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The Dark Side of Student Loans
Issue #528, June 25, 2018

The Cost of Out-sourcing Convenience
Issue #527, June 18, 2018

Social Security: 66 or 70?
Issue #526, June 11, 2018

Student Loans: There’s (Unfortunately) a Lot More!
Issue #525, June 04, 2018

Co-signing a Note
Issue #524A, May 31, 2018

The Knight Frank Luxury Index and Collectables
Issue #524, May 28, 2018

The Importance of Diversification: The Myth of Diversification
Issue #523, May 21, 2018

How to Save Thousands on Your Food Bill
Issue #522, May 14, 2018

MoviePass and Other Things
Issue #521A, May 10, 2018

Degree Inflation, Long Training Periods, and “Certification”  Part III
Issue #521, May 07, 2018

Degree Inflation, Long Training Periods, and Certification” Part II of III
Issue #520, April 30, 2018

Follow-up on Several Things
Issue #519A, April 25, 2018

Degree Inflation, Long Training Periods, and “Certification”: Part I of II
Issue #519, April 23, 2018

The Kids Birthday Party Hustle
Issue #518A, April 18, 2018

A Pension Question: Part II of II
Issue #518, April 16, 2018

A Physician is an Executive
Issue #517A, April 11, 2018

A Pension Question: Part I of II
Issue #517, April 09, 2018

Is the Correction Over?
Issue #516A, April 05, 2018

Used Car Dealers, Student Loans, the Chinese, and Uncle George’s Rule
Issue #516, April 02, 2018

Starter Homes
Issue #515, March 26, 2018

Redecorating: Beware!
Issue #514, March 19, 2018

NASDAQ Closes at Record High
Issue #513, March 12, 2018

A 40% Chance
Issue #512, March 05, 2018

Several Things
Issue #511, February 27, 2018

Human Capital, Education and Wealth
Issue #510, February 19, 2018

Another Stock Market Update
Issue #509A, February 18, 2018

Some Thoughts on Savings
Issue #509, February 12, 2018

A Stock Market Upfate
Issue #508S, February 10, 2018

Who Can You Trust? Part II of II
Issue #508, February 05, 2018

The Christmas Decoration Pre-worn Jeans Hustle
Issue #Interim Bulletin #507A, February 03, 2018

2018 Outlook for Financial Markets
Issue #507, January 29, 2018

Who Can You Trust? Part I of II
Issue #506, January 22, 2018

Life Insurance Settlements
Issue #505, January 15, 2018

Commodities and Buying the Breakout
Issue #504, January 08, 2018

Buffett Wins His Bet
Issue #503A, January 04, 2018

Practice Real Estate and Free Agency
Issue #503, January 01, 2018

Outlook for 2018: Part III: Stocks and Bonds
Issue #502, December 25, 2017

My Outlook for 2018: Part Ii: Precious Metals
Issue #501A, December 21, 2017

Outlook for 2018: Hard Assets: Part I of III
Issue #501, December 18, 2017

More Thoughts on Bitcoin
Issue #500A, December 14, 2017

Fees and Good Relations with Bankers
Issue #500, December 11, 2017

Salvator Mundi
Issue #499A, December 07, 2017

Should You Rent or Own a Home?
Issue #499, December 04, 2017

A Gift Subscription
Issue #Interim Bulletin #498A, December 02, 2017

Stocks vs Real Estate: Asset Allocation: Part II of II
Issue #498, November 27, 2017

When Good Enough is Fine
Issue #497A, November 22, 2017

Stocks vs Real Estate: Asset Allocation. Part I of II
Issue #497, November 20, 2017

The Saudi Arrests and the Perils of Foreign Investing
Issue #496, November 13, 2017

Gambling and Las Vegas
Issue #495, November 06, 2017

Some Tips on Auto Insurance
Issue #494, October 31, 2017

Bitcoin and the Digital (Crypto) Currencies
Issue #493, October 23, 2017

The Coming Bear Market: Part II How to Prepare
Issue #492, October 16, 2017

Some Observations on Cemeteries
Issue #Interim Bulletin #491A, October 12, 2017

The Coming Bear Market: Part I: The Myth of Buy and Hold Forever
Issue #491, October 09, 2017

