Free The Drones Personal Finance Blog

A personal finance blog dedicated to achieving financial freedom for those drones slaving away in jobs they hate.

Increase In Salary From a Graduate Degree

February 21st, 2007

SmartMoney has an article that I think is very helpful for people considering whether or not to go to graduate school – it shows the annual difference in earnings in several common degree programs for those without a graduate degree and those with one. The ones that make the most (law and medicine) are those where you essentially can’t practice the profession without the graduate degree. In most other professions, a master’s degree will add to your salary, but isn’t a requirement.

The problem with graduate degrees in my opinion is that too many people get them. From a financial perspective, it’s not really justified in every case. Teachers, for example, earn about $8,000 more on average with a masters than without. That’s at the low end of the spectrum – but it’s also an average. Some people will get a masters and not earn all that much more, while others will more than that $8,000 a year. If you go to a high-end program that costs you $30,000 a year (for $60,000 total), you’ll have ended up wasting your money if you end up on the low end of that number.

This problem is most pronounced in law and business degrees, where while the average salary is very high, there are a lot of people who end up not making anywhere near the $101,000 that the article lists as the average. What adds to the problem is that it’s about as expensive to get a degree from a less-marketable school as it is to get one from a much better school. Take Ave Maria Law School – which clocks in at $30,000 a year for tuition, but, because it’s a new school, has only provisional approval to grant degrees and isn’t ranked among the top law schools. Pepperdine, another law school that isn’t ranked all that highly, also clocks in at $32,000. Harvard law is only a little more expensive at $35,000.

You see the same thing with business schools. Vanderbilt, ranked 49th in the country, costs $34,000 a year to attend. Boston University has a similar ranking and costs $30,000. Harvard Business School is about $38,000.

There are a lot of people who think the rankings don’t mean all that much – I’ll give you that for schools that are pretty close to each other in quality. But for a graduate education, barring a state school discount, you pretty much pay the same thing for a degree from the best school in the country as you would for a degree from the worst. And that means someone isn’t getting their money’s worth. If you’re coming out of Harvard Business School with $80,000 in debt, you’ve probably gotten a good deal. The vast majority of students there will find jobs that pay well enough to make it worthwhile. If you’re coming from a school whose reputation isn’t as stellar, you’re making a gamble by getting that degree. The top part of your class might do well enough to make it worthwhile. But what about the people at the bottom? Most of the employment statistics the schools give out aren’t trustworthy – and a lot of students end up disgruntled as a result. If you come out of a two or three year degree with a huge debt and not much more in terms of earnings potential, you’ve wasted both time and money – the debt PLUS the money you could have earned if you hadn’t gone back to school. And in many cases, you’d have made more simply by working to get yourself promoted in your current job.
In other fields you’re luckier: you may have a ready-made rubric for determining whether or not the increase in your earnings potential from going back to school will be worth it. If you’re planning on getting a degree in the same field that you currently work in, simply find out how much more you’d get paid by your current employer. Most employers will give you a bump to reflect your education – and most of them will be up front about how much it will be beforehand. If they won’t pay you much more, then it might not be worth the risk and cost to see if you can find someone else who will. If they would pay you enough to justify the cost, then go for it. You’ll have a lock on a job after graduation if nothing else pans out if your employer likes you – and if they don’t, or you don’t want to work for them again, you at least have reliable information about how much the degree would be worth.

Don’t get me wrong – going into law or business or getting another degree can be an incredible opportunity. If you do it right, you can make a LOT more money than you would without it. The problem is that too many people jump into it without realizing that there is a cost, too. Many people go to graduate school just because they don’t like their job or can’t think of anything better to do. In my experience, graduate school doesn’t make things better for them – it’s a temporary diversion, and many people jump into a degree program without an idea of what it would be like to have a job in that area. When it turns out to be something they absolutely hate, they’re forced to either switch careers again or be miserable until retirement. And they paid for the privilege. I’d ask myself two things before taking the plunge:

1) Am I sure I like the career I’d end up in? If not, try to get a taste of what it would be like beforehand.

2) Would my degree pay for itself in the next 10 years? That means both in terms of debt load from what you pay AND from opportunity cost from money you could have made working. If you’re not sure, it’s probably too speculative. Going to school isn’t supposed to be like gambling. You’ve got options, though: you can still do it if you can cut the costs. Look at state schools with residency discounts – or only go someplace where you can get a scholarship that will cut the costs. If, even after all that, you can’t make it work – then from a financial perspective it’s better to let it go and focus on getting the next promotion.
Discuss this in the Free the Drones Forums.

