What If You Are Wrong

What if you are wrong?
What if we are wrong?

What if everything that we have come to known, everything that we have done are completely wrong all along?

Therein lies one of the biggest reasons that people hardly ever change.

Yet, therein lies the key to real change.
Therein also lies one of the key to spiritual growth — that everything we think we know as truth is not so.

Can you accept?

Knowing that you are wrong.
Knowing that you don’t know.
Could be the biggest hurdle for the change you need.

Knowing that you are wrong.
Knowing that you don’t know.
Is a wonderful first step to a new beginning.

Originally posted 2009-09-13 22:14:07. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Change vs. Change

“Change You Can Believe In”
“The Change We Need”

Between Obama and McCain, we have heard enough about these “changes” that we need. Change is needed because the United States is drowning in a sea of issues, let alone the world. So change had become the theme of this election. That is what people desire and also want to hear.

But I am doubtful about the the kind of changes that will happen. Because I believe in inner change in each person. Inner change is the only way to bring about positive change. The change they talk about, not so much. Because they talk about changing the government exclusively, which take the responsibilities off the people.

But they are politicians, they need to win votes. And to win votes they say they will change this and that in the goverment so it makes the society perfect for the citizens. Because they are politicians, it is almost the only way they can act to win. Yep, it sounds great. But if they keep preaching that, that is what the majority of people will believe. They will believe that the government will change for them, and that they are not part of the problem. Then we have a problem. Because…

And the people is an integral part of the system. The government cannot save the people, per se. If each person solely wants to the outter world to change without himself changing, he believes he does not have to change. Such a person is no different than dead because only dead things stop changing and growing. Water that does not flow becomes “dead water”. When the majority of the population believes they do not have to change, we have a dead society. Scary. Plus, when one tries to change the world for himself, bad things can happen.

So in reality, we, both as individuals and a society, are at a crossroad of choosing “inner change” and “outter change”. One vs. the other. To live? Or to die? Though in common sense, perhaps dying is easier.

I believe self-change or inner-change is the only change one can rely on. So how about this:

“Everyone, change or perish”

Originally posted 2008-10-12 21:06:17. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

How to Be Awesomely Unsuccessful

Yep, you heard me right. I am feeling pretty devilish these days. So today, I tell you — Do the following if you want to be adroitly unsuccessful, disgracefully evil, or famously infamous.

Pay no Attention to Anything
This world sucks, and everyone’s going to die anyways. Even the earth may explode, or the sun will die eventually. Why should you give a damn?

Think Only of Yourself and Your Own Desires
Galileo was wrong. You are the center of the universe.

You Know Everything
Albert Einstein’s got nu’ting on you.

Listen Naught
“What? What’d you say? And don’t answer cuz I don’t really give a crap and I only hear what I want to hear anyways.”

Insult Whoever Crosses Your Path
Use your best rhetoric to defame and criticize. Lift yourself up by stepping on others. Easiest way to get to the top. Oh, who needs friends?

Blame, Blame, Blame
It’s never your fault, whatever happened. It’s always someone else, something else that caused the problem cuz they are all stupid compared to you.

Be Intractable
Change is for losers, like the dude who writes at Piggy’s Blog. You are just fine the way you are. No matter how unhealthy, how irresponsible, how angry, how hateful you maybe. You are just being your unsuccessful self. Be like that until you die.

Be Dishonest
Lie your way through any situation. Make promsies that you will never fulfill. Never do what you say. Yay.

Nothing is Possible
Quit at the first sign of failure. Give others no chance to call you out. Actually, don’t bother trying because at the end of the day, it requires too much time, effort, money, and discipline.

Hate
Nothing motivates like hate does.

Complain
Best way to solve a problem – complain until someone fixes it. Even if no one does, ‘es still da best kind of therapy.

Ignore any Problems
If there’s a problem, sweep it under the rug and it’s gone!.

Use not Your Brain but Violence
Trust your gut. If you feel like giving somone a black eye, go right ahead. If you think your kid needs a good thrashing cuz they are too annoying, grab the metal folded-chair and whack away. Show no signs of mercy or kindness, it will only hinder your journey to unsuccessfulness. Nothing solves problems like violence.

Kick ’em When They’re Down
What can be more joyful than making other miserable and being the audience. Prepare some pop-corns. Get the honey-glazed ones, and save some for me. Yum!

Never Exercise
Doctors and technology can always fix me up. If nothing, there’s still cosmetic surgery. Eh, worst case, I will just die. We all do anyways.

