Weekend Reading - Magically Cut Your Mortgage in Half with $3,500
Random articles that caught my eye this weekend:
- Money Merge Accounts - I hadn't heard about this till I stumbled on this article over the weekend. The buzz is on buying a piece of software (and HELOC account I guess) for $3,500 that lets you blitz your mortgage payoff in an unusual way. You turn your HELOC into a checking account, have all your deposits and expenses come out of the HELOC and use the float to help reduce your outstanding principal allowing you to payoff your mortgage much quicker. I have thought of using this technique to some degree previously with my HELOC and now I am more convinced I should spend more time looking at it. However the $3,500 opportunity cost on this product makes this an easy decision for me -- I'll stick to my own money management system for now.
- The Fisherman and Investment Banker - I have read this story before but rereading it helps me keep perspective sometimes.
- One click backup script - I had a computer hdd crash this weekend and lost some photos and 3 months of MS Money data. Ugh. Fresh on my mind, I stumbled on this easy one-click backup solution for my flash drive. I like this idea much better than the current manual copies I do out of sheer laziness. Still not a regular backup, but I don't need the hassle of one yet. Just something easier for me to use when i feel like backing up. Its also perfect for any personal files on my work pc since I can't install any backup software on it. For those less constrained on there backup methods check out these free online backup options.
- 2007 Berkshire Annual Shareholder Letter Berkshire Hathaway released Warren Buffet's annual letter to shareholders this past weekend. As usual, loaded with good stuff.
For all the talk of buying what you know, it turns out Buffet bought Amazon.com euro bonds in 2002 and made a nice profit on them and the currency exchange. That surprises me, but I guess because he was loaning the money, instead of buying part of the company that rule of thumb didn't apply.
Perhaps my biggest takeaway from reading through it was Buffet's cost basis for the previously announced 8% stake in Kraft is higher than its current trading range at ~$31/share. The company still looks like it doesn't have a large enough margin of safety to me, but if it were to dip into the mid-20s I would be taking a really close look at making an investment. The company has everything Buffet loves - loads of intrinsic value, ability to deal with inflationary pressures, brand names that are unreachable.
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