Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda!

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AQNT (aquantive?) is a stock that I’ve been buying and selling for about 3 years now (some sort of internet advertising company?). It was at about $18/share when I first started watching it. I usually make a few hundred dollars every time I buy it low and sell it high (notice the little $1-2 bumps in stock price). I sold it before I went on vacation, but it started going up again in May. I was going to wait for it to come down a bit before buying it back. Notice that it jumped from approximately $30/share to $63/share this Friday! Apparently it was bought by Microsoft!! I could have made thousands of dollars!! Oh well… win some, lose some. I still like playing in the stock market–I rarely lose money — so it’s a much better ‘gamble’ than slot machines. Also, more fun.  I use the free software programs provided by ameritrade to watch trends.  Stock options are another matter. I’ve lost a few hundred dollars trading options–it’s pretty tricky in today’s market.

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If I Won the Lottery I would…

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I had a conversation with my friend Mernac the other day and we both lamented that we have to work for a living. The irony is that we both have good jobs that we sometimes enjoy. So, what exactly are we searching for? Mernac wants to become more meditative, calm and happy and to use her new-found positive energy to transform her life. She wants to leave her 9-5 job and enjoy the freedom of traveling, making new friends and not worrying about money. I have similar ultimate goals. I crave a sense of well being and more “free” time. I have a tendency to believe that the quickest path to this blissful fantasy life is via money.

What would I do if I won the lottery? I would spend more time shopping, getting spa treatments and eating sushi. I would be generous with friends, family and charities. I would travel more and buy a house on the beach. I would visit my long distance friends more frequently. But beyond the initial high, I’m not sure what I would do with my free time that would make me feel more productive and happy.


In reality, I could do most of the things I propose in my post-lottery fantasy (on a much smaller scale) with a little bit of saving and planning. So the question is…Would it be any easier to maintain a consistently happy mood just because I suddenly have a lot of money? I would still have to interact with people who are having a bad day. Would I be less concerned with the misery of the world? Some people might be nicer to me if I was rich; but would this significantly improve my overall mood or outlook in the long term? If my general level of happiness isn’t changed post-lottery; why do I need all that money and time? Is there something specific I can do that’s going to make me happy? If so, why am I not doing it already? Is it really the money that’s holding me back?

I can’t think of a job that I would enjoy more or that would make me feel more productive and I’m not the type of person who thinks she can change the world by doing good. So to live my fantasy life without winning the lottery, I need to become more aware of what I enjoy doing with my free time. I’m getting better about scheduling ‘dates’ with friends and finding time for beading, painting, blogging and puzzles (yes, I like puzzles). I’d like to visit my long distance friends/family more frequently, but I still have to consider their time constraints. I suspect the ‘lifestyles of the rich and famous’ stuff is over-rated anyway.

By the way, this photo of my fantasy beach house is a B and B in Alabama! I hope they don’t mind my copying the photo, I’m sure they won’t if I send business their way!

http://www.bigbeachhouse.com/

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This is my dream patio. The patio that Don Aldo is building won’t look quite like this. Partly because our entire backyard is about 12ft x 12 feet–ok maybe a little bigger than that, but not much! Definitely no room for a fireplace–but how cool would that be!

I also want to add a comment to this story in defense of my admitted lack of altruism…I think if we could all learn to concentrate a little more on our own personal sense of well-being, it would make us more pleasant to be around. We would smile more and the small “acts of kindness” that blog friend Bill is such a strong proponent of would become easier. Bit by bit, the world would become a better place. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

 

 

 


My Visa spending report

I just looked at my Visa spending report which has fun categories like restaurants, travel, groceries etc. You might think this would be depressing, but it actually perked me up a bit and made me feel grateful. The only category that really depressed me was utilities (YIKES!) because there really isn’t much we can do about that (although I suppose we could probably do a little better with insulating our windows and doors). The fun part was looking at restaurants and travel. Don Aldo and I just spent a small fortune on airfare for the upcoming trip to France and Spain, but mom and dad are paying for the timeshare (Thank you Tiger and Toby), so now all we have to do is come up with spending money. Each one of the restaurant charges reminded me of a really fun time. Some were for our local sushi bar, Bagu, which we go to frequently. Other charges were in Duluth where we took my brother (because Minneapolis wasn’t cold enough for him in November). What a great idea, the condo was almost as nice as mom and dad’s cabin (ok not really, but it was nice) and Aldo’s stew was superb for breakfast lunch and dinner. We sat outside with a view of Lake Superior and told ‘ghost’ stories. The Visa report also reminded me of a dinner outside at Adrian’s, the local hamburger joint. This is a nice memory because eating out on the sidewalk at Adrians is something we really enjoy when the weather is nice, but it will be a while before we can do this again. There were a whole string of charges from the Denver trip. But every restaurant was fun and I got some really cool stocking stuffers for family members. The bottom line is that I am really grateful that I can spend money on these things because these are the events I will remember when I am older, not the hours I spend earning that money. Wouldn’t it be cool if we got a spending report for our time. I would be reminded of even more cool things that I’ve done including things that didn’t cost me much/anything at all. The trip to Albuquerque was conspicuously absent from my spending report—thanks again to mom and dad.