Archive | August 2012

Constant Compression

Hi Guys,

I’ve started a sister blog to chronicle my experiences relative to my back injuries. You can find it here: Constant Compression

I have lots of thoughts, feelings and experiences to share on the topic and decided it would make sense to consolidate them in one place. I’ll continue to post related musings on Regulardaze, but for the majority of my back-centric commentary, please check out Constant Compression.

Thanks for reading,

S

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Birthday Bash

Writing codifies things – puts an indelible mark on a once blank page (or screen), and makes them real.

And I desperately didn’t want to accept this as real – but I can’t deny it, and I can’t run from it.

So here goes…

I’m embarking on another personal injury lawsuit, this time in Texas.

On my birthday, a couple of weeks ago, I was rear-ended, and the impact caused injury. My car suffered some damage. Fortunately, Dan wasn’t in the car with me, but unfortunately, I am the one hurt.

As you might remember, I am on the heels of celebrating the settlement of my longtime NYC personal injury lawsuit (which lasted from September 2009 – June 2012). And now it’s back to the fray of legalities, insurance companies, medical providers, and physical and emotional upheaval.

Things have been difficult lately (re: physical and emotional upheaval), but I know I (we) have been through this before, and I know I (we) will get through it again (somehow). Dan, my parents, and close friends have been encouraging and supportive – and I know without a doubt that they will be indispensable to maintaining my fortitude during this experience, as I will be to them.

I can not recommend these circumstances to anyone – surely, there must be other means for learning about the legal system, the state of U.S. healthcare, the insurance industry, and one’s strength of character – but I can not deny reality either. The situation exists and I (we) must face it head on, again.

I haven’t found the silver lining in all this yet, and I definitely don’t know why it’s happening. I recognize the laws of probability/chance and being caught in a string of random, unrelated events, but I also acknowledge that I am the type who seeks meaning in everything. I value fitting the puzzle pieces of life into some sort of comprehensible whole. And in a puzzle each piece has its role; its purpose. I like taking experiences and thoughts, sorting them into digestible boxes, tying each box with a ribbon, and storing them in the categorized shelves of my mind.

Lately, my efforts at categorization are being continually thwarted by life events, and to be honest, it’s frustrating.

As I said above, I know I (we) have been through this before, and will get through it again. I (we) just don’t know quite what to expect, or what will become of it.

And yet, I (we) don another parachute and jump headfirst back into the land of the medically litigious.

Wish me (us) luck. It’s time for another journey.

Thanks for reading,

S

Investment Advice from Dad: Part 1

My Dad asked me to meet him for lunch to discuss various personal investment related topics.

I thought I would chronicle the main points of our discussions here, mainly to record my memories/reflections, but perhaps readers may find them useful, too. Please note than neither my Dad nor I are financial professionals and any ideas discussed in this series are purely personal opinion/experiences, and should not be used in lieu of professional counsel.

Here are the takeaways from our first meeting:

Stocks

  • Stock investing is often one of the most risk-laden and volatile forms of investing.
  • Stocks can often offer some of the highest rates of return (if the market is in your favor).
  • There are two main types of stock: Common Stock and Preferred Stock. There are multiple categories of stock such as: Blue Chip Stock, High Cap Stock, Low Cap Stock, and things that function similarly (meaning equally risky and changeable) to stock such as Foreign Currency Exchange.
  • Beyond stock valuation, which can decrease or increase one’s investment, stocks can also pay dividends, or a portion of the company’s profit, to the stockholder. Dividends can be used to reinvest, or taken as is.
  • If you plan to put a significant amount of your funds into stocks, read as much as you can about the stock market and how stock trading works, as well as the industry (or industries) you plan to invest in. Don’t let a broker or advisor be your sole source of information.

Bonds

  • Bonds are usually loans to an entity. The entity pays you back the original investment plus interest.
  • Bonds are usually less risky than stocks (and often offer lower rates of return), though this depends.
  • Some municipality bonds are currently facing bankruptcy (i.e., municipal bonds held by entities in California).

Diversify

  • Try to have a mix of investments (e.g., some more secure, some less secure, some with higher rates of return, some with lower rates of return, etc.). This can mitigate risk and allow you opportunities for greater return.
  • Try to avoid entrusting all of your investments to one source (whether that’s a broker, adviser, investment form, etc.).
  • “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

Passive vs. Active Investing

  • Think about how much you want to monitor your money – do you want to check the Wall Street Journal or the stock market daily? do you want to put your money in vehicles where you only need to examine monthly statements?
  • If you want to be active in the day to day activities of your funds, then you might consider taking on more risk (i.e., stocks).
  • If you want to be passive in the day to day activities of your funds, then you might consider taking on less risk.

The Transaction

  • Financiers of all kinds (bankers, brokers, advisers, etc.), make their money on the transaction of funds. To them the outcome of the investment is usually secondary to getting you to: open an account, buy, sell, trade, etc.
  • Always know who is getting what – i.e., what fees will come out of your initial investment, because this is money you are paying in addition to (or included in), your investment dollars.

Exit Strategy

  • Always have an exit strategy in case your investments aren’t working to your advantage.

Heart

  • Look for financial professionals, or financial institutions, with your best interest at heart. Don’t be swayed by promotions, uncharacteristic urgency, or get rich claims.
  • Look for proactive financial professionals – someone willing to contact you in good times, and especially in bad.
  • Most investing is estimating – rarely (if ever) will someone be able to give you a guarantee. Be wary.
  • Always, always, check the source of information. Reputability is key.