Saturday, September 7, 2013

Houston Texans 2013: Super Bowl or ....

I'm psyched! This is clearly the best Texans team in our short history.

Last year, I said that for the first time it was not ridiculous to put Texans and Super Bowl in the same sentence; this year, I think it's ridiculous not to put them in that conversation. For example, a recent listing of the odds for winning the Super Bowl slots the Texans behind only the Broncos, 49ers, Seahawks, Patriots and Packers. Is this the year we finally make it to the Super Bowl?

The Case for Optimism (key changes since last year)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What Will $1 be Worth in the Future? (calculator)

This calculator:

  • Converts current prices to equivalent prices any number of years in the future
  • Compares purchasing power today to purchasing power in the future
Enter an amount, how far into the future you want to compute, and the inflation rate you want to assume.  Below we see that at 5% inflation for 20 years, an item that costs $100,000 now will cost over $265,000.  That means that 20 years from now the purchasing power of $100,000 will have been reduced by over 62%; $100,000 then will only be able to buy what we can buy now for about $37,000. (note: may not work in Chrome)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

March 2013 Stock Market Performance

Stock market (DJIA) monthly performance results; closing prices last 12 months through March 2013
Dow Index Monthly Closes Through March, 2013


The Dow started the month closing higher 10 straight days. The close on March 5 finally established a new all-time high. So, slightly more than four years after the crash low, the Dow surpassed the October '07 high of 14,165. Obviously, the remaining closes in the 10-day string also set new all-time highs.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Windows 8: Metro Apps and Programs

Guest Post by "Techie Tim"

Windows 8 Metro Apps and Programs
The Windows 8 "Start" screen

This is the third post in a series, the first post is Windows 8: The Start Screen.

The Windows 8 “Metro” interface

The new appearance of Windows 8 is a screen full of small rectangles – or “half-rectangles” which are square boxes – the “Start” screen.  The new look and feel is the “Metro” interface.  Many apps or programs execute as “Metro Apps” or simply, the new “full screen” appearance.  To end or close a “Metro App”,

Saturday, March 9, 2013

How Much Will Your Bond/CD be Worth in N Years? (calculator)

This Calculator Computes the Future Value of Your Bond/CD for Any Amount, Number of Years, and Interest Rate

Enter data only in the colored cells below.
Note: normal/annual compounding is once a year; semi-annual is 2 times/year; quarterly is 4 times/yr; etc. (may not work in Chrome)

Friday, March 1, 2013

February 2013 Stock Market Performance

Stock market (DJIA) monthly performance results; closing prices last 12 months through February 2013
Dow Monthly Closes Through February, 2013

Close, but No Cigar

On Wednesday, the Dow closed at a new 52 week & five-year high, and less than 100 points from a new all-time high -- even in the face of onrushing sequestration. It turns out Wall street was not afraid of the big bad sequestration. While the market did in fact retreat on the final day of the month, there was little indication of impending doom. Rather, it appeared to be little more than the normal caution that often accompanies approaches to major milestones such as all-time highs.

Friday, February 22, 2013

How Much Will You Receive in Social Security Income?

Social Security is a key component of most people's retirement plan. Here's a quick estimate of the retirement benefits that you can expect -- under the current rules....

Percent of Salary Replaced by Social Security Retirement Benefits

How much will I receive in Social Security? what percent of my income will replace?
Percent of Salary Replaced by Social Security

The Percentage of Your Salary Replaced by Social Security is Determined by Your Salary Level

The chart above (click to expand) shows the approximate percent of your salary that Social Security will replace if you retire at age 65. The actual calculation is complicated, and is based upon your lifetime earnings (see links in related materials below). For these estimates, I have assumed that you will earn your current salary, adjusted for inflation, for the remainder of your career.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Introduction to Windows 8 Charms: Search, Share, Start...

Guest Post by "Techie Tim"

This is the second in a series, the first post is Windows 8: The Start Screen.

Windows 8: The Charms Banner

Two challenges have persisted through many iterations of the Windows operating system.  Windows needs to communicate important things for you to do quickly, easily and in language that is easily understood by non-computer professionals.  Also, a quick and easy method for these same computer users to tell Windows what they want it to do.  Additionally, with Windows 8, these challenges need to be addressed both for a touch-screen environment and a mouse-driven interface in a consistent manner.

The end result was a “Charms banner”.  To access this banner on a touch screen device, you simply put a finger in the upper or lower right-hand corner of the screen – then slide it toward the center of the screen.  In a non-touch environment, you’ll move your cursor to the upper or lower right-hand corner of the screen.  In either environment, when the black banner appears you will move to select the desired charm without moving from the banner.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Inflation Calculator: Convert Dollars from 19xx to Now

Convert Dollars From One Year to  Equivalent Dollars in Another Year
Calculate Inflation Rates Between Two Years

This calculator is especially useful for converting salaries and asset values.

The brown/tan cells are input fields. For example, enter the start and end years and immediately see the inflation rate between the two years. Enter a price and convert between the start year price and end year price (e.g., from 1900 to 2011 dollars -- or vice versa). Note: may not work in Chrome?

Friday, February 1, 2013

January 2013 Stock Market Performance

Stock market (DJIA) monthly performance results; closing prices last 12 months through January 2013
Dow Index Monthly Closes Through January, 2013

On the Cusp!

