Saturday, April 25, 2009

How much car insurance is enought?

This week I was trying to answer the question: "How much insurance do I really need?"

All over the web, the only answer is 'the minimum legal' or if you have valuable assets 'the more you can afford to protect them'.

I will try to answer this question here.

Bodily Injury and Property Damage is what we are concerned about.

Bodily Injury
Let's say you injured Bill in a traffic accident.
You will have to pay bill for his pain, mental anguish, lost wages, loss of family time and more... Yes you will have to pay damages if Bill can't have sex with his wife for sometime!.... how much is she worth? His employer can also come after you for productivity loss.

Unfortunately if the worse was to come, it will all be settled by numbers.

So here's the question that comes next:

How much does a serious injury cost?
How much would it cost in case of a death?

Find below the US national average for 2006 per injured

Incapacitating injury$201,100
Nonincapacitating evident injury$50,400
Possible injury$24,400
No injury$2,200

Property Damage Crash

(Data from the National Safety Council

Remember, if there are 2, 3, 4, 5 people in the car, the costs will multiply and unfortunately not your coverage.
So you should adjust your coverage with the number of people usually in your car, and in the cars around you.

Also, remember that all this does not need to be covered only by a car insurance, you can buy a global 'liability' insurance that will cover you for liability with your cars, houses...
some $200-$300 for $1Million then $50 per additional million.

You may be safer inside an SUV/Pick-up, but you have 6 times more risk of killing others in the event of an accident. SUV/Pick-up don't handle as well as cars and are four times more likely to roll over.

Public transportations are the safest, 10 times!

Below is a table of the coverages that my insurance offers me. You can select the different options you want and see the total. In red is what I believe appropriate for someone in a case similar as mine.
I drive a 4 years old VW Passat, which I consider safe.
I park it in a safe neighboorhood.
I live in California, bay-area => the chances of hitting a Mercedes, Porshe or Lexus are pretty high: I need a good Property Damage coverage.

Bodily Injury
This pays for the people you injure and protect your assets from lawsuits

Uninsured Motorist
This pays if you are injured by an uninsured

Property Damage
This pays for cars and properties you damage and protect your assets

This pays if you car gets damaged by theft or nature

$1000 Ded.
$500 Ded.
$250 Ded.
$200 Ded.
$100 Ded.
$50 Ded.
$0 Ded.
This pays for repair or replacement in case of an accident

$1000 Ded.
$1000 Ded./Waiver
$500 Ded.
$500 Ded./Waiver
$250 Ded.
$250 Ded./Waiver
$200 Ded.
$200 Ded./Waiver
$150 Ded.
$25 Ded.
Rental Reimbursement
This pays for rental car while you car is repaired after a collision

$25/Day, $750 Max
$50/Day, $1,500 Max
Medical Payments

Current Selection

Bodily Injury
Uninsured Motorist
Property Damage
Rental Reimbursement
Medical Payments
Grand total

Hopefully this will help you drive without worrying.

Good Day!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Investing For Your Future

Investing For Your Future is an online class offered by the Oregon State University extension service.

It covers pretty much every aspect of personnal finance at introductory level and encourages you to learn more by practicing yourself.

I like the fact that I can (hopefully) trust this source has unbiased information.

Below are a few information and investment tips I found worth writing down.

On a Company's Balance Sheet, the value of a company’s assets must equal the sum of its liabilities and shareholder equity (the total value of all shareholders’ investments in a company.

Current ratio is current (less than a year) assets divided by current liabilities. A 2:1 ratio ($2 of assets for every $1 of debt) is considered adequate.

Debt-to-equity ratio is a company’s total liabilities divided by shareholder equity. It should be less than 1:1.

Earnings per share is net income divided by the number of outstanding shares.

Price/earnings (P/E) ratio is calculated by dividing the share price by earnings per share

Types of Stocks

Growth stocks are those of companies that are expected to increase in value. They may have high P/E (price to earnings) ratios. This means that the price of the stock is high compared to the forecasted earnings. A high ratio tends to indicate a more speculative situation. A low ratio tends to indicate a more conservative investment.
Income stocks are expected to pay regular, relatively high (compared to other companies) dividends.
Speculative stocks are those that have potential for the future. They generally do not pay much in dividends and their prices may be relatively volatile.
Value stocks currently have relatively low prices compared to their historical earnings and the value of the company’s assets.
Blue chip stocks are those of established companies with relatively stable stock prices and relatively predictable earnings. Dividends have accounted for about 40% of the stock market’s total return, price increases for the remaining 60%.
Penny stocks are sold for $5 per share or less. They may be initial offerings with prices set intentionally low or stocks of companies that are experiencing difficult financial times. In either case, they are speculative stocks; if you invest in them, you should be prepared to lose all of your money

