Monthly Archives: May 2014

Best of StockGuilt: Ten Resonable Reasons Not to Feel Guilty About Making Money

Hello, my name is Jon, and I have guilt. I have guilt about things I do. I have guilt about things I fail to do. I have guilt about things I think, feel and see. I have guilt about crap I don’t even have control over.

But this article is not about parenting, cholesterol intake, or the dog poop in the back yard, it’s about investing in the stock market. We, here at StockGuilt feel that making money is a good thing, but we also feel guilty about it.

So we have bantered around our round table in the office command center, and come up with our top 10 list of reasons that we feel that making money is a good thing. We all acknowledge that this is a futile defense mechanism  and most likely we are just spoiled rotten, fat, heartless and horrible people because other people don’t have what we have, and everyone (ironically mostly beautiful and rich people) tell us that we should be guilty about it.

10) “Money is neither my god nor my devil. It is a form of energy that tends to make us more of who we already are, whether it’s greedy or loving.”

Dan Millman, Author of ‘Way of the Peaceful Warrior’

9) We should raise everyone up! We should stop thinking about those that have, and how much they have, and think more about those who don’t. Everyone should be rich.

8) We are good people! If we truly believe people with the money right now are doing a crappy job with the world they own, we should try to take the power out of their hands.

7) If we were rich, how much good could we do? I know my personal dream is to start a free university, open to all people …

6) You could inspire others. What if you could empower a child from a lower socioeconomic level to prosper? How much despair could that avoid, for herself or her friends?

5) Think about the elderly, struggling to live. Would you wish that on others, just because society says it’s not alright to be economically strong? Then why would you wish it on yourself?

4) Your children.

3) You don’t have to keep it. If you had a million dollars, you could change someones life. You could change 10 someones lives …

2) The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They are the second biggest single contributor for grants for public health and education in the United States, after the United States Government! 

1) Sir Richard Branson: This.

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The Worst “Assets” You Can Buy

Read this article on what not to invest in. Should be called Investing Myth Busting.

The Small Investor

Growing wealthy is all about buying assets.  Assets are things that pay you money, such that you can increase your earnings by purchasing them.  Get enough assets in your portfolio and they can replace your paycheck so you can retire early (or allow you to keep working and make twice as much).

But many people mistake liabilities – things that cost money – for assets.  They think they are investing their money when really they are spending it.  Here are the top seven liabilities disguised as assets, from the best to the worst:

8.  A big house.

The old adage goes that “Your home will be the biggest investment you ever make.”  We are told (by broke people) that we should buy all of the home we can afford, taking out the biggest loan we can get.  A big home, however, has big costs for heating and air conditioning, lawn and yard…

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How to turn one dollar into a million (an economic animal story for children).

So, as a kind of apology for posting a picture of a naked woman on the site last week, we decided to write a children’s story.

That’s the way we roll. Like a WalMart cart, all Wibble-wobbly and covered in grease from being handled by weirdos wearing stretchy pants and slippers.

To facilitate, we enlisted the help of Charlie, a six year old kindergarten student. She will give us the nouns of our story. Enjoy!

P.s., We acknowledge that the geography and biology of this story are not accurate. If you are the type of person that was bothered by something like that, while reading a story about anthropomorphized talking animals, we are probably not going to please you anyway.

Poopa and Bucky, in the forest.

“Poopa and Bucky, in the forest.” Drawing by Sophie (8 y/o)

There was once a little boy Giraffe named Poopathon (its a family name). He lived in the jungle. One day, Poopa was picking succulent leaves from a tall tree, when he heard a gorilla breathing. Normally this is a very bad thing, as gorillas like to use giraffes as play equipment. In fact, Poopa’s great grandfather James Poopathon is where we get the name “Jungle Jim”. This is great fun for gorillas, but usually leaves the giraffe with a headache and a queasy stomach, which now that I think about it, may be where the family name came from. Regardless, little Poopa was beginning to run when the gorilla called, “Wait!”

