Archive for November 2013

I Started Moving Accounts

I have started moving some of my money out of JP Morgan Chase. I have a lot of accounts with them right now. I have checking, savings and two credit cards with them. I opened a savings account with Frost Bank.

There are some conveniences with a large bank. They are everywhere. I had a Chase account in Chicago. There are Chase branches here. I will be in Idaho for the next month, and there are Chase branches there. There are no BMO Harris branches in Texas. I thought I would be in Chicago for the rest of my life, yet here I am in Texas. I have a feeling that I will not be in Texas for the rest of my life. So using a big bank does give me some flexibility.

Plus there is something to be said for having a physical branch to go to. When I moved into the apartment I am in now, I needed to get a cashier’s check. If I only had an online bank, I do not think I would have been able to do that.

Yet big banks played a part in sending the economy off the cliff. And all these years later JP Morgan Chase is still making headlines for lying and cheating. The Automatic Earth has a good list of all the ways JP Morgan Chase is lying and cheating. The Big Picture has a list of bank crimes (this is all the big banks, not just Chase), as well as a list of fines JP Morgan Chase has paid before their recent record settlement.  Articles about the big recent settlement can be found at The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, and a few from Naked Capitalism (here and here).

Long ago, I only had a credit card with Chase. I had a checking account with First Chicago. They merged with Bank One, who then merged with JP Morgan Chase. I got a credit card with Providian, which then got bought by Washington Mutual, which was then bought by JP Morgan Chase. I had a savings account with one Evil big bank which I then moved to Chase.

I will probably not move everything, at least not right away. Maybe in the grand scheme of things it will not make much difference. I am just one guy. But at the same time I feel like I am supporting bad decisions by stupid rich people.

The woman I spoke to at Frost said that she has clients in other states, and other countries as well. So I might be able to keep this account for a while. We shall see.

Image from Wikipedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use

Update 2013-11-18

I have not had an opportunity to post much lately, and I might not post too much for a while.

I recently got a full-time job. I have been a contractor for nine months, and I accepted a full-time position. I am now travelling out to Idaho every week until January. So between working and travelling I may not have much time.

I am also having some issues going full-time. I am getting emails that I need to do some training, and I need to sign up for benefits and get a corporate credit card. I was not able to get into any of the sites to do these things. I called support, and the guy told me that I will have a different ID as an employee than I had as a contractor. I have not gotten any indication what the new ID is, or how or when I will get access to it.

I still have my company laptop, but I lost the power cord. So I might not be able to log in to get updates. I think I left it in Austin, but I am not too sure.

And today I was booted off one of my flights. I was supposed to leave for Phoenix at 3:25, but instead I got put on a flight that left at 6:45. I barely made it to the connecting flight to Boise.

An interesting note: Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly were on the flight to Phoenix.

Image from Wikipedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use

More Notes From My Planner

Here are some more notes and lists from a planner by At-A-Glance.

Time Management Tips:
1. Set Goals.
Write down your goals (it’s only a wish until you write it down)
Goals must be useful, mesureable, and attainable
Prioritize your goals using the “A, B, C” method: A = High, B = Medium, C = Low
Evaluate your goals daily
Visualize your goals – imagine how you will achieve your goals and “do it”

2. Avoid Procrastination
Procrastination is the one time waster of which you have control
How to keep procrastination under control:
a. slice the task into more manageable pieces and start on the easiest one
b. get a clear picture of the task by discussing and rationalizing with others
c. designate interim completion points
d. chart your progress
e. set a deadline for completing the project

3. Minimize interruptions
The average employee is interrupted every 9 minutes. This equals 48 interruptions per day.
How to handle interruptions:
a. if it’s necessary, handle immediately
b. if it’s unnecessary, stop it or avoid it
c. if it’s untimely, reschedule it

That sounds like Getting Things Done

4. Manage your telephone time
The telephone is both a terrific time saver and an insidious thief. Unfortunately, phones are a primary source of interruptions. In fact, 40% of managers spend more than two hours per day on the phone.
How to manage your phone calls:
a. screen your calls through an assistant or answering machine
b. if the person you’re calling isn’t available, leave a precise message – you’re more likely to get an answer back without having to call again
c. use automatic dialing to save valuable time
d. return calls before lunch or the end of the day – people get to the point faster when lunch or quitting time draws near
e. keep a phone log in your planner to record decisions and discussions

5. Conquer Paperwork
You should handle paperwork only once. Try the TRAF system (citation to Stephanie Wilson, “Getting Organized” and “The Organized Executive”)
Here are some tips on how to TRAF:
Toss It: if you have an assistant, delegate the sorting, screening and tossing of mail.
Refer It: keep a folder handy for each person you deal with on a regular basis – when that person comes to see you, open the folder and take care of all the items at once
Act On It: start an action folder or action page in your planner
File It: with a discard date on papers that will outlive their usefulness and clutter your files

6. Plan Shorter and More Effective Meetings
Meetings can be a big time waster. Before you set up a meeting, evaluate your agenda and determine if the information could be shared more efficiently by distributing it with a routing slip.
If it’s necessary to schedule a meeting:
a. Don’t allow more time for meetings than necessary – many times all the tasks can be completed in less time than originally scheduled
b. distribute the meeting agenda at least one day in advance and don’t overload the agenda
c. start meetings on time, even if everyone is not present
d. don’t schedule a meeting for more than 2 hours; beyond that, concentration suffers
e. issue minutes promptly
f. attend meetings only if necessary

Twelve Valuable Tips For Getting Things Done
– Use lists
– Maintain a time management system. Use your planner
– Set goals and priorities
– Build strong working relationships with others
– Do the worst first
– Identify time-wasters and eliminate them
– Take control of your time
– Organize your home and office
– Use the right equipment
– Learn to say “No”
– Delegate
– Just do it

Image from Wikipedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use

2013-10 Dividend Income Report

Here is the dividend income report for October, 2013.

The total income for the month was $184.81. The yearly income through the end of October is $2,558.86.

The income for October, 2012 was $225.14, and the yearly income for 2012 through the end of October was $2,650.92.

The income stream is pretty lean. I have not bought any more stocks recently. I still think many stocks are pretty expensive. Many of the stocks that I own and/or am looking at have P/E ratios above 20.

Here are the stocks and the income amounts for October, 2013:

  • Automatic Data Processing: $24.50
  • Coca-Cola Co: $29.63
  • MDU Resources Group Inc.: $9.38
  • Kimberly-Clark: $43.73
  • Chubb Corp: $9.46
  • Illinois Tool Works: $22.06
  • Piedmont Natural Gas Inc: $17.84
  • Sysco Corp: $15.13
  • RPM International Inc.: $13.08

Image from Wikimedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use