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Notes to myself-- you might find them useful, too. Keep up with a FREE subscription to the BABA YAGA newsletter.

Dilbert's Unified Theory of Everything Financial

Cartoonist Scott Adams included this in his "Way of the Weasels" book in 2006. was expecting it (only half-jokingly) to win the Nobel Prize in economics.
  1. Make a will.
  2. Pay off your credit cards.
  3. Get term life insurance if you have a family to support.
  4. Fund your 401k to the maximum.
  5. Fund your IRA to the maximum.
  6. Buy a house if you want to live in a house and can afford it.
  7. Put six months worth of expenses in a money-market account.
  8. Take whatever money is left over and invest 70% in a stock index fund and 30% in a bond fund and never touch it until retirement.
  9. If any of this confuses you, or you have something special going on (retirement, college planning, tax issues), hire a fee-based financial planner, not one who charges a percentage of your portfolio.
"Everything else you may want to do with your money is a bad idea compared to what's on this one-page summary. You want an annuity? It's worse. You want a whole life insurance policy? It's worse. You want to invest in individual stocks? It's worse. You want a managed mutual fund instead of an index fund? It's worse."


  • 401 contributions lower taxable income, and it grows tax-free until withdrawn.
  • Mistake: Avoid holding too much company stock; never more than 20 percent of assets. If you use a company plan, use the diversification options.


  • To deposit an unsigned check: consult with your bank first. Some banks will allow you to guarantee the amount of the check and then deposit it. A typical approach is to write the word over on the signature line on the front. On the back, type lack of signature guaranteed and add the company's name, your name and title. Then sign. Many banks will then process the check.
  • How to spot bad checks: about 90 percent of cleared bad checks are numbered 101 to 150, indicating a new account.
  • Legitimate checks have at least one perforated edge; most forgeries are cutouts.
  • Checks dates more than six months ago are usually not cashable. Exception: US Treasury checks are valid indefinately.
  • When the amount written on a check in words is different from the amount written in numbers, the bank will pay the sum shown in words.

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Maura Enright, Proprietor
©2012 - 2015 by Maura Enright
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