IBM is down  and why

I purchased my IBM stock early this year and I was proud that each quarter my stock grew in equity.  I checked the stock today and for the first time I'm loosing money with IBM.  IBM is performing below the market for the quarter.  According Ashraf Eases who writes for Motley Fool wrote:

"For its third quarter, IBM reported earnings-per-share of $3.68, which missed consensus by $0.64. Revenue came in at $22.4 billion, down 4% year-over-year, and missing consensus of $23.37 billion. Bloomberg reports that the company expects earnings-per-share for the year to be "down 2%-4% from $16.64 in 2013," implying a range of $15.97 to $16.31, badly missing consensus of $17.87 ."

Sell IBM or is it a bargain

Currently IBM is around $162 a share it's a bargain.  This is the lowest for the stock in about 52 weeks which has reached over $192.  I keep IBM in my portfolio because it is a steady as you go stock.  Dividends at 2.7% or around $4.40 a share IBM continues to bring value.

When we started being a foster parents for Ashlyn we knew it was temporary, but that didn't make it any easier when it was time to let her go.   She was the most playful cat we ever fostered and loved to be around us.  She would crawl up into the window when we were outside and rub her face across it when I put my hand on the seal.  She enjoyed climbing into our bed and sleeping in between us.

If we were in the kitchen, she had to be in the kitchen.  When we decided to go into the bathroom she had to go in there to do her business as well.  And when I would scurry off to the "Man Cave" in the attic, guess who slowly climbed the stairs to be by my side.  Ashlyn was a dear so why would we ever return her to shelter for adoption?

This was not an easy decision and it never is.  We have foster several kittens and adult cats now and the pain is always the knowing that they can't stay with you.  The reason we have a hard time adopting any pet is that we travel a lot and out of the country.  We spend months and the transporting of pets through an airport into a foreign country can be a nightmare.  

When we left to go to Panama for a few weeks, we sent out foster cat Raisin back to the shelter until we returned.  She was an old cat not extremely healthy.  When we returned we found that she got so depressed that the shelter felt they had to put her down.  She wasn't eating.  We felt so bad and guilty that we vowed that we were never foster another.  Then we saw Ashlyn.

This time the same scenario exist.  We had to leave the country to visit family in Korea. We returned Ashlyn to the shelter after months a taking care of her.  We wanted to her be adopted by some family that would love her like we do.  Our decision rest on the fact that as long as she stays with us no one can adopt her and is it fair to her that we travel so much.  We have friends that have volunteered to take care of her, but is it fair?  We didn't think so.

It's hard being a foster parent because you get attach, you fall in love and you don't want to put them up for adoption.  You wonder if they will get a great home, some pets in the shelter  have already been abused.  You worry if someone when they are tired of them will put them back on the street because some shelter animals have been abandon and have adjustment issues.  You wonder and you worry but that's the emotional elements of being a caring individual.  And for my wife and I it's a condition we have no desire in abandoning.

Walking with our 80 year old aunt into the mountains

Seasons are changing and there is no better place than to observe this as to hike into the mountains of Korea.  Getting away from the crowded city and the concrete pavement we found extremely refreshing after about a few weeks in the city. Residents seem to vacate the city on weekends and make a mad dash to the countryside.

Our 80 year old aunt loves to walk.  Even though her knees are aching a little and she doesn't hike into the mountains as she did a few years ago but she can still out walks my wife and me.

Clean air and quietude where very few cars travel the road we traveled.  The family property we went to visit can't be developed and considered by Korea's government as "Clean Space".  The family property is located on a mountain which they have owned for over 300 years.  As I walked with my wife and our aunt to this mountain top, I stopped to sit by a river.  The water was cold but pure.  I washed my hands and continued on.

Korea Mountains

Pacing my steps along the narrow streets allowed me to collect my thoughts.  There was a several minutes of mediative pauses in conversation as we walked through farms lands, flowers spreading planted along the sidewalks and sound of the small river running through the rocks.

Korea mountains are mountains.  Not hills located in a citywide landscape these are mountains.  Populated with tons of trees thick.  

Rice fields stand out

There were rice fields where farmers were busy loading up bicycle style tractors that passed by us.  These three wheeler vehicles served the purpose by functional application and transportation. 

These mountains have served Korea's well.  Temples were built on them along with fortresses to guard against invasions.  While now they serve as farming villages only a few houses are on these mountains. Years have past since there were no houses on these mountains and only dirt road.

We walked for several miles.  Taking in the silence, observing Budda style protectors on one side of the street and a few barking dogs tied to their dog houses.  There were CCTV cameras.  A modern day convenience for farmers to protect their property.

Rice is the food of Korea.  These yellow fields are spread throughout Korea's landscape. We eat rice with everything and I enjoy it.  Since I've married a Korean, I eat more rice in the last 14 years than anytime in my life.