[ herbolax 100 tablet bottle $246.00 | maxalt 5mg pills $117.00 | cardura 1mg pills $236.00 | lincocin 500mg pills $262.00 | viagra free trial pack | praziquantel 600mg pills $216.00 | exelon 4.5mg pills $119.00 | abilify 15mg pills $224.00 | yasmin drospirenone 3mg + ethinyl estradiol 0.3mg $83.00 | endep 25mg pills $58.00 | alesse 1.5mg pills $382.00 | amoxicillin 250mg pills $108.00 | deltasone 20mg pills $122.00 | generic viagra india | tegretol 200mg pills $84.00 | prograf 0.5mg pills $432.00 | glucophage 1000mg pills $134.00 | cialis soft 20mg pills $200.00 | ordering viagra overnight delivery | sustiva 200mg pills $276.00 | hydrea 500mg pills $602.00 | colospa 135mg pills $186.00 | loxitane 25mg pills $262.00 | levitra oral jelly 20mg packet $227.00 | tofranil 25mg pills $133.00 | coversyl 4mg pills $272.00 | long term effects of viagra | viagra soft generic | kamagra 100mg tablets (brand) $282.00 | lipitor 20mg pills $63.00 | desyrel 50mg pills $179.00 | zyvox 600mg pills $261.00 | desyrel 50mg pills $61.00 | risperdal 1mg pills $83.00 | eriacta 100mg pills $63.00 | professional cialis 20mg pills $88.00 | phenergan 25mg pills $56.00 | viagra soft tabs | women viagra | should i chew cialis | exelon 4.5mg pills $84.00 | priligy dapoxetine 90mg pills $273.00 | testosterone anadoil 40mg $187.00 | no prescription viagra | cialis and ketoconazole | microzide 25mg pills $253.00 | levitra soft 20mg pills $175.00 | asacol 400mg pills $169.00 | lipitor 20mg pills $99.00 | viagra blog | cialis canada | methocarbamol 500mg pills $155.00 | overnight canadian viagra | ed trial packs professional viagra 100mg + professional cialis 20mg pills $239.00 ]


4 Comments »

Women With Money-Saving Tips

February 15th, 2007

Since a number of readers have blogs of their own, I thought I’d pass along a chance to get yourself some magazine exposure: Helen, a reporter from a magazine called First for Women, is looking for women with money-saving tips for an article. “The tips could be about how to save money when planning a vacation, how to save money when grocery shopping, etc.” This might be a good chance to get your blog a little publicity if you’re a woman with a finance-related blog. She asks for you to send a photo of yourself, along with the tip, to: hmatatov@bauerpublishing.com

Discuss this in the Free the Drones Forums

[ cephalexin 250mg pills $82.00 | flovent 125mcg inhalation canister $94.00 | nootropil 800mg pills $174.00 | benicar 40mg pills $82.00 | zantac 300mg pills $256.00 | inderal 80mg pills $176.00 | loxitane 10mg pills $104.00 | amoxicillin 250mg pills $153.00 | paxil 40mg pills $91.00 | cardizem 90mg pills $230.00 | avalide 150mg irbesartan /12.5mg hydrochlorothiazide pills $218.00 | nolvadex 20mg pills $68.00 | trazodone 50mg pills $109.00 | viagra canadian | canadian pharmacy viagra legal | order usa viagra online | renova 0.05% cream in 20g tube 12 $132.00 | luvox 100mg pills $425.00 | inderal 20mg pills $228.00 | evecare 30 tablet bottle $323.00 | glucovance 2.5mg pills $119.00 | cialis cheap | clomipramine 25mg pills 270 $298.00 | china viagra | tenormin 25mg pills $166.00 | fulvicin 250mg pills $98.00 | zestril 5mg pills $253.00 | augmentin 375mg pills $282.00 | abilify 10mg pills $54.00 | buy discount viagra online | levitra 20mg pills (brand) $182.00 | macrobid 50mg pills $130.00 | womenra 100mg pills $207.00 | pulmicort 100mcg inhaler $160.00 | types of viagra | relafen 500mg pills $62.00 | cefetin 500mg pills $262.00 | discount priced viagra | zocor 20mg pills $172.00 | flovent 125mcg inhalation canister $159.00 | diltiazem 180mg pills $218.00 | canada meds viagra | cialis canadian | tadalafil 40mg pills $122.00 | synthroid 200mcg pills $126.00 | retrovir 300mg pills $180.00 | tentex royal 10 tablet box $252.00 | kamagra oral jelly 100mg (brand) $191.00 | kamagra 50mg tablets (brand) $224.00 | keeping a hardon | prandin 2mg pills $190.00 | avalide 150mg irbesartan /12.5mg hydrochlorothiazide pills $218.00 | prozac 40mg pills $83.00 | testosterone anadoil 40mg $123.00 ]


2 Comments »

Living On An Income Under The Poverty Line

February 8th, 2007

There’s a good article on MSN written by a woman who, at 48, has decided to go back to college. The result is a huge blow to her income: down to $12,000 a year. This is the point where a lot of people start telling you that it’s impossible to live on that little money. I think it depends on where you live, having lived on less myself in college – but it’s definitely a highly uncomfortable lifestyle. How does she make it work?

Food banks, cheap shopping, and spending a lot of time paying attention to the budget. Her tips to find extremely cheap stuff that you’d normally pay more for:

“The obvious answers are sites like Craigslist.org and thrift shops, especially ones like Value Village that offer coupons and half-off sales. My 99-cent clock-radio wakes me up every morning just as efficiently as a high-tech alarm from The Sharper Image. Rummage sales are swell, too; my church has an annual sale called “Superfluity” (I love that name) at which I bought my desk for $4 and a small chest of drawers for $1. I also buy Christmas and birthday gifts at Superfluity and an annual “500-family” rummage sale. No one has to know that that hardback bestseller under the tree cost you only 50 cents.”

I’d add that while you can live on Ramen noodles and those $1.00 microwave pizzas, I got a lot of mileage out of combining cheap ingredients myself – if you’re willing to eat the same kind of sandwich for lunch and dinner six days in a row, you’re not going to have to spend too much at the grocery store. College students also have it easier because you can find a lot of events with free food, but she takes advantage of food banks, which are a more viable option for adults.

