Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Stock Talk - Facebook #1

I wrote about in my last post that I would dig deeper into what Facebook is all about.  Unfortunately, I got way ahead of myself since Facebook does not have an annual report.  Going to the company's Investor Relations this very important in determining whether a stock is worth purchasing.  I went to Facebook's Investor Relations page.  Something I look for is the annual report.  This report is an audited report.  Facebook being new does not have one of these reports.  They do have a prospectus and a 10-Q, but the 10-Q financial statements are not audited.  Therefore I'm not really interested in reading over them at this time.  Typically I would like to view the last 3 years of the company's annual report or 10-K. 

This means...I would cannot analysis whether this company is a good buy.  Judging by how the stock price has tanked the way it has...it is just another reason why IPOs are risky.  The stock has plummeted and is sitting around $21 as of this article. 

Since I cannot read the annual report...I will not be covering this issue until I can get my hands on one of these reports. 

In my next article I will talk about some basic stock trading/investing tips on being a successful analyst.  I will be using the two books that I recommeneded you to read, the Intelligent Investor, and Securities Analysis by Benjamin Graham.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Stock Talk - My opinion on Facebook

Yes, I know...it has been a while since my last post.  I've been busy again with my CPA, working extra hours, exercising, and spending some time with the family.  This blog isn't a full time job...unfortunately I do not get paid enough to write these articles.  I have been writing, but sometimes I feel an article isn't good enough to publish.  I have several of these articles that are just hanging out there.  I know...it is a shame.

Anyways...I would like to write about a well recognized company...Facebook.  This is from a financial perspective.  If you do not know this by now, I am a big Sci-Fi fan.  I have been known to make statements about aliens from time to time.  Statements like...if aliens come to Earth and are looking for something to eat, I'm certain they will stop by McDonald's, drink a Coke, and perhaps have some Starbucks (disclosure, Military Millionaire does not own any shares of these companies).  I'm certain that if aliens are squirreled away somewhere on this Earth more than likely they will have a Facebook account as well.

That was off-topic...anyways...When you decide to purchase an asset...you need to buy them at a good price.  Warren Buffett has said that he would rather buy a great company at a fair price, than a lousy company at a great price.  It is my opinion that currently those companies mentioned above are great companies.  As with most publicly traded companies I do have some issues with companies that offer stock options to employees, executives and board of directors.  It has been a while since I've read over these company's annual reports.  Still...I'm pretty sure they still have these terrible practices.  I haven't looked at Facebook's compensation package at all.  The reason why I haven't is because the company has a PE ratio of around 90.  I couldn't buy something at such a high PE ratio.  Too much uncertainty around earnings at this time.

However, it is a company that I have on my watch list.  I have decided that I will probably create a watch list of stocks that I am interested in.  I may even start discussing some investing strategies, but I will hold off on discussing this information at this time.  I have been out of the game of researching stocks.  However, I may begin to do this in the near future.  More than likely this will happen after I free up my time by  not having to study for the CPA examination.

Let me know what you think...do you want me to talk about stocks or would you rather me discuss a different topic?  Let me know.

Full Disclosure:  Military Millionaire does not own any of the mentioned stocks in this article.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Elvis Impersonation - with kids

When it comes to sales...very few people can sell as well as children.  Why?  Kids for the most part can be fearless.  Plus the fact that most people these days are so afraid of hurting someones feelings that they cannot refuse.

How do I know that kids can sell?  Just take a look at girl scout cookies.  According to the Wall Street Journal, sales were $714 million annual.  I cannot remember how much it is per box, but I think it was $3 last time I checked.  Compared to the boy scouts...girls I'm positive sells tons more than boys.  Not only in volume, but gross sales.  If you look at boy scout products they aren't even worth buying with popcorn at like $9.  What a rip off!

We have been teaching Ashley our oldest daughter many new skills outside of what she learns in school.  She has been practicing her piano, learning Korean, and I just started teaching her how to sing and perform.  This was our very first take after all the crying stopped from her telling me she couldn't sing. 

Let's face the facts people...almost everyone can sing.  Whether or not you can sing like those who get paid millions is irrelevant.  Having fun singing with the family is something that you cannot put a price tag on.  Most people love a live performance.  I have yet to have performed something so bad that I wouldn't perform ever again.  I know I am not the best singer, but life is about having a good time.  As long as that continues, and you don't get booed off the stage...then keep on rocking!

I've watched and read a good deal about Elvis.  Even he got better and better as time went on.  He was shy on stage like everyone else.  He did overcome his shyness through experience, but you need to get that experience to overcome it.  It's like having any type of fear.  Fear of the water for example...given enough time you'll overcome that fear.  However, most people do not spend the time required to overcome their phobias.

My daughter told me she couldn't sing.  I as a father, it isn't my job to say...you are right...go watch some TV.  NO!  You do what it takes to get them to overcome whatever fear they may have.  The video I showed above was after 1 hour of fighting with my daughter.  She was crying and saying she couldn't do it.  One hour later...she did pretty well for the first time singing.

