Managing Our Money…

If I am known for anything here at RJsCorner is it my contrarian view of many things. Managing my money is one of them.  I know there are many blogs out their that strongly advise us to seek out financial planners to manage our money.  Supposedly they take a percentage of our assets each year in order to invest our money where it will get the highest earnings. But the quotes above and many other places paint a different picture.

Very quietly, the way that many Americans invest their money is changing. And it’s changing in a way that could upend the way Wall Street does business….

Why is passive management increasingly popular? Because research has largely confirmed Bogle’s argument that the average investor is better off just riding the market. Most active managers don’t make more money for their clients compared to index funds once fees are accounted for. And a January report from S&P pointed out that even the managers who do beat the market can’t sustain the success for long.

Source: Why are Americans suddenly so passive when managing money?

I admit that for the seventeenth year of my retirement from the corporate world I have yet to use a financial planner.  One of the reasons is cited in the quote above. In the end none of them have been able to beat the market.  Index funds don’t even try and that is where a significant portion of my assets are. But a good portion of them also reside in Treasury bonds and other less risky things.  This strategy has paid off for me in that my 401k has increased in value year after year.  It is considerably higher than it was when I first left corporate America.

I don’t have any heirs so I don’t plan on leaving any of my estate to someone else, even if I believed in such a thing which I don’t.  I think all of us should make our own way in the world instead of depending on someone else to do it for us.  I would love to be able to spend my last dime on my deathbed but since that is not possible I will leave what I have left to an organization that will use it to promote the common good in our country.

To me depending on a financial planner for my future is not where I want to go.  If they know so much about it how come they are still going to a 9-5 job?:)

But that is just my way of thinking…

Perpetual Utterance of Self-Applause

I love reading about the history of America and some of the best critiques come from outside our country. Two of my favorite quotes comes from the idea of the “Tyranny of the Majority”.  That is when the majority in our country tends to deny basic civil rights to various minority groups. Of course the most glaring one is slavery but there is also the murder of millions of native Americans during the conquest of their native lands.

The term “Tyranny of the Majority” was widely employed in mid-nineteenth-century America in conjunction with a series of moral questions (Sabbath, temperance, racial equality) that gave rise to organized minority groups in American political life.

Here are a couple of quotes about that:

The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.—Lord Acton  — The History of Freedom in Antiquity, 1877

The majority (party in America) lives in the perpetual utterance of self-applause; and there are certain truths which the Americans can only learn from strangers – Alexis De Tocqueville

“Perpetual utterance of self-applause” is one of my favorite De Tocqueville quotes. It says something about the general character of our citizenry I think even in the 1800s.  We just love applauding ourselves and thinking how great we are. We simply can do no wrong.

2016-07-28_15-19-07.pngSo many in the “perpetual utterance” crowd look into the past and dream that America will once again be what it was.  They look at life from a “white supremacy” point of view. They simply don’t see our blemishes.  Recognizing our faults and apologizing for them is the first step in reconciliation and true peace.  But whenever a leader tries to do that he is quickly admonished. Here is a little about that:

Apparently “acknowledging that America has been a force for good” in the world, as Obama did, is not enough. The man who leads the nation that is by almost any measure indisputably the most powerful on earth must go furtherto make a fool of himself and the country by defending an escapade from half-a-century ago that nearly everyone acknowledges was an embarrassing blunder. ..he must also robustly defend American exceptionalismand thus American moral superioritybefore foreign audiences, evidently because it’s the president’s duty to provoke anger and resentment, and thus opposition to our global leadership, around the world.

Source: “The Perpetual Utterance Of Self-Applause” – The Atlantic

Germany, in its search for reconciliation, now openly admits to the evil that Hitler  did to the world.  We in America on the other hand have never dared to look on our dark side.  Our perpetual utterance of self-applause is holding us back from being the great nation we could be and a true shining example for the world.

