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kg4jxt's Journal
kg4jxt's Journal
July 14, 2014

Risk Tolerance

Money Magazine and other financial publications have a variety of "model portfolios" that cover a range of risk tolerances ranging from aggressive investor to very important to preserve investment, such as might befit a person with only a short time-horizon of investment. From my prior experience, market volatility only creates major deviations from a long-term upward trend for periods of a year or two - though certainly there have been longer market downturns prior to my time in the market. I think most of the money I invest is still going to be in the market in 15 years, so although I am retired I consider myself to be a fairly long term investor. But I cannot quite stomach the wild gyrations that a truly aggressive portfolio would entail. So I have not sought the high returns of REITs, junk bonds, emerging markets, or various specialty industry funds. These types of investments can lead to higher returns as befits their higher risk. But neither do I grasp my investment compulsively - money market fund returns are so low as to be of no interest, IMHO. But it is a very subjective matter. It depends on individual disposition, investment horizon, living circumstances and personal flexibility to deal with loss. There can only be guidance but no "correct" solution.

July 11, 2014

another good investment strategy

I want to get rich in the stock market, but I hate doing all the research. So I take the lazy way out as recommended by Peter Bogle - founder of Vanguard Mutual Funds: I have determined from reading and experience that my current "risk tolerance" equates to about 70% investment in stocks. I keep the remaining investment in long-term treasury bonds. I do not own any individual stocks or bonds, but purchase the S&P500 index fund and the long term bond index fund (VFINX and VBLTX, respectively). Every six months, I check the balance. If it is still at 70% I do nothing. If stocks are up, then I sell some to get back to 70% (sell high, right?). If stocks are down, then I sell some bonds and buy stocks (buy low, right?). I have followed this approach since 1994 and I have averaged a tidy 8.5% return on my investments. It does not take much time and I do not have to do any research or stress out about market calamities - when it is time to rebalance I just do it.

When I have money to invest, I invest it gradually over many months. When I need money, I take it out gradually over many months. I dollar-cost-average. Not all my investment moves come at the best or worst time. It might be that I lose an opportunity but it is very safe (well, safe for stock market investing anyway).

June 17, 2014

advocacy is our obligation

The poor have no economic power - the government of today cannot hear their plight. I think the electorate has become self-centered and each demographic is looking out for itself, but that does not mean people are bad -- they simply lack leadership. Pundits are so well directed to their respective demographics that it is harder for an effective leader to overcome the multiple voices, but sooner or later I think a strong voice will emerge to say: " the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness depend on economic power and therefore we the people must guarantee a measure of economic power to all our fellows - a guaranteed income". If we can figure out how to make this a workable program despite that the first beneficiaries are sometimes-unpopular minority groups, we can assure the future wellbeing of all people - because in another 15 years almost NOBODY will have jobs; they will be done by robots and other automated systems.

June 17, 2014

police function as directed

Police respond to public opinion (as they perceive it) and political direction. When someone is harassed, I think it is generally not the police themselves who think of this (am I too naive?!). Anyway, if I perceived such a situation, I would attempt to make a non-confrontational appointment with the local police chief and during that brief meeting, I would a) thank the official for taking a few minutes, b) explain what I perceive as possible harassment, without naming any individuals - putting the matter forth specifically but identifying it as a hypothetical situation, c) ask what policies and laws might be applicable; as what the official's view point would be on such a hypothetical situation, and d) thank the official again.

This kind of low-key direct action marks you as a concerned, but not necessarily antagonistic, citizen. It also puts the official on notice that there are members of the community (one of whom has taken the time to step forward!) who are noticing a situation which the official either already knows or should know. If the police actions are truly groundless or based on mis-perceptions, then they are likely to be curtailed. If others in the community are expressing concerns against the individual being harassed, then at least there is now a counter-concern against which to weigh actions. We can express concern without being belligerent - that is ideally an AID to government.

June 17, 2014

newbie kg4jxt intro.

Good day to you. I am new here - but old: 54 years this summer. I have been an engineer, a cruising sailor, and a school teacher. Now I live off-grid on a coffee farm in the Dominican Republic. My Dad raised me to be a bleeding heart liberal and it has stuck. I am glad to be here.

