Splitting the bill at a meal with friends and “others”…

friends_dining_painting

So this has been on my mind for awhile. Recently I was at at dinner with my girlfriend, her friend aka Mary, and Mary’s date aka John. The “others” in the title applies to John, haha.

The food was enjoyable, conversation was flowing, and we were having a decent time. The bill came and we split it evenly by 4 while I paid for my girlfriend and myself. No awkward moment on the spot, but there is a minor hiccup…

My girlfriend and I thought and discussed about it later. Neither of us is into drinking a lot of alcohol so we each had one drink for the night. Well, the minor hiccup is that Mary and John each had 3 or 4 drinks for the night.

Our biggest gripe is that neither of them think of to offer to pay a little bit more for the bill. How inconsiderate! At least make the simple gesture, right?

I don't want anxiety for dinner bill...

I don’t want anxiety for dinner bill…

I have no rules and I generally don’t fuzz about a few extra dollars. In this case, the difference is quite a bit more because of the disproportion between the pairs. I let it pass on the spot because I know this is an occasional outing. At the same time, my GF and I now know to be mindful about going out with Mary and a date, lol. Perhaps say something about it before the bill comes next time? Perhaps…

The good thing for me is that the close group of friends I keep are always great about when splitting the bill, none of us care about paying a bit extra while at the same time, we all offer to pay more when clearly we’ve consumed more. Love my friends :)

If I end up dining with a group of new people, I set no expectation and am ready to pay the extra if necessary.

Back to the story… The other point from our discussion is that, this John guy is obviously not that great of a date after all because it obviously didn’t cross his mind that their extra drinking had really tip the bill. This suggests a lack of attention and sensitivity.

I think it’s generally very hard to have rules set-in-stone to deal with these social situation. What do you think? How do you deal with splitting the bill in general?

Originally posted 2013-03-21 00:19:59. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

IBM 401k plan change

The path of building a nest eggs is full of emotions/surprises.

The path of building a nest eggs is full of emotions/surprises.

There is a spat of news from December that has caused me to think about 401k a lot lately. IBM, one of the largest, employer made a big changes in their 401k plan.

In short, the company used to pay out the matching contribution with each paycheck bi-monthly but starting in 2013, those contribution is paid only once a year in lump sum on December 31 and only if the employee is still employed on December 14. The employees will still receive their own contributions per paycheck in their 401k account.

Nonetheless, it’s good news to company’s bottom line and also shareholders but all bad news for employees because of these cons:

  • loss of the automatic dollar cost averaging over the year
  • loss of potential gain during the year
  • postential loss of all company contribution for the year due to quitting/layoff/firing right before December 14

Before such news, I think there is no question that any person employed in a company that provides matching contribution, he should definitely contribute up to the percentage to receive all those matchings. Now it becomes a bit debatable… though I can see someone may argue, if the employee plans to stay the whole year, contribute to get the matchings. Anyways… It’s important to keep an eye on this and give it some thoughts because IBM is a pioneer in setting the trend for this kind of policy change so stay tune to other companies to follow suit. Just 9% of companies has said policy now.

Outside of the changes mentioned above, if a company is still providing matching contribution, it still makes sense to contribute to receive those.

This goes to show that we should not make 401k our only tool in planning our retirement but instead, treat it as a supplamentary tool. We must combine it with saving and investment plans using our own smart and diligence.

Originally posted 2013-01-10 23:12:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Poor Rich People

I had the thought of naming this post the poor rich bastards… well, I didn’t and now you know anyways :)

There were lots of talk about increasing taxes on the rich, a battle between classes, 1% of the nation owning most of the money, all that jazz.

It is always my fascination to re-examine idea that is common sense, and we should take a look at the word “rich”.

Dictionary.com says that rich means “having wealth or great possessions; abundantly supplied with resources, means, or funds; wealthy,” and when we say somebody is rich, it simply means “that dude has a f load of money.”

There is a reason I called the rich people poor in the title. Because I have come up with another meaning for the word rich.

Rich means having more than enough.

The tricky part becomes, a person is rich only when a person knows what enough means to himself in various aspects — financially, materially, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Quite obviously, we can observe few, if any, of the people we called rich know what it means to be enough, demonstrated by their behaviors of hoarding more and more, be it money or power and let alone the other aspects where those people either have the faintest idea or simply don’t give a crap. Same can be said about those called poor.

As something Bill Maher said (paraphrase), “Americans would do anything and everything, to oneself and to others, for money.” Well, maybe not everyone, but definitely enough people do not know “enough” to fall into that definition.

Oh, these poor bastards.

The rich can be poor.
The poor can be rich.
Of course, rich can be rich and poor can be poor too.

Originally posted 2011-01-10 00:20:04. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Eating Out or Dining at Home

From most of the personal bloggers’ perspectives, eating out is a waste of money. I don’t disagree with that, but here is my take on the topic of eating out.

Just like everything, it has its pluses and minuses and let me state the immediate ones.

Pluses:

  • Convinenience and time saving (no preparing, no doing dishes)
  • Good tasting (I am a decent cook, but there are just better things out there…)

Minuses:

  • Health concern
  • Usually cost more money

After stating the pluses and minuses, now we can make a decision. Personally, I value my time very much and along with laziness, I just don’t want to deal with all the chores concerning cooking. My day is so heavily packed that I simply decided that it’s better for me to eat out most of the time. I concluded that grocery shopping, preparing ingredients, cooking, and then doing dishes will just end up taking so much of my time and energy.

Another thing I have going for me is that I do not have a family yet. I believe once you have a family, cooking and dining at home will become a much more cost-saving option simply because of the economy of scale and people to split the chores with. I actually used to cook when I was living with another family member, ah, the joy of being a chef. That was a great motivation…

With more people, buying is bulk is also very feasible without meeting the result of spoiling excessive food, which I hate when happens because of how it is just such a waste of food, and we all know that there are people starving at different parts of the globe out there.

So in conclusion, one must judge their own situation to decide if eating out is more benefical option based on some of the variables stated above.

Originally posted 2007-05-03 23:55:01. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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