Saturday, May 25, 2013

Good Comment in Globe and Mail May 25 2013

Score: 5

Executive Guy

9:51 AM on May 25, 2013
I used to be a consultant for the largest national brokerage in Canada and let me tell you this, while there a handful of really good and diligent real estate estate agents, the vast majority are just horrible, un-ethical high school drop outs, working part-time, and making way too much money.

They do nothing you can't do on your own. In today's time, it makes no sense to pay 5% commission to someone to put your home on MLS and a for sale sign on the lawn.

The average home inside the city of Toronto is now around $800,000 X 5%= $40,000 plus HST. How much does your lawyer charge? About $1,000 for processing the deal and completing the transaction.

Here is my advise if you want to save some serious money:

1) Use the services of a company that will post your property on the public MLS, without charging you a commission, but instead a flat fee. There are quite a few already, like comfree, flatfeet, property guys, etc. do your research.

2) Use the free posting sites, like Craigslist and Kijiji. Free and simple to use.

3) Get a lawyer in advance of the transaction and explain that you will require his/her services in drafting up the agreement of purchase and sale. Please find a lawyer that knows and is familiar with real estate law and can advise you during the process as well.

Cost for real estate company, $500. Cost for Kijiji, $0. Cost for a real estate lawyer to advise and help you close the transaction, $2500. Total cost to sell your home, $3,000.

Selling it without a real estate agent and saving $40,000 in commissions, Priceless.

A.G. Lafley!!

A.G. (Where's the Second "f") Lafley!! This means there'll be a merger -- perhaps with CL or CLX.

It Was the Best of Times; It Was the Worst of Times

Friday, May 24, 2013


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cramer Last Night

Cramer, CNBC, whom I TIVO nightly (on days when Boo has not taken the remote out and chewed off its end after being picked up at the Long-Term Doggie and Remote Chewing Made Easy Park) was awesome last night on Mad Money, about how an already rich person (Powerball winner) should invest.  The trope is that a really rich person need not take a risk on common stocks and need only have a bond portfolio and no stocks, to live comfortably.

That comfortably rich person should Avoid Bonds Totally, Cramer says.  Instead,real estate trusts and other trusts like KMR (not sure this is the symbol, but it's Kinder Morgan) and the like. Because bonds -- any bonds -- will make you poor again.  Why KMR and the like?  High payouts, some equity risk, but without the bond risk. "The low interest rate environment is Bernanke's austerity program for the rich."

The transcript:

Lightning struck, not once, but twice to two people this weekend... hey, it's the good kind of lightning... the kind that puts hundreds of millions of dollars in people's pockets. And on a day where the averages backslid, with the Dow dropping 19 points... it's worth discussing what the heck the mysterious winner of the $590 million Powerball competition, and David Karp, the man who just got hundreds of millions of dollars for selling Tumblr to Yahoo, should do with their newfound money.Boy, they've come to the right place, because this is exactly what I used to do for people who made fortunes, at Goldman Sachs, and then at my own hedge fund, before I retired to do television and run my charitable trust. Oh, and for those of you who don't already have millions of dollars just yet, or maybe 1/100th of that just yet, you can learn some very important lessons from this too.

1. You only need to get rich once. Lower your risk.

2. Diversification across the whole span of asset classes. Own gold bars.

3. Have some high-end real estate and masterwork paintings, assets that have held up in hyper inflation, diversify both in domestic real estate as well as raw land.

4. Invest in U.S. Treasuries (20%), municipal bonds and corporate bonds, not in stocks, and not in bonds with any possible default risk whatsoever.
Alright, all of that is something I would normally do for someone who is super-rich. That's what I would have done in the '80s and '90s and even as recently as 2009. Oh, but these are not normal times now. Oh no, not for bonds. At the moment, if I were given this money, do you know that I wouldn't tell them to do any of these fixed-income alternatives that I just outlined. Now, I would probably put 50% in overnight cash. And that would be waiting for the Fed to blink, because all day all people ever talk about is, the Fed is going to blink. So I can't be oblivious to that. One day, the Fed will raise rates.Until then, these rates for all income- or fixed-rate instruments, or every part of the spectrum, are so low that they are indeed dangerous, and I don't want anyone to be buying them.So right now, if I were managing Powerball winners, or David Karp's newfound wealth, I would do what I know many rich people are actually doing; I would buy higher-yielding master limited partnerships, or MLPs... higher-yielding real estate investment trusts... and some of the better stocks of companies that are serial dividend raisers. Why these? Because the wealthy are backed into a corner. They're backed into a corner of these offerings by the Fed. And I've been thinking about it. You know what the Fed's really done here? They've created an austerity moment just for the rich. The Fed's essentially mandated that rich people will not be able to make money by stuffing their wealth into bonds anymore. In this environment, the rich have to risk something in order to stay ahead of inflation. That's Bernanke's plan.What's the first thing I would buy?...