I’ve said before that I think improving your income is the only long term solution to living under this kind of budget, but it is possible. One thing just as important to take away from her article as HOW she lives on that budget is WHY: she’s getting a degree, which can help her come back into the workforce with better pay. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s an effort at self-improvement, and that’s the only way you’re going to advance your living standard. I’m not sure it’s the ideal plan – she’s taking off work entirely to live on alimony payments, and I think going to school at night is a viable option, and probably a better one, for an adult looking to get a degree. But a lot of people end up deciding to do nothing at all – and the harsh reality is that no one is going to pull you out of poverty but yourself. There’s a good discussion going about the article in MSN’s comments, with some obvious points about it (such as that it’s a lot harder in California, that health problems could destroy your careful budget, etc.) – but there’s also some good advice by people who are trying to live on similar budgets. One of the posters is attempting to live on a similar budget on a much bigger salary – great for your savings if you can do it, but I don’t know that I’d have the discipline to do so myself. There’s also a very good discussion at another board about the article by a bunch of people describing how they scraped by on small budgets – but it’s not exactly a family-friendly message board (think South Park), so if you’ve got any qualms on that front I’d stay away. If not, you can check it out here.
Discuss this on the Free the Drones Forums.

[ detrol 2mg pills $298.00 | staxyn 20mg pills $154.00 | sildenafil citrate 25mg pills $302.00 | cipro 1000mg pills $283.00 | lanoxin 250mcg pills $251.00 | avelox 400mg pills $262.00 | clindamycin topical gel 1% in 10gr tube $113.00 | stendra 100mg pills $44.00 | amoxicillin 250mg pills $153.00 | biaxin 250mg pills $299.00 | topamax 50mg pills 270 $275.00 | olanzapine 5mg pills $121.00 | china viagra | zocor 40mg pills $259.00 | cipralex 10mg pills $83.00 | acetaminophen 500mg pills $68.00 | vytorin 10mg pills $425.00 | seroquel 25mg pills $182.00 | erythromycin 250mg pills $178.00 | hysterectomy libido viagra | avapro 300mg pills $262.00 | augmentin 1000mg pills (brand) $327.00 | viagra oral jelly 100mg $148.00 | cialis tablets foreign | viagra blog | cialis 100mg pills 270 $563.00 | hysterectomy libido viagra | relafen 750mg pills $256.00 | glucovance 500mg pills $120.00 | tamoxifen 20mg pills $127.00 | how to make viagra | clarina anti-acne gel 30ml tube $217.00 | sinequan 75mg pills $212.00 | homemade viagra | synthroid 50mcg pills $60.00 | budesonide 100mg nasal spray $64.00 | ventolin 100mcg canisters $67.00 | amoxicillin 375mg pills $173.00 | serevent 25mcg inhaler $127.00 | levitra 10mg pills 270 $399.00 | fluconazole 150mg pills $223.00 | tizanidine 2mg pills $153.00 | biaxin 500mg pills $138.00 | olmesartan 40mg pills $218.00 | pulmicort 100mcg inhaler $64.00 | trecator sc 250mg pills $126.00 | propranolol 20mg pills 270 $342.00 | retrovir 300mg pills $82.00 | viagra for recreation | ovral® norgestrel 500mcg + ethinyl estradiol 50mcg (brand) $148.00 | cialis black 800mg pills $280.00 | zocor 40mg pills $125.00 | ilosone 500mg pills $148.00 | zoloft 100mg pills $141.00 ]


Comments Off

Problems Using a Headhunter / Recruiter

January 30th, 2007

I was just reading this article on CareerJournal about using a headhunter – a recruiter who tries to find people with specialized experience to fit a certain job a company is looking to fill. The article advised against ever contacting headhunters for strategy consulting jobs:

 Very rarely do search professionals — or headhunters — assist candidates in need of jobs. Instead, their clients are the companies that pay them to find highly qualified people for specific openings. “When companies hire a search firm, it’s to find people they can’t find — typically people who work for other companies” who aren’t necessarily looking for new opportunities, says R. Gaines Baty, an executive recruiter in Dallas.

Why not contact them anyway? Because a lot of the ones willing to help you find a position use tactics that will end up hurting you. Some just accept your resume and never talk to you again, leaving you with no clue what they’ve done on your behalf. Others aren’t careful, and can tip off your current employer that you’re planning to leave – by sending them your resume.  Others will just send your resume to anyone and everyone, and then claim a commission if you later get a job with them, even if you end up doing all the legwork.

The one benefit to waiting for them to contact you is that they’re more likely to be actually interested in you for a specific position. The problem? Often the unscrupulous ones are just calling as many people as they can, without a real interest in you or what job fits you best. The two big rules you need to follow are:

1) Make sure you find out something about them from someone you trust before you use them, preferably someone who has used that headhunter themselves.

2) Make it very clear that they do not have your permission to send out a resume to anyone without your explicit permission – and limit the number of employers you grant permission for them to send it to.

You want someone taking the time to do a specialized search for you, not a resume dump. You can do that yourself, and the random employers you’d be contacting are more likely to be hiring if they don’t have to pay a finder’s fee.

Discuss this in the Free the Drones Forums.

