I was combing through today’s spam when a CNN/Money Ask the Expert article caught my eye. Usually I ignore them, given that they can often contain some pretty lousy advice, but the headline “When 401(k)s and IRAs are not enough” caught my eye.
My first reaction upon reading about Norm was “how much do you make that you can afford to max out your contributions to both investment options?” My second was, “what kind of life do you lead that you would want to?”
Not that I am all grasshoper and no ant, but if you’re saving that much in a regular job, you have to be missing out on some things in life. The saddest thing that could happen to Norm is that he never makes it to retirement. The idea of funding my retirement accounts to their max I find crazy only because there’s a fairly decent chance I won’t make it, and that I won’t really be able to enjoy it. If Norm is saving for retirement at the expense of the present, that’s just as much a shame as not saving for retirement.
Does anyone have any recommendations on language guides/books/audio CDs/computer software? I want to pick something up next month to work on my Japanese, but I’m not sure which way to go.
Right now I’m looking in to the Pimsleur CDs, the Rosetta Stone software, and the Auralog Tell Me More software. I already have the Japanese for Busy People books, but I’m looking for something more interactive / less book based as well.
I’m always searching for new movies, especially movies with a message or viewpoint or insight in to a world outside the standard Hollywood fare. To that end, I originally read about Singapore GaGa last year and wanted to have an opportunity to see it. Now that it’s been released on DVD, I’ve ordered a copy.
Update: It just arrived in the mail today!
Verizon has been aggressively marketing their new fiber optic service in my town over the past two or three months, with a barrage of mailings, adverts, and e-mail. In fact, my favorite was a “Fedex” envelope practically begging me to sign up. And, (full disclosure), since I’m a shareholder and also interested in the improved channel selection and Innernet speeds, I want to anyway.
Except one thing keeps nagging me. They offer a “promotional bundle” for 12 months for $95 for phone, Innernet and cable tv, which is a pretty solid deal. Currently I pay about $135 a month for those three services. My trouble comes when I read the following line in the fine print: “At the end of the promotional period, the monthly recurring charge will revert to the then-current monthly rates.”
The fine print then goes on to mention a number of restrictions, conditions, fees, and other items that may apply to each of the services. However, no where in these adverts and mailings is there any clue as to what the “current” monthly rates might be.
The best I could do was to look online to try to discover this, but their site had nothing broken down clearly, of course. Here’s what I found.
Innernet – Three options, 5 Mbps / 2 Mbps – $39.99; 15 Mbps / 2 Mbps $49.99; 30 Mbps / 5 Mbps $179.99; The promo refers to a 20 Mbps / 5 Mbps plan which doesn’t exist according to the website.
TV – The base plan is $42.99 / month, and I would have to add a $7.99 / month sports package to get back to where I am with my current cable. The cable set top box could also be another $4.99 / month, but it’s not 100% clear on that point.
Phone – Here again it’s not 100% clear what “Freedom Essentials” services Verizon is referring to. When I read this, the cheapest package is $34.99, but is missing key services like caller id and call waiting. Adding those in brings up the price to $44.99. Either way, that’s far more than my $30 / month with taxes from Vonage.
In total, right now, I’m paying ~$104 / month for Innernet and cable tv, with the sports package thrown in. And I’m paying another $30 / month for home phone service from Vonage. The grand total is $134 / month.
Under the “current monthly rates” from Verizon, barring any unknown discounts, I would be paying $45 (phone), $43 + $8 + $5 = $56 (cable), and either $50 or $180 a month (Innernet). The grand total is either $151 or $281, whatever the correct Innernet charge is supposed to be.
Until Verizon cleans up their offering to make the monthly charges clealer, I’m not in any hurry to switch. Especially since changing again is always difficult.
The National Weather Service issued the following alert for my area:
Somerset (New Jersey)
SHORT TERM FORECAST
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOUNT HOLLY NJ
930 AM EST SUN MAR 4 2007
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…WASHINGTON…FLEMINGTON…SOMERVILLE…
NEW BRUNSWICK…JIM THORPE…STROUDSBURG…ALLENTOWN…
930 AM EST SUN MAR 4 2007
SCATTERED FLURRIES AND ISOLATED HEAVIER SNOW SHOWERS WILL MOVE
THROUGH THIS MORNING. DURING THE HEAVIER SNOW SHOWERS, A QUICK
COATING WILL ACCUMULATE ESPECIALLY ON GRASSY AREAS AND LESS
TRAVELED ROADS. WATCH FOR SLIPPERY SPOTS ESPECIALLY OVER HIGHER
TERRAIN LOCATIONS WHERE TEMPERATURES ARE AND WILL REMAIN BELOW
FREEZING THIS MORNING.
After what felt like a nice respite from the cold of the past month, are we really back below freezing?
The blogging slows to a crawl.