Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Back in "the saddle again"~~~

Hello, Hello, Hello My Dear Diva Darlings!!!

Yes where have I been!!

Well to be honest I have been seriously ill.

Yes Darlings I had serious congestive heart failure,  it rendered me bed ridden, for months but thanks to my family, my dear sweet Juanita and her daughter and grand-daughter I have been well cared for.

And now I have a pace maker, a lovely device that will help keep my heart beating and beating, and yet I still have to "take it easy". 

It took some time to have it all done, stabilizing, monitoring, getting my strength back, the surgery to implant the wires and the device, recovering from that.  My left arm was very sore too.

And simply getting back "into the groove" 

I will not be as active as I have been, I have device I'm also suppose to wear in case I'm alone and need help and cannot get to a phone. 

I had a caregiver with me to help Juanita and Constance so the burden would not completely fall upon them and a nurse to visit me, and then the doctor's appointments. 

But now I am well enough to resume most but not all of my activities. 

In my next few posts I will both update you and also continue to give advice, at least from my perspective. 

Much of my previous advice still holds true, in that area nothing has changed.

But I will make suggestions on how to continue your Diva Life.

But for now----I'M ALIVE MY DARLINGS----I'm not Dead Yet!

Until Anon, Kisses Darlings

Saturday, November 9, 2013

And update and being busy~~~

Hello my Diva Darlings,

Yes, I have been away, but I've been busy.   It seems that I have been hired as a sort of consultant to the elderly clients on what to do with their finanaces. 

Now I am not licenced that I admit, but of late from time to time my husbands old firm gets a client who wants to make drastic changes which could hurt them, in some cases with my help, I've discovered that undue influence has been put on these clients.

Of course when that happens the trustees are called as well as the police and things are straightened out very quickly. 

My position is to determine if such influence is being exerted upon them, since many of the clients know me, they are more willing to confide in me than in the younger staff, so when the staffer feel there is something wrong and the clients refuse to listen, they turn it over to me, and what I do is have coffee or tea for them as well as water, some little bisquets which I say always helps to keep the blood sugar up and I simply chat with them.

I take my time, my little office that I was previously renting for my own use, has at my late husband's firm cost, been made into a sort of living room, with a view, but no drapes, but comfortable chairs, criss-cross pricilla curtains, watercolors of landscapes, soft classical music, even an electric fireplace with an old fashion mantel clock.  The client forgets they're in an office but have the illusion of being in one's home.

I act as hostess, and we'll chat about family and things and then it comes out.  And almost always someone is influencing them, or in some cases showing signs of a small stroke which impieds clear decision making,  now I let the client know that in order to take notes and be clear about their intensions I need to record the conversation and they always agree.   The entire conversation is transribed and the trustees are notified before anything is signed, I make delays to allow action to happen, and the trustees take steps to secure the clients finances.  

So far its been 3 cases of fraud,  and several cases of illness,  I do follow ups on the clients to see that they are well and they have been greatful that I have been able to help them, the ones who were ill were not aware they had strokes or low blood pressure that affected their thinking.

So I have been busy and I feel so useful, even my Diva Darling has helped, sometimes I bring her with me espeically if I know the client loves pets, Princess seems to have a soothing effect on them.

I only receive an honoraium, and the cost of the food, and I still can use the office for my personal investing, the computer is hidden in an Armouir, I even have a book shelf that looks Victorian with old books of familar authors, Dickens, Christie, Mark Twain, nothing that is distressing.

This is where having a living revokeable trust comes in handy my Darlings, espeically if you are up there in age.  Any changes you want to make will cost money, but because of that it forces you to think and slow down.  There have been too many cases where the elderly have been bilked out of their savings by either hired caregivers or alleged friends who are not, or unscrupulous relatives.  If need be create it as a trust, with trustees to help prevent you from being left penniless.

