Turning The Clock Back: A Personal Finance Story (Chap. 12)

Authors’ note:

Explaining personal finance can be pretty dull. That’s a problem, if you need to learn personal finance

On a plane from St. Louis to Seattle, I decided to try and fix the problem. What if I could wrap some personal finance concepts inside of a quirky (funny?) short story? My goal here is to present some information, and then add another step in the story. So, when you get to the end, you’ve been reminded of an personal finance concept- but you’ve received the information in a light-hearted way.

This blog post explain income tax rates, the effective tax rate you may pay, and the impact of limiting tax deductions.

Anyway, that’s the goal here. The stories are written in chapter order, so that there is a logical flow for the reader. Enjoy!

53 miles an hour!

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Best Lesson in Salary Negotiation

I smiled.

“Yes- I think that number is reasonable, given my skill set and what you need.”

The next one who speaks loses- and I didn’t say a word.

Andy, the CEO thought for a minute. He had asked me three times if I was willing to come off (come down) on my salary demand, and I wasn’t willing to. There were a few reasons why:

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Life Lesson That I Least Expected

Setback and disappointments frequently lead to a better outcome than you expected- or imagined

Oh, come on- people just say that to make themselves feel better after a setback or disappointment. You don’t really mean that.

Yes I do.

And, as time goes on, I’m even more convinced that it’s true.

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Best Business Deal Ever Made

Huge success requires risk-taking, a well-conceived plan, and the guts to ask for something that may seem outrageous.

Here are my best business deals ever, and three great business decisions that led to three of the most successful companies ever.

Microsoft and MS-DOS

I loved Asim Oureshi’s answer regarding Microsoft. The firm was hired by IBM to create an operating system that was ultimately called IBM PC-DOS. Bill Gates, the young CEO of Microsoft, insists that his firm have the right to license the operating software to other (non-IBM) firms, and IBM agrees.

Asim points out that Microsoft has licensed MS-DOS to over 1.4 billion PCs to date.

Amazing.

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Epic Product Fails in Business

Product launches are tough- and even the most successful companies can fail every now and then. Here are some massive product failures, and what we can learn from them.

Sony Betamax: Make the tent bigger

I was fortunate to experience the huge changes in media and entertainment products over the past 45 years or so. In music, we went from albums to cassettes, to CDs, to steaming music (I love my Spotify and Pandora).

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Largest Company Owned By Just One Person

Is accumulating massive wealth still possible in business?

Yes- the answer to this question proves it.

Dyson

It’s difficult to pin down the largest company owned entirely by one person, but Sir James Dyson may be at the top of the list. Joe Andon discussed Dyson in his Quora answer.

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Interesting Facts About Airlines

THIS LOUSY CUSTOMER SERVICE IS WHY YOUR AIRLINE IS GOING BANKRUPT!

It was fall of ’97, and I was yelling at a gate attendant for TWA in St. Louis, one of the airline’s hubs. At this point, the airline had declared bankruptcy several times, and was finally purchased by American Airlines in 2001.

I had been sent to a customer service desk 5 gates down from my gate- really for no good reason. As I rushed back and stopped to buy a Wall Street Journal, the gate attendant yelled: “Sir, you don’t have time to buy a paper!”

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