Well, that was fun, and I wish you best of luck. Work at it hard enough, and you may just achieve the rank of satan-hood!

Feel free to add to the list through comments.

Originally posted 2008-08-12 00:39:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Why maxing out 401k is not as great an idea as it sounds

Question 401k like L would from Death Note

Question 401k like L would from Death Note

In 2013, the maximum contribution is up to $17,500 while it’s an additional $5,500 for those 50 years or older. Everywhere you go on the interent, you can read articles recommending to contribute maximum to your 401k. It frustrates me to hell that people easily make such recommendation, so I’ll jump straight into my stance…

By all means, anyone should contribute enough to get all of the company’s matchings if the company does that.

Beyond that, I argue that contributing maximum to 401k plan may not be as good an idea as we think!

Below are my reasons:

  • 401k is illiquid until you’re 55. That is when you can withdraw without penalty. Until then, you can only take a loan which you will have to pay back (to yourself with interest) to access the money without penalty. At the same time, most 401k plans only allow withdrawal when you leave the company. Illiquid money may equal opportunity cost for other investment opportunities.
  • 401k has management fees, service charges, etc.. Depending on who the company hire and how big the 401k plan is, fees vary but any kind of fees will reduce your rate of return.
  • 401k’s investment will encounter selling pressure. I already mentioned 401k is illiquid and you may only have a very limited amount of investment choices in the plan. In such a case, you can get stuck holding onto investment that will continue to drop in values because population is aging and there will be more people trying to sell investments to retire than ones joining the work force.
  • 401k investmnt loss is not tax-deductible. Loss deduction is a nice tool to have for managing your investment.
  • 401k is tax-deferred, not tax free. Income tax is 25% or below for much of the population. Capital gain tax had been at 15% is now at 20% and will likely remain lower than income tax in future. Looking at our government debt, future income tax will likely be higher… much higher. Do you really want tax-deferred (AKA paying the higher income tax rate in future)?
  • A Math example…
    401k_math_1

    Here I show the result of someone contributing $5000 yearly and growing it over 30 years in a 401k vs. taxable account. I use 7.5% growth rate for 401k to account for some fees. To simplify, I took the tax out using the “Tax Rate in Future” at the end, and it implies future income tax for 401k and future capital gain tax for taxable account. So for 401k, I subtrated out 25% income tax while for taxable account, I subtracted 15% capital gain tax from just the gains to get the totals. This result tells me that the advantage of a 401k account is minimal and cannot outweigh the disadvantages mentioned. I provide a few more math results by changing the variables at the end of the post.

  • Last but not least… you may die soon. If you know you will die in a few months but your money is stuck in 401k… you are shit out of luck accessing it without paying penalty+tax. This one maybe a bit of a stretch. But hey, it’s worth thinking about!

The final take away is, maxing out 401k is really a personal preference where it is hard to say if it’s truly the best option for planning retirement. Assuming you can implement the same investment strategy, the advantage is minimal while there are disadvantages and more unknowns in the futures due to the 401k money being tax-deferred.

Personally, the advangages and disadvantages are largely a wash so I’d rather have flexibility controlling my money in taxable accounts and not have it locked up.

At any rate, what I really am saying is that each of us needs to understand thoroughly before jumping on the max-out-your-401k wagon.

We didn’t talk about Roth IRA here but it is likely a better option to put money into Roth IRA first vs. maxing out 401k. Also, having a taxable brokerage for investment should also be considered and done in junction with 401k, Roth IRA, etc.

All of us need to have saving/investment vehicle outside of 401k because let’s recall, 401k was created as a supplemental vehicle to help us save for our retirement — not the only thing we use.

More Math examples with varying parameters and results:
401k_math_2
Rate of return for 401k is 7% to simulate more fees.

401k_math_3
Rate of return for 401k is 7% to simulate more fees and future income tax is increased to 30%.

401k_math_4
Rate of return for 401k is 7% to simulate more fees. To simulate tax increase across the board, future income tax is increased to 35% and future capital gain tax is increased to 20%.

401k_math_5
Rate of return for 401k is 8% assuming a good plan with minimal fees.

401k_math_6
Rate of return for 401k is 8% assuming a good plan with minimal fees and future income tax is increased to 30%.

401k_math_7
Rate of return for 401k is 8% assuming a good plan with minimal fees. To simulate tax increase across the board, future income tax is increased to 35% and future capital gain tax is increased to 20%.
Rate of return for 401k is 7% to simulate more fees and future income tax is increased to 30%.

Originally posted 2013-01-16 01:13:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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