The Market makes New Highs
Issue #490, October 02, 2017

The Importance of a New High
Issue #489, September 25, 2017

A Little Insurance: Wealth, War and Wisdom
Issue #488, September 18, 2017

Some Observations
Issue #487, September 11, 2017

How to be Successful in Your Career
Issue #486A, September 07, 2017

How NOT to Buy a Home
Issue #486, September 04, 2017

This Week in the Market
Issue #485, August 28, 2017

Is the “Trump Bump” Running Out of Gas?
Issue #484, August 21, 2017

Gold is on the Move
Issue #483, August 14, 2017

The Importance of Estimation
Issue #482, August 07, 2017

Buying Art and Collecting: Part II of II
Issue #481, July 31, 2017

Buying Art and Collecting in General, Part I of II
Issue #480, July 24, 2017

Physicians need to be More Forceful: Follow-up
Issue #479, July 17, 2017

Physicians need to be More Forceful
Issue #478, July 10, 2017

Your First “Real” Investment
Issue #477, July 03, 2017

Leasing a Watch: Don’t
Issue #476, June 26, 2017

The Importance of Your Children having a Job
Issue #475, June 16, 2017

The Problem with Medical Student Debt is—the Med Schools
Issue #474, June 12, 2017

Critters and Varmints in your Home and Yard
Issue #473A, June 07, 2017

Leveraged ETFs
Issue #472, May 29, 2017

Leasing a Vehicle: Don’t!
Issue #471, May 22, 2017

Issue #470, May 15, 2017

More on Buying Jewelry
Issue #469, May 08, 2017

Buying Jewelry: Gold, Diamonds and Pearls
Issue #468, April 30, 2017

Thomas Sowell: Part III of III
Issue #467, April 24, 2017

Thomas Sowell: Pat II of III
Issue #466, April 17, 2017

Live Close to Where You Work
Issue #465, April 10, 2017

Medtronic in Hospital Management
Issue #Interim Bulletin #464A, April 07, 2017

Thomas Sowell: Part I of II
Issue #464, April 03, 2017

A Political Contribution a an Investment: Part II of II
Issue #463, March 27, 2017

A Political Contribution as an Investment: Part I of II
Issue #462, March 20, 2017

Buffett Selling Vacation Home
Issue #461, March 13, 2017

Advanced Placement (AP) ourses
Issue #460, March 06, 2017

The Importance of a Credit History
Issue #459A, March 02, 2017

A Credit Card Scam
Issue #459, February 27, 2017

The Electronic Health Reord
Issue #458, February 20, 2017

Issue #457, February 13, 2017

Platinum and Palladium
Issue #456, February 06, 2017

Economic Outlook for 2017: Part II of II
Issue #455A, February 02, 2017

Economic Outlook for 2017: Part I of II
Issue #455, January 30, 2017

A Story From Vegas
Issue #454A, January 25, 2017

Land Donation Deals and the IRS
Issue #454, January 23, 2017

The Theory of Gambler’s Ruin
Issue #453, January 16, 2017

Student Loans: But Wait, There’s More!
Issue #452, January 13, 2017

A Second Home
Issue #Interim Bulletin #451A, January 04, 2017

The Consumer Confidence Index
Issue #451, January 02, 2017


By Robert M. Doroghazi, M.D., F.A.C.C.

