Retiring Early

Friday, March 23, 2007

Spending your retirement money: On a gaming console?!

I came across this article this morning and had to share. It's both interesting and bit strange all at the same time. The article is basically claiming that Nintendo has been successful in luring non-gamers (including retirees) into buying their new gaming console called the Wii (pronounced "WEE"). Of course, the key to growth in the gaming world is growing the number of gamers, so this is a great strategy. They did throw a bit of a Hail-Mary pass with their console strategy this time around by not focusing on better graphics or near-real experiences, but it's great to see it paying off for them.

Anyway, back to how this is related to retirement: The article calls out two things that have retirees loving this new game console:
  1. The games are fun and interactive. Since you're required to move your body to play the games, older folks looking to stay active can do just that: stay active while having some fun. That's pretty cool, actually.
  2. It's not only social, but it's also helping to bridge the generation gap between retirees and their grandchildren. Again, that's pretty cool.
It'll be interesting to see if/when they bring out the "brain games" to the Wii. That should be the one-two, knockout punch for keeping retirees coming back to play. Good work Nintendo.

(Photo courtesy of


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Quick Update...

I'm still here, it just feels like I'm working three full-time jobs. Between my day job and my moonlighting effort, things are starting to take a bit of a toll. I should have more to share on my moonlighting efforts pretty soon, however. After 4 months, I'm not making money yet, but new milestones are being met and that's a good sign. Progress! More soon...


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Light bulbs?!

Over the past year or so, I've seen a lot of PF Bloggers writing about the merits of replacing your light bulbs with compact fluorescent (CF) bulbs as a way to save both energy and ultimately more money. I used to think it was a bit crazy, but they have a valid point: why not save the planet and money at the same time?

A few months back, I joined in and bought a few CF bulbs myself and have been very pleased with the performance. They're bright, no flickering and they come on instantaneously. Frankly, I don't notice any difference, which is great.

Now, as we're settling into our house more and more, we're finding more things that we want to "make our own". You know, customize. It's the American way, right? Well, my wife is pretty hell-bent on replacing many of our normal light switches with dimmers. I'm fine with that, but one thing I'm not sure how to handle is the combination of CF bulbs with dimmers. My understanding is that they just don't mix -- is that right? Are there any CF bulbs that can be dimmed?

If I go around and replace all of my light switches with dimmer switches, am I doomed to use normal, high consumption bulbs for eternity? On the other hand, I'm guessing that that dimmed bulbs use less energy, so perhaps it's a wash. Normal "dimmable" bulbs vs. compact fluorescent "non-dimmable" bulbs.

Anyway, it's a bit of a mind exercise that I'm throwing out there. For us, it's more of a comfort of life issue than a savings issue, but if you know me yet, I'll take any savings I can get. Either way, drop a comment if you have any thoughts on the subject...


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Watching like a hawk

As you all know, I've been spending a lot of time watching the markets and waiting patiently to deploy some of my cash on the sidelines. I've also been very busy at my day job and with my moonlighting effort (more on that in another post). Finally, home projects have sopped up every last remaining bit of time. I just quite simply haven't had a lot of time to capture my thoughts here, until now. Here is a a little update:

As I've mentioned several times, I'm watching the markets even closer than before (and I watch they a LOT!) I do believe we are still only at the beginning of a an overall downturn, but I do expect it to round out at the bottom over the next 4-6 weeks with a significantly higher finish to the year. We do have a lot of wicked volatility right now with up and down days alternating like waves hitting the beach (tsunami waves, at that.) Trading in a market like this is definitely not for the faint of heart and you have to have some pretty well defined goals. My goal? Create or add to long positions at rock bottom prices.

Anyway, It's clear where people are putting their money -- some sectors and equities have had shallower dips than others and have started to rebound nicely and consistently. They're easy to miss if you're not watching like a hawk. It'll be interesting to see if this continues or not, but for a handful of names in defensive sectors, I think we are in ok shape right now. To that end, over the last few days, I have cherry picked what I consider to be GREAT entry points on two great, great names. They are considered defensive, staple stocks, and I think they have a lot of upside even in an expanding economy. Here is what I bought with the associated entry point:
  1. Altria @ $82.77 -- I got really lucky on this one. I was adding to a long term position on 3/5 and I'm lucky to see it up over $85 today. The ex-div date and Kraft spin off (both in the next 2-3 weeks) make Altria especially attractive.
  2. Costco @ $55.25 -- The stock has been testing the $54.70 level and has held well. Today, they missed earnings, but only because of a few one-time charges. The downtrend after the miss provided a great entry point for the position.
Btw, I know my blog has taken on an investing tone lately and I hope that is ok. I promise to sprinkle in more retirement-focused content. Investing well is just one way to help get you there.

UPDATE: It looks like COST broke through it's support in the mid-$54 range today, but the good news is that there is another great support level around $52. I'm not sure if it'll head down there for a test or not, but my guess is that it'll hold if it does. Excluding the one time charges, they were in line with earnings expectations, so I'm not overly concerned about it. If we break the $52 level, I may become more concerned.


Thursday, March 01, 2007


This is the word I keep repeating in my head. Over and over. Patience, patience, patience....

I hate seeing such great stocks at such low valuations, but I cannot buy yet... If you saw the open today, you know that there is much more downside to come... Repeat after me: Patience...