From my parking spot (label: “Mr. President) to my building is a 2.5 minute walk. In a rainfall that’s a lifetime. I hate rain but also hate carrying an umbrella every day. You don’t want to carry an umbrella with you every day so you keep one in your car and one at work. I’ve done this for a long time. It’s a great fix and you’re always covered. This is the two-umbrella system and it works flawlessly. Flawlessly so long as you remember to return the umbrellas to their stations after using them. It never fails though, it starts raining at work and you’re stuck with both umbrellas in your car. So how often will you end up getting wet? This is the Umbrella Problem.

The Incidental Economist talks about the umbrella problem this week. TIE uses a probability formula to determine his chances of getting wet on a given day. Taking some subjective liberties and estimates I calculated that I will get wet about 1.5 times a year. Worthless math but a really fun time waster. TIE if you’re reading this I guessed my probability of not returning an umbrella to be 0.10 and applied that to the total number of days I go to work as opposed to weekends, holidays, personal days, and days worked at home.

By the way, I have been rained on once so far this year so I might be onto something.

Also please note I’ve added The Incidental Economist to my rotating blogroll.

Here’s the best of the rest I read this week:

Money Monk asks a question I’ve been pondering for a while, why retire early? In my case, I fully expect to settle into my career and not only make decent money, but to love my work. If I love my work, it doesn’t really matter how much I save for retirement because I’ll work until it’s physically or mentally impossible. I reinforce my own thoughts with the potential of simply scaling back my work as I get older. If I have sufficient savings I might go to part-time work at age 60. If I did retire fully I know I’d be so bored I’d annoy my wife. The dealership that services my car has a shuttle driver driven by a retired teacher. He has a full pension, but after he retired his wife made him work to keep him out of the house, so he sold cars. After that he started driving people getting their cars serviced. He works 3 days a week to keep from driving his wife crazy, and he loves his job. Money Monk and I have different motivations, but you too should ask yourself, why retire?

My Money Blog posted on a similar topic that I did on Monday, crappy Personal Finance magazines. My compatriot was much nicer than I, however the point remains. In this instance he points out that the magazines have misleading headlines like “Stocks That Pay 8%” (Kiplinger 10/08) which completely ignore other important factors. For example, why is the stock paying 8%? Is it because the price has been hammered? Then in that case the stock may be very risky. Other PF blogs and the PF mags especially always ignore risk. Risk is king. A stock paying 5% is not worse than one paying 8% unless you actually know how risky each one is! Read the post, it’s got more to add. Once again though, screw you Kiplinger!

Ninja from Punch Debt In The Face confesses to having emergency stashes of things other than cash. Apparently running out of underwear is a big concern for him, as well as socks. He adds that nothing is better than putting on a fresh pair of underwear. Naturally my thinking is different. Nothing is better than putting on a pair of athletic shorts with no underwear. Silly boy. So he also asks you to confess to what is is you stockpile. Give yourself a minute to think about this because at first I thought I had nothing, but I do. Old Spice deodorant. I don’t stink and don’t sweat much, but I never want to be caught without it, so I have a lot of it! Also fingernail clippers. I have some in just about every place I am: rooms, car, work, my bag, wherever I am there are fingernail clippers. It goes back to my days of swimming, where being in the water so much made my fingernails grow very quickly. So what do you stockpile. Fess up! It’s anonymous after all!

Make sure you check out the Carnival of Personal Finance at Man Vs Debt. This week is really cool because the author recently picked up his wife and kid and moved to Australia/New Zealand.

I was also in the Carnival of Pecuniary Delights this week on Wise Bread. I think that’s enough personal finance links to cover you for the next few days. Enjoy!

Amazing Photo: icultist

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