Saturday, January 31, 2015

4007 It was all a trick...

Saturday, January 31, 2015

What's past is prologue.
--William Shakespeare, The Tempest.--

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ get us to buy gas, milk, and bread.

We had snow overnight last Monday into Tuesday.  It was predicted to be a huge blizzard, with this area on the lower edge.  We were supposed to get between 18 and 24 inches.

We got maybe 6 to 8. 

It's hard to tell how much because it was a light dry snow and there was a lot of wall-shaking wind, so it drifted.  One side of my driveway was completely bare, and the other side had maybe 10 inches.

Some people were angry that the weather service had misled us, but I can understand why.  Better to be over-prepared than to be caught short.

What annoyed me was that the past few winters I had been unable to find anyone to shovel my driveway.  This year I was able to contract for the winter with a local kid who now is paying for a car.  He'll shovel (actually run his snowthrower) for an exorbitant price that my sensitive back is willing to pay just to get it done.  $30.  My driveway is exactly the footprint of four cars parked two-across.  

That part is not the problem.  It was that suddenly kids willing to shovel for anywhere from $4 to $10 were crawling out of the woodwork.  I had seven, count 'em, seven offers to shovel.  

Where were those kids last year, and the year before, and the year before? Where were they at the beginning of this winter, when I was looking for someone I could count on whenever it snowed?

The  tax documents and financial statement are coming in, and I got a pleasant surprise.  I have two index-based mutual fund IRAs and a 401K, and I ignore them.  I don't fiddle with them, and usually have no idea how much is there.  But this year I have to start withdrawals, and the amount to withdraw is based on the total in them, so I looked.

Shocker - Since December 2011, all three have doubled!  They doubled their value in three years.  

Piper has a lot to answer for.   I pull about 3% out of my account with him per year to supplement my retirement and SS checks, and yet the total in the account hasn't moved much in the past ten years.

Two weeks ago I got mad, and sent him an email requesting that he pull all of my money out of wherever he's got it, and move it into five mutual funds, preferably no-load index-based, and then leave it there!  No more playing the market.  No more moving stuff around.  Forget bonds, forget money markets, stay away from foreign stuff - go all US stocks.  Keep about 5% in cash that I can get to easily.

Yes, I'll take a hit this year, but in the long term, it will work out.

He went into a panic.  Seriously.  I thought he'd have a heart attack.   He doesn't seem worried about my money - he seems worried that I'm telling him I'm unhappy with his management.  Well, I didn't tell him that, but yeah, I am.

When my ignoring is doing vastly better than his active management, yeah, there's something very wrong.


In case you're wondering, the IRAs are with Janus (research fund) and Vanguard (S&P index).  Very low management fees (less than 1%).

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