The fantastically simple rule of 300

Dear Investor Challenge,Early retirement plan

This work thing can be a royal pain in the ass sometimes. People are supposed to listen to me, but I really get no respect. When I wanted to sign a new deal with the Russians, my accountant stopped me. He did the same thing when I asked him to fund my girlfriends travel company, now she’s all upset with me too. Then a couple of months back I was told that I’d have to pay for my swimming pool and farmyard, even after they were all promised to me as perks for a job well done, it’s totally ridiculous!

Now last week my three best friends decided to leave my business. I’m going to miss them so much, they were always so generous, and then just the other day, even the youngsters around here said they want me out. It just feels like everyone around here hates me. There’s really no reason for me to stay here anymore, which brings me to the point in this letter.

How much money do I need to have saved up and invested before I’m good to go? I really don’t want to come up short and have to try live on that measly excuse for a state pension we have.

Mr Anonymous

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You actually can buy happiness, but it’s not how you think

"...I want to find out whether there's any truth in the belief that money can't buy happiness."

“…I want to find out whether there’s any truth in the belief that money can’t buy happiness.”

I often write about things I don’t like spending money on:

  • Balloon payments for a car. Remember those, the deposits you still have to pay AFTER you’ve paid for the car for the last 72 months. The Americans have a better term for these types of loans, they call it a bullet loan. Bullets are scary so this makes sense, balloons are happy which you won’t be when your payment is due. Don’t let someone aim a loaded bullet your way when you make a car purchase, it’s going to hurt, a lot.
  • Expensive label clothing. Are your genitals on display? No? Then consider yourself dressed. Feel free to spend money on quality clothing though, if it lasts a long time it is often more cost effective than buying cheap clothing more often.
  • Outrageous unit trust fees. I hate them, the people who dream them up, and all of the suckers who fall for them which means they’re still not extinct. Fortunately they are on the decline, and even Steen Jacobson, the CIO of Saxo Bank knows their days are numbered.
  • Taxes. It probably wouldn’t be so bad if most of the money didn’t go towards Nkandla, #1’s girlfriend at SAA who managed to lose R1.4 billion last year, our international relations minister with a hole in her head or the SABC boss who lied about finishing school, and now forces everyone else to lie about the news and to literally sing his praises. In a less corrupt country I’d have no problem with this. I’d even happily pay the Swedish 60% tax rate if the money would go back into social services rather than the pocket of politically connected hyenas.
  • Bond payments. You can argue with me until you’re blue in the face. Your house is not an investment, finish and klaar. I don’t care if you have one, but don’t kid yourself, it’s a lifestyle purchase, not an investment. The only positive I see is that it force the typical South African’s with money allergies to save.

Today I want to talk about something I love spending money on. It’s appropriate too, because I’ve recently spent a lot on it!

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What percentage of your investments should be offshore?

Dear Investor Challenge,

The guy running my country seems a little daft. He once said that showers cure aids, and thinks that the African continent is so large all the others can fit inside it. I’ve seen him on TV trying to pronounce a not so big number, and while my 5 year old seems to be able to do this quite well in pre-school, this guy took four attempts, and I think one of them included an eleventy.

Now I really don’t have too much of an issue with stupid people, in fact Arnold Schwarzenegger remained one of my favourite movie stars, even after he said that he thinks gay marriage should be between a man and a woman.

The bigger issue for me when dealing with the #1 man of missing marbles, is that when he stuffs up, I lose a lot of money. This is something I don’t like very much. It’s better than losing a limb to carnivorous ants of course, but only just.

I’d like to take some of my assets offshore, somewhere safe from such stupidity. How much should I invest offshore? And any tips on where?

Thanks,

Ivan Tout

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The cheesecake powered cash printing machine

Giant cheesecakeI have a machine that prints money. It’s legal too, and operates on nothing more than cheesecake. That’s right, nothing but pure cheesecake. I have two others that operate on a combination of cheesecake and a teeny tiny amount of electricity. My brother has two of these, and I’m buying one for my wife now too so we can use ours together. These machines are really quite common, I’ve been trying to get Orca to buy one that would run on beer, since he often has a surplus of that 🙂

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7 Financial products so bad they should be an April fools joke!