1. Oil master-limited partnerships. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, KMP; and Enterprise Product Partners too, EPD, yielding 5.9% and 4.4%, respectively, getting a nice blend of 5% and change. Williams Partners, WPZ, at 6.5% yield.

2. Real estate investment trusts: Healthcare Trust of America, HCT, which yields 4.4%.

3. Classic dividend growers: Stocks like Johnson & Johnson and General Mills, two fabulous serial dividend raisers, of course.
Yep, I know, these certainly have risk. Equities have risk. But right now, the risk from owning these stocks is less than the risk you get from my traditional bond-heavy methods of investment for the wealthy that I detailed earlier.

Here's the bottom line...
▼   ▼   ▼   ▼   ▼

You only need to get rich once. But because of Fed-mandated bond austerity, we have no choice. The Powerball winner, and Mr. Karp of Tumblr... at the moment, you need dividends from stocks, not coupons from bonds. You need safety. And right now, the safety's more in higher-yielding stocks than it is in much lower-yielding bonds. Oh, and memo to everyone else watching: bonds are just as dangerous for you too.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Tech Tips -- Don't Put Any Day-to-Day Files on Your C Drive

To keep your pc running cleaner and longer!  Md.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Answer to Joel

iphone+facebook=this comment:

Joel's Comment under Becca's photo of a bucolic Spanish landscape revealing itself as the sun rose on their Santiago pilgramage with fellow photographer friends from the U.S.

"Does some one 'work' in your family? All I see is a perpetual vacation slide across my computer-mind you, I'm not complaining about all the pleasure I've received! In between packing and unpacking suitcases, have a wonderful 'Happy Mother's Day'"!

The correct answer:  it was the African Safari that put things into orbit.  Genny paid for us, as best I can tell.  That comes from Genny being a generous human being having a top-paying job in a country with nothing to spend it on. "Us" being G-Paw and G-Maw.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

From John Pepper's Speech to Procter & Gamble Employees in 1994 -- See Link on Right

It is useful to remind ourselves how often people of high reputation can get things wrong.  Opinions about Stalin written in the years 1929-34, when he was in the process of liquidating ten million Russians as part of the collectivization of agriculture and farms, bear out the point.  H.G. Wells said he had “never met a man more candid, fair and honest…no one is afraid of him and everybody trusts him.”  Hewlett Johnson, Dean of Canterbury, described him as leading “his people down new and unfamiliar avenues of democracy.”
The American Ambassador, Josephine Davies, reported him as having “insisted on the liberalization of the constitution.  His brown eyes, exceedingly wise and gentle; a child would like to sit on his lap and a dog would sidle up to him.”  Emile Ludwig, the famous popular biographer, found him to be a man “to whose care I would readily confide the education of my children.”
No matter who says what, no matter how small the group that supports your point of view, never fail to follow the voice of your conscience.
JEP Journal – 1994 – Principles of Life_022012

Tech Tips -- The Spike From Hell

Because my f3 key is set primarily for brightness, on my new laptop, I must do control+FN+f3, not control+f3.  Then, at the end control+shift+FN+f3.  

It took a lot of thought and time and luck to find the answer.  It helped that I bought two computers on the same date and loaded them with identical programs.

More later

Finding all my original packaging for Microsoft Office 2013, which included information that led me to the telephone number of a real person in India who eventually, after I taught her what a spike was and convinced her that no, Microsoft wouldn't have taken it out in their latest version of Word, took control of my machine and she could do it the old-fashioned way:  control+f3.