Advanced Placement (AP) ourses

Issue #460, March 06, 2017

    I graduated college a semester early by studying a course on my own during the summer, then taking a proficiency test when I got back to school in the fall. Summer of 1970, between my freshman and sophomore year, I studied 3rd semester French. It was also my first year at Granite City Steel. Every day I would have an index card in my pocket with 10 vocabulary words. Sweep the floor, take card out of my pocket: la voiture: car/automobile. Sweep some more: nettoyer: to clean. The next summer it was 3rd semester physics, then genetics. If I had planned just a little better, I could have graduated a year early.
    I have written about AP courses before (Issue #119, 8/23/10). I think they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. If they had been around when I was in high school, I would have taken every one offered. Consider: an AP course costs $93, and can generate 3 or more hours of college credit. The cost of tuition, fees, room and board at a state school is $30K per year: at the good private schools: $50K per year. A year is 30 credit hours, making each hour of AP-generated credit worth $1-2K. Not only does it save time and money, but it allows students to complete the core courses so they can focus on their area of interest.
    I am writing now because of the Wall Street Journal article of 2/16/17 entitled “Some Colleges Rethink AP Courses”. They note AP courses have 2 uses: 1) some generate no college credit, but allow the student to skip introductory courses and enroll directly in higher-level courses. This does not shorten the time in college, and doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Maybe the student could get a 2nd major, which, in my opinion, along with a nickel, will get you a cup of coffee (That saying is from the Great Depression. Coffees are now $2-4).
    2) Generate college credits. At least 20 states now require their public universities to award college credit for AP courses, and the number is increasing. Meanwhile, many elite private schools are scaling back or reconsidering how much credit they give for the AP courses. They argue that:
    A) the AP courses aren’t the equivalent of mastering college work.
    RMD comment: Not impressed. Then change what is taught in the course.
    B) The transcripts of their applicants are full of AP courses.
    RMD comment: these are the smart, hard-working kids, that’s why they are applying to the best schools. A hollow argument: Kind of circular reasoning.
    C) They “take away from the shared under-graduate experience with other students”. RMD comment: That is a weak, specious and disappointing argument. If you can’t have enough “college social experience” in 2 or 3 years, you can’t have it in 4 years.
    The fact that the elite schools are dissing AP courses allows me to make 3 points.
    First: to make an analogy to a phrase from Eisenhower’s Farewell Address, in previous newsletters I coined the term “University-Industrial Complex”. I have come to the conclusion that many colleges and universities are operated more for themselves to garner power and prestige, than to fulfill their basic mission, which is to educate.
    Second: I believe the greatest weakness of our educational system is that we do as much as possible for the weak and average student, which is good, but very little if anything extra for the most gifted. No one believes more in the egalitarian meritocracy of the US than I do: my family has lived the American Dream. But I can’t flatter myself: if I was never here, history would not be changed. We must devote more resources to cultivate the next Einstein, Newton, Darwin or Washington.
    Third: I believe our young people are coddled, with an adolescence that seems unending. Resident work rules are a great example. People must stop work to take a nap.
    When is the last time you heard of a student at the public schools who received a double promotion? (My mother received 2. My 2nd grade teacher wanted me double-promoted to 4th grade, but that was beyond the limits of the principal) Two-time Nobel recipient John Bardeen (along with Shockley and Brattain at Bell Labs invented the transistor, and for super-conductivity) graduated high school at age 15. Alexander was conquering the world at age 20. John D. Rockefeller entered into his first business partnership at age 20. During the War of 1812, David (Damn the Torpedoes) Farragut, the highest ranking Naval Officer in the Civil War, at age 12 was given command of a prize taken by the Essex. A long-time subscriber to this newsletter started college at the U. of Chicago at age 15, and med school at age 19, and he did just fine.
    AP courses allow the opportunity to save serious college expenses. Thirty hours of AP credit is worth $30,000-50,000,—and one year of your life.   
    In 2016, which country lost the most millionaires? Hint: China was 2nd. See below.
    The market was certainly impressed with Mr. Trump’s speech of Tuesday night, popping more than 300 points on Wednesday.
    RMD comment: the market has been so strong since the election because of the potential for meaningful tax, and in my opinion, more importantly, regulatory reform. I believe the market popped on Wednesday because Pres. Trump acted more “Presidential” (however you would like to define that). The VIX (Volatility Index) remains at rock bottom, and the financial stocks continue to do well. 
    The precious metals are weak and probably have more downside. The COT (Commitment Of Traders) looks at the futures positions of the commercials (smart money, like the miners and large bullion dealers) and the large speculators (dumb money). At market tops, the commercials have large short positions, and the speculators are about to suffer big losses with their long positions. The current COT is very bearish. Don’t be enticed to buy the dip.   
    Another credit card scam.
    Beware of people bearing gifts. The victim received a phone call from “Express Couriers” (or any courier company). The caller asked if they would be home in an hour to accept a package that required a signature. One hour later, a uniformed delivery man turns up with a basket of flowers and a bottle of wine. There was no special occasion, and the victim asked the name of the sender. “I don’t know, I’m only delivering the package”. A card was to be sent separately, but there was a consignment note with the gift.
    The delivery man then said that because the gift contained alcohol, there was a $3.50 “delivery-verification charge”, providing proof that he delivered the package to someone of legal age, and that it was not just left on the doorstep, and potentially stolen by someone who might not be of drinking age.
    This sounded reasonable to the recipient, who offered to pay the fee in cash. No, the company required payment by credit or debit card for proper documented. He added that delivery men weren’t allowed to carry cash to avoid being targets of robbery. The delivery man produced a small mobile device for the victim to swipe their card and enter their PIN. A receipt was printed and given to the victim. Delivery man “Everything is in order. Have a nice day, and enjoy the flowers and wine”.
    Within 3 days, $4,000 had been charged at various ATM machines.
    1) Be wary of accepting “surprise gifts” not expected or personally ordered, esp. if a payment is involved.
    2) Never accept anything from someone you don’t know or the sender isn’t identified.
    3) Most important: do not give out any personal/credit information unless you initiate the purchase or transaction.
    A study from Science says the ultimate data storage device could be based on the genetic code of DNA.
    RMD comment: in The Alien’s Secret: Aliens have changed our History in Ways you could Never Imagine, I speculated that computers would be based on DNA. For an autographed copy, send a check for $25 to 115 Bingham Rd, Columbia, MO 65203. It would make a great graduation gift. 
    In 2016, 10,000 millionaires left France.
    RMD comment: That’s a significant comment on French society. This tells me the rightist Le Pen will win the election this spring. She wants France to leave the Euro. 

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