[ cipro 1000mg pills $157.00 | cialis pharmacy generic | benicar 10mg pills $60.00 | viagra cheap canada | tadacip 10mg pills $100.00 | advair diskus 250mcg inhaler $114.00 | aspirin 75mg pills $68.00 | buy pfizer viagra in canada | remeron 15mg pills $72.00 | levitra 40mg pills 270 $453.00 | prandin 0.5mg pills $127.00 | levitra 20mg with dapoxetine 40mg pills $451.00 | hydrochlorothiazide cialis | abilify 30mg pills $109.00 | prevacid 30mg pills $178.00 | dostinex 0.25mg pills $266.00 | tadacip 20mg pills $233.00 | buy href lvivhost.com viagra | cipralex 20mg pills $142.00 | cheap viagra 50mg | precose 50mg pills $172.00 | finpecia 1mg pills $99.00 | cardizem 25mg pills $87.00 | cordarone 250mg pills $269.00 | viagra sale buy | cleocin 150mg pills $196.00 | valtrex 500mg pills 36 $134.00 | generic elocon 0.1% 10mg tube $51.00 | evecare 30 tablet bottle $323.00 | cialis brand | indocin 75mg pills $91.00 | vantin 200mg pills $270.00 | dipyridamole 75mg pills $111.00 | glucophage 1000mg pills $282.00 | v-gel 30ml tube $384.00 | viagra online pharmacy | viagra discussions | cialis price | nootropil 800mg pills $142.00 | lamisil 10mg cream $147.00 | isoptin 40mg pills $113.00 | ketotifen 1mg pills $83.00 | adhd mentat 60 tablets bottle $55.00 | hytrin 5mg capsules $117.00 | aciphex 20mg pills $89.00 | aricept 5mg pills $161.00 | cheapest generic viagra | tamoxifen 20mg pills $127.00 | macrobid 50mg pills $63.00 | zocor 10mg pills $117.00 | celexa 10mg pills 270 $195.00 | prograf 0.5mg pills $258.00 | lamivudin 100mg pills $207.00 | zithromax 1000mg pills $429.00 ]


2 Comments »

Akismet For WordPress Comment Spam

January 22nd, 2007

For anyone out there using a WordPress blog, I thought I’d give a short plug for Akismet, a comment spam modification you can download that automatically moves comments it deems to be spam over automatically into a “spam” moderation queue, so that you can delete them all automatically. I’ve been mostly off the Internet in my spare time recently because of a ceiling cave-in at my apartment, and normally there will be fifty or so spam comments about granny trannies or asking whether I can see their list of Cialis links. I had about 1200 of those in my spam queue when I just checked it – all filtered away from the legitimate ones. It’s a great time-saver if your blog uses WordPress.

Discuss this in the Free the Drones Forums.

[ enhance9 tablets $102.00 | hydrazide 25mg tablets $828.00 | finpecia 1mg pills $222.00 | alesse 1.5mg pills $263.00 | maxaquin 400mg pills $117.00 | tentex royal 10 tablet box $208.00 | tadalafil 50mg pills $70.00 | tenvir 300mg pills $306.00 | cordarone 100mg pills $117.00 | zyrtec 10mg pills $136.00 | cialis soft 20mg pills $141.00 | plavix 75mg pills $90.00 | altace 1.25mg pills $253.00 | sinequan 25mg pills $274.00 | cephalexin 500mg pills $267.00 | sublingual viagra pro 100mg pills $187.00 | neurontin 600mg pills $310.00 | propecia 1mg pills 270 $266.00 | lipitor 40mg pills $231.00 | enalapril 2.5mg pills $183.00 | cymbalta 40mg pills $242.00 | seroquel 50mg pills $96.00 | budesonide 100mg nasal spray $201.00 | stromectol 3mg pills $216.00 | cialis professional no prescription | menosan 30 tablet bottle $218.00 | viagra super active 100mg pills $182.00 | leukeran 2mg pills $136.00 | deltasone 5mg pills $74.00 | isoptin 120mg pills $159.00 | allegra® 30mg pills (brand) $135.00 | maxolon 10mg pills $138.00 | viagra sample | chloromycetin 250mg pills $98.00 | allegra 180mg pills $98.00 | imigran 100mg pills $430.00 | propranolol 80mg pills $128.00 | lyrica 150mg pills $160.00 | motrin 600mg pills $264.00 | sildenafil citrate voltammetry | get cialis | tadalafil 100mg pills 270 $466.00 | cialis 60mg pills $218.00 | estrace 1mg pills $256.00 | vardenafil 20mg pills $74.00 | amoxil 250mg pills $340.00 | lamotrigine 100mg pills $119.00 | adhd strattera 25mg pills $87.00 | viagra the little blue pill | betnovate cream 1% in 20ml tube $131.00 | tinidazole 300mg pills $82.00 | natural viagra substitutes | minoxidil 5% solution 60ml bottle $70.00 | fluticasone 50mcg inhaler $150.00 ]


3 Comments »

Is Your 401(k) Insured Against Electronic Theft?

January 5th, 2007

There’s a pretty frightening article over at MSNBC on people who have had their retirement accounts hacked into and their savings stolen. While bank accounts used to be the main targets, criminals have figured out that the automated fraud detection bar is a lot more lenient for brokerage accounts, which will allow them to transfer out more money before a red flag is thrown up:

“Hacker attacks on brokerage accounts make sense from a criminal’s point of view. Brokerage accounts tend to have higher balances, making them worthwhile targets. And while a six-figure transfer out of a checking account would surely trigger fraud pattern detection software, large transfers from brokerage accounts are fairly standard.”