I want to learn more about economics and how our world can accommodate an approaching technological "singularity". I am thinking the time to make big changes in world governments is at hand while the people still have some economic power to demand changes. We do not want an "Elysium" outcome (except if we get it I plan to join the elites - no offense, I hope). Anyway, I am here mainly for economic speculation. Let's chat!

June 17, 2014

propane lighting

although a propane lantern gives a lot of light, it also gives a lot of heat. You would want to have electric light, LEDs are super efficient and you can charge a small battery with solar panels. Even if you only had an LED head-lamp and some AAA batteries, you could get a small charger for that. And although propane operated refrigeration is pretty nifty, such units are not common and not easily repaired when they leak. An electric refrigerator is more practical in many respects - but has its own attendant power needs. You can buy small chest-type freezers and simply change the thermostat for a refrigerator thermostat and have a well-insulated and efficient unit - but it will use much of the output of 300 or 600 Watts of solar panels (an investment of somewhat over a thousand US$ considering panels, wiring, and controller). Of course that would easily cover the power for lighting too. And even some power to run a fan now and then.

June 17, 2014

Guilds vs Apprentices

On the one hand, we all want a free market where innovation can bring us new and better services for less money. On the other hand, we recognize that the investments in livelihood made by Guilds or professions, represent the individual investments of real people who stand to lose from the creative destructions of the unconstrained market. Laws such as the Chicago Taxi regulations attempt to protect the professional drivers from apprentices with less training (and who therefore can offer lower rates) or who have a lower capital investment in their vehicle (and whose vehicle may therefore not meet some standard of taxi safety, spaciousness, or comfort - though I admit to ignorance of what such standards might exist). But government laws do not protect the mule-driver profession from the automobile (as an example). I think taxi-drivers are in trouble from Uber, but even more from automation of driving (google cars for example). A union might buy them time, but it will not save them.

June 17, 2014

more to come = need guaranteed income

Is there a forum link for discussion of guaranteed income by chance? I think businesses will continue to seek low labor costs via overseas factories and more importantly by automation (even the overseas workers are only a temporary fix - those workers will lose the jobs too eventually). Yet the economy cannot be healthy if there are no consumers. The whole issue of consumerism is, of course, a matter for discussion in its own right (I think it should be treated as a social disease) - but aside from how society determines what is a suitable level of consumption, we need to consider how society will continue to have the means to consume, or even subsist. A guaranteed income is one way to put money into the hands of consumers. The productivity gains of the economy are reflected in increments to the M1 money supply - that money supply could be increased by paying guaranteed income. The productivity gains are not getting smaller; they are growing at an increasing rate.

June 16, 2014

not so impractical as you might think

I know moving away is a daunting prospect for many, but it is not as impractical as you might think. I live on less than $15k and because I live out of the country, I live quite comfortably. The fact is, some organizations that operate in other countries have to pay a premium for US workers to go there. Examples familiar to me are school teachers, nurses, call center workers with good English skills, resort greeters, and I am sure there are other jobs of the same sort. Whereas a US school teacher can scrape along at $30k - making the same amount in a developing country at an "American school" is much more lucrative due to low living costs. If look for overseas jobs that match your skills, and you are willing to take the adventure, you might be surprised by some of the opportunities. Oh, and a good babysitter in many such places will cost less than $10 per day (compare THAT to daycare, single moms - plus your kids might quickly pick up a second language!)

June 15, 2014

VERY? Maybe not so much

I read that only 65,000 voted in the primary. It seemed to me at the time that the early analysis was that Cantor may have simply gone down to voter apathy. There are a lot of anecdotal explanations floating around and maybe some of them are insightful and even illuminating, but 65,000 voters do not make a movement. I would not read TOO much into this joyous event.

Profile Information

Name: Cade
Gender: Male
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Home country: USA
Current location: Dominican Republic
Member since: Sun Jun 15, 2014, 05:01 PM
Number of posts: 30

About kg4jxt

Retired Chemical and Environmental Engineer living off-grid on an old coffee farm in the Dominican Republic. Life is good. Also known as: google.com/+CadeJohnson
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