This week I realized how fortunate we are in this area and how spoiled I’ve become with easy, immediate internet service at home and at work. All I have to do is flip on one computer switch and PRESTO! I’m online and surfing around my favorite sites. But i had a short business trip to Utah and found that life in Utah is very different from my every day life here, including how they access the internet.
When I first moved here, I was considering dsl service for my internet access. I had read the ads and heard commercials about how fast DSL can be. I thought that there was not much difference in the actual service and was only shopping for the best pricing deal.
But people in other areas do not have the range of choices that I do. It was humbling to be out in Utah and realize that the people in rural Utah still have limited cell phone service and have to access the internet by subscribing to a dial up provider. For some reason I was just expecting people all across America to be online with cable or DSL. But it appears that a large chunk of the U. S. is still using alternative sources.
From time to time I have to wonder why the consumers, citizens, and voters of our country are so adamant about keeping the federal government as small as possible and giving states so much local “control.” In my humble opinion, some things should simply be the same across the country. For example, I think that the bankruptcy laws in NC should not be any more complicated (or less complicated) than the bankruptcy laws in any other state in the country.
Sometimes I think that there is too much complication and redundancy in the world.
Carol tells me that she has been offered a job that she really want to take, but it would involve moving to Charleston. Although the salary is a large increase over what she is making now, she is reluctant to move to a town where she has no friends or family. I can sympathize with that; picking up and moving by yourself is a really difficult thing to do, both physically and emotionally.
I suggested that she contact a Charleston real estate agent about finding a house that she could rent with the option to buy near where her new office is going to be. She has several dogs and I know that it will be almost impossible for her to find an apartment that will allow her to keep her dogs, and renting a house with a fenced in yard so the dogs could run around loose in the yard would be so much better for all of them.
Even so, in this unstable job market, I think that I would negotiate a contract with the company that would put her mind at ease about getting laid off shortly after moving. I would hate to move to a new city to accept a new job and then end up laid off after I picked up and moved to a city where I had no friends or family nearby!
This afternoon I was thinking back to how things worked out for my step-dad, a self made millionaire, and how the things that happened to him over the years affected his judgement and values later in life, especially about money.
He was a kid during the Great Depression, but that affected him for the rest of his life. His mother abandoned all her 3 of her kids and took off, so he was raised by his grandmother. He dropped out of school after the fourth grade so he could earn money and help the family survive. He was driving his grandmother’s car when he was just 10 years old and glued pieces of lumber to the pedals so he could reach them.
He never trusted banks or the stock market after the big crash. The only investments he made were low risk cds and he never put more than $100,000 in any one bank account, as the FDIC only insures deposits up to $100,000.
When I tried to explain to him that a certificate of deposit is an option and that the maturity dates could be planned for maximum benefit and taxes, he would get upset and tell me that I didn’t know what was talking about. So I wasn’t able to help him much, but at least I tried.
When do you think is the best time to work with a stock broker as compared to doing the work yourself and saving the trade fees that the brokers charge? Some people need a lot of help when they first start making investments. Other people prefer to start out small and learn a they go. And others just seem to have a knack for it and can jump into with both feet and the help of an online portfolio manager.
Even someone who has years of experience with buying and selling stocks can get help from portfolio rebalancing software if they just take the time to get everything organized and then a close look at what they need to do.
I spent four years as a volunteer for a local non-profit and a big part of my involvement had to do with financial matters for the organization. Our Board’s Treasurer as actually a locally successful stock broker who made himself very accessible to the rest of the Board when we had any questions or concerns. Although I did not always agree with his recommendations, I learned a lot and would be totally comfortable using a DIY portfolio management program online.