And now Darlings, Juanita and I are going shopping, the pantry is bare, her son-in-law Manuel is working on the garden and her daughter is cleaning the house, while the baby is playing, but I think we'll take Princess with us to prevent any accidents.  And we'll have a nice sit-down dinner and chat, so much to catch up on and it is a sort of day and evening to just relax.

Until Annon Kisses Darlings

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Well General Maintanance done (I think)~~


I must admit I wish I was more computer savvy to properly set up a Template, but I have to use what Blogspot offers.

In looking over the offerings, I decided to go with RED!!   Yes My Diva Darlings---Diva Red.  I wanted a background that was dynamic, forcefull, because you Dear Diva's can be dynamic and forceful, by sheer will and determination.

So not to worry Yes you have found La Diva Loca---Living the Diva Life.

We are now heading into Fall, or what I call the "Jock" period, this is espeically true if your boyfriend, lover or boy toy is too much into sports and is neglecting you.  That is one thing that I had decided upon early in life, if the young man I'm dating is responding to his testosterone too much, and puts you on hold so he can either go to a game or watch a game with his "jock" friends, then he is not the man for you. 

A real man balances his life, yes he has to work, yes he has to help his parents, yes he does have to have the car (that he drives you in) maintained, and if he has a dog he does have to excerise the little poochie, I know I excerise mine Diva Princess.

So if he shows he can balance his  life and you very well, then it should not be a problem,  I was able to do it with my late husband, and now with the men in my life, one of them has a love of vintage cars, he buys a near basket case and slowly lovingly fixes it up.  I have told him that I do not mind putting on jeans and tennis shoes and wear heavy gloves (must maintain the manacure Darlings) if we go to a wrecking yard....BUT... I want a very good dinner at a very nice place later, so sometimes its compromise, and it can work out well if he takes you for a spin in his beautifully restored vintage car and you can dress even period style like the Diva you are.

So Darlings, pick and choose carefully the man you want, make sure he will cater to your needs as well and blances things too, but be prepared to share him a little with parents, work, dog, but if you do it right then he will bring you Roses and Godiva chocolates (or at least See's candies) and occasionally a little expensive Bling.

Now I must go, I'm having an dinner out with one of my gentlemen friends we are going to Napa for the unveiling of a new 9/11 memorial followed by dinner and drinks afterwards, and we want to leave early.

I had seen a preview of the Memorial last night on the news and I would love to see it in person as well.

We shall never forget.

Later my Darlings

Until Anon, Kisses

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Doing a little maintenance~~~

Well Darlings,

Sometimes it pays to check on one's blog from time to time.    It seems I lost a photo so I've substituted one in to hold a place.  When I have time I'll come back and properly update the image, although Ava Gardner was a lovely woman.

Must go.

Till Anon, Kisses Darlings

Monday, September 9, 2013

How do I invest~~~~

Hello My Diva Dahlings,

I know, I know---where Have I been? Well I won’t bore you with details; except that I’ve been spending time with my family and a few dear close friends, traveling here and there with them and taking care of some medical and dental needs as well, as one gets older, things take a bit more maintenance. Not to worry I’m doing fine, just a little older, a little slower but no less a Diva.

I can also assure you that my little diva darling Princess is doing very well and has been traveling with me, Juanita and her family are also doing well, while I’m gone she is free to come and go as she pleases, and she has been making arrangements to have an eye kept on my home.

I have been asked by some of you darling Diva’s, how do I financially live? Well I’m not the “grasshopper” that fiddles away the bounty of spring, summer and fall, I do put away for the winter, and yet I’m not overly working like the ant, but working enough to maintain a life style that is comfortable for me.

Yes Darlings, the operative work is “comfortable”. Depending upon where you live, an income of $150,000 can seem like a fortune, but only if you live in Tennessee or other mid-states, if you live in California or New York especially in the Big City or San Francisco or Los Angeles you are barely middle-class.

I’m not saying I earn that much, as a matter of fact I’m not saying to you how much I earn, but I do live very comfortably. You see it is all a matter of perspective. I’m not a billionaire, no, with that comes headaches. But I’m not on food stamps either. Although I can understand the difficulties of those in which circumstances requires them for government assistance.

