iPhone: Buyer’s Remorse?

I got my iPhone yesterday. I’ve heard great things. Apple is on fire. (Speaking of Apple gadgets and the company in general, check out Money Cone’s eye opening article, Your Returns Had You Bought Apple Shares Instead Of Apple Products.) Everyone on the planet is buying iEverything. So why am I so anxious about cutting over? If you can’t beat them join them, right? I took a step back and found some legitimate reasons for my apprehension.

One Armed Bandit

I remembered in the early 2000′s, BlackBerry’s were hideous. Short and stubby and looked like a person’s palm. Their current offerings, Curves, Bolds, Storms, and Torches are sleeker and can be easily manipulated with one hand. I have an iPod touch and clumsily use two hands. I worry about the slowdown in my production.

Lone Wolf

My team constantly keeps in touch using BlackBerry Messenger. I hear an app is coming soon, but until then I need to find a workaround to stay in touch with the team. That’s another demerit for work productivity.

Out Of Sync

Since my BlackBerry is connected to a BlackBerry Enterprise Server, I get real time emails piped to my device, lucky me. I believe the iPhone needs to occassionally poll my mail server meaning my emails won’t be real time. Will I die if my emails are fifteen minutes delayed, probably not. I’m just adding one more item to the list.

Apps Galore

We’ve all heard it. “There’s an app for it!” After all my moaning about productivity, there supposedly is a ton of apps that can make me even more productive than now. There’s a workaround for the BlackBerry Messenger (WhatsApp) so things are not as bleak as I made them to be.

Final Thoughts

After being a dedicated BlackBerry user for years, I’m just having a hard time letting go. Change is supposed to be a good thing and I will do my best to adjust. It is just hard to let go of such a trusted and reliable sidekick. But if I had to choose a replacement, I can’t do better than one of Steve Job’s greatest inventions.

What are your thoughts about your mobile device? Am I freaking out for nothing? Any advice on dealing with smartphone swap anxiety?

Finding The Right New Car For You

Today’s guest post is from Edward Pacheco, an auto enthusiast who shares his knowledge about new cars, auto insurance, and pricing at Automotive.com.

Buying a new car is a big decision that you will be forced to deal with for years to come after the purchase. Nobody out there wants to spend their hard earned money on a new car just to find out that they don’t like it a few months down the road. This is why it is very important to really consider what you are looking for in a new vehicle. Making a hasty decision that leaves you unsatisfied has the potential to make you miserable each time you get in the driver’s seat. Just think how bad it would be if every morning you got into your vehicle and said to yourself that you should have went with the Nissan Altima instead of the Honda Accord. After a few days of this you would be going crazy! Take your time when in the market for a new vehicle. There really is no rush at all. The car dealerships will still be there after you have done your research.

Think about what kind of car will best fit your needs. If you have a large family, or young kids, you may want to go with an SUV such as a Ford Explorer or Honda Accord Crosstour. These automobiles are big enough to handle multiple passengers comfortably. If you are constantly taking your kids to and from school or practice you may want to look into a crossover SUV or wagon such as the new Cadillac CTS wagon. In addition, if you live in a part of the country that gets a lot of snow then an SUV or otherwise 4WD vehicle will be able to handle it much better. Having the peace of mind that your family is safe while on the roadways is priceless. If you find yourself traveling a lot for work or have a long daily commute then you may want to look into a car that gets great gas mileage. Cars like the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Honda Civic are known to get 35+ miles per gallon on the highway. If you spend a lot of time driving and want to save money on gas then this type of vehicle would make sense. Furthermore, these types of cars are well-made and have a reputation of lasting forever.

If outdoor activities are your thing then you should think about buying a truck. Trucks come in all shapes and sizes. There are smaller trucks like the Ford Ranger and larger ones like the Chevy Silverado 2500 HD. Depending on what you are into there is a truck that will fit your needs. The smaller trucks are great for throwing your camping gear in the back and hitting the campground for a long weekend. The bigger trucks, on the other hand, can handle things such as towing a boat or hauling around large loads in the bed. A sedan is the perfect car for people who want a combination of size and efficiency. Sedans, like the Hyundai Sonata, get good gas mileage but also have plenty of room in the backseat and the trunk. If you need a car to drive around town for grocery shopping or the occasional night out then a sedan could be a perfect fit. Sedans are also good for driving in bad weather because they have enough power to navigate through the snow with ease. They are also a little bit wider than a smaller, compact car which makes them more stable and smoother driving.