Democratic Convention Day 3 

2016-07-28_08-09-20Day 3 at the Democratic convention was an “about time” moment when Democrats showed us just how unstable and reckless person Trump is. A lot of it came from the mouths of leaders in the Republican party. First off  I want to give you a crowd shot from last night. Can you see the difference between it and the ones I gave you of the Republican convention?:)  If the GOP is going to try and salvage their party from its present condition it is going to take  more than old white men like me. Diversity is the crown jewell of our nation and its about time the GOP got on board with that crucial fact. If they don’t do it now I am afraid they never will…

Democrats are not merely going to paint Mr. Trump as extreme and unprepared, offensive and immature, a cheat and a fraud. They are going to attack him — carefully, and maybe indirectly — as mentally unfit. For Mr. Obama and other speakers, the idea was expressed in conventional form, as a concern about “temperament.” But it was Mr. Bloomberg, a billionaire known for directness and limitless self-confidence, who went on Wednesday where no Democrat did: He said Mr. Trump lacked the mental fitness for office. “Let’s elect a sane, competent person,” Mr. Bloomberg told the audience. It’s going to be one heck of a summer.

Source: Democratic Convention Day 3 Takeaways: America First – The New York Times

I can’t understand the “bump” that Trump got in the polls after his four days of hate and fear. The guy know no bounds or civility. I’m sure that is attractive to some of the bitter and spiteful among us but I still can’t believe that there are many of them around in this country.

I don’t have Mr. Trump on my tweet list but I’m sure he is spewing out his hatred to everyone who said an inconvenient word about him yesterday and that seems to be quite a crowd. The Democratic convention will end tonight and then it is on to 100 days of utter filth from Trump and his angry supporters.  I think I will be taking off a significant part of that time from blogging political things. I will try to let things settle,  meaning waiting for sanity to return to many, before I give much thought to this stuff again.

Unlike past conventions President Obama’s speech was not the highlight of the convention and that is how it should be.  He is passing the mantel on to another Democrat this fall. I hope Hillary can excite the electorate like Obama did during his first campaign.

I am typically not a worrier, it does no good to worry about something you can’t change. So, again I will continue to have faith that the vast majority of us realize that the country is not going down in a flaming death and we don’t need a person in the White House who will actually cause that to happen.

I have faith…

Back To The Good Old Days…

2016-07-27_08-07-15.pngIf you know me you are probably puzzled about the title of this post.  For the most part I believe that the “good old days” just weren’t that good, but there are a few exceptions.

Before I get to the crux of this post’s title I want to give you my other views of day 2 of the Democratic convention. One of the main thing that hit me was how all the networks seem to be viciously searching  for controversy. They cover very little of the actual proceedings.  That is very different than the good old days where you could actually listen to at least some of the speakers. Now they spend their time talking to the political pundits and searching for the sensational and telling you what you are supposed to think.

But there was a gem in the middle of this media dung hill. It is a place where no one is giving their “expert” opinion about this or that.  Instead it is about allowing the viewer to  form their own opinions and to view the proceedings and without commercials!  That place is called C-Span.  We used to view the conventions in the good old days as places to gather facts and views which maybe are not on our agenda.

I watched the calling of the roles for votes.  Yes, all the States give silly commentary about themselves before they announce their numbers but in a way that is what the convention is all about.  Of course I recognize when the spin machine is on, which is about all the time,  threading through that is part of the fun in the good old days.

So for the rest of this convention I will be watching it in low resolution on the C-Span channel.

 

Democratic Convention: Day 2

To me Day 2 of the convention was about the adoring spouse, Bill Clinton that is. Sometimes I forget just how good he is at “spinning a story”. Yeah, some think he rambles too much but I just think he likes to tell a good story and the story about his wife was a good one.  He talked of the good times and the bad and how Hillary was there for the family.

“My daughter had the best mother in the whole world,” he said tonight, adding that Hillary was “first and foremost” a mother, “our family’s designated worrier” who only worried about Bill’s parenting when he took a couple days off with Chelsea to watch all six “Police Academy” movies “back-to-back.” He described Hillary on her knees, lining Chelsea’s Stanford dorm room drawers with paper when their daughter moved to college, until Chelsea told them it was time to leave.

He never mentioned Donald Trump, the man he used to be friendly with and play golf with. He simply alluded to the way the Republican convention had tried to turn Hillary into a “cartoon” villainess. “Life in the real world is complicated and hard,” he said, and “a lot of people think it’s boring.”“One is real, the other is made up,” he said of the caricature of Hillary. “You nominated the real one.”