I was fortunate, my parents were very savvy people, Dad worked hard, worked his way though college, was smart enough to make very good contacts with people (now a days it’s called networking), lived within his means, saved, did his best to stay out of debt and (here’s where its important) conservatively invested.

Mother too came from a hard working family, went to business school, listened, lived within her means, saved her money, but as I said she listened very carefully and like Dad investigated before investing.

Dad was a lawyer, he handled mostly business contracts and mergers etc, he met Mother and she worked for him, but they had a partnership much like “Perry Mason and Della Street”, they worked as a team. They first became good friends and then discovered they loved each other and married, Mother continued to work for Dad after they married until the first of 3 children came along, but even then she would work in the office part time, making arrangements with Grandma to watch us and then she’d come home prepare dinner and then took over checking our homework and putting us to bed. When we were old enough to go to school, she’d send us off, go to the office and then at 2:30 leave to pick us up.

We children were loved, I’m not saying it was a perfect “Father Knows Best” situation but even we as children were included in any decision making, we were not sheltered, our parents were honest with us.

So how does that describe how I live financially? First it was by example from our parents, I say “Our” because I have two brothers, one older and one 18 months younger, My brothers shared a bedroom and I had my own, Our parents bought a house which was easy to expand if needed and it did go to eventually 4 bedrooms as Grandma (Mom’s mother) moved in with us after Grandpa died.

I and my brothers were immersed though Dad and Mom’s instructions on investing and financial business, Dad would talk frankly to us about business dealings that had developed, in some cases were developing, sometimes he’d put us to work to find things in the investment papers or at the Library going through the out of town newspapers.

Dad told us about the Rothschild’s and Hetty Green (the witch of Wall Street), Andrew Carnegie and other successful business people, although for a woman to be successful was rare and looked at with suspicion, especially in an environment in which women were looked upon as property and not having any business sense. Luckily my parents and Grandparents were not of that mind-set.

In my previous postings I talk about how to learn to be frugal with the “Make do, use it up…etc” routine, and also to not live beyond your income, please go back to those postings as a refresher course.

Dad also told us that even in the Bible (we were and are Catholic) it talks about money, one needs to read both the old and new testament. No I’m not talking about the Biblical Money Code that Sean Hyman speaks of---its there really for anyone to read and learn from, Hyman just uses the biblical teachings to get some real foundations across to us.

Something that was already taught to me and my brothers by our parents.

First off, one has to avoid the “Love of Money” and realize it is simply a means of exchange to buy goods and services, but don’t waste it or horde it, make use of it to make money, but do not squander it either, if you have 2 dollars, save $1, then divide the remaining dollar in half, 50 cents to pay for your daily needs, the other 50 cents to invest in or with.

I call it my thirds rule. With the dollar saved divide that in half, 50 cents into a regular savings account, the other 50 cents into a long term retirement account, by having a regular savings account you’ll build up money for those sudden expenses, like a roofing problem, or car repairs etc. this way you will avoid going into debt by using a credit card, unless it is something very extensive. This is where a Budget rule is important.

O.K. Darlings so from an early age, my Dad played a game with my brothers and I, using pretend money, such as worn out or incomplete card decks, Aces were $1, 5’s =5, 10= 10, Jacks were 20, Queens 50 and Kings 100 dollars. On used envelopes Dad would write down the stocks we’d choose listing the number of shares we’d buy at the amount that the stock was going for per share.

Now as part of our “Homework” we had to investigate the solid foundation of a business whose stock was listed, then we’d watch to see how it would do, if the price per share was low we’d buy, then we’d have to see what it was going to do, and make a decision on it. Also we’d have to watch to see how much in dividends did the stock pay out, those dividends were written on the remaining cards, at the end of a certain period of time, usually 6 months, Dad would note how we were doing. Come January 1st Dad would announce who did the best and would get an increase in their allowance based upon results, those who didn’t do so well, well if they did do fairly well, would get an increase but only slightly, if our stock choices failed, our allowance did not get an increase.