I am not a good enough song and dance man to perform as Elvis by myself.  Having my daughter perform with me will increase the overall experience for everyone exponentually.  So, get out there!

If you don't have kids who cares!  Have some fun with your friends! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Credit Card Freeze...save on merchandise

I was talking to some of my Military Millionaire readers and discussing credit cards.  It was a long discussion about why my credit card was superior to their credit card (not really).  Seriously...the discussion was about protecting yourself from theft.  I wrote a small blurb about this a while ago when I discussed Protecting Your Identity.  I do not think people gave it much thought...however today I was discussing how freezing your credit cards works.

During this discussion I mentioned that I went into a store and offered me 10% off if I applied for a credit card.  I told them it would get rejected.  The lady said it doesn't matter...if you do get rejected then you'll get 10% anyways.  I said that sounds pretty good.  So, I applied for the credit card and got rejected. 

What does this mean?  It almost sounds like I could continue to go around applying for credit cards without any fear of getting them, but be able to save money on each and every purchase.  Sure it takes some time to fill out the application, but to save $5 or more on stuff I need to buy anyways?  Sounds like a slam dunk deal to me.
Want to know more?  Then write your comments...it really isn't that hard.  Plus while you are at it, become a follower and Facebook fan.  You can do this to the right of these articles.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Join the Military today, leave tomorrow get free money?

I'm always looking for ways to exploit weaknesses in programs.  Whether it is a video game, or tax legislation...this is something I enjoy doing.  This personality trait probably stems from my dad who was a software tester.  From what his coworkers told us, he was one of the best their was.  As a software tester, it's your job to be sceptical.  To believe that the programmers didn't write their code correctly.  To debug the software.  All I really know was that he would bring home these reams of paper that had old code on one side.  We would use the other side as scrap paper.  After understanding what he did on a daily bases, I understood that I didn't want to do that.  Too much work I thought.

When I got out of the Army I applied for financial aid.  I went to the FAFSA website and filled it out.  I thought that because I was married I was considered as no longer under my parents "umbrella" and was able to get about $6,000 in Pell Grants each year I went to school.  This was a huge bonus for me.  I got to go to school for free using Pell Grants, and financial aid from my employer, and got the GI Bill that gave me $1,150 per month.  I was on easy street for about 3 years until...I finally graduated and had to grow up some more.

Today I was talking with one of my highly intelligent Military Millionaire readers.  He mentioned that his son who was recently discharged from the service was eligible for the Pell Grant as well.  This was news to me.  I thought you had to be married or over a certain age to no longer be considered supported by your parents.

However, by being a veteran this makes you eligible for Pell Grants right after you get discharged.  The FAFSA website states that you are a veteran if you:

"Have engaged in active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard), or are a National Guard or Reserve enlistee who was called to active duty for other than state or training purposes, or were a cadet or midshipman at one of the service academies, and

Were released under a condition other than dishonorable"

It doesn't state any time requirement to be a veteran.  My interpretation (which might be meaningless) means you could join active duty today, go to reception tomorrow, get injured or discharged and come back home to free higher education.  Obviously this can happen in two days, but it could very well occur.  I remember as clear as day that after about a week or two of basic training the drill sergeants had us all in a classroom.  They asked if anyone did not want to be here.  If anyone felt like they made a mistake.  If so, raise your hand and we will process you to be discharged.  A couple people raised their hands, and sure enough they were on the way to being outprocessed.  Did they go back home and get Pell Grants?  I have no idea.

This brings me to ethics.  Would this be ethical to do something like this?  Absolutely not.  Would it be worth all the pain and suffering to get accepted into the world's greatest military just to bail out for $20k in Pell Grants?  Some might be tempted.  However, rules can change in a heartbeat.  I'm positive if about several hundred people tried this, someone would figure it out.  Then the rules would be changed, and the loophole would be closed.

Disclosure:  Again, Military Millionaire does not condone using such practices as listed above.  However, for those who legitimately get discharged prematurely...at least this would be good news for you.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Health update - 7

In my quest to lose weight, I've reached some new milestones that I would like to share with everyone.  The are as follows:

Best 1 mile run time: 8:27
Most calories burned: 433
Longest Run: 3.25 miles

I still haven't lost any weight, but it isn't really that concerning to me.  The weight will drop eventually, as long as I continue to make adjustments to my daily routine, and continue to improve my workout time.  I've done plenty of different diets and the weight dropped off pretty quickly.  However, without continuing to make lifestyle changes it seems impossible to keep the weight off for good.

I'm not certain if I mentioned it before...but I started to read while walking on the treadmill.  This simple change I think will pay off big down the road.  I've also decided to only watch TV while using the treadmill.  I went as far as telling my wife to ditch the couches, but I lost that battle. 

