100 Words On: Why Inflation Is Taxation without Representation

Inflation is a tax that doesn’t require legislative approval. Here’s why: Assume your saving account earns 3% interest. (I know; but play along.) Whether that interest is taxed at 100% in a zero-inflationary environment, or earned tax-free with 3% inflation, the end result is identical. Considering the US is mired in over $100 trillion of debt and unfunded obligations, that’s especially convenient.

The bottom line: Legislators know that imposing onerous taxes on

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100 Words On: A Surefire Way to Beat the Lottery - Guaranteed.

I realize I’ve made this point before but, come on, talk about a sucker’s bet: The odds are before you ever strike it rich playing the lottery you’ll most likely be struck by lightning. Twice. Now consider this: Over a ten year period, somebody who puts $25 per week into a savings account or CD earning 4.5% compounded monthly will earn $16,417. Meanwhile, someone hoping to strike it rich by

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100 Words On: The Importance of a Balanced Investment Portfolio

Conventional wisdom says it’s unwise to put all your eggs in one basket. Likewise, having a large portion of your portfolio in any single asset class — be it stocks, bonds, commodities, or cash equivalents — is financial suicide. Maintaining a well-diversified balanced investment portfolio helps minimize risk by spreading out your investments across multiple classes; think of it as a form of free investor’s insurance that protects you from

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100 Words On: Why You Should Never Ever Be Afraid of Failure

Most of us learn to fear failure and avoid it at all costs. During our quest for financial freedom, however, we’ll encounter plenty of failures. Usually, we learn from them and move on. Sadly, the fear of failure is also used as a convenient excuse for some folks who dig themselves into a deep financial hole and are looking for any reason to avoid the hard work of overcoming their oppressive debt.

The

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100 Words On: The One-Armed Bandit's Armless Cousin

Who hasn’t been fleeced by a casino slot machine? Although only Keno offers worse odds of winning, slots are by far the most popular casino game, responsible for 70 percent of gambling industry winnings — so it’s really no surprise they’re derisively called one-armed bandits. Like casinos, banks have their own army of two-faced dollar desperadoes: automated teller machines. ATMs have no qualms heisting 15 percent per $20 withdrawal. For

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100 Words On: Why Extended Warranties Sometimes Do Make Sense

The conventional wisdom out there is that it’s rarely advantageous to consider an extended warranty unless it’s for an automobile.

Don’t believe it.  The truth is, when it comes to extended warranties, things aren’t always quite so black and white.  For example, it often makes sense to buy extended warranties for irreplaceable or low-reliability products.  Likewise, they’re often a good idea for items that you know may be mishandled by kids

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100 Words On: The Importance of Always Paying Yourself First

When it comes to saving money, the biggest hurdle for most folks is the lack of available cash after paying all of the bills every month. Fortunately, this seemingly impossible problem is easily fixed by paying yourself first — not your creditors. One of the most effective ways to do this is by taking advantage of your employer’s automatic 401(k) paycheck deduction.

The bottom line: Whether you’re saving for retirement or

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100 Words On: Why Tracking Your Net Worth Is So Overrated

Many people dream about reaching the million-dollar net worth milestone, as if that lofty benchmark somehow guarantees a strife-free financial life. Preposterous! Net worth — the value of your total assets minus your total liabilities — is overrated because it’s very misleading, as evidenced by many “paper millionaires” who struggle to make ends meet. Yes, net worth is a terrific indicator for estate planning, or identifying how much insurance you

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100 Words On: Why Miracle Whip Doesn't Belong on a Tuna Sandwich

While most folks consider mayonnaise to be a condiment, any half-way decent chef will tell you that, technically, it’s a sauce. Beautiful in its simplicity, mayo is nothing more than egg yolks, oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. That’s it. On the other hand, Miracle Whip — mayo’s cheaper cousin — adds vinegar and sweeteners to the recipe, which gives it a provocatively different flavor that doesn’t come

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100 Words On: Why You Don’t Need an MBA to Manage Your Finances

Never assume that just because a person holds an MBA, he knows how to run a business; the road is littered with MBA-sporting CEOs who ignominiously drove their companies into the ground. Conversely, there are just as many CEOs — guys like Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Oracle’s Larry Ellison — who achieved phenomenal success without the fancy business school sheepskin.

The bottom line: If guys like Gates and Ellison can successfully

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