Source: Hillary Clinton’s Convention: Day 2 – The New York Times

I know Mr. Trump’s winning strategy is to put down his opponents with the most insulting and false accusations possible. He is good at that but I kind of think that those who bothered to watch Bill’s speech last night got a very different story which I hope sticks to many.  It is obvious to anyone who has watched her over the ages that Hillary is a very guarded person when it comes to a public persona.  She wants to be known for her intelligence and insight, not the softer side that she obviously has.  Giving us the softer side Bill helped make her a person and not at all as Trump portrays. Has she made some mistakes?  Sure she has, anyone who makes critical decisions or a regular basis is bound to do that.

Day 2 of the convention made it a little easier for me to press the Hillary button come this fall.  I didn’t really need help in deciding which button to push.  I would have voted for anybody but Trump, but I now feel easier that she is the person for the Oval Office.

I am saving part of my observations of this day’s convention for an afternoon’s post entitled “The Good Old Days”. It will be about the media’s coverage of this and last week’s events.  It will be about sensationalism. Tune in later for that.

It will certainly be interesting to see a president and a past president occupy the White House at the same time.. I hope Hillary takes some of Bill’s advice the same way as I’m sure he took her’s when he sat in the Oval Office…

‘Indiana Hates Mike Pence As Much As Indiana Jones Hates Snakes’

Since there is nothing much happening at the Democratic convention yet, I thought I would get out another Pence post.

If I believe the number of “Dump Pence” signs in my area I can see that many in Indiana don’t care much for our governor and am glad he, like Sarah Palin before him, is headed to oblivion come the Trump defeat this November. Simply speaking he hooked his horse to the wrong political wagon.

“Indiana voters hate Pence as much as Indiana Jones hates snakes,” the comedian said during her opening monologue on “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” Monday night.

“Who is Mike Pence?” Bee asked during the segment. “If you’re a lady Hoosier, you may recognize him as the governor who inspected your reproductive organs every 30 days to make sure you weren’t using them …

“Congratulations Indiana! You just got rid of one of the worst governors you’ve ever had,” she said, while offering condolences to the Garden State.

“I’m sorry New Jersey, you were this close,” she said while holding her thumb and forefinger barely apart.

Source: Samantha Bee: ‘Indiana Hates Mike Pence As Much As Indiana Jones Hates Snakes’

I have never seen anything by Samantha Bee but the quotes above are funny in a crude way.

Unchallenged Claims….

The media had a lot to talk about last week in the RNC convention. Not so much so far with the Democrat side. Except for a very small (<5%) of the delegates there is just not much controversy.

But once the evening arrived, the Sanders dead-enders were subjected to an absolute blitzkrieg of unity. There was Sanders supporter Sarah Silverman doing a bit with Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) — and ad-libbing, “Can I just say to the Bernie or Bust people, you’re being ridiculous.” There was Michelle Obama, giving a speech so terrific and basking in such a tide of love from the audience that you almost expected her to ascend to the sky on a chariot made of pure light. Then came progressive hero Elizabeth Warren, and finally Sanders himself.

It didn’t solve the problem entirely — throughout the evening there were periodic moments when a few people would begin some chant or other in an attempt to distract from what was going on up on the stage, and Warren in particular had to speak over persistent chanting. But it soon became clear that it was just a small number of Sanders dead-enders — according to some accounts, it was coming entirely from the California delegation and may have been fewer than a dozen people — even if they were able to make an unusual amount of noise. When they began chanting over Rep. Keith Ellison during his introduction of Sanders in an apparent attempt to drown out his praise of the Vermont senator, it took on a surreal cast.

Source: Bernie Sanders’ devastating rebuke to ‘Bernie or Bust’

With not much to say about the Democrats yet, so this post is about something that came up on Sunday. Before the convention started I watched a CNN segment with Carl Bernstein, of the “Woodward and Bernstein” fame. He was screaming about how the media coverage of the current political campaigns is pitiful in that the press is not doing anything to counter ridiculous political claims by the candidates and their supporters. They allowed Trump and his backers to say anything and don’t bother to seek out the truthfulness of the claims! To him investigative reporting is dead in the U.S. media and I kind of agree.

The press/media serves a vital purpose in our democracy. We, the public, expect them to seek out truth in our political processes so that the voters can make informed decisions. Letting grandiose claims go without investigation is dangerous to our democracy.

I hear the political pundits say that political organizations don’t matter much anymore.  Instead it is social media that drives our political processes.  If that means that unfounded accusations and “facts” go without scrutiny then that is certainly a bad thing.  At least to this senior citizen…

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