Questions come up like...what about the kids?  My answer?  Forget the kids.  They can sit on the floor if they want to watch TV.  It is more important for dad and mom to live and be in good shape than to have comfortable sitting for the kids.  Can I have it both ways?  No, there just isn't enough room in this house.  However, if you are that concerned about my kids I do accept donations.  Feel free to e-mail me, and I'll give you the address where you can send money.

I did have a dream that gold prices went down to $300 an ounce.  I was so excited that when I woke up I went and checked the prices.  No luck...perhaps tomorrow.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Health update - 6

I sit here writing as sweat continues to pour from my forehead.  About a month ago my wife insisted on purchasing a treadmill for her birthday.  Reluctant to purchase such a big ticket item that typically turns into an expensive clothes hanger, I did purchase a Livestrong treadmill from Dick's Sporting Goods.

I thought it was a great idea to start using it more, so I decided that when I am going to study for my CPA I would walk and read.  It turns out to be a great idea.  Killing two birds with one stone.

Not only have I started to use the treadmill to walk and run...but I have also started to live weights again.  Right now at home I am lifting 25 pound weights for curls and shoulder presses.  These exercises are pretty simple to do.  I have periodically been doing situps and jumping jacks.  All this is a good start, but I do need to form a habit of doing it.

I have decided it probably is a good idea to wake up early and exercise before going to work.  Having the treadmill at home makes this a pretty easy task.  The hard part would be to actually do it.  I love sleep, and I am not a morning person.  However, having myself out of shape really isn't an option for some of the things I would like to do.

So, let's look at my stats against the U.S. Army PT Standards

2 mile run - 39 points @ 20:00 minutes
Minimum Standard 70 points @ 16:36

Pushups - 20 - 44 Points
Minimum Standard 70 points @ 46 pushups

Situps - 51 - 71 points
Minimum Standard 71 points @ 51 Situps

Total points earned - 154
Minimum Standard is 70 in each event...210 points

Stay tuned for my next update

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fat Cats - Gaining wealth means gaining weight?

I've noticed from the time I joined the U.S. Army.  Way back in 1999 I realized that as I started to climb the ranks or earned more income, I began to gain more weight as well.  I started off my career as an E-2 weighing 144 pounds and 69" in height.  After basic training I weighed about 150 pounds.  I got promoted in South Korea, and I was really working out hard.  I got my weight to 165 pounds.  A few years later I was promoted to E4, and topped the scales at 175.  I also grew an inch and was now 70" tall.

After I got out of the Army I stayed around 175 pounds.  I was going to school, and working part time.  My income was nearly the same as it was after leaving the military.  Then I got hired in 2008 as a civilian for the Air Force.  Every year for the last 3 years I have been promoted.  Every year I have gained 10 pounds.  I started off as a GS-7 weighing 175.  Then got promoted to a GS-9 I grew to weigh 185.  GS-11...195.  GS-12...205.

I promise I wasn't doing this on purpose, but there seems to be a direct correlation between earning more, and weighing more.  Obviously gaining weight isn't magic.  It isn't like I just pop on the pounds as soon as my paycheck increases.  It takes time.  One of my co-workers said something pretty funny (not to him, however he did end up losing a ton of weight).  They went to a bar and the bartender asked him for some ID.  His co-worker said, "You can't get that fat by age 21."

It used to be that the community would be there to help people out.  I remember that people used to criticize people who were overweight.  Those days are over.  I do remember my mom telling me a story about me when I was little.  She said I saw a really large gentleman.  Me being the type of person that can't keep his mouth shut, I said to my mom.  Look at that guy...he is really...STRONG!

The guy apparently laughed a good while as both he and my mother was expecting a different word.  Words are very interesting...choose wisely!

Monday, July 2, 2012

CPA examination - Auditing using Yeager CPA

Unqualified opinion...is this a good thing?  Is it better than a standard opinion (they are the same thing)?  What about a qualified opinion?  Qualified to do what exactly?

Today I took the Auditing portion of the CPA exam.  2012 is the year of the lost summer.  Lost due to studying for an exam, learning about information that will shortly be permanently forgotten after completion of the CPA license.  I did get to meet two other people at the Prometrics that were taking the exam.  Both of them had failed their exam, so I was in good company.  I was told by Gleim that you shouldn't talk to the other candidates, but what would they know?  Gleim also said that they guarantee I would pass the exam on the first try! 

Book used in Yeager CPA course
The good part about studying this time was I switched from Gleim to Yeager.  The instructor's name was also Gary, so I knew I was in good hands.  I think he did a good job teaching the difficult, and very boring material.  The CPA exam is just so comprehensive, it blows my mind thinking about all these questions that they ask you for each section.  My next test is August 24th and I will be taking the FAR.

After I finished taking the exam I took my car to get the window regulator fixed and oil change.  I was satisfied with the work they performed...so the day wasn't a total loss.  I then ate some Subway and then slept for a few hours until I was awoken by the phone letting me know my car is ready.

I've taken the next few days off, so you can expect a few more posts before I go silent again.  Feel free to comment or ask me questions about anything.  I'll be sure to respond.