Usually this was a trap, and Poopa wasn’t going to be fooled. But this was Bucky the nerd gorilla, and Poopa had never been used as a monkey bar by him. In fact, Bucky always seemed kind of sad when the others got a hold of a giraffe. So, Poopa stopped to listen, if, at a safe distance.

“Thank you,” Bucky began, pushing up his grass-rim glasses and adjusting his rainbow feather and vine suspenders. “All of the other gorillas hate me.” He held up a hand to forestall protest from Poopathon, but Poopa only nodded. In people that is a subtle acknowledgement, but for a giraffe, it is about as subtle as underwear made out of a thornbush. You will know about it, and it will not be comfortable.

Thank goodness for gorilla autism, as Bucky didn’t even notice.

“I have been doing some monkeying with some numbers …” said the Gorilla.

Poopa whistled in awe. He said, “I don’t even understand slothing with numbers, let alone an animal that moves as fast as a monkey!”

“I’m really smart”, the Gorilla agreed, “But, you would have gotten that sooner, if your brain was closer to your heart … and right now you are beginning to understand why the others don’t like me very much. ”

Poopa was still a little scared, but was now also annoyed, “I understood as soon as I saw your suspenders,” he said.

“Right, well, I see.” Bucky said. “They are holding up my fur pants”.

Poopa nodded.

This time Bucky noticed, “Ouch! It’s that obvious?”

Poopa nodded again.

“Ouch! Stop! I get it,” Bucky said, rubbing his butt, “I suffer from Gorilla pattern baldness. It’s pretty embarrassing …”

Poopa burst into laughter.

“Oh, I see … em-bare-assing. Very funny. A pun.” He pulled out a pad of leaf paper and scratched a note, “I keep a list of things that make others laugh, to try to incorporate into interpersonal communications with my peers.” He filipped a few leafs, “Like this one: I once found a hyena foot in a hot tub. A lion had put a piranha in there as a joke. But the hyena didn’t laugh.”

Poopa laughed even harder.

Bucky shook his head, “I don’t even know why that is funny. … But it works every time.” He flipped a leaf. “Try this one: What do you call a Gorilla with gorilla pattern baldness? A baboon.” He looked at Poopa, who was beginning to calm down. “Interesting. I guess that is more of a gorilla-centric joke.”

Poopa rubbed the tears from his eyes on a leaf. “Oh, oh! That was the best laugh I’ve had since Geoffrey tried to sneak into that toy store down in Cape Town!”

“Yes. I heard about that. You’re tale is infamous. That is why I am here, actually.”

Poopa was confused by this statement, “You want to hot-wire a safari van?”

Bucky slapped his hands on the ground, “No, no! I want over ripe fruit. I know you have access to it. You Giraffe’s are like the frat boys of the jungle.”

Poopa nodded his head.

“Wow, when you agree, I can really feel it!”

“It’s a blessing and a curse,” Poopa agreed, “So you should probably only say things I like.”

Bucky scratched a note. When he was done he looked up, “So. I have figured out something, I think. Since we Gorillas don’t have any goods  that we can use to entice you to simply give us fruit for this so called ‘jungle juice’, I will simply give you a leaf.”

Poopa laughed again, “A leaf! That’s rediculous! Look around, there are leaves everywhere! What good would another leaf do me?”

Bucky scratched his bald butt absently, “Yes, yes. I am well aware of the preponderance of foliage in the jungle. In fact, I am sure that is the reason it is called a jungle.”

Poopa rolled his eyes.

“Right. Sorry, I get distracted. As I was saying, this leaf is special. I have scratched in the language of doctors, the ancient Hen Chicken language, on this leaf that the person that holds this leaf is entitled to one favor from anyone he hands it to. So, if I give it to you, you will do me a favor. When you hand it to someone else, they will have to do a favor for you.”

