Archive for July, 2006

Cash as investment strategy

Personal finance, Value investing

On Friday, I moved more cash from my money market fund to a 3-month 5.41% APY CD, similar to what I did previously with some . The yield is a full percentage point above what I’m getting at my MMF. My plan is to see what the Fed decides and to re-evaluate my positions in October when my CDs mature.

One commenter pointed out that the 3-month CD would be a good investment vehicle assuming the cash isn’t needed immediately. But even if you need more liquidity, there are usually several banks offering competitive savings account rates, such as Citibank, Emigrant Direct, and HSBC. (aff) with no minimum to open is currently the best around.

It’s not necessarily my intention to stay in cash for a long time, but until I can find worthy investment vehicles, it’s great to be able to get this type of return (even if higher rates often go hand-in-hand with higher inflation).

In the meantime, I plan to start experimenting a bit with (or as Graham termed them, “workouts”) starting with the information provided by George at Fat Pitch Financials. With his permission, I’ll discuss some of my experiences with this type of investing here.

Hi, I’m an American, and I’ve met you before


My Money Forest has written about and asked if anyone’s experienced any of them.

I’ve definitely experienced stereotypes at work, though perhaps not the workplace stereotypes he’s listed, at least overtly.

Example 1: I guess I was naïve when I thought that working for a global, Fortune 50 company meant my coworkers would be more sophisticated. I’m an Asian-American woman, and born and bred in the US. Last time I checked, I speak English without an accent (or if with an accent, a Midwestern or Southern one).

My first week at work there, I got asked questions like “when did you come over from China” (uh, never, and wrong country anyway), and “how did you pick your English name” (er, how did you pick yours? ‘Cause that’s always been my one and only name!) by at least three different people, one of them my manager. Didn’t exactly give me the warm fuzzies about joining my new team. Of course, I didn’t have the presence of mind at those moments to give those flippant answers, and they probably wouldn’t have helped the situation anyway. C’est la vie.

Example 2: A previous, different company I’d been working for for over a year had just finished acquiring a smaller company from Silicon Valley whose employees happened to be mostly Asian/Indian. Someone I’d already met previously, seen around, and emailed on a regular basis at work introduced himself to me again in the elevator one day because he assumed I’d just joined the company via the acquisition. Hooray for diversity, and talk about feeling invisible.

Still, I’ve come to the conclusion that as annoying as these types of questions are, it’s better that they’re asked and answered than for them to remain hidden away in the back of someone’s mind. Plus, it’s not as if I don’t have any misconceptions of my own to fix.

At least by asking, there’s a little less ignorance in the world and, hopefully, a little more understanding!

Brilliant Earth: conflict-free diamonds and recycled gold

Business & entrepreneurship

Yesterday’s freebie newspaper, the Examiner (Peninsula edition), profiled a woman named Beth Gerstein who co-founded Brilliant Earth with her husband. I’m always interested in businesses who succeed in both “doing good” and doing well, so I found the interview with her an interesting read. Unfortunately, the article is nowhere to be found online, so I’ll have to quote blocks of it from the newspaper:

“Brilliant Earth, headquartered in The City, sells diamonds at prices ranging from $400-$30,000 direct to consumers, along with rings and other jewelry manufactured form recycled gold — a move that sidesteps the environmental and social problems associated with gold mining.

Read the rest of this entry »

More thoughts inspired by Darren’s group writing project

Blogging, Internet

I’ve gotten a lot of comments on my recent post about what I’d do differently if I had to start this site all over again. Many people wrote for the project (with varied and sincere advice), so if you’re new to blogging or thinking of starting, I highly encourage you to take a look at all the recommendations being given.

That being said, I wanted to take the time to make a few points:

  1. From browsing around, I realize now that part of the reason I have no regrets on my own (quite new) site is due to the experience of people like Darren, Katy, Peter and others who’ve been at it longer and made jumping into blogging much smoother a process for the rest of us than it would have been. So a very sincere thank you must go out everyone for sharing their generosity and wisdom with those of us lucky enough to benefit from them.
  2. The ‘net is really a great equalizer. Where else could you be where you’d feel just as comfortable giving advice after being at something for only 6 months as someone who’s been at it for 5 years? There were respondents who were also just getting into blogging after several years of web experience elsewhere, like Jersey Girl.
  3. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: these group writing projects allow you to connect with people all over both the blogosphere and world. Last time, I found out about SouthAsiaBiz, and this time The Big Chorizo (Spain), Leon (Jamaica) among others. You never know if you’ll find another blog that helps you in your niche or some other aspect that interests you. How great is it to be able to connect to the rest of the world so easily, and how did we ever manage before with just traditional media?
  4. Blogging can definitely be a successful part of your own small business. Just take a look at Paul, Katy, and Lil’ Duck Duck.
  5. So what are the key lessons? A quick perusal shows that the following advice (in no particular order) is often repeated: get your own domain, use WordPress, learn about keywords and linking, decide on a focused topic, decide on a design. Always keep in mind though, that just because everyone else says something’s better doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you.

And probably the most important thing to note is that most people are very happy with their site and the way things have turned out. Now I join the ranks of those who will try things on my own for the benefit of future bloggers.

Say it ain’t so…a credit card version of Monopoly?!

Current events, Personal finance

News broke a couple of days ago that Hasbro’s introduced in the UK and plans to roll out the same version next year to the US and Canada.

Ok, I understand that this is an attempt by those fine folks in marketing to capture a new audience with an “updated” version of the game…but am I already becoming an old fogey at my age by thinking this is, as the article says, “pop-cultural heresy”? Where’s the fun in sliding plastic cards in a little machine? Naw, you need the visceral joy of exchanging large sums of colorful bills back and forth between players and the banker to really “get” the game, right? Otherwise, why not just play a computer game version?