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Strange Things in the Precious Metals
Issue #531, July 17, 2018

Buying Years of Retirement
Issue #530, July 09, 2018

Rent-A-Kid for Retirement
Issue #529, July 02, 2018

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


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

The Kids Birthday Party Hustle

Issue #518A, April 18, 2018

    I highly recommend that anyone with children or grandchildren 10 years of age or less read this Newsletter.
    This is from a long-time subscriber.
    “I had a financial epiphany and thought of numerous parallels to past Newsletters. The topic involves modern child rearing. And with your recent subscriber expansion, hopefully you have more young docs with families. I readily admit, though, this will not be as good as “Critters and Varmints in Your Home and Yard”, a true Doroghazi original (Issue #473A, 6/7/17).
    Between preschool friends and elementary school social circles, my 4 and 6 year old children each attend 4-5 birthday parties a year (thus 8-10 gifts to buy per year). Yesterday we hosted a party, the “low-end model”, for our 4 year old at a local “bounce house”. The final bill, including gratuity and tax = $387. This does not include the cost of the presents we gave him. My wife loved it because we didn’t have 12-18 people at our home (think of the house cleaning we avoided). I admit, it was very convenient. We didn’t have to bake a cake. Just show up, have a good time for a few hours, and go home. Still, with 2 kids, that’s $800 per year—plus the costs of the gifts we buy for our children and the other children.
    If you give parties for your kids from ages 3-8, then a family with 2 kids is on the hook for $4,000. That $4K of toddler money by age18 could easily pay for a semester at any state school.
    No one wants their child to be an anti-social hermit, but consider these issues:
    1) these parties prey on emotions and societal expectations and obligations-just like weddings and funerals. It’s all too easy to get roped in.
    2) Because of compound interest, this “blown” money in the toddler years is even more valuable than money blown on a teenager’s car.
    3) This racket is exactly like your warning to “always mow your own lawn”. Middle and upper middle class people are being sucked dry by outsourcing things of convenience (RMD comment: that’s an insightful comment worthy of more discussion at a later time). This is especially true of dual-income parents, where time is so precious. I see many dual-income families that make $80-150K that have a twice a month housekeeper and lawn service. This birthday racket is the same phenomenon.
    Bottom line: celebrate events, enjoy time with your family, but beware of societal pressures that will drain your wallet from a litany of sources—even those of young children in preschool and grade school. Watch your money and use it for meaningful things”.
    He adds a post script. “I would never buy a car to keep up with the Joneses, but this party racket syndicate is a stealth threat. New parents need to be aware of this before the “party rounds” start. For instance, to keep “social peace”, many day care/preschools have the policy that if you invite one classmate, you must invite the entire class. Makes sense for the preschool, but not for your wallet”.

    He sums up beautifully how easy it is to be seduced by ego, to spend more than common sense might otherwise dictate. I love how he puts the money in a perspective usually not considered. $400 per party x 2 parties per year = $800 x 5 years =$4,000, at age 18 = one semester of college. I would add this can also result in a sense of entitlement in your children. They receive hundreds of dollars of gifts (the more plastic, the more likely they are gone and forgotten in a month—or less), have parties in a rented hall where 20 or more people, including adults, show up, and it’s all for them.
    Why would you spend $500 or more on a birthday party for a 4 year old?
    1) Not to burst your bubble, but this is not going to help your little darling get into Chicago, Harvard or Yale.
    2) That’s about a week’s take home pay for the guy that cuts your lawn.
    3) The chance they will remember it at age 20 is about 1%.
    4) The people impressed by an ostentatious display of wealth are the wanna-bes. The people you do want to impress would be really impressed if you sent a card to everyone in the class saying in lieu of a party for my little Johnny, we are donating $500 in the name of the 4 year old class at Sunny Side Nursey School to the Salvation Army.
    So, add the Kids Birthday Party to the list of Hustles that includes:
    1) “The Christmas Decoration, Pre-worn Jeans Hustle” (#507A, 2/3/18).
    2) “Leasing a Watch” (476, 2/16/17).
    3) “The Over-Priced Food Presentation Hustle” (409, 3/14/16).
    4) “The Phone Company Hustle” (314, 5/19/14).
    5) “The Cost of a Burial” (292, 12/16/13).
    6) “Your State Lottery” (150, 3/28/11).
    7) “Leasing a Car” (124, 9/7/10).
    8) And the biggest Hustle of all-time “A Wedding as an Investment” (241, 12/24/12). 
    I try to give gifts that are 1) permanent and 2) have value. Hard to go wrong with a book. I still use the Webster’s 7th Collegiate Dictionary given to me by my high school employer Mr. Graham as a graduation present in 1969. For the last few years I’ve given the grandkids on their birthdays and Christmas an AU (Almost Uncirculated) 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar. Most of the parents of kids this age have never seen a silver dollar. When also else fails, give money. It’s always the right color, one size fits all, and there are never any complaints.


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