You certainly can see the incentive here.

Hetty Green’s motto was “Buy cheap and sell dear” meaning buy low but sell high, the Rothschild’s based their investments on information gathered, that is how the head of the Rothschild family worked, during the campaign between Wellington and Napoleon, many investors had heard, (incorrectly) that Wellington was losing, but Rothschild had one of his sons near the battlefield and set up a system of immediate information relays, using carrier pigeons and light systems to send signals to him what was exactly happening, so when people were selling in a panic he was buying, and eventually when the real news hit the London exchange, Rothschild was in a position to make a tremendous profit.

Hetty Green was the same, this was told to me by my Grandfather whose brother worked at a bank that Hetty held her “office” in, through various contacts among the working class and clerks Hetty could gauge the worth of a company and therefore its stock value, even if the stock appeared to be going down, Hetty would know of things in the works that would bring a profit to the company, so when the stock price was at its lowest Hetty would buy and then when the company turned a profit and its stock value went up, Hetty would hold and hold until she felt it had reached its possible peak and then sell it at a profit. Grand Dad said that the clerks at the bank were very protective of Hetty, why? She would make small loans to them at a very low interest, and even would extend their time to pay it back, something that is very rarely mentioned in any biographies about her.

Hetty was cheap, rotating between just two suits of clothing, living in the most inexpensive rooming houses, buying the cheapest cuts of meat, walking everywhere, even avoiding doctors to treat her son’s injured leg, which he never condemned her for.

To her Money was a weapon to be hoarded, not squandered, she in a way took it to the extreme, but even the Rothschild’s did not live extravagantly.

So let’s look at investing----

Rule one----never invest more than what you can afford to lose

Rule two---never invest all your money into one stock, diversify

Rule three---do your homework, make sure that the company whose stock you’re interested in has a solid foundation to be able to ride out a lot of economic storms.

On Rule three this includes, how well is the business run? Is their management team solid and looking at the future, without over expansion? Is their sales pipeline large and are sales increasing, are their customers happy? Does it have a big market capitalization with plenty of liquidity in stock volume? AND This is the Most Important…is the company worth the stock price you are going to pay.

Remember Darlings buy cheap but don’t buy a cheap company.

Everyone remembers that stocks slide up and down on a roller coaster, so even with doing your homework if there is a stock pull back right after it takes a position that does not mean it’s a bad investment. This is where you have to be like Rothschild so that when it appears that a stock loses value this is where you need to review in your mind why you bought it and hold on. Do not allow Greed or a quick turn over or even fear cause you to panic

And don't buy a stock because a friend, or relative says its a good thing or the latest thing, it could be a disaster if you do not do your homework.  Solendra was one of them.  Fortunately I did not buy into that.

The best way to see how a stock performs is to look back on its track record for the last two possibly three years. For example if a company shows what I have just explained to you as still being solid it is solid.

John Deer Tractors, everyone needs that from the homeowner to the Farmer.

So with Rule Three you are doing a fundamental analysis of an investment

Rule Four---determine when to buy --- this is done after you have completed Rule three. So you turn to a technical indicator called the relative strength index, this will tell you when a stock is being oversold or overbought, on a scale of 100 if its under 30 the stock is getting cheap because people are selling but when it starts going over 80 on the RSI scale then its getting pricey---why? Too many buyers are buying it

Warren Buffett has used these two principals to see how a stock is going to do, it is what caused him to stay away from those start up companies that had no foundation, even I stayed away from Facebook stock when it opened and then it started going down and down, but just to be a little cagey I bought some shares when it looked like it was going to go for a $1 a share, then slowly it began to show its true worth.

So when you see a stock going down on a company, a company that you know has a strong foundation based upon the questions I outlined for you don’t be afraid.

Although I have to admit I did “Take a Flyer” on Facebook.

