A personal finance blog dedicated discussing such topics as budgeting, asset allocation, 401K, IRA, cash flow, insurance, financial planning, portfolio management, and other areas in personal finance.


Wednesday, February 02, 2005

My Thoughts

I don't usually do a journal-type entry. I'll make an exception today.

First off, the day started off on a bad note. I took my wife's Honda in for an oil change and mentioned to the service attendant that the "check engine" light came on. They did a diganostic test ($80) and told me that I have a cracked manifold and a leaky seal. I about fell out of my chair when he told me that it would cost over $1,750 to fix! Needless-to-say, I'm going to shop around.

While I was there waiting for 2.5 hours, I read today's Wall Street Journal. If you don't subscribe to the WSJ, you should. It is well worth the $200 per year subscription price. If you don't want to pay that much for print, you can do the electronic version for something like $90 per year (which also includes Barrons).

Anyway, here are the interesting things I saw in today's WSJ:

Andy Kessler thinks SBC's purchase of AT&T will prop up SBC for a while. I take it to mean he isn't too fond of SBC. Time will tell.

American Express is planning to spin off it's advisory unit. They have found that trying to be a financial "supermarket" isn't the way to go. In fact, the brokerage (or advisory) unit has been dragging down American Express. It is probably due to the fact that their mutual funds are subpar and had $5 billion yanked out them by investors last year (2004).

It seems the wealthy (those who have investable assets of $500,000 or more) are losing their trust in their advisors. That is according to a survey that was done recently. The article claims that many people are switching firms due to hidden fees and poor investment results.

Finally, worried employers are starting to put their employees into automatic 401(k) plans. Employees can opt out of them if they choose. This is a pretty interesting idea. Hopefully more companies will follow suit.