Friday, January 28, 2022

Short Takes: Cryptocurrency Ponzi, Goods vs. Experiences Pushback, and more

Our dispute with VRBO continues.  We’ve been told 3 times now that our money has been returned and that we’ll see it reflected in our credit card account soon.  We haven’t seen anything.  These promises have alternated with claims that their “system is down” and that we should be patient.  We’ve now got the credit card company involved, which will hopefully fix things.  One thing is certain at this point: we will not be doing business with VRBO or their sub-entity, a property management company, again.

Here are my posts for the past two weeks:

Balance: How to Invest and Spend for Happiness, Health, and Wealth

Annually Recalculated Variable Annuity

Now is a Good Time to Decide Whether Your Portfolio is Too Risky

My Investment Return for 2021

Here are some short takes and some weekend reading:

Sohale Andrus Mortazavi explains why cryptocurrency is a giant Ponzi scheme.  No doubt there are differing opinions on this matter, but Mortazavi shows his work, so counterarguments would need to address the many supporting facts in his article.  For more thoughts on cryptocurrencies, Preet Banerjee has some advice for those who have cryptocurrency FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

Harold Lee offers some interesting pushback on the mantra of buying experiences instead of goods.  I suspect there’s an appropriate balance between consumption of experiences and goods, and it’s worth thinking about which side of this balance we’re on.  I’ve had direct experience with hoarders, and this seems to be a much more serious problem than seeking too many experiences.

Preet Banerjee goes over the downsides of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) loans, even if you can always make the payments.

John Archibald tells a wild story about an out-of-control police force targeting drivers for profit in Brookside, Alabama.  My takeaway is don’t go to Alabama.

Justin Bender describes his “Plaid” asset location strategy that saves on taxes.  In an otherwise excellent article, I have a small quibble with the phrase “pre-tax risk”.  Only post-tax risk is real.  In pre-tax terms, there is only “apparent risk”.  A word of warning for those thinking of implementing this portfolio: this strategy is best for spreadsheet nerds like Justin and me.  It’s likely that most people who try to follow it will ultimately give up and try something easier like just holding the same all-in-one ETF in every account.

John Robertson reviews Dan Bortolotti’s book Reboot Your Portfolio (my review here), and contrasts it with his own book, The Value of Simple (my review here).  Robertson also reviews National Bank Direct Brokerage.  It’s refreshing to read a brokerage review that isn’t obviously a paid promotion.  He had another good take explaining the dangers of trading on a phone.

Robb Engen at Boomer and Echo goes through a retirement readiness checklist for those within 5 years of retirement.

Preet Banerjee interviews Andrew Hallam to discuss his latest book, Balance.

Canadian Couch Potato updates us on the TD eSeries mutual fund returns for 2021.  However, this will be his last update on eSeries funds for reasons he explains have nothing to do with the funds themselves, but have to do with the emergence of attractive alternatives and some brokerages charging new commissions on trading eSeries funds.

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