Poopa straightened his neck, “Like, when the gorillas try to use me as play equipment, I can give them this leaf and they will leave me alone?”

Bucky nodded and then pushed up his glasses, “Yes, of course. We are all in agreement on this. All Gorillas will honor this leaf with one favor whenever  it is presented.”

Poopa thought about it for a second. This may or may not work, he thought, but it will not cost me more than a few minutes of my time. If it does work, though, I won’t have to worry about having a headache every Saturday morning, and I can go do helicopter pilot training!

He said, “Then, I agree. I will get you your smelly fruit, and you will give me that leaf.”

They shook hands/hooves.

Very soon after, a group of Gorillas jumped on Poopa. He immediately produced the leaf and handed it to the biggest Gorilla, who took it and then disappeared deep into the jungle with the others Gorillas. Later that night, a small Gorilla came to Poopa,  handed him the leaf and pointed at a tree with over-ripe mangos. Poopa wondered how the small Gorilla had received the leaf.

But then he was distracted by the ripe mangoes and forgot all about this thought until one day after many leaf give and take, Bucky came back with the leaf.

“They need some more mangoes,” he said, and handed the leaf to Poopa.

“How did you get the leaf? I always give to the biggest Gorilla, and now you have it.”

Bucky stared blankly at Poopa for a second, and then appeared to pop out of a trance, “Oh, I did him a favor, and he gave it to me.”

“But, I thought it could only be passed between Gorillas and me.”

“Well, I suppose that was implied, but it was set up in such a way that any Gorilla could take the leaf as payment, and we all understood that whoever had the leaf could get mangoes from you. So, we started doing favors for each other to get the leaf.”

Poopa was thinking. There was a Giraffe that he had seen with a really nice (and large) scarf, that would look lovely on Poopa’s neck when his was piloting a biplane. (He had seen the errors of his previous goal of piloting a helicopter). “Do you think that a Giraffe would take this?”

Bucky got that blank look again, and finally blinked. He began talking all in a burst, as was his custom. “Well, I know of at least one Giraffe that took it. I can not see any reason others would not.”

“But, it sounds so silly. A magic leaf that grants wishes.”

“It is not magic, but an agreement.” Bucky said, “I do something for you, and you do something for me. But, with the leaf, it doesn’t have to be at the same time. It’s a promise that the favor will be returned. It’s like a battery for favors.”

“A what?” Asked Poopa.

“A small metal contraption that holds differences in ions in a stasis until utilized by a contraption that can transmogrify the electromagnetic energy into mechanical energy.” Bucky said, while simultaneously pushing up his glasses with one paw, and scratching his bald butt with the other.

“A what?” Poopa repeated.

“Never mind.” Bucky said, “I’ll go with you to explain it to him.”

“OK,” Poopa said excitedly.

“After you get me those mangoes, if you please.”

“Oh, right!” He said, “How’s that going for you, by the way. You making any friends with your fellow Gorillas?”

Bucky shook his head, “No, unfortunately. They are all too interested in games and food to want to do serious research, but a least being able to give them mangoes has bought me a modicum of space and quiet for my experiments.” He scratched his head. “Curious. Now that I think about it, the Gorillas have been a lot more helpful and nice to me, even when I don’t have the leaf. Hmmm.”

Poopa didn’t understand half of what Bucky was talking about, but nodded his head anyway.

“Oh, thanks for the vote of confidence.” Bucky said, surprised. Poopa even saw a hint of a smile. That’s not what Poopa had intended, but it was his philosophy that any mistake that made someone feel good, he would just pretend that it was intentional, because if he had stopped to think about it, that’s what he would have wanted to do anyway. So, he nodded again.

Bucky said, “Oh, that feels so good!”

And off they walked through the jungle.

Years later, after thousands of exchanges between the Gorillas and the Giraffes, and many more between Giraffe and Giraffe and Gorilla and Gorilla, Bucky and Poopa came together again.

“Hello Poopa,” Bucky said.