Because this is where you grab your courage and work outside that box, and that may mean buying companies that people don’t like, when you see massive selling hitting a stock on a company that is solid, that is when to look for the bargain. Don’t allow Greed or the Love of Money or your fear of losing blind you to an opportunity.

This is where you look for large volume spikes and then shows steep declines. Apple is a good example, Steve Jobs dies, Apple stocks went down, panic selling, but now a time to buy at a lesser price, because if Apple is any good it will steady out even without Steve Jobs, because you are looking at the true value of the stock and the foundation of the company.

So Rule Five---Ride out the Roller Coaster, it may take weeks or months but you are in for “The Long Haul”

And that is what my Dad taught us, “Don’t buy for profit, buy for the long haul, for a generally steady income to serve you into your old age and beyond” SERVE YOU; in short have your money make money.

With my Facebook stock once I did my initial purchasing I use the dividends from that stock to buy more stock, the same with Apple. Eventually I will have those dividends be paid directly to me, like my other stocks.

And this is where we come to RULE SIX:


Even though I have a very, very good income, I determine how much I will need to live on per month, for that I have 2 checking accounts with separate debt cards, the first checking account will pay insurances, mortgage, utilities, medical/dental. I pay those bills immediately, I do not procrastinate.

The second account is to pay for Food and sundries, including if I want to treat myself and some friends to lunch.

Then I set quite a bit of it aside, for that I have 4 savings accounts, one for emergency repairs, one for fun things like a vacation, one for any increase in living costs so that I’ll have a chance to re-do my budget and one to purchase things as needed such as birthday gifts or replace something in the house etc.

I know that having that many accounts can be a bit mind bending, but I keep cash books on each, and each book clearly labeled, being able to call in to the bank and listening to the auto response is very helpful as well as logging in each evening any purchases.

For that you HAVE to be DISIPLINED.

I know people who have to have a new car every 4 to 5 years, once its paid off they buy a new one and are back into debt, I had my Caddy for nearly 20 years and was only beginning to consider buying a new car if it appeared that it would not pass smog or I had to have it worked on long and hard to pass smog, but that was taken out of my hands when some teenagers stole it for a joy ride and wrapped it around a pole.

My current car I will keep until it is not repairable anymore. Don’t over charge on credit cards, use coupons, watch for deals, on a number of things you can buy at either Target or Wal-Mart, on other things buy quality because you want it to last a long, long time.

Don’t buy a MacMasion when something smaller will do.

I have only 3 credit cards, one of them is a gasoline card, the other two are bank credit cards, one is for any auto repairs or if I’m traveling, the other when I want to purchase clothing or items for myself. On all three I watch my balance very carefully, and pay them down immediately, usually within 3 to 4 months. This is where the savings accounts come in handy.

Really one doesn’t need more than 3 cards plus your debt card(s). One handy device is being able to pay over the phone, I have a small date book that lists when a bill will be due and with the phone numbers of those cards and if I’m traveling I can call the credit companies and pay over the phone without a fee.

Some people prefer auto pay; I do that for the Utilities and the home mortgage.

To be able to balance all of this I look into what I Need to buy or pay, this includes property taxes, medical/dental insurance, auto and home insurance, utilities, home mortgage, Food, medicine. These are NEEDS.

Everything else is WANTS, well I need a good pair of walking shoes, I have them and I have them re-heeled and re-soled and will do it until they are worn out, one does not need 20 coats, a good winter coat, a good raincoat, a light suit jacket, and a lovely shawl, plus a few sweaters, until they wear out.

I don’t drive my car everywhere, I’ll use public transportation, and it works just as well, so it saves on wear and tear on the car, if you have to do a lot of errands then plan on the best use of your gas.

My clothing is classic, so is my jewelry, I go to the Library for recreational reading and magazines, even DVD’s and music, there are some things I do buy but that is because I consider them hobbies. Remember the simple things are always best.