Mountains have many mysteries and many adventures for hikers.  Though we only spent a few hours on this adventure, Any hiker dedicated enough can find more precious landscape to explore.

When my wife and I were dating the last thing we talked about was money.  This was not a concern in the dating process.  We had separate funds and expenses.  However, when we tied the knot, we had to  develop different coping skills.  Money discussion became the elephant in the room and we had to deal with it.

I was single man for many years in control of my own expenses.  I had thirteen credit cards with about $10,000 credit limit on each. I had to adjust.

Money fights can tear a couple apart

Couples fight about money.  Couples fight about how the bills need to be paid.  It can tear a couple apart when when money becomes the basis for every disagreement.  Couples must discuss how they are going to manage their funds.  Before I was married, I was a little loose with my money.  I memorized every happy hour bar within a few mile radius from my apartment.  Los Angeles was my haven for entertainment.  

When I got married I was complaining to my wife that I was having a hard time saving money.  The first thing she noticed was how often I was visiting the "happy hour" bars.  She lovely suggested that maybe I should watch how I was spending my money.  

We have been married for over 14 years, we developed a healthy way to discuss on how we should budget and spend our cash.  I get to purchase all the books I want usually at bargain book stores and my wife gets to plan vacations on a budget.  She also budgets for tools at Home Depot which she can use for repairing things around our home and rental property.  

Share a common goal

How to avoid fighting over money?  Share a common goal.  Quit using your own agenda for justifying how the money is spent.  I like books so instead of arguing over it, I find a way to save money by purchasing books through my Kindle, borrowing books from library, buying used books on Amazon and keeping to a budget.  My wife looks for bargains everywhere.  She discusses with me her purchases and I have a chance to disagree if I think we are going over our budget.

Discuss paying off your bills together

We pay off our credit card debt every month. We use our credit card to pay for everything.  This way we can keep an eye on our expenditures throughout the month.  I can check online to see where we are at and if we are getting a little high, we calm down.  

Honest communication about 

Communication and mutual respect for dealing with money issues is the most important characteristic of a mature relationship.  Couples who fight about money usually are not in agreement about how money should be spent.  Once, my father decided he wanted to purchase a new piece of rental property but mom didn't approve.  He needed to have her signature on the papers and mom refused to sign anything.

I learned from his mishap, no matter what expense or investment I get ready to make confirm the decision with my wife first.  Communication is imperative and thus avoid arguments in the future.

Since President Obama has taken the office the economy has improved.  The GOP painted the worst picture possible, but the numbers don't always work in their favor.  

  1. Unemployment numbers are down during Obama administration.  When President Obama took office there were months that were double digits.
  2. Debt is the lowest in 40 years.  According to financial reports during President Obama the national debt is lowest we have seen in awhile.
  3. Stock market doubled.  When the crisis hit the stock market lost 40%.  Those of us who invest in the market know this to be true just looking at our own portfolios.  The stock market has come back and then some.
  4. Health Care didn't destroy the economy.  Affordable Health Care Act didn't collapse the market, businesses didn't foil and people like me got access to healthcare they couldn't afford before.
  5. Housing market is up.
  6. We are producing again and under Obama he has done better than Ronald Reagan's administration on the economy.

 So whey isn't President Obama getting any credit for this even from his own party.  Because GOP is spending billions of dollars to win an election.  However, they are struggling in key states which might turn the Congress into winning more seats for the Democrats.  Most elections are too close to call and the papers not calling any winners.  This is giving voters a chance to go to the post and vote.

Invitation to walk Korea's walk paths and their community parks

My wife and I love all the walk paths in Korea and we are getting up early and walking 4 miles before breakfast.  I enjoy walking.  It's has less impact on your knees than running and something you practice for the rest of your life.

Our 80 year old Aunt walks everywhere

Korea is a country of walkers and hikers.  There are bicycle paths and walking paths within the condo units.  According to our family informed me that developers have to follow certain permit rules.  When building the condo units they have to reserve spaces for parks and walk paths.

Parks are equipped  with strength training machines

After several years of weight training I find that aerobic exercises are paying off for me.  Interval training as we aged is important for total health.  This concept is mixing weight training intervals with aerobic training.  While I enjoy jumping on the stationary bike and pumping hard for thirty I continue to be mindful not overdo anything.

Most parks are equipped with stretching machines, body building machines.  Some of badminton course, basketball course and rest rooms.  The walking courses are made with sponge material that allows your walking to have less pounding for your feet and take some pressure off your knees.