Make sure to take any make and model that you are interested in on a test drive, The best way to figure out if a car is good for your daily routine is to try it out. Get a feel for how comfortable the car is and how it rides. If you are satisfied with how it performs then you can add it to your list of potential cars. If there is something you do not like about it simply cross it off of your list and move onto the next one. Look at things such as potential blind spots on the sides of the car as well as how well you can see over the steering wheel. Though these things may seem like minor details, they are very important to some.

Millionaire Messenger Review

What can I say? I was blown away! I couldn’t put it down. I’ve read a few “guru” books before, but nothing like this. It was easy to read, digest, and swallow. The impressive thing about Burchard is how he seamlessly blends poignant stories with clear, step by step procedures on how to be a guru yourself! This may sound cliche, but I actually did laugh and cry. I normally only do this at movies.

Million Dollar Lessons

Besides learning Brendon’s story and how he came to be, you learn many of the lessons that he had to figure out the hard way because there was no one who was teaching what he is now teaching. You will learn his 10 Steps to an Expert Empire, The Messenger Mindset, and The Millionaire Mandates, just to name a few.

Hits Close To Home

If you own a blog, you have to read this book. You may not have dreams of being a guru, but there are many challenges we all can relate to (getting our message out there, helping people with our knowledge, growing our following). If you are part of a blog network like Yakezie, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that the guru space or expert industry actually likes to help each other and cross promote.

Final Thoughts

Brendon’s passion for the expert industry shines through in his book. You can even see it more clearly in his videos. Paula Abdul called him a chihuahua on crack. His raw energy inspires me to push forward with my blog. Hopefully I can ride this momentum and make my message heard. Maybe one day, I’ll be a best selling author or leading sold out seminars, too. One can dream and this book is one step to making it come true!

Push Hard, Stay Cool

If you recall my resolutions, I wanted to hit the gym after I moved. I have, off and on, but have been using the same amount of weights for a few months. I’m proud of myself for even getting to the gym, but now that I’m used to the weights, I need to add weight to my workouts or I will never improve. The same can be said for my blog, my retirement plan, and my personal growth.

Blog

I’m coming close to my sixth month and still going strong. In an effort to get myself to the next level, further my writing skills, and increase my capacity, I will be posting content on another website besides my own. I will constantly check myself for burnout, but I feel this will help me improve my self-management skills, too.

Retirement

Last year, I knew I had a ton of expenses so I lowered my contributions to my company’s 401k. When the new year came around, I doubled my contributions to catch up. I had an idea that I would be spending less this year than last so I wanted to capitalize. In the past, I would have set it and forgot it. Make sure you check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Mango Software

One of my resolutions was to learn a European language because my wife and I had such a blast in Europe. I was going to use Rosetta Stone, but found an alternative from Mango Software. The Mrs. and I will tackle French. Salut!

Final Thoughts

After getting your routine down, don’t get complacent. This is the only way you can build more muscle, increase your capacity, and add confidence to all your endeavors. In theory, if you continue to repeat this process, you will get to where you need to go.

Can you blog more? Can you make more guest posts? Can you comment more? Can you control your spending more? Can you contribute more to your retirement accounts? Can you tackle one more resolution? If you bite off more than you can chew, you can always dial it back and regroup.

But if you get complacent, you will never improve and you could give yourself a double whammy. You will now have another activity that could put you in a rut along with your day job. You need to avoid this at all costs. So starting today, build capacity and confidence in all that you do. Who knows, one day we can all be cool like the Fonz.

Stay Inspired!
Buck

Overspend To Save

You must be thinking, “Ok, Buck has completely gone off the deep end!” Hear me out, it stings, but hopefully everyone learns from my mistake.

Yesterday I could have overspent some money that would have saved me, 4600% of that money. Any guesses? Initially, it looks like any form of insurance. You pay a premium in case of an accident and hopefully most of your expenses will be covered if it does occur. You could say the same about life, car, medical, just about anything. If I could turn back time, I should have thought of this as parking insurance.

