.04 monthly fee increase makes the new Internet Modem Lease fee $71.88 a year.  Now I was getting mad at Time Warner.

I knew I had to stop paying for this stupid and sneaky fee like a chump.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Bike riding update

It’s been a hot few weeks this summer with temperatures reaching over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Southern California.  I have been hearing people complain nonstop about how hot it’s been, but this heat hasn’t stopped yours truly from consistently biking to the office twice a week.  Things are only going to get better as the weather starts to cool down.

Biking to work continues to be a fun and enjoyable workout for me.  The steep uphill climbs improve my muscular endurance.   With each passing week, I feel my strength and stamina improving with each ride.  I can feel myself riding faster with less fatigue.

Runtastic Road Bike
I just discovered this great free app on iTunes called Runtastic Road Bike.
Runtastic Road Bike uses your phone’s GPS to provide you with important details of your ride such as: distance traveled, duration, average speed, maximum speed, elevation, calories burned, average pace, and route taken.  The app tracks your ride in real time and uses Google maps.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Learned helplessness

Experiments on dogs
The psychologist Martin Seligman performed experiments on dogs.  When dogs were repeatedly hurt by electric shocks from which they could not escape, they eventually stopped trying to avoid the pain.  These dogs curled up and became helpless.  When the dogs were given the chance to escape, they made no attempt to do anything, even as they continued to be shocked.  Psychologists call this phenomenon learned helplessness.

Learned helplessness in people
It is a common misconception to believe that most people will do whatever they can to escape a bad situation.  In reality, people who don’t feel like they have any control over their situations eventually learn to helplessly accept their circumstances. 

When you’ve been pushed down with multiple setbacks and adverse events, it’s hard to be optimistic.  If someone goes through a series of failed attempts to accomplish something, their brain learns to believe that an outcome cannot be controlled.  An individual can become conditioned to behave helplessly, even if opportunities to escape become available.
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