“Hello Bucky,” Poopa replied, “I have the leaf.”

“Keep it. I’ll do you a favor without the leaf.”

Poopa was surprised, “Really? Why?”

Bucky pushed up his glasses, “It has become increasingly clear that your idea of passing the leaf to others has been a catalyst for peace between our species. And I want to thank you.”

“Oh!” Poopa said, blinking in surprise, “Well, ok! Thank you too!”

“You are welcome.” Bucky said matter-of-factly. There was a few moments where Bucky just stared at Poopa, and the moment became awkward.

“Uh, OK!” Poopa said.

“Yes. Sorry. I was thinking. Have you tried giving it to a lion?” Bucky asked, scratching his backside.

“What?! No! Why would I ever go near a lion? That would be crazy!” Poopa realized he was actually crouched, ready to bolt, as if a lion were really there. Self consciously he stood straighter, but couldn’t fight the urge to look around.

“Mmm … Give me the leaf.” Bucky said.

Poopa stopped looking into the shadows. “But, you just gave it to me.” Poopa said.

Bucky nodded, “I have rethought that decision, and have concluded that it would be better if I were to take it.”

“Oh,” said Poopa, disappointed, “Ok. Here.” He handed Bucky the leaf.

“I will go talk to the Lion for you.” Bucky said, and then turned around walked back into the jungle.

Several days went by when Bucky was not seen, and Poopa became worried about him. Soon he returned, and appeared to be unharmed. He was holding the leaf.

“They wouldn’t take it?” Poopa asked when he saw the leaf.

“Oh, no. Quite the opposite in fact. They took it, and made the promise not to hunt any Giraffe for one month, if you do them a favor in return. Hence the leaf.”

Poopa was suspicious, “What do they want me to do?”

Bucky nodded, “Nothing violent, I assure you. I told them you would not help them hurt another animal. They want you to be a look out. For the Safari Truck.”

Poopa laughed, “Really? I can totally do that! What do I do if I see them.”

“Just shout,” Bucky replied.

“What if they don’t hear me,” Poopa said.

“They will, I assure you.” Bucky said, and pointed to the shadows. There, a Lioness stood.

Poopa swallowed, but managed to croak out, “Ok, I will.”

The Lioness nodded and left the clearing.

After a few minutes, Poopa spoke, “This is incredible! Do you realize what you have done? We can go back on the planes again! We can run anywhere without worrying about tripping on a vine or smacking into a tree without getting eaten!”

Bucky just nodded.

“We won’t have to be eaten anymore!” Shouted Poopa, and began to cry. “Its such a relief!”

Bucky nodded again, and reached into his pants. He retrieved a large yellow leaf. On it was the Hen scratchings he recognized, but also a picture of a Lion and a Giraffe standing side by side, each looking behind the other. Keeping each other safe.

“It’s beautiful!” The Giraffe said.

“You can use it exclusively for the Lions, if you wish.” Bucky said. He handed the leaf to Poopa took the green leaf in exchange. and put it into his pocket.

“And we can keep the green leaf for Giraffes and Gorillas,” Poopa agreed, nodding.

“No,” Bucky said, almost sadly. He took out the green leaf and showed it to Poopa. It was worn and tattered, and had holes in several places. “It’s too old to use anymore. I estimate we have used this leaf a million times.” He smiled his small little smile, and then tore the leaf in half.

Poopa was horrified, “No,” he cried, “What are you doing!? That is the most important thing in the jungle!”

Bucky handed one half of the leaf to Poopa, keeping the other for himself. “No, it’s not. Friendships are the most important thing in the jungle. Friends that will help you achieve your dreams. Friends that you can help achieve theirs. This was just a tool for letting us realize that.”

Poopa nodded, feeling like this time he had understood what his smart friend was saying.

Bucky smiled, “Besides,” He said, pointing to the jungle all around them, “There are leaves everywhere.” And then he laughed.