After a relatively flat fourth quarter (actually, it was slightly negative), the market exploded into the new year. The year started with a 308 point relief rally on January 2nd, celebrating the last-minute agreement that kept us from falling off the "fiscal cliff" -- at least for a while. From there, The Dow kept going until it established a new 5-year high close of 13954 on January 29th, right on the cusp of 14,000!

Friday, January 25, 2013

What Will $100 be Worth in 10 - 20 Years?

This post estimates the future value of a dollar for the next 1-50 years, for inflation rates ranging from 1% to 10%. The chart works not just for $100, but for any amount -- $1, $1,000, $10,000, $100,000....  And, it works for 5, 10, 20, 30 ... anything up to 50 years. (This is a companion to a previous post which compares today's dollar to earlier years.)

Inflation is one of the biggest risks that current and future retirees face. Given today's life expectancies, even relatively low rates of inflation can devastate the purchasing power of a pension or uninvested cash during your retirement years. How great could the impact be? See below.

Try my new interactive future inflation impact calculator.  It does the same calculations as the graph below, but for any number of years, and for any inflation rate. Then come back to this post; graphs are still better for seeing the big picture.

What Will $100 be Worth in 5, 10, 20, 30... 50 Years?

What will a dollar be worth 5, 10, 20, 30 years from now in future?
What Will $100 be Worth in N Years?

The Impact of Inflation on the Future Purchasing Power of a Dollar

Over the last 100 years, U.S. inflation has averaged about 3%/year. As you can see from the graph above (click to expand), even at these apparently benign rates (the blue line), within 20 years the purchasing power of a fixed pension will be almost cut in half. Twenty years is not a long retirement these days; most advisors recommend that you plan for thirty. Some retirements last even longer.

Friday, January 18, 2013

How To Get Started With Windows 8: The Start Screen

Guest post by "Techie Tim"

This is the first post in a series that could have been called "Windows 8 101," or "Introduction to Windows 8." The overall objective is to provide an overview of and introduction to the new Windows 8 operating system.  Before he's finished, new guest poster "Techie Tim" plans to cover all of the basics.

Windows 8 is different, but you will be rewarded with new features/functions and a common “feel” for all of your Microsoft supported devices. If you’ve watched TV recently you will have noticed the “Start” screen for Windows 8.  This new design is the "Metro" format, and the first "page" that you will see when you log onto your Windows platform.

Introduction to Windows 8: how to get started with the Start screen
The Windows 8 "Start Screen"

A Consistent "Look & Feel" For All Devices

This screen with the multi-colored squares and rectangles (referred to as “tiles” within Windows 8), replaces the “Start Button” that was at the lower left corner of earlier versions of Windows. Microsoft’s objective for this redesign was

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Thoughts on the Houston Texans - Patriots Playoff Game

Houston Texans - Patriots play-off game thoughts

It's Football Time in Houston

Here we are in exactly the situation that I was hoping to avoid -- playing the Patriots on their home field in the playoffs (rather than at Reliant Stadium). Still, even though the Texans were embarrassed in their last visit to Foxborough, and even though the experts virtually unanimously favor the Pats, I'm optimistic. Here's why.

Texans - Patriots, Monday Night December 10, 2012 Remembered

Not a pretty sight! The young Texans lost their composure, got behind early (21-0 by halftime), and, as a result, could not play "Texans football."

Friday, January 4, 2013

Stock Market Total Returns through 2011

Continuing my practice of archiving the prior year's version of my "Stock Market Returns Through 19xx" post, following is my archive of market total returns through 2011.

Stock Market Total Return Results through 2011

  • Since 1900 (end-of-year 1899), through 2011, I estimate the average total return/year of the DJIA (Dow Jones Industrial Average)  was approximately 9.4%  -- 4.8% in price appreciation, plus approx

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Stock Market Performance: End-of-Year Update

Kick The Can

Faced with the potentially catastrophic "fiscal cliff," our law-makers finally swung into action and rode to the rescue. Well, sort of. Congress continued to abide by their "We will solve no problem before its time" -- or, maybe a little after its time -- philosophy. So, an hour or two after the midnight, end-of-year deadline, the Senate finally passed legislation designed to avert the "fiscal cliff" disaster. Assuming the house agrees, and soon, we can all relax.

Well, sort of. Following the new global approach to solving problems, what the Senate really did was kick the can down the road. They raised taxes on those earning more than $250,000. However, as far as cutting expenses goes, they took their cue from Scarlett O'Hara; they'll think about it later. (The draconian spending cuts were simply postponed for two months.)

As a result, 2013 promises to bring us a seemingly unending series of ____ing contests: on raising the debt ceiling again (which is where this all started), the federal budget, and, two months from now, renewed fighting over spending cuts.

2012 Monthly Stock Market Closes Through Year-End

Stock market (DJIA) 2012 monthly closing prices thru year-end
Dow Index Monthly Closes Through December, 2012

December, 4th Quarter, Year-To-Date & Recovery-To-Date Review

Two of the three major U.S. equity indexes posted double-digit gains in 2012.  The DJIA (Dow Jones Industrial Average) brought up the rear, closing the year at 13,104.14. Here are some key market stats.

  • From Prior Month Close of 13,026 The Dow is up 79 points (0.6%)
  • From 52-Week High of 13,610 on October 5: we're down 506 points (3.7%)