My wife and I wanted to go shopping and found a metered parking. We estimated we would stay one and a half hours. My instincts kicked in, knowing my wife, I better make it two. She hedged and said, no we won’t be that long. Plus I’m thinking she wanted to save us the fifty cents. My frugal self won out and agreed.

Long story short, my instincts were right (always go with your instincts). We got distracted, I tried to get us back in time, cut it a little too close and we got a nice window souvenir a few minutes earlier. Parking ticket, $23.00.

I screamed, “I KNEW IT!!!” I breathed, fighting every iota of negative energy boiling in my frugal body. “I HAD A FEELING THIS WOULD HAPPEN!!!” Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and I let it go.

Learn from my mistake and remember, sometimes you have to overspend to save. Can you think of other times where you should overspend to save?

Stay Inspired!
Buck

Rock Climbing Finance Blogger

As I wrapped up my final day at the LA Travel & Adventure Show 2011, I was a little unsettled. The downpour drastically reduced the crowd. The pace was slower and not as hectic. Visiting booths was not as stressful so you would think, smooth sailing. Since this was a travel & adventure show, things would not be complete unless I went on an adventure. Right? I felt I needed to tackle at least one of the three outdoor activities (ziplining, scuba, or rock climbing).

I’ve already ziplined in Costa Rica so I moved on to the next two. I was game for scuba, but the Mrs. didn’t want me dripping wet for the rest of the day. Maybe next year. :) That left one obstacle left, the rock climbing wall.

As my wife and I walked by, the wall was higher than I thought. I had second thoughts. “What if I cramp up? What if I slip? What if I fall?” Before I let those inner questions get the best of me, I was being strapped into gear. A rugged belt went around my waist while two connecting loops secured my thighs. The instructor connected the safety line (similar to a bungee cord) to my belt. I asked if there was an easy, medium, and hard part of the wall. I was thinking I should go easy because it was my first time.

Just before me, a young kid was frozen, petrified on the easy section. That gave me the impression that easy was challenging enough. It didn’t help that a young teenage girl zoomed up the medium part of the wall. It was just my luck that the instructor put me on the hard section, probably because I’m an adult. I whispered for some last second advice. He did tell me that some of the grips were upside down, meaning rather than hang normally with my fingers, I would have to hang with my fingers with my palm facing up. Good to know.

I channeled my inner Ethan Hunt from Mission Impossible. The beginning was easier than I thought. I worried that my arms would burn out, but I could safely recover and buy time every step of the way. I focused on the wall and barely looked down below. Fifteen feet up, about half way, I got stuck. I couldn’t find my next move. I tried both my left and right hands. I stretched my legs around a bit, too. I was in no man’s land! I thought for a moment, come back down, you’re done.

I thought of my wife down below snapping pictures. I thought of the little kids giggling. I thought of all the other bystanders. Pride kicked in. Don’t give up, Buck! I somehow found my next move and moved upward. I inched closer to the top and finally pressed the alarm to signal I was done. A quick little burst didn’t do my feat justice. On second thought, I held the button again and let it buzz for a few more precious seconds. I came. I saw. I was momentarily stumped. I refocused. I conquered. These are the moments that make you feel alive.

As I repelled from the top, I patted myself on the back for not giving up. I will use this moment to remind myself not to give up on my blog. I may run into an area where I don’t know my next move. But if I stay calm and keep trying different grips and positions, I will get to the top. In a similar vein, if you are dealing with a challenging financial situation like a mountain of debt, don’t give up. Stay calm, refocus, make sure no stone is left unturned, and one day, you will again be debt free.

How do you deal when you are in your no man’s land?

Blog Carnivals

Totally Money Blog Carnival #10 – Daylight Saving Time Edition hosted by Canadian Finance Blog presented Guru Or Gladitor.

Featured By

Stoopid Success hosted his Blog Carnival which featured Libya Crisis: Best Trades Ever and Is Saving Not Sexy?

101 Centavos hosted King for a Week Proclaims This Week’s Roundup Links which featured Guru or Gladiator.

Invest It Wisely hosted Weekend Reading: Posterity Edition which featured Help Japan, Help Yourself

Thanks again 101 Centavos for hosting Random Links for the Week which featured Set Limits, Be Limitless.

