Life Insurance

I’ve heard the “Why you need life insurance” spiel enough times that I have come up with an effective defense. This is how it goes:

Life Insurance Salesman: Sheldon, you *need* life insurance?

Sheldon: Why? Did Sarah say something?

LIS: Sarah, oh, no she didn’t say anything but what if you die? Don’t you want Sarah to be taken care of financially.

Sheldon: Sure, but she has a job too. And if I die anytime soon, she’s a pretty girl, she’ll find someone else.

LIS: But for a dollar a day you can have the satisfaction that she’ll be taken care of for a life time. Isn’t that worth just one dollar?

Sheldon: Okay, so for $365 per year I’m may get a $1,000,000 payout in the next 20 years. In 20 years, I would pay in over $7000 and if I don’t die I’m out $7000 plus interest. If I do die, Sarah is a millionaire. Mo money, mo problems. I think I’ll pass.

LIS: But Sheldon, don’t you care about Sarah? Don’t you want her to have a comfortable life? How can you be so crass?

Sheldon: You’re right. From now on when the Powerball is above $300 million, I’ll throw in $20. That’s my obligation. And at least the money goes into an education fund or something for the state instead of contributing to your new Hummer.

I actually has a conversation like that with a LIS. And, the Powerball was over $300 million a few weeks ago and I actually did throw in $20. I lost. And, if I would have purchased life insurance I would be out over $300 this year alone. So far I’d be loosing that bet too.


Go bankrupt and no music for you!!!

According to the EULA that you agree to when you listen to music on your computer from certain Sony CDs, you are supposed to delete the music if you file for bankruptcy. It also seems that AutoCAD has the same terms in their EULA.

I’ll take the quote right from that site just in case it goes down someday:

All your rights under the EULA are automatically terminated if you “file a voluntary petition or are subject to an involuntary petition under applicable bankruptcy laws, are declared insolvent, make an assignment for the benefit of creditors, or are served with a writ of attachment, writ of execution, garnishment or other legal process pertaining to any of your assets or property.”

I can’t believe what Sony is trying to get away with here!!!! More astonishing is that people continue to buy stuff from Sony. We don’t *have* to buy from Sony . . . unless we really want to play the next generation of GTA because, guess what, it’s going to be a PS3 exclusive. But if you get the PS3 you better start saving now because if you happen to overextend yourself and need to file for bankruptcy you may not be able to play your beloved GTA anymore.


More bad news from Wal-Mart

I’m no fan of Wal-Mart (or Wal*Mart) but this is just one more reason to shop somewhere else:

Hilights are “proposes numerous ways to hold down spending on health care and other benefits while seeking to minimize damage to the retailer’s reputation” and “the recommendations are hiring more part-time workers and discouraging unhealthy people from working at Wal-Mart”.

I understand that Wal-Mart wants to preserve it’s image as a low cost leader with employees that love the company but that last part isn’t going to last long. Wal-Mart is exploiting the poor and using the government to subsidize things like employee health care. Those low prices take money out of every pocket but their own. The irony is that we’re all poorer because of Wal-Mart and we’re almost forced to shop there because many times they do have lower prices.

I guess the worst part is that there are plenty of other companies that do the same sorts of things we just don’t know about it. And Wal-Mart is under the spotlight only because they are so big. Are there any *big* companies out there that have a company slogan “don’t be evil” like Google?

Maybe Wal-Mart will stop selling junk food in an effort to have healthier people that can in turn work at Wal-Mart. And, what are they going to do about the greeters at the front door . . . those guys must be taking 20 medications a day. Oh, I know, they’re part time so no worries about health insurance.

It's not the water

While I was in Korea I was on a constant quest to find Diet Coke. Occasionally I would find it in a 12 ounce can but most of the time I found it as “Coke Light” in an 8 ounce can (I would usually buy two . . . I sure wish I could have gotten a 6 pack) or even as a fountain drink in a mall. There was something different about the Coke Light . . . it wasn’t Diet Coke but it didn’t seem like Coke either and since I was in another country I just attributed it to the water. I thought the same of the Coke you get in a glass bottle from Mexico . . . it always tasted different but good and I just thought it was the water. Well, turns out, they probably filter the water. Check it out:

Basically, Coke Lite = Coke Zero and they’ve had Coke Light in other countries for a while now without the Coke Zero brand. With a Diet Coke and a Coke Zero right in front of me I see that the Coke Zero is way sweeter and that’s the difference I was tasting in Korea. And, I’ve also read that the Coke in glass bottles from Mexico tastes different because it’s still made with real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup (that may be different now since I haven’t had real Coke in a long time and presented with a bottle with Mexico I would just detect is as “really sweet”).


Categorized as Korea

Preying on the Poor

A happy poor person (HPP) is about to file their taxes. Most of the money is probably from the Earned Income Credit. Sure hope they don’t get audited (getting the EIC gives you a higher chance of being audited . . . thanks to Bill Clinton, though, he was just protecting the EIC from being abolished). More on that later.

HPP gets money back every year and this year is no different. H&R Block advertizes how great they are and they do it specifically to the people getting refunds, the people qualifying for the EIC, people making less than $30,000. Jackson Hewitt does the same thing but I see H&R Block all over the place. So, HPP comes in and “Good news . . . you’re getting a refund!!!” How much? $5000, but, there are some fees. $40 to file your taxes. Oh, did you want that money as soon as possible? Don’t want to wait the 14 days to get you money? Okay, we’ll loan you the money. It’s called a Refund Anticipation Loan. How much? About $100, but in your case probably closer to $200. So, about 4 percent for a 2 week loan!!!! You’d be better off borowing the money from Tony Soprano. Okay, so now you’re down only $240 so you’re still getting back over $4000 and that’s a lot of money. Let me guess, you don’t have a checking account to cash this check. No problem!! Go to a check cashing place and get it cashed for another couple of bucks. And guess what? H&R Block has a deal with the check cashing places and makes money off that too.

See, now that’s thinking. Whenever I think about starting a business I think about how to appeal to the high end . . . custom wood work, custom web sites, custom database this or that all to people that have the money to spend on the best of the best. H&R Block went the other way and targets the poor.

A capitalist would say H&R Block is providing a “much needed service”. I say hookers provide a much needed service too but I still think prostitution should be against the law. And don’t get me started about pimps and drug dealers.

Oh yeah, and President Bush wants to put Socal Security money into the hands of people who don’t understand what they’re loosing when they get these short term loans (ever hear of a “pay day loan” . . . another drug dealer). I wonder what company will come along and provide a much needed service for them.


Categorized as Taxes