100 Words On: Why Inflation Is Taxation without Representation

Assume you earn 4% interest in a savings account.  Whether you pay a tax of 100% in a non-inflationary environment, or collect that interest tax-free with 4% inflation, the end result is the same.  In other words, inflation is a tax that requires no approval from legislators.  This concept isn’t lost on our government, which is currently mired in over $100 trillion of debt and unfunded obligations.

The bottom

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18 Fast Facts You Didn’t Know About Social Security Numbers

President Roosevelt signing the Social Security Act of 1935 in the Cabinet Room of the White House.

This weekend I was looking through the safe that holds all of my most important documents, like family birth certificates, insurance policies and the secret recipe for mom’s sauce, when I ran across my Social Security card.

Now I’ll wager that, if you poll a room full of people at a triple-keg

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10 Old Wives’ Tales Masquerading As Financial Rules of Thumb

It’s been said that if the palm of your right hand itches, you’ll soon be coming into money.  On the other hand (seriously, no pun intended), it’s also been said that if your left palm itches you’ll soon be paying out money.

Don’t laugh.  There are folks out there who actually believe this stuff.

What is funny though is if you do an internet search, you’ll find there is no consensus at

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12 Good Reasons Why You Should (and Should Not) Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

Do I think it’s wise for you to pay off your mortgage early?

You may as well ask me if I think it is a good idea if you paint your living room sage green.

I used to think paying off your mortgage was an absolute no-brainer.

Then I did a complete 180, changing direction like one of those day-glo orange heliport windsocks. Oh yes, I did.

After resurveying the macroeconomic condition of the

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8 Stupid Fees Consumers Hate to Pay (But Often Do Anyway)

In this tough economy, businesses of all types are trying to nickel and dime us to death with add-on charges.

Those charging the fees want you to believe that the fees are necessary to cover the additional costs of doing business, like pizza delivery fees.

In reality, all these fees do more often than not is mislead the consumer by adding a hidden mark-up to the advertised price.  Sometimes the fees are

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Inflation 101: Why Avatar Isn’t the Biggest Movie of All Time (And What Movie Is)

This past week, the technologically ground-breaking 3-D movie Avatar was hailed across the globe as the new king of the box office world, “topping” Titanic‘s box office take by grossing over $1.859 billion worldwide.

According to the media, this week Avatar will also surpass the $600 million mark in the United States and overtake Titanic as the domestic box office record holder as well.

I understand why, when reporting box office totals,

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A Primer to Help You Unravel the True Meaning of a Dollar

Have you ever looked really closely at the US one-dollar bill?

If you have ever paid close attention, there really is a lot of stuff going on with that humble bill.  Some of it is actually kind of creepy.

Today I thought I’d try and unravel some of the dollar bill’s biggest mysteries for you.

Okay, okay. They’re not really mysteries – 98% of this stuff is all over the internet – but

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18 Facts You Didn’t Know About Automated Teller Machines

How many of these fun facts did you know about automated bank teller machines (or ATMs, for short)?

1.  Believe it or not, the first cash dispensing machine was invented by Luther George Simjian way back in 1939.  The mechanical dispenser was installed in New York City at the City Bank of New York but was removed after only six months due to lack of customer acceptance.

2.  Simjian later lamented that,

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What’s an Emphyteutic Lease? (And Why You May Want to Avoid One)

The other day the Honeybee and I were watching the two-millionth episode of House Hunters (or was it Buy Me ?) when the host mentioned something that sent a shiver down my spine.  Apparently, the unwitting owners of a condo found that their home was built on land subject to something called an emphyteutic lease.

Of course, I had no idea what the heck an emphyteutic lease was, but I knew

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18 Astounding Facts You Didn’t Know About Money

How many of these 18 fun facts did you know about money and its history?

1. Before the use of paper currency, man used various items as a medium of exchange including cowrie shells, leather, cattle, amber, rice, salt, thimbles and decorative axes known as zappozats.

2. The first and oldest form of money used by man is cattle.  There were several significant problems with using cattle as a medium of exchange, however. 

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