LA Times Travel & Adventure Show 2011: Day One

Earlier I said this will be the best travel show of the year and it lived up to the hype. I listened to three amazing, passionate travel writers, Arthur Frommer, Andrew McCarthy, and Rick Steves. I’ll go into detail in future posts.

The recession may be over as tons of wannabe travelers swamped the LA Convention Center. Countless countries were showing their wares on one end while many US states showcased their finer points on the other. The Taiwan booth was especially fun with a boba drink shaking contest and a stationary bike cycling contest.

If you are the adventurous type, make sure to try their zipline, scuba pool, or rock climbing wall. There were tons of goodies, endless giveaways, and yummy treats! :) You can also take in cultural dance performances as well. If you don’t have time to take a vacation, this is the next best thing. While you’re there, you will have everything you need to PLAN your next vacation, so snap to it!

I couldn’t find a current commercial, but this clip from 2009 shows you what adventure awaits you. Tomorrow, more Rick Steves and Samantha Brown!

Where are you going on your next vacation?

Stay Inspired!
Buck

Set Limits, Be Limitless

It’s funny how life works sometimes. I’ve been giddy over this trailer for months. I was so moved I sent it to friends to hype the movie and I was going to write an article using the Limitless theme without even having seen it. My wife had other ideas. Thank you for being that unpredictable spice of my life! :)

After work as we walked toward the car, she beamed, “We’re going to the movies tonight!” I still had some work to do, but that gleam in her eye gave it away. “Limitless?” I knew right away. She screamed, “Yes!” We bolted toward the car like two crazy teenagers. It will be nice to reflect on this post when we’re old and gray. Also, could this be The Secret at work? We both really wanted to see this movie and then, we did!

Ok, let’s cut to the movie. I think because I was so jazzed from the trailer, I was slightly let down in the beginning. It picked up steam at the end so it was a good watch overall. Bradley Cooper can do no wrong. The new golden boy of the moment probably can get any role he desires. Slightly better looking than me and almost as charming, he was the perfect choice for the hero, Eddie Mora. He’s an out of luck, struggling writer who stumbles on a drug that allows him to utilize his entire brain. He becomes limitless or as mentioned in the trailer, the perfect version of himself.

DeNiro was DeNiro. Abbie Cornish (poor man’s Charlize Theron) was passable. But the scene-stealer was Gennady (Andrew Howard), Cooper’s thorn in his side throughout the movie. All in all, an above average movie which begs the question, “Would you take a drug to become limitless?”

I wouldn’t, but there is a better way. All you have to do is set limits.

Relationships

Earlier in the week some friends wanted to catch up. I was swamped with work. In the past, I would overextend myself and try to handle both my work and my social obligations. Guess what, disastrous results on both sides. My attention to everything was half assed. It was a lose-lose-lose scenario. I calmly and clearly set limits with my friends explaining how taxed I was at work and I would need to get back to them when things settled down. They understood, I was focused, and finished my work. Everyone won.

Investing

Over the years I’ve lost many a stomach lining as my portfolio took a beating. I am finally using stop loss orders to limit my portfolio’s downside. I am now less emotional and more disciplined in my trading. On top of that, since I am not going batty on a bleeding portfolio I am better equipped to handle my other responsibilities.

Blogging

I mentioned before that I was feeling like an insecure ballerina in Black Swan Blogger. So many metrics and so many things to tweak almost overwhelmed me. Setting limits on what I could do in a day and making sure not to lose sight of my health made me a better blogger.

Final Thoughts

I’ve touched on relationships, investing, and blogging, but I’m sure you can find other aspects of life that would benefit from this mindset. Give your ego a break and put pride on the side. Set your limits, become the perfect version of yourself, and be limitless.

Stay Inspired!
Buck

Help Japan, Help Yourself

As I reviewed my portfolio, my comments, my RSS reader, and some work from my day job, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Buck, what the heck are you doing? Although investing, getting out of debt, AdSense, Alexa, subscribers, and followers are important, they all pale in comparison when you think of what’s going on in Japan. I won’t repeat the details as we’ve seen 24/7 coverage. In a weird way, I tried to harden myself and continue my normal routine. I saw the Yahoo relief banner and felt compelled to do something myself.

