Archive for October, 2010

Spending Vs Savings

October 30th, 2010 5 comments

I’m at an interesting point right now in my personal philosophy towards spending and saving.  To give some background to my mental state, I guess I’d have to describe my personal finance upbringing.  Essentially, there was none.  I remember I was probably around 14 when my Dad sat down and discussed money and taxes with me.  Before that, I guess my family had the old school mentality of “it isn’t proper to discuss money”.

Fast forward to me graduating from college and getting my first job.  I was seriously in awe with how much I was getting paid to basically solve little problems on the computer, and I enjoyed what I was doing.  At the same time, my expenses were ridiculously low.  I think I was paying $500/month for rent, with utilities included.  Needless to say I saved some serious money.  I really didn’t spend money on anything either, besides buying a new truck (which I still have today… paid off).

Today, however, I’m add odds with how I feel about money.  On one hand, I think I should save any extra money I come across, but on the other hand, I have a nice little nest egg.  Should I spend money on material things that catch my eye and not feel guilty about it?

Tonight I’m probably going to go to the Apple store and drool over the new MacBook Air.  If I felt like it, I could throw down some plastic and not think twice.  I wouldn’t have to go into debt to get it, and I think it would be useful to have for blogging, working on websites, etc.  But something inside me feels like I shouldn’t buy it… like I would feel guilty for indulging and spending that much money on something that I don’t “need”.  Not to mention, I spent $550 there two weeks ago buying an iPad, which I still have mixed feeling about, but use pretty much every day.

I guess I have a little guy on one shoulder telling me life is too short to worry about things like this.  If there’s something shiny and new that I think would be cool to own, why not get it.  On the other shoulder is a little guy telling me that I don’t need those types of things and I would be wasting my hard earned money.

Sometimes I wish I was one of those care free types of people that don’t worry about money, except I wonder if they really do deep down.  Do they feel the same way, and maybe even more so, and put on a front of not caring to deal with it?  Not sure, but I’ll let you know what I think about the new shiny laptop that Apple has :)

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Determining Medical Costs

October 23rd, 2010 1 comment

As I mentioned in my last post, the wife is now attending Duke to get her MBA.  At the beginning of this term, she signed up for a class related to the medical industry called Health Sector Management, or HSM for short.  During that class she was exposed to a plethora of information about the health industry, mainly being exposed to the current problems and ideas to how we might solve them.  This was a great introduction to the industry, and even though it doesn’t look like she’s going to be trying to get a job in health care, we had some great discussions about it.

One of the main problems as everyone knows is the fact that health care costs are rising at a very high rate.  While there are many reasons for this, one of them is that the industry is treated like a free market, but there is one missing component: information.  Customers (patients) don’t have a clue what the actual price is for the medical treatments they’re receiving.

When I go to the doctor, I really just assume that either a) it will be covered by insurance or b) I will have to pay a small amount like a co-pay or co-insurance.  The true cost is never even exposed to me.  Behind the scenes, the doctors and insurance companies have negotiated ahead of time what they are going to charge and pay for certain services.  This price can even be different depending on what insurance company you have or what groups your doctor is a member of.  And to top it off, if you don’t have insurance, the doctor is going to charge you even more than they would the insurance company!

I thought about what could be a way to help lower these costs and shed some light on how this whole industry is operating, and I decided to do something about it.  I created a website to allow everyday people to share no only how much medical care they received cost, but also which doctor charged them that amount, and what insurance actually paid to the doctor.  If enough people start using this website, eventually we’d be able to come up with serious tools to help insured and uninsured patients lower their bills.

If an uninsured person wanted to go to the doctor, but they were worried about how much it would cost, they could look it up and find the cheapest doctor in their area.

On the other hand, if an insured person gets a new job, how do they know what insurance plan to pick of the 3 or 4 their company offers?  They could look up and compare the different plans according to their age/health and projected medical costs, and pick the one that would mean less money out of their pocket.

Does this sound good?  Check it out and help shed some light on how much medical procedures are really costing by posting your own information.  And if you have any comments or suggestions, post them on this blog and let me know.

The new website:

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Here I Am Again…

October 17th, 2010 1 comment

The definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over again while expecting a different result.  Well, I’m not insane, but it all seems pretty familiar.  I’m now living in Durham, North Carolina, while the wife is attending business school at Duke.  The original intent of this blog has now been realized, yet I’m no longer posting.  We’ll have to change that.

I’m going to try and post some insightful articles on finance, stocks, and living in general.  However, I don’t think I’m going to try and be as ambitious about the number of postings I get out there.  I’m a busy man now, so I’m probably going to shoot for about 1 article a week.  Hopefully if I can focus on that, they’ll be a little higher quality and more interesting.

Until then…

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