Sticky Rule for Parents Saving For Children’s Education

The New York Times’ Rob Lieber has a good article on saving for your children’s education. In his reporting, he talked with fellow Wisconsinite Kevin McKinley of Eau Claire-based McKinley Money:

Mr. McKinley suggests an approach he calls “20-20-20.” Take the current average cost of attending four years at a public university: roughly $60,000. Save $20,000 before your child begins college by putting aside $50 a month starting at birth and assuming a 6 percent annual return. Then, pay $20,000 out of current income while the student is in college. Finally, have your child take out $20,000 in federal student loans over four years. The $200 monthly payments afterward are not a horrible burden for people in their 20s to bear, and they’ll be debt free once the 10-year payback period is over.

This is a great example of someone packaging a solution to problem in a way that everyone to understand and act on. Now, I just need to open those bank accounts…

What Science Says About Happiness

Dan Pink linked to this article on Alternet titled 10 Things Science Says Will Make You Happy.

The piece is really good but Dan’s provided a more interesting set of headers:

  1. Stop and enjoy the present.
  2. Don’t compare yourself to the Joneses.
  3. Don’t obsess over money.
  4. Aspire to leave an imprint.
  5. Be intrinsically motivated on the job.
  6. Build a supportive network of family and friends
  7. Act optimistic even if you have to fake it.
  8. Gratitude, baby, gratitude.
  9. Exercise is all good.
  10. Givers gain.

Great things to think about as we head into the New Year.

Happy New Year, everybody!

You Are On Your Own

Today will be considered a watershed event.

IBM announces they will cancel their pension program in 2008.

The company will increase its 401(k) plan and match employees’ contributions dollar-for-dollar to up to 6 percent of their salary. Even if employees don’t contribute to their plans, IBM will still place 1 percent to 4 percent of an employee’s pay into a 401(k) account.

Many companies will follow this lead. Pensions have been become a drag on earnings and a nightmare to administrate. They also don’t reflect the reality of today’s workplace.

Healthcare is next. Employers will only offer high deductible policies and all employees will have health savings accounts to cover years with high expenses.

More and more people are going to be required to take personal responsibility for their future.

NBC’s The Office or The Importance of Telling a Good Story

I think telling good story is hard. Robots was bad because it was a poorly told story.

NBC’s version of The Office I think is going to have the same problems. It was really hard to watch tonight. I know part of it is because I just got done watching the original. They are using alot of the material from the BBC version.

I really didn’t laugh. As I was watching, I kept thinking there was no appreciation for timing of the jokes. The mock-doc is too produced. Too many tight shots were you miss how the other characters are reacting. They left no time for the romance to develop between Tim and Dawn. I seem to remember the first episode was pretty much David and in the new show they are too concerned about involving the whole cast right away.

Just watch this clip. You’ll know why the original is brilliant.

I beg you to watch the original before you get turned off to the whole thing. I don’t want you to say to yourself, “I don’t know why everyone thinks this is so funny.”

Enough said.

Trying to get back

I have been very busy in the real world and in producing content for others in the virtual world.

Let me send you to some of the stuff I have written for others this week and I promise I will be back next week with my thoughts on the world:

  • I have been working on educating 800-CEO-READ readers about tags. I have posted three in a four part series (one, two, and three). I am trying to get some standardize on the tag used to reference business books. If you find interesting content and use or Technorati tags, use businessbooks. I plan to use it to plan interesting content into the 8cr blogs.
  • I wrote a post for Business Blog Consulting about the great blogging article in The Wall Street Journal this week.
  • I am still posting links to the BizLinkBlog. I am pretty really selective, so you will probably see one or two links a day.

Undersea Exploration and Time Travel

I had the rare opportunity to see two movies in the theatres in less than a week (the little guy slows us down a little).

Our first flick was The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. The entire cast is brilliant. Some people are saying that it doesn’t live up to the Wes Anderson standard. It was great. How can you not love Seu Jorge’s renditions of David Bowie tunes in Portuguese?

The second flick was Primer. This is the indie sci-fi film that got some buzz from Wired:

The year’s most effective science fiction film was also the cheapest to produce. With a $10,000 budget – a mere blink of Gollum’s eye – director Shane Carruth tells the tale of two inventors who build a get-rich-quick gadget in a garage. They’re not mad scientists, they’re levelheaded yuppies – at least until their time machine proves too powerful to handle. With its twisted narrative, the f/x-free Primer is a reminder that the best sci-fi action requires you to think. – Jason Silverman

The movie is a little over an hour and we think we need to see it two more times before we are going to get the whole thing. We have been talking about it since Saturday. My wife has diagrams on the chalkboard in the kitchen to try and keep the whole thing straight. Did I mention it was only an hour long?

I highly recommend both films. I think I am just going to give up on the mainstream stuff. The great storytelling is happening in the small films.

Holiday Negotiations

Of course you could go watch the latest JibJab cartoon, but if you wanted a slightly deeper experience consider Negotiation at the North Pole by ExperiencePoint. I think it s a clever game that helps teach negotiation. You get three tries to distribute the right items between Santa, Paul the Elf, and Blitzen. They tell you want they think about what they have and you have to figure out if there is a better combination. You get three tries to find the right mix. If you don’t make it, there is a tutorial to help explain the basics of negotiation and details important to the North Pole problem. Check it out.

Can’t shake it.

I am still fighting this cold a got a week ago which partially explains why it has been so quiet around here lately.

The other part of the silence has been boredom. I haven’t found any of the conversations going on lately very interesting. I don’t know what else to say about how business should be using blogs. I don’t know what else to say about how ‘blog’ was the most looked up word this year (except that it means that people don’t have a clue what blog(s) are; it is a step on the path to understanding; it is not a success I would celebrate). Can we start some new conversations in the new year?

So you can see I am a little cranky. I am going to crawl back under a blanket and take a nap. Maybe I will wakeup in a better mood.

Latest Entertainment Premise: People Lie

There are two new television shows that are partially based on the premise “People Lie”.

The first is Fox’s House M.D. The main character Dr. Gregory House is an expert in infectious disease. He believes talking to patients is a waste of time and any information they give will only mislead a proper diagnosis.

The second series is the yet to be released NUMB3RS from CBS. The crime drama boasts big-name actors (Rob Morrow) and directors (Ridley Scott and Tony Scott). The tagline in the ads is “People Lie. Numbers Don’t.”

This idea that “People Lie” is going get more attention as people read Malcolm Gladwell’s new book Blink.

Still sick

I think last night was the worst of it and I am now on the mend. I slept most of the day and night. I am trying to take it easy today and make sure my son is busy with things to do.

More soon…

Remember to put together your Top24 and send them to me. We have 13 people thus far. The more, the merrier.