How to build a Man Cave

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Completed Man Cave!

“Hey Dave, where do you want the window to go?”  Karl asked.

“I reckon it should go right in the middle about this high.”  I replied as I held my hand up to my belly button showing where the bottom of the window would sit.

And, that’s how it all started; how the Man Cave came into being.  Karl, the carpenter, and I just rolled up our sleeves and started building it.

Twelve days later the carpentry was done.  Then came the painter.  Three days later  he was finished.  And finally the electrician came around to wire up the outlets, down-lights, fan and install the air conditioner.

Done.

Last week I moved into the new Man Cave.

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Traditional Retirement Plans: Other options?

New York City skyline, view from Weehawken NJ

What are the Chinese government and businesses doing with their excess cash? Should we follow their lead?

So, if traditional retirement plans aren’t the way to go, what is?  (See my article Traditional Retirement Plans:  3 Fatal Flaws to find out why I believe these plans are not going to cut it when it comes to your financial future.)

What other options are available?

Well, when looking for other options, I would first suggest you stop investing in anything that has  the word “retirement” attached to it.  To me, that’s a sure fire sign it’s a program designed for the masses and designed for one purpose only – to make millions  for the plan owners.  Also, it tells  me the government has  their hands in the deal  and can change the rules (tax laws) at  any time they want.  I don’t like that kind of set up.

So, what to do?

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Traditional Retirement Plans: 3 Fatal Flaws

monopoly

What is the real value of your traditional retirement plan?

I’ve discovered 3 fatal flaws with most traditional retirement plans.

Before I discuss these 3 flaws, let’s get a working definition for “traditional retirement plans.”

For our discussion, I’m talking about your straight up and down varieties as follows:

  • Pension
  • Sponsored retirement savings plan (e.g. 401k, superannuation)
  • Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

Did I miss any?  If so, lump them in the pile as well.

Now, what could possibly be wrong with these garden variety retirement vehicles?  After all, they come with some powerful built in features as follows:

  • Backed, supported and encouraged by both governments  and large corporations.
  • Provide certain tax advantages.
  • Everybody’s doing it; must be alright; can’t be that bad; must be safe.

Well, I’ve found at least 3 major flaws with these type of retirement plans.  Who knows, maybe there are more.  If you discover any, let me know.

So, what are the 3 flaws?

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An American Folk Tale – Custer at the Little Bighorn

Custer's Grave at Little Bighorn

Custer’s Grave at the Little Bighorn by Jim Bowen on Flickr.

Southeastern Montana in June is beautiful.  The rolling prairie with its lazy covering of tall grass carries on for as far as the eye can see.  The blue sky stretches from horizon to horizon in all directions; big sky country.  Occasionally, a river valley appears, along with a multitude of trees and other vegetation huddling close by to drink of the precious water.  The bright shining sun basks the entire scene with an invisible blanket of warmth.  In an amazing contrast of setting versus event it was near one such river valley, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Jun 1876, that one of the most famous battles in American history took place.

The combatants in this battle were Sioux Nation warriors including the famed Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse and five companies of the US 7th Cavalry lead by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer.  On 25 June at approximately four thirty in the afternoon, the two fighting forces collided on a hill overlooking the valley of the Little Bighorn River.  When the sun finally set over the Montana sky, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and the Sioux warriors were engaged in rapturous celebration, while Custer and all two hundred and twenty five men under his command were dead.

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D-Day; A moment in the life of an airborne soldier.

D-Day: The Normandy Invasion

D-Day: The Normandy Invasion by The U.S. Army, on Flickr

Today marks the 70th anniversary of D-day, the World War Two invasion of Europe.

On 6 June 1944, British, Canadian, Australian, American and other allied soldiers stormed the shores of northern France in order to secure a foothold in Europe and begin the long hard march to defeat the Axis powers.

Can you imagine witnessing the events surrounding one of the most ambitious military undertakings in modern history? Can you imagine being involved in the operation itself?  What was it like to be there?

There are many resources available to help us piece together what happed that day but, unfortunately, most of them are dry and colorless. Devoid of the ‘human condition’ they tell us the facts – what happened, why it happened, how it happened, who made it happen and many other ‘nice to knows’ that put the event into a neat historical package. Few resources or more accurately – not enough – tell us about the plight of the common soldier.

While researching D-Day, I was most impressed with the airborne soldiers. They were the first ones in. The raining of airborne soldiers on the northern countryside of France began at about 1am and marked the beginning of the long anticipated return of the allied armies to French soil. Just over four years earlier the allies were expelled from Europe by the Axis forces at a place called Dunkirk.

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