You can invest in/purchase real estate indirectly through
- Real estate limited partnerships
- Real estate investment trusts (REITs) They are required to distribute almost all of their annual income as dividends to investors (capital gain)
- Mortgage ownership

Online Stock trades are generally executed within seconds of placing an order

Municipal bonds are generally attractive to persons in the 25% marginal tax bracket and higher. Even though municipal bonds pay a lower return than other bonds, investors keep more of what they earn because the interest is generally federally tax-exempt. Interest is also state tax-exempt, if bonds are issued by an investor’s state of residence.

Use bonds to hedge stock investments. Buy a zero-coupon bond to guarantee the return of principal and use the balance of principal to invest in ownership assets (e.g., stock).

Many companies also allow their employees to borrow up to one-half of the funds from their 401(k) plan for any reason. Interest paid by the employee on the money that is borrowed from his 401(k) is paid into the employee's own account

Dividend Reinvestment Plans (DRIPs) and Direct-Purchase Plans (DPPs or "no-load stocks") allows you to buy stocks sometimes with no-fee or discount
see and

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Russian: Братья Карамазовы (Brat'ja Karamazovy)

The Brothers Karamazov is the final novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and is generally considered the culmination of his life's work.

The story is a little bit complex to grasp at the beginning, it took me some 200 pages to be "in" the book and start appreciating it.

Dostoyevsky spends a lot of time showing the struggle all the characters are going through and explaining their way of thinking.

The further you go in the story the more exciting it gets, the style and level of details of the story are remarkable. I particularly liked how the author understands the inner reasons that pushes his characters to act and explains their acts threw that. In this book, Dostoyevsky definitively shows that he is a master in psychology and that there are many ways of interpreting the same events.

Every detail has been thought through perfectly, and it all nicely takes shape as the story goes.

A quote: "Living as I do in conditions that render the exercise of hospitality impossible"

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Free Investing Courses

University of California has put online an investment course.

Yale also has put two videos courses online

I put these in my To-Do-List :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Cheapest Kirkwood Pass 2009-10

Take advantage of this Unlimited Network Pass

Sold $379, a $200 reduction, and the group will send you $10 back via PayPal.

Get your pass at
login : deal
password : kirkwood

before the price increases on April 30th

Find the group details at

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Don't want to see Ads on the web?

The easiest way is to use Firefox and install the "AdBlock" add-on
This works really well for me and no maintenance needed.
Surf lighter!

My first time on the web

I was 18 when I first surfed the Internet.

This was back in September 1998.
I was joining a new school which had a computer lab with Internet access.
I was very excited, and the first day of class, for the lunch break, like many other students, I rushed to the lab to see this 'Internet' everybody was already talking about. (I was reading many computer magazines).

I knew I had to open a browser and type an address, I had written a couple addresses on a paper, which I obviously forgot.
I sat down at the computer, I was so excited that I could hardly remember any address, they were all mixed in my head, finally I typed "". Something comes on the sceen, I didn't understand what it's for, it wasn't intuitive, no pictures. I tried another address "" (the french USPS), nothing to do there either, I can see information but it's not relevant to me, I have no interest for it. I knew I was on something amazing but I couldn't grasp why. I saw it as a great tool for companies, professionnals seeking information about other companies, nothing really fun yet.
I quickly discovered the IRC chat rooms with their online friendships, love stories, bot wars, MP3 music, games, created my first HTML page... this was just amazing and so far less than we have today, this was when we had never heard of google yet :)

How was your first time?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Removing unwanted or pay-per-view TV channels

Many of us have access to 100s of TV channels and of course our TV is not smart enough to not show us the channels we don't pay for. Every time you change channels and go over one of them, you're TV will freeze some 30 seconds, then display that you need to buy this channel in order to view it.

Which is true, but how frustrating. I'd rather have my TV only show me the channels I can see, and if it could also skip these advertising channels that would be a bliss.

This is actually possible and even simple, activate the parental control on your TV and set all these channels as 'restricted/adult only', now enjoy surfing through your TV channels.