I Won the Lottery!

No, I didn’t, but this is what I’d do if I won an obnoxious amount of money.

  1.  Take 6 months or a year, hire traveling tutors for the kids, and see the world.  This gives the extra benefit of being completely out of reach for anyone trying to borrow money.
  2. Pay off the mortgages of a few close family and friends.
  3. Set aside a big chunk to support my decadent, extravagant lifestyle.
  4. Create a fund.

This fund will have the purpose of making all of my descendants live life on the easy setting in perpetuity.   It will give them enough money to cover the major hurdles everyone has in life, without giving enough that they don’t have to work.   Here’s the money I see them getting:

  • Upon the birth or adoption of a child with my last name (Because I’m a jerk like that.  My name will last forever!): $10,000
  • Graduate high school with at least a B average: $5,000
  • Attending college while making progress towards graduation: $10,000 per year, up to 8 years(to allow for doctors and rocket scientists and stuff)
  • Graduating college:  The amount of college costs (tuition, room & board, etc.) up to $200,000.
  • Marriage, provided my descendant maintains my last name: $20,000
  • Starting a business, up to twice in a lifetime: $50,000

Each of these items that occur after the recipient becomes an adult would have the stipulation that their will gifts half of their estate back to the fund.  That way, everyone who got this headstart will help pay it forward.

This will require management, so I would appoint trustees to manage it.   Their job will be to grow the fund and adjudicate any requests.   They will have the authority to buy property, invest in businesses, or whatever will grow the fund to support future generations of my spawn.   Three, because that way there can be no ties.   Each of the three will have a named successor, who must be one of my descendants.   They will, of course, earn salaries.   I don’t see this being part-time work.   A salary that puts them at the 80th income percentile in the US seems fair.   They won’t have the ability to give themselves raises, beyond a statistical adjustment.

Amounts can be adjusted to cover rising costs, inflation, or potential depletion of the fun upon the majority vote of the Council of Three, with the overriding goal of making sure the fund survives to help future generations.

I actually see the organization of this being a corporation built around the management of a trust fund, but I’m not a lawyer or an accountant, and this is a fantasy, so I can see it however I want.

Yes, I follow the patriarchal model of maintaining my last name.   Sue me.   My last name, a parent who is descended from me and has my last name, and a will that states you’ll do your part to continue the awesomeness isn’t a high price to pay to avoid nearly all of the expensive things that hold people back.

That’s my master plan to take over the world, in the future, by proxy.


Real Estate Customer Life Cycle

Recently, my wife and I have been searching for new tenants for our rental property.   That’s an irritating customer cycle.   We’ve had more no-shows at the showings than we’ve had prospects show up.   Most people who call seem to think that the rent on a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom house with a big yard and a 3 car garage 5 minutes from downtown Minneapolis is going to match their little subsidized Section 8 apartment.

Not going to happen.

So we keep looking.  In the meantime, it’s interesting to look at how a real estate trainer breaks down the life cycle of a customer.


NEC Online Degrees

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Missing Money

Last week, I checked my credit card account only to discover I was over budget by nearly $1000.




It threw me into a bit of a panic.  How could we possibly have spent an extra grand without knowing it?

We didn’t buy new furniture.  We didn’t buy new computers. We didn’t buy a new car. We didn’t take any trips.

Oh, wait.

I did take a trip.  I went to work headquarters for three days.  That’s about a $500 mileage allowance, plus three days of restaurant meals.

I forgot to file my expense report.

That’s where my money went.

Somehow, in all of life’s wonderful hustle, I neglected to ask my company for the almost $1000 they owe me.  That’s an oversight, for sure.

Luckily, we keep that much padding in our other accounts, so I don’t have to pay interest on that money, but still.

That’s my money and I forgot about it.

I’m so not happy with myself.

What’s worse, is that even though I figured out the problem last week, I still haven’t gotten that expense report filed.

It’s not procrastination, I swear.  I’ve just been absentminded and keep forgetting to do it.  Right now, I’ve got “EXPENSE REPORT” written on my whiteboard to remind me to file it.

Cuz I’m going to do it tomorrow.

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Breaking Bad: The Economics of Meth

Breaking Bad's Walter White (Bryan Cranston) J...

Breaking Bad’s Walter White (Bryan Cranston) Jack O’ Lantern (Photo credit: edwaado)

In AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” Walter White plays the role of chemistry teacher turned meth producer and drug kingpin. While it certainly makes for good television to think about the profits available to someone willing to trade in illegal drugs, the mountain of money that Walter makes by the end of the series is actually not that unrealistic. Meth has a street value that approaches $30,000 dollars per pound. Not only that, but Walter displays a deceptively keen business acumen, especially for a chemistry teacher. A number of keen decisions allowed Walter White to become as successful as he has.

Production Costs

As any business owner knows, merchandise costs are a major portion of any operating budget. Mr. White keeps his profit margins robust in a number of ways. The first of these is by managing his production costs. When he started out in the business, Walter simply stole the majority of the required chemicals from the high school where he worked. This allowed for the product to be sold at a substantial profit when compared to producers who are required to invest more upfront.

Location, Location, Location

On top of his discounted production, Walter was able to stay ahead of the competition both literally and figuratively by utilizing his RV for production. Typically, meth is produced in a laboratory environment, which requires a building. This adds an additional cost of rent to the typical business profile. Walter, on the other hand, produced out of his RV in the early stages of his business’ growth, further increasing his profit margin.


On the production side of the economy, a major consideration is distribution costs. While most of Walter’s competition used pricey, established lines of distribution for their products, he cut out the middle man by distributing his product with his team. This caused major disruptions to his business when his competitors tried to kill him. However, while he was able to accomplish this model, Walter was the beneficiary of increased profits. Then, when he killed his competition, he was able to return to the healthy margin he enjoyed previously.


Many new products are launched with a full blown media campaign. This is a costly proposition. Walter, instead, relied on the quality of his product to speak for itself. This competitive advantage reduced the need for an extensive advertising budget. Furthermore, after a period of time, his product became a preferred choice by consumers everywhere. While he was required to distribute a few loss leaders at times, Walter kept the advertising costs down and profited greatly.

So, while it may seem like Walter White was simply a chemistry teacher who got lucky, it’s clear that he actually had a specific plan for his upstart business. By following a few standard economic principles, he was able to increase his margins at the crucial beginning phase of his business, and had established himself as a leader in the market when he chose to expand

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