But again always save, determine needs vs. wants, and look for the best deals from food to travel, avoid the credit card use this is where cash money is important by using your credit card you are falling into temptation on buying a “want” and therefore living beyond your means, and don’t be extravagant when there is no need. Network with people who can help you achieve your goals and be genuine.

And remember there is Good Credit and there is Bad Credit, Good Credit or debt is paying on a house, Bad Credit (really debit) is having 20 charge cards at rates 15% to 29%, they do not give you any return, whereas paying on a house is a tax write off.

Now my Diva Darlings review what I have posted before, be sure to have a Good CPA who Really knows the Tax Code, keep receipts, keep records, and keep a good accounting of everything. It pays in the end my Darlings

And remember----YOU ARE THE CEO OF YOUR OWN COMPANY—it is called your Life.

And here is where we come to Rule Seven:

Remember those who are less fortunate.  

This means donating to charities to help the needy, like Salvation Army, your Local Food Bank, charity walk for Cancer,  your local Animal Shelter or Nature preserve (yes we need to remember those who cannot speak for themselves),  I donate to "Cover your Cop"  this is to buy bullet proof vests for Police Dogs as well as other charities.  You can even do it in memory of a loved one or a friend.

So just as the money flows in, be sure to have some of it flow out for a good  and worthy cause.
Until Anon, Kisses Darlings

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Dig more than for a "gold mine"

Hello My Diva Darlings,

I have been enjoying the mild weather here at home.   Juanita is visiting her family and will be home tomorrow,  her latest grandbaby is growing so fast, but this weekend is a big family birthday party for several  grandchildren and as always its a Fiesta for them and I want Juanita to see her family a lot.

Princess my little Diva Darling and I have been enjoying our walks, I try to do two a day now,  although the little thing gets so tired on the last leg of our walk but its good excerise, I even go once or twice a week to a health club to use their indoor pool, so relaxing.

My "ladies who Lunch" had a nice brunch this morning at one of our local resteraunts, with a lovely view of the Bay,  but we were talking about the flucutations in the economy.  The horrible bidding wars on homes,  many said its a sellers market again and once again people could be paying more for homes than what they can afford, but maybe the public will be a little wiser.

Lauren one of my ladies asked me if I had any old mining stocks, I said that I had some that I've been keeping tabs on because although the out put is low, the income is steady although not large,  she asked if I had some in one particular company and I said yes, so she said just a few words to me "Rare Earth Elements",  I have to say my eyebrows went to my hair line.

She advised me to read a news story in Yahoo about how the Government is looking into rare earth elements in old mine tailings here in the U.S.  to help us get free of China's stranglehold.  And I advise you my Darling Diva's to do the same.

I'm not saying buy mining stocks but keep an eye out for such things,  because when in 2009 China was only charging $15 dollars a ton for one particular element and then it leaped in 2011 to $500 a ton, then its time to get out from that yoke and be free.  This will be a slow growth situation and be very careful, watch out for "fly-by-night" swindler's.   My stocks are fine and I'm going to double check them very soon.

But it seems that there is a lot more than gold in "them thar hills".

Kisses Darlings

Friday, July 19, 2013

Of things being a little out of sequence


Sometimes it doesn't pay to look over what was postings but got accidently saved as drafts, and they got published.

Please remember if you read them they are from 2008 and 2010,  not 2013.

Although my friend Michelle has asked me to go with her to Lake Tahoe in August,  a trip I am looking forward to.  So she will take the train up from L.A.  and then taking the train to Reno staying the night there and then a chauffered limo from Reno to Lake Tahoe, courtsey of a friend of hers.  

All I can say Darlings it is not only what you know but also who you know.

By the way I was asked how old is Juaunita, well she married young, and is about 57 to my 66, but even I worry about her health.   Her daughter Constance is now working part time because she wants to care for her youngest daughter but Constance and her husband Manuel have also helped me out.

But I fear for the day when Juanita may not be able to help me with the house, but she said to not worry about that, even she is a planner.

Must go my Darlings,