Sunday, March 23, 2008

One Year Blogiversary of Armchair Fiduciary

Well, time flies when you are having fun... it has been an entire year since I started this blog!
I have made 62 posts since day one. Some of them have been big hits, others total flops. A few of you have emailed me for help with your 401k which was fun, but most of my email has been junk. I hope a few of you learned something along the way (as I have). I look forward to another year of "boldly trying to help you build a stable financial future and save money one post at a time." Below you can see some statistics about this blog in its first year.

My top 5 most visted posts have been:
Wells Fargo PMA, the best financial combo around? (344 views)
How to Invest Your 401k: A Generic Guide (328 views)
Should I Stick with Countrywide Savingslink? (328 views)
Should I Pay Down My House Early If I Can? (220 views)
Should I Loan Money to a Friend? (153 views)

My traffic has been generated from the following sites:
Google (organic) 44%
Digg (referral) 12%
Direct 12% (referral) 6% (referral) 5%

The top key words generating traffic to Armchair Fiduciary were:
Countrywide Savingslink 5% (I am the 6th link on Google)
How to invest your 401k 3% (I am the 10th link on Google)
Armchair Fiduciary 3% (I am the 1st link on Google)

I have had visitors from all 50 states and from 53 different countries in total. (Sorry non-U.S. vistors I write with a distinctly American perspective though many of the money savers still apply to you too.)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Learn Something From Bear Stearns!

Well, it was a crazy week on Wall Street this week. However, the biggest lesson of the week came on Monday when Bear Stearns was bought by JPMorgan (at the urging of the Fed) for $2 per share. Bear Stearns employees owned nearly 30% of the company's stock. While I am all for being a team player, you should keep as few assets invested in your employer as possible purely for diversification purposes. All your income depends on your employer, why would you want any more of your savings to depend on your employer than you have to according to company policy? The people at Enron learned the hard way. The people at Bear Stearns learned the hard way. It's a terrible thing that happend to all those people, but some good can come of it. If you own a bunch of your company's stock in your 401k or profit sharing plan are allowed to sell some of it and put it into something else do it. Not tomorrow. Not a week from now. Not a month from now. Diversify today! You never know what may lie ahead for your company. Bear Stearns thought they were fine just a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Financial Impact of Baby Series: Part I

Well there's great news in the world of Armchair Fiduciary, my wife and I have a little munchkin on the way! Of course, now that she is through the first trimester and is starting to grow a pooch, the financial impact of the baby is starting to grow as well. Even now, well before the baby is born, we have seen his or her financial impact a little.

First, I went out and got life insurance when we started trying to get pregnant. Why so early? Because if something happend to me while my wife was pregnant and I hadn't I wouldn't be able to forgive myself (then again I would be around to be forgiven). You can read all about how I thought about life insurance and the process here. The bottom-line is that it was a big hassle, but it is well worth the time and the ~$1000 annual premium to know that my wife and baby will be provided for if something happens to me.

Second, we have had numerous copays since my wife started going to the doctor. Thankfully we have great insurance so the total cost to us has been minimal. But not everyone will be so lucky. Be sure to know what your insurance will and won't cover. We had one snafu early on where the doctor sent us to a lab for bloodwork that wasn't covered by our insurance. In the end most of it was covered after the doctor changed the coding of it, but it still cost us a lot of worry and a couple hundred dollars.

Third, as my wife's pooch has grown her clothes haven't. While she is extremely frugal, we have still had several hundred dollars worth of spending for maternity clothes. This is somehting everyone should plan for. Hopefully the second time around this expense item won't cost as much if my wife keeps her maternity clothes.

Check back later for more expenses as they crop up and a future post which will include my "baby budget."

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Online Eyeglasses Experiment: Part 4

Well, I finally have all my glasses. Let me just say the best service of all was my lense replacement on my old frames performed by The whole transaction went seamlessly and they even called me with a couple questions about my order to make sure they had it right. I would highly recommend them. Likewise took a while to deliver my entirely new glasses because they came from Hong Kong, but the glasses are great. Finally, after a lot of hassle including a trip to my eye doctor to find out my glasses were made wrong even delivered me a pair of glasses that work. I had such a hard time I would never recommend them to anyone, but at the end of the day they delivered the product they promised, it just took way too long.

So after all this would I buy glasses or replacement lenses online again? Absolutely. The cost savings are just too great. I got 2 new pairs of glasses and a replacement lense for less than the price of my original glasses. Despite some bumps along the way, the process was relatively easy with the exception of I think online eyeglasses are the way to go.