Sunday, February 01, 2009

Broken advice - buy and hold

One popular advice offered to small investors like you and me is buying mutual funds in small amount and never touch it till retirement. The theory is that stock prices go up in long term and market timing doesn't work out in long run.

This advice clearly does not work to our advantage at a time like now. Take Vanguard 500 Index (VFINX) for example, its value dropped more than 30% between 2008-09-19 and 2009-01-30. In other words, if you sold it in mid September last year and kept the money in a checking account, you would come out 30% richer than if you had not.

It is a big difference between not sweat over normal market fluctuation and seeing a disaster coming and not get out of its way.

Best gadget 2008 - ooma

The best gadget I bought in 2008 is ooma.

Ooma is a VoIP phone that doesn't charge monthly subscription fees. I used to pay $27.95 a month for a local only land line + caller id + other government fees and taxes. Now I pay zero and get unlimited domestic calls within US. I am looking to recoupe the cost in about 9 months.

If you need to make oversea calls, you can purchase credit from ooma. The cost is comparable to skype.

If 911 support is important to you. According to http://www.ooma.com/learn/ooma_faq.php#q8, ooma supports e911.

I am very happy with ooma. Setup is straightforward; sound quality is great; and virtual voice mail allows me to listen to voice mails remotely.