The problem for you is that there is a different level of protection for brokerage accounts by law than for your bank account or credit card:

“Both credit card transactions and electronic account transfers, such as online banking payments, are governed by Federal Reserve regulations that strictly limit consumers’ losses from theft. Consumers who report credit card fraud are only liable for $50; liability for fraudulent checking account transfers is capped at $500 if the consumer reports the theft within 60 days. Refunds for checking account thefts must generally be issued within 10 days.

The regulations are designed to boost confidence in the systems. But the Federal Reserve doesn’t regulate investment firms, and the Securities and Exchange Commission doesn’t mandate any similar protections for brokerage accounts.”

The big question for you is what you can do about it. Here are a few suggestions:

1) Figure out both the policy of your investment firm on refunds and whether they have any insurance. Charles Schwab and E-trade have good guarantees according to the article. I have accounts with Fidelity and Vanguard and went to check out their web sites for information on it. Fidelity doesn’t say anything about insuring the accounts, but they have a “Customer Protection Guarantee” stating that:

“We will reimburse your Fidelity account for any losses due to unauthorized activity.”

The only problem is that the fine print gives them quite a bit more leeway. There are some vague statements about it being “through no fault of your own” and a statement that “it also does not cover unauthorized activities resulting from a breach of security in an employer or plan sponsor’s systems.

So it’s a blanket guarantee blaring in bold at the top, but some inconsistent statements in the fine print that you could get caught up in. What if your password gets stolen from your computer by spyware? Are you at fault? And how are you supposed to control your employer’s computer security?

On Vanguard’s site I couldn’t find anything – no mention of insurance coverage for this, and while they had some advice about security precautions, there wasn’t any indication at all that they’d reimburse you. I’ve got an e-mail in to them to see what they say.

2) Update your computer’s anti-spyware software and anti-virus software. Spyware, for the non-geeks, is a program installed without your permission that can monitor what you’re doing online – things like typing in a brokerage password. It is often installed without you ever seeing anything by web sites you visit. A virus can also take control of your computer to send out information you’ve typed in to a hacker. For spyware, a good free program is AdAware, which you can download for free here. For viruses, Norton is probably the best (or at least a very good, trusted program). You can get it here – they sell an Anti-Virus program as well as what is called a “Firewall,” which is just a way to stop people from accessing your computer over the Internet without permission. It’s not free, but it’s pretty cheap.

3) Don’t log into your brokerage from a computer you don’t know is secure. This means no computers that other people can use (libraries, Internet cafes, etc.). It might mean the computers at your office, too, depending on where you work and how much you trust the security.

4) Write your passwords down on paper – not in a document on your computer. Those are much easier to steal and could be grabbed by anyone who gets access to it.

5) Don’t EVER log into any account from a web page you accessed by e-mail. ALWAYS go to your browser and then type in the address yourself. I don’t care if the e-mail looks legitimate – this is a very common scam, and you should never follow a link from an e-mail to a site where you’re going to have to type in a password. What people will do is fake a web site and send you a fake e-mail that looks like it is your monthly statement or that says you have a problem with your account. When you click to view it, you are taken to a web site whose sole purpose is to find out your password when you type it in.

6) If you’ve got a lot of money and aren’t satisfied with your brokerage’s reimbursement policy, call them up and ask them to confirm any withdrawals by phone with you. If you don’t think you’ll be taking any money out in the near future (or at least not regularly), ask them to restrict your ability to do so without confirmation. Not every brokerage may be able to do this, but it’s worth a try.

7) Don’t ever give anyone your password. This should be common sense – but don’t do it.

Discuss this on the Free the Drones Forums.

[ ed trial packs viagra soft 100mg + cialis soft 20mg + levitra soft 20mg pills $239.00 | fluoxetine 20mg pills $142.00 | clomid 25mg pills $102.00 | seroflo 120 metered doses of 25mcg/250mcg inhaler $54.00 | confido 60 tablet bottle $320.00 | sildenafil citrate 50mg pills $66.00 | viagra wholesalers | isosorbide mononitrate 50mg pills $272.00 | depo-medrol 4mg pills $169.00 | salmeterol 25mcg inhaler $193.00 | maxalt 10mg pills $206.00 | aldactone 25mg pills $118.00 | detox liv.52 100 tablets bottle $315.00 | stromectol 3mg pills $101.00 | paxil 30mg pills $254.00 | aceon 4mg pills $263.00 | cymbalta 60mg pills $187.00 | voltaren emulgel 30gr tube $149.00 | imusporin 100mg pills $677.00 | prograf 5mg pills $496.00 | fluticasone 50mcg inhaler $120.00 | cialis 10mg pills $152.00 | lasuna 60 tablet bottle $43.00 | mirapex 0.5mg pills $266.00 | plendil 5mg pills $262.00 | enalapril 10mg pills $158.00 | aceon 4mg pills $263.00 | ampicillin 500mg pills $165.00 | haridra 60 tablet bottle $56.00 | sildenafil citrate 50mg pills $83.00 | doxazosin 1mg pills $107.00 | minipress 2mg pills $174.00 | doxycycline 100mg pills $82.00 | augmentin 625mg pills $153.00 | female viagra response | zocor 20mg pills $117.00 | cialis women | female viagra 100mg pills 270 $345.00 | lyrica 150mg pills $160.00 | cytotec 200mg pills $144.00 | coreg 3.125mg pills $193.00 | cialis online without prescription | stromectol 3mg pills $171.00 | menosan 30 tablet bottle $254.00 | v-gel 30ml tube $290.00 | viagra competition | diovan 80mg pills $263.00 | cozaar 50mg pills $83.00 | viagra without prescription | lotrisone cream in 7gr tube $46.00 | herbolax 100 tablet bottle $281.00 | sildenafil citrate 150mg pills $174.00 | allopurinol 100mg pills $138.00 | clopidogrel 75mg pills $161.00 ]