A city designs for hikers and walker and bikers stimulates health consciousness

Through the city and suburbs there are walking and biking paths along the rivers beds, along the streets and underneath the bridges.  Korea stimulates the idea of health by offering various opportunities throughout the city to participate in the healthy routine.  My wife and I made an effort to walk over 27 miles in two days.  Taking several photos along the way.  To admire large groups of people exercising.  Except for places like California I have seen very few places that take special care to make areas dedicated to practicing exercising.


The Federal Budget Deficit is the lowest in years.

Some articles have called President Obama the best President dealing economy we ever had.  Now, this is not going well for GOP.  Election year has pressed the GOP to come up with an agenda to attack Obama and Democrats but the facts seem to work against.  For more information on the NY Times:
Korea Times reports that Samsung develops the faster WiFi in the world

Every time I read about Samsung Electronics I want to invest in the company.  The last time I check it was selling for around $1,000 a share.  And that's low because of the pounding they are taking from Chinese market invading their phone market shares.  However when I read this in today's paper.  I might have to save up my nickels and dimes and buy a few shares.  

blogging from my hotel in Korea

According to Korea Times Samsung which was loosing business this quarter with their Smart Phones have developed a WiFi:
"Samsung, the world's largest manufacturer of smartphones, said the new WiFi technology allows users to download and upload data at speeds of up to 575 megabits per second (Mbps), compared to the currently available 108 Mbps." --Korea Times

The claim is this will allow the Smart Phone to download a entire movie in less than 5 second.   
Read more:

When entering Korea if you have traveled to Africa you volunteer to be tested for Ebola

My wife and I might have to be pass current screen requirements before we can enter into the states.  Even though we have not visit any African nations, President Obama is encouraging testing for the ebola virus.  We might be tested before we can enter the US from Korea.  Only time will tell.

Tourist trade is huge industry for several countries including the US.  With the threat of the virus spreading to other countries the Obama Administration wants to convince other countries to step up their efforts to participating in testing and producing medical assistance.  Melinda Gates from Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation has given several million dollars to provide assistance to the nations suffering the most.  No country wants to loose tourist dollars, so the step up effort might be stimulated by economic factors.

Over three thousand people have died to ebola virus.  The Korean newspaper I read showed a photo from the "Hospital from Hell" where patiences are laying in their own fluids on the floor.  The questions by some observers asked why has it taken so long to recognize this problem?  Was it because of the poor nations being affected?  Ms. Gates response to these question is that the drug companies are motivated by profit, but they were also caught unaware of the problem and were not prepared for it.  It's the reason the Gate Foundation funds such efforts to bring industries and the private sector together to help people in need.

Korea is already asking the question

Before we entered into the Korea which was a grueling two hour wait, they asked anyone who has traveled through the affected areas to be tested.  Korea took finger prints and photos of every person that entered their country.  It was worst entry into a country that I have experienced in years.  However with the continued threat of terrorist and ebola it's just better to be prepared.

More info on Gates Foundation:

North Korea Decides To Drop In Celebrating Asian Games

My wife was born in Seoule, Korea.  Every two years we make our way back to visit the family.  All her mother's sisters are still alive.  

US, Korea in October was hosting the Asian Games.  China walked away with over 170 Gold Metals and Korea about 70.  Right before the celebrate parade North Korea showed up to celebrate the last day for the parade.

Our Uncle fought in the Korean War.  Every time we are in Korea, I sit next him and listen to his stories on how hard it was for Korea at that time.  How North Korea invaded and left the country with nothing.  He does not trust North Korea at all. 

This sudden visit to South Korea unannounced and then landing and expecting South Korea to roll out the red carpet was insulting.  He wants them to accept some responsibility for firing on their ships some apology but there is none.  He's convince that what ever their plan they kept it to themselves and can't be trusted.

A few day later, as Uncle predicted they fired on South Korea and not to his surprise.

The younger Korean generation might have a different opinion

We went on a tour a few days ago to the mountain area.  My wife and I just wanted to get out of the city for awhile.  Our tour guide was a man in his late 20's named Kim.  He gave a brief history of Korea.  His take on the Korean War was that it was a separation for families.  There were no real winners in the war.  When the Liberal Party was in control South Korean citizens were allow to travel to North Korea but once the Conservative Party took over the tours stopped.

As a  college student he protested in the 80's to give Korea more of a Democracy since the administration was military based.  In fact on our tour to the mountain region he mentioned that certain areas could not be developed because they were occupied military bases.

Even though his generation doesn't remember the poverty, the starving, the killing fields as uncle does, there is still some mistrust in his voice.  The younger generation might be willing to give North Korea a chance, because he thinks they are still Koreans just their ideology is in conflict which is blamed on communism China trying to convert the entire Asian community.  Uncle would not be so willing to accept this argument .

Obama Administration is siding with the philosophy that North Korea can not be trusted and is working on supplying South Korea with nuclear might in case of an attack from the North.