I then stumbled upon Financial Samurai’s How To Help Japan. Sadly, I couldn’t text my contribution because I use a company phone. All my problems were immediately reduced to molehills as the Japan disaster was the real mountain.

I walked to an ATM to get some fresh air. I caught up with my old friend and we discussed Japan. We came to the conclusion that even in disaster there are some scumbags looking to scam others. Be careful as your generosity might be taken advantage of.

Long story short, my bank’s ATM has a new option for charity donations. When selected, you can enter any amount up to $249.99. I immediately donated to the American Red Cross. I got a thank you printout showing the tax deductible donation for 2011. Earlier, the magnitude of the disaster almost overwhelmed me. I thought I needed a gargantuan relief effort to make a dent. It almost froze me into non-action. In the end, It might not have been much, but every little bit counts. If your financial situation prevents you from donating, just do something. Be aware, spread the word, help Japan, and help yourself. If you live in a natural disaster hotspot, make sure you are covered by natural disaster insurance.

Also check out Thousandaire’s I’m Spreading the Word to Help Japan. Are You?

Invest It Wisely’s Helping Japan What Canadians Can Do

Afford Anything’s Give To Japan: More Complicated Than You Think

Wealth Informatics’s Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief – Double Your Donations

Stay Inspired!
Buck

LA Times Travel & Adventure Show 2011

After saving, controlling your debt, and planning for retirement, what are you going to do with yourself? Travel! :) If you are in Los Angeles this coming weekend, March 19th and 20th, make sure you visit the best travel show of the year!

LA Times Travel & Adventure Show

Los Angeles Times Travel & Adventure Show
Brings the World to Downtown L.A.

Samantha Brown Joins All-Star Line Up

LOS ANGELES – February 24, 2011 – Los Angeles Times Travel & Adventure Show, the largest travel show in the West, announces the schedule for March 19th and 20th, when the event will make downtown L.A. the ultimate destination for those passionate about road trips, jet-set vacations and epic journeys. The weekend event will feature talks from beloved travel personalities including just-added Samantha Brown (Travel Channel), tips from industry experts, hands-on activities, cultural performances, and access to domestic and international exhibitors offering show-only specials. The complete program schedule is now available at latimes.com/travelshow.

Brown, Arthur Frommer, Huell Howser, Andrew McCarthy and Rick Steves will headline the Los Angeles Times Travel Stage and, new this year, Times staff photographers and editors will host a series of demonstrations on how to capture the best travel memories, in stills and video. Panel discussions and destination workshops will also bring together Times Travel staff and experts from across the country to share their insights on where to find the best deals and how to get the most out of a vacation.

Attendees can enjoy a variety of activities including scuba lessons from Beadiver.com, a 25’ rock wall provided by Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite, rope steering experience provided by Coyote Springs Ranch, and a zip line high above the show floor provided by Go Zip. The Global Beat Stage, sponsored by the World Heritage Cultural Center, will showcase music and dance from India, Ireland, Taiwan, Australia, Japan, the Middle East and Brazil. Highlights include Thai boxing, Bollywood step dance, belly dancing and Flamenco.

The five-acre show floor will be packed with more than 400 exhibitors providing one-on-one consultations on visiting destinations as near as Catalina Island and as far as Indonesia. Tour operators and travel professionals representing locations around the globe, various modes of transportation and recreation and related products and services will be on hand all weekend, offering information and specials for show attendees.

Los Angeles Times Travel & Adventure Show’s Presenting Sponsor is the Automobile Club of Southern California. Taiwan is the Major Sponsor, Acura is a Contributing Sponsor and KTLA is the Media Sponsor. The event, co-produced by Unicomm, LLC and the Los Angeles Times, will take place at the L.A. Convention Center Saturday, March 19th and Sunday, March 20th, 2011, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; trade hours 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $12 at the door or $9 online in advance (promo code “LAPR”); one child age 16 and below admitted free with paid adult. Ticket purchase information, a current schedule of speakers and more details are available at www.latimes.com/travelshow.