7 Comments »

Investing While Incompetent – And Blissfully Unaware

January 1st, 2007

From Professor Richard Bales of the Workplace Prof Blog comes an interesting study on what kind of 401(k) strategy provides the best returns. The study was performed by Wharton Business School in collaberation with Vanguard, and used data from over a million 401(k) accounts. The results? The highest average returns were achieved by people who put their money in funds that automatically rebalanced themselves for the investor. The lowest average returns came people who actively traded their investments – and the more frequent the trading, the lower the returns. The explanation why was partly about transaction costs, in that as you trade more frequently you have to spend more money on fees. But there’s something else to it as well:

“A final behavioral test focuses on overconfidence. We know from our prior work that active traders are more likely to be affluent males, and other research suggests that such individuals may be overconfident generally and also overconfident with respect to portfolio trading in particular.” 

This reminded me of another, more general study on incompetence (defined not in the “you’re an idiot” sense, but in the sense that you aren’t capable of performing a specific task). The basic conclusion of that study? People who are incompetent don’t know that they are – and generally vastly overestimate how well they are doing:

Asked to evaluate their performance on the test of logical reasoning, for example, subjects who scored only in the 12th percentile guessed that they had scored in the 62nd percentile, and deemed their overall skill at logical reasoning to be at the 68th percentile.

Similarly, subjects who scored at the 10th percentile on the grammar test ranked themselves at the 67th percentile in the ability to “identify grammatically correct standard English,” and estimated their test scores to be at the 61st percentile.

That’s somewhat surprising – you’d think that someone who wasn’t competent at something would know it. But instead, the natural human tendency is to assume that you’re doing well, even when you’re failing badly at a particular task. Your incompetence actually tends to magnify this effect – you don’t know enough about what you’re doing to know that you’re doing it badly. And this same rule applies to investing. Active traders, on average, get lower returns because there are a whole lot of them who really shouldn’t be doing it – but have convinced themselves that unlike all the other amateurs, they know what they’re doing.  If you’re a person who actively trades your investments, you may well be good at it, but odds are that you aren’t. In fact, most people reading this who think they are good at investing are probably, in actuality, pretty bad at it. Investing is one of those things where it’s easy to delude yourself into thinking you’re a genius. Sometimes it’s because of luck – you bought some property in California in 1996. Sometimes it’s because the yardsticks aren’t that easy to read. You gained 15 percent on your portfolio last year, and beat the S&P! But over a 10 year period, your strategy ends up underperforming it. Sometimes you don’t keep all that close an eye on how you’re doing overall, and just see the investments going up – even though that’s what they tend to do over time for everyone.

The point is that if you’re actively trading your portfolio, you need to take another look at that strategy. It’s very hard to “beat the market” over time. Even professionals don’t do it consistently, with a few exceptions like Warren Buffet. And if you think you’re beating it, odds are that you just don’t know enough to know that you don’t know what you’re doing.

Discuss this in the Free the Drones Forums.

[ cialis 60mg pills $306.00 | micronase 5mg pills $198.00 | plavix 75mg pills (brand) $189.00 | anafranil 10mg pills $198.00 | viagra pfizer online | ed trial packs viagra gold 800mg + viagra 100mg $122.00 | xenical 60mg pills $72.00 | cialis dose | viagra propranolol | sublingual cialis pro 20mg pills $91.00 | altace 5mg pills $94.00 | lamisil 10mg cream $90.00 | dostinex 0.5mg pills $312.00 | ed trial packs cialis 20mg + levitra 20mg pills 20 $69.00 | who should not take viagra | prevacid 30mg pills $256.00 | kemadrin 5mg pills $142.00 | combiflam $142.00 | plendil 5mg pills $150.00 | clonidine 0.15mg pills $764.00 | yasmin drospirenone 3mg + ethinyl estradiol 0.3mg $142.00 | viagra in canada | ponstel 500mg pills $84.00 | diltiazem hci 60mg pills $83.00 | norvasc 5mg pills $174.00 | furosemide 40mg pills $90.00 | amitriptyline 50mg pills $191.00 | amitriptyline 25mg $142.00 | mysoline 250mg pills $143.00 | amoxicillin 250mg pills $82.00 | combivir 300mg pills $306.00 | cialis 5mg pills $162.00 | best viagra | orlistat 60mg $270.00 | ed trial packs cialis 20mg + levitra 20mg + viagra super active 270 $460.00 | benemid 500mg pills $138.00 | what does viagra look like | zanaflex 2mg pills $212.00 | confido 60 tablet bottle $215.00 | synthroid 25mcg pills $72.00 | viagra purchase | lexapro 5mg pills $163.00 | macrobid 100mg pills $72.00 | coumadin 1mg pills $122.00 | cessation zyban 150mg pills $150.00 | stromectol 12mg pills $387.00 | xenical 60mg pills $165.00 | ketotifen 1mg pills $118.00 | alli 120mg pills $402.00 | cialis headaches | triphala 60 tablet bottle $210.00 | avanafil 50mg pills $65.00 | rebetol 100mg pills $294.00 | prevacid 30mg pills $146.00 ]


4 Comments »

Job Interview Question: Tell Us About How You Handled A High Pressure / High Stress Situation

December 31st, 2006

This is a question (really, a class of questions) that are often asked of people who are applying for jobs that sometimes have extreme pressures put on the employee. People interviewing you for management jobs will often ask some variant of this, and it’s also common for jobs with lots of tight deadlines. Many interviewers ask for specific examples, but another variant that is sometimes recommended to interviewers is something more open-ended along the lines of “How do you handle stressful situations?” What’s the best way to answer it?
1) Make a list of high pressure situations you’ve been in before you start interviewing. This is another one where you’re going to have to think through your job history beforehand, because it’s hard to answer the question well without a little forethought. Trying to do it off the cuff won’t work well. You should be thinking about a few kinds of situations to list: when have you had major problems at work that you’ve had to deal with? When have you had very tough deadlines? When have you had confrontations with other people (employees, customers, bosses)? These are the general sorts of thing that should be going on your list. Unless you haven’t been on the job too long, stick to situations from work. If you’re fresh out of school, then something from your classes might work as an example.

2) Cross out the ones that make you look bad. “I forgot to order paper for the copy machine, and so we couldn’t file those important papers on time, and my boss screamed at me and nearly fired me. But I breathed in a bag for awhile and slept it off – the stress wasn’t that big a deal.” Your answer should not be anything like that – the interviewer doesn’t care about how it affected you personally. They care about how it affected your work. You also don’t want to tell them about a situation where you’re responsible for the goof. Ideally, the problem will either be no one’s fault or someone else’s.
3) Pick an example where you did something productive despite the stress. If you had a really tight deadline that threatened to derail your project, and you worked overtime for a week to get it out in time, that’s a good example. If you were being screamed at by an irrational customer, and managed to keep your cool and keep him satisfied in the end, that’s a good example. There has to be some active step that you took to solve the problem in your story.

4) Don’t focus excessively on the “pressure” part of the question. There should be some pressures on you in your example. But the main priority is to show that you responded well in a previous situation, not that you’ve been subjected to the most mind-blowingly stressful situation imaginable. That means you should focus less on the worst situations you’ve been in from your list and more on the ones that have turned out well despite problems along the way.

If they just ask you some variation like “how do you handle stressful situations,” you should really be answering it the same way. It’s hard to give a good generic answer to that. Saying “I keep my cool and I’m levelheaded” isn’t going to make you stand out. A story about how you handled a previous situation will be unique and will get the point across better anyway. So just say something like “Well, I can give you an example…” and give the same answer you’d give to the question asking you to name a specific situation.

Discuss this in the Free the Drones forums.

[ ornidazole 500mg pills $157.00 | pfizer mexico viagra | bactrim trimethoprim 160mg /sulfamethoxazole 800mg pills $169.00 | imigran 25mg pills $219.00 | ansaid 200mg pills $265.00 | zyloprim 300mg pills $256.00 | buy viagra prescription online | viagra 150mg pills $227.00 | cardura 2mg pills $142.00 | zovirax 400mg pills $120.00 | tofranil 25mg pills $133.00 | tetracycline 250mg pills $109.00 | sildenafil citrate 100mg pills $126.00 | buy viagra in canada | tegretol 200mg pills $119.00 | buy cialis online canada | emugel 50gm tube $170.00 | cialis compare levitra viagra | nitroglycerin 6.4mg (25 capsule bottle) $130.00 | levothroid 100mcg $117.00 | metformin 500mg pills $82.00 | tadalafil 50mg pills 270 $463.00 | mirapex 1mg pills $220.00 | non pescription cialis | lyrica 150mg pills $273.00 | geodon 20mg pills $119.00 | dipyridamole 100mg pills $120.00 | sildenafil citrate 150mg pills $174.00 | floxin 400mg pills $125.00 | lopressor 50mg pills $83.00 | norvasc 10mg pills $150.00 | desyrel 50mg pills $117.00 | female viagra 100mg pills $150.00 | phenergan 25mg pills $68.00 | viagra purchase | doxycycline 100mg pills $82.00 | lipitor 10mg pills $127.00 | viagra soft tabs | cytoxan 50mg pills $198.00 | avapro 300mg pills $91.00 | ovral norgestrel 50mcg + ethinyl estradiol 250mcg pills $133.00 | advair diskus 250mcg inhaler $114.00 | purchase cialis cheap | budesonide 100mg nasal spray $197.00 | amoxicillin 625mg pills $258.00 | viagra results | persantine 100mg pills $178.00 | stendra 50mg pills 32 $161.00 | viagra 150mg pills 360 pills $536.00 | enhance9 tablets $152.00 | silagra 100mg pills (brand) $161.00 | plavix 75mg pills $45.00 | benemid 500mg pills $169.00 | viagra dosage ]


Comments Off

Find The Shortest Airport Security Line

December 28th, 2006

This is a random travel tip, but I wish I’d had it for the Christmas season. For those of you who travel regularly on business, it can be the difference between making your flight and missing it. There is a little tool created by the Transportation Security Administration that will let you find out the average time it takes, at any time of day, to get through all the security checkpoints in every U.S. airport. This can be a big deal – I tested several airports and found that the times could vary from a minute or two for the least used checkpoints to 18 minutes at the worst. That means if you regularly use a certain airport, you need to find the quicker ones – you’ll save yourself a lot of time waiting around, and if you’re cutting it close the 15 minute difference could determine whether you make your flight or not. Luckily it also gives you a link to a map of the airport you select, so you can go find the different checkpoints fairly easily.

Discuss this on the Free the Drones Forums.

[ adalat 10mg pills $118.00 | retrovir 300mg pills $82.00 | lisinopril 10mg pills $270.00 | viagra 100mg pills $63.00 | bad side effects of viagra | generic elocon 0.1% 10mg tube $92.00 | calan 80mg pills $151.00 | zovirax 400mg pills (brand) $319.00 | inderal 10mg pills $222.00 | rogaine 2% 60ml $32.00 | diflucan 150mg pills $140.00 | imigran 50mg pills $275.00 | precose 50mg pills $117.00 | viagra gel | viagra 130mg pills 360 pills $527.00 | how can i get some cialis | priligy dapoxetine 30mg pills $303.00 | wellbutrin sr 150mg pills $124.00 | trazodone 25mg pills $104.00 | tetracycline 250mg pills 360 pills $417.00 | silymarin 140mg pills $100.00 | seroquel 50mg pills $96.00 | generic viagra safe | olanzapine 7.5mg pills $92.00 | advair diskus 500mcg inhaler $49.00 | detrol 1mg pills $275.00 | aceon 8mg pills $172.00 | eldepryl 5mg pills $119.00 | bactrim 960mg pills $100.00 | ceftin 500mg pills $100.00 | diflucan 150mg pills $82.00 | atrovent 20mcg inhalation canister $135.00 | mobic 7.5mg pills $248.00 | artane 2mg pills $161.00 | buy cialis once daily | anafranil 10mg pills $111.00 | viagra cost | lowest price viagra | what better viagra or cialis | neurontin 300mg pills $200.00 | indinavir 400mg pills $207.00 | viagra tablet weight | accupril 10mg pills $118.00 | avanafil 50mg pills 32 $216.00 | ed trial packs cialis oral jelly 20mg + viagra oral jelly 100mg $131.00 | lincocin 500mg pills $113.00 | flovent 125mcg inhalation canister $154.00 | gestanin 5mg pills $117.00 | bactrim 480mg pills $171.00 | levothroid 25mcg $251.00 | cipralex 20mg pills $171.00 | tegretol 400mg pills $184.00 | remeron 7.5mg pills $223.00 | baclofen 10mg pills $109.00 ]


2 Comments »

Social Security Benefits Calculator

December 27th, 2006

Here’s a nice little online tool I ran across from the Social Security Administration: a calculator to tell you how much you’re going to get each month in social security. For the younger among us it’s not that useful, mainly because it’s such a crap-shoot as to whether or not it will be around, in the same form, or at the same benefit levels. Making precise predictions about what will happen 40 years from now is basically impossible. But if you’re nearing retirement, it’s very useful – all you have to put in is your age, earnings, and date of retirement if you want to retire early. If you’re over 50, this should be your first stop in figuring out a retirement plan because it’s the minimum you’re going to make on retirement. That will help you figure out how much more you’ll need to supplement your payments.

Discuss this in the Free the Drones forums.

[ clomipramine 75mg pills $231.00 | glucophage 850mg pills $125.00 | desyrel 100mg pills $128.00 | doxazosin 1mg pills $107.00 | tadalafil 50mg pills $131.00 | vrikshamla 60 capsule bottle $442.00 | generic viagra in mexico | viagra buy now pay later | retrovir 100mg pills $160.00 | cefaclor 500mg pills $328.00 | cialis 50 mg | ed trial packs priligy dapoxetine 30mg + stendra 50mg 46 $156.00 | lyrica 75mg pills $176.00 | paxil 40mg pills $158.00 | analgin 500mg $138.00 | reglan 10mg pills $170.00 | diflucan 150mg pills $82.00 | glucophage 1000mg pills $134.00 | dapsone 100mg pills $139.00 | kamagra oral jelly 100mg (brand) $139.00 | imitrex 25mg pills $284.00 | fluoxetine 60mg pills $128.00 | hiv test kit $66.00 | arcoxia 60mg pills $248.00 | viagra 100mg with duloxetine 60mg pills $254.00 | alesse 1.5mg pills $263.00 | cialis professional 100 mg | persantine 100mg pills $178.00 | online doctor viagra | rogaine 5% 60ml $121.00 | betnovate cream 1% in 20ml tube $107.00 | viagra order | phenergan 10mg pills $126.00 | tetracycline 250mg pills 360 pills $417.00 | urispas 200mg pills $266.00 | caduet amplodipine 5mg+atorvastatin 10mg $122.00 | zyprexa 15mg pills $148.00 | mircette desogestrel 0.15mg / ethinyl estradiol 0.03mg pills $140.00 | olanzapine 7.5mg pills $159.00 | clozaril 100mg pills $99.00 | elavil 50mg pills $63.00 | metformin 500mg pills $117.00 | cephalexin 250mg pills $140.00 | imigran 25mg pills $184.00 | anafranil 10mg pills $140.00 | keflex 500mg pills $117.00 | silymarin 70mg pills $90.00 | alternate to viagra | tadalafil 10mg pills $135.00 | lopid 300mg pills (brand ) $249.00 | viagra gold 800mg pills $291.00 | vipps pharmacy | cialis usa | elocon 0.1% 5gr tube $89.00 ]


Comments Off


Next Page »