Asking For Directions: A Personal Finance Story (Chap. 13)

Authors’ note:

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

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

The Buick was going 15 miles an hour in a 30 zone- and occasionally drifting into the other lane. Greg checked his mirrors and drove around the Buick, a little annoyed that the driver might cause an accident. He didn’t get a good look inside the car as he drove by, but figured it was someone older.

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Is Tesla Nearly Bankrupt?

New Year’s Eve presents the opportunity to, as a friend of mine said, “get into a car and race all of the drunks back home.” Something I hope we all avoid (hey- use Uber).

As we turn the page and move into 2018, it’s an appropriate time to ask the question: Is Tesla bankrupt?

What does bankrupt mean, exactly?

Bankruptcy can be defined as a legal proceeding involving a business that cannot pay its debts. In this legal process, the debtor may be able to get some creditors to forgive debt repayments, while other creditors may negotiate and accept different repayment terms. Those terms might include a longer repayment period, a lower interest rate on the debt, or a reduced principal repayment amount.

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Is it possible to start a business with little to no money? How?

So, I’m driving behind a commercial pickup truck that had this sign on the back:

“Not responsible for broken windows”

On the back of the truck’s cab, it had this sign:

“ Stay back 100 feet. Not responsible for broken windows.”

Really, bro? It seems a little unrealistic to think that you can pile a bunch of stuff in the bed of a truck and not be responsible when items fly out the back and hit a car window….

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What Happens to The Founder of a Company Backed by Angel Investors if the Company Fails?

I remember a Christmas when I was in grade school, and my mother told me that one of my gifts was “ten feet long”.

Turns out it was a basketball hoop. Nice, Mom.

Sometimes, are perception of what is true is far different that reality, and unfortunately that happens when a business fails. A founder simply can’t fulfill the vision that was presented to the investors- maybe because the founder’s perception of the market, customer needs, and competitors is not the true reality.

No one’s fault, Business is tough, and starting a business from scratch can be brutally hard. (It has been for me, anyway….am I the only one?)

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What Is The Hardest Truth Of Economics?

Complexity can kill.

I saw it 20 years ago, and I’m seeing it today, and it’s one of three hard truths about economic and finance. Here’s what I mean:

So I was working out at the gym today, and CNBC had yet another story on Coinbase, which is a marketplace where Americans to buy and sell Bitcoin, the virtual currency. The price of Bitcoin has increased sharply in recent months due to rampant speculation. Am I the only person who’s not making a fortune owning Bitcoin?

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Why Do So Many Startups Fail?

So, I’m trudging down the hall of “Acme Hotel” at 11pm on Thanksgiving night with my family and our luggage. I drove five hours to get to Thanksgiving dinner, I ate and drank quite a bit (driver was sober- not to worry), and all of us just wanted to go to bed.

I noticed some smashed chips on the floor of the hall- they looked like Doritos, I thought. We enter the hotel room and my son pulls the folding bed out of the couch.

And there’s a small pile of chips in the bed.

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What is the most ethical U.S. corporation?

When I was growing in the ‘70s, it was common to throw trash out the window on the highway. I have vivid memories of eating McDonald’s in the car and heaving it out of the car at high speeds…

Hard to believe, isn’t it?

Over time, people in the US gradually got rid of that terrible habit. Littering, along with smoking, became socially unacceptable. I’d like to think that our ethics improved. What about corporations?

Events force companies to change

The Enron collapse and the mortgage crisis both forced Congress to take action- and attempt to protect the public from unethical corporate behavior. Let’s consider each event:

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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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