The most useless sign everIt’s April fools day, but since I’m still upset that I fell for two of them (Heyneke Meyer returning as springbok coach and myBroadBand launching uncapped fibre for R99 a month) I thought I’d spare you any more stupid practical jokes.

Instead, I’m offering you an antidote to the madness. A kind of an unApril fools joke. I’m going to list out the top seven financial products so dumb, we should all be wishing they were practical jokes instead of reality. So let’s count them down:
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Should you be dollar cost averaging?

You've just won second place in a beauty contest

Yes, well done you uber foxy person you, you now have an extra R1.2 million to invest. This is such a common problem, I thought we should address how to handle it. Firstly, I would like to advise against spending it all on hookers and cocaine like this overly honest guy would do. Sure it’s fun, but how much of that month will you actually remember, and after you’ve lost your job, wife and the bridge of your nose, life might just suck a little afterwards. Ideally you’ll invest your winnings, but should you do it all at once, or should you spread out putting it in investments over a year or more?

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You don’t earn nearly as much as you think you do!

Where did my salary go?When I was 24 I thought I’d made the big league. Thanks to a bit of luck and thanks to having F-You money, I ended up in a contracting position where I was earning R160 an hour. That meant I made R28k per month since I worked about 176 hours a month on average. This is a pretty good salary today, but 13 years ago to a 24 year old who was still pedaling his bicycle to class and eating vetkoek for lunch just over two years previously it was an astronomical amount of money. More than double what my last salary was before I took my extended F-You holiday. So what does a 24 year old earning such a large sum of money do with all of it? Invest it? Not a chance, I bought myself an Audi.
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Only idiots still own Unit Trusts

Fund managers

Fund managers

OK hands up, who still owns unit trusts? My goodness there are a lot of you on that side of the screen. Unfortunately there’s one on this side of the screen too. And another in the family, hi mom! We’re all a bunch of idiots. Great big foolish money hating idiots. I’m a completely self taught idiot. Nobody does that anymore, we all use coaches and gurus called financial advisers to guide us into idiocy. Before I graduated to idiocy I only used to save and not invest, so I was a moron then. One day soon I plan to leave idiocy behind and move on to madness. Madness is the Cum Laude of intelligence.

So why is it that I’m calling us a um, what is the collective noun for idiots? If we were American I’d vote for a trump of idiots, but since we live in  Mzansi maybe it should be a malema of idiots, or perhaps a kraal of idiots. Back on track now, why do I think that ETFs are the holy grail and that unit trusts are the financial equivalent of a Kardashian? Well there are two main reasons I dislike unit trusts, and as someone who gets weird satisfaction in pointing out my current and former reasons for idiocy, I’m going to elaborate on both. Continue reading

The actual cost of NOT providing free education

Garden boy to vetFees must fall, yes #feesmustfall! I actually planned this month’s blog post on a play on words regarding investment fees which must fall, over University fees which (also) must fall, but to be quite honest the University fees falling probably has as big if not a bigger impact on us than investment fees, so I’ve bumped that post on to another time.

So, let’s look at what the impact is of the whole University fee issue. You see, the students are rightly upset that they have to pay far too much in University fees. The government on the other hand is saying there just isn’t money to give free tuition, and they right, it’s pretty hard to find money when you’re throwing so much of it away on things we really don’t need, like the arms deal, nuclear power stations and of course Nkaaaanndla.

I know I’ve said it before, but for some reason it just seems that governments don’t understand basic finance. Firstly you need to make sure you spend less than you earn, and then you need to invest some of the difference. It’s my belief that the #feesmustfall movement is simply the governments lack of understanding around making an investment in it’s future. Delaying gratification now for huge rewards in future is ground zero for investing.

As you might